Y‘all know that in the past, I’ve brought attention to AARP’s election-year effort to get the candidates for president to talk more about health care reform. You will recall that, in order to broaden its appeal, AARP expresses no preference for any particular plan.
You may also recall that I find this, in the end, frustrating. I much prefer the approach of Physicians for a National Health Program, which makes no bones about it’s advocacy for single-payer. In a world in which real reform (and real reform does not mean bringing the "uninsured" into the same private-insurance system that the rest of us are increasingly unable to afford) is such an uphill climb, we need more voices coming out for single-payer, or something else just as comprehensive, something just as likely to move the needle in a positive direction.
But I don’t mean to pick on the AARP. Theirs is one of many efforts by broad-based groups who are staying general so as to stay, well, broad-based.
A nonpartisan, nonprofit group, the Alliance believes that all in
the U.S. should have health coverage at a reasonable cost. But we do
not lobby for any particular blueprint, nor do we take positions on
legislation. Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia is our founder
and honorary chairman and Senator Susan M. Collins of Maine serves as
honorary co-chairman. The diverse board includes distinguished leaders
from the fields of health care, business, labor and consumer advocacy.
Ed Howard, an attorney long active in national health care issues,
heads the Alliance’s staff.
Since 1991, the Alliance has organized more than 200 forums in
Washington and around the nation, each presenting a balance of expert
views. Our forums on Capitol Hill have become so popular that we often
receive more than 250 registrations in a day’s time. We cosponsor an
annual retreat for senior congressional legislative staff dealing with
health matters. We have briefed reporters, editorial writers and
producers in newsrooms across the country on health policy debates in
Washington and how they affect local citizens. The Alliance also has
published five highly regarded guides for journalists on covering
health issues, with a sixth scheduled to appear this fall.
Great. Thanks. But we’ve had forums (fora?), we’ve had retreats, we’ve got highly-regarded guides out the wazoo. What we need is some serious, hard-edged advocacy for some solutions.
And speaking of solutions, here’s my favorite.