. . . . What really struck me about the meeting, however, was the inability of Republicans to explain how they propose dealing with the issue that, rightly, is at the emotional center of much health care debate: the plight of Americans who suffer from pre-existing medical conditions. In other advanced countries, everyone gets essential care whatever their medical history. But in America, a bout of cancer, an inherited genetic disorder, or even, in some states, having been a victim of domestic violence can make you uninsurable, and thus make adequate health care unaffordable.

One of the great virtues of the Democratic plan is that it would finally put an end to this unacceptable case of American exceptionalism. But what’s the Republican answer? Mr. Alexander was strangely inarticulate on the matter, saying only that “House Republicans have some ideas about how my friend in Tullahoma can continue to afford insurance for his wife who has had breast cancer.” He offered no clue about what those ideas might be.

That’s from “Afflicting the Afflicted,” Paul Krugman’s NY Times column about the health care reform summit that took place yesterday. It really is bewildering that so many elected officials can simply refuse to engage one of the major issues of our time. How can their supporters not begin to wonder at this as they themselves in ever greater numbers go into medical bankruptcy, are forced to choose between basic medications for chronic illnesses, and spend days on end struggling with insurance companies over every simple claim they make? Didn’t any of the naysayers notice the increases in insurance premiums announced this week, for example, with some major plans raising premiums by as much as 35%?

Nurses: Are your patients’ lives really improving? Are they getting any easier? Don’t they deserve a sincere effort to solve their problems, rather than more posturing designed to win votes in the next election cycle?

-Jacob Molyneux, senior editor/blog editor

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