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 Post subject: DAVID SIROTA: OBAMA AND UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE
PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 2:12 pm 
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Obama Takes encouraging step on health care

by David Sirota

I caught this in the New York Times:

"In two speeches and a news conference, Mr. Obama called for universal health care — the issue with which Mrs. Clinton, the New York Democrat, was once closely identified — a battle on global warming and a timed redeployment of troops from Iraq."

This is encouraging - particularly universal health care because the global warming and Iraq issues are already in the "politically safe to confront" category thanks to Al Gore and George W. Bush, respectively. Health care, on the contrary, is not considered "politically safe to confront" by people in the Beltway - even if the public has been telling pollsters the country strongly supports universal government-sponsored health care. That means Obama is spending some of his political capital on a tough issue - something that if he continues to do, he may very well be a terrific candidate for President.

By contrast, you may recall that Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) is now the number two recipient of health industry cash, and has delivered speeches apologizing to the health industry for pushing universal health care in the past.

Of course, as I found in my interview with the Illinois senator, Obama's specific views on health care are still undefined - and he seems somewhat hostile to any solution that may too strongly challenge the entrenched interests that want to preserve that status quo. Then again, pushing seriously for universal health care is, unto itself, a power-challenging move - and again, if Obama starts defining himself as someone willing to make those kinds of moves on many issues, it will be a very good thing for the Democratic Party and the country.





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