Wednesday, December 13, 2006

We'd have the whole country, in a (healthcare) plan. We'd have the whole country in a (healthcare) plan.

I've been reading a few articles today talking about Sen Ron Wyden (D-OR) and his new healthcare plan. First off, it's been said before and by far more eloquent and passionate people, but it's still shocking to me that we don't have universal healthcare. Beyond the moral reasons (of which there are many) it just seems inefficient to have so many people getting sick and missing work. If the highest value in American political life is efficiency, it's just outlandish that healthcare is run as it is. To have car companies adding 1,500 to the cost of a car to pay for insuring their employees seems wrong. So this new plan, as I understand it would force employers to end their current plans. The money the invested in these plans in 2006 would be paid directly to workers who would have to use that extra money to buy into any of a number of health insurance plans each of which are at least as good as that which Congress gives itself. Sounds like doctors would not be socialized, just the health insurance. Folks who lose their jobs would get coverage, etc. So employers are psyched because they don't have to budget for the rising cost of healthcare, and get out of that business. I can't imagine that the CEO of GM is really eager to have a whole division whose jobs it is to administer a healthcare plan. Workers get portable healthinsurance with a minimum level of coverage that's really good (= to Congress). I'm excited. For the first time in a while it looks like there might be a real comprehensive society changing bill that could pass. If it did this would be the most dramatic and powerful social legislation passed in my lifetime. It's not Medicare or Social Security. But it's something. And for millions of Americans it could be a life changing effort, something that makes it so that living with pain, living with illness, allowing children to suffer from easily treated illness--that these are no longer acceptable.

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