In Which Barak Obama Goes Up In My Estimation

Obama is discussing his health care reform plans, which would require all American children to be insured and eventually provide the opportunity for insurance for all Americans. He hopes to finance this by

“…allowing President Bush’s tax cuts on dividends and capital gains and on those making more than about $250,000 a year to expire in 2010 instead of acting to make them permanent…the rest of the $65 billion funding could come by raising taxes on inheritances worth more than $7 million.”

And check this out:

“His package would prohibit insurance companies from refusing coverage because of pre-existing conditions. It would also create a National Health Insurance Exchange to monitor insurance companies and limit their profits. Obama said the typical consumer would save $2,500 a year on premiums.”

John Edwards has a similar plan, although his would require all Americans to have insurance.


At this point, I’m just excited to see these issues being discussed with such seriousness. Because a “great nation” isn’t the nation with the biggest aircraft carriers or the most threatening offshore imprisonment system; a “great nation” takes care of its poor because to do so is not only a gesture of basic human compassion, but of economic wisdom and foresight. I read an awesome article a couple years ago by UN Millenium Project head and controversial badass Jeffrey Sachs in Scientific American in which he laid out some basic long- and short-term plans for improvements in the general African standard of living, and how these development would benefit the world economy and the United States’ own national security in the 21st century. From the article:

Western society tends to think of foreign aid as money lost. But if supplied properly, it is an investment that will one day yield huge returns, much as U.S. assistance to western Europe and East Asia after World War II did. By prospering, today’s impoverished countries will wean themselves from endless charity. They will contribute to the international advance of science, technology and trade. They will escape political instability, which leaves many of them vulnerable to violence, narcotics trafficking, civil war and even terrorist takeover. Our own security will be bolstered as well. As U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan wrote earlier this year: “There will be no development without security, and no security without development.”

Exactly. And what kind of future can we expect from our country if we don’t care for our disadvantaged? I truly believe that George Bush does not care about our nation’s poor. I look forward with great hope to a presidential candidate who feels differently.

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “In Which Barak Obama Goes Up In My Estimation

  1. Melissa McEwan

    a “great nation” isn’t the nation with the biggest aircraft carriers or the most threatening offshore imprisonment system; a “great nation” takes care of its poor because to do so is not only a gesture of basic human compassion, but of economic wisdom and foresight

    Right on.

    As I’ve said, oh I dunno, a zillion? times before, I will never understand the rich who are voracious social Darwinists. Undermining the very economy in which your wealth was built, and in which it’s literally invested, is a good way to get yourself not rich anymore.

    So you’d think that even soulless plutocrats could get on board with this, just out of a sense of pragmatic self-protection.

  2. Oh, sweet, it’s letting me comment now! Thanks for posting this, Liss.

  3. DBK

    A great healthcare plan would do without the insurance companies. This strikes me as a way to make the taxpayers pay the insurance companies.

  4. If it doesn’t have a participation mandate, then it’s worthless. DBK is right to be concerned about taxpayers just funding the profits of insurance companies, although we can’t really just get rid of them. There are things that can be done, however, that will weaken insurance companies and/or push them into the margins, which would help both patients and healthcare providers.

    Obama’s problem is that he seems to think that “bipartisanship” means always hoarding and never spending political capital. So whatever he says and/or proposes is stuff that’s widely popular, that don’t require very much effort in drumming up support.

    So he has a “universal coverage” plan that would provide nothing of the sort. People who want universal coverage like the rhetoric, and the insurance companies like how there’s no accountability for them, and lookee, there’s widespread, bipartisan support. But so what? Nothing will change.

  5. Obama’s being pragmatic and focusing on what can actually muster up enough votes to make it through Congress.

    I like that approach. It tends to get stuff done. Maybe it’s not the most ideologically “pure” stuff, but given how bad the status quo is, any improvement is better than none.

  6. GRRR. Apparently the new blog sends my posts straight to the bit bucket when I post using my regular online handle, so I have to pick a new one. This sucks.

    Here’s what I was trying to say before I realized I’d been round-filed:

    Obama’s being pragmatic and focusing on what can actually muster up enough votes to make it through Congress.

    I like that approach. It tends to get stuff done. Maybe it’s not the most ideologically “pure” stuff, but given how bad the status quo is, any improvement is better than none.

  7. Arkades

    I will never understand the rich who are voracious social Darwinists.
    Liss, I think it’s best understood through the lens of guilt (or lack thereof): the well-to-do in this country are desperate to believe that they deserve their lives of entitlement and privilege, and that those who have less somehow deserve less by having been less worthy. Social Darwinism happens to be a tremendously convenient philosophy for those who wish to maintain the fiction that the status quo is correct and justifiable. It’s like a set of ‘Just So’ stories for economic inequality. Never mind how many of the rich were born that way.
    Undermining the very economy in which your wealth was built, and in which it’s literally invested, is a good way to get yourself not rich anymore.
    Unfortunately, walking hand-in-hand with the aforementioned Sense of Entitlement is an equally powerful Sense of Exceptionalism that allows certain elements in this country to believe the rules and such are for the little people, not for Important People like them. This applies both to the rule of law as well as to abstract principles such as market forces. In essence, the belief of special status enables them to not give a flying f&*k what happens to the economy as a whole as long as they can keep raking in boffo profits for themselves and the other members of their country club set. They simply don’t care about any disasters for the rest of us along the way unless it also happens to hit their pocketbooks.
    Indeed, some of them are probably such rigid thinkers that they think of prosperity as a zero-sum game: they think bad news for the rest of us must be good news for their ilk.
    Despicable, huh? I’m not sure I want to understand their motivations more clearly than this.

  8. Melissa McEwan

    Apparently the new blog sends my posts straight to the bit bucket when I post using my regular online handle, so I have to pick a new one.

    No, your comment just went to moderation for some reason and I had to approve it.

  9. I would love it so much if the tax debate side of this actually devolved into “if you make more than $200K a year, you probably want to vote Republican, unless you have a social conscience. If you make less than that, I’m gonna hook you up.”

  10. I’m with DBK on this one. If we really wanted universal health coverage in the United States, we could have it in a week. Just extend Medicare to everybody of every age, and fund it appropriately. Get rid of Medicaid (because it would no longer be needed), and require all health care providers to accept Medicare as payment. That’s the way it’s done in Canada, and pretty much all other western countries have some variation on this method. As for the insurance companies, the hell with ’em. It’s not the government’s responsibility to look out for them.

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