The Democratic National Committee, writing the convention platform, has shored up its commitment to major health reform, according to reports from a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article by reporter James O’Toole, in the AP/San Francisco Chronicle article by Calvin Woodward, and John Nichols at The Nation’s “The Beat” blog.
As the different accounts indicate, there was a successful push to include a greater emphasis to “guarantee accessible health care for all,” from supporters of Senator Clinton, who urged an “individual mandate” approach in the primaries, and health care activist focused on a single-payer solution. Obama’s plan is neither, but embodies similar principles and goals.
While the platform states that “there are different approaches within the Democratic Party about how best to achieve the commitment of universal coverage,” there’s a lot of similarity of these approaches: an emphasis on group coverage, rather than the individual market; the use of purchasing pools for bulk purchasing and other efficiencies; fair financing, where people pay based on what they can afford rather than how sick they are; the expansion of public insurance programs and coverage options; and a healthy distrust of the insurance industry, by increasing insurer oversight and offering alternatives to private coverage.
Paul Krugman at The New York Times offers important advice about next steps, and the real challenges that actually winning national health reform will face. The column should be required reading: the work has only begun!