Slept in; I might swim anyway.

Update: walked 4 miles; 2 on the track (12:17, 11:29) 2 on the treadmill (hills), and did a few pull-ups (pathetic).
There were some slow people on the track and, internally, my “inner Republican” flared up and I thought “out of my way, slowpokes!” 🙂 But my “inner liberal” rescued me; I thought about how some were overweight but were doing something about it, how some were elderly and one guy (who was moving faster than most) was 1 year into his fight with pancreatic cancer. The doctors had said that he was to die about 6 months ago.

Yet there he was, walking his laps, and walking faster than most!

Politics: Some food for thought:

What is the truth here? From

Clinton said that Obama’s health care plan would leave 15 million Americans without insurance, while her plan provided universal coverage. Obama countered that his proposal would cover everyone in the country. Clinton’s plan will likely cover more people than Obama’s, but it’s doubtful the difference between their very similar proposals would be as high as the figure Clinton cites. […]

In the analysis part:

15 Million Left Out?

Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama traded words about their health care plans, and we found both dabbled in exaggerations:

Clinton: His plan would leave 15 million Americans out. That’s about the population of Nevada, Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire. I have a universal health care plan that covers everyone.

Obama: Well, let’s talk about health care right now because the fact of the matter is that I do provide universal health care. … [W]e’ve put forward a plan that makes sure that it is affordable to get health care that is as good as the health care that I have as a member of Congress.

Clinton uses a dubious statistic when she claims Obama’s plan would leave out 15 million of the uninsured. But Obama’s statement that his proposal provides “universal” health care is also suspect.

Clinton based her claim on a column by The New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn, who loosely estimated Obama’s plan would leave 15 million uninsured:

Cohn (The New Republic, June 3): The best studies out there — by Urban Institute researchers, the RAND Corporation, and MIT economist Jonathan Gruber — suggest that, without a mandate, improving affordability will cover roughly one-third of the people who don’t have coverage. Mandating that kids (but not adults) have coverage bumps that up to about a half. Obama’s advisers think that, by really loading up on the subsidies … they can goose that up to two-thirds. But that’s getting optimistic — and, even then, you still have around 15 million people who are uninsured.

Cohn makes it clear here that he is offering an estimate based on the best information available, not a hard and fast calculation. And the best available information doesn’t always agree. One of the people Cohn cites, economist and influential health care expert Jonathan Gruber, has gone on record saying that without a mandate, Obama’s plan would still leave 6 percent of the nation – about 18 million people – uninsured. But it’s not clear whether he meant “without an individual mandate” or “without any kind of mandate.” The Obama plan does include limited mandates, including a requirement for employers to either provide health insurance or pay into a public fund. A Gruber study from 2006 estimates that a plan with generous subsidies and an employer mandate would lead to 82 percent of the uninsured gaining coverage, based on 2001 data. Applied to today’s figures, that would leave about 8.5 million without insurance. Gruber found that a proposal that included an individual mandate would lead to 100 percent coverage of the uninsured.

Other studies also find only a small discrepancy between the types of plans that Obama and Clinton are proposing. For instance, a 2003 Commonwealth Fund study found that a plan with mixed private-public options (as the leading Democratic candidates have put forth) that also included an individual mandate would reach near universal coverage, leaving just 1 percent of people uninsured. Not including a mandate would still reach most of the uninsured, leaving about 3 percent without coverage.

Similar Plans

It’s true that Clinton’s plan would likely lead to somewhat higher levels of coverage than Obama’s, according to the research we’ve seen. But the difference in outcomes may not amount to much. The main distinction: Clinton calls for a mandate that would require all individuals to have health insurance; Obama requires only that children have coverage and that dependents be covered under their parents’ insurance up to age 25. Of the estimated 46.5 million uninsured in the U.S., 9.4 million are children and 37 million are adults, according to an analysis of Census data by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured and the Urban Institute. But neither candidate has provided enough detail for analysts to predict confidently how many might be left uninsured under either plan.

* Sara Collins, an assistant vice president at The Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation that calls for higher quality and accessibility in health care, says that the Obama and Clinton plans (as well as Edwards’) are “very, very similar in structure.” Studies show that mandates make a difference, but Collins says the “15 million” seems like too big a number based on past analyses.

* Kenneth E. Thorpe, a professor of health policy at Emory University who worked in President Clinton’s administration and who has evaluated several presidential candidates’ health plans, also says that “it’s hard to come up with precise numbers” without knowing the details on the federal subsidies these plans would include. “Whether it’s 15, 20 or 10,” he says, that estimate makes “an assumption on the subsidies that the campaign hasn’t put out.”

* Robert Blendon, director of the Harvard Program on Public Opinion and Health and Social Policy, estimates Obama’s plan would end up covering 5 percent to 10 percent fewer individuals than Clinton’s. But that’s assuming that it’s possible for Clinton to require everyone to purchase insurance. Blendon suspects that it isn’t. “At the end of the day,” he tells, “it’s not going to be everybody. We have no idea what the actual falloff would be.”

Among the unknown factors is what sort of insurance would turn out to be available under either plan. Preliminary data from Massachusetts, which implemented a sweeping health insurance plan last year, is showing that many people would rather remain uninsured than purchase a stripped-down plan. “People always say having some insurance is better than no insurance,” Blendon says. “It turns out, in some of the focus groups in Massachusetts, people don’t believe that.”

So, why is Clinton attacking Obama? Because she is trailing in the Iowa polls!

In Iowa — where voters across the state have had a chance to see all of the candidates up close and learn about where they stand — Barack Obama continues to surge in support and is now leading the Democratic field, according to a just-released ABC News/Washington Post poll.

According to the poll, Obama leads among all likely caucus-goers with 30%, compared with Clinton at 26% and Edwards at 22%. Obama also leads among those who are “certain to attend” the January 3rd caucus, those who have previously caucused, and those who are planning to caucus for the first time.

Obama also showed that he’s the candidate who is resonating the most with women voters. 32% of women polled are supporting Obama, compared with 31% for Clinton and 19% for Edwards.

And by a 2 to 1 margin, Iowans find Obama more “honest and trustworthy” than Clinton.

Also of note: Obama doubled Clinton’s support among Independent voters (Obama 35% to Clinton 18%)– another indicator that he will be the strongest candidate going into the general election. For more on Obama’s general election strength, check out the diary I posted last week, which shows Obama leading among Iowa voters when matched up to Republican opponents.

Update Hat tip to Jed at Hillary Attacks.


November 30, 2007 Posted by | hillary clinton, obama | Leave a comment