I don't know what else you could call it, but a good week. The week starts with a great Meet the Press interview in which Tim Russert lobs bomb after bomb at John Edwards and he handles them all with honest and thoughtful answers. Then, his online blogging operation is attacked by the right-wing theocons, and his response is on the money - Nuts. This earns a fair story on the front page of the New York Times today. To finish off the week, we have Krugman saying "Edwards gets it right" on health care.
If I were a candidate that had planned my next in a string of announcements this weekend, I would be worried that the news cycles are begin eaten up by good stories about John Edwards.
Just a few words about the BloggerBoating:
The NYT front-page story has a great quote from Jennifer Palmieri that I'd like to highlight (this is only in print and not online):
Jennifer Palmieri, a spokeswoman for Mr. Edwards, said he had not wanted to decide without first speaking to them personally.
“We took 36 hours,” Ms. Palmieri said, “because we were dealing with people’s livelihoods and careers and reputations.”
Yes, despite all the kneejerk reactions around the country and the pressure to dump or keep the bloggers from both sides, they decided to do the right thing and think about it. Now, I know we are used to having a Preznit that doesn't think, so isn't that refreshing? A candidate that actually listens to what the sides have to say, weighs his own opinion, then comes out with the perfect response:
We're beginning a great debate about the future of our country, and we can't let it be hijacked. It will take discipline, focus, and courage to build the America we believe in.
ON TO HEALTHCARE:
What Krugman says...
...Mr. Edwards sets out to cover the uninsured with a combination of regulation and financial aid.... Many other people are uninsured because they simply can’t afford the cost. So the Edwards plan, again like other proposals, offers financial aid to help lower-income families buy insurance....Finally, some people try to save money by going without coverage, so if they get sick they end up in emergency rooms at public expense. Like other plans, the Edwards plan would “require all American residents to get insurance,”...
But Mr. Edwards goes two steps further.
People who don’t get insurance from their employers wouldn’t have to deal individually with insurance companies: they’d purchase insurance through “Health Markets”: government-run bodies negotiating with insurance companies on the public’s behalf. People would, in effect, be buying insurance from the government, with only the business of paying medical bills — not the function of granting insurance in the first place — outsourced to private insurers.
...As the Edwards press release points out, marketing and underwriting — the process of screening out high-risk clients — are responsible for two-thirds of insurance companies’ overhead...
Better still, “Health Markets,” the press release says, “will offer a choice between private insurers and a public insurance plan modeled after Medicare.”
What Ezra Klein has to say on the matter:
Where the Edwards' plan takes a big step forward is in mandating, along with the private options, that HMs offer "at least one plan [that] would be a public program based upon Medicare." And the intent is explicit: "Health Markets will offer a choice between private insurers and a public insurance plan modeled after Medicare, but separate and apart from it. Families and individuals will choose the plan that works best for them. This American solution will reward the sector that offers the best care at the best price. Over time, the system may evolve toward a single-payer approach if individuals and businesses prefer the public plan."
In other words, the public sector will finally be allowed to compete with the private sector, and consumers will be able to decide which style they prefer. For Democrats, this is a significant step forward.
I'm a single-payer guy, and so this is the part of the plan that I have the most hope, and worries for. If the single-payer plan is MEDICARE, then I think we are in good shape, because Seniors play too big a role in our politics for that system to have its benefits slashed. However, if it is made as a completely different and separate government insurance plan, then I think we're screwed, because the next Republican President or Congress will make it a lousy, cheap plan that only the poor will buy into and that will lead to a two-tiered system.
We need to find someway to make sure that doesn't happen.
So, all in all, a great week for John Edwards. He announced a health care plan that anyone who is anyone has endorsed as "good", and he played the right-wing BloggerBoating just right.