We are soon to be regaled by our fearful leader with what is sure to be stirring oratory that may or may not actually stand for anything. I have no idea what to expect. But you should know that there are progressives out there that do have viable ideas to bring health reform to you in the immediate future. Among them, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin. But I’ll get to her in a minute.

I’ve known we need health care reform for a long time, but I wasn’t sure about what it would look like until roughly six months ago when it became clear that a single-payer solution is (honestly, I swear) the only realistic choice for a country of our size and scale. Since then, you may have noticed the “Single-payer or bust!” mantra in the center bar of this site; I’ve been fighting both through my words here and off-site to make that happen ever since.

While the breeze may be blowing more towards “bust” than single-payer at this point thanks to Max Baucus, a majority of Americans still support reform and a plurality support a public option according to the latest CBS News Poll. As John Nichols points out over at The Nation, in spite of Max Baucus and the rest of the severe obstacles to reform, we will end up with a single-payer system someday, it just might take a different path to get there. This is where Tammy Baldwin’s ideas come into play:

…A progressive state such as Oregon or Vermont could develop a “Medicare for all” program within its borders. At the same time, a more traditionally conservative state such as Mississippi or Alabama could muck around with so-called “medical-savings accounts” and other gimmicks developed by the insurance industry and its political mouthpieces.

Then it would be a case of may the best state win — with the evidence of which model works best developing over time.

Canada went this route, experimenting first with single-payer in Saskatchewan.

Slowly, other provincial governments recognized that the “Medicare for all” model delivered quality healthcare at affordable prices and adopted it. And, eventually, the reforms initiated in once province went national. John Nichols
Washington Correspondent, The Nation

Though my hope for the Obama Presidency is already irrevocably shaken by his gross lack of leadership and general corporate lap-doggery, I’m still holding onto the shards of a dream that tonight might be a landmark moment in United States history. Perhaps he finally remembered where he left his testicles on the campaign trail and sent Rahm out to retrieve them? Let’s hope so, for our collective sake.

If that is not the case, the federal obstructionists could do us all a favor and just get the hell out of the way, letting the states have a crack at fixing health care. So, if you are contacting your reps about health care, be sure to mention to them that they should not block the ability of the states to innovate.