There is some need for bold thinking in this area and it will require both government and the market to increase the number of those insured in our country. Clive Crook writes in the April,2006 issue of the Atlantic that the answer might be health savings accounts with government subsidies for the poor. David Lesher presents serveral bold ideas in an op-ed from the San Francisco Chronicle including health care. His idea? Treat health insurance like auto insurance:
Employer-based health coverage is an anachronism in a new economy where the average job tenure is shrinking and companies compete globally.
The most promising and politically feasible route to universal coverage is to make an adequate level of health insurance mandatory, accessible and affordable for all individuals.
That means government, employers and individuals each share responsibility for extending insurance to the 7 million Californians left out today.
I think this makes sense. Instead of trying to put the private health care sector out of business, lets have government and the private sector work together towards universal health care. It makes no sense that you can't drive a car off a lot without insurance and yet we can walk around without health insurance. Governor Mitt Romney is trying to do just that in Massachusetts; making health care mandatory while offering subsidies for the poor.
As someone who has been without health care many times in my life, I know that we need to solve this problem. In the volitile economy of the 21st century, an employer-based system makes no sense. Liberals, to their credit, know this and Conservatives can't hide behind the fact that we have a one of the best health care systems in the world when a large minority aren't able to access it. However, Liberals have to acknowledge that you can't realisitically get rid of the private sector in health care (at least a third of the Canadian Health system is private), but we can steer the market to be more compassionate while being competative.
We need leaders who are willing to put down ideology for pragmatism and solve this issue. But we also need a public that demands change.