Obama and Clinton differ on NAFTA and Health Care

If you compare Obama and Clinton on issues, it is true that they have the same basic platform, beliefs, and commitment.  I’m not one to go along with generally accepted truths blindly, but in this case, I do believe that Obama and Clinton really only differ on Free Trade and Health Care.

As for free trade, NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) came into being when Bush One was in power.  I believe that Bill Clinton made some adjustments to it to try and make it better, but in reality he also used it as one of his first attempts in his Presidency to get some form of agreement from both sides of the aisle. 

Now, while Hillary supported NAFTA at the time, she has since said, “I have been critical of NAFTA for years.  I have said repeatedly that it did not realize its potential or its promises and we had to change it.”  I’m not sure what this really means.  It is a passive-aggressive statement, using the word “it” as if to separate herself from a distant idea.  So, she knew NAFTA wasn’t working, or wouldn’t work but she supported it then, but not now.  I’m so confused.  But one thing stands out for me.  It seems that Bill and Hillary didn’t think the whole NAFTA thing out too clearly.  Bill Clinton still defends NAFTA but says that if it is not considered successful, it is because the rules weren’t enforced, not because NAFTA was a bad deal.   The bottom line for me is that since NAFTA went into effect in January 1994, there has been major fighting between the countries involved (U.S., Canada, and Mexico), the unions involved, the industries involved, and the governments involved.  No matter how you slice it, NAFTA is controversial and has never been proved to be beneficial to anyone except big business in America who got richer off the deal.  I’m not too keen on a world leader who takes the approach of “let’s send it up the flagpole and see if it flies”.  This was not typical of Bill Clinton so I’m not sure what really happened back then.  As President, you need to be a lot more insightful than that.  You can’t just “try it” and see if it works.  You owe it to the American people to think about it, listen to your advisers, listen to the citizens of this country, and listen to your gut.  If you truly believe you are doing the right thing, then do it, and own it, successful or not.

As for health care, Hillary Clinton’s plan is similar to the plan in existence right now in Massachusetts.  Essentially, health care is MANDATORY, meaning you must get insurance.  My sister and her family live in Massachusetts and they have told me that this mandate is a financial hardship for them.  They are scraping by now and have the additional burden of figuring out how to pay for this mandatory insurance. 

So, if you can afford it, too bad, Clinton’s plan is that you must have health care.  In many circumstances, the problem is not “getting” health care but “affording” health care.  I don’t see the point in mandating that the citizens of America get health care if the money is coming out of their own pockets regardless of whether or not they will be able to feed their families after paying for health care.  Something just doesn’t make sense.  Hillary Clinton has said, in rebuttal, that she plans to provide tax credits to help defray the cost of health insurance.  As an average American, do you understand how a tax credit is going to help you afford to go to the doctor TODAY because you are sick but don’t have the money to pay the doctor?  Clinton also plans on enforcing, in some manner, her mandatory health insurance plan.  She has talked about “garinishing wages” or some other “enforcement mechanisms”.  What does that really mean.  I’ll be penalized by my government if I can’t afford to buy health care by them taking money forcefully from me?

I believe that Mrs. Clinton misrepresents the facts when she says that her plan is superior to Obama’s because he plan “covers everyone” and his does not.  Barack Obama’s plan is based on the fact that Americans don’t have insurance because they simply can’t afford it.  Many Americans get insurance through their employer, some who CAN afford it, buy it privately, and others may get it by being a member of an association (for example, the Small Business Association) where they can get more affordable insurance because they can be part of a group plan.  With this in mind, Obama is saying that for everyone else who WANTS insurance, he would like to make affordable insurance available (in an insurance plan similar to the one members of Congress enjoy today).  He does not plan to enforce mandatory insurance on anyone but rather offer affordable alternatives so that people who WANT insurance have affordable options.  His only talk of enforcement comes from his belief that children should have insurance and since children can’t speak for themselves, and are our most vulnerable citizens, he may come up with some plan to enforce parents to provide insurance for their children.  Most importantly, Barack Obama has said that his first priority is to bring costs down.  That’s a good priority to have when compared to enforcing health insurance for everyone.  We all know that health insurance companies are second only to oil companies in terms of monumental, undeserved profits.

I am not saying that what I have written is the absolute final word on this.  I have written this based on the research I have done and my interpretation of it.  There are so many misconceptions based on the words that the candidates use and how they are interpreted by the media and the public.  I think it is the responsibility of each of us to do our homework and make our own decisions.  This is just my humble opinion.

Thanks for stopping by.


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