Now, I understand that I'm quite late to report this, but Will Saletan points out that for the first time, there has been a discussion of health care policy at a debate that is NOT between the three (now two) fringe candidates. John Kerry and John Edwards, for the first time, discussed the differences between their two medical insurance reform packages. FYI, Dennis Kucinich and Al Sharpton both support a utopian Canada-style single-payer system, as did Carol Moseley Braun. Gephardt backed a bloated corporate welfare system, that would cost three times as much as other plans, and provide less coverage. Edwards backs a system that does little more than add a real prescription drug benefit to Medicare and expand S-CHIP, which Lieberman and Graham also touted. Kerry, and, before he dropped out, Dean, have both pushed for allowing regular citizens to buy into the federal employees' health pool, along with the changes that Edwards and co. back. But no candidate has touched on what really should be done: consolidation. All levels of government have completely separate and isolated health programs, from Medicare, to Medicaid, to S-CHIP, to Veterans' benefits, to military benefits, to American Indian benefits, to federal, state, and municipal employee benefits. Just a thought: wouldn't it make sense if all of these programs were packed together into a single federal program? That would save phenomenal amounts of administrative spending, as well as solve state and local deficit crises. I don't have the numbers to calculate the cost, but the savings in administration alone could make the plan quite cheap. The plan is so simple, I'm amazed no one has proposed it before.