Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

If you don't want to take it from me . . .

Take it from David Himmelstein:

Health Care for America Now (HCAN) is pushing a superficially attractive health reform model that has a long record of failure – akin to prescribing a placebo for a serious illness when effective treatment is available. They would offer Americans a new public insurance plan and a menu of private ones, with subsidies for coverage for low income families.

This approach reprises the format of Medicare’s ongoing privatization. Despite promises of strict regulation and a level playing field that would allow the public plan to flourish, private insurers would (as they have done in Medicare) predictably overwhelm regulatory efforts through crafty schemes to selectively recruit profitable, lower-cost patients, and avoid the expensively ill. Like the Medicare Advantage program, originally touted as a market-based strategy to improve Medicare’s efficiency, the HCAN plan would evolve into a multibillion dollar subsidy for private insurers whose massive financial power (amassed largely at government expense) would prove a political roadblock to terminating the failed experiment.

Etc. etc. Remind you of anything somebody wrote yesterday?

We need universal, comprehensive, single payer national health care. That's what to advocate for, that's what to yell for. The time to compromise, if at all, is at the end of the struggle, not the beginning. Selling out to what seems politically feasible, before the battle is even joined, means you won't even get that.

Universal, comprehensive, single payer national health care.

Say it again.

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