Ted Bobrow

The endgame on health care reform

By - Mar 19th, 2010 04:00 am
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healthcarereformLead2PICHealth care reform should pass—no, it will pass, because it’s the right thing to do.

That may sound simplistic and naïve, but it’s what I believe and lots of people agree with me.

More than 46 million people in this nation don’t have health insurance and that’s simply unacceptable. What do we expect from our government if not to provide for our health and well-being?

We expect our government to protect our national security, educate our children, and to build our roads and bridges. Isn’t our health on par with those other important priorities?

The facts are out there. But, perhaps more importantly, so are the votes.

Republicans love to criticize House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as a liberal ideologue, but if this bill passes it will be a tribute to her tenacious commitment to compromise and her impressive command of legislative procedure.

You have to give the opposition party credit for being extremely disciplined. One of the cardinal principles of politics is to stick to your talking points, and the Republicans certainly have done that. But the flaw in this strategy is that when the facts don’t support the spin, people sense it.

Photo by Paul Schreiber courtesy of Flickr

Photo by Paul Schreiber courtesy of Flickr

Republicans are betting that whether or not this bill passes they will be able to run against it in the fall. Time will tell. But what strikes me as self-evident is that people expect government to do things, to focus its attention on the problems facing our society and attempt to address them.

You can argue about whether this is the bill that you would write if you had the power to do it yourself. But that is not an option. This is a good bill that expands coverage for millions of Americans, prohibits insurance company practices that have left people without coverage when they needed it the most and introduces cost containment strategies that can actually save money without sacrificing quality of care.

One of the most vocal opponents of the bill is Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan whose rants against government involvement in health care grow increasingly shrill by the day. Ryan’s complaints that the bill simply costs too much ignore the reality that health care costs are going to skyrocket unless we act and this bill represents a significant response to that reality.

The distortion of the truth that is almost laughable is how Republicans are pretending that the way the Democrats are using legislative rules is somehow unprecedented, unethical and un-American. Health care reform bills passed both houses of Congress and the reconciliation process is both legal and fair. And let’s not forget that when the Republicans were in power they truly did engage in violations of procedure to pass the Medicare Prescription Drug legislation.

A House vote is expected on Sunday but somehow I suspect this drama will continue for several more weeks, if not months.

But if the November elections are determined by whether or not people want Congress to pass comprehensive health care reform legislation, I’m comfortable that President Obama and the Democrats are on the right side.

Categories: Commentary, Gray Matter

0 thoughts on “The endgame on health care reform”

  1. Anonymous says:

    An epilogue: The House of Representatives narrowly approved the Senate health care reform legislation Sunday night and President Obama is expected to sign it into law this morning. The House also passed a companion bill that makes some changes to the Senate bill and the Senate is expected to take those changes up soon.

    Wondering how the new bill will affect you? Here’s a chart that you may find helpful.

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/03/21/us/health-care-reform.html?ref=politics

    Also, here’s a interesting list of important reforms that go into effect right away. A tax on tanning salons? Take that John Boehner!

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/22/health-reform-bill-summary_n_508315.html

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