Political Capital with John Harwood

Clinton's Health Plan: A Better Prescription Than '93's?

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton's new health plan is a sign of how the debate has shifted since 1993. It's universal--the individual mandate she's called for would see to that--but less ambitious in design than the version that crashed and burned during her husband's presidency.

Democrats as a party have converged around many of the ideas she has proposed, including subsidies and tax credits for those who can't afford coverage now. One key difference with rival Barack Obama is that he has eschewed the individual mandate, which could allow him to argue that he favors less onerous regulation.

Conservative Republicans slam it for producing more government control. But her plan shares much in common with what Republicans governors like Arnold Schwarzenegger in California, earlier, Mitt Romney when he was chief executive of Massachusetts. Democrats like Edwards and Obama hit her on practical grounds--that she'd either be insufficiently aggressive or effective in working across party lines to get it enacted. And yet this is precisely the issue on which her experience may be most valuable.

In other words, she's drawing from both the left and right. Sometimes that's a sign that a politician has hit the sweet spot.

Hillary Care: Take Two

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