During the March 11 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, guest Chris Matthews asserted that in order to "get something done in this country," politicians need to "do the surprising move that grabs the center" and that "if a Democrat were smart, who gets elected president, they wouldn't go back to the old Canadian model ... single-payer model." In fact, neither Sen. Barack Obama nor Sen. Hillary Clinton has proposed a health-care plan that resembles the Canadian health-care system or a "single-payer model." Matthews also suggested that the Democratic candidates should "take something that looks practical out of Massachusetts with [former Gov.] Mitt Romney [R] ... and put [their] name on it" and "try some kind of mandated benefit." However, Obama's and Clinton's health-care proposals both include "mandated benefit[s]," and Clinton's plan has drawn comparisons to the plan Romney implemented in Massachusetts.
Contrary to Matthews' suggestion, the health-care plans proposed by Obama and Clinton do not follow the "Canadian model," which provides federally funded and managed universal health insurance. Obama's health-care plan does not require the government to manage or fund health insurance for all Americans; rather, his plan allows individuals to keep -- and pay for -- their private health insurance if they so choose, while establishing "a new public insurance program, available to Americans who neither qualify for Medicaid or SCHIP [the State Children's Health Insurance Program] nor have access to insurance through their employers, as well as to small businesses that want to offer insurance to their employees."
Despite my extremely low opinion of Matthews, this is still staggering. He's on TV every day and he has no idea what the Democrats are proposing on the most important domestic policy issue in this election. None!
To paraphrase Brad DeLong's saying about Bush, Matthews is worse than I imagined possible, even after taking into account the fact that he is worse than I imagined possible. But as Somerby (obsessively) points out, most pundits won't say anything about him because they want to go on "Hardball" and raise their profile.