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Got Issues? Clinton, Barack and the Health Care Mandate

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama stand pretty close on health care. Yet, there is an inherent difference between their plans — the mandate. Obama will provide "universal access," while Clinton wants to require universal coverage. Obama will subsidize coverage for those who want it, but cannot afford it. Clinton maintains that any proposal that does not aim to cover every American will never withstand opponents. put together a great chart, outlining the many similarities and the few differences between the two Democratic candidates. Both plans would allow people to keep current insurance, or choose from an array of options similar to the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan. Both would prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage based on risk. Both plans include a mandate for children. Both estimate that each year families will save over $2,000 on average.

But despite all these similarities, a mandate makes one big difference — a mandate means more covered Americans. To see how,

. Estimates compiled by maintain that under Hillary's plan, about 1 million will evade insurance, perhaps more depending on penalties. Under Barack, experts believe somewhere between 15 million and 26 million adults will choose to be uncovered.

If you're having trouble understanding what a "mandate" is, just liken it to car insurance. Many states have mandates for car insurance — in California, it's against the law to drive without insurance. I also suggest reading the report for more information on both plans.

So, which plan, if either, seems most reasonable to you? Mandate or no mandate?


Join The Conversation
Cadet Cadet 9 years
People need to stop looking at is as "forced" and start looking at it as "healthcare." Don't you believe that everyone should be covered? People won't get the coverage if they don't have to. They're not "forcing" anyone to do anything unethical. They're forcing you to take care of yourself. They want you to be taken care of.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
No one should be forced to do anything, and than be penalized for not complying. Hillary is crazy for thinking the american people will buy into her lies
geebers geebers 9 years
Jillness' comment was addressed partially by Cadet. This is the article discussing the cost-effectiveness of Clinton's plan. I believe that we need to have a mandate if we want to make sure we -in the long-term- have an efficient system that covers everyone and dont shun those that fall into the cracks that are not covered.
Cadet Cadet 9 years
I'm not partial on any candidate, so I'm not trying to bash anyone, but there are so many different articles, two of which have been linked to from this site alone, that distinctly say that Obama's plan is less reasonable than Clinton's. Their evidence is credible enough for me. Overall, Clinton's proposal will cover an outrageous amount of people compared to Obama's, which speculates that people who already do not have insurance will not seek it out. People skirt the system on taxes, why wouldn't they do it for insurance? There are always people who fall under the cracks and if you pay taxes, you're probably already paying for these people. I'm more concerned with the majority of America being covered with health insurance than I am with my having to pay for some odd 10% of people who work under the table. It really isn't a big deal in comparison to having millions of people required to have insurance for a much better price. And I believe that's better for our country overall. But everyone's welcome to their opinion, of course.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
"I know Clinton's plan may not pass but frankly her plan actually saves a twice as much money than Obama's" Hillary's plan saved people $2200 a month, where as Obama's saves $2500. How would you enforce the mandate on people who don't have garnishable wages (not people that are unemployed...people that skirt the system)? Do they not get health care, or do you force the other people to pay for them as well?
jenintx jenintx 9 years
I'm with the Obama people. I think there's a fine line between looking out for the betterment of people and completely trying to control their lives. Mandating healthcare coverage crosses it, in my mind, as much as it does when our government talks about taking away a woman's right to choose.
geebers geebers 9 years
I think a mandate is necessary if we want to change our system. I dont like equating health care to car insurance. Everyone has to be on the same playing field and the only way that can be done is a mandate. There are already ways to help those who cannot afford insurance. No one is saying that a change will be perfect but it needs to be done. Giving people a choice in health insurance means only those that need it or are risk averse will get it. Everyone needs to have it -you dont know if you will get hit by a bus tomorrow and on life support. I dont want to pay for YOU because YOU didnt want to get insurance. I know Clinton's plan may not pass but frankly her plan actually saves a twice as much money than Obama's because she captures everyone not just those that want it. There is a NYTIMES article by an economist who explains how.
telewyo telewyo 9 years
Everyone should have to have health insurance...if they don't get it then the rest of us are essentially paying for it.
indielove indielove 9 years
I agree with Jillness, I do not think Hillary's plan seems realistic, honestly don't think it would be passed. Barack's plan has a much better chance of being put into action and it IS more fiscally responsible. Hillary can be such a bully at times, it's really not helping her AT ALL.
Cadet Cadet 9 years
I know with car insurance in California, there are a large number of illegal immigrants that don't have coverage. And when my brother was hit by one, our insurance didn't compensate for that. There will be people that don't work. Drug addicts/dealers, people who work under the table, etc. There are people who won't, and don't, pay into anything regardless of whether or not there's a mandate. Welcome to America! I think that if everyone can be covered for a cheaper price, or MORE people for a cheaper price, per family than that's where I would want to be. No one likes to be "forced" into doing anything, but it's important to me that everyone have available health care whether they think they need it or not. I respect Obama for making sure children are covered, I just don't think his plan is cost effective overall.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
But with the mandate and garnishing wages... What about people that don't work or work undocumented? If they chose not to buy health insurance and you can't garinish their wages if they have none on the books...who pays for them? Do the people who actually have garinishable wages have to pay for those people that don't? Her plan just doesn't seem realistic to me at all.
wren1 wren1 9 years
I believe we need a mandate. That way nobody slips through the cracks. We need to take care of everyone.
hotstuff hotstuff 9 years
Book, that is horrible which is why I really hope our country can get a true resolution to solving this healthcare problem. Everything is wayyy overpriced, ugh.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
Bookish, that is such a sad story! It really illustrates the problems with our health care industry.
Bookish Bookish 9 years
The healthcare situation in the US gets me very angry. My sister is a single mom who pays 400 dollars a month for health insurance that covers herself and her 4 year old daughter. Three months ago my sister started having seizures after a head injury and was put on a medicine to help control seizures. The medicine works very well, but it costs her 200 dollars every 20 days (this is only the portion her insurance DOESN'T pay for) and there are no generics, no samples. She's resorted to taking half the prescribed dose to try and save money- she is a single mom on a very strict budget, after all, and gets no child support from her daughter's dad. But she was having several seizures a day without the medicine, and on a half dose, she's still having about one every day or every other day. There's no way she can drive. A couple of weeks ago her insurance company decided they weren't going to cover her prescription anymore. Which means she now has to pay 400 dollars every 20 days for her medicine- on top of the 400 dollars a month she pays for insurance. I understand that this is legal under the current system, but I can't help think it's unjust.
bethany21 bethany21 9 years
I greatly prefer Obama's plan, because it's not mandatory and it will be much less expensive for the US than Clinton's. The idea of fining people who already can't afford health insurance is just...wrong.
Bookish Bookish 9 years
I think that forcing people to purchase health insurance even if they can't afford it is a very hostile move. It seems strange to me that Hillary would say "Speeches don't put food on the table. Speeches don't fill up your tank or fill your prescription or do anything about that stack of bills that keeps you up at night," and then add to that stack of bills- with financial penalties for those who can't or won't pay up. This article from the New York Times is also interesting, regarding the link between Clinton and health insurance companies: In my opinion, it's past time we had universal health care- real universal health care, like Canada and England.
lcterp lcterp 9 years
I don't like the idea of forcing people even if it is beneficial, sorry Hillary.
jflutterjess jflutterjess 9 years
The healthcare system in the US really has me pissed! I work in HR and we got our new quotes from our carrier for 2008 and there was a increase of $200 for family care. It is amazing to me that these insurance companies make the company suffer if one of the employee's are sick or have a surgery they try to pass the cost back on to the company. So this year we will be switching insurance companies. Hopefully the government does something about the raising healthcare costs in America for those that want to carry insurance.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
I don't think Hillary's plan has a chance of passing. I am a democrat, and even I think it is too invasive. Garnishing wages and penalty fees? Something needs to be done about our health care system, and I think that if Hillary's plan is proposed NOTHING will get done because she won't get a majority to follow her. Obama has already learned his lesson about compromise when he was on the Illinois Senate. He too proposed a sweeping health care plan that didn't pass...but he learned from that and came up with real solutions that a majority would vote for. As a result, 150,000 kids have health insurance in Illinois. To get things done, you need to first go after the areas where we all agree. I think most people want to remove the corruption from the health care industry, lower costs, and free/inexpensive options for the very poor. For these reasons, his plan is so much better!
imLissy imLissy 9 years
I like Obama's plan better. I agree with scorpstar77 that it isn't right to force people to have insurance. If one of these people gets really sick, yeah, they're screwed, but it's not the government's job to play mommy. I don't know about not outlawing trans fat though, lol Well, restaurants should at least tell you if there's trans fat in foods so I CAN make a choice.
annebreal annebreal 9 years
I think Obama's has a better chance of passing...and really, any improvement would be so welcome - in fact, doing something like Obama's to get our feet wet and implement/get used to the system before doing one like Hillary's would probably be good.
scorpstar77 scorpstar77 9 years
I'm with Barack's plan on this, at least as far as these two plans go. It's more fiscally responsible, but it also underlines my inherent belief that in our "free" society, the government should not be mandating anything for adults who can make their own decisions. I have less of a problem with mandated auto insurance because your car insurance covers other drivers as well if you are at fault in an accident - it's a responsible citizen sort of thing (in my home state of VA, car insurance is an either/or - you either pay for insurance and carry proof with you in your car, or you pay a $500/year fee to be registered as an uninsured driver - the thought being, of course, if you have to spend $500/year anyway, you might as well spend it on the insurance and get something out of it!). Health care is a much more personal issue and is less likely to affect others. So if a capable adult decides not to have insurance, I may personally think they're not making a good decision, but it's their decision to make. I feel the same way about outlawing or mandating a lot of things. It may be a bad decision to eat food with trans fats in it, but it's my decision to make; it's not up to the government to make it for me. Sometimes I feel like our government thinks the American people are stupid and so they have to make decisions for us, like they're our parents or baby-sitters. My position is not that people are stupid, but they're lazy, and if you continually take away the opportunities that make them THINK and make informed decisions, then they start to act as though they actually are stupid. Personally, I have three parents already, plus two in-laws. I don't need my elected officials to serve as hundreds more.
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