There is a “universal health care” proposal being looked at in the Senate right now that is being sponsored by a bi-partisan coalition that includes Bennett (UT), Wyden (OR), Trent Lott and Lamar Alexander from Rep. leadership, Grassley (IA), Gregg (NH), Stabenow (MI), and Crapo (ID). What I know about it is contained in a column I found by Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post.
While it’s similar to all such creations being looked at this election year, it does feature mandated insurance coverage, seeming to validate the position of Sen. Clinton. Nonetheless, this proposal is seemingly one that could win the favor of Sen. Obama, since it achieves his major objective in this area and would be a model of what can be accomplished by working together. And, really, it’s this that has me concerned.
In other words, it’s got something for everyone to dislike. “Republicans have got to get over the notion that being for universal coverage means a single-payer, government system and we hate a government-run system,” Bennett says. “Democrats have to get over the idea that the only way you can cover everyone is a single-payer government-run system.”
An analysis by the Lewin Group, a consulting firm, found that, even as coverage expanded, the plan would slightly reduce national health spending by lowering administrative costs and increasing competition (read: lower profits for insurance companies and providers). Employers would save money overall, but families earning more than $40,000 a year would end up paying more on average.
From the description contained, my personal situation would be that my wife and I would be paying a little more for much the same coverage we currently have that we don’t really use because the co-pays and deductibles are already too expensive.
People currently without coverage would be able to have things like an annual physical, and access to a doctor when they get a cold, but perhaps the biggest advantage is that, unlike accessing the health care system through the E.R., the hospital would be paid far more money and the amount of the unpaid medical bills discharged in bankruptcy would only be huge, instead of gigantic. With an advantage like this I’m sure that everyone will be ecstatic that this is the best we can do for ourselves.
Out of a large helping of “audacity of hope” and an abundance of “Yes we can”, I’m hereby urging the candidates to set their sights higher. If the only way we feel we can make progress on deadlocked issues is to sell out so badly that resistance fades, have we really gotten what we have a right to believe we’re being offered? I guess wins are wins, but I’d really like to see talk of important victories, rather than small ones. Like, for instance, that we in the U.S. can find a way to use our government to provide for us the same level of health security enjoyed by everyone in every other modern democracy on the planet.
Let me ask, then. Is that too much to hope for?