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(H/T to Taylor Marsh's "Welcome to The Show.")

Before the Saturday caucus -- from which my hospital nurses and I were disenfranchised (I had a ruptured appendix, abscess and peritonitis) -- I was furious to see Obama TV ads promising health care for all. Only Hillary's plan brings universal care that requires all sign up or retain a plan, to make it economically viable (ex: preventive care dramatically lowers costs for undetected chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure).

MyDD's Todd Beeton -- who is tirelessly traversing the country reporting on the campaigns and events -- wrote a must-read, "Obama's "Universal" Healthcare Deception," noting that John Edwards also sensibly included mandates. Beeton quotes Obama's stump speech:

My opponents think the government should force you to buy healthcare. I believe that the reason people don't have healthcare isn't that they don't want it, it's that they can't afford it.

"The line would often get a big cheer but I haven't heard it lately," Beeton observes.

In the wake of John Edwards's departure from the race, Hillary has been hitting Barack harder on the fact that her plan offers universal healthcare while his, by definition, does not. So Obama has changed his rhetoric on the stump, now throwing the term "universal" around with abandon when describing his healthcare plan, as he did both the other night at the Virginia Democratic Party Jefferson Jackson dinner and at today's University of Maryland rally. What's worse, he used fear mongering to attack Hillary's plan, saying flat out "she's going to go after your wages," referring to the tricky enforcement of a mandate healthcare system.

This is extremely problematic, for one thing, because Democrats using right-wing scare tactics on healthcare against other Democrats will, as Paul Krugman has pointed out, set back the universal healthcare cause. ... Read all.

Beeton points to the "Q and A from the FAQ on his plan from [Obama's] website":

Q: I don't want the government telling me what doctors to see or what treatments to get. Will the Obama plan force these kinds of decisions on me?

A: Senator Obama agrees with you. His plan will not tell you which doctors to see or what treatments to get. Under the Obama government bureaucrat will second-guess decisions about your care."

Beeton's take:

"Government bureaucrat" as villain? Are you kidding me, who wrote this, Karl Rove?

Sometimes I wonder.  It's not a surprise that Karl Rove, David Brooks, George Will, Peggy (yech) Noonan are so besotted with Obama.  They know that Obama will be so easily malleable and controllable, whereas Clinton is a true fighter, and highly experienced in dealing with the brutal attacks and incessant tactics designed to wear down, and water down, the president's plan.

Then Beeton addresses a core problem that Obama -- and his followers -- have, which is the dishonesty of his claims as well as his spurious attacks on Clinton's health care plan:

But there's another problem that Obama's supporters will have a problem coming to terms with, which is that it's simply intellectually dishonest.

Obama doesn't inherently have a problem with mandates. What he conveniently leaves out from his criticism of Clinton's plan is that he thinks mandates are perfectly fine for children.

The dishonesty is not stopping Obama. Now he's got a false radio ad running in the Maryland/Virginia/DC area:

NARRATOR: Barack Obama. An economic plan that jumpstarts the economy, with tax cuts for middle class families and seniors. A health plan that lowers costs by $2500 for a typical family and provides universal coverage.

From the FactHub:

Top independent health care experts have concluded that Sen. Obama's plan is not universal and would leave at least 15 million people without coverage. Leaving so many people out will drive up costs for everyone.

Last night, Beeton covered Bill Clinton's speech at George Mason University:

One notable section of his remarks for me was when he spoke about healthcare as the biggest, if not the only, policy difference in this primary. He said most experts say that Obama's plan will leave 15 million uncovered. He talked about the unique place we find ourselves in where doctors and nurses and business are all united behind universal healthcare. "Now is not the time for the Democratic Party to give up on universal healthcare."  He said "Neither of their plans is going to leave healthcare unaffordable to anyone, but you have to cover everyone." He framed her mandate health care plan as uniquely progressive: "We put in so those that need it can take out...Those of us who are lucky enough to be well off should pay our fair share." That's what America is about, he said.

I loved this line from President Clinton's speech that Todd jotted down:

My case for her is: she's a world-class change-maker. My case for her is that she has the best positions on the issues and a good grip on what to do to turn these ideas into positive changes in your lives. My case for her is that she will not forget the look in your eyes that I see tonight...She won't forget your hopes and dreams when times are good or bad.

THEN there's the enormous political fight and administrative task of trying to propose a health care plan, even one as anemic as Obama's (which opens the path for Republicans to water it down even more).  Obama was asked on 60 Minutes about his managerial experience.  His response was laughable.  Via Politico's Ben Smith:

For Obama, heading Obama for America is his executive experience.

And, from the Politico/WJLA interview, is this key observation about the fight in Hillary Clinton:

Senator Hillary Rodham (D-N.Y.) mocked Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) tonight for his high-flown rhetoric, suggesting she would fight important fights when he would back down.

Having already conceded the fight over universal health care -- and opened a vulnerability to less-than-universal care that the Republicans can exploit -- Obama would be subjected to relentless pressure from Republicans and lobbyists, and would find himself having to cave in, over and over, to get any kind of health care plan passed.  And I predict it'll be sorely wanting in the real health care reform and universal protections that every middle- and lower-class American desperately needs.

Don't give me the one who promises this and that, but whose plans have already set in motion the inevitable path for defeat or severe watering-down from Republicans and lobbyists. GIVE ME THE CHANGE-MAKER!

Originally posted to SusanHu on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 09:55 AM PST.

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