I was reading through John Edward's healthcare proposal recently, and I realized how much it left the private (for profit) structure in place. Private, for profit health insurance companies, employers, drug companies and hospitals will remain in control of our healthcare. Is this Edward's idea of Comprehensive Universal Healthcare coverage? Edwards doesn't seem to understand that the fundamental underlying problem with the American healthcare system is the concept of for profit entities making healthcare decisions rather than doctors. When decision-makers stand to make windfall profits, the best interests of the patient takes a back seat.
The Edwards plan appears to be a fancy way of maintaining the status quo. His "Universal Healthcare" does not = a national system that we need. The Edwards plan keeps the HMO's in the drivers seat. Over time, they would be able to wiggle out of their responsibilities, through their lobbying efforts in Washington.... and within a few years, we would right back in this same position again. As savvy as the insurance industry is, I don't think they would have a problem gaming the system for their own advantage. See the Edwards Healthcare plan (pdf). The Edwards plan would still require workers to have money deducted from their wages for part of the premium costs and there would still be some out of pocket expense.
Congressman Dennis Kucinich is the only Presidential candidate that I know of who has a truly Universal, National Healthcare plan that would take the control away from the private, for profit health industry - an industry that is primarily concerned about making money rather than the health of Americans. The Kucinich Plan more closely mirrors the health systems of Canada and Europe.
Kucinich is the co-sponsor of House Bill H.R. 676, which would create this National healthcare plan. The Bill is currently circulating through Congress and has considerable support. The Kucinich plan puts patients and Doctors in charge of making healthcare decisions. There would also be little out of pocket costs for hospital/office visits. This would be a taxpayer supported system, like the systems that exist in the UK and Canada, but such a plan would eliminate the vultures from the system, making services more efficient. More of the money that is spent would go towards healthcare instead of filling the pockets of a middle man. The U.S. already spends twice and three times the money on healthcare as other countries that have better not-for-profit systems. If they can do it, why can't we- the richest nation on earth?
It is unfortunate that the man with the best Healthcare proposal doesn't have a chance of winning the Democratic nomination, let alone a General election. American voters are motivated more by style than substance. Ignorance about the issues and about the candidates has become a way of life for the American voter.
Unfortunately, despite significant support in Congress and from medical professionals, the Bill stands little chance of becoming law. The lobbyists who work for the insurance companies and the drug companies are working overtime in an effort to kill the Bill. And even if it passes in the House, it will not likely get through the Senate. If it ever reached Bush's desk, it is no secret that the Bill would be vetoed.
Watch as Kucinich briefly discusses his health proposal.