Today, the Gray Lady is reporting — rather adroitly, I might say — on how gas prices, job losses and housing market declines have flown by health care costs/reform as populist topics of concern. It is not so much that no one cares about health-care inequities, as it is that these others have reached boiling-over points. Still, it seems any politician ignoring the broken health care delivery system in the United States, this Fall, and beyond — does so at his or her peril — do go read it all — but here is some of the solid coverage:
. . . .Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee, is arguing that Senator John McCain’s plan to end the tax bias against those who buy insurance individually, and to replace it with health care tax credits for all, would increase costs for many consumers and leave others underinsured.
Mr. McCain, the Republican nominee, is charging that Mr. Obama’s proposal, which would allow the privately insured to maintain their coverage while creating a heavily subsidized government plan for the uninsured, would “force families into a government-run health care system.”
Advocacy groups, meanwhile, are spending tens of millions of dollars on advertising to keep the issue at the forefront of the 2009 Congressional agenda. And working groups, both inside and outside Congress, are meeting to search for points of bipartisan agreement that might produce at least incremental change.
Polls show not that concern about health care has faded significantly, only that the foreboding about energy and the economy has blitzed past it. Some analysts of health care politics argue that because Democrats are more associated with the issue, any de-emphasis may help Republicans. They warn, however, that candidates ignore health care at their own peril.
“It’s generally more helpful to Democrats than to Republicans, so when health care is subsumed into the economy it may not have as much of an edge,” said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, one of the advocacy groups behind the new “Harry and Louise” television commercials about the plight of the uninsured. “But in terms of what people want to hear candidates talk about, they certainly want to hear something about health care”. . . .
. . . .When provided openings, other Democrats have attacked what they see as a Republican soft spot. In the open race in Illinois’s 11th District, for instance, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has distributed two mailings calling attention to the claim by the Republican candidate, Marty Ozinga, that health care is available to all Americans. “I don’t care who you are, if you’re sick or you get hurt, you go to the hospital and you get taken care of,” Mr. Ozinga was quoted as saying on a local cable television program.
Representative Chris Van Hollen, the Maryland Democrat who heads the campaign committee, said Mr. Ozinga’s opponent, State Senator Debbie Halvorson, “is going to zero in on this like a laser beam.”
All Democratic candidates, Mr. Van Hollen said, will try to invigorate the debate over health care by emphasizing its part in the country’s economic travails.
“While there continues to be a moral issue of ensuring that our people have access to basic health care,” he said, “it’s also a family budget issue and an economic issue in an era of global competition”. . . .
This patently-false Republican talking point (bolded, above, and often spouted by the most out-of-touch, and elite Republicans) — that any American may walk into any emergency room, and receive free treatment — is demonstrably, and devastatingly, disingenuous.
In point of fact, as many here assembled likely already know — it is the practice of some urban emergency rooms (and hospitals) to drive the indigent and homeless there arriving — away from their doors, often in taxis, and return them to various cities’ Skid Rows — consider this YouTube, excerpting a “CNN Anderson Cooper 360o” television report, of last year:
Truly tragic — and that it occurs here, in the richest nation on Earth — is truly deplorable. Her name — Carolyn Reyes — should be the perfect counter-point to Republican nonsense — like that offered by Colorado’s Mr. Ozinga, above.