07 February 2008

Clinton Won't Discuss Penalties

The NYTimes reports that in discussing her health care plan that includes forcing people to buy private health insurance:
When asked for a third time whether garnishing people’s wages was an option, Clinton told Stephanopoulos: "George, we will have an enforcement mechanism, whether it's that or it's some other mechanism through the tax system or automatic enrollments." She went on to say that enforcement of her mandate was less important than the fact that her plan requires all citizens to have coverage, while her rival, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, would only require children to be covered, according to the article.

The issue of health care mandates has become a central topic in the Democratic primary contest because it represents "one of the few substantive differences" between Clinton and Obama, reports the Times. Clinton insists that the mandate is key to achieving universal coverage, while Obama argues that the "use of government subsidies to reduce the cost of insurance, would effectively guarantee coverage to anyone who wants it." Some Obama advisors pointed to Massachusetts, which recently implemented an insurance mandate, as an example of a state that has "failed to enroll nearly half of its uninsured despite imposing a modest first-year tax penalty of $219."

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