AFSCME mailer attacks Obama on health care (updated)

My husband just brought in the mail. Almost every day we receive something from a presidential candidate or two. Today we got a mailer attacking Barack Obama's health care plan. The American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees produced and paid for the mailing.

More details are after the jump.

Outside groups can campaign for a presidential candidate, but they can't coordinate their communications with the presidential campaign.

AFSCME, the union with the largest membership in Iowa, endorsed Hillary Clinton this fall and has been campaigning for her. One undecided voter in my precinct, a retired AFSCME member, told me the union has been pushing Clinton very hard to its members.

Since no one in my household has ever belonged to AFSCME, this mailer clearly is going to a wider group of Iowa Democrats. The union is also advertising on the radio (and perhaps also on television), reaching the broad population.

The mailer is a single sheet, 8 1/2 by 11. One side has big a photo that looks like a grandmother and a little girl, underneath these words:

For those without insurance, Barack Obama's band-aid solution is no change at all.

The parts I put in bold are in red on the mailer. Below this photo is contact information for AFSCME and a message about how AFSCME paid for the mailing, which was not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

The other side of the page has these words in large brown print at the top:

Barack Obama's health care plan
is not up to the job.

There are three photos on the left side: a man with his head in his hands, a woman apparently in a hospital bed with an oxygen tube attached to her nose, and an elderly woman using a walker. On the right side of the page, next to those photos, is this text:

Obama proposes leaving 15 million Americans uninsured.

Barack Obama spends a lot of time promising bold leadership. He claims his health care plan covers everyone, but his proposal does not match his words.

Instead, Obama took the timid way out, offering yet another band-aid solution.

John Edwards has said "as many as 15 million Americans would be without coverage" [Sioux City Journal, November 30, 2007] under Obama's plan.

Timid leadership won't change Washington.

Band-aid solutions won't solve health care.

And we don't have time to wait for Obama's plans to catch up with his promises.

The first sentence I bolded in that blockquote is in red print, with the word "uninsured" underlined.

The bottom part I bolded is in bold black print.

At the very bottom of the page are these words (the first sentence in red, the second sentence in brown, with larger font):

American needs real change on health care.
But Barack Obama's plan is just more of the same.

This mailer interests me for a few reasons. Although AFSCME supports Hillary, the mailer says nothing about her health care plan or why it's better than Obama's.

On the contrary, the piece quotes Edwards criticizing Obama's plan. Is this intended to boost support for Edwards (as opposed to Obama) among the anybody-but-Hillary voters?

Or is it intended to make Iowans who may not like negativity believe Edwards is behind this piece attacking Obama?

The rhetoric about Obama's "band-aid solution" being "no change at all" and "just more of the same" is a direct assault on Obama's attempt to present himself as a bold leader offering "change we can believe in."

And the line about his health care plan being "not up to the job" subtly reinforces a message some Clinton surrogates are pushing: that Obama himself is not up to the job. In fact, a careless reader skimming the page may even read it as saying directly that Barack Obama is not up to the job.

As I've written before, I think it was a mistake for Obama to offer a health-care plan that was less than universal. He let Edwards and Hillary get ahead of him on this issue. I have no idea whether this mailing will persuade anyone, but I thought it was worth bringing to the community's attention.

What do you think?

UPDATE: A commenter at Daily Kos pointed me to this: http://weblogs.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/blog/2007/12/obama_pals_mad_about_mail_from.html#comments
Curiously, AFSCME has argued against mandates in the past, as recently as last spring when President Gerald McEntee testified on the issue at a congressional hearing.
SECOND UPDATE: Got an e-mail from the Edwards Iowa HQ. This is from a press release issued on Thursday:
Edwards Campaign Responds to Underhanded Trick by Clinton Allies Des Moines, Iowa – Iowa caucus goers have been sent a direct mail advertisement that appears to be an attack on Senator Obama by John Edwards, but is actually produced and funded by an organization supporting Senator Clinton. Jennifer O'Malley Dillon, Iowa State Director for the Edwards Campaign, made the following statement: “There have been a lot of misleading tactics and tricks in the last few weeks, but we've just never seen anything like this before. Either they are trying to trick people, or they've realized that on health care, John Edwards is the candidate who speaks honestly about what it really costs and what will be required to have truly universal coverage. He has led the debate on health care with the strongest, boldest plan that covers everyone and is paid for by repealing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. It's fine to have an honest debate about policy, but Iowans deserve better than planted questions and campaign fliers designed to fool them.” More information about the disguised attack by the Clinton team is available at: http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2007/12/19/526774.aspx

Tags: 2008 elections, AFSCME, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Iowa, John Edwards, president, Primaries (all tags)

Comments

123 Comments

Re: AFSCME mailer attacks Obama on health care

Goodness.  That's pretty harsh.

by Steve M 2007-12-19 02:27PM | 0 recs
I agree

Obama's health care plan isn't the best, but it's wrong to say it would be "no change at all" or "just more of the same." It would clearly be a step in the right direction.

by desmoinesdem 2007-12-19 02:30PM | 0 recs
Re: I agree

I agree.  I've been disappointed both in Obama's plan and in his rhetoric about Clinton's healthcare plan (I think Clinton's and Edwards' plans are superior).  But Obama's is still much better than anything the Republicans have offered and would be a step in the right direction, just a smaller step.

But then I feel that way about Obama, generally.  Miles better than any Republican, but I prefer the more partisan Clinton and Edwards.

by BDB 2007-12-19 03:08PM | 0 recs
Re: I agree

Do you think his 'present' votes on every abortion bill are an adequate "step in the right direction"?

by hwc 2007-12-19 03:13PM | 0 recs
Re: I agree

Just curious, since I've seen you alude to this several times before.  Is abortion rights the only thing you care about, or at least the thing you care most about?

by Its Like Herding Cats 2007-12-19 03:20PM | 0 recs
Re: I agree

It's a litmus test for me. I believe that the government should stay out of people's bedrooms.

Weak-knee'd politicians like Saint Obama, who don't have guts to stand up and vote for progressive issues, even as part-time statehouse hacks, don't impress me much as leaders.

by hwc 2007-12-19 03:27PM | 0 recs
So, as a litmus test for you....

Abortion rights matter more than...  War?   Poverty?    Climate change?   Racism?     Homophobia?   Economic inclusiveness?   All others being equal, Abortion rights is what determines your vote?  Serious question.

by Its Like Herding Cats 2007-12-19 03:35PM | 0 recs
Re: So, as a litmus test for you....

I'm not very pleased with Saint Obama's homophobic campaign events, either.

by hwc 2007-12-19 03:45PM | 0 recs
Re: So, as a litmus test for you....

Nor am I, but it by itself would not prevent me from voting for him.  (to be clear, i support JRE).

So I would ask again, is that your single, winner take all issue?  Or could you vote for Hill or John if they waffled on the issue?

by Its Like Herding Cats 2007-12-19 03:50PM | 0 recs
Re: So, as a litmus test for you....

Your style of argumentation is HIGHLY offensivre.  

Your statement is a bald face distortion.

I don't like liars and cheats.

by upper left 2007-12-19 09:20PM | 0 recs
Re: So, as a litmus test for you....

and i dont like mcclurkin

by sepulvedaj3 2007-12-20 11:20AM | 0 recs
Re: I agree

You know what? I think there might be more to that story. He was covering for other Dems I think. Of course, it does bring up some questions.

by Ga6thDem 2007-12-19 03:44PM | 0 recs
Re: I agree

Covering for some other Democrats is the lie he has told to explain his "present" votes. The problem is that, on some of his "present" votes, he was the only one voting that way. For example, I believe he was the only "present" vote on a bill that would have banned strip clubs within 1000 feet of a school or church.

One can only assume that he owed the strip club owners lobby a favor. With all his mob connected political cronies, that wouldn't be hard to imagine.

by hwc 2007-12-19 03:48PM | 0 recs
Re: I agree

My issUe is the Iraq war, I cannot support a candidate that voted for the AUF AND CANNOT ADMIT IT WAS A MISTAKE.

Hillary would be my last choice for president.

by BDM 2007-12-19 04:46PM | 0 recs
Or.....

Maybe he just doesn't give a damn if a strip club is 1000, 500 or 250 feet from a school.  Maybe he thinks they should be a mile, or maybe he thinks they have the right to be next door.  

A vote of "present" cannot be assumed to mean anything in particular, ask Nancy Pelosi who seems to hold the record for "present" votes.

by Its Like Herding Cats 2007-12-19 05:11PM | 0 recs
Re: I agree

I think a candidate running on judgment should show good judgment. Being weak in the knee on important issues like a woman's right to choose directly contradicts Obama's main campaign theme.

by world dictator 2007-12-19 04:52PM | 0 recs
Re: I agree

Who says Obama is weak on this issue? Perhaps he neither supports nor disagrees with a womans right to choose, he may just be ambivalent to the issue. which is of course his choice.

Regardless, the question was not about  obama's beliefs but rather the posters litmus test on the issue.

For me, choice is important, but if a candidate agrees with all my positions except for choice, I'd most likely still vote for them.

My guess is the HWC would not vote for anyone candidate who was not actively pro-choice.

by Its Like Herding Cats 2007-12-19 05:06PM | 0 recs
Present

You know, don't you, that Obama's 'present' vote on abortion bills had the support of the president of Illinois Planned Parenthood?

You know, don't you, that he voted 'present' on about 130 votes out of 4000?

by royce 2007-12-20 08:14AM | 0 recs
"Present votes on every abortion bill?"

You clearly do not know what you are talking about. Stop painting with a broad brush.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/20/us/pol itics/20obama.html?_r=3&pagewanted=1 &ref=politics&oref=slogin&or ef=slogin&oref=slogin

by rapcetera 2007-12-21 04:06AM | 0 recs
Re: I agree

Eff him.

I don't recall Saint Obama being generous enough to grant that fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton's S-CHIP program was a "step in the right direction."

by hwc 2007-12-19 03:12PM | 0 recs
Re: I agree

What is your problem?  Why the personal attacks on Obama?

He is a progressive candidate who has a great voting record from the ADA and the AFL-CIO.  You may prefer other candiates, but why are you such a jerk about it?

by upper left 2007-12-19 09:23PM | 0 recs
Re: I agree

They're being a jerk because IT IS HILLARY CLINTON'S DESTINY TO BE PRESIDENT HOW DARE YOU INTERFERE WITH HER DESTINY YOU WILL BE CRUSHED

by wahoopaul 2007-12-20 05:05AM | 0 recs
Re: I agree

But I do not feel sorry for him over this.  This is what's to be expected and, quite frankly, the price he's got to pay for putting out that subpar health plan.

This is politics at its base.  And, you know what?  I think the mail piece is pretty effective.

by jgarcia 2007-12-20 09:35AM | 0 recs
Re: I agree

But I do not feel sorry for him over this.  This is what's to be expected and, quite frankly, the price he's got to pay for putting out that subpar health plan.

This is politics at its base.  And, you know what?  I think the mail piece is pretty effective.

by jgarcia 2007-12-20 09:36AM | 0 recs
Re: I agree

For the 15 million people left uninsured by the Obama plan, it would most certainly be no change at all.

by hwc 2007-12-20 02:52PM | 0 recs
Re: I agree

I don't see what kind of change he's going to bring to the essential problem of extremely rationed medical insurance. He's made it clear that it isn't very much of a priority for him to bring his plan in line with the consensus view of numerous progressive policy experts. That's pretty much more of the same...

by bowiegeek 2007-12-20 07:33PM | 0 recs
Re: AFSCME mailer attacks Obama on health care

hillarys failed healthcare attempt in 93 left 47 million uninsured today.

by allmiview 2007-12-19 02:32PM | 0 recs
desmoinesdem

the media that is MSNBC are already talking about this mailing in their First Read blog:

http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2 007/12/19/526774.aspx

First Read concludes that the Edwards' inclusion was intended to make it look like a slam by Edwards.

I don't know what the unions' intentions were....

by ademption 2007-12-19 02:38PM | 0 recs
Re: desmoinesdem

What confuses me most is how could any union that was not thoroughly corrupt, support a candidate whose campaign chief is a union busting scab.  

by Its Like Herding Cats 2007-12-19 02:56PM | 0 recs
hmm. interesting

So just by virtue of the fact that the union supports Hillary that means they're corrupt and I guess presumably on the take huh?

Well, for one thing, it wasn't the leadership who chose HRC but members who voted for Hillary to be the union's endorsee. I would hope that you wouldn't disparage the entire AFSCME membership just b/c they VOTED to endorse Hillary.

Secondly, I don't know what the standard is for state, county and municipal workers, but federal workers are prohibited by law from striking. So at least in the federal setting, there is no such thing as "union busting scabs" etc. Could the same be true of state/local workers as well? If that is the case, then an issue like union busting might be more important in the private sector rather than in a government setting. Or maybe the union is more concerned about what HILLARY THE CANDIDATE and not Mark Penn, one of her employees, has done to improve the working conditions for this union.  

Just a thought....

by ademption 2007-12-19 03:41PM | 0 recs
Re: hmm. interesting

The health care mailer puts Saint Obama on the horns of a dilemma. Does he have his hitmen (Gibbs, et al) go after AFSCME, one of the largest unions in Iowa?

by hwc 2007-12-19 03:50PM | 0 recs
AFSCME members voted?

That is news to me. I have heard that there was a lot of support for Edwards and Obama within the Iowa AFSCME as well. I heard that endorsement came from the national leadership of AFSCME.

by desmoinesdem 2007-12-19 04:24PM | 0 recs
Re: AFSCME members voted?

Illinios AFSCME and Wisconson and a couple of other midwest states voted to support Obama, but the national went with HRC.  There was a story yesterday about how upset the Illinois folks were about the national sending out this hit piece.

by upper left 2007-12-19 09:26PM | 0 recs
Re: AFSCME members voted?

I could see Illinois AFSCME backing Obama, but I'd love to see a citation or hear some credible inside info on Wisconsin.  

The HRC endorsement was definitely a product of the national leadership.

by Peter from WI 2007-12-20 06:47AM | 0 recs
obama propoganda


thats the nice word for it.

the endorsement came from a natl voting of the membership of ascme

hillary won by 40,000

by Seymour Glass 2007-12-20 08:48AM | 0 recs
Re: hmm. interesting

Actually...union management voted for Hillary. And they did so because she looked like the frontrunner at the time. I'm an obama supporter, but why in God's name didn't they support Edwards? Hillary is a union buster...

by wahoopaul 2007-12-20 05:06AM | 0 recs
Re: AFSCME mailer attacks Obama on health care

Interesting that AFSCME is going pretty hard on behalf of Clinton. Here in NV, as best I can tell, AFSCME is not pushing for her very hard. I canvassed over the weekend and spoke with a neighbor who had been to an AFSCME caucus training and she said they didn't talk about the candidates at all, only the process.

Its a much smaller operation here, but they did canvass and send mail on behalf of Dean in 04.  

by desmoulins 2007-12-19 02:53PM | 0 recs
Depending on the rabbit test

I think Barry finishes 3rd in Iowa.

by dpANDREWS 2007-12-19 02:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Depending on the rabbit test

Well if you go by the reactions of some of his supporters to the facts from his own pdf on healthcare I would tend to believe. Hopefully, people can discuss this here. I called it a mishmash over there and got troll rated by one of his supporters. Enough already. Get the darn thing over with!

by Ga6thDem 2007-12-19 03:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Depending on the rabbit test

you wish

I will jumpfor joy when Clinton finishes 3rd.

by BDM 2007-12-19 04:49PM | 0 recs
Re: AFSCME mailer attacks Obama on health care

I wonder if they cited Edwards because they thought people would take that more seriously.  If you know that the union has endorsed Hillary, then citing her complaints about Obama's healthcare plan doesn't mean much.  Also, anyone paying attention probably knows that Clinton has attacked Obama's healthcare plan.

When they cite Edwards, it's kind of like saying, it's not just Hillary and her supporters who say Obama's healthcare plan is lacking.  Other Democratic candidates think that, too.  Obama is the one who is wrong.  

Or perhaps I'm reading too much into it.

by BDB 2007-12-19 03:06PM | 0 recs
fascinating

Fascinating.  Thanks for sharing.

by markjay 2007-12-19 03:08PM | 0 recs
Re: AFSCME mailer attacks Obama on health care

What do you think?

I think:

You go, girl!

After three months of Saint Obama accusing Clinton of being corrupt, I think she and her surrogates have every right to expose him for the triangulating wimp that he is.

by hwc 2007-12-19 03:09PM | 0 recs
Re: AFSCME mailer attacks Obama on health care

She is a pathological liar

by BDM 2007-12-19 04:50PM | 0 recs
Re: AFSCME mailer attacks Obama on health care

youre a pathological asshole

by Seymour Glass 2007-12-19 06:03PM | 0 recs
Re: AFSCME mailer attacks Obama on health care

Oh my!  where are the nannies when you need them?

by Its Like Herding Cats 2007-12-19 06:19PM | 0 recs
Re: AFSCME mailer attacks Obama on health care

what a true jerk you are

by Seymour Glass 2007-12-20 08:50AM | 0 recs
Re: AFSCME mailer attacks Obama on health care

Will someone please think of the children....

Where are the nannies?  Oh, that's right, I  forgot, they're  all Mrs. Clinton supporters so they overlook the bad behavior of their own herd.

Typical, yet not surprising.  

by Its Like Herding Cats 2007-12-20 09:10AM | 0 recs
Re: AFSCME mailer attacks Obama on health care

you lowlifes think calling our probable nominee pathological liar is a minor thing.

It is an insult to the millions of dems who support her.  But your type doesnt care about that...

Why dont you fools just get off to Naderland now, that is where you will be ending up anyhow.

by Seymour Glass 2007-12-20 09:19AM | 0 recs
Re: AFSCME mailer attacks Obama on health care

I never said she was a pathological liar.  I personally believe that she is a pathological opportunist, but that's beside the point.  

My comment was to the "Nannies", and they know who they are (all Mrs. Clinton supporters)  Who love to condemn others for disparaging comments, while choosing to ignore similar comments from their own herd.

After reading your diaries I am now convinced you have a gun rack in the back of your pickup truck, a confederate flag in the window and as a confirmed supporter of Mrs. Clinton, not the kind of crowd I want to come to power in America.  I would think most progressives would be embarrassed  to have you on their side.  Apparently I am wrong since i have never seen a single Mrs. Clinton supporter call you out on your hate speech, vitriol and covert racism.

Have a nice day.

by Its Like Herding Cats 2007-12-20 09:47AM | 0 recs
Re: AFSCME mailer attacks Obama on health care

Re: AFSCME mailer attacks Obama on health care (none / 0)

She is a pathological liar

by BDM on Wed Dec 19, 2007 at 09:50:43 PM EST
[ Parent | Reply to This | ]

by Seymour Glass 2007-12-20 02:30PM | 0 recs
Re: AFSCME mailer attacks Obama on health care

god what an ass you are.

Im not a "progressive" - Im a leftst democrat....
and  couldnt give a fuck what you think of me you wussy bastard.

by Seymour Glass 2007-12-20 02:34PM | 0 recs
Re: AFSCME mailer attacks Obama on health care

why does the ulta progressive poll 6% in the KOS poll the defacto liberal site on the internet   from this poll alone one could reasonably conclude she is a disaster for the progressive movement.

by marketingman 2007-12-20 05:38PM | 0 recs
Re: AFSCME mailer attacks Obama on health care

Speaking as a nanny myself, I try to respect the right of people to respond to a nasty comment with another nasty comment.

by Steve M 2007-12-20 09:43AM | 0 recs
These are terrible tactics

It's obvious they want to make it look like Edwards and Obama are attacking each other. This is shameful politics.

by Progressive America 2007-12-19 04:09PM | 0 recs
Re: AFSCME mailer

AFSCME SHOULD attack Obama's healthcare plan.  Obama threw that plan together overnight and he did an inadequate job in the process.  Why should he get a pass for that?  

by AUD 2007-12-19 04:27PM | 0 recs
a commenter at Daily Kos

pointed me to this:

http://weblogs.chicagotribune.com/news/p olitics/blog/2007/12/obama_pals_mad_abou t_mail_from.html#comments

Curiously, AFSCME has argued against mandates in the past, as recently as last spring when President Gerald McEntee testified on the issue at a congressional hearing.

by desmoinesdem 2007-12-19 04:44PM | 0 recs
Re: a commenter at Daily Kos

I have no idea if that comment from the tribune is accurate or not.  However, if it is accurate, it doesn't mean much anyway.  Lots of people (including me) oppose mandates if they are not coupled with affordability plans.  AFSCME apparently likes Hillary's combination of mandate plus affordability.

by markjay 2007-12-19 05:11PM | 0 recs
I don't know why AFSCME endorsed her

It may not have been related to her health care plan.

Since this mailer says nothing about Hillary's plan, I don't know what AFSCME likes or doesn't like about it.

by desmoinesdem 2007-12-19 05:30PM | 0 recs
Re: I don't know why AFSCME endorsed her

Well, they endorsed her, so I'll just presume they liked her health care plan.

by markjay 2007-12-19 06:53PM | 0 recs
Re: a commenter at Daily Kos

They testified against mandates last year...

by wahoopaul 2007-12-20 05:08AM | 0 recs
Re: a commenter at Daily Kos

Hillary's plan doesn't have mandates--she just says it does. Mandates without enforcement mechanisms are really more 'requests' or 'suggestions.' Hillary's plan won't bring in any more people than Obama's, and probably less.

It's not enough to just say, "I mandate this!" The entire value of mandates depends on the enforcement mechanisms, and Hillary's plan has none.

by Mystylplx 2007-12-20 12:10PM | 0 recs
Re: AFSCME mailer attacks Obama on health care

I m 100% sure most Iowans have heard about  the attacks on Obama's health care plan and i doubt he will lose any more vote for it....His demo is the 17-50 demo..the 50 and over are the oe that cares the most about health care and Obama does not get as much support among them....Those older voters that are already in Obama's side probably aren't backing him because he has the best health-care plan.

What Obama and Edwards supporters needs to understand is that most Iowans who supports Obama supports him on feelings , not issues and history has proven that inspirational candidates tend to do better then the policy wonky guy that has great command of every issue.

Although i think Obama has to be more scripted and get better command of the issue to balance out his candidacy , it is clear that Iowans arent supporting him based on experience , issues or policy wonkiness.

I still dont think Obama should ignore those attacks and he should respond , but i doubt you will be able to pull away someone who supports him because Baracks makes him or her feel good about America.

by Prodigy 2007-12-19 05:39PM | 0 recs
yes and no

What Obama and Edwards supporters needs to understand is that most Iowans who supports Obama supports him on feelings , not issues and history has proven that inspirational candidates tend to do better then the policy wonky guy that has great command of every issue.

I totally agree that Obama supporters tend to have a great feeling about him, rather than coming to support him after studying his stands on the issues. I have talked to several environmentalists who are for Obama, or leaning his way, having no idea that he voted for Bush's energy bill and has a long history of supporting coal interests.

When you say that history shows inspirational candidates tend to do better, that may be the case for some. But I am worried about nominating an inspirational candidate who has never been through a tough campaign.

Different people are inspired by different things. I don't find Obama's rhetoric inspiring, just like I would imagine that you are not inspired by Edwards' rhetoric (which I find empowering).

by desmoinesdem 2007-12-19 05:59PM | 0 recs
Re: yes and no

I have talked to several environmentalists who are for Obama, or leaning his way, having no idea that he voted for Bush's energy bill

this is obama's work on energy issues:

http://obama.senate.gov/issues/energy/

anything there you don't like?

and has a long history of supporting coal interests.

if obama was such a tool for coal interests, why did he only get a 25% approval rating from national mining association?

http://www.bipac.net/incumbent_detail.as p?g=NMA&leg_id_num=9297

this shows all the times obama has voted against mining interests. the two times he voted with involved developing new technologies to improve pollution control.

by jello 2007-12-20 03:27AM | 0 recs
Re: yes and no

You know who supported NAFTA?

Hillary.

Do you know waht's done more damage to the environment than anything else...ever?

NAFTA.

by wahoopaul 2007-12-20 05:09AM | 0 recs
Re: yes and no

Wow, I guess Al Gore is anti-environment by that measure.

by Steve M 2007-12-20 06:06AM | 0 recs
Re: AFSCME mailer attacks Obama on health care

What Obama and Edwards supporters needs to understand is that most Iowans who supports Obama supports him on feelings

pollster after pollster have asserted this. majority of people go by their gut feelings about a candidate. that is more determinative than issues.

by jello 2007-12-20 03:12AM | 0 recs
right, and Obama hasn't faced

the full media assault that would come if he wins the nomination.

Edwards has had much less national media attention than Obama, and has had a higher proportion of negative media coverage when they do pay attention to him.

Yet he still does better than Obama in many head-to-head matchups against Republicans.

What are people's "gut feelings" going to be after the media spends a few months going after Obama?

by desmoinesdem 2007-12-20 03:45AM | 0 recs
Re: right, and Obama hasn't faced

that assumes obama's appeal has been media driven. i happen to disagree.

by jello 2007-12-20 04:05AM | 0 recs
Re: AFSCME mailer attacks Obama on health care

AFSCME rocks!

Barry's plan on purpose leaves out 1 out of 3 uninsured.

unacceptable.

by Seymour Glass 2007-12-19 06:05PM | 0 recs
Re: AFSCME mailer attacks Obama on health care

And a class act leaving Edwards fingerprints on the mailer.  I thought of you the moment I read it on MSNBC.  Just your style.

by Shaun Appleby 2007-12-19 07:28PM | 0 recs
Re: AFSCME mailer attacks Obama on health care

go union

nice touch, but it wasnt meant to look like an edwards piece - thats krazy wrong.

this was an independent union piece -- on issues as the law requires it to be.

those that are bitching dont know the law or understand the intent of the mailers message.

what a shock.

by Seymour Glass 2007-12-20 08:56AM | 0 recs
Re: AFSCME mailer attacks Obama on health care

why does the ulta progressive poll 6% in the KOS poll the defacto liberal site on the internet   from this poll alone one could reasonably conclude she is a disaster for the progressive movement.

by marketingman 2007-12-20 05:42PM | 0 recs
Very disappointing

No substance at all, and the rhetoric is pretty ridiculous.  "For those without insurance, Obama's plan is no change at all"?  Yeah, unless you're one of the tens of millions who get free or subsidized care under his plan.  That's, you know, at least a little change.  

by Ryan Anderson 2007-12-19 06:40PM | 0 recs
Re: AFSCME mailer attacks Obama on health care

Anyone who thinks forcing people to buy health insurance is a progressive idea should check this diary by the California Nurses Association blasting them as applied in the proposed California "universal" health care plan:

http://www.mydd.com/story/2007/12/18/145 745/70#readmore

by dmc2 2007-12-19 06:50PM | 0 recs
Thanks for the redirect

I've been wondering this for a while, especially as it concerns Edward's rhetoric on the issue: doesn't an individual mandate in a non-single payer system actually benefit private health insurers by increasing their consumer base?  

Honestly, I'm not even saying there's anything wrong with that.  I'm definitely not using it as a reason to oppose mandates: I frankly don't care if health care companies make bigger profits so long as more people get better care.  But it doesn't make any sense to me that Edwards is promoting UHC as an uncompromising fight to the death against corporate interests who might even benefit from his proposal.

by Ryan Anderson 2007-12-19 06:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the redirect

The key is the existence of a public Medicare-like option that people can buy into if the private insurers charge too much.

A mandate is bad news if you don't have adequate subsidies and if you don't have a public option.  With those two things taken care of, I think a mandate is the right way to go.  Certainly that's how most health care experts seem to look at it.

by Steve M 2007-12-19 07:01PM | 0 recs
Makes sense

Thank you for a substantive response.

by Ryan Anderson 2007-12-19 07:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the redirect

Yeah, but nothing is "taken care of" right now. It's just words on paper. As the California experience seems to be demonstrating, when they go to negotiate this stuff, it's quite possible that the affordability and quality will be compromised, but the mandates will remain.

Barack is saying, let's get the affordability and quality right, and then we can talk about bringing in the stragglers later. But let's not start with that, at least for adults. I think that makes a lot more political sense.

by dmc2 2007-12-19 07:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the redirect

Well, my approach would be that the public option and the funding for subsidies simply would not be negotiable items.

It would be a political disaster if we put our program in place without sufficient funding to make it work.  There's no way we can let that happen.

by Steve M 2007-12-19 07:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the redirect

Agreed in principle, but in practice, there's not going to be some moment, when "presto" we have this great, affordable, quality health insurance system that doesn't bankrupt the federal government. It's going to be a bumpy road at best.

Again, I think the recent California negotiations are instructive. A lot of the same or similar issues.

by dmc2 2007-12-19 07:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the redirect

Yeah, but even the public option is just private-sector underwriting with a group discount.  What measures could possibly prevent escalating prices even in that context?  And this all legally enforced on co-payers.  It still disturbs me.

by Shaun Appleby 2007-12-19 07:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the redirect

Yeah, but even the public option is just private-sector underwriting with a group discount.  What measures could possibly prevent escalating prices even in that context?  And this all legally enforced on co-payers.  It still disturbs me.

Not in the Clinton plan. There are two options available for government administered health care:

a) Congress's plan -- the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program which is a menu of private fee-for-service and HMO insurers at huge group rates

b) A true-single payer goverment plan ("Medicare for all")

These two options (in addition to all of the current private group and individual plans) will be available to any American (with tax credits as necessary to cap costs to a fixed percentage of income). The various option will compete for customers.

by hwc 2007-12-19 08:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the redirect

Well, thanks for your response.  I went over to her web-site and on the summary page the only mention of the public plan you describe as 'true single-payer' is in this paragraph:


Americans can keep their existing coverage or access the same menu of quality private insurance options that their Members of Congress receive through a new Health Choices Menu, established without any new bureaucracy as part of the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program (FEHBP). In addition to the broad array of private options that Americans can choose from, they will be offered the choice of a public plan option similar to Medicare.

I'm not sure what 'similar' means here.  In her PDF there is this paragraph:


A Choice of a Public Plan Option: In addition to the array of private insurance choices offered, the Health Choices Menu will also provide Americans with a choice of a public plan option, which could be modeled on the traditional Medicare program, but would cover the same benefits as guaranteed in private plan options in the Health Choices Menu without creating a new bureaucracy. The alternative will compete on a level playing field with traditional private insurance plans. It will provide a more affordable option, in part through greater administrative savings. It will not be funded through the Medicare trust fund.

More detail here and a confirmation that no private underwriters are involved, but your 'would' becomes 'could,' and I assume that 'level playing field' is code for price-indexing to private underwriting costs, is that so?  And how, may I ask, will this be funded?  Or administered 'without creating a new bureaucracy?'  I take your point in principle but am still concerned that the devil is on the detail on this.  This certainly does not seem like the part of the plan being promoted, either, one has to dig into the PDF file to find it described.  Is this what makes her plan proto-single payer?  It barely rates a mention.

by Shaun Appleby 2007-12-19 09:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the redirect

More detail here and a confirmation that no private underwriters are involved, but your 'would' becomes 'could,' and I assume that 'level playing field' is code for price-indexing to private underwriting costs, is that so?  And how, may I ask, will this be funded?

It is Medicare. A 100% government insurance program. It can't be funded from the Medicare trust fund because that is a separate legally defined fund. It will be a parallel program funded by premiums paid by those who chose the public insurance option and by government funding.

The "level playing field" refers to the coverage, which will be the same minimum set of requirements as those required of private insurers under the Federal Employees Health Benefits program, including mental health coverage. The expectation of the experts who crafted Clinton's plan is that the public option will be priced lower than the private options. That is the case for states (such as Washington) that have offered a dual-track private and public option.

Or administered 'without creating a new bureaucracy?'

That refers to the government administered private group plans. Clinton will administer this option through an expansion of the existing Federal Employees Health Benefits program which already adminsters private group insurace for 4 million people. This is in contrast to her 1993 plan and to Edwards' plan which require the creation of new federal regional health departments. The advantage of Clinton's approach is that it can be implemented almost immediately (meaning within a year or two of the authorizing legislation. The administrative bureacracy already exists. The menu of fee-for-service and HMO plans is already available. You can go right to this website and pick your plan tomorrow:

http://www.opm.gov/insure/08/spmt/planse arch.aspx

This certainly does not seem like the part of the plan being promoted, either, one has to dig into the PDF file to find it described.  Is this what makes her plan proto-single payer?  It barely rates a mention.

Duh.

What do you want the Democrats to do? Put up billboards proclaiming, Vote Democratic, We are for Socialized Medicine!

The public single-payer part of the plan will be a major attack point for the Republicans during the fall campaign. The only people who support it are the ultra-lefties. If Clinton focuses on that part of her plan as opposed to the wide range of private insurer options under the American Health Choices Plan, the Democrats will lose the White House and you can kiss health care reform goodbye.

This is major league politics. It's all in the framing. Democrats can't lead with their chin like Kucinich and Edwards and expect to win a national election.

by hwc 2007-12-19 09:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the redirect

Thank you very much for your comprehensive response.  I have to admit it is pretty coherent and attractive.  Let's hope we get such a majority that we can push this through easily.  Cheers.

by Shaun Appleby 2007-12-19 09:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the redirect

She's only been working the health care problem for 15 years. Along with Ted Kennedy and maybe a handful of others, Hillary Clinton knows more about the issues of health care reform than any politician in America.

I leave the details of the plan up to the experts. That's why god created PhDs economists. What impresses me is how she understands the politics. She knows that the major club used to beat health care reform upside the head has been the narrative that the Democrats want to take away your choices. Hence the name, American Health Choices Plan. It's not a throwaway name. It's framing. It's why she rolled out her plan in three stages:

a) Improve Quality
b) Reduce Cost
c) Insure Everybody

by hwc 2007-12-19 10:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the redirect

If I could add one more key point. If Senator Clinton's plan were to be enacted, the existing Federal Employees Heath Benefits program would expand from 4 million customers to tens of millions of customers. For all intents and purposes, any insurance company or HMO that does not get on the approved list will go out of business. This gives the government tremendous leverage in negotiating prices and in setting the terms and conditions (for example, mental health parity). It is the desire to sell to these massive groups that incentivises the insurance companies to adjust their business practices. The size of these groups also provides the insurance companies sufficient risk stability to go back to model of pricing the product based on an "average" consumer, figuring that health customers and sick customers will balance out.

by hwc 2007-12-19 10:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the redirect

Sounds promising in theory, the two obstacles I see are getting through the legislative hoops and containing the costs from escalating in the long-term.  And, of course, the mandate is politically harder to sell for a general election candidate.  I can see a lot of resistance to that, I'm not so sure I like the idea myself though I concede the logic of it.

by Shaun Appleby 2007-12-19 10:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the redirect

"The public single-payer part of the plan will be a major attack point for the Republicans during the fall campaign.
...

This is major league politics. It's all in the framing."

I happen to believe that the mandates will be a far more significant point of attack for Republicans than single-payer could ever be.

by dmc2 2007-12-20 04:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the redirect

What you don't realize is that attacking mandates has no salience among the large majority of the country that has health insurance already.  They're not going to be mandated to do anything.

by Steve M 2007-12-20 06:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the redirect

No, but lots and lots of people understand that their bargaining position will be compromised if they can't say no.

by dmc2 2007-12-20 06:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the redirect

I think there are very, very few people who have health insurance right now, but feel strongly about retaining the right to go without it in the future.

by Steve M 2007-12-20 06:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the redirect

Me and my wife are two.

by dmc2 2007-12-20 07:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the redirect

Bingo. The California Nurses Association, which by the way has kicked ass in countless progressive causes, calls it what it is: a sop to the health insurance industry. Maybe it's a good thing, maybe it's not; but it's definitely not anti-corporate.

by dmc2 2007-12-19 07:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the redirect

Could go either way, it seems, depending on the details of his plan.  Like Steve M suggested, the real question is how many of the people affected by the mandate would choose the public option.  It's at least conceivable that everyone would, but I don't know enough about health care policy in general to even bother with trying to figure that out for myself.  

by Ryan Anderson 2007-12-19 07:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the redirect

Since Hillary Clinton's plan offers subsidies and allows people to choose either a private or a public plan, I don't see how you can say it favors the insurance industry.  My assumption is that the public plan will be able to offer quality health care at a cheaper price than a profit driven insurance company.  I expect that will be the choice most people make.

by jfashwell 2007-12-19 07:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the redirect

No, I said above that to the extent that each of the plans provides a public option that is more attractive than that offered by the private industry, then that's a good thing, anti-corporate, not a sop. It's the mandate that's a sop.

by dmc2 2007-12-19 07:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the redirect

In Washington State, which offers a state-run public plan and a menu of private options, the trend has been steadily toward the public option. To the point where many of the existing private insurers can not compete.

However, it is not clear whether this trend is sustainable. Many suggest that the state has artificially underpriced the public plan to a degree that is not sustainable under tolerable government budget constraints.

Ultimately, the competitiveness of the public single-payer Medicare style option is a political decision that will be made through the Congressional budgeting process.

by hwc 2007-12-19 10:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the redirect

The mandate is a plus for the insurance companies.

It is the carrot that will be required to get them to agree to major changes in the way they do business. Specifically, Clinton's plan would prohibit them from refusing to sell insurance (or sell insurance at higher than group rates) to those with pre-existing conditions.

In other words, "we are going to make you sell reasonably priced insurance to the chronic disease patient (which will hurt your bottom line), but we are going to add tens of millions of new customers (with government subsidies) to your customer base to make up for it."

IMO, the "storm the corporate ramparts" rhetoric of the Nader candidates is extremely counterproductive to achieving universal health care coverage.

by hwc 2007-12-19 08:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the redirect

I share your opinion on that one, which is why I was glad to see Obama tacking a reasonable position (pushing back on corporate interests without shutting them out) even if it risks giving the upper hand to Edwards.

by Ryan Anderson 2007-12-19 09:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the redirect

Any candidate saying that they are going to ignore corporate interests in governing the world's largest capitalist economy is just pandering.

by hwc 2007-12-19 09:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the redirect

"In other words, 'we are going to make you sell reasonably priced insurance to the chronic disease patient (which will hurt your bottom line), but we are going to add tens of millions of new customers (with government subsidies) to your customer base to make up for it.'"

This is exactly why I think mandates are so disingenuous. It's a tax on the healthy to pay for the sick. If we want to collectively find a way to pay more of the cost for sick patients, there's a time-honored, well-accepted, generally progressive way to do that: raise taxes or cut government spending in another area.

But don't force young, healthy people to overpay for health insurance in order to subsidize the care of others, and claim to be doing them some kind of a favor by providing "universal health care" (by fiat).

by dmc2 2007-12-20 04:33AM | 0 recs
AFSCME is right

Its disturbing that so many Democrats are willing to settle for a healthcare solution that only helps 2/3 of uninsured Americans.  Is that really the best we can do as a country????

by Sandy1938 2007-12-19 08:58PM | 0 recs
Re: AFSCME is right

Unless we elect Kucinich, it apparently is.

by Its Like Herding Cats 2007-12-19 10:35PM | 0 recs
Re: AFSCME is right

both HILLARY'S and EDWARD'S plans include all AMERICANS

by Sandy1938 2007-12-20 12:33AM | 0 recs
Re: AFSCME is right

Don't you know anything? Edwards and Hillary's plans leave people out to. A mandate doesn't cover everyone. It just mandates. There are mandates about tons of things (like speeding, for example), and they don't force people to change their behavior. Read Jonathan Cohn or any other healthcare writer and you'll realize that you're completely ignorant.

by wahoopaul 2007-12-20 05:30AM | 0 recs
People can always choose to break the law

which is what they would have to do to avoid health coverage in either Hillary or Edward's plans.  

Obama's plan leaves out 15 million Americans.

by Sandy1938 2007-12-20 09:12AM | 0 recs
Re: AFSCME is right
Disturbing? It's not disturbing! I, for one, don't care at all about the people Obama's plan "leaves out." Why? Because he ONLY LEAVES OUT PEOPLE WHO WANT TO BE LEFT OUT. They don't get left out, they OPT out. It's a pretty complex decision whether a mandate is a good idea or not, and I'm not sure what the answer is, but I am fed up with Hillary's bullshit portrayal of Obama's plan "leaving out" people who want health insurance. That is NOT the issue at all. Here are the health care plans: Obama: Health insurance for anyone who wants it. Hillary: Shove it down everyone's throat. Hillary's rhetoric about Obama: He won't let you get health insurance even if you want it. What a dishonest bitch.
by Setec 2007-12-20 06:43AM | 0 recs
Re: AFSCME is right

So, under Obama's plan, are you going to refuse emergency room treatment for those who opt to be left out?

All of us with insurance are already paying for health care for those who "opt out".

by hwc 2007-12-20 10:27AM | 0 recs
Re: AFSCME is right

Hey,  what ever happened by the way, to Hillary's Universal health care plan back in 1993?

by Its Like Herding Cats 2007-12-20 08:32AM | 0 recs
Re: AFSCME mailer attacks Obama on health care

hey, desmoines beat msnbc to the punch.

by jello 2007-12-20 03:29AM | 0 recs
Re: AFSCME mailer attacks Obama on health care
What seems to be lost on the readers is that instead of touting Clinton's health care plan, the union chose to go negative and tried to drag Edwards' name into the mudpit between Clinton and Obama. Clinton of course has plausible denability, but ASFME needs to come out and say who they endorse while making such an attack. Otherwise, it comes across as VERY underhanded.
by benny06 2007-12-20 06:20AM | 0 recs
Re: AFSCME mailer attacks Obama on health care

What a dishonest piece of shit mailer.  The union mafia doesn't belong in politics any more than the corporate mafia.  AFSCME, STFU.

by Setec 2007-12-20 06:38AM | 0 recs
Desmoines Dem

if you have any contact with the edwards campaign, he should cut a quick youtube exposing this dirty trick to make it look like it came from him.

HIllary said the exact same things, and the leader of AFSCME has a personal relationship with the Clintons going back to 1992..

if edwards made a quick youtube the media would love nothing better than to expose Hillary's dirty tricks

by TarHeel 2007-12-20 07:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Desmoines Dem

It is clear who it came from to anyone who can R.E.A.D.  It came from the  AFSCME.

by dpANDREWS 2007-12-20 07:56AM | 0 recs
So when they launch an attack, they should...

...at least have the guts to say which dog they have in this fight.

These are typical dirty tricks by the Clinton campaign. Somehow I have a feeling they won't be the last or the filthiest we'll see from them.

by MeanBoneII 2007-12-20 10:10AM | 0 recs
thanks for the suggestion

Apparently they were already on top of it. I got this press release issued today in an e-mail from someone at Iowa HQ in Des Moines:

Edwards Campaign Responds to Underhanded Trick by Clinton Allies

Des Moines, Iowa - Iowa caucus goers have been sent a direct mail advertisement that appears to be an attack on Senator Obama by John Edwards, but is actually produced and funded by an organization supporting Senator Clinton.  Jennifer O'Malley Dillon, Iowa State Director for the Edwards Campaign, made the following statement:

"There have been a lot of misleading tactics and tricks in the last few weeks, but we've just never seen anything like this before.  Either they are trying to trick people, or they've realized that on health care, John Edwards is the candidate who speaks honestly about what it really costs and what will be required to have truly universal coverage.  He has led the debate on health care with the strongest, boldest plan that covers everyone and is paid for by repealing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.

It's fine to have an honest debate about policy, but Iowans deserve better than planted questions and campaign fliers designed to fool them."

More information about the disguised attack by the Clinton team is available at: http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2 007/12/19/526774.aspx  

by desmoinesdem 2007-12-20 09:59AM | 0 recs
AFSCME mailer attacks Obama on health care

The AFSCME mailer is not an "attack" by any stretch of the imagination. It is an informational mailing about a policy position.

by hwc 2007-12-20 10:28AM | 0 recs
Re: AFSCME mailer attacks Obama on health care

But it is an attack to point out that Mrs. Clinton voted for the Kyl Lieberman resolution?

Lord save me from revisionist hypocrisy.

by Its Like Herding Cats 2007-12-20 10:35AM | 0 recs
That's right!

We all know the the "Swift boat veterans for truth"  had no contact what so ever with the Bush campaign.

By the way I own this big red bridge out here behind my house, I'd like to sell it to you.

Sheesh...!!! (rolling my eyes in disbelief)

by Its Like Herding Cats 2007-12-20 01:23PM | 0 recs
More examples that Edwards is a fake

Edwards knows the mailer wasn't attributed to him.   The mailer was clear in stating who it came from.

Edwards is being fake here.

Edwards needs to decide if he is real or not.  He can't wear two hats.  He is either real or he is a fake like Obama.   His problems in this race have all come when he has tried to straddle that line.  The line between real and fake (Obama is a total fake).

by dpANDREWS 2007-12-20 03:24PM | 0 recs

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