Rendell: 'Bad Person' Wouldn't Support Universal Health Care

     An opponent of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama’s health care proposal is a “bad person” in Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell’s book, even if that opponent is Sen. Hillary Clinton.

     “Hillary has fought for universal health-care for all her life. The McCain plan is respectfully a joke. Sen. Obama has a real good plan to bring health care to every American,” Rendell told CBS “The Early Show” co-host Harry Smith on August 25. “She cares about that. If she didn’t she’d be a bad person and she’s a very good person.”

     Rendell, who supported Clinton in the primary, said Obama’s proposal to offer a government-run health insurance program should persuade Clinton supporters to back Obama.

     Rendell also pointed to McCain’s vote against the expansion of the federally funded State Children’s Health Insurance Program as “an issue central to women” and reason they should support Obama.

     There are plenty of female opponents of Obama’s plan who might not appreciate being called “bad.”

     “I think that a lot of women, when they think about moving towards government run system of health care, which is really what Sen. Obama is talking about, they’re going to be a little bit cautious,” Carrie Lukas, Vice President for Policy and Economics at the Independent Women’s Forum, said to the Business & Media Institute.

     “They recognize that while free health care, or however Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama wants to bill it, could be really expensive at the end of the day and create lower qualities of care and higher quality of care is really what most women are concerned about,” Lukas said.

     “He touches all the bases, so he very definitely is targeting women and he needs to because without consulting Hillary or even pursuing her for the vice president position, he’s lost ground with women and he obviously thinks his health-care plan will be something that will get women on board,” said Janice Shaw Crouse, Ph.D., Senior Fellow at the Beverly LaHaye Institute, the think tank for Concerned Women for America.

     Grace-Marie Turner, President of the Galen Institute, criticized Obama’s pressure on employers in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer May 15, saying that “Obama believes government should require insurers to accept all applicants and would force insurers to charge basically the same premium for everyone, regardless of age, gender, occupation or pre-existing conditions. A healthy young person would pay about the same as a 62-year-old with heart disease and diabetes.”

     On the other side of the issue, female voters who supported Clinton’s more comprehensive government-run proposal have expressed concern that Obama’s plan doesn’t go far enough.

     Women attending the “Obama Women’s Town Hall Meeting on Health Care” in Kansas City, Kan., on August 15 planned to hold the candidate’s “feet to the fire” when it came to implementing his proposed health-care plan.

     At the panel discussion in Kansas City, Kan., attended by Obama economic policy adviser Neera Tanden, female voters criticized Obama’s plan for not going far enough, according to the Kansas City Tribune.

     "From my perspective, the system is broken,” Yolanda Huet-Vaughn, M.D., said, according to the Tribune. “It is a for-profit system. And unless we have a not-for-profit system, we won't have health care for everyone.”

     Obama has struggled to win over Clinton’s supporters after defeating her in the Democratic primaries.

     A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll revealed Aug. 24 that in June, 75 percent of registered Democrats who wanted Clinton as the nominee, backed Obama. Now the number is at 66 percent. Sixteen percent of these voters said they would support McCain last June, but that number has jumped to 27 percent.

     Rendell was friendly with co-host Harry Smith, but his tone was different with other members of the media August 24, when he called coverage of Obama “embarrassing” during his closing remarks at a panel discussion.

     “Ladies and gentleman, the coverage of Barack Obama was embarrassing,” the governor said, according to Michael Calderone of “MSNBC was the official network of the Obama campaign.”

     The “Political Intelligence” blog at The Boston Globe’s website,, quoted Rendell as saying, “Running for the most important office in the world, Obama got basically a free pass.”

     The panel also included Sunday show moderators, Bob Schieffer of CBS’s “Face the Nation”, Tom Brokaw of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” George Stephanopoulous of ABC’s “This Week.”