Not the names, but the numbers…

There’s continued speculation about who is the possible next Secretary of Health and Human Services.

This is an important position, and I certainly have opinions. (It really shouldn’t be TN Gov. Phil Bredesen, for example.) But some are using this as a marker in the overwrought speculation of whether health reform will happen this year.

It’s not the name, it’s the numbers.

* It’s the constant data and statistics that prove the need and the urgency for reform: the increasing rate of health care costs, the number of people losting job-based coverage, the 47 million uninsured, the poor ranking of the U.S. compared to other industrialized nation in health, the

* I’ve argued before the the name that matters wasn’t Tom Daschle, but Barack Obama. During the campaign, Obama made health care a top priority, and invested over $100 million in ads on health care reform– over 75% of his TV buy in October. Will Obama put his money where his mouth is again? Jonathan Cohn’s reporting at The Treatment suggests he will, and the President’s budget will reflect health reform as a priority–something that people will be watching closely.

* But the final numbers that are needed for health reform are our own. It’s not enough for there to be a serious problem or crisis, or even a committed President. We need public opinion to support health reform, and for millions of Americans to mobilize in favor of key principles. We are working with Health Care for America Now! to build such a movement and many state and national groups have their own campaigns and efforts.

Those are the numbers that matter more than the names. It’s up to us.

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.

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