One week ago I promised to take a close and honest look at the seven issues most Americans think are most important this election year. For all you who actually think the big issue is Sarah Palin's tanning bed or Joe Biden's rumored ability to become invisible, you are about to be sadly disappointed.
We need instead to pick our next President on his proposals on the major issues and his ability to actually implement those proposals.
I will look at all the following issues between now and November 1st:  Health Care,  the Economy, Taxes and Spending,  Education,  Iraq and Afghanistan,  Environment,  Civil/Women's/Gay Rights and finally,  Style of Governing.
Today I'm looking closely at Health Care for two reasons. First it's the easiest to pick the best plan and candidate. Second, it's the single most important issue facing most Americans today.
I cannot possible analyze the two competing plans in 750 to 1,000 words and, no matter what I write, many will disagree with my conclusions and say I've misrepresented the facts. Good! Let's have a real debate on the issues.
I know this will be hard for you all to believe, but there are some real reporters working on this issue. Be sure to read these two articles: Reports criticize Obama, McCain health plans and New Studies Report Wide Disparity in Health Care Plans
Here is a link to John McCain's Health Care Proposal. And here is a link to Barack Obama's Health Care Plan.
Health Care and Health Care Insurance in America are both seriously broken. Costs are completely out of control. I personally was in an Emergency Room in Atlanta for 5 hours last spring. No major surgery or major tests were involved. I was released and was, thankfully, alright. The bill was (and I an neither joking or exaggerating) $17,000.00.
Any serious illness means almost certain bankruptcy for any American, even if they have health insurance. But 46 million Americans have no health insurance. These folks are clogging Emergency Rooms and further driving up health care costs. And they receive substandard care. A level of care that all too frequently means death.
To summarize in a sentence or two, Obama wants a rather complex layering of health care plans that would be coordinated by a huge federal bureaucracy. McCain would replace the current tax exemptions for employer provided health care plans in favor of tax breaks for every citizen.
On a simple or even a detailed reading, McCain's plan would seem to make more sense. Except it will never work. McCain might be on the right track, but his plan will never insure virtually any of the 46 million currently uninsured. His economics fall apart for all middle and lower income families. And independent analysts agree. McCain's plan would likely make matters much worse, not better. In fact most Americans might actually lose benefits.
Barack Obama is really on the right track. By most all independent accounts he would cover an additional 34 million people. It doesn't get us to universal health care, but it gets us closer. Obama's problem is that his plan is so expensive it cannot be sustained. He will need to simplify the plan and reduce it's scope. But it will help and it's likely to be implemented.
In my opinion, if Health Care is the deciding issue in determining your vote, you should cast your vote for Barack Obama.
But, there are six more issues to discuss.