Health care reform. Does it need to happen? Is it going to happen? Does it require an inclusive public health insurance option? God yes. Depends on your idea of reform. And yes.
This is a sticky issue that has been largely avoided by politicians who don’t want to tango with sticky issues. Props to Mrs. Clinton for even attempting it years ago, back when it should have been done. President Obama has elected to tackle it head on, and the issue has punctured his seeming political invincibility. But one cannot dock him points for giving it an honest effort. He could just sit back on his ranch and pretend that allowing the status quo to continue is the right thing for all Americans, not just the top 5%.
It’s amazing how much debate there even is revolving around the issue of public health coverage. Apparently the reality has been rendered so opaque to analysis that many a folk appears to have missed the obvious: that national health care coverage needs to be as universal as possible, or else all public health, both nationally and globally, is endangered. That’s the reality. Now the other reality at the moment, politically speaking, is how do we pay for it. But to me, at least, the answer to this is also clear: we need to tax the rich and use that money to cover public health insurance. The poor have never been able to afford health insurance. That’s why they go to the ER and make the public pay for it anyway. And the middle class can no longer afford health insurance either. Why? Because it’s big business. Health care is a luxury in this country. But public health can not be relegated to luxury/big business status. If we do not cover the majority of the population, then all of the population is put in grave danger due to outbreaks of disease. Evolved microbes do not recognize class distinctions.
A sidebar on “middle class”: apparently, the President seems to consider households that make below $250,000 a year to be “middle class”. I’m sorry, but if your household is making that much, then you are not middle class. You are doing just fine. You should be paying higher taxes so that the rest of us can get health care.