Hmmm. There seems to be a recurring theme here. Perhaps folks think GW Bush will pull a Richard Nixon and support universal health insurance. That's why so many are talking about this issue now. Sure. Right.
Kevin Drum of Washington Monthly summarizes Ezekiel Emanuel and Victor R. Fuchs proposal for a universal health care voucher. You'll find the full proposal here in Solved!.
Emanuel then does a series at the Monthly:
- Why Keep Insurance Companies?
- Why Single Payer Won't Work
- Why Single Payer Won't Work, Part 2
- Bashing Health Plans
- Why Universal Healthcare Vouchers?
- Answers to Some of the Questions in the Comments
And then back to Drum in what he calls the Healthcare Cage Match followed by Emanuel's response in Insurance Companies. And back again to Drum in Healthcare and Big Business. And Emanuel responds Big Business and Healthcare.
For those who haven't watched this struggle until recently, Emanuel offers a very brief history of national proposals for universal coverage and what happened to them.
In the midst of the Drum/Emanuel discussion, Phil Glastris points to the Veteran's Administration healthcare program here and Emanuel responds here on whether the VA is a compelling model. Speaking of analogies, Emanuel then points out that his and Fuchs plan is more like the plan enjoyed by members of Congress.
Care in the VA system is much improved and we've talked about the VA comparison before. In my judgment, the apparent quality today is not an adequate argument for single-payer. Here's why.
Five years ago while running for President, Bill Bradley made health care and health care coverage a centerpiece of his campaign. The plan he proposed was based on the Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan and his argument was "if it's good enough for your Congressman, it should be good enough for you. Clearly Gore ran a better political campaign, but the gist of his argument against Bradley was that someone with coverage might lose some benefits or the program was too expensive or both. Hardly the populist argument that we might expect from him today.
Gore also seemed to have over-learned the lesson from the Clinton Health Plan, not so much that it was too complex, but that it was too ambitious. He bought into the "incremental improvement" position. There was just one teensy-weensy problem with the Clinton-Gore incremental improvements: At the end of the Clinton Administration there were many more uninsured than at the beginning. Evidently, they thought rhetoric was enough.
Here's Jonathan Cohn on why he prefers a single-payer plan and specifically referring to Krugman's column yesterday.
And here's Matthew Yglesias arguing that a universal voucher plan is no more politically feasible than single payer. And then Brad Plummer follows up on Yglesias.