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Debate Rebate: Do the Differences Matter?

Liberty: Last night in Ohio, the sparring over health care revealed a genuine policy difference as well as a genuine difference of debate style. Hillary's plan is more pure. A mandate would cover many more people. Barack's plan is a little more convoluted. He must explain — if mandates are so bad, why does he have them for children?

But, I felt that Hillary's point got lost in her delivery and her frustration was palpable. Hillary attempted to highlight the merits of her plan:

We have enough money in our plan. A comparison of the plans . . . found that actually I would cover nearly everybody at a much lower cost than Senator Obama's plan because we would not only provide these health care tax credits, but I would limit the amount of money that anyone ever has to pay for a premium to a low percentage of your income. So it will be affordable.

Wow. Those are strong, but complicated, arguments. And, Barack continued to dodge a square punch. To see how


Obama said:

I have consistently said that Senator Clinton's got a good health care plan. I think I have a good health care plan. I think mine is better, but I have said that 95 percent of our health care plan is similar.

By raising the debate to a more abstract level, Barack diffused the idea that their differences matter.

I have a feeling that Hillary's fervor for healthcare pleases her supporters, but I wonder if it translates well to undecided voters. A regular citizen, not well versed in policy jargon, may be appeased by Obama's assurances that he will make health care affordable. Hillary's criticisms, backed up with detailed support, may go over viewers' heads.

Are you convinced that differences matter?

And don't forget to check out Citizen's thoughts on the "first lady" question also raised last night.

Join The Conversation
MSucre MSucre 9 years
I'm typically an Obama supporter. But after watching the debate, especially the section on Health Care I'm for Hillary. I think she was much stronger arguing for her Health Care plan. I think it was clear as well. I think her examples and explaining the mandates was excellent! I especially liked when she explained that you can insure kids, but if you don't insure the parents there are serious consequences for the children.
Linny Linny 9 years
I do think that in this stage, the primaries, that talking about the differences in these two candidates is important. I was undecided and when it was time to vote in my primary since Obama and Clinton are so similar it came down to the differences for me.
natalie5785 natalie5785 9 years
I think one thing to keep in mind here people is that what Senator's Clinton and Obama are offering are just PLANS at this point. I get why people are interested and passionate, but before either plan can become a reality one of them has to be officially nominated THEN they have to beat McCain THEN they have to get their plan past Congress, which I think is really the doozy. We're thinking short when we should be thinking long...Arguing about which plan theoretically covers more people is small potatoes next to getting either plan past the House and the Senate. I personally feel the "foot in the door" method of creeping towards medical socialism is much more likely to succeed (i.e. - Obama's plan) but regardless I'm hopeful we end up with a President who realizes health is not a commodity and is able to convince both parties that universal healthcare is in their best interest. And it seems like some people seem to think a mandate isn't in their best interest, but as I see it, right now my tax dollars provide universal healthcare anyway since some hospitals can't turn away the uninsured (i know, i worked in one) AND i have to pay seperately for my own health insurance. Atleast if healthcare was socialized I'd only have to pay for it once. Also, it's really interesting to read a media source that so clearly favors Sen. Clinton...I've become so accustomed to newcasters preffering Sen. Obama. Mind you, I whole-heartedly disagree that she's a better candidate, but it's interesting to see how her supporters must feel all the time.
janneth janneth 9 years
"low percentage of your income" Is that the part that is different with Sen. Clinton's* plan? *Note that I am following the Karl Rovian style for identifying the candidates! (See Link Time)
Daisie Daisie 9 years
Honestly, some of you should watch Sicko. You can't place all (or most) of the blame on HRC for the failure of trying to get Universal healthcare when her husband was in office. All of the money and kickbacks related to healthcare and the drug industry and special interests going to policy makers is a HUGE problem. clarient, you are right that the insurance providers and drug companies are at fault for being corrupt..this is a huge part of the problem.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
Thank you Jude! It is something I really believe, so I am glad it struck a chord with someone else too! By the do you get bold font? I can never make it work! ::?:
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
Sometimes to achieve our end goal, we need to take steps to get there. Forcing people to chose all or nothing is a good political game, but it ignores the needs of the people. I think that was perfectly put, Jillness. And one of the reasons that I believe Obama will be better for America is that he will be much more capable of creating coalitions to actually get things done.
Princesskitty22 Princesskitty22 9 years
Well, I do, too.
Beanalby Beanalby 9 years
> It's easy for those of us who really listen to politics to talk > about this. Unfortunately, I don't a lot of people do, in this > country. 4 years ago I would've agreed this whole-heartedly, but it really looks like things are different this election. Turnout is shattering all kinds of records in these primaries; Hawaii used to get 3k voters, expected 15k, got 37k. I think (hopefully without jinxing it) that people are actually starting to pay attention.
Princesskitty22 Princesskitty22 9 years
Quite frankly, I don't think either of them will. People aren't that nuanced. They hear "Universal Healthcare" and they switch off. It's easy for those of us who really listen to politics to talk about this. Unfortunately, I don't a lot of people do, in this country. Whether they're supporting something good or something bad, they usually seem to only know the surface picture. That's just what I think.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
"I know quite a few people who agree with democrats but think universal healthcare is a slippery slope to socialized medicine." This is one of the reasons that I don't think Hillary's plan would pass. I think Obama's plan would be difficult to pass, but it has greater potential than Hillary's plan.
Princesskitty22 Princesskitty22 9 years
I personally think that the healthcare issue will be a tough sell in November for either candidate. The Republicans will bring up fears of big governments and socialism. I know quite a few people who agree with democrats but think universal healthcare is a slippery slope to socialized medicine. I think it's easy to talk about their differences when you're talking to people who generally think it's a good idea, but when they're up against someone who doesn't, there's gonna be some serious 'splainin' to do.
SugarCat SugarCat 9 years
Yeah and the fact that she keeps using the word "fight" just makes it so much more unattractive to me. And the same people who she fought all those years again would be more unwilling to work with her, maybe they would work more with Obama.
Beanalby Beanalby 9 years
What I found more interesting is not which plan is "better", but their characterizations of each other's plans. As far as I can tell, experts agree that they're generally the same, and Obama pointed out such. Clinton, however, portrayed Obama's plan as very negative and said it "looked like a Republican wrote it". This kind of unnecessary exaggeration is exactly what I usually hate about politics - if a politician says something is really bad, you don't know if it's because they think it's really bad, or if they're simply trying to push their own agenda. I'm sick of politicians making it sound like the world will end if their opponent gets what they want, with their opponent saying the same thing about them. It's Obama's disarming honesty about his opponent's positions that's making me lean towards him.
Bettyesque Bettyesque 9 years
In Jills words "Forcing people to chose all or nothing is a good political game, but it ignores the needs of the people" Couldnt have said it better myself.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
I feel like Hillary hasn't learned her lesson from the last time she tried the healthcare issue. Think of all of the people who could have used some kind of health care reform 10 years ago!! Because she over reached, people have suffered. When you ask for too much, you get nothing. If you are more reasonable with your ideas, people get help. Even if you go by Hillary's numbers, 300+ million people would benefit from Obama's plan, and it is a plan that could make it through Congress. Sometimes to achieve our end goal, we need to take steps to get there. Forcing people to chose all or nothing is a good political game, but it ignores the needs of the people.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
The stats I have read (and the ones that Citizen posted earlier this month) said that Obama's plan would save people $2500, and Hillary's would save $2200. Here is my question.... If their plans are 95% the same, and she says in his plan 15 million people would NOT be so low in income that they would be eligible for subsudies, and they also wouldn't be able to afford health insurance themselves. Where do these people fall in her plan? Are they simply forced to pay for health insurance that they can't afford? What about people who work "under the table"? If they don't have wages on the books to be garnished, how can they be forced to pay? Will we end up paying more to cover them?
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