- Not presumptive Republican nominee John McCain. He proposes a tax credit of $5,000 per family to encourage us to buy private health insurance.
- Not Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. She proposes universal health insurance supported by tax credits.
- Not Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. He proposes a mix of public and private health insurance with government subsidies to those who don't qualify for government insurance plans such as Medicaid.
I say, let Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) do it. Hold your guffaws. Stifle your impulse to scoff. Control those sputters of rage.
Wal-Mart has done more to expand coverage and lower costs in the past year than any government program to come out of Washington in the past 10 years. And I'd bet the new programs that this company -- known for stiffing its own part-time workers on health care benefits -- has announced in the past year will do more to expand coverage and cut costs than anything likely to come out of a McCain, Clinton or Obama first term.
Letting Wal-Mart run the health care system would fix many of those problems. It's a company that understands how low prices can build market share and thus increase profits. Furthermore, it's a company with a culture of cutting costs that has shown no compunction in pushing suppliers to the wall over price. The Wal-Mart motto ought to be, "Make it cheaper, or we'll find someone who can." I'd love to see that attitude brought to bear in health care.