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Pivotal Power

August 12, 2009
Flu should force action on health care

You know when we are going to be really sorry that we don’t have a new health care system?  When a pandemic really hits this country. And that could be as soon as this fall. The H1N1 flu isn’t particularly deadly as pandemics go, but it’s highly contagious. And many public health experts think its coming back for a second round, just as schools start up again.

When the kids of an uninsured family start showing symptoms, they will head to the emergency room — because they can’t call their primary care doctor for an initial read. ERs could easily get overwhelmed as the pandemic spreads. That will place a huge, expensive and ultimately deadly stress on the system.

I realize that insuring the uninsured is not what average Americans care about right now given the economy — it sounds expensive and the insurance lobbyists and neocons such as George Will are trying hard to play that up. So I think it’s right for the administration to be emphasizing the virtues — that a new health care plan means that preexisting conditions will be covered and that you can never lose your insurance for good.

The last thing they want is to create a panic around H1N1. But soon, it might be the virus that sells the Obama health care plan.

– Nina Hachigian


1 comment



If people don’t care about the cause of these pandemics (factory farming), exactly as they don’t care about the cause of global hunger (greed), then why do you imagine that the masses will rise up and demand social justice when the hospital lines grow long?

The fact is that health care reform advocates are primarily motivated by cost savings that permit everyone to get care, which means that the Obama/Dem push is a charade because it seeks to falsely portray reform as more expensive rather than less, as it has proven to be everywhere, and that’s because their goal is to require everyone to buy insurance from the private sector, which IS more expensive.

Frankly, I can’t tell which side you are on. Do you know? Please fill me in.


Nina Hachigian is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and the co-author of “The Next American Century: How the U.S. Can Thrive as Other Powers Rise.” She has worked on the staff of the National Security Council in the White House and been a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation. She specializes in U.S.-China relations and great power relationships, multilateral institutions and U.S. foreign policy.

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