Up until today, I was unaware the Colorado Daily was engaging the candidates in CO-02 (to replace Rep. Mark Udall) leading questions of our time. There have been a few already and another today. I’m going to take a look at today’s article and then cover the others in posts in the near future. Today’s question dealt with health care:
What do you think the federal government should do about health care in the near term, and why?
Jared Polis’s answer was good overall, though a little wonky. Perhaps that will work in the high-tech area of CO-02. He identifies the problem as:
The problem is we don’t get a bang for our buck – we pay more and get less.
Then talks about his solution:
This is why I support Healthcare for all, a publicly funded, privately delivered health-care system that extends similar coverage as the Medicare program to all Americans of all ages, regardless of their employment, income, health status, pre-existing condition, or any other factor.
This is a very good solution. Medicare is the most successful public program in the history of our country. It delivers care (gasp!) to those it covers and has the lowest level of administrative cost than any other health care program, public or private. He points out that citizens will pay less for their care, and that businesses will also encounter significant savings too. The only losers? Bloated insurance corporations and their overpaid executives. After all, health care is a right, not a privilege.
Will Shafroth’s answer is a little more over-arching than Polis’s. He speaks in more general terms, but has a good solution for the problem that mirrors Polis’s:
First, there needs to be an increased focus on preventive health care to keep people healthy. Second, when people do get sick, we need a health-care system that will take care of them. That is why everyone must have access to quality, affordable health care.
In Congress, I would work to create a new Medicare-like government health care plan that is accessible and affordable to all, while respecting personal control over health decisions by allowing individuals to participate in the plan or to continue their private health insurance. The cost of premiums would be based on one’s ability to pay.
In addition, I would expand funding and coverage of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), and require that all children receive some form of health coverage.
I’m not sure, however, that starting the conversation from allowing people to continue their private health insurance plans is a good idea. Whatever gets proposed will be attacked to death by the corporate insurance giants. Whatever gets proposed will be negotiated and compromised upon. The end product could look unrecognizable and unacceptable to a majority of Americans. Which is exactly what the insurance corporations want: they want to keep bleeding us dry while denying care. I suggest starting as far into the single-payer universal health care plan domain as possible. I’m under no illusions that the 111th Congress will likely not deliver such a plan to Americans. But the Overton window must be moved on this issue and I’m just not sure Shafroth is prepared to do that.
Joan Fitz-Gerald’s answer leaves a lot to be desired. She starts out pretty strong but then discusses her point away. I do not like the frame from which she operates in her discussion:
The way we are going right now, we have lucky and unlucky people.
Our current for-profit health care system is just like playing the lottery, apparently. How about recognizing that the system is gamed from the start to take as much of our money as possible and deliver as little care as possible? I didn’t necessarily expect that kind of argument from Joan, and she met my expectations. This points to a larger problem I have with her candidacy. As a recipient of special-interest donations, she can’t afford to take a strong, progressive stand on this or many other issues. Talk about being unprepared to move the window. Fitz-Gerald talks like she’s unwilling to do so before the debate even starts.
I don’t want the next Representative from CO-02 to talk about how unlucky everybody is. I want that person to stand up for the interests of CO-02 and fight for them. Polis sounds ready to do that. Shafroth sounds a little less ready, but would likely deliver if elected. Fitz-Gerald doesn’t sound ready to fight, at least not for her potential constituents.