Sunday, July 10, 2016

Hillarycare 1994 vs Obamacare 2010

Hillarycare, the set of health care reform proposals advanced by Hillary Clinton in 1994, would have been far superior to Obamacare.
However, as a mere proposal rather than hammered out law, it's impossible to know what kind of final form the law would have actually taken if Democrats had retained control of Congress and passed it as law.  Our coin-operated Congress might have hammered it into something more or less indistinguishable from Obamacare; it probably wouldn't have been as progressive as the proposal.

Where Obamacare has an individual mandate to buy insurance, and (the unfortunate individuals who are not provided health insurance through their work or status) individual insurance buyers to choose among individual health insurance plans (all crap compared to decent group policies, which the law tries to weaken or destroy through a new "Cadillac Plan Tax"), Hillarycare would have created (somewhat poorly defined) "Alliances" to cover everyone.  These Alliances would have been paid through a government levied "Premium" (aka Tax) mostly paid by employers, even for part time employees.

Given that the plan essentially replaced all existing healthcare insurance policies with these "Alliances", it's not clear at first glance why not to go all the way to Single Payer, the best possible healthcare insurance system, and which Democrats had been proposing since the beginning of the New Deal, and which Bernie attempted to put back on the table in 2016.  Possibly the "Alliances" would have been defined in such a way that they would actually be serviced through money skimming health insurance companies.

For all it's relative progressivity compared with Obamacare, Hillarycare represented a first step away from New Deal notions such as Healthcare-as-a-right, turning it into Healthcare-as-something-you-must-pay-for.  It was a timid first step into Neoliberalism, which has characterized ideas promoted by Democratic Presidents ever since, including of course Obamacare, the quintessential Neoliberal health insurance racket (which I now feel we would be better off without--a reason to vote for Trump if Hillary becomes the Democratic Party Presidential Candidate).

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