Dean did an effective job making the case against the PATRIOT Act but framed in terms of stopping future assaults on civil liberties rather than calling to undo the recent ones. Why isn’t anyone calling Edwards on his role in drafting it?

Glad to see the way the rhetoric within the Democratic party has shifted over the past few years. Part of that, no doubt, is being out of power; part of that is the success of the “anti-globalization” movement in putting the issue, so to speak, on the map. For Dean to say that we’ve given global rights to corporations but not to workers is right on; to describe that as having done half the job but forgotten the other half smacks of a disingenuous attempt to reconcile his stance with his record.

Kucinich laid out the case for single-payer health insurance clearly and sharply (and effectively dismissed the idea that the Clintons had pursued such a plan), and Sharpton made the compelling moral argument for such a system. What’s most interesting to me about the other candidates’ alternatives is that none of them mounted an argument (true, they’re generally not very good ones) against such a system any stronger than Clark’s “Let’s fix the one we have.”

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Today’s New York Times carries two related stories – “Health spending at record rate” and “Flu has killed 93 children, but comparisons are difficult.” What’s the connection? Two problems that could be better confronted with a universal single-payer health insurance system. The US spends twice as much per capita on healthcare as Canada, whose single-payer system eliminates the advertising and overhead associated with a system of multiple private insurers. Those convinced that the private sector is more efficient should keep in mind that overhead amounts to half of costs in US private healthcare, as compared to a couple percent of costs in Medicare. Countries with government health insurance also have higher rates of flu innoculation, which is to be expected given that demand for vaccine increases in a system designed to encourage, rather than discourage, visits to the Doctor, and supply increases when the government, which can absorb the costs of purchasing extra vaccine to make sure there’s sufficient supply, is footing the bill.