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Clinton Health Plan May include Penalty

Posted on 2/4/2008 1:50:00 PM

Democrat Hillary Clinton, on Sunday, continued to drop vague hints about how she expected to implement her proposed health insurance plan. She said she would consider penalizing workers who refused to buy the health insurance coverage for Americans.

When asked by George Stephanopoulos, on the ABC's This Week, whether Clinton intended to garnish people’s wages, Clinton said, “… we will have an enforcement mechanism, whether it’s that or it’s some other mechanism through the tax system or automatic enrollments.” She however clarified that these measures would only be aimed at workers who refused to buy health coverage even though they could afford it, thus burdening hospitals. Referring to her proposals with subsidies, she insisted, her plan would be affordable for everyone.







Clinton went on to add that the point about compulsory enforcement shifted focus from the main issue which was that her plan was superior to the one proposed by Barack Obama. Obama's plan proposed a mandate only for compulsory health insurance for children.

The health policy is a major point of difference between the two leading Democratic candidates, and is likely to be a hot topic of debate in the days leading to Super Tuesday.

According to surveys, health care is an important concern for most Democratic voters, who rate covering the uninsured citizens as higher priority than, reducing medical costs. Clinton has argued that her plan aims at universal coverage; she has even termed this "a core Democratic value and a moral principle.”

Obama, however, also says that his plan, which also depends on governmental subsidy to cut down insurance costs, would be so affordable that it would provide coverage to any one who wished to purchase it. He criticized Clinton's plan compelling everyone to buy insurance, saying there would always be those who couldn’t afford it.” He also often questioned Clinton to explain how she would enforce her mandate.

Surveys suggest that approximately 20 percent of uninsured Americans enjoy incomes up to $75,000 or more. Clinton's plan targets such workers whose uncompensated care must be factored into medical charges and insurance rates. However, according to a study published in the journal Health Affairs, compliance rates were diverse and greatest, when penalties were "stiff but not excessive.”

Clinton however said she would not inflict fines on those who refused to buy insurance, like Obama proposed to do with insurance for children. “We want them to have insurance,” she said. “We want it to be affordable.”

 
 
 
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