Whatcom Debate: What do you think about health care?

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of questions posed by McClatchy Newspapers to encourage a thoughtful civic discussion about topics of national interest. We invite your participation.

Health care looms large as an election issue in the political fracas this fall.

Republican Mitt Romney has pledged to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature piece of legislation, or at least radically redo it. However, Romney has given little indication of exactly how he would reshape America’s health care system.

If Obama and congressional Democrats prevail, it’s full speed ahead with the Affordable Care Act. That means, among other things, a phase-in of statewide insurance exchanges, more protections for patients and consumers, and eventually tax penalties for some Americans who opt not to purchase health insurance policies.

What do you think is the best course?

Tell us why in the comments section. And let us know what you think would make health care more accessible and affordable. Should insurers have to cover people regardless of their health status? How would you get more people into the insurance pool? Do you favor selling insurance across state lines? Should states expand Medicaid eligibility, with the federal government picking up most of the cost?

You can also take our poll on the issue: