I voted for this particular change

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Posted by Policy Nerd on January 08, 2009 at 20:59:35

OMG! I just listened to (former) Senator Tom Dachle's congressional testimony--his confirmation hearing as the new Secretary for Health and Human Services--where he laid out the issues that need to be addressed in health care financing and service delivery reform. Be still my heart!!!! Imagine a United States where we, the people, provide every citizen with access to affordable health care. If you live anywhere else in the industrialized world, you may not know what a sea-change this is in domestic policy. (To do this, we'll probably have to cut back on the number of voluntary wars we start & maintain. Imagine that.)

As a point of fact, the US has one of the costliest health care delivery systems on the planet. Its inefficiencies are a tremendous drag on our national economy--part of the reason our economic engine hasn't been able to re-kickstart since the downturn in 2003. All that money, yet over 18% of the population cannot even access primary care. But that's not the biggest hole in the supply side of the existing health care financing system...over half of the citizens in this country who CAN access primary care (through private coverage plans) cannot access many of the critical services and procedures they need in order to get healthy and stay healthy. This means only 1/3 of the US population have what is considered in the industry as a full health benefits package. That's a statistic very similar to where we were at with employment during the Great Depression. It's like saying half our citizens do not have full-time jobs.

If anyone from the right side of the US is interested in discussing this topic, please don't start with arguments about Big Government and "socialized medicine" and how the Canadian or British systems suck. That's a straw man, in my opinion. The US isn't going to a single-payer system any time in the near future. The health care financing and service delivery reforms that are being proposed will be a public/private enterprise, very much like longstanding public/private investment that has occurred in other sectors of our economy such as energy, communications, housing, transportation, defense, etc.

The Daschle plan is designed to create private sector jobs in industries like information technology as a way to bring down the total cost of financing service delivery.

I'm so frickin' excited. I almost can't believe I lived to see the dawning of this day. Thank You Jesus.

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