Participating in the Book Club from afar….

Earlier this year, I joked that the Sacramento Bee’s Crossroads blog turned into a debate mostly among the right and the far-right. Now it’s devolved further into just me debating columnist Daniel Weintraub. I’ll leave it to others to decide if that is an improvement or not.

For something completely different, see what happens when thoughtful progressives talk amongst themselves on health care policy at the TPM Cafe Book Club, where they are continuing discussions around the new Jonathan Cohn book Sick.

Robin Podolsky gives this blog a shout-out, but argues a point from my earlier post, saying she’s a hack, not a wonk. To bolster her hack credentials, she provides a great analogy of how high-deductible plans are like a Las Vegas buffet. But then she also comes up with a line like, “high-deductible plans disincentivize preventive care,” which, while true, is undoubtedly wonkish. But maybe the poet in her wins out, arguing we should not just “advocate the altruism of ‘beautiful souls’ but to address our economic and social interdependence.”

Yet another Californian joined the debate, as well: Peter Harbage, of Harbage Consulting and the New America Foundation, and many other hats as well. He argues there is “no wrong place to start.” I tend to agree, although I actually do think there are steps forward to, and step backwards away from, the goal of quality, affordable health care for all. Knowing him, I think he would agree.

Beyond those of all the Californians, to whom I am partial, of course, my favorite post has been that of Nathan Newman, of the Progressive States Network. He provides an accurate reporting of what is happening and a framework for how it fits into a larger picture: In a national conversation, it is important to remind folks that the action is in the states, like California, and that passage of reforms, minor and major (and the bigger the better) creates the demand and framework for a national solution.

Success breeds success. California passed a global warming bill last year. Some thought it was great, others a modest first step. Either way, there’s more environmental bills this year than ever before, and now this is the talk of the nation, not just California.

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

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