After months of preaching against negative campaigning, Senator Obama has decided to go negative, running an attack ad misrepresenting Senator Clinton's health care plan. The negative spot is currently airing throughout Pennsylvania. From the Clinton Campaign:
1. The Obama ad claims that Hillary’s “plan forces everyone to buy insurance even if you can’t afford it.” Health policy expert Ken Thorpe reviewed this claim and found it to be false. Under Hillary's plan, everyone will be able to afford coverage.
"Ken Thorpe, a health-policy expert at Emory University who has advised all three major Democrats, said he ran cost estimates for the Clinton plan at the Clinton campaign's request, and found there should be enough money to make insurance affordable for all." [Wall Street Journal, 12/5/07]
2. The advertisement also claims that that Hillary's plan would make people who fail to enroll "pay a penalty." Sen. Obama's own plan would fine parents who fail to enroll their children and he has said he will consider imposing penalties on people who don't enroll.
Hillary would consider a range of ideas, including automatic enrollment, to ensure everyone is covered. Sen. Obama's plan, would, experts agree, leave 15 million people out.
3. The ad also claims that Sen. Obama's plan reduces costs more than Hillary's plan. There is no citation for this claim because it is false. Hillary's plan has more aggressive cost cutting measures and has more generous subsides. Because Sen. Obama's plan leaves 15 million people out, it would drive costs up, because everyone would have to subsidize emergency care for the uninsured.