Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise. Or at Least One of Those Three.


Oregon's Ron Wyden, one of those rare senators who prefers legislative brainstorming to running for president, is launching a muscular effort for national health care.

The Healthy Americans Act will match insurers with health care consumers in an environment designed for competition. Each state, with financial support from the Federal government and insurance companies, will establish a Health Help Agency. Health Help Agencies will lower administrative costs by coordinating payments from employers, individuals and government. These agencies will also provide consumers with unbiased information about competing private health plans and determine premim reductions that will ensure every American can afford their health plan. With the resources to compare plans based on quality, cost and service, individuals—rather than their employers—will be empowered to choose the health plan that works best for them and their families.

OK, I'll cry uncle; I'm not enough of a health care wonk to dismiss this outright. Wyden has maintained a pretty good record on privacy rights, a pragmatic approach to health care modernization, and in 2005 he proposed tax reform far more compelling than the usual "Bush tax cuts are teh suXX0r" approach favored by Democrats (even if the Flat Fair Tax wasn't exactly a brilliant plan). The senator's obviously going to fight for the plan , so we'll see if the next year's debates about health care reform are fought on his turf.