Saturday, December 20, 2008

Health Care; Health Care

As the dawning of the Obama administration nears, there is much hope for systemic change, not the least among it being health care reform. Not since 1993 has there been such hope for developments in this perplexing industry that accounts for 16% of the nation's GDP. Morton Kondracke weighed in today with a comprehensive op-ed piece which attempts to address all the variables. However, I'm not entirely sure what to make of the piece other than noting the habitual scare-tactic ranting about the evils of the Canadian system. That aspect of the commentary saddens me, as it implies that any nationalized system would inherently mimic the style and the problems of Canadian or British health care systems. This ignores the possibility that the United States could do something better, or even emulate systems that blend public and private health care, as they do in Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, etc. I also suspect that this is one more case of a pundit criticizing something about which he has no personal experience. I have rarely met critics of foreign health care systems who have actually lived under those systems. More likely, they are wealthy individuals who have yet to feel the pain of increasing premiums and decreasing benefits. I am still holding out for a blended system that offers all Americans a base health insurance while allowing for the purchase of additional private coverage. At this point, I see the Wyden-Bennett plan as being the most feasible, and I hope it will continue to generate support.

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