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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Howard Dean hollers back

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Howard Dean needs no introduction. He's universally known as the guy who made that weird shrieking noise during a 2004 presidential campaign speech, and subsequently lost any chance he ever had at the Democratic nomination. Imagine for a moment that shrieking never happened — perhaps Dean would've been nominated by the Democratic Party, elected to the highest executive office, and succeeded in his attempts to socialize health care. In that highly imaginary world, my good friend “Scott” wouldn’t be buying Vicodin from a drug dealer to abate the pain caused by an abscessed tooth, because said tooth would've been treated under public health care. And in that world, Dean definitely wouldn't have needed to write Prescription for Real Healthcare Reform.

Prescription for Real Healthcare Reform is by all standards of measure a typical politician’s book: a stump speech transformed into 150 pages of glossy paperback by a couple of authors credited in the fine print. We start off with a few anecdotes about “real people,” in this case “Claire” and “Patrick,” who've been severely shafted by insurance companies. The book quickly moves on to numbers-and-statistics talk about private health care's massive failures. Having lent the crisis a face, Dean then puts forth a solution best summed up by the title of Chapter 6: “Reform Without a Public Health Insurance Option Isn’t Real Reform.”

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(Image courtesy Chelsea Green Publishing Company)

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