Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Health Care

Edwards has a new health care proposal up on his website. It sounds good, using a mix of public and private "responsibility sharing" to achieve "universal coverage" by 2012. I'm a little wary of being "required" to purchase health care at some point, but I see the reasoning behind it.

I would much prefer a simpler, more streamlined effort to create a single-payer national health care system, the kind of "Medicare for all" system that was advocated by a lot of the 2004 candidates. However, in my old, cynical age, I've come to realize that such lofty goals are, shall we say, improbable, and that I should go with what sounds the most practical and reasonable. Edwards' plan sounds both practical and reasonable, though extremely complicated.

My full endorsement for 2008 may well hinge on health care. As one of the millions of Americans who has no health coverage at the moment (hypothetically I'll get bennies at this call center in another month or so, but apparently they suck), the fact that I can't go see a doctor whenever I need to really bugs the hell out of me. Plus, I'm working at a call center and answering phones for an HMO, which also bugs the hell out of me, because it shows me on a daily basis just what's wrong with the American health care system. People can't get needed medicine, they can't choose their own doctor, they get screwed over, rolled over, sat on, punched, kicked in the groin and otherwise steamrolled by large corporate insurance companies who really couldn't give a shit one way or the other if they live or die. If that system is better than Canadian single payer, I'll eat my hat. (I have a hat. You watch.)

So we need a solution to America's health care woes, and I don't know what it is yet. Edwards has an interesting idea, but it almost seems too complicated and involved a change to navigate its way through the back alleys of Congress intact and become a coherent law.

The question is, can Obama come up with anything better?