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Hillary to Propose Universal Health Care

by Pamela Leavey

Hillary Clinton has taken a lot of heat in the past for the ” ill-fated plan that she and President Bill Clinton pushed in 1993 and 1994.” But, now as a candidate for president, Hillary is ready to step up to the plate and tackle the issue again, as the issue has become one of the hot issues of the times. The latest census report released last month showed that although the poverty rate had dropped in ‘06, “the percentage of Americans without health insurance coverage hit a record high.”

On Monday, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, “will lay out a plan to secure health insurance for all Americans while severely limiting the ability of insurers to deny coverage or charge higher premiums to people with chronic illnesses and other medical problems, her aides and advisers say.”

Mrs. Clinton’s purpose, they said, is not only to cover the 47 million people who are uninsured but to improve the quality of health care and make insurance more affordable for those who already have it.

Clinton’s advisers said on Saturday “that she would try to avoid the perception that she was advocating a bureaucratic, big-government solution.” “That perception,” was promoted by “conservative Republicans and the insurance industry,” and it “sank the Clinton plan in 1994” and the Republicans and the insurance industry have played it ever since, forcing millions of people in this country to be without healthcare.

Previewing her speech, Clinton aides said she would assert on Monday that there was a moral imperative to ensure that “every single American has quality affordable health coverage,” just as she contends there is an economic imperative to rein in costs.

Phil Singer, a spokesman for the Clinton campaign, said Saturday that he could not provide details. But aides and advisers who spoke on condition on anonymity said that Mrs. Clinton would propose expanding the Children’s Health Insurance Program as a step toward universal coverage. She has denounced President Bush’s efforts to restrict eligibility and limit spending on the program.

Clinton aides said her plan would preserve a large role for private insurance companies; would promote the use of health information technology and low-cost generic drugs; and would create a public-private institute to evaluate and compare drugs, devices and medical treatments.

Mrs. Clinton will not try to impose an overall limit on national health spending, the aides said. But she is prepared once again to do battle with insurance companies, which she has said “spend tens of billions of dollars a year figuring out how not to cover people” and “how to cherry-pick the healthiest persons, and leave everyone else out in the cold.”

Aides to Mrs. Clinton said her proposal would elaborate several ideas that she has floated this year.

They said, for example, that Mrs. Clinton would amplify a comment in March when she declared, “We could require that every insurance company had to insure everybody, with no exclusion for pre-existing conditions.”

On another occasion, she vowed, “As president, I will end the practice of insurance company cherry-picking once and for all by allowing anyone who wants to join a plan to do so, and by prohibiting insurance companies from carving out benefits or charging higher rates to people with health problems.”

I’m no healthcare expert, nor am I an economist… I’m just one of the millions of American’s who are currently with out healthcare insurance in this country. I thought Kerry had a damn good plan in ’04, and so did others, and he laid that plan out again in a speech in July ’06. I’m looking for the candidate who’s plan comes close to Kerry’s plan. We’ll see what Hillary’s got up her sleeve… “Preserve a large role for private insurance companies” doesn’t thrill me because at this point, I like so many others, am not a fan of the corporate machine. Kevin Drum chimes in on that one and Jeralyn has a few more details on Hillary’s plan here.

3 Responses to “Hillary to Propose Universal Health Care”

  1. Thank God for a candidate who is bold enough to say that it can be done – universal health care – regardless of all the sniping from the sidelines. If her plan will address the need for appropriate medical necessity for procedures performed by providers and insist that all providers accept responsibility for containing cost it will be a winner.


  2. I have a hard time getting excited about anything but single payer. Giving everyone the same kind of limited, expensive access to medical care that the rest of us already have is really only a small step in the right direction.

  3. Well said Darrell.