It seems unfair -- or at least unfortunate -- that New Mexico governor and fellow Democratic candidate Bill Richardson has been left out of the national conversation about Hillary Clinton's health insurance initiative. In most press accounts, Clinton's plan has been lumped in with those of Barack Obama and John Edwards -- her rivals in the so-called top-tier. But her plan seems to me to be closest in spirit and substance to Richardson's.

The decision to exclude Richardson from the informal debate and include Edwards seems particularly arbitrary. In the third quarter, Edwards raised only $7 million, compared to Richardson's $5.2 million. By a purely financial measure, Richardson and Edwards both seem to occupy the middle tier. (By contrast, Obama and Clinton each raised over $20 million, while Sens. Joe Biden and Christopher Dodd were under $2 million.)

Read my quick precis on Richardson's plan here.