(image via Brandeis Special Collections)

On his blog, Paul Krugman has suggested one “really radical” proposal to fixing our health care cost problem is to modestly expand socialized medicine in this country.

But if you want a really radical proposal — but one that, unlike privatization, actually has strong evidence on its side — why not add a true public option to Medicare?

What do I mean by that? I mean creating a network of hospitals and clinics actually run by the government — a civilian VA, as Phillip Longman puts it — and giving Medicare recipients the option of using that system.

While I think some of the specifics could use improvement, I am, in general, extremely glad to finally hear someone of prominence acknowledge that the question of how to lower health care costs isn’t this great complex mystery, but a problem for which governments around the world have several well tested solutions.

The sad thing, though, is that in a classic sense of the word, there is nothing really radical about Krugman’s suggestion. Socialized medicine has been used effectively by millions of veterans and service members in the United States, and by everyone in the United Kingdom, for decades. The systems have been mostly popular with the people that use them. A commonplace, well-tested system with a long track record is hardly radical.

The truth is that no one on the true left is promoting radical ideas to solve our health care/deficit problems. The extreme left is, for the most part, promoting very well-traveled ideas, like single payer, that have decades of documented success in several other nations.