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15 Million “Left” Out… By Choice?

February 24th, 2008

Something else I may be missing: Hillary constantly attacks Obama for “leaving 15 million Americans uninsured” (see PDF of her mailer claiming this).

As far as I understand it, the difference being referred to is that her plan forces everyone to get insurance, while Obama’s doesn’t. So the decision is made by each individual.

How does that “leave” millions of people uninsured?

Also, where does the 15 million number come from?

Forgive me for saying so, but it sounds like the Clinton campaign is pretty much just pulling this stuff out of their rear ends. If you want to argue about people gaming the system, fine; Obama says he’ll debate that, and the topic was covered in the Texas debate. But the 15 million claim is total fiction. Unless, as I said, I am missing something.

By the way, Japan has a system that works a bit like Obama’s: it’s possible to stay off the insurance radar, simply by moving out of your city and establishing a new address, and not signing up for insurance. But if you get sick later and try to get back on insurance, you pay a penalty–usually the amount of fees you would have paid had you stayed on the insurance plan.

What puzzles me is that nobody’s suggesting a plan to start a true national health insurance program, one that is rated to income. Again, unless I misunderstand things, the plans both candidates are pushing are really just regular insurance plans, but people have to buy into them. Yes, they lower costs this way and that, but as far as I can see, people who make very low incomes don’t get much of a break. It would work a lot better if it was actual socialized medicine, and not a half-assed compromise. Maybe that’s just not possible, but to me it’s the only solution that would really make sense.

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