David Himmelstein, along with co-authors Rachel Nardin and Steffie Woolhandler, have gotten an awful lot of press this past week. On February 18th, they released their paper, “Massachusetts’ Plan: A Failed Model for Health Care Reform,” and we’ve seen it reported across media. Jon Kingsdale, Jon Gruber, and others have rebutted the clear mis-statements and inaccuracies in the piece. Putting the facts aside, I’m now irritated enough by Himmelstein to blog.
The most significant argument we’ve gotten from the left on Chapter 58 is that it’s incremental; it doesn’t get to true universal coverage. Now, I’m like the rest of the folks over here at 30 Winter Street – we’d all like to see 100%. But we’re elated with 97%. 97% coverage is over 440,000 new individuals covered by health reform. It sounds like Himmelstein would rather those folks not have any new coverage.
This was posted on The Health Care Blog a week ago:
Last winter, Himmelstein spoke about health reform to students at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. I asked him if single-payer advocates would work against any national reform effort that wasn’t single-payer, as the single-payer camp did in California. Himmelstein said that if the reform plan looked like the Massachusetts reform he probably would prefer the status quo. He believes the reform has made most vulnerable patients in Massachusetts worse off.
If you’re not a numbers person, if 440,000 in a state of 6 million doesn’t resonate with you, how about some personal stories? For the past six months, we’ve been posting on this blog real accounts from our Helpline callers (and every single outreach and provider institution in this state has their own long list to add). Though their names have been changed, their stories are real. There’s Chris and Lynn, who didn’t have enough money to get to work before health reform. Mario, whose prostate cancer was caught and covered by Commonwealth Care. Sandra, whose CommCare coverage gave her and her husband the security to plan and have a baby. How about Jorge? Or Erica? Nanda?
Each of these individuals and their families have benefited – physically, mentally and emotionally – thanks to health reform.
Don’t tell me you’d rather have the status quo.