Let’s Stop Pussyfooting Around with Health Care Reform
I have to admit that I finally agree with one of those TV pundits. We were listening to the Ed Show on MSNBC last night when Sandra remarked, “He sounds just like you.” I guess the guy must read my blogs. Anyway, as my wife astutely observed, host Ed Schultz (photo below) was ranting and raving, pretty much as I am wont to do, about the namby-pamby way in which the popular U.S. President and the party that Americans elected to run the country are approaching health care reform.
President Obama and the Democrats seem to believe they need Republican support to get the health care mess straightened out. So they may be willing to pass a lousy bill on the assumption that it would be better than no bill at all. Of course, you and I know that’s horsefeathers, to put it politely.
The Democrats should work out the best solution they can, write a bill to implement it and use their majority in Congress to pass it.
As I see it, such a bill would have to include a public option, which Republicans declare they will not support. In that case, two eventualities could prevent the bill from becoming law:
- Blue Dog Democrats and other party moles might join the Republicans to defeat it.
- Republicans might succeed in filibustering it.
In Canada, Jamaica or the United Kingdom, defeat of a major government proposal immediately shuts down Parliament and triggers a new election. That threat helps keep members of the majority party in line because the last thing politicians want is to have to face the voters prematurely. Not so in America. Blue Dog Democrats can sabotage their party as they like with no immediate consequences.
But that doesn’t mean there would be no consequences for those who vote against health care reform. Poll after poll has shown that the majority of Americans support health care reform and want a public option included. For example, a national poll of 3,063 registered voters released yesterday shows that 69 percent of Americans want the option of purchasing government-run health insurance. And you might recall that the promise of health care reform was a major reason Barack Obama won the presidency and swept the Democrats into power on his coattails in November.
If a Health Care bill with a government option is defeated in Congress, American voters would undoubtedly respond in next year’s elections (and in 2012) by kicking out the politicians responsible for its defeat. Sabotage of such a popular bill would give the Democrats a powerful campaign issue and probably finish off what’s left of the Republican Party. It would also end the careers of those craven Democrats who put special interest campaign contributions ahead of the public good.
What’s not to like about that?