As the Democratic nominating process extends into the spring the debate on health care policies has intensified. Health care was front and center at the Ohio and Texas debates thanks to Clinton’s persistence. During these debates, and elsewhere on the campaign trail, both candidates have made claims and allegations against the others health care policy. Despite the media’s portrayal of the campaigns the debates have been relatively well- mannered and issue oriented. I hope it remains that way. However, each has made claims, and I hope to evaluate some of these claims as truths, stretched-truths, partial-truths, or complete falsehoods.
Clinton: Obama’s plan will leave 15 million people without health insurance.
That number comes from a MIT economics professor who stands by the fact that Obama’s plan will not cover everybody, but has distanced himself from the 15 million number – an educated guess. The truth is neither of the plans provide enough detail to come up with concrete numbers. Clinton has taken a small step backward on this. She now says things like, “15 million or so.” The truth is that Obama’s plan is likely to cover less than Clinton’s, but using the 15 million stat is a bit of a stretch.
Obama: My plan will provide universal health care
Clinton: My plan will provide universal health care
Not really. Obama’s plan will leave people out. So will Clinton’s. Only a single payer system will truly include every single American. Clinton’s mandate will coerce more people to buy health care, but unless the penalty for not getting insurance is high some will choose to still not get insurance.
Stretched-truth (maybe a falsehood)
That leads to…
Obama: Clinton’s plan will force people to buy insurance that they cannot afford.
In a sense Obama is correct. Clinton will create strong disincentives to not have health insurance. Crazy double negative, but the most accurate phrasing. We don’t know the extent of the disincentives, but they will be there. The question is what is affordable. Both Clinton and Obama will have tax credits based on income that should make insurance “affordable,” but Washington’s sense of affordable may be different than your sense of affordable. What do people value? Under Clinton’s plan the government will tell you how to value health insurance. There are very good reasons for a mandate, but Obama is technically correct in his assertion. Her plan, unlike Obama’s, will force people to buy insurance who would not otherwise – good or bad.
Obama: My plan will lower health care premiums more than any other candidates’ plans.
His re-insurance scheme should lower costs more than Clinton’s. Clinton will lower costs by getting more people (healthy people) into the insurance pools, but I think the Obama’s re-insurance scheme will be more effective in lowering costs. Both plans lack the details to be sure of this claim, but all in all, I think Obama is correct on this count.
I invite you to throw out other claims made by our candidates with or without an analysis of the truth behind these claims. We can discuss how true the candidates are being as they discuss U.S health care.