To see the political polarization of our region, all you have to do is attend different congressional town hall meetings on health care reform.
For example, at town hall meetings hosted by Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Gold River, in August, I saw largely skeptics who believe a health care overhaul in Congress is moving too far, too fast. They fear new, expanded government intrusion into the health care market.
In contrast, at the Saturday town hall meeting of Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento, I saw the opposite those who believe a health care overhaul is long overdue and doesn't go far enough. Those folks, with few exceptions, support a strong public insurance option to compete with private insurers.
Many would go further. They put Matsui on the spot, wanting to know why a "single-payer" option essentially Medicare for all, not just for the elderly was not on the table.
Matsui replied that if the United States was building a health care system from scratch, she would prefer a single-payer system. But, she said, we're not starting from scratch. This country has built up an employer-based health insurance system, and she seeks to build on that.
She's on the committee that drafted the main House bill, and she supports the idea of a national insurance exchange where individuals who don't get health coverage from their employers would be able to shop from a menu of private insurance plans and a public insurance option.
To read the complete editorial, visit The Sacramento Bee.