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November 3, 2003 | The Nation

In the Magazine

November 3, 2003

Cover:

Browse Selections From Recent Years

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2004

Barbara Kingsolver shares her story of learning to live with the land, William Greider previews the battle over GMO food and John Nichols reports on the Dems' rural strategy.

Letters


DEBATING HOWARD DEAN

Bolingbrook, IL


PRISON FAMILIES

Easthampton, Mass.

Editorials

It started with Congress, which in 1998 voted to deny federal financial
aid to students with minor drug convictions like marijuana possession.
Now the use of financial aid as an incentive to cu

The Federal Trade Commission has acknowledged that the epidemic of
identity theft claimed almost 10 million victims last year.

Twelve years ago, Harris Wofford made healthcare an issue. Promising to
fight for coverage for all, Wofford scored a surprise victory in a
Pennsylvania Senate race--inspiring speculation that a President named
Bush could be beaten in 1992. Wofford handed the issue to Bill Clinton,
who won the election but lost the war by proposing a plan that offered
more in the way of bureaucracy than a clean break with the existing
for-profit system. Since the Clinton crackup, Democrats have struggled
to reassert the healthcare issue. While the 2004 campaign has yet to
experience a "Wofford moment," Dr. Norman Daniels of the Harvard School
of Public Health says rising numbers of uninsured and underinsured
should move healthcare to the fore as an issue. "The question," he says,
"is whether the new crop of candidates will address it effectively."

Enter Representative Jim McDermott, a physician and the new president of
Americans for Democratic Action, who has taken it on himself to sort
through candidate proposals (www.adaction.org). As McDermott sees it,
the plans of Howard Dean, John Edwards, John Kerry and Dick Gephardt
"are all quite similar--they each combine modest expansions of public
sector programs such as Medicaid and [children's health programs] with
private sector initiatives to encourage employers to provide health
insurance for their employees." While under each of these plans the
government becomes an even greater purchaser of healthcare, McDermott
says that "because most of the new expenditures are through the
fragmented private insurance market, the government will continue to
waste its considerable market power." He's still reviewing Lieberman's
plan, which looks to resemble the others.

In contrast, McDermott notes, Representative Dennis Kucinich offers a
single-payer national healthcare plan based on a bill by Representative
John Conyers, of which McDermott is a co-sponsor. While he sees value in
incremental reforms, McDermott says, "I continue to believe that a
national health care plan, with a government-guaranteed revenue stream
for providers, would be most effective in providing universal coverage
and controlling costs while guaranteeing high quality care." A separate
study of the candidate proposals, done by The Commonwealth Fund
(www.cmwf.org), says Kucinich's plan would cover all Americans, while
those of Lieberman, Dean, Gephardt, Kerry and Edwards would leave 9
million to 19 million uninsured. Single-payer backers Al Sharpton and
Carol Moseley Braun have not offered details; Gen. Wesley Clark has yet
to make his views clear.

While McDermott's analysis will please Kucinich backers, his candidate
choice won't. The Congressman just endorsed Dean. Two reasons, he says.
First, "as governor of Vermont, Dean implemented reforms. He got people
covered. One of the problems the Clintons had is that they were starting
without ever having done it. For them, it was theoretical. Experience
helps you avoid big mistakes." Second, "Electability. Dean isn't my
perfect candidate, but I think he can beat Bush. Beating Bush is the
first step toward healthcare reform."

Click here to help save ADAP.

Shortly after 9/11, the government received an extraordinary gift of
hundreds of files on Al Qaeda, crucial data on the activities of radical
Islamist cells throughout the Middle East and Europ

Columns

scheer

California's opportunist attorney general looks past the allegations against Schwarzenegger.

Stop the Presses

Even though the Joseph Wilson affair has convulsed the capital for many
weeks, much of what makes it important is still ignored.

Music

Click here to read more from Katha Pollitt.

So Limbaugh has been hooked on pills,
While Bennett's hooked on slots.
Do all the right-wing morals police
Have copybooks with blots?

Articles

The latest installment in the battle over
privatization in Latin America.

The recent Senate roll call was a decisive rebuke to our warrior
President and one that will be understood eventually as having pivotal meaning.

Bus depots are one of many environmental culprits that contribute to health problems in poor communities of color.

Democrats can win the farm and small-town vote--if they pay
serious attention.

The so-called clash of civilizations is not limited to militant Islam
against superpower Christianity, nor to wealthy nations opposed by a
multitude of poor ones.

Making the connections between food, family and the health of the
earth.

Books & the Arts

Book

As Stevie Smith once wrote, while impersonating God, "I will forgive you
everything,/But what you have done to my Dogs/I will not forgive." About
Dan Rhodes's novel Timoleon Vieta Come Home<

Book

John Coetzee's new book reads like a suicide note.

Book

Is Zionism a failed ideology? This question will strike many people as
absurd on its face.