November 26th, 2007
08:06 AM ET
14 years ago

Clinton: Obama confuses me on healthcare

PERRY, Iowa (CNN) - Just a day after Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, said his healthcare plan would keep costs down more than any other presidential candidates' plan, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, came back swinging, calling Obama's plan "confusing."

"If you go back and look, he said it was universal," Clinton told reporters, "[then] he said it was sort of universal, [then] he said it wasn’t universal, [then] he said it covered everybody, [then] he said it didn't cover 15 million. He [said he had] a mandate for kids, now he's against mandates."

She added, "It's been kind of confusing following his description of his own plan."

Clinton and former Sen. John Edwards, D-North Carolina, both support a mandated plan, whereas Obama does not. He says the reason people don't have healthcare is because it's too expensive, not because they don't want it. Obama said that's why a mandated plan won't necessarily solve the problem.

"Sen. Clinton's idea is that we should force everyone to buy insurance," Obama said in a statement released to CNN on Sunday. "She’s not being straight with the American people because she refuses to tell us how much she would fine people if they couldn’t afford insurance."

- CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch

soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. Richard, Morrisville, NC

    Obama is getting desperate and grasping at straws. It is not difficult to enforce the mandate that people have insurance. States do it for drivers routinely without any problem. Mr. Obama also ignores the fact that there are many people who could afford health insurance but decide not to buy it. It seems to me to be a basic principle that there is a moral imperative for all members of our society to share in the cost of providing all people with protection against the threat of illness and disease; just as we do in protecting them from other threats to their well being that they cannot protect themselves against(like the threat of natural disasters, terrorism, fire, crime, etc.) It makes sense both morally and economically to devise a system of shared costs and shared benefits when it comes to health care. Making health care more affordable is a good thing, but it is not enough. It is imperative that we as a society recognize that all people matter and that we are all in this together. That means everyone has to share the costs of providing health care for members of our society. How Mr. Obama can oppose such a principle is distressing and makes me wonder what his basic principles truly are. It seems to me that he has chosen a faulty plan for poltical purposes. He wanted to be able to distinguish himself from his rivals to try to gain votes and in doing so has sold out the poor and uninsured for poltical gain. His arguments sound straight out of the right wing playbook.

    November 26, 2007 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  2. KJ, CA

    Senator Clinton – If anyone's "plans"are confusing they are yours. You constantly flip flop – you very rarely give a straight answer. At the last debate you cried and whined that other candidates were engaging in "mud slinging" towards you but you don't hesitate to throw a handful or two yourself.

    I don't want a President that I can't trust – I have had that for too long with the Bush Administration – and, lady I sure can't trust you. I am a woman and would have to see a woman President – but the right one and that isn't HRC.

    November 26, 2007 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  3. H.J.NAPIERACZ-COLUMBUS,OHIO

    the only thing confusing is where hillary stands on anything.

    November 26, 2007 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  4. therealist

    Hillary's confusion is why her health care plan involves another government mandate. No need to think for yourself when the government will do it for you at twice the costs..

    November 26, 2007 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  5. RightyTighty

    "Clinton supports a mandated plan."

    Why are democrats pro-choice only when it comes to killing unborn babies??

    November 26, 2007 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  6. Jon, Pittsburgh, PA

    Hopefully, Democrats are pro-choice because the numbers prove that when abortion is illegal, the numbers of abortions don't change. It's about ensuring "safe" abortions for those that make that awful decision.

    November 26, 2007 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  7. Chip Celina OH

    I just hit a deer with my ca this weekend. I think the gov't should buy me a new one. I mean, once my car gets repaired, it may not be as safe as it was prior to the accident, and we don't want my children to be in an usafe vehicle! They should also pay for my car insurance, that way, all I need to do is go into a new car dealership, show my gov't card and they'll give me a new ride.

    I also think all of my meals should be provided by government. since we may not be eating a healthy enough diet according to CDC and NIH.

    While we're at it, I need a big screen TV, easier on my eyes than the 27 inch we have now, it will relax me more too (cutting stress thereby reducing my risk of high blood pressure).

    Enough of listening to do-gooder politicians. They are working a scam on you to consolidate their power. If I vote Hill, she'll give me baby bonds and healthcare. Simply pathetic, we need LESS government in our lives, not more.

    Why should we give more and more tax money to these jokers when all they do is waste it?

    Once you sign on to mandated coverage, you simply throw rights out the window. I don't think that's a good plan. These politicians have lured people into giving up rights in return for government provided goodies.

    November 26, 2007 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  8. anon New York, NY

    What happened to the "Above-the-fray, Inevitable-Nominee, I'm-focused-on-Republicans" Hillary Clinton?

    She's getting nervous about her chances, and will continue to attack her Democratic opponents. She'll do whatever it takes. She is 60 after all, and this may be her last chance for another 8 years in the White House.

    How could she possibly settle for only 8 years. She has to have 16! Period!

    November 26, 2007 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  9. Steve in SC

    What? Hillary's plan is not confusing? She worked on this for eight years and still could not get it passed. What is truly confusing is how does she expect to pay for it! Both plans leave a lot to be desired! Sounds like the pot is calling the pot a pot!

    November 26, 2007 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  10. O/O? nah! ny ny

    ALL OF YOU SPEAK ONLY TRASH, get a life!

    November 26, 2007 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  11. joseph,austin,tx

    cant wait for the nanny state, so I can quit my job,sit around and receive my gubment cheese.

    November 26, 2007 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  12. Bruce and Helen, WY

    So Hillary, Obamas health plan confuses you, I guess your plan has you totally disgusted. Any woman that will except that kind of humiliation from a cheating husband must really want to be president. I have no respect for you Hillary and will not vote for you. You had the chance to show women that when your spouse cheats you can walk away and still have a happy future. Hillary you have been waiting to be the Prez for a long time, you didn't care if Bill cheated, all you could see was the white house. This country needs mandated health care if only to stop the insurance industry. OBAMA has my vote, if he is not the nominee I will sit at home on election day 2008.

    November 26, 2007 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  13. Dan, TX

    Anyone can simply go to Obama's campaign web site and read about his proposal and read the text of his speeches on health care.

    I don't know how Clinton can promise health care to everyone knowing that the republicans won't support it. Obama's plan is something that maintains choice and is something that is the beginning of a negotiation to cover everyone who wants health care.

    Those who don't want health care can buy some other type of health care coverage, or self-insure. If they get wiped out financially by a medical problem after they chose not to buy insurance, then yes, they should be bankrupted, or not allowed to have life-extending medical procedures. They risked their lives by not getting insurance, let them pay the price. Life is not infinitely valuable – that's their own judgment – or else they'd have bought the insurance.

    November 26, 2007 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  14. JJ Jax, FL

    Yeah Hillary... because we know you don't have time for double-talk. besides your answer to healthcare(which is sort of fanciful) where do you stand on any of the other issues?

    November 26, 2007 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  15. spinstopper

    "the numbers prove that when abortion is illegal, the numbers of abortions don't change. It's about ensuring "safe" abortions for those that make that awful decision.
    " -Jon

    How many illegal abortions were there before 72? Any number will do here, and both sides use it, because we have no way of knowing without statistical proof..

    But we do know from the CDC that in 1972, the year before roe v wade, 24 women died from legal abortion complications and 39 women died from illegal abortion complications.
    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5103a1.htm

    So actually, the numbers show that either there were not that many illegal abortions in 72 or that illegal abortions were extremely safe. Either way, the numbers show that safety is not a valid reason for legalizing abortion..

    November 26, 2007 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  16. PROVIDENCE, RI

    Obama is empty shell with no substances...just rhetoric...no experience..not so ever...he will fall right after IA and N.H.

    November 26, 2007 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  17. KEITH JAMES LOUTTIT

    That's Okay Hillary, he confuses me too!

    But we all know where you stand on it, don't we.

    November 26, 2007 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  18. Michael Sheridan, Grand Rapids, MI

    How many illegal abortions were there before 72? Any number will do here, and both sides use it, because we have no way of knowing without statistical proof..

    But we do know from the CDC that in 1972, the year before roe v wade, 24 women died from legal abortion complications and 39 women died from illegal abortion complications.
    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5103a1.htm

    So actually, the numbers show that either there were not that many illegal abortions in 72 or that illegal abortions were extremely safe. Either way, the numbers show that safety is not a valid reason for legalizing abortion..
    Posted By spinstopper : November 26, 2007 12:30 pm
    Typical statistical illiteracy – the number of illegal abortions matters to the above comparison, because the rate of deaths per 1000 procedures, rather than the absolute number, is the most significant comparison in determining relative saftey. Since we don't know the relevant number of abortions performed, we don't know whether illegal abortions were safer, about as safe as, or much less safe than those performed illegally.

    Also, the 39 deaths cited were only those in which the death was reported to have been from an illegal abortion. How sure can you be that every death that actually occurred as a result of a criminal act was correctly reported as such?

    Other points from the source you linked:

    1. There are a number of different procedures which can be used to perform an abortion, some of which are much safer than others. Between 1972 and 1997 the percentage of abortions using the safer curettage procedure increased substantially, and the annual absolute number of deaths decreased by 71%.

    2. In 1997, seven women died from abortion-related complications – out of over 900K legal procedures performed, a much larger number of procedures than were performed in 1972. No deaths were reported as having been caused by illegal procedures.

    November 26, 2007 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  19. tired of corruption

    Hillary claims to have been fighting for healthcare for everyone for 35 years. And yet, she still does not know how to pay for it, implement it, or what to do about the people who cannot afford her "mandated" plan.

    How long does it take this woman to accomplish something. Personally, I would be ashamed to say I've worked on a project for 35 years with nothing accomplished.

    November 26, 2007 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  20. K

    "Those who don't want health care can buy some other type of health care coverage, or self-insure. If they get wiped out financially by a medical problem after they chose not to buy insurance, then yes, they should be bankrupted, or not allowed to have life-extending medical procedures. They risked their lives by not getting insurance, let them pay the price. Life is not infinitely valuable – that's their own judgment – or else they'd have bought the insurance.

    Posted By Dan, TX"

    Wow – harsh, dude! However, I can bet that the 'mandatory' or whatever national coverage provided by the government will be so poorly funded that even those who 'opt in' to the coverage will not get the 'life-extending' procedures they 'deserve' because they WON'T BE AVAILABLE! The money won't be there...how the heck do they plan to pay for it when we're already in debt up to our eyeballs? {Hey mom, can I borrow another $200 to pay my insurance bill this month? I'll pay it back! I know I said that last month!}

    Get a clue, people. Socialism isn't the answer.

    November 26, 2007 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  21. monica, rochester new york

    Considering Hillary didn't actually read the intelligence report before she voted to give Bush the power to send our soldiers to Iraq, it's mostly likely she didn't actually read the details of Obama's healthcare plan. That's probably why she's confused. Her promise to cover "everybody" is just a political tactic out of the old politicians playbook. Obama has a realisitic plan and he's honest with the American people. We can't afford Hillary's (wink-wink) promises.

    November 26, 2007 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  22. Lee, syracuse, ny

    That Obama health care plan is a dog's breakfast of bad ideas from Left, Right, and center, topped with an unhealthy amount of wishful thinking. If enacted it would cost Americans dearly — in higher taxes, lost jobs, reduced freedom of choice, and lower quality health care.

    Here is an expert's detailed analysis of what is wrong with the Obama’s health care plan.
    http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=8266

    November 26, 2007 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  23. anon, ny, ny

    Obama’s health care plan is not universal (Hillary’s plan is universal), and it lacks audacity. Obama’s’ plan is like himself – full of hope but not deliverable.

    Compared to John Edwards, who had a detailed plan, and Hillary Clinton, whose fluency with the subject is unmatched among the contenders, he seemed uncertain and adrift. An Associated Press article asked, "Is Obama all style and little substance?"

    Number one, HE DID'NT MAKE SURE EVERYBODY IS IN. There is perhaps no more surprising fact about Obama's plan than that it is not universal. It is certainly sold as if it is. In his speech unveiling the proposal, Obama bragged that, "[m]y plan begins by covering every American." But it doesn't. To say otherwise is rhetorical overreach, the appropriation of a popular and broadly-supported goal without an attendant mechanism for achieving it.

    There are a few ways to achieve universal health care. You can create a single-payer plan that enrolls the population automatically. This is what Canada does, and how Medicare covers the elderly. You can create an employer mandate, where the primary responsibility falls on workplaces, and smaller mandates mop up the remainder. That was the approach showcased in the Clinton reforms of the early '90s. You can create an individual mandate that charges every American with procuring health insurance, and penalizes them if they don't. This is the approach favored by Mitt Romney in Massachusetts, Arnold Schwarzenegger in California, Ron Wyden in the Senate, and John Edwards in the presidential campaign. Obama's plan offers none of these approaches.
    Instead, it seeks to make care cheaper and more accessible, assuming that, if it succeeds — and that's a big if — Americans will enroll of their own volition. It is a plan with the potential to be universal, rather than a universal plan. In that respect, it is very much like Obama himself.

    Few are looking to Clinton for details, as her public record is so well-known, and her policy commitments so lengthily expressed. It is Obama who has remained a relative cipher, the interplay of his ideology and political instincts opaque. Obama’s plan lacks details, and skeptics say Obama is merely an inspiring speaker than a practical health care advocate.

    Obama’s failing, somewhat ironically, is a LACK OF AUDACITY. It accepts the sectioning off of the market into the employed, the unemployed, the old, the young, and the poor. It does not consolidate the system into a coherent whole, preferring instead to preserve the patchwork quilt of programs and insurers that make health care so difficult to navigate. It does not sever the link between employment and health insurance, nor take a firm step towards single-payer, despite Obama's professed preference for such a system.

    Obama's plan is not dissimilar from Obama himself — sold with stunning rhetoric and grand hopes, but never quite delivering on the promises and potential. And so OBAMA REMAINS THE CANADIDATE OF ALMOSTS.

    November 26, 2007 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  24. Michael Sheridan, Grand Rapids, MI

    A correction to my previous post:

    "Since we don't know the relevant number of abortions performed, we don't know whether illegal abortions were safer, about as safe as, or much less safe than those performed legally."

    November 26, 2007 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  25. Ann, IL

    Hillary is correct about a mandatory health plan. Health should be a priority for any civilized (and quite rich) country. Many people don't have an appropriate level of health education to understand the benefits of a health insurance and going regularly to a doctor to prevent illness. So they decide to wait until sick to fill the emergency rooms.

    It is exactly what you do with education: you keep it mandatory up to a certain level, so people have to go to schools, you don't want illiterate people around. So, if you don't want around sick people, you 'force' them to go to the doctor.

    Hey America, this is the 21st century, show some progressive minds.

    November 26, 2007 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
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