Sunday, February 24, 2008

Health care mailer madness

There's no question that the recent mailers criticizing Clinton's positions on NAFTA and health care mandates lack context, but Clinton's apparent outrage is pretty absurd, considering her campaign has put out a number equally misleading ads over the past few months.

Of course, all of this back-and-forth is irrelevant to the main point. The fact is that Clinton has never explained how she would enforce health care mandates, though she is clearly open to the notion of garnishing wages.

Obama is right to call attention to the Massachusetts Commonwealth Care plan, which includes both mandates and penalties. While there has certainly been a dramatic rise in the number of Massachusetts residents with health coverage, the plan has also cost far more than was originally projected. And while employers (with the exception of small businesses) are only fined $295 per person per year for failing to provide health insurance, individuals can be fined up to one half of the projected cost of their coverage plan if they're deemed capable of affording it by the state's regulatory authority. So, needless to say, much of the burden is placed on the individual.

Would Clinton take a similar approach? Knowing what kind of enforcement mechanism she would adopt is key to understanding her plan, especially when she's put such a strong emphasis on mandates.

It's silly to argue that your opponent is misrepresenting your position on mandates when you're essentially refusing to take a position . . .

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