HANGING ROCK, Ohio -- Senator Hillary Clinton, who has blasted rival Barack Obama for allegedly misleading people about her health care position to voters, presented his health care views inaccurately before an audience today in rural Ohio.
Clinton, speaking on poverty and family wellness at a community center here, told a couple hundred people that she was committed to universal health care because families can't be fully healthy unless everyone in the family is. It was part of a broader point about the interconnectedness of health care costs, gas prices, and the challenges of raising a family today.
"If you don't have health insurance for everyone, we're never going to get out of this," she said. "We're just going to keep running around in circles."
This, she said, was one of the big differences between her and Obama.
"I want ... each and every member of the family to have health insurance. My opponent only wants your children to have health insurance," she said. "I don't think that's smart."
That is hardly Obama's position.
The difference in their health care proposals is this: Clinton would require that everyone purchase insurance, a mandate that she says she would impose in tandem with bringing costs down through subsidies and other measures. Obama would only impose such a mandate on parents, requiring them to cover their children.
Clinton has argued that Obama would leave 15 million people uncovered by not extending his mandate to adults. Obama, though, also has a detailed health care plan to cover the uninsured, and he has pledged to have affordable coverage available for all Americans by the end of his first term.
Clinton is free, of course, to argue that her health care plan and expertise are superior to Obama's. But her suggestion that Obama doesn't want to cover parents and other adults is simply misleading.
UPDATE: Asked about her comments at a press conference, Clinton stood by her characterization of Obama's position, calling it a "fair" distinction.
"Look at his plan," she said. "He has a mandate to cover children. He does not have any requirement for adults. He has said repeatedly that he is concerned about children. Well, I cover both children and adults, and I wanted to make the case today because I know this, having done this for so many years, that you can give your children health insurance, but if the mother or the father who’s the breadwinner can’t get health insurance, gets sick, can’t go to work, the whole family suffers.”
“The bottom line is he was not willing to go the distance with a universal health care plan,” Clinton added. “I was drawing that distinction and I think it’s a fair one.”