What McCain would have you believe about Obama and Clinton on health care

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As we strive to keep this blog a place where the major issues get the primary focus and the politics take a back seat, it’s sometimes necessary to take a look at how the candidates use the issues to play politics with one another.

On Saturday, the Michael Cooper and Julie Bosman at the NYT decided to break down some recent statements by John McCain about Clinton’s and Obama’s health care policies.  Apparently, the presumptive Republican nominee has been going around telling people that if Obama or Clinton becomes the president we could end up with a health care system like *shudder* Canada or *gasp* England.

Sure, why would we want to emulate two countries that actually have… say… lower maternal mortality rates than the United States.

The truth is that neither Obama nor Clinton have actually been advocating for the single-payer system or government provided health care.  In fact, I’ve criticized both for not going far enough and continuing to depend on private health insurers to deliver care.  McCain, meanwhile, continues to slow down any actual health care reform by trying to link Clinton and Obama with these “radical” solutions.

The point is… do your homework.  Anyone can go to Obama’s or Clinton’s websites (or McCain’s for that matter) to see exactly what they’re proposing to deal with America’s health care crisis – a crisis which seems to focus more on the “47 million uninsured” number and less on the pitifully poor worldwide ranking that the U.S. has in terms of most public health indicators.

As for what McCain is trying to do, the NYT:

Language, of course, is a potent weapon in the battle to shape policy. And Mr. McCain’s effort to cast the Democrats’ plans as a government takeover is just the latest example in a long tradition of using similar language to characterize proposals to change the health care system, said Robert J. Blendon, a professor of health policy and political analysis at Harvard.

“In the campaign, what Senator McCain tries to appeal to is a general antigovernment feeling, a sense that we shouldn’t be doing things too big,” Professor Blendon said. “In a sense he’s appealing to a value that may or may not relate to the policies being discussed by either of the candidates.”

In this case, it’s the kind of foul language that would have gotten me a mouthful of soap when I was a kid.

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