Friday, June 26, 2009

The time has come for reform

Th present American health care system is a disgrace. Despite spending more than any other country in the world on health care, millions of people remain uninsured. Many other Americans face bankruptcy from their medical bills even with insurance. Clearly, we need reform. Conservatives, e.g. Rush Limbaugh, are denying reality when they say there is no crisis. When conservatives like George Will say, well it's only 45 million uninsured, and some of them are illegal immigrants, they're missing a huge point. How many millions more people would be uninsured without Medicare, which is a government program? My guess is that there would be 70+ millions uninsured now. (You may choose to believe the insurance companies would voluntarily cover the sick elderly. If so, I've got Washington National playoff tickets to sell you). The question is what to do, not whether something should be done.

Paul Krugman, Nobel laureate and New York Times columnist has written a series of excellent columns on the subject. He makes a great point: "reform isn’t worth having if you can only get it on terms so compromised that it’s doomed to fail." The Obama administration is bending over backwards to get a bipartisan bill. Why? Who cares if it's bipartisan? I want an effective bill that covers all Americans; which Senators vote for it is completely irrelevant. Right now, the best bill that can actually pass is the so-called public option. Robert Reich, in an excellent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, points out that the AMA, insurance companies, and drug companies all oppose this plan. That is the best argument for the plan I can think of!

My personal preference is for a single-payer plan, where there is no role for the parasitic middlemen insurance companies, but that has been taken off the table by Congress. The public option is the best possible option. Please support it.

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