US presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has unveiled her new plan to introduce a scheme that will bring in health insurance for all Americans but critics say that the scheme will involve too much government control.
Mrs Clinton, who is battling to receive the Democratic Party nomination for the elections, has launched her American Health Choices Plan will she says will “secure, simplify and ensure choice in health coverage for every American”. She claims that it is “finally addressing the needs of the 47 million uninsured and the tens of millions of workers…who fear they could be one pink slip away from losing their health coverage”.
"If you’re one of the tens of millions of Americans without coverage or if you don’t like the coverage you have, you will have a choice of plans to pick from and you’ll get tax credits to help pay for it,” she said. “If you like the plan you have, you can keep it. It’s a plan that works for America’s families and America’s businesses, while preserving consumer choices."
The tone of the new plan appears to differ from Mrs Clinton’s attempts in the nineties, when her husband was president, to overhaul healthcare in the USA, a bid that failed amid accusations that it would have stopped individuals from choosing their own policies and forced employers to provide coverage to their workers.
She has some heavyweight supporters, including David Kessler, former Commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration who said that Mrs Clinton has “crafted a thoughtful plan that builds on the existing system of private insurance and preserves consumer choices." It offers “affordable health care to the 47 million uninsured Americans without creating a new bureaucracy, and most importantly, it is achievable," he added.
With an estimated cost of $110 billion a year, the plan would be financed largely by rolling back President Bush’s tax cuts for Americans who earn over $250,000 a year and by savings in the health care system. However, critics of the scheme were queuing up to dismiss the plan and her rivals for the Democratic nomination were not overly enthusiastic either.
Barack Obama said the proposal is similar “to the one I put forth last spring, though my universal health care plan would go further in reducing the punishing cost of health care than any other proposal that's been offered in this campaign." John Edwards claimed that “if you're going to negotiate universal health care with the same powerful interests that killed it before, your proposal isn't a plan, it's a starting point.
Over on the Republican side, Katie Levinson, communications director for Rudi Giuliani, said “If you liked Michael Moore’s Sicko, you’re going to love HillaryCare 2.0. Senator Clinton’s latest health scheme includes more government mandates, expensive federal subsidies and more big bureaucracy – in short, a prescription for an increase in wait times, a decrease in patient care and tax hikes to pay for it all.”
However Mrs Clinton, launching the plan in Des Moines, Iowa, said of her Republican opponents, “don’t let them fool us again. This is not government-run. There will be no new bureaucracy. You can keep the doctors you know and trust.”