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Mrs. Clinton's Emerging Health Plan -- Looks like Edwards' and MA's

Mrs. Clinton's Emerging Health Plan -- Looks like Edwards' and MA's

September 15, 2007

Today's Wall Street Journal (click here) gives the first look we've seen at Hilary Clinton's health coverage plan to be fully unveiled on Monday. Individual mandate, lower income subsidies, assessments on non-offering companies -- looks a lot like candidate John Edwards' effort earlier this year and resembles the Massachusetts health reform plan in many key respects.

Mrs. Clinton's plan has been the most eagerly awaited because: a. she's the front runner; and b. folks want to know how her thinking has evolved since the 1993-94 health reform debacle.

Here's an excerpt:

The Democratic presidential candidate is set to unveil her new approach in Iowa Monday, and she will include a requirement that everyone get health insurance. A big difference from last time: She's proposing to build on the existing system of insuring Americans -- a mix of private coverage and government-subsidized care -- not remake it altogether.

Still, Mrs. Clinton's plan, described by people familiar with it, would involve sweeping change. It would create new federal subsidies to aid those who couldn't afford the required health coverage. And it would impose new mandates on large employers to provide health coverage or help pay for it.

The contours of the presidential campaign health reform conversation are becoming clearer. The three Dems (Clinton, Obama, Edwards) favor mandated employer contributions, extensive lower income subsidies (ala Commonwealth Care), and insurance market reforms; two of the three favor an individual mandate (not Obama). Republicans favor ending the tax deductibility of health insurance and subsidized vouchers for lower income families.

Like it or not, this begins the define the likely range of policy possibilities if health reform becomes a national priority in January 2009.