Today's New York Times
has an article
on the virtually unimpeachable argument in favor of a single-payer health-care financing system for the United States. All the arguments are there (except for one, which may be implicit in the others: we could provide universal coverage and still save a bundle). The article also recognizes that the great stumbling block isn't economics or logic: it's political. The American public simply doesn't believe the arguments and certainly doesn't trust the government to get it right. And although we already have a single-payer system for the elderly and disabled (Medicare), the military and their dependents (VA and CHAMPUS), and the most indigent of the indigent (Medicaid), which includes a substantial percentage of the children in this country, we still don't trust the government to get it right. If the author of this article is correct ("What is the most pressing problem facing the economy? A good case can be made for the developing health care crisis. Soaring costs, growing ranks of uninsured and a steady erosion of corporate health benefits add up to a giant drag on the nation’s future prosperity."), this ought
to be domestic policy issue #1 between now and the 2008 elections. But I'm not taking any bets.