Sunday, March 30, 2008

If We Have To Go All The Way To Denver For Her Health Plan...

...I'll be pissed.

Josh Marshall analyzes Hillary Clinton's interview in today's WaPo. Hillary is vowing to stay in the race straight to this August's Democratic National Convention. Mr. Josh sez this is all about Hill's desire to "resolve" Florida & Michigan.

I disagree completely. (Please understand I m not a Clinton hater. I've already laid out where I stand). Hillary's "All The Way To Denver" stance is not at all about Florida and Michigan. It's never been about Florida and Michigan. Obviously, it's not to Clinton's benefit to split the delegates in half. She's confident that the DNC will be unable to put together a re-vote. So what's the deal?

This "resolution" may be Clinton's stated raison d'ĂȘtre but "resolving" Florida and Michigan is only a pretense. (Remember, Hillary's camp raised no objections when the DNC decertified those primaries). While maintaining this pretense, Hill gets the added benefit of portraying herself as a champion of democracy by refusing to allow Michigan and Florida voters to be disenfranchised. This position is really all about extending the race until Hillary and Bill get as close to what she wants as they are going to get.

What does she want? Ideally the Clintons' continued quest for power offers a chance at redemption. This is their last best chance to regain some of the face lost they lost during Bill's last year in office as a well as a huge flip-off to their critics. It's also about the Clintons' inability to accept the fact that they squandered Hillary's "presumptive nominee" status. In short, it's all about their needs not ours.

Perhaps that's what bothers me most about this posture. Not unlike George Bush, the Clintons' have put their ambitions before our needs -- the needs of both party and country. I'd feel the exact same way if Hillary's and Barack's positions were reversed.

I have another bone to pick with Sen. Clinton. Speaking with The NYT on Friday, she finally divulged some deets on the proposed premium cap for her health care plan. (Hillary first mentioned this cap concept six months ago!). Her cap maxes out at a potential 10% of a family's income. These stats courtesy of The Times:

The average cost of a family policy bought by an individual in 2006 and 2007 was $5,799, or 10 percent of the median family income of $58,526, according to America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade group. Some policies cost up to $9,201, or 16 percent of median income.

The average out-of-pocket cost for workers who buy family policies through their employers is lower, $3,281, or 6 percent of median income, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health research group.

Sorry Hillary. Until you lay it out in great detail, I cannot be filled with confidence in your plan. It would be fantastic if this leads to improved health care for the poor and middle class. I cannot yet tell. What concerns me specifically is how this will work for those of us who are ill and/or otherwise disabled. If you take even half as many pills to have some semblance of a "normal" life as I do, you too would feel anxious by the expectation that you'd end up a ten-percenter. The various health-related lobbies aren't going to spend upwards of $1 billion dollars this year, including campaign contributions to candidates of both parties, to allow the common man to catch a break.

My message to Hillary and Barack? Get back to me with your pitch to rid health care of the graft, the waste and excessive big pharma profiteering. Pass laws allowing us to bring prescription drugs in from Canada and demanding the negotiation of drug prices under Medicare. Then we can talk about how much I'll pay for my health insurance.

Then we can talk about my vote.