Bolo Boffin's Spring Obsession: Healthcare

I've decided to educate myself on one of the biggest issues facing America today: healthcare. I'm an utter novice on this issue - I am one of the 40 million Americans who don't have health insurance. This is a great reason of its own to look into the issue, but there's more than that. According to this .pdf file from, six of the ten largest investor-owned hospital chains are headquartered in Nashville and her suburbs. The Republican nominee for president in the year 2008 may very well be Nashville's senior Senator and the Senate Majority Leader, Dr. Bill Frist. His family owns HCA, the largest of the investor-owned hospital chains.

And I live in Nashville.

Tennessee also has one of the few statewide health insurance systems, Tenncare. Under the recently elected Democratic governor, Phil Bredesen, Tenncare is undergoing a serious restructuring in order to rein in growing costs and salvage the ten year old program. This provides an excellent test case to examine, and it's right here in Tennessee.

And then there's all the resources available on the Internet. I even have a few secret sources of information, whose names I cannot divulge (mainly because they have no idea I'm about to hit them up for information).

Healthcare will be a huge issue of the current 2004 election, because it will be a primary battleground in both the 109th and 110th Congresses. It will do us good to get some intelligence on where the major battles will be fought. So for the next three months (longer if necessary, shorter if possible), this blog will be obsessed with healthcare.

My best case scenario is this: my journey to understand the healthcare debate being an excellent introduction to the problems. It's a long road, but hobbits have been known to undertake these kind of hopeless quests before. We even boast a high rate of success. Since this is an election year, I promise to stoop to partisanship at times, but my main focus will be examining the issues, knocking holes in the various solutions, and maybe, just maybe, finding some real answers to the problems.