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Wednesday, September 19th 2007

Go To The Doc When You're Not Feeling Down, Or Don't Go At All?

I’m not sure any statement from a candidate that uses the word required this much can be viewed as a good thing.

Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards said on Sunday that his universal health care proposal would require that Americans go to the doctor for preventive care.

“It requires that everybody be covered. It requires that everybody get preventive care,” he told a crowd sitting in lawn chairs in front of the Cedar County Courthouse. “If you are going to be in the system, you can’t choose not to go to the doctor for 20 years. You have to go in and be checked and make sure that you are OK.”

A nice sentiment. I am truly of the opinion that preventitive care in this country is one of the keys to lowering cost. That being said, this doesn’t exactly do much to fix Edwards health care proposal.

If you remember Edwards’ plan is probably the most detailed and complex of the major candidates’ to date. That’s something to applaud; Edwards campaign has down a pretty nifty job putting out actual content and plans on pretty touchy issues rather than just dancing around those issues and staying non-committal. As the applause for that dies down though you come to the realization that, when it comes to health care, no matter how detailed Edward’s plan, it is still disgusting.

It has an individual mandate and an even more significant employer one. Pretty typical for the plans floating around and bad enough. What is worse though is its regulation of the market and admitted march towards a single payer system. Employers not providing insurance would pay into regional insurance pools (Health Markets). These markets, run by the government, would initially have private insurers submit bids/proposals to be included in them. You’d only be able to choose those insurance companies the federal government deemed worthy to compete.

The worst part however is that those private insurers would be competing in the health markets with an insurance plan offered by the federal government (think: Medicare-for-All), with the stated goal of the federal insurance option becoming the only option over time and the US progressing to a single payer system.

The Edwards plan would provide tax credits or subsidies to low-income families who cannot afford health insurance, expand Medicare and the federal program of health care for children, and create a federal health insurance agency that could become the basis for a single-payer system that would eventually do away with private health insurance.

Drew Altman, president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which studies the American health care system, praised Mr. Edwards, saying he was the first candidate in the 2008 presidential race to offer a credible and comprehensive plan to cover the uninsured. But Mr. Altman also said the plan faced high practical and political hurdles.

I mean limiting options, didn’t Edwards learn anything from HillaryCare? I appreciate he’s trying to ease the country into a single payer system with his plan (and indeed it only goes single payer if the country thinks buying into the federal insurance offering versus those of private companies is better) but does he really think the frustration with health care has risen to a point where people are willing to jump on board a Canadian-esque system?

I think I’m a pretty damn objective, realist when it comes to the political situation concerning health care in this country. As much as I hate it I know a two-tier universal health care system is coming. But even with all the frustration with health care in America and with crappy movies like SiCKO, mentioning single payer (even as a possibility decades down the line) is still well above what this country is currently ready to accept.

No John, I Think Hillary Actually Learned The Right Lesson
(Not That I Like Her Plan Either…)