Today’s Must-Read

It’s a New Yorker piece so it’s longer than the usual news blurb, but take a moment and read it all the way through (or print it out and read it when you have a little downtime). It talks about how other countries came to their health care systems – all of which are better than ours – and explains how we can effectively be moving forward towards quality, affordable health care for all here in the U.S. Here’s an excerpt explaining why we can’t just scrap the system we’ve got and start all over:

Over and over in the health-reform debate, one hears serious policy analysts say that the only genuine solution is to replace our health-care system (with a single-payer system, a free-market system, or whatever); anything else is a missed opportunity. But this is a siren song.

Yes, American health care is an appallingly patched-together ship, with rotting timbers, water leaking in, mercenaries on board, and fifteen per cent of the passengers thrown over the rails just to keep it afloat. But hundreds of millions of people depend on it. The system provides more than thirty-five million hospital stays a year, sixty-four million surgical procedures, nine hundred million office visits, three and a half billion prescriptions. It represents a sixth of our economy. There is no dry-docking health care for a few months, or even for an afternoon, while we rebuild it. Grand plans admit no possibility of mistakes or failures, or the chance to learn from them. If we get things wrong, people will die. This doesn’t mean that ambitious reform is beyond us. But we have to start with what we have.

This is the approach advocated by President Obama and by us here at HCAN. We both believe you should have a choice of public or private health insurance, and your plan should include standard benefits that meet your needs and be affordable based on your family’s ability to pay.

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