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Fourteen years ago when she was First Lady Hillary Clinton unloaded a health-care plan on the country. Complex, confusing, and restrictive, the thousand-page proposal outlined a radical overhaul of the nation’s health system, and a small band of grassroots activists quickly rose up to successfully oppose it. At 1,342 pages, it was the Hindenburg of health-care plans, and it went down in just as grand a fashion.
Now Clinton is back with yet another health care plan, and she has learned some lessons. She is touting her plan as sleeker, leaner, and more palatable to both businesses and individuals. But despite her claims, it is little more than the same ugly gift wrapped in different paper.
It is true, of course, that Clinton is a better salesperson this time around. Her time in the Senate has made her a shrewd, formidable political operator. Her current plan has been calculatingly formulated to avoid the appearance of bureaucratic complexity that helped doom its previous iteration. But whatever simplifications appear are more than likely mirages. In place of the labyrinth of programs and agencies that cluttered her last plan, Clinton has opted for vagueness. Many key decisions have been left up to Congress. And many of the plan’s points remain a mystery.
Those mysteries, however, have a purpose: to increase the role of the federal government—despite the fact that it already accounts for 44% of the nation’s health-care expenditures. Questions in the plan abound: What, exactly, will be covered? Are wigs, for example, a necessary treatment? When treatments are necessary, but resources are scarce and expensive, who decides who will be treated and who will wait? Government-managed health care will never solve the problem of prioritization, but it will put those key, often life-saving decisions, in the hands of bureaucrats.
Senator Barack Obama is busy promoting his own version of HillaryCare. You can call it ObamaCare, because it differs only on whether or not the government should mandate individuals purchase health insurance coverage. ObamaCare would be just as disastrous for America as HillaryCare would be.
As Michael Tanner points out, “If enacted it would cost Americans dearly — in higher taxes, lost jobs, reduced freedom of choice, and lower quality health care.” Obama’s employer mandates would force them to offset the costs by reducing other benefits or hiring fewer workers. Many small business owners simply could not continue to operate under ObamaCare.
Then there is the question of how Obama plans to pay for his health care plan. Estimates for the costs are astronomical, and would be paid for through higher taxes on individuals, small businesses and corporations. The tax and spend agenda of liberals like Obama, while ignoring huge fiscal crises like Medicare and Social Security, will only cause more economic problems for our great country. It’s time to put Obama on the spot and ask him to stop pushing big-government ideas to deal with the rising costs of health care. The answer is more competition in the market and less government intervention.
The liberal candidates have been talking about health care, but their plans for this country are a nightmare. During the Indiana and North Carolina primaries next week, freedom advocates should ask tough questions and demand that Clinton and Obama drop their plans for socialized medicine.