Sometimes I think that all the Republican candidates for president think they need do is go into a crowded room and yell, "Hillary Care," and all of the voters will run for the exits in terror.
This is not 1993 and this is not the inexperienced Hillary Clinton who tried to drop her drafted-in-secret 1,400 page health care proposal on us all in one "take it or leave it" roll out.
She has changed since 1993 and so have American voters.
Today, health care is the number-two issue--behind Iraq--and it is the number-one domestic issue.
Last week, the Kaiser Family Foundation told us that the average cost of employer-provided family health insurance is $12,000 a year. Today, the UAW and Detroit are in negotiations over the auto companies walking away from their retiree health obligations for 60-70 cents on the dollar.
Mrs. Clinton has come to the center with her plan and we've all gotten a lot more worried about health care and are ready to go a lot farther than we would have almost 15 years ago.
Mrs. Clinton recognizes that. Lots of voters know it.
But the Republican candidates seem to think rolling out the "Harry and Louise" ads, talking about tax exemptions, and giving us all HRAs will do the trick.
It might in a conservative Republican primary. But that is not where the center of American politics is these days and it is the center that it will take to win the 2008 presidential election.
And by the way, the next time you hear Mitt Romney yell, "Hillary Care," ask him just how her plan differs from the one he signed into law in Massachusetts. I do health plan analysis for a living and it looks to me like they are kissin' cousins.
The Republicans would do well to get serious about health care before, instead of getting themselves a repeat of 1993 when Mrs. Clinton's first plan went down to a crushing defeat, they get themselves a repeat of 1992 when Bill Clinton won the presidency in part because he was a lot more serous about health care than his Republican opponent!
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