As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Health Care Now

Most Americans favor universal health care. It's a very simple fact that is not reflected in our political debates.

The poll finds that 49% of all Americans support a comprehensive government health care system to deal with all medical problems, while another 10% of those polled supported a limited government health care system geared toward emergencies. 32% of poll respondents thought that private enterprise should handle health care while the remaining 9% simply didn’t know.

The data was part of a larger polling project to measure the swings in American public opinion on a variety of issues today compared with 30 years ago. Back in a 1979 poll, 48% of Americans felt private enterprise should handle health care while only 28% thought that government should cover all problems and 12% thought the government should cover emergencies.

Health care is one of those issues that interfaces with every man, woman and child in the country. We all see doctors, we all know somebody who is sick. That is why the progressive position wins out, because the concept is bite-sized and accessible enough for everyone to understand it. During the current downturn, 14,000 people are losing their health care every single day. The stimulus package includes a big COBRA subsidy but it's not enough:

For instance, while the final compromise includes $87 billion in additional Medicaid funds to states over 27 months, a 65% subsidy to cover COBRA premiums for nine months, $19 billion for health information technology, $1.1 billion for comparative effectiveness research and $1 billion for prevention and wellness, negotiators considered Republican objections and stripped provisions that would have allowed workers “to stay on Cobra until they qualified for Medicare” or enroll in Medicaid if they can’t afford COBRA premiums “even with the new subsidies.

The economy will not recover without investment in health care that has a large front-end startup cost but a huge back-end savings. It is crippling both individuals and businesses that cannot shoulder the health care burden and compete. There must be comprehensive health care reform.

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