Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Barack Obama yesterday released his plan for "universal health care." He continues to impress us good-government types, this time with a plan that is thoughtful, prudently bold, and nuanced.

The plan emphasizes preventative care, something incredibly lacking in much of America's current system. It mandates coverage for children, something hard to disagree with. And it tries to work with the private sector, subsidizing those that need it rather than having the government take over. Far from being a squishy middle solution, this is one area where a prudent mix of private and public sector would be the best answer.

The plan is not universal as it does not mandate coverage, but it gets close. And it doesn't break the vestigial link between employers and employees, an accidental relic of World War II that should have been gone long ago. Doing so would free employers from needless administrative overhead, put small businesses and large corporations on more equal footing, and make health care portable from job to job. The emphasis on prevention and larger single pool market for health insurance should also reduce costs on a per person basis.

Despite those flaws (yes, the Wyden Plan is probably better), it's a big step forward. Like many successful policies, it combines a liberal goal with moderate-to-conservative means.

It will be fascinating to see, especially in light of the memory of 1993, what Hillary Clinton's plan ends up looking like.

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