• comment on a post Reform vs Results over 6 years ago

    I started out this campaign as a Kucinich supporter, mainly for his positions on health care reform and his principled stand on LGBT rights.

    With Kucinich's and Edwards' withdrawal from the race, I was most open to BO's candidacy and attended events to hear his point of view. I came away feeling very disturbed at the utter lack of content in his presentations, and feeling he insulted my intelligence as a voter by attempting to gain my support with empty oratory without revealing his policy intentions. I continued to follow countless speeches he gave across the country, looking for a reason to support him, and trying to develop confidence in his candidacy. My misgivings only grew with increased exposure to his non-message, and this was exacerbated by the hateful and distorting attacks on Senator Clinton, the only remaining alternate Democratic candidate.

    I went and read every morsel of policy proposed on both candidates' web sites, and found BO's to be unworkable nonsense on the health care front, one of my main issues (I am a single payer advocate) and thin and weak in general. On the economic front BO's ideas are significantly less progressive. The best suggestions looked like they were directly lifted from Clinton's web site, while the worst were his alone.

    Clinton's proposals were described in far more depth and detail, and were coherent and mainly well informed.

    You see where I am going with this.

    He's not ready for prime time. I am now supporting Clinton, and everything I have seen from BO's campaign has served to increase the degree of alarm I feel at his ascendency to the nomination, as well as a sense of increasing alienation at the co-optation of a progressive agenda by someone without the qualifications or background to enact it.

    I read several pundits decrying the supposed "selfishness" of Clinton in wishing to have a shot at the nomination and give her solid proposals a chance to reverse the direction our country has taken, but to me the real "selfishness" and power hungry orientation seems to be in the BO camp, where the patience to gain experience and expertise is lacking, and the willingness to risk the lives of countless Americans by placing someone unprepared in the top position seems to me to be the ultimate in self-aggrandizement.

    People can have many points of view on candidates, and I believe BO's lack of experience has a remedy - more experience. He might well be the perfect candidate for a later election.

    For now he is a high risk candidate who could be a disaster and a stain on the reputation of the Democratic Party for generations, a premature candidate who's election could abort a progressive agenda for the indefinite future. I'm far from sold on supporting him if nominated, I think progressives could be in for a rude shock.

    I'm sorry to the BO supporters who may find my concerns scurrilous, but after long consideration I find the Clinton argument of substance over empty rhetoric compelling, and I have already sent in the largest donation possible and my active support in the hopes she can still pull this out. The country needs competence in government to repair the damage of the past 8 years, and Clinton is the candidate capable of results, not vague promises of reform.

  • If you are making under 10,000 a year you will be eligible for 100% subsidized insurance, plain and simple. In Massachusetts, where mandates are in effect, over 60,000 people have been granted waivers to not buy insurance because there is no affordable plan available to them, no one is forced to buy what they cannot afford. All families will only have to pay a small percentage of their annual income toward health insurance, the amount is capped in Clinton's plan.

    Obama's health care plan is significantly less courageous than Clinton's, and it doesn't make sense. If you do not require a mandate for everyone to have health insurance, but require the insurance companies to grant policies to everyone who asks for them, people will be able to buy policies AFTER they get sick - this is like buying home owner insurance after your house is already burning. The insurance companies will never agree to such a program, and there is no way to make it economically sustainable, even if we had single payer national health insurance available. Health insurance will only work if it requires "everybody in, nobody out."

    I want to point out strongly that among low income people  who are eligible for Medicaid and other free public health insurance programs offered in the states, out of 100% of those eligible, only approximately 47% will sign up. This is true across the US. So there are many reasons that people do not sign up for health insurance outside of "they cannot afford it" as Obama claims. In Massachusetts, where there is now a mandate in effect, 92% of those eligible for free health insurance sign up. That is a huge improvement. Now a tremendous number of low income people have free health insurance who did not have it before, including preventive care. It is really a mandate on government to provide health insurance to the poor. Obama's plan betrays low income people.

    The contradictions and obvious lack of teeth in Obama's health care plan, along with his nasty attacks on the far more progressive Clinton plan cause me to severely distrust his integrity and grasp of adequate solutions to this life and death issue. Along with his absurd claims that he will have his health plan adopted within the first year of his administration. Everyone in healh care understands how ridiculous that claim is. There is no way for his proposals to work, they are just so much verbiage. Worse, he adopts right wing talking points to destroy the dream of universal health care.

    I am a single payer advocate, and single payer uses progressive taxation to include everyone in the financing mechanism to provide health care for all. It is a mandate, simply in other words, using taxes to pay instead of premiums (with subsidies for the poor). Single payer would be far more efficient, however. We need a grassroots movement to press for single payer, the only economically sustainable way to provide adequate health care access to everyone.

  • Hillary has said repeatedly that she would support and sign a single payer bill if it passed Congress, she favors single payer. It is deception to say "she abhors" single payer, that's obviously untrue. Even the Congressional sponsors of HR 676, the Conyers/Kucinich single payer bill, insist we must build the political will and movement to get single payer in the US, now far too many Americans no longer trust government to administer a single payer program, only 35% favored single payer in the last major poll, while over 50% favored the hybrid plans, like the Clinton plan, that preserves their choice to keep what they have now if they like it. 80% of Americans are report being relatively content with their current health insurance, many because they have never needed to use it for a major, or chronic illness, and put it to the test to see whether it really meets their needs.

  • Obama's health care plan is significantly less courageous than Clinton's, and it doesn't make sense. If you do not require a mandate for everyone to have health insurance, but require the insurance companies to grant policies to everyone who asks for them, people will be able to buy policies AFTER they get sick - this is like buying home owner insurance after your house is already burning. The insurance companies will never agree to such a program, and there is no way to make it economically sustainable, even if we had single payer national health insurance available. Health insurance will only work if it requires "everybody in, nobody out."

    I want to point out strongly that among low income people  who are eligible for Medicaid and other free public health insurance programs offered in the states, out of 100% of those eligible, only approximately 47% will sign up. This is true across the US. So there are many reasons that people do not sign up for health insurance outside of "they cannot afford it" as Obama claims. In Massachusetts, where there is now a mandate in effect, 92% of those eligible for free health insurance sign up. That is a huge improvement. Now a tremendous number of low income people have free health insurance who did not have it before, including preventive care. It is really a mandate on government to provide health insurance to the poor. Obama's plan betrays low income people.

    The contradictions and obvious lack of teeth in Obama's health care plan, along with his nasty attacks on the far more progressive Clinton plan cause me to severely distrust his integrity and grasp of adequate solutions to this life and death issue. Along with his absurd claims that he will have his health plan adopted within the first year of his administration. Everyone in healh care understands how ridiculous that claim is. There is no way for his proposals to work, they are just so much verbiage. Worse, he adopts right wing talking points to destroy the dream of universal health care.

    I am a single payer advocate, and single payer uses progressive taxation to include everyone in the financing mechanism to provide health care for all. It is a mandate, simply in other words, using taxes to pay instead of premiums (with subsidies for the poor). Single payer would be far more efficient, however. We need a grassroots movement to press for single payer, the only economically sustainable way to provide adequate health care access to everyone.

  • Your misunderstanding of the health care crisis is exactly why we will continue to have an estimated 101,000 Americans dying prematurely from preventable causes due to the perverse profit incentives of our chaotic and senseless health care delivery system. The market serves the purpose of profiteering. It is at total odds with the public good of delivering care to the sick and injured.

  • Some will hear the "or else" part and voice their concerns. That is an essential part of the process.

    The people in Massachusetts who cannot afford any policies offered in their area are granted waivers, which have added up to approximately 60,000 residents who have legitimate reasons to not buy insurance. The important idea is that the  system must be designed to be fair, which I believe the Clinton plan has achieved. The insurance industry and pharmaceutical companies will fight it with all their might, because they want to continue ripping off the American public to ever greater measure. Only a tremendous government program with the economies of scale like Medicare multiplied several times will succeed in keeping prices for Americans within reason. Otherwise the costs of health care may well supercede the entire earning capacity of many Americans, and our lives will be held hostage to these companies. In return for reining in these companies, government will need us all to be a part of the solution, and pay into the system. Otherwise we will all be on our own, without the power to protect ourselves from the industry that would take our last nickels.

    We cannot do nothing, and think we will be OK. In emergency medicine I see people die everyday from the lack of access to health care. And once people get sick, very quickly they become poor. It is only getting worse, and now the health care industry is also getting into the financing business, so they can add exorbitant credit card interest on top of unaffordable medical costs.

    It's better to take a small piece of responsibility and pay a fair price for real value. I would prefer it was via taxes for a single payer system, but I do believe the American public does not want that right now. Perhaps over time they will see how much better things could be, and the individual mandate will help get us there.

  • Great point, it's her hard work that has earned the respect of so many, including the countless staunch Republicans in upstate NY who never voted for a Democrat before voting for her. She will never give up trying to help people.

  • By your calculation, George W. Bush thereby deserved the presidency, even earned by lies and machiavellian machinations. Whoever wins, eh?

  • I also feel very strongly that she deserves it. She has worked hard quietly, without fanfare, mostly in the shadows of others, mastering the issues facing this country, observing years when mistakes were made, seeing how they could be corrected, and developing a pragmatic vision of how very much this country can be improved. There is almost no one who has had the experience of serving at the top both in the White House and in Congress and brings to the job the perseverance and in depth knowledge she does. She has weathered countless political storms and can function at her best through them all. Running for political office is a sacrifice for most of the people who choose to put themselves through it, there is great risk and many hurts and betrayals involved, and it requires a characterological equanimity and poise to survive it. Constant baseless accusations and demeaning attacks and outright lies are a great burden to bear for the chance to do public service. We cannot attract good people who are willing to go through all this crap, getting Swiftboated and held under minute scrutiny every moment, with pundits ready to tear you to pieces at the slightest  misstatement. When good people still want to show up for the job, we shouldn't waste them. I will feel it is a terrible waste for us to miss giving Hillary Clinton a chance to serve as President, if we pass her up in favor of someone who is a fine orator but has so little experience. She is so much better than her husband, frankly.

  • If the Democrats capture the Presidency we will have all three branches of government under our control, and there is no better time to try to effect the kind of health care reform that is long overdue.

    It won't be easy, and will have to be done in stages, because we need to prove to the American people that these reforms will actually work and benefit them the same way the same reforms have greatly improved the lot of people in every other industrialized nation that has adopted them. These are not untried reforms, all have worked elsewhere in the world to increase access to health care and decrease the costs. We in the US are the outlier who still allow chaos and severe rationing of health care according to ability to pay, the cruelest form of rationing. Even Republicans and business leaders are agreeing that the time for reform is here, although many will need to be convinced that government is competent to administer health care reform. That trust must be earned by producing positive results, and demonstrating that even greater gains can be made by making health care universally available to all, and taking the burden off of business.

    The greater gains that can be made toward a majority in both houses of Congress will ease the efforts for health care reform.

  • I am a Clinton supporter, but I can understand politicians getting bored with going over the same old ground over and over. That kind of disinterest I don't have a problem with. I am concerned because people in Chicago know him better because they have seen him up close over time, when he hasn't been campaigning and on good behavior, and more than one person thinks he is very arrogant and know it all. I fear that in a President, that kind of attitude leaves too much room for sloppiness and missing vital information.

    One of Senator Clinton's personal qualities that makes her into more of a policy wonk is her assiduous attention to detail and in depth analysis, far beyond most people's tolerance for complexity. Not everyone appreciates the depth to which she attends to policy, trying to iron out all the "unintended consequences" before they can screw up a program, and people's lives. That is the art of governance, I believe.

    Some people find oratory inspiring, I find exquisitely perfected program design inspiring. It's governing as though you realize the policies and laws that you enact actually have an effect on people's lives and that you intend to be accountable to them. Many politicians only want to make it through to the next election, and make it sound good until then. Senator Clinton wants to really change things for working people, in a way that improves lives.

    Complex policy doesn't make for rock star performances at rallies, but the Presidency isn't something we want to be buying tickets to for four years. We need someone who will be working for us.

  • I think what many people are hearing is that everyone will have some personal responsibility to pay into the system in a progressive fashion that is capped at a small percentage of their family income, and will in return receive an adequate health plan that will provide for their health care needs and protect them from bankruptcy and worse. It's called "playing by the rules."

  • The Republican privatization of Medicare has raised costs and decreased benefits. This is exactly why we need a PUBLIC program, like original Medicare, that eliminates the administrative costs and profiteering of the private insurance industry. Costs are much lower in a public program, which is what the Clinton health care plan proposes. The Clinton plan also proposes very low caps on the percentage of family income that will be paid for coverage, so it is progressive, not regressive the way current premiums are.

    The privatization of government health care programs over the past 8 years has ruined them.

    Costs should be charged according to your family income.

    Barack Obama's plan does not have any caps on premium charges, so there is no protection. He has also been talking about imposing a mandate on "stragglers" who do not sign up for insurance under his plan, but hasn't insisted that there be any caps on what they would have to pay (that is where it takes courage to go up against a multi billion dollar industry- she has it, he doesn't).

    But we as the public will need to fight for that kind of program, or the health care industry will continue to price gouge the public.

  • Where have you seen that she would not cover them? Basic public health standards demand that everyone receive health care, not to mention human decency.

  • I believe she will be an outstanding President. Having seen up close how she is the hardest working elected official I have ever met I am willing to bet my life that she would do what is best for future, without compromise and without taking the easy way out. I am afraid her handlers have advised her to run too far to the right for the purpose of this election, but her intellect and sense of fairness would guide her through all the many pitfalls that otherwise can derail an administration. There is no quid pro quo with her.

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