Friday, February 01, 2008
Learning from universal health care proposals
By Dr. Sanjay Gupta
Chief Medical Correspondent
I am sure many of you watched the debate last night and noticed that the first 40 minutes (of a 90-minute debate) were all about health care. As a member of the audience, I saw both Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton talk about how similar their plans were and the differences as well. As I blogged yesterday, there are some distinctions, which are important for you, the voter, to know.
What you may not know is that there was a recent proposal here in California to create a universal health care plan for all Californians. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, along with members of the state Senate had put forward ABX1, which would create a system of universal coverage. Just this week, it was overwhelmingly voted down in the senate health committee by a vote of 7-1.
I find it interesting the two states that put forward concrete universal health care plans, a core Democratic issue, were both led by Republican governors - Mitt Romney in Massachusetts and Schwarzenegger in California. I also wonder if the members of the Senate Health Committee in California looked at the successes and failures of the Massachusetts plans before voting their own plan down. While more people than ever are covered in Massachusetts, the cost overruns have been more than $400 million.
So, here is the question. Looking at these two states, does their history make the argument that universal health care cannot be achieved in the United States or that it can be achieved, but only at the national level? What do you think we have learned about the country from looking at these two states?
Programming note: Watch "Broken Government: Health Care - Critical Condition" Sunday night at 11 ET on CNN.
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ABOUT THE BLOGGet a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends -- info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.
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