Universal Healthcare

UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE….Greg Anrig, responding (partly) to my post yesterday about the eerily unanimous support for universal healthcare among liberal bloggers, says the obvious:

Why not make UHC, UHC, UHC the one and only item on the progressive economic reform agenda to simplify matters and focus the public mind?

….Heaven knows, there are a few other little details to work out. But come the 2008 presidential race, every single Democrat running absolutely, positively must support in a persuasive way some form of genuine national health insurance. The only reason not to would be political cowardice. And the country has already paid a huge price for the cowardice of its leaders over the past six years.

The liberal blogosphere disagrees about gun control, disagrees about the war in Iraq, disagrees about the role of labor, disagrees about nearly everything. But as near as I can tell, support for national healthcare is so unanimous and well accepted in the left blogosphere that it barely even merits discussion. Mostly it’s just taken for granted. Hell, even Mickey Kaus supports universal healthcare.

This is a little odd, isn’t it? Can you think of any other major policy issue that’s (a) universally supported by liberal bloggers but (b) almost universally feared by major Democratic politicians? There are plenty of disconnects between the activist blogosphere and mainstream liberal politicians, but is there any other disconnect quite this deep and this clear?

I can’t think of one. And while I’m not naive about the recent history of national healthcare plans, it still strikes me as a bit mysterious that virtually no major Democratic politician supports full-on, unapologetic universal healthcare. If there’s any single big progressive policy that I think the blogosphere is a genuine bellwether for, this is probably it.

Bottom line: Surely it’s time for someone to step up to the plate and stake their reputation on a simple, comprehensive, common sense plan to implement national healthcare? And if financing is the problem, just take a page out of the Bush playbook and ignore it: “If I’m elected president, I’ll work with Congress to devise a fair and sensible revenue plan.” How hard is that?