Why Obama Wins On Health Care

In last night’s Democratic Debate in California hosted by CNN, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton spent a significant amount of time discussing who has the better health care plan.   The discussion played out in 2 parts that you can watch at the bottom of this post if you don’t want to take my word for what they were saying.

What the two candidates make abundantly clear is that the primary difference between their two policies is that Clinton will mandate universal health care while Obama has a plan to make health care more affordable but not mandate it, which will leave some people without insurance.

What does this mean?

Mandating health insurance means it will be like car insurance in most states.  It will be illegal to not have it.  By doing this, Clinton says we will achieve Universal Health Care. In 1993, Clinton fought for Universal Health Care and in the movie Sicko, Michael Moore argues for Universal Health Care.

But what exactly is Universal Health Care?

According to the ’93 Clinton and Michael Moore, it is a guarantee that you will receive medical care whether you can afford it or not.  You decide whether or not you can afford it, and if you can’t, you get it for free.  Typically, this manifests itself in a single-payer system whereby the burden falls on the government.  The government provides public hospitals and doctors that are free to the country’s citizens (and sometimes to their illegal immigrants).  If you have money and want to pay for private care you are at liberty to do so in some systems.  You don’t have to get insurance.  Universal Health Care means that you’re taken care of regardless of whether or not you have insurance.  This is socialized medicine, which very many Americans don’t want.

Now, Clinton’s idea of Universal Health Care is very different.  Now, it means that everyone has health insurance.  Here are the important outcomes of this change:

1) Just because you have insurance doesn’t necessarily mean you get health care i.e. you get to see a doctor and you get the procedures you need.  Anyone who already has insurance knows this.

2) You don’t get anything for free.

So, the translation of “Clinton will mandate Universal Health Care” is: the government will force you to buy health insurance whether or not you think you can afford it.  Of course, Clinton says she will go through exhaustive measures to make insurance affordable, but at the end of the day, the burden will fall on the American people.  And anyone who has ever applied for financial aid for college knows that there is often a wide gap between what the government says you can afford and what you know you can afford.

Obama is also enacting many measures to make insurance affordable, but he’s not mandating it.  He’s leaving it up to the American people to decide.  I applaud both candidates for going to great lengths to improve the system and enable many more people to have insurance and get health care, but I’ll be much happier to have as president the one who is not forcing anyone to buy anything: Barack Obama.

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~ by jaredran on February 1, 2008.

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