THE BLOG
01/18/2008 08:36 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Column: Digging in the Right Place for Change

Let's face it -- the presidential race has become a laughingstock. The debate, which seems to be the only thing the news media pays attention to, has become a caricatured argument between immature children -- with, as Matt Taibbi and the Columbia Journalism Review have shown, the most immature children being the media itself. The tragedy is less how much the whole thing has devolved into idiocy, and far more about how little attention actual, real-life change is getting out here in the rest of America -- change that, as I show in my new nationally syndicated newspaper column, could impact the biggest issue of them all: health care.

That's right, in the legislatures of two bellweather states (Washington and Wisconsin), a new kind of universal health care proposal is moving forward, signaling the potential for a true national health care movement. The legislation attacks many different problems at once: It covers all citizens, provides major economic stimulus and saves money. How does it do that? By cutting the profiteering middlemen from the insurance industry out of the equation.

What's great about the proposal is how different it is from the so-called Massachusetts model that simply forces citizens to give the private profiteers more money. The Washington and Wisconsin plans pool all state health care resources in one place and simply ignores the health insurance industry completely. The efficiencies in doing that are obvious. Stop executives like UnitedHealth's former CEO from personally pocketing $1.6 billion in one year, and you can save a heck of a lot of money for investments in full coverage.

To read more of the fine print about the plan, check out Citizen Action Wisconsin's resource page. You can find most of the data I cite in the column there -- and find out how the plan would work.

Remember, folks: It's easy to get sucked into the vapid national media narratives and ignore all the ways we can advance change in our own backyards -- right now, regardless of who's up and who's down in the presidential race. For too long, too many people have ignored how powerful our state legislatures are. These governmental bodies control almost twice as much non-defense domestic discretionary spending as the entire federal government. And that means on the biggest issues, state legislatures can be just as important as what goes on in Washington.

This isn't to say that pushing universal health care at the federal level is unimportant -- far from it. But it is to say that for all the talk of "change" and "hope" we hear -- we should wake up to realize we already have the opportunity for real change right now.

Go read the whole column here. If you'd like to see my column regularly in your local paper, use this directory to find the contact info for your local editorial page editors. Get get in touch with them and point them to my Creators Syndicate site.