Monday, January 07, 2008

A friend's comments

Here are a friend's comments on the polls (before the latest two came out) plus important points on the candidates' healthcare plans and the discussion about this at the debate:
The CSPAN/Reuters/Zogby rolling poll shows the race nearly a dead heat but when you read today's release on the Zogby Web site, they note that only half of their rolling sample of 800 (they collect 200 a night) was quetioned following Iowa.  They point out that she had a five point lead before that and so the five point shift in their results come from significant shifting to him.  They go on to reveal that in the data collected on Saturday, all before the debate, had Obama ahead by 8 points.  I think the debate will only accelerate this.
Thanks for pointing out the Fox video.  Wow!
Now to substance for a moment.  They sparred over health plans.  She highlighted that her plan (and Edwards' plan) includes a so-called individual mandate where individuals are required to have coverage.  Obama's does not.  He gave a cute response that he focused on making coverage more affordable and that he has not met people who don't want insurance, just people who can't afford it. 
Almost every serious expert believes we need an individual mandate plus subsidies for people who can ill afford the full cost of the plan.  The argument that he will bring down costs is ridiculous.  No one -- NO ONE -- seriously has a plan to reduce costs.  Further, his claims that there are not people who choose not to get coverage is patently false.  It is well documented that there is a meaningfully large number of people who do not pay for coverage because they gamble that they will not need it or will be taken care of in a catastrophe if one befalls them.  They are free riders and it is well understood that it is crucial to force them to pay in precisely because they will, in the aggregate, provide subsidy to the higher risk participants in insurance.  Obama probably knows this.
Interestingly, he really outdebated her when she oddly pointed out, as a weakness in his argument, that his plan mandates coverage for children but not adults and why wasn't he willing to go further.  He retorted, quite persuasively to my ears, that it's because kids don't have a choice while adults do.  He came off well.
I did think his counter on Social Security - Edwards and I are willing to raise the cap on income level subject to Social Security tax - also came across very substantively. 


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