What the American People Want in Health Care

Rep. Roskam shakes Etch-A-Sketch as Pres. Obama looks on. [from C-SPAN] Rep. Roskam (R-IL) shakes his Etch-A-Sketch as Pres. Obama looks on. from C-SPAN

“[The American people] … have rendered a judgment about what we have attempted to do so far,” said Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) at the president’s big health care meeting last week.30+31 “[P]ut that on the shelf and … start over with a blank piece of paper and go step by step.” This theme, that the American people want to start over with a blank sheet of paper, was repeated by Republicans throughout the six-hour meeting. But when Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) got his turn, he gave it a twist: “[The American people] say, look, take the Etch-A-Sketch, go like this [shaking imaginary Etch-A-Sketch upside down], let’s start over, let’s do incremental things …”32+33 Vice President Joe Biden addressed the Republican claims of knowing what the American people want: “I think it requires a little bit of humility to be able to know what the American people think. … I know what I think. I think I know what they think, but I’m not sure what they think.”34 The Republicans pointed to polls showing that most Americans don’t like Congress’s health care bills, but President Barack Obama pointed to polls showing that most Americans do like individual points of the health care bills.35 Taking a cue from Vice President Biden, I won’t claim to know what others want, but I know what I want in a health care system, and, taking a cue from the Republicans, I am writing it on a blank sheet of paper:

1. Good, Constant Coverage: I want a plan with good, reasonable coverage that is always in effect — even when I’m in between jobs.

2. Insurance Standards: I want coverage without insurance company tricks and loopholes: no caps, no denial for preexisting conditions, no cancellation when needing an pricey treatment.

3. Quick Treatment: I want to be able see my doctor, or go to a walk-in clinic and get treatment, without waiting days for an appointment.

4. No Paperwork: I want to be able to show my health care card and get treatment — no interview, no forms.

5. Doctor’s Best Judgment: I want my doctor to act from one’s own best judgment, and not from the need to ring the cash register.

6. No Premiums: I want to pay for this out of our taxes. But if I have to pay a premium, it should be affordable, and I should be able to pay it into a public, non-profit plan.

7. Everyone In: I want these things for everyone in America. A healthier nation is a stronger and freer nation.

Which of these features do you want in a health care bill? Please check ALL the ones you want, then click “Vote”:

(2010-05-01: Poll closed.)

What do you want in a health care bill?

  • 1. Good, Constant Coverage (15%, 99 Votes)
  • 2. Insurance Standards (14%, 92 Votes)
  • 3. Quick Treatment (14%, 91 Votes)
  • 4. No Paperwork (13%, 85 Votes)
  • 5. Doctor's Best Judgment (15%, 95 Votes)
  • 6. No Premiums (14%, 90 Votes)
  • 7. Everyone In (15%, 99 Votes)

Total Voters: 108

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While Congress’s bills would address some of these features in some measure, I think that the best and least costly way to get them would be to improve and extend Medicare to all.36 While Congress has not moved on that, several states are now moving towards a single-payer system.37


30 ‘Health care summit: Transcripts from every speaker’ – Washington Post, 2010-02-25

31 ‘Sen. Mitch McConnell suggests the President starts over on reform at White House health summit’ – CQ Transcriptions, 2010-02-25

32 ‘Rep. Peter Roskam makes remarks at White House health summit’ – CQ Transcriptions, 2010-02-25

33 ‘White House Health Care Summit, Part 2′ C-SPAN, 2010-02-25 – video Etch-A-Sketch routine at 134:40

34 ‘Vice President Joe Biden makes remarks on cost at White House health summit’ – CQ Transcriptions, 2010-02-25

35 ‘Poll: Americans Want Dem Health Care Reforms, Not Dem Bills’ by Evan McMorris-Santoro, Talking Points Memo, February 24, 2010

36 ‘Comparing the House and the Senate Health Care Proposals’ New York Times, 2010-02-23

37 ‘Single-Payer Healthcare Coming to Minnesota and Maryland’ by David Swanson, 2010-03-03

California keeps passing bills for state single-payer healthcare, but Ahhhnold won’t sign em, and Jerry Brown who wants to be governor doesn’t seem to want it badly enough to make a commitment on healthcare. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania is encouraged that their current governor has said he probably will sign a single-payer healthcare bill, and the legislature just might pass one. But Minnesota has an angle neither of these other states can claim: a serious candidate for governor who is the state’s leading advocate for single-payer.

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By Quinn Hungeski – Posted at TheParagraph.com

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