Monday, March 10, 2008

Critical Condition: Tom Daschle Speaks Out on American Health Care

On the AFL/CIO's Blog is a very interesting piece about former Democratic Senator Tom Daschle who was a speaker on March 5 at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C.

At $2 trillion per year, the United States has the most expensive health care system in the world (16% of our economy and rising), but the results it produces are poor when compared to other nations.

Although Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) claimed on Tuesday night that the United States has “the world’s best medical care,” Daschle said that what we actually have are “islands of excellence in a sea of mediocrity,” with the highest-quality options for those who can afford it and inadequate or inconsistent service for millions more.

Daschle critiqued the myths and outright lies spread by opponents of health care reform. Among them, that any change to the system would be “socialized medicine,” which Daschle says creates a false choice. Opponents also claim we “can’t afford” reform, even though the flaws in the system are raising costs.
Among the other topics Daschle addressed were the following:
  1. Reform would require "rationing." According to the former Senator, the differences in quality of care, access to care, and a pattern of claims denials under the current system already creates "the worst kind of rationing."

  2. The desperate need for true leadership on the issue, especially from the President's office. To illustrate, he referred to the recent Presidential veto of SCHIP by President Bush.

  3. The McCain approach, which he refers to as "cost shifting" without any real tangible gains.

All in all, the Senator's views continually stress effective political leadership as the key element needed to enact true and lasting reform. Take a look at what he has to say and let us know your opinion.

SOURCE: "Daschle: America’s Health Care System in Critical Condition" 03/06/08
photo courtesy of NARA/EPA via pingnews, used under this Creative Commons license

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