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Robert Reich: Democrats Should Stop Battling Over Health-Insurance Mandates

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flpoljunkie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 08:35 AM
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Robert Reich: Democrats Should Stop Battling Over Health-Insurance Mandates
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Democrats Should Stop Battling Over Health-Insurance Mandates

The major Democratic candidates, along with some left-leaning pundits, are battling over whether to require people to buy health care. Thats unfortunate because mandates are the least important and least popular parts of their plans.

The current Democratic consensus on health care is striking. In fact, given the myriad ways universal health insurance might otherwise be organized single payer, employer mandate, vouchers, tax credits it's astonishing. All of the major health insurance proposals require employers either to provide coverage to employees or contribute to the cost of coverage; create purchasing pools that will offer insurance to anyone who doesnt get it from an employer; preserve freedom of choice of doctor; cover children; and aim to save money through more preventive care, better management of chronic disease, and standardized information technology. And all subsidize lower-income families with revenues coming from letting the Bush tax cuts expire.

Mandates are a sideshow. All their plans would cover a large majority of those who currently lack insurance. A big chunk of the remainder are undocumented immigrants, who arent covered by any of the plans. So mandates are relevant to only around 3 percent of the population.

Hillary Clinton thinks this 3 percent is mostly young and healthy and should be required to buy insurance in order to bring costs down for everyone who isnt. Obama thinks theyre mostly people who wont be able to afford even subsidized premiums, so theyd just ignore any mandate. As a practical matter, the difference comes down to timing and sequencing. Clinton wants to start with a mandate. Obama says if it turns out most of this remaining 3 percent are young and healthy, hell go along with a mandate, too.

Its only to be expected that gloves will come off in the last months of a primary campaign. But by warring over mandates, Democrats are leading with their chins. Its the least important aspect of what theyre offering. Its also, to many Americans, the least attractive because it conjures up a big government bullying people into doing what theyd rather not do.

The public is ready for universal health insurance, but to get it enacted after January, 2009, Democrats need to start building a movement in support of the big and important reforms universal health insurance requires on which they happen to agree.

posted by Robert Reich

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OHdem10 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 08:50 AM
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1. Good points by Reich. Corporate Democrats are somewhat
allergic to Movements. Movements frustrate their ability
to serve their Corporate Masters. Heck the Netroots frustrate

Some populism is required to oranize movements. Wall Street
finds populism unnacceptable. Which Corporate Dem is going
to stand up to Wall Street.

He is correct. The Christian Right is a Movement. They are so
wired that with the stroke of a key on his computer, B. Bozell
can have hundreds of thousands EMails, Phone Calls Letters
hit Congress, the TV Networks all within a 24 hour period.
Having these numbers of people applying pressure to Congress
and TV Networks is how the GOP pushed their agenda through.

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aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 09:03 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. Define "corporate Democrats."
Just want to make sure I know WTF you're talking about.
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 08:57 AM
Response to Original message
2. while reich has lost me on issues of trade, etc --
i will agree with his comments re: health insurance mandates.

but there is a simple solution isn't there?

medicare for all.

reich probably wouldn't like that either -- but it stop a war re: health insurance mandates -- and it wouldn't be an ever renewing tax payer subsidized gold mine for corporations.
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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 09:11 AM
Response to Original message
4. Better than the crap that was full of mistakes in Robert's last post - but mandates do
work - even if some will never buy auto or health despite mandates, they result in more being covered.

No mandates appears part of Obama's attempt to bring the GOP closer to him - just as he added corporate tax cuts to bills to get GOP joint sponsorship in the last 2 years.
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