Senator Clinton delayed a long time before coming out with her own plan — a delay that created a lot of anxiety among health care reformers, and may, as I’ll explain in a minute, be a bad omen for the future. Still, this week she did deliver a plan, and it’s as strong as the Edwards plan — because unless you get deep into the fine print, the Clinton plan basically is the Edwards plan.
Over the last week, the Edwards campaign has been effectively holding Hillary Clinton's feet to the fire on health care. The issue is not the substance of her plan, but, rather, the timing of her plan. The truth is that John Edwards led on this issue in February-just as he has led on virtually every issue. While Hillary Clinton was talking about incremental steps, John Edwards published a comprehensive, workable plan to cover every American. Now, Clinton, seven months later, published a plan-one that is remarkably similar to the Edwards' plan. Any why not? It's an excellent plan. The Clinton campaign appears to be pushing back by focusing, not on any plan, but instead, on Elizabeth Edwards suggesting that she is "attacking" Hillary and is becoming "shrill." (For those of you who don't know, "shrill" and "attacking" are words people toss about in an effort to shut up strong, smart women-especially when they are both right and effective.) So, is Krugman "shrill," too?
It's not a problem that Clinton's plan so closely mirrors what Edwards proposed seven months ago. The Edwards plan is the best plan, and it makes perfect sense for her to emulate it. The question is, why did it take her so long? Krugman has a thought about that as well:
...even if the Democrats take the White House and expand their Congressional majorities, the insurance and drug lobbies will try to bully them into backing down on their campaign promises.
That’s why the long delay before Senator Clinton announced her health care plan made supporters of universal care, myself included, so nervous — a nervousness that is not completely assuaged by the fact that she finally did deliver. It’s good to know that whoever gets the Democratic nomination will run on a very good health care plan. What remains is the question of whether he or she will have the determination to turn that plan into reality.
For the first time in my memory, in John Edwards, we have an opportunity to nominate a Democrat who is both the most electable and the most progressive. John Edwards is not in bed with the lobbyists for the industries that hope to derail universal health care. Hillary Clinton is still taking their money. She says that the money won't impact her resolve to reform health care, but you have to wonder. With Edwards, there is no question about his resolve.