Monday, January 01, 2007

Another log on the Wyden health care plan fire

TJ has already posed an extended visit to Senator Wyden's Healthy Americans Act. I largely agree with TJ's analysis of the plan--although I don't think that Wyden will push for passage of this exact bill with this particular language.

I believe that this is the big conversation starter. Its the impetus to fire up the Presidential candidates to put health care reform toward the top of their agenda.

Its been discussed elsewhere by people smarter than myself that health insurance companies aren't going away right now. Its not politically feasible to eliminate one of the largest money-makers in America, especially with W in charge of the veto pen.

But it does give me hope that a single payer plan snowball might start rolling downhill when I see major pieces like this, outlining the massive costs of healthcare for Americans:

The economic case for a single-payer system is surprisingly strong. Start with what we already know. Countries with single-payer systems have long records of spending less on health care than the United States does. The United States spent an average of $6,102 a person on it in 2004, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, while Canada spent $3,165 a person, France $3,159, Australia $3,120 and Britain just $2,508.

At the same time, life expectancy in the United States, a broad measure of health, was slightly lower than it was in those other countries in 2004, the latest year for which complete figures are available. And the United States had a higher rate of infant mortality

The piece includes this graphic, which lays out how much Americans spend and how little we're getting for our money relative to other countries.

Its evident that one way to get Americans on board with this is to talk about it. When papers like the New York Times tackle a complex issue and distill it down for people, its a powerful way to get them on the single payer bandwagon.

(via Ezra Klein)