First, Hillary Clinton’s plan calls for mandatory coverage, while Barack Obama only wants to make insurance available and affordable. He feels that nobody “chooses” to go without insurance and thus no requirement to be covered is necessary. While reducing costs will enable more people to get health care insurance, a significant number will remain uninsured yet physicians will still be required to treat them when (not if) they get sick.
Clinton has famously said, "If you don't start with the goal of covering everybody, you'll never get there… Democrats should stand for universal healthcare." This is absolutely without doubt the only realistic plan. As long as doctors and hospitals are required to care for the sick and injured, then the potentially sick and injured should be required to have the ability to pay for that care. Period.
Note that neither candidate is calling for centrally controlled health care. Both see a place for private insurance companies in the process.
Second, Barack Obama has called for an expansion of State Children’s Health Insurance Program to cover middle class kids. This is a federally funded program, administered by the individual states, to provide care for indigent children.
Hillary Clinton championed SCHIP from the beginning, but she wants to keep it only for poor folks. TO expand this program to families making $74,000 is not appropriate.
Third, Obama has called for open legislative deliberations to discuss priorities for any health care plan. Bring “all the players” to the table, he says, in order to shed light on the lobbying and finagling that normally goes on behind closed doors.
While this is a popular meme, the so-called Sunshine Statutes often bring such deliberation to a screeching halt. Deals are made behind closed doors all the time and sometimes that is the only way the individual lawmakers can claim that they fought hard for their constituents and sponsors while they may have had to compromise key issues in the smoke-filled room. The practical fact is that health care entails deeply held dogmas about the right to care versus huge industry profits and open debate may stilfe a workable solution.
I give Barack Obama credit for recognizing the obvious fact that health care is a compelling issue, something the Republican Party has missed. But I agree with Hillary Clinton that universal care is a requisite, and these deals sometimes have to be ironed out with gnashing of teeth by policy wonks and not necessarily held up for grandstanding as lobbyists watch their expensive Senators pontificate.
There are distinct differences on this issue between the two candidates, and I lean heavily toward Hillary Clinton on her thoughtful plan.