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The private health industry's time is up

Obama has been supportive of a public option, but how do you solve the healthcare problem when you fail to deal with its root?

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President Obama has indicated he wants a healthcare bill on his desk sometime around October, before we worry about timetables, however, we as a nation have to answer two very fundamental questions.

First, should all Americans be entitled to healthcare in the same way we respond to other basic needs such as education, police, and fire protection? Second, if we are to provide quality healthcare to all, how do we accomplish that in the most cost-effective way?

The answer to the first question is pretty clear, and one of the reasons that Barack Obama was elected president. Most Americans believe that all of us should have healthcare coverage, and that nobody should be left out of the system. The real debate is how we accomplish that goal in an affordable and sustainable way.

To me, the evidence is overwhelming that we must end the private insurance company domination of healthcare in our country and move toward a publicly funded, single-payer, Medicare-for-all approach.

Our current private health insurance system is the most costly, wasteful, complicated, and bureaucratic in the world. But in America, the people who have to navigate that maze are the lucky ones. Today, 46 million people have no health insurance and even more are underinsured with high deductibles and co-payments. At a time when 60 million people, including many with insurance, do not have access to a medical home base, more than 18,000 Americans die every year from preventable illnesses. That is six times the number who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

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