With the nation focused on our economy, higlighted by the spiraling price of gas, Phil Bredesen, the governor of Tennessee, hits on the larger issue:
Gas prices are in the political spotlight right now; this year's spike has been painful and the calls for action — and heads — have pushed other issues to the side. But it is worth remembering that when it comes to real, sustained growth in costs, when it comes to real, sustained erosion of families' disposable income, gas still can't hold a candle to the real elephant in the room: health care.
If gas prices had risen during my adult lifetime — since I got out of high school in 1961 — at the same rate as per capita health-care expenditures, gas would not be $4 a gallon today. It would be about $15.
In this election season, we need to demand more attention to health care. It's not the squeaky wheel now, but after gas prices have been driven down or we have bought smaller cars, our health-care problem will still be with us.
I want to connect this with a larger point. Health care costs, as Bredesen points out, are 1/6th of our economy. How do we expect to get our economic situation fixed with 15% of our economy tied up in a wasteful system that fails to provide customers with the value it promises.