Friday, March 23, 2007

Biden Apparently Not for Universal Health Care

Well, I think I've finally figured out why Biden, officially citing family obligations, will not take part in the SEIU health care forum in Las Vegas on Saturday. From a Q&A with the Las Vegas Sun:

How would you deal with the nation's health care crisis?

I would move immediately to insure all children under age 18, modernize medical records and provide catastrophic health insurance to lift the burden on the 46 million people who can't afford coverage.

I would also encourage states to move toward total health care coverage, and I'd have the federal government give them much more leeway in underwriting the cost. The way to get a national consensus for a major health care policy is to cherry pick the best ideas from the dozens of states doing their own.

What happened to "universal health care?" It's what everybody in the Democratic field of candidates is talking about. Mysteriously, Biden chooses not to use this term. Does that mean he would not want to insure every American while he is in office? While providing insurance for all children and providing "catastrophic health insurance" (whatever that is supposed to mean) might sound like a good start and surely is better than the status quo it just sounds so safe, one has to wonder why Biden is even running for President. When you are not willing to lead on an issue and be bold about it you might want to reconsider your candidacy.

Therefore, I'm just not at all surprised he's skipping the health care forum this Saturday. I doubt the SEIU audience would have cheered him with this overtly safe, completely undaring position not worthy of a Democratic presidential candidate.

PS: After ranting my head off, I thought I'd better verify that he's not for universal heath care. So, I've just looked up his official position on health care on his website. It's pretty apparent he's really just not for universal health care. He wants to make sure that people have "access" but that's pretty much it. Here's his entire position:

Health Care

Joe Biden believes that to protect jobs, compete in a global economy and strengthen families we have to have to address out-dated health care system. The next president will have to deal with two challenges: containing the growing costs of health care and providing access to the 47 million Americans who don't have health insurance.

Joe Biden believes we need to take three steps to contain the cost of health care: modernize the system, simplify the system and reduce errors. He supports the transition to secure electronic records so that people can provide their doctors and nurses with vital medical information in real time. He believes there should be a uniform, efficient system to submit claims.

Joe Biden believes the path toward a 21st century health care system starts with the most vulnerable in our society. He would expand health insurance for children and relieve families and businesses of the burden of expensive catastrophic cases. He supports states that are pursuing innovative alternatives to make sure that everyone has access to health care and believes we should use data from these states to evaluate what works best in providing affordable access to health care for all.

What a disappointment.

1 comment:

Liz said...

Biden is pragmatic and innovative and knows how to get things done, not just posture. Don't discount what he's said just because he hasn't used the term "universal health care." There's plenty of hype out there for other candidates, but just saying you're "for" something doesn't mean you can accomplish it.

Biden, on the other hand, is not all talk. As far as I can see, he's the strongest candidate out there. He certainly believes everyone needs health care and that government should ensure they get it, starting with children and other vulnerable people. So I really don't understand your criticism, Sven.