With nine million children uninsured in the US, and George Bush preparing to veto a bipartisan effort to cover four to five million of them, it’s clear how far we are from a universal health care system that would benefit the roughly 50 million uninsured Americans, the tens of millions of underinsured, and the millions of “fully insured” who get the shaft when the time comes for Big Insurance to come through for them.

With that in mind, it was great to see Michael Moore call on the presidential candidates to Take the Sherrod Brown Pledge. Ten years ago, Moore writes, Brown “pledged not to accept his free government health care until everyone in the United States had the same luxury. (He’s still waiting.)”

To the best of my knowledge, no presidential candidate has taken Moore up on this challenge. You can contact their campaigns about the Pledge here and also suggest that the candidates lend their support to HR-676 co-authored by presidential candidate, Representative Dennis Kucinich (who might not be taking the Pledge himself but has certainly been working for years for a real, single-payer system). HR-676 would create a single-payer healthcare system by expanding Medicare to every resident. (A system favored by a majority of Americans even if it would require higher taxes.)

It’s all well and good that we’re getting closer to January 20, 2009, but this administration’s mean-spirited war against our kids reveals, yet again, why it needs to be corralled by an opposition with steely backbones.