Tuesday I received an email from a friend telling me that she has signed on as a supporter of John Edwards's health care plan. Would I do the same? Hmmmm. No. How can it be called a plan for universal health care when it is simply a patchwork of measures that seeks to extend coverage to the 47 million Americans who are currently uninsured. That's nice, but it isn't universal coverage, coverage that one can count on through job loss and, God forbid, an actual illness. Sure, his plan contains a provision that, the New York Times reports, has the potential to be the basis of a single-payer system that might someday make private insurance obsolete, but it doesn't actually do any of that outright. Why is it so hard to separate health insurance from employment and turn our backs on the private insurance companies that eats one-third of all health-care dollars?
Truthout reports that a bill written by Rep. John Conyers creating a single-payer, universal system has the support of 225 labor organizations. Now there's a plan I could get behind. Progressives need to seize this moment and make clear that we don't need the same old debate one more time. We need coverage, for all of us, and soon. As Edwards's form email put it, "The whole idea is that we're all responsible – responsible for our national health care system, and responsible for building the popular support we need to make it happen." Sing it. Let's start at HK on J. See you there.