Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Message to Obama on health care: KISS

Even I have to admit this is a pretty desperate move for Obama, but he announced tonight he wants to address Congress in a week's time so he can discuss first hand his ideas for health care reform. It also appears that, since the Democrats can't get their act together on drafting legislation, he'll put forward a simplified plan of his own -- one that includes a so-called "public option."

This seems to be a long way from his promise last year that if elected he would ensure that the uninsured got the same gold-plated plan that members of Congress get, along with the bulk of the federal public service (military and civilian). And it appears to fall short on covering every American.
If you want proof, just look at Massachusetts where health care insurance is now compulsory. Even there, about 200 thousand people in the land where the American Revolution began are still not covered. Extrapolate the numbers nationwide if a "pay or play" system does go national, 9.3 million would still go uninsured. Okay, maybe that means that 97% are covered, but what about the remaining 3%? That would never be tolerated in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or anywhere in Europe. No one should be allowed to slip through the cracks. Not one.
Whether it's private with a public option, the reverse or a public-private mix doesn't matter. What matters is that every American gets the health care they need, that the extensive overhead that exists in the private system is eliminated or substantially reduced, and that in the United States health care is seen as a bedrock to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
Obama needs to keep it short and simple: You have health care, you keep it. If you don't have it, you get what we get. End stop. That's not socialism, it's justice. Schools, the library, law enforcement and fire protection, water filtration -- they're socialized and no one complains about the principle there. If America has enough money to kill people with their armed forces, they sure as hell have enough to ensure public health at a fraction of the price.

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