The Wall Street Journal notes that Hillary’s new health care plan isn’t as different from Hillary’s old health care plan as she might have you believe:
The former first lady’s 1993-94 health-care overhaul ended disastrously. Still, it poured the philosophical and policy foundations of the current health-care debate. As she unveils HillaryCare II, Mrs. Clinton likes to joke that it’s deja vu all over again –and it is, unfortunately. Her new plan is called ‘Health Choices’ and mentions ‘choice’ so many times that it sounds like a Freudian slip. And sure enough, ‘choice’ for Mrs. Clinton means using different means that will arrive at the same end: an expensive, bureaucratic, government-run system that restricts choice.
Remember all those scenes in novels and movies of the bell clanging at Lloyd’s of London when an insured ship goes down? Insurers bet against something bad happening and then offer a policy. They make an educated guess as to whether they will have to make a big payment. Something other than insurance is at work in the Hillary plan (we’re still with the WSJ):
Both of these have raised costs enormously in the states that require them (such as New York), but Mrs. Clinton says they are necessary nationwide to prevent ‘discrimination’ that infringes on the central purposes of insurance, which is to share risk. Not quite. The central purpose of insurance is to price, and hedge against, reasonably predictable risks. It does not require socializing every last expense and redistributing wealth.
The editors of National Review muse along these lines:
Only two groups of Americans should worry about Hillary Clinton’s new health-care plan: the healthy and the sick. The healthy are going to pay more, since one of Clinton’s ideas is to prohibit insurance companies from giving them a discount.
But, you say, it will be better for the sick. Not necessarily:
For many of the sick, the Clinton plan will mean worse care. She promises to generate $35 billion in savings by insisting on ‘best practices’ and reducing the ‘geographic variation in care.’ These are code words for rationing. And there will be more rationing to come.
Walter Shapiro of Salon thinks that Hillarycare II will be harder for opponents to sidetrack than was Hillarycare I:
Not sure I agree with Walter. See Karl Rove yesterday.
If you cannot convincingly explain an ambitious program on a bumper sticker or in a 30-second TV spot, then you might as well slink back to the think tank in defeat.
By this standard, Hillary Clinton’s ballyhooed 14 years in the making with a cast of hundreds of policy experts remake of healthcare reform has been an unqualified success. Beyond the actual proposal, the 30-second TV spot explaining it is pitch and pith perfect. The new Clinton ad, which aired Wednesday on Iowa and New Hampshire TV, declares in a cheery voice-over, ‘She changed our thinking when she introduced universal healthcare to America … Now she has a healthcare plan that lets you keep your coverage if you like it, provides affordable choices if you don’t, and covers every American.’
The ‘she changed our thinking’ line is, of course, ad speak for ‘she mucked it up back in 1994.’ But the genius of political packaging lies in that magical sentence succinctly summarizing the reassuring virtues of Hillary Care II — it ‘lets you keep your coverage if you like it [and] provides affordable choices if you don’t.’ Presented in these soothing terms, it is difficult (though not impossible) for a plan for universal coverage to be demonized with an updated version of the fear-mongering ‘Harry and Louise’ ads that bludgeoned to death the 1994 Clinton reforms.