New Campaign for Uninsured May ‘Sputter,’ Columnist Warns
A campaign to reduce the nation's uninsured population launched last week by a broad coalition of business, health and advocacy groups began "to sputter as soon as the health care moguls were asked about solutions," Abigail Trafford writes in a Washington Post opinion piece. She adds, "Out came the old buzz words of stall, stall and stall," with coalition members touting incremental approaches likely to mean "slow" progress. But Trafford says that the uninsured are "not interested in 'slow progress.' They need coverage now." The debate over expanding health coverage "is about money -- who wins, who loses, who pays and who decides," Trafford says, adding that the members of the coalition have "to be willing to lose a little for the country to gain a lot." Another "hurdle" to covering more of the uninsured is the "public's perception of the uninsured as a problem for the health care system rather than the other way around"; members of the coalition last week "reinforced" the "blame-the-victim game," Trafford says. She writes that the uninsured should not be blamed for "eroding medical quality and increasing costs" in the U.S. health care system, but rather the nation's health care leaders should take "greater responsibility" for the problems.
She adds that "the uninsured are mainly shouldering the financial burden of the nation's failure to provide affordable insurance to all of its citizens." Trafford points out that the members of the coalition signed a proclamation to "find solutions" to help the uninsured, and she urges Americans to "hold them to that promise." Trafford concludes, "So let's give the [coalition] 90 days to come up with a unified plan. After that ... it may be time for a march on Washington" (Trafford, Washington Post, 2/19).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.