On Saturday, Democrats reached agreement on the Party platform and “shaped a set of principles” that commits the Democratic Party to “guaranteed health care for all.” The agreed position on health care falls closer to the position Hillary Clinton held in the primaries, than that of Barack Obama.
Advisers to Obama and Clinton both told the party’s platform meeting they were happy with the compromise, adopted without opposition or without explanation as to how health care would be guaranteed.
In return for the guarantee, activists dropped a tougher platform amendment seeking a government-run, single-payer system and another amendment explicitly holding out Clinton’s plan as the one to follow.
The party now declares itself “united behind a commitment that every American man, woman and child be guaranteed to have affordable, comprehensive health care.”
Under any system in play, most people would still put out money for health insurance as they do now, but they would get help when needed.
That was a common feature of the plans put forward by Obama and Clinton in the primaries. But she would have required everyone to get insurance while his plan makes it mandatory only for children.
This is welcome news in my opinion and it’s a comprise that I expected would most likely happen as members of the Party hatched out the platform. CNN reported that “the 186-member platform committee” had one imperative today and that “was to satisfy Clinton loyalists still sore from the often acrimonious primary fight while keeping policy firmly in synch with Obama’s campaign.”
Democrats made mostly cosmetic changes to a platform draft prepared for the meeting, a process designed to showcase unity more than to air differences in the party at large on hot-button issues such as the Iraq war, abortion and health care.
Party platforms are a statement of principles that are not binding on the candidates or the next president and they are typically given little attention after they are adopted.
Even so, the party’s decision to embrace guaranteed health care is bound to become a leading yardstick by which Obama’s presidency will be measured if he wins in November.
The platform was to be approved by the committee later Saturday, then submitted to the national convention in Denver later this month.
On Iraq, the platform states that Democrats “expect to complete redeployment within 16 months,” reflecting Obama’s time frame but not the tone of certainty he brought to it when he was running in the primaries.
The 51-page platform draft showed the influence of Clinton’s supporters not only in the extensive section on health care but in its assertions about the treatment of women. Some of her backers believed sexism dogged her campaign for the nomination.
An extensive section on women’s rights is included and the votes she received in the primaries are described as “18 million cracks in the highest glass ceiling.”
The new Democratic Party platform also came out with a stronger than usual “plank in favor of abortion rights”:
“The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right,” it says.
Gone is the phrase from the past that abortions should be safe, legal and “rare.”
The party also pledges to ensure access to adoption programs, prenatal and postnatal care and income support programs for expectant mothers who need the help.
I’m glad to see that women’s issues are in the forefront and I believe we owe thanks to Hillary Clinton for that. Also included in the platform:
– Promises “tough, practical, and humane immigration reform in the first year of the next administration.”
– Favors restoration of the ban on assault-type weapons and other “reasonable regulation” that recognizes the constitutional right to own and use firearms.
– Favors helping religious groups provide social services as long as “public funds are not used to proselytize or discriminate.”
– Promises to close the Guantanamo detention center.
– Promises to double the Peace Corps.
Democratic Party Convention here we come… With a platform that hopefully will bring more lagging Clinton supporters around to getting on the Unity train.