Friday, March 30, 2007

Democrats running for Pres all support universal healthcare.

Karen Tumulty of Time Magazine moderated and covered the debate about health care held in Las Vegas last week. All the current candidates for President, Republican and Democrat both, were invited. No Republican accepted, while all the Democrats except Joe Biden accepted and showed up. The health care forum was held at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas on March 24, 2007.
Every Democrat in the 2008 presidential field has promised to provide health coverage to all the estimated 47 million Americans who lack it and to curb costs that have sent premiums soaring four times as fast as wages. On March 24, seven candidates showed up for a health-care forum that I moderated in Las Vegas, sponsored by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the Service Employees International Union, and the Center for American Progress Action Fund. [Snip]

There was no disagreement over the need to fix health care, only over how fast it could be done. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson said he could accomplish it in his first year in the White House; New York Senator Clinton said it might take until the end of her second term; everyone else was somewhere in between. There was some dispute over whether reforming the nation's health-care system would require new taxes. Former North Carolina Senator John Edwards said it would; Richardson said it wouldn't; others were equivocal.
So why does it appear that this is the year of healthcare reform?
...the problems of high cost and inadequate coverage have gotten a lot worse since Clinton's plan crashed and burned. As employer-provided insurance has become skimpier and skimpier, the problem has turned nearly every American into an "expert" on health care with ideas on how to fix it. For another, the corporations that were Clinton's chief adversaries in 1994 are now among the loudest voices clamoring for something to be done about health-care costs. In the meantime, some states--among them, Massachusetts, California, Maine and Vermont--are moving ahead to guarantee all their citizens coverage.

But while health care for all is now a popular slogan, Edwards is the only candidate offering a plan that would actually get to universal coverage. His proposal is much like a model that is being tried or considered in several states and that includes a combination of features. For example, it requires employers who don't insure their workers to pay into a fund for the uninsured, and individuals who don't get coverage from their employers to buy it, and provides subsidies for those who can't afford the premiums.
The two largest problems that seem to be recognized by Democrats are that access to health insurance is declining, while health care itself (and the insurance that often pays for it) is increasing at a rate far above the rate of inflation.

Maybe this election will bring some effort to find some solutions.

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