I was on the conference call as well, and thought it would have been more useful if it were held after Giuliani's speech tomorrow morning, which would have allowed his advisors to offer more details and enabled reporters to ask more pointed questions. Much of what I heard, I liked–particularly about the opposition to mandates, and making it easier to purchase out of state healthcare. The Giuliani campaign cautions that while Rudy will be putting more meat on the bones tomorrow, he will not be unveiling a detailed, book-sized plan for healthcare at this point. Rather, this is just another step in the ongoing process of putting together a plan.
Politically, healthcare is one area where Giuliani clearly has an opportunity to position himself to the right of Mitt Romney, whose Massachusetts universal healthcare plan imposed mandates. One of the biggest fears I have about a theoretical Romney presidency is that he would try to push through a similar plan at the federal level, rounding up Republican support in Congress by making the argument that if we don't pass a "market-based" universal healthcare plan, we'll end up with socialized medicine, and making the political case that it would be a way for Republicans to eliminate the Democratic "advantage" on healthcare. If you recall, this is how the Medicare prescription drug plan got passed. In this sense, a Romney presidency may make universalized healthcare a more realistic possibility than a Clinton or Obama presidency, because Republicans would fight like wolves to stop any healthcare plan coming from a Democratic president. Romney has said that he wouldn't use Massachusetts as a model for healthcare reform at the federal level, but given his penchant for political expediency, I have no reason to believe that he would stick by that commitment if his pollsters advised him otherwise.