Over a month ago, in the second debate with John McCain, now President-elect Obama stated that health care should be a "right," not a privilege. (Video from The Nation.) That alone is a great reason to breathe a sigh of relief that Obama is our next President, because with an incoming Democratic Congress, there's now a window of opportunity to pass universal health care legislation in the U.S.
To that end, Sen. Ted Kennedy said that he will advance a bill in early 2009 calling for universal health care, according to today's Washington Post. For some reason, however, the article's writer seems to believe that health care legislation is unrelated to our economic woes. Wrong!
The lack of universal health coverage in the U.S. is a prime reason for the cashflow problems that the auto industry is experiencing--and its executives have known this for years! Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington state, a physician and longtime proponent of universal healthcare, has put in the public record, as well as on his website, a 2002 letter sent separately by Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, and the auto workers union to the Canadian government, imploring that government to keep its public healthcare system strong! Makes you wonder why the lavishly paid upper echelon of Detroit hasn't been lobbying the U.S. government for universal health care along with bailout cash, when it knows that healthcare costs are one of the reasons for its current mess. (In addition to their outrageous salaries, and unwillingness to build a wide enough selection of high quality fuel efficient cars, that is.)