Once upon a time, Hillary Rodham Clinton was the health care reformer. Now, the New York senator is just one in a crowded field of Democratic presidential candidates answering voters’ calls for cheaper, better medical care.
Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois has pledged to deliver “health care for all” by the end of his first term as president. He hasn’t said how he would do it. Former vice presidential candidate John Edwards upped the ante this week by actually offering a few details, proposing $120 billion a year to fix a "dysfunctional" system.
Former Govs. Bill Richardson of New Mexico and Tom Vilsack of Iowa will point to their state records as evidence that they’re best equipped to deliver on health care. Even the Republican field has a candidate running on a signature health care reform – former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts.
Why the re-emergence of an issue that faded after Clinton’s failed reform package in 1994? Voters are demanding it.
“Edwards has got it right,” wrote “ChrisBot3000” at , an issues-based community. “If we are to consider ourselves in any way an enlightened or moral society, it's time we recognize that basic health care is a fundamental right.”
While voters disagree on how to fix the health care system, many see the need for change. “While not a right, we do need to … try to make coverage available as widely as possible,” wrote “Wamoshiii” before giving a detailed summary of the issue.
“Health care is expensive for the same reason auto repairs eventually escalated,” wrote “Paviel.” “Insurance paid whatever the repair shops charged. When the repair shops realized this they increased prices. Competition amongst insurance companies did not secure lower costs in health care. Insurance companies, drug companies, hospitals, physicians, health care researchers and all other health care providers all benefit by higher costs. So where is the incentive to lower costs?”
“Health care is more critically important than any other national issue on a par or higher than the food delivery system, housing,” Paviel continued. “A national health care system with cost control and negotiation power is critical if we are ever to control our nation's health. John Edwards should be praised for at least recognizing the importance of this issue.
Not everybody is impressed. A conservative writer who goes by the name “ptif219” warned against expanding government debt to pay for a new social program. Of the trial-lawyer-turned-politician, he said, “Is Edwards feeling guilty for what he did to health care as a lawyer?”
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