Health Care Looms Large in Prez Primaries

Bill Scher

The growing grassroots demand for affordable, accessible health care is sure to drive the presidential primaries. But it remains to be seen if candidates will respond with workable, comprehensive plans to match their urgent rhetoric.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich is the only candidate so far with an announced plan: “Enhanced Medicare For Everyone.” But he will joined by others.

Earlier this month, John Edwards said achieving universal coverage was a higher short-term priority for him than balancing the budget. But no specific plan as of yet.

Last night, Sen. Hillary Clinton told the NY Times she’ll announce a plan shortly.

And today, Sen. Barack Obama gave his first health care address since announcing his intention to be a candidate. No plan yet, but a demand that universal health care be achieved by the end of the next president’s term in 2012.

Kevin Drum at the Washington Monthly and Ezra Klein at The American Prospect expressed concern that the forthcoming details from Obama won’t be as bold as the rhetoric. While RJ Eskow of The Sentinel Effect was hopeful that high expectations Obama set for himself meant an exciting plan was in the works.

Candidates in both parties committed to a workable, comprehensive solution should seriously consider Health Care for America, released by Jacob Hacker and the Economic Policy Institute, and promoted by our own Roger Hickey.

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