09 December 2007

Where will reform come first?

A physician who sometimes speaks for Health Care for All Colorado returned from the Physicians for a National Health Program's national conference a couple weeks ago with the observation that he did think reform would come first at the state level — as it did in Canada — but that it wouldn't be Colorado.

I guessed he would bet on Vermont being the first — it's a liberal state and they've been doing education for a long time, and also their people know that the system works better in Canada than in the U.S.

He thought Kentucky.

Crazy, I know, but the next thing I knew I was talking with Walter and Kay Tillow, who head Unions for Single-Payer, and have long worked out of Louisville. The Kentucky Legislature actually endorsed HR 676, Reps. Conyers' and Kucinich's single-payer bill before the Vermont legislature did.

And before you write off the South, with its historic greater acceptance of inequality, take a look at this article on "Can You Say Single-Payer?" from, of all places, South Carolina.

This bit in the middle reminded me of Colorado's Independence Institute and its allies:
But the operative word to describe the health care plans put forward by the major, viable candidates is “timid.”
“Single-payer” is definitely not that — at least, not within an American context. Seen from the perspective of most advanced nations — which accept medical care as just another part of a nation’s infrastructure, like roads and post offices — it’s no big deal.
Not here, though — not by a long shot. Here, we have too many people preprogrammed to go ballistic at the mention of “single-payer.” That’s because of the identity of that payer.
It’s... well, it’s the government!
This column will now take a short break while libertarians run around shrieking until they turn blue and fall over... da-da-dum-dum, hmmm... readers might want to go look at the Sunday comics until we resume... da-dee-da-dahhh... Still screaming, so let’s get another cup of coffee... Ah, that’s good stuff...
OK, we’re back, and they’re still screaming, but we’ll just have to accept that they’re going to do that, and proceed.
“Government,” in America, is a word that we use for a free people banding together to do something that we can do far better working together than working separately. Some people don’t accept that fact. They seem to believe that “government” is some scary thing that intrudes on their lives from out there somewhere, like a spaceship full of aliens with ray guns that will turn us all into toads or something.

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