Social Policy: Rx Band-Aids To Patch Up Health Care

The President and his Democratic rivals unfurl plans for curing the crisis. But all of them have drawbacks, and none is likely to be adopted in the fury of an election year.

The idea that every American should have access to affordable health care has been gathering political force since Democrat Harris Wofford used it to trounce former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh in the Pennsylvania Senate race last fall. Here, Democrats believed, was a domestic issue they could use to help drive George Bush from the White House -- and Republicans feared they were right. And so last week the President, unnerved by declining approval ratings and a tepid response to the hodgepodge of tax cuts he proposed in his State of the Union address, unveiled his own prescription for reforming the health-care...

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