By Ben Cohen
Sen. Edward Kennedy should provide a strong incentive for Barack Obama to remain true to his word on health care reform. While Kennedy isn't proposing a single payer system (by far and away the best option, according to the majority of the population), he is offering a real alternative to the current disaster. He wrote in the Boston Globe:
Our proposal establishes new gateways to better health across America.
You can contact the gateways online, by phone, or in person to figure
out what policy works for you. Through the gateway, we will facilitate
choice by allowing consumers to compare the costs and benefits of
different health insurance policies. We'll negotiate with insurance
companies to keep premiums and copays low and help you with your
premiums if you can't afford them. We'll make it illegal for insurers
to deny coverage because of a preexisting condition or to impose other
restrictions that keep you from getting the care you need. We're also
hearing that some Americans want the choice of enrolling in a health
insurance program backed by the government for the public good, not
private profit - so that option will be available too.
Not everything progressives might want, but a mighty improvement over today's system.
Kennedy gave Obama a much needed, and possibly game changing endorsement in the primary with Hillary Clinton, and has acted as a mentor to the young politician for much of his time in the public eye. Health care is Kennedy's pet project, and if Obama fails, he will be failing Kennedy.