The letter does not mention single-payer or even, apparently, a public option. That is completely unacceptable, and progressives should fight like heck to make sure insurance reform does include a strong public option.
Nor does the letter say much about extending coverage to all (or almost all) Americans, though that feature is under consideration by Congress.
Finally, "a new coalition of drug makers, unions, hospitals and others launched a $12 million pro-overhaul ad campaign" in support of the President's reform (source); that's a sure sign that the deal sucks.
But even if worse comes to worst and the final reform doesn't include a public option, still, it sure seems that there are many beneficial reforms included in the letter. The reforms place all sorts of regulations on insurance companies about denying coverage and about co-pays, deductions and life-time limits.
Netherlands has a private-based insurance system that is so highly regulated that it resembles single-payer.
My point -- and I know this will be controversial -- is that though the Democrats' plan is very unsatisfactory, it IS a step forward, especially if it covers all Americans. America COULD have a good health care system even without single-payer. A highly regulated insurance industry, in which the health insurance companies are like utilities, could work to control costs, overheads, and inequities.
There's more than one way to cut a cake.
Even if the damn insurance companies get their way and end up receiving much of the taxation funds, the Democrats' reform is likely better than what we have now. Health care reform can be incremental. If the Republicans had their way, we'd end up with something even worse.
NO WAY are the Democrats as bad as the Republicans. No way was Al Gore as bad as George Bush. No way is the party of Dennis Kucinich as bad as the party of Sarah Palin!
That being said, there are an awful lot of bad Democrats -- starting, apparently, with whomever (Harry Reid?) appointed the six US Senators, including Max Baucus, who crafted the terrible Senate Finance Committee health care bill.
I've said this before. Sometimes the lesser of two evils is what you need to choose. We're not there yet, but if you had to choose between losing your right arm and losing your right little finger, and if all other options were out of reach, which option would you work for?
Something worth forwarding
This is probably one of the longest emails I've ever sent, but it could be the most important.
Across the country we are seeing vigorous debate about health insurance reform. Unfortunately, some of the old tactics we know so well are back "" even the viral emails that fly unchecked and under the radar, spreading all sorts of lies and distortions.
1 | 2