Our guest blogger is Tom Daschle, former Senate Majority Leader and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
Last week, Senator John McCain finally addressed an issue that progressive candidates have been advocating since the beginning of the election: comprehensive health care reform. But rather than offer real solutions to our health care crisis, Senator McCain has re-hashed failed Bush policies and embraced the tired rhetoric of the conservative right. Senator McCain has tried to brand progressive efforts to reform the health care system as nothing more than socialized medicine or “nationalized health care.” Senator McCain’s assertions are not only misleading, they are factually wrong.
Contrary to Senator McCain’s belief, providing universal health coverage does not require the nationalization of our health care system. Indeed, last month, an informative Frontline documentary examined several capitalist democracies with universal coverage systems that are not run by the government. Many of the issues raised in the documentary confirm my own conclusions that better quality care can — and is — being provided for less money in countries around the world.
While Senator McCain spends his time trying to debunk progressive efforts to provide affordable health care coverage to every American, our health care system continues to erode. This week, the Save the Children foundation released a report that ranked the United States 22nd in the world on women’s health, 28th on mothers’ health, and 33rd on children’s health – behind Poland, Slovakia and Latvia. Senator McCain and President Bush can take full credit for our dismal ranking on children’s health: both are outspoken opponents of the critically needed extension and expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Americans should be concerned about is that Senator McCain continues to promote failed Bush health care policies that would dismantle the employer-based health insurance system and shift people to the discriminatory individual insurance market. Health care reform is a priority of the American people, and progressives will work hard to make it reality.
For more, check out Center for American Progress’ new report: “The Specter of Socialized Medicine: What Is It and Is It Invading Our Country?”