Friday, June 08, 2007

Why Isn't Hillary Defining Her Healthcare Plan?

Edwards and Obama have described their healthcare proposals. Hillary has not, yet. Why is she holding back?

Hillary's claim to the Presidency is based on two easy concepts:

1. She has actual experience, having lived in the White House with her husband Bill Clinton and having participated in his decision-making. She knows how to accomplish things -- she knows the strengths and limitations of Presidential power.

2. She has genuine sympathy for the needs of the average voter and she will work hard and intelligently to help the middle class to achieve their objectives.

So, why does she not spell out her healthcare plan, as Edwards and Obama have?

She knows, from personal experience that challenging the drug lobby and the health insurance lobby can lead to defeat. These two lobbies have huge amounts of money and they employ hundreds of lobbyists who reach every member of Congress. They also have run clever advertising campaigns that distract and confuse many voters.

Hillary has said that she will not prepare a proposal only to have it shot down by the lobbies. She wants to build a consensus among voters that change is needed and discover exactly what changes the public would support strongly.

Here are two examples.

1. We hear a lot about the 47 million Americans who have no health insurance. You would think that the public would be strongly in favor of providing coverage for these people. Not so. The 86% who have coverage worry more about the additional costs of covering the 47 million and whether taxes would be increased.

2. We also hear a lot about expensive and unnecessary diagnostic procedures and surgeries which add enormously to the total cost of health care. Does the individual who has coverage care? Not a bit. We all want the most scientific diagnoses and the finest surgeries, as long as somebody else is paying.

So, people like Krugman can pontificate to their heart's content, but effecting change has so be attempted very carefully in order to avoid failure. That's why Hillary plans to build consensus before attempting to make big changes in the healthcare system.

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