With the party conventions approaching, the presidential campaign officially heads toward the homestretch, and many of us are evaluating the proposals that the candidates and their parties believe will solve some of our most pressing problems. Health issues are certainly at the top of the list—perhaps most important, the 47 million Americans who don’t have health insurance and thus access to adequate health care.
It’s an issue Elizabeth Edwards has been working on for years—and her breast cancer diagnosis has given her a front-row seat in the debate. In “Heal Thyself?” this lawyer and advocate takes apart some of the claims made by those who favor “market-based” approaches to the crisis. These “individual ownership” plans cost less, and offer more freedom and choice, proponents say. But peel away those liberating-sounding words and what you find is that they cost less because they’re worth less—they simply don’t cover much. Plus, Edwards writes, these individual plans would leave us negotiating with insurance and drug companies on our own.
Health care is something everyone should have, regardless of age, race, or employment status. How we make that happen involves carefully evaluating the proposals out there, as well as taking a look at models that exist in other countries. Aaron McCarroll Gallegos, a former Sojourners staffer who lives in Canada, debunks some of the misconceptions about that country’s single-payer system. If we are to create a more just and equitable system, we need to better understand the facts behind this life-and-death issue. —The Editors