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Obama’s new ad is clever, but why aren’t they taking the open shot?

One of the few virtues of getting on a plane and leaving California is that you get to see Presidential political ads on actual TV. Obama has a new ad about health care which explicitly attacks “government run health care” on the left of an arrow and then attacks unregulated insurance companies on the right end. Geddit? Yup it’s 1996 Bill Clinton all over again. The man is a triangulator. Or an arrownator…

(Apologies for the poor quality but it’s the only version I can find online).

Obama’s plan is in the middle of the arrow of course. It’s a little bizarre that he attacks government-run health care — given that his plan involves both extending FEBHP and creating a separate version of Medicare/Medicaid that everyone can buy into. And of course Medicare is the most popular health insurance plan in the nation by a long way. I think the government still runs it.

But I guess that’s just politics. And of course nothing as major as what he’s talking about is going to happen once he gets elected anyway, (as I’ve been saying for more than a year).

But talking about politics, what I cannot get over is how the Obama team has not bothered to connect the McCain plan’s designs to push more people into the individual insurance market to specific actions of health insurers in California. There are still smart intelligent people running major health care lobbying organizations in DC (one of who I had dinner with last week in my professional life) who still have not heard about the retroactive policy cancellations in California despite the fact that all of the big insurers were doing it. And yet McCain’s plan is designed to explicitly put people into a situation where they’re at the mercy of those insurers!

This isn’t hard to explain. Why isn’t the Obama campaign featuring it? Especially as he’s now talking about health care. They are not taking the open shot (or as the English say, they’re missing an open goal!)

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10 replies »

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  3. I can see “Realistic’s” argument that Obama wants to put some healthcare plan into law as a realistic step forward, but I worry that a piecemeal plan will delay (perhaps forever) the comprehensive, universal healthcare system that we desperately need. It’s a bit reminiscent of the 1960s’ War on Poverty: well-meaning, semi-effective policies that provided some benefit (e.g., Head Start) but were laden down by compromises and half-measures that inevitably gave the program’s opponents fodder for saying, “See, it didn’t work.”
    Without a truly universal plan, people like me who are self-employed must face the perennial question of whether we can afford our own individual healthcare coverage as costs keep rising. People who have no insurance will continue to cost the system $billions on emergency-room treatment because they can’t get preventive or early-symptom care. And large numbers of those who are most vulnerable because their mental illnesses have made them homeless will not receive care, period.

  4. “And of course Medicare is the most popular health insurance plan in the nation by a long way. I think the government still runs it.”
    You’d know more than me here, but anecdotally, in my own experience as a patient, I’ve heard that over the years Medicare has been gutted in terms of the services it covers.
    I can attest to the low quality of those services, at least when it comes to home health aides. We’ve taken to paying nursing students out of pocket rather than deal with that. It’s far from ideal, and of course many people don’t even have that as an option.

  5. Actually, I heard Obama say nearly a year ago that he thought that single payer health care made the most sense, but that it was now politically realistic at this time. So he’s arguing for the best deal that he can get now.
    Neither McCain or Obama will get what they want through Congress, so at best it’s a indication of the direction they would push.

  6. I understand your point and I’m not sure why the Obama campaign isn’t using this easy.
    However, I think the message Obama is spreading about his health care plan is misleading. He is leading Americans to believe that he is in support of instituting universal health care. This is simply not true.
    I’d like to see a continued discussion about the health care crisis in America.

  7. “Why isn’t the Obama campaign featuring it?”
    Maybe because he wants votes from people with good company paid health insurance?

  8. We are very naive and gullible as a citizenry. Our views and thinking on the issues of the day are so easily swayed by political soundbites. Why do we fall for this garbage year in and year out? The candidates’ plans for healthcare change are full of gaping holes. I don’t want Obama or McCain restructuring our healthcare system. I would rather have them act like real leaders by bringing the people to the table that have the in depth understanding of the issues, and then guiding the discussion to ensure it stays on track. Ideology and partisanship cannot get in the way because we don’t have time for that. At the same time, we can’t push this through quickly because it’s far too complex for band-aids.

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