Clinton calls Obama’s health-care ad “misleading”

Sen. Hillary Clinton‘s [D-NY] campaign called on Friday for fellow Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obmama [Ill.] to pull one of his campaign television commercials, which asserts that his health-care plan covers all Americans.

Clinton’s campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle, told reporters on a conference call that Obama’s suggestion that his health-care plan will cover all Americans is “demonstrably false” and that the ad is misleading.

According to an article in Friday’s Boston Globe, Solis Doyle even sent a letter to Obama’s campain manager asking him to stop running the ad.

“On an issue of this magnitude, Americans are looking for more than a nice ad or a good speech. It’s not enough for Sen. Obama to say he covers everyone, especially when that is inaccurate,” Solis Doyle wrote. “Until the time comes when Sen. Obama has a plan that will cover everyone, you should stop running this false advertisement. The American people deserve an honest debate about health care.”

Obama’s response:

The campaign does not plan to pull the ad, which has been running for about a month in Iowa. It just began airing in New Hampshire this week.

The polls show a tight race in both states between Clinton, Obama and former Sen. John Edwards [D-NC], which Obama’s manager referred to in a response to Clinton’s criticism.

“The Clinton campaign didn’t say a word when this ad was released a month ago, and the only thing that’s changed since then is the poll numbers,” Obama spokesman Reid Cherlin said in a statement.

“Rather than spending their time attacking Barack Obama, the Clinton campaign should explain how exactly they plan to force every American to buy health insurance even if they can’t afford it,” he said.
Is the ad truly misleading?

It depends on how you look at it. If you read into it that Obama’s plan will provide health coverage for all Americans, then yes, it is misleading.

Let’s take a look at Obama’s proposed health plan (pdf):

  • The plan will make available a new national health program that will allow (not force) individuals and small businesses to buy affordable health care similar to that available to federal employees.
  • It will not turn anyone away or charge more due to illness or pre-existing conditions.
  • It would require insurance companies to accept all applicants.
  • It would require employers to make a “meaningful” contribution to the health coverage of their employees.
  • The plan would require hospitals to collect and report health-care cost and quality data.
  • Drug costs would be lowered by allowing importation of pharmaceuticals from other countries.
  • The only sect of society that would be required to have coverage is children.
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