"There is difference and there is power. And who holds the power decides the meaning of the difference." --June Jordan

Friday, July 6, 2007

Health Care Roundup

This summer, health care is all the rage in the U.S. It's one of the most important issues in the upcoming elections, it's the topic of a new film, and more and more Americans are feeling the crunch of high costs and limited coverage and are ready for a change. Here's a taste of what's been going on lately:
An article in today's New York Times discusses how the 2008 Candidates Vow to Overhaul U.S. Health Care:
"In fact, when Senator Barack Obama of Illinois unveiled a plan intended to cover tens of millions of uninsured Americans, but not requiring coverage for all, some Democrats in rival campaigns argued that he had not gone far enough. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, once vilified as overreaching on health care, is now more often faulted in her party as moving too slowly. Mrs. Clinton's 1994 plan, attacked at the time from the left, right and center, is presented in the new Michael Moore documentary, 'Sicko,' as a tragic missed opportunity."
And speaking of Sicko, here's what some bloggers have been saying about it:
Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon: "The movie is one long, sustained arch sarcastic quip. Most people couldn't pull it off, but since Moore's sarcasm is in service of his fiercely good heart, it somehow works. He runs down each argument against universal health care by sarcastically pretending that he believed it and then showing, surprise! that it was a load of bullshit."

Cara at The Curvature: "Well, it's a Michael Moore film. So it's biased, funny, persuasive and heartbreaking."
Jill at Feministe: I hope that this film will be a wake-up call, but I doubt it. Modern American cultural mythology is deeply wrapped up in both superiority and individualism - American children are raised with the idea that America is great precisely because America is #1."
Jeff Fecke on Blog of the Moderate Left and cross-posted at Shakesville: "Still, if SiCKO occasionally oversteps the bounds of reality, that's no greater sin than what the health care industry has been doing for forty years."
One of the biggest criticims of the movie right now is that many are skeptical about the accuracy of Michael Moore's facts and the level of truth behind the individual horror stories shared in the film, but this CNN article reports on what they found when they decided to look into the matter:
"Moore covers a lot of ground. Our team investigated some of the claims put forth in his film. We found that his numbers were mostly right, but his arguments could use a little more context. As we dug deep to uncover the numbers, we found surprisingly few inaccuracies in the film."
Meanwhile at Shakesville, Melissa McEwan and Paul the Spud have both pointed out how conservatives at Fox News are ridiculously trying to link Britain's universal healthcare system to the recent attempted terrorist attacks there.
It also seems that in spite of the limitations of the nation's lacking health care system, some state and local governments are doing thier own thing. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's home state of Massachusetts developed a plan last year that requires all residents to be insured:
"The Massachusetts legislature approved a bill Tuesday that would require all residents to purchase health insurance or face legal penalties, which would make this the first state to tackle the problem of incomplete medical coverage by treating patients the same way it does cars."
And just this past week, Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Fransisco announced that the California city will be implementing its own system of universal care:
"The political dialogue must change, Newsom insists. 'If it's not going to happen through national leadership or statewide leadership,' he says, 'then it has to happen on a local level."
So what do you think? Which candidate(s), if any, do you agree with? Have you seen the movie? Got another link to a review you want to add to the list? Do you think the Massachusetts and San Fransisco plans are awesome or insane? Are those of us who want universal care being too idealistic?


Anonymous said...

We're not being idealistic at all. I think that the Edwards plan is the best that I've seen so far, but it doesn't go far enough. I would definitely like to see truly socialized medicine, like what Moore showed France and Britain have and get rid of health insurance companies completely. But unfortunately, I don't think that there is nearly enough mainstream support for it right now. And unless something in the political landscape changes soon, the best we're going to see is the Obama plan-- which is definitely an improvement, but far from a fix.

Tracey said...

I totally agree with you. I'm disappointed that even though all of the democratic candidates support a "universal" system, none of them really have plans to revolutionize what we have now. (Then again, maybe that's because they know that whatever plan they come up with has to have bipartisan support.) It makes me happy that San Fransisco is going to develop its own system. If a local plan like that ends up being successful, maybe it can serve as a model for the nation.

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