‘Hillarycare 2.0’ takes moral responsibility for uninsured

Emily Percival

In Feb. 2007 at a press conference held with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), an influential businessman spoke about a need to “guarantee the uninsured access to good health coverage.” His name is Lee Scott, and he is the CEO of Wal-Mart. With conservative execs like Scott on board, universal health care is becoming what it should have been all along: a reality. Here’s a look at Hillary Clinton’s American Health Choices Plan, unveiled this week.

Clinton’s proposed plan mandates that every person has health insurance (quite unenforceable, perhaps, but it sets a standard lacking in American health coverage today). In order to make this possible for America’s 47 million uninsured citizens, tax credits are offered for working families so that they never pay more than a set percentage of their income. Insurance companies are prohibited from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions and cannot drop purchasers so long as premiums are being paid.

Gone are several limits that made the Clinton health care plan a disaster in the early ’90s. “Hillarycare 2.0” does not require all businesses to provide coverage. Big businesses are required to help pay for coverage, but small businesses are not, though tax credits will be given to those that do. Whereas the first plan required all Americans to give up their current coverage, the Health Choices Plan allows those who are satisfied with their current coverage to keep it.

I’m personally really glad she’s addressing the millions of us who are wholly and completely happy with our insurers. Those who are unsatisfied have the choice of private plans like those available to members of Congress, or public plans similar to Medicare. The estimated $110 billion that Clinton’s plan costs would be derived from repealing tax cuts to those earning salaries over $250,000 and by decreasing costs of care. Visit hillaryclinton.com/feature/healthcareplan for more.

The rising costs of premiums today are matched with decreasing coverage. Additionally, allowing the market to determine costs of health care places the burden increasingly on the sickest, who face a bottomless pit of debt and ruin should they choose to care for their own health. Universal health care is ultimately a question of moral responsibility. Do we want to continue to make a person’s health an issue of financing?

The February press conference stressed that universal health coverage can be achieved by “having businesses, government and individuals all contribute,” and this is what the Health Choices Plan does. Individuals are responsible for their own care, businesses are required to do what they can financially and the government provides a net that makes the costs of health care affordable.

There should be a standard of health in America, and the means required to make this happen are not as crazy, nor as liberal, as it might seem. Conservatives, if Lee Scott can be the new face behind universal health coverage, so can you.