NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


May 28, 2009

The biggest mistake Hillary Clinton made 15 years ago was not endorsing Bob Dole's health bill, which had more than 40 Republican co-sponsors, says John C. Goodman, President and CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis.  The Dole bill would have given her 70 percent to 80 percent of everything she wanted anyway, to say nothing of creating a huge bipartisan lovefest.  Democrats would have held the Congress in 1994….. and, well, you get the picture.

Barack Obama is about to repeat that same mistake, says Goodman.  The smartest thing he could do is endorse a bill sponsored by Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.), along with Reps. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), [hereinafter called the Coburn bill].  Here's why:

  • Independent analyses estimate the Coburn bill would cut the number of uninsured in half, the same result that is expected under Obama's plan.
  • The Coburn bill is revenue neutral -- requiring no net increased taxes or spending; whereas Obama's plan will cost $1.5 trillion over 15 years and maybe more -- even though they both achieve the same goal.
  • The Coburn bill makes coverage more universal by shifting tax benefits from those who earn more to those who earn less -- precisely what Obama has committed to from the get-go.
  • The Coburn bill liberates millions of poor people from Medicaid rationing and gives them access to the same kind of insurance middle-income families have, whereas Obama's plan would do to reverse.
  • The Coburn bill gives people strong incentives to control costs, whereas Obama's $150 billion a year in extra spending will almost certainly add to health care inflation.

In some ways, this is the most "liberal" proposal on the table made by the most conservative senator on Capitol Hill; and it achieves all of Obama's goals as well or much better than Obama's own plan, says Goodman!

Source: John C. Goodman, "John Goodman's Health Policy Blog: The Republican Health Plan," National Center for Policy Analysis, May 26, 2009.

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