Hillary’s Partial Plan for Health Care

Hillary Clinton, possibly as a consequence of the response to the horrible health care plan she devised on her first attempt, is being more vague this time around. The New York Times reports that Clinton has started to unveil her current plan, but is taking the safe route, concentrating on the less controversial issues. The news report states, “Mrs. Clinton’s plan has three parts: lowering costs, improving quality and insuring everyone. Her speech yesterday focused on lowering costs as a way to help pay for health insurance for the 45 million Americans who have none.”

Mrs. Clinton, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, said she would cut health care spending by $120 billion a year through prevention programs, coordinated treatment of chronic diseases and computerized record keeping.

In addition, she said she would reduce costs by allowing imports of cheaper drugs, more use of generic drugs and by having the government negotiate the prices of drugs covered under Medicare.

In a speech at George Washington University in Washington, Mrs. Clinton said the health care system was broken and her mission as president would be to fix it.

She attributed the rise in costs to increases in obesity and in diseases like diabetes, asthma and heart disease that she said could be combated by focusing on preventive efforts.

She also blamed the insurance industry, saying that it spent billions of dollars a year trying to figure out how not to cover people who have expensive, pre-existing conditions. She would allow anyone to join a plan, lowering costs by spreading the risk among larger pools of patients.

There will be little controversy over better utilization of computerized records, preventative care, and management of chronic diseases. She goes out on the limb a little more by indicating she will take action against some of the practices of the insurance industry:

“As president, I will end the practice of insurance company cherry-picking once and for all by allowing anyone who wants to join a plan to do so and prohibiting insurance companies from carving out benefits or charging higher rates to people with health problems,” Mrs. Clinton said.

The third part of her plan, insuring everybody, is the tough part which involves decisions which are more likely to be controversial but there are no reports of her discussing this aspect.

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