ObamaCare vs. HillaryCare

Health care reform died in the 1990’s for many reasons. Yes, the scare campaign from right played a big part but miscalculations by the Clintons were also a major factor. Despite the attempts of the right to attack health care reform today as ObamaCare and claim it is essentially HillaryCare, there are major differences.

HillaryCare went far beyond current plans. While I don’t entirely agree with Ezra Klein’s analysis, it does provide some perspective as to the differences then as compared to today. Among the differences, while managed care was around to a greater degree than it would seem from Klein’s article by the early 1990’s, healh care has changed considerably since then.

I agree with Klein’s basic premise that the emergence of managed care necessitated greater degree of government regulation to protect beneficiaries from the trend by insurance companies to deny coverage to increase profits, I disagreed with the idea of HillaryCare to cope with the situation with an overly bureaucratized and complicated plan.

The problem with Hillary Clinton was not only that her mind set was to deal with everything with overly complex government control, but that it had to be done her way. Her government philosophy is basically that of George Bush with more liberal tendencies is some areas. The health care plan was written by the Clintonistas in secrecy. Hillary convinced Bill to even threaten to veto anything which might be passed by Congress which differed, giving us essentially a choice between HillaryCare or nothing.

The situation is quite different now. The insurance crisis has become far worse with doing nothing no longer being a viable option. Obama is handling the crisis far different from Hillary Clinton. Obama is far more concentrated on seeing the problems fixed than on imposing any specific plan. Despite talk of ObamaCare from the right, the details are actually being worked out in Congress.

The unfortunate reality is that there is no perfect fix to health care. Every conceivable plan has its problems, but we need to compare plans under consideration with the problems we now face, now with a perfect world. The House Democratic plan (with all details not yet determined) has many aspects which I do not like but it is preferable to doing nothing. The plan is certainly not like it is being distorted by many scare stories from the right.

One question still out there is whether the House plan is our only option or whether other possibilities will be raised. There are still some supporters of a  single payer system but that appears to be a dead end politically in this country. The Republicans talk of offering a plan but they generally speak in generalities which are easier to support while they avoid answering the hard questions. There is one wild card remaining. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus is still working on a plan which might achieve bipartisan support and nobody knows where he is going with this. A key difference from the Clinton years remains that, should his committee come up with a viable alternative, it would have a chance of being considered.

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  1. 1
    Eclectic Radical says:

    There is a fairly detailed Republican plan in the Senate, sponsored by Judd Gregg. I’ve posted the link in another thread and will repeat it here. It’s really rather scary, as I’ve noted before, as Gregg is the only Senator yet to actually propose genuine rationing of care in his bill. Bipartisan support from Dems does not seem forthcoming.
    CPR, as Gregg has charmingly named the plan, is short, simple, and a shocking example of social Darwinism coupled with simple ignorance of real health care expenses or the actual income of most Americans. If it is typical of Senator Gregg’s thinking, it’s a good thing he decided to screw Obama on the cabinet post. We don’t need this man influencing policy.

  2. 2
    Doc99 says:

    Hillarycare was about Competition.
    Obamacare is about Control.

  3. 3
    Ron Chusid says:

    HillaryCare was about Managed Competition. Note the stress on Managed. HillaryCare was far more about controlling the specifics, while this is not seen in Obama’s proposals (despite all the claims from the right).

  4. 4
    thomas says:

    If healcare reform is so important and will be budget nuetral as claimed and won’t raise our taxes Why does it go into effect in 2013…why not 2010…..
    Because once people see how much less they will take home in pay from being taxed Obama would surely lose the 2012 election.

  5. 5
    Ron Chusid says:


    Have you considered checking the actual facts before mindless repeating the false right wing talking points from Fox and talk radio?

    It is untrue that it goes into effect in 2013. You might try reading the actual legislation. Various aspects of it go into effect at different times, starting in 2010. Some aspects, such as setting up the insurance exchanges, take more time and therefore cannot go into effect as soon as 2010.

    Being “budget neutral” does not mean it won’t raise taxes as you apparently incorrectly believe. It means that the costs will be offset by means to increase revenue to offset it–an idea the fiscally irresponsible Republicans should have considered. Most of the burden will be on those making over $250,000 per year.

    You appear to be suggesting that they are playing political games in putting this off until after the election. Actually if anything the opposite is true. Democrats are concerned that some of the costs come into effect quickly but most people won’t see all the benefits until after the 2012 elections.

    The costs also must be placed into perspective. The increased costs and effect on the budget will be less than George Bush wasted on Iraq and from his tax cuts to the wealthy. At least in this case we actually get something major in return.

    The real political consideration here is not that Democrats want to put this off until after the 2012 election but that Republicans are terrified that if Democrats can take credit for this it will be much harder to beat them in the future. That’s why the Republicans are trying so hard to fight a measure which would be so beneficial to the country.

  6. 6
    Eclectic Radical says:

    ‘The real political consideration here is not that Democrats want to put this off until after the 2012 election but that Republicans are terrified that if Democrats can take credit for this it will be much harder to beat them in the future. That’s why the Republicans are trying so hard to fight a measure which would be so beneficial to the country.’
    This is so immensely true.
    Social security insured Democrats and the Roosevelt Republicans who helped them pass it a ‘New Deal’ majority in Congress that lasted until the Reagan Era. It was only when the Roosevelt/Rockefeller Republicans had been run out of the party and the Democratic Party took its big step back to the right during the Reagan years that the GOP was able to achieve a conservative majority in the House in 1994.
    Health care would be even worse for the GOP than social security.

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