THE BLOG

Envisioning Obama's Healthcare Agenda

12/13/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

By Lindsay Beyerstein
The Media Consortium

Obama's healthcare agenda has been the subject of much discussion in progressive media circles this week.

We know that healthcare will be one of the top priorities for the Obama administration. The candidate put it third in line after the economy and energy independence.

As Sara Robinson of the Campaign for America's Future notes in AlterNet, Americans support the idea of a single-payer healthcare system by an astonishing 2-1 margin. So much for the myth that America is a center-right country.

Ezra Klein recalls that even Obama's designate for White House chief of staff, Rahmn Emmanuel, once laid out a vision for health care reform.

Kay Steiger of RH Reality looks back on the debacle of the Bush administration's health policies and looks ahead to a new, pro-choice cabinet. Former South Dakota Sen. Tom Daschle, former DNC chair Howard Dean, and Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius are all on the shortlist for Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Obama's picks for Secretary of State and Attorney General will also have repercussions for reproductive choice. The shortlists for both offices are a mixed bag when it comes to reproductive health. Steiger cautions that Obama is considering two candidates for State who have very poor records on choice: Senators Dick Lugar and Chuck Hagel. As for AG, one of Obama's favored candidates is Rep. Artur Davis, a socially conservative and anti-choice Southern Democrat.

Racewire's Samantha Erskine asks what Obama's base will ask for in terms of reproductive rights. She notes that women of color, mothers, and young women overwhelmingly backed Obama/Biden. Erskine expects a reproductive health policy that reflects the priorities of these critical constituencies.

Emily Douglas of RH Reality sees indications that some anti-choicers ready to focus on preventing unwanted pregnancies. Even the womb cops realize that their political mojo is waning. In the Iowa Independent, Lynda Waddington argues that in 2008 anti-abortion hysteria just didn't energize Iowa's conservative base the way it has in previous years. As if to amplify her point, all three major anti-abortion ballot initiatives were defeated on election night.

When the rubber hits the road: Condoms trump abstinence in Obama's global AIDS prevention strategy, according to Brady Swenson of RH Reality. An Obama health adviser predicts that the new president will reverse Bush-era bans on family planning and disease prevention in the developing world.

Speaking of AIDS, a lucky accident may point the way to a cure: A bone marrow transplant to for leukemia seems to have cleared HIV from the bloodstream of a patient with AIDS. The marrow donor has a mutation that seems to confer immunity to multiple strains of HIV.

Elizabeth Zwerling has a report in Ms. Magazine on the proliferation of so-called "crisis pregnancy centers" on university campuses. CPCs mimic the trappings of reproductive health clinics, but they are propaganda outposts, not healthcare facilities. Zwerling describes the experience of 19-year-old student activist at Santa Monica College who investigated a CPC at her college.

This is certainly an exciting time for anyone with an interest in progressive healthcare issues. It seems as if there may finally be real momentum to move forward on both the nuts and bolts of health insurance and the various social/culture/civil rights issues surrounding access and choice.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care. Visit healthcare.newsladder.net for a complete list of articles on healthcare. And for the best progressive reporting on critical immigration and economic issues, check out Immigration.NewsLadder.net and Economy.NewsLadder.net.

This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of 50 leading independent media outlets, and created by NewsLadder.