19 January 2008

Where's the single-payer coverage?

The Rocky Mountain News' media critic, Jasan Salzman, has a good question in his column today. He asks why reporters aren't asking Colorado politicians, in particular Governor Bill Ritter, about Health Care for All Colorado's single-payer plan for Colorado health care. Salzman writes that both the News and the Denver Post "have reported that Gov. Bill Ritter is worried about the expense of his goal of providing health care to all Coloradans, regardless of which plan is chosen.

"Reporters should challenge this notion by noting that the governor's own Blue Ribbon Commission for Health Care Reform states that a single-payer system would actually reduce total state health-care expenditures by $2 billion. But it would require, according to the commission's report, an 8 percent income tax increase. Our political leaders should be asked whether the real issue is cost or political will."

Governor Ritter answered that question when I posed it to him at the Faith in Action Conference last weekend. Answered it to my satisfaction, in fact. He said that he was in favor of universal health care, but that it shouldn't come to a vote until it can win.

In some ways, we're at the same stage in this issue as we were back in the 1960s with cigarettes. Lots of educating needs to take place.

But for that education to take place, the reporters do need to pay attention, and ask the questions.

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