Your recommended daily serving of Election vegetables


Otherwise known as… issues.

Two things.

First.  Tomorrow on Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane, Marty will be covering “The Issues of the 2008 Election.”  Yep.  That’s right. The issues.  All of them.  Here’s the promo copy for more explanation:

We’ll talk about what the issues voters say are the most important, and whether they think the Presidential candidates are really listening. Our guest is ANDREW KOHUT president of the Pew Research Center. He also acts as Director of the Pew Research Center for The People & The and the Pew Global Attitudes Project. Kohut was President of The Gallup Organization from 1979 to 1989. In 1989, he founded Princeton Survey Research Associates.

Ok.  So it’s another pollster.  We’ll hear about issues but there may also be a healthy dose of poll numbers thrown in.


Yesterday the Inquirer did the third of a three-part series in which they examine “key issues in the Democratic primary.”  Of which, apparently, there are only three.

Yesterday’s was health care and a comparison of Clinton’s and Obama’s plans to improve a health care system that, while still cutting edge in many respects, is leaving a lot of folks behind.  For evidence of that all you have to do is check out any measures – like infant mortality, life expectancy, etc. – that compare the US to other western nations.  We don’t do all that well.

So let’ see what the Inquirer has to say beyond a headline (Clinton, Obama differ slightly) that would lead most folks to turn the page.

For now, Drew Altman, president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, said, “the differences between the Clinton and Obama plans mean much more to experts than to voters.”

Both Clinton and Obama say they want to build on the current mix of public and private health insurance to make coverage universal and affordable. Both say they would offer tax subsidies to help people buy insurance, require most employers to help pay for insurance, and limit insurance company profits. Individuals and small businesses could join big groups to buy private insurance or a Medicare-like public plan.

The big difference between the two is that Clinton would require everyone to have health insurance and Obama would mandate it only for children.

Clinton says that no one would have to pay more than 5 percent to 10 percent of income on a health insurance premium. She would work with Congress to set the employer contribution and a mechanism for enforcing the insurance mandate, Tanden said.

Obama contends that most people don’t have insurance because they can’t afford it – not because they’re unwilling to buy it. Obama says his plan would reduce insurance prices by lowering medical costs. It would do that by investing in information technology, preventing disease, insuring more people, and limiting insurance company profits.

McCain would weaken the link between employment and insurance by taxing health benefits. He would have tax credits for people who buy insurance. His goal is to control costs.

Essentially, the major difference seems to be that Obama would not include the same mandate as Clinton.  Think of Clinton’s plan for health insurance to be similar to car insurance.  If you want to drive a car, you are required, by law, to have insurance.  If you don’t you can’t drive.  Of course, one could choose not to have a car and take public transportation, thus avoiding paying insurance if it didn’t fit in the budget.

As human beings we don’t have the same choice when we get sick unless you equate the practice of eastern medicine to taking public transportation.  Clinton, to her credit, would make sure that the government provided aid to people so that cost wouldn’t keep folks from conforming to this mandate.

Obama’s plan would seem equivalent to a situation in which car insurance is not required and you could purchase it after you get in an accident or have your car stolen.

I’ve seen a number of places and read a couple of experts who agree that Obama’s plan would still leave about 15 million uncovered – out of the current 47 million uninsured.

Of course, none of this means anything if either of them are elected without a solid majority in the House and the magic 60 Senators needed to bring bills to a vote.  Without those, it’s not likely that either of them can get their plans pass through a Congress that, while very well covered by their own health insurance, doesn’t seem as willing to raise a little bit of revenue to cover everyone else.

That aside, if health care is your issue.  Looks like Clinton should get your vote.  Anyone disagree?


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