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About.com's Election Blog: Talking Change

By About.com's Election '08 Bloggers

By Daniel Levisohn

Last year, when the controversial director Michael Moore released his film Sicko, a documentary about healthcare in America, he received a rare response: bipartisan agreement. Republicans and Democrats on both sides of the healthcare debate observed that the American healthcare system had grown dysfunctional.

This is a system, after all, where even people with insurance routinely get denied access to treatment; where the cost of insuring a family has doubled since 2001; where purchasing comprehensive insurance without sharing the burden with an employer is a luxury available only to the wealthy; where U.S. healthcare costs are a greater portion of GDP than other advanced nations, while the majority of Americans receive worse treatment. In other words, while Republicans and Democrats might disagree on how to fix the healthcare system, everyone is sick to their stomachs about how the current system operates.

To me, at least, healthcare reform ranks as high as Iraq and Afghanistan as important issues this election year. Too bad there has been no real discussion about it since the Democratic primary. To be fair, the presidential candidates aren't talking about issues at all anymore. About.com’s Guides have written great summaries of the candidates’ healthcare proposals. To quickly summarize, Obama has promised to create a government subsidized insurance plan that will compete with private insurance. He has also promised greater oversight of the insurance companies in order to protect the insured. Obama’s plan isn’t a universal healthcare system, but it is clearly designed to move the country is that direction.

McCain has also stressed that healthcare requires total reform, but he hopes to control rising costs by creating more competition throughout the healthcare system. He also wants to create greater transparency in order to allow patients to have better control over their care.

So where do you all stand on healthcare reform? Have you personally felt the impact of our faltering healthcare system? Is this an issue that you prioritize or do you have other issues you want dealt with first? Do you have a preference for either McCain or Obama’s plan?

Readers: If you have stories about working through the labyrinth of our healthcare system, let us know! If you have a better idea about how to fix healthcare than our presidential candidates, really let us know!


September 15, 2008 at 10:30 am
(1) erik says:

We have created a culture where it is more and more the society’s role to deliver rights instead of protecting them. This is very unhealthy – Literally. We don’t pay attention to what we eat, what we do or the decisions we make because we have been taught that there is always a safety net/hammock. There are very little consequences to our actions. As a result less people understand what real risk involves. A society with no risk takers is a society of mediocrity and that mediocre shapeless lump has no purpose because it has no definition and without definition it has nothing to keep it together. So we fall apart because we have nothing to unify us.

Until we have “hope”. Not as defined by our nation because we have failed – but hope as defined by our victims. We have become a society that is enslaved by our “victims” and their litigation attorneys. I want to help others. It is healthy to help others. It is dangerous to become focused on victims. Here is the difference – helping an addict break their addiction vs getting them their next fix so they don’t make a scene.

I know we have someone who is offering great amazing promises that sound so wonderful. But he will not deliver. Barak has experience recognizing a popular complaint and taking to the higher powers. He has a list of complaints and promises really big promises. Take a careful look at his plan, it is full of what is wrong and how he promises to fix them. What neighborhoods in Chicago did he change? Where is there evidence he made a long term positive impact? It is easy to get somebody a handout. It is tougher to take that same person, that neighborhood and help them turn their life around. Government programs do not provide leadership or mentoring they only throw someone else’s money at the problem. We need a society of change and government that will protect it (not provide it).

September 16, 2008 at 10:46 am
(2) Ging says:

Great post! And good to hear about an issue rather than the outside circus ;)

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