Saturday, June 02, 2007

Closing Statements on MA-05 Health Care Debate

Here are the closing statements, all of them very good. One of the things that strikes me about this race is that all of the candidates are personable, likeable and wouldn't be bad choices. Do I have my preferences? Of course. Will I make an endorsement? This Tuesday, on LeftAhead, but I'll still cover the race giving people all the facts. Just because I have opinions doesn't mean facts go out the window.

Miceli: lots of experience in mental health and in district he's been in. Holds office hours every month in both of his towns. Town meetings in each town once a year. His phone number's in the book. He's available and effective, especially for hospital in district. He "knows what it's all about... and can hit the ground running." Active legislator, built a business, watns your support.

Eldrige: Lots of great proposals today, but at the end of the day the only proposal that will gaurantee insurance for all is a national health care system. He's the only candidate that supports it. Reduce cost 3 bil a year. Workers will have adaquate health care coverage and be properly taken care of - benefit for all of society. Who will fight hardest to make it happen? It's not about political reality, it's about political leadership. He's going to fight to make health care a right.

Attacked some of the candidates; doesn't care about health insurnace profits and thinks marketplace has been a part of the problem, not the solution. His first vote was against Finneran as Speaker of the House - he's going to have that kind of leadership. Huge applause.

Tsongas: Time for change in our country and no where is that more evident than in the discussion on health care. Wants affordable access to every American: employer, gov't and people have to do their part. She's benefited from good health care. Protect local hospitals and health centers. Costs must be put under control, but can't get there unless we first provide coverage. Address nursing shortage. Good applause.

Barry Finegold: Would add a district office in Hudson, so there's more representation in district. Links himself to Jamie on universal health care. Wants legislation to prohibit discrimination, regardless of preexisting conditions. Drug advertising represents major problem - let's ban it. Doesn't want HMOs making decisions, wants Doctors with patients making decisions. Good applause.

Donoghue: Single-payer is the route to go in the ideal word - that's not to say she wouldn't fight for it. Leadership is more than standing on principal, it's about results. Clear push-back on Eldridge. ASAP coverage, while we strive for single-payer system. Cover all children, working poor, expand medicare, coverage manditory on employers and employees. Good applause.

Some quick thoughts:

Donoghue's biggest problem, in my eyes, seems to be one of rhetoric, but she needs those skills to make an effective congressperson. If someone goes into the US Congress saying "support for Universal coverage just isn't there," then why would any compromise look remotely like universal coverage? She's just not going to be a force for universal health care with her opinions and strategies. She says it she's not being a defeatest, but I think that's the exact message she's sending. Furthermore, her statements saying that she's not trying to be a defeatest and is just being a realist seems to be directed toward Eldridge - it's sort of the antithesis of what he's saying. However, I view his actions in the state house as the exact kind that leads to progress. He's unequivocally supported single-payer health care, but that didn't prevent him for voting for the Massachusetts health bill. So, in effect, he's voted for the incremental steps in the past, but he's not giving in on the rhetoric, which is important. It gives him a larger voice on the issue, one that's clearly defined and could be very effective.

I also really like the gist of Finegold's plan, which reminds me of Germany. Basically, he wants to open up medicare to everyone in the country and allow them the choice of private versus public insurance. It would be true compromise and really could be the market-based price control Niki was pretending the current system is. Since Medicare is so much more efficient, private insurances would either get in shape or die out. Notice, in Germany, more than 90% of the population has chosen their public insurance. Gee whiz, I wonder why? Still, though, since medicare is that much more effective, we may as well use it to cover everyone. Private insurance companies, if they want to stick around, can do what they do in places like France - where they cover optional, additional insurances, but the base insurance is covered by the Government.

I'll have actual coherent thoughts on this shortly. I hope this wasn't all that mind-numbing and people could make some good use of this play-by-play. If there was a winner today, it was probably Eldridge. I'm not trying to be biased when I say this, but he did clearly get the biggest applause. I was a little surprised, when I drove in, to see no "Eldridge" signs - when there were plenty of Tsongas, Finegold and Donoghue signs. I guess his supporters just wanted to watch a debate, because either they were there in force or I guess people just really loved what he had to say. Ultimately, that's up for all of you to decide.


Anonymous said...

If everyone has to get on government healthcare under the Eldridge plan, what happens to the hundreds of millions of people who currently DO have health insurance? Are you going to take my insurance away? It seems like over kill. Extend the coverage to the people who have it, but don't take away my coverage in the process.

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Ryan Adams said...

Anon, change is never an easy thing, but his system is by far the better option. Not only would you save money, but what has happened in countless other countries would happen in America: optional insurances would pop up as well, covering things a universal insurance wouldn't. Like in most countries, those insurances aren't cheap.

So, if you don't want universal insurance because your free, yearly face lift won't be included, fear not: additional options will be widely available, at a more reasonable price.

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