I’ve watched with some astonishment the uproar over the congressional proposals to change health care. I usually don’t like to wade into the political fire storms that rage on the Internet, but as I’ve been using Facebook a great deal I’ve seen a lot of back and forth between friends.
Recently, a list of market driven health care reform proposals have surfaced on Facebook – at least that is where I have seen them. Many people I know have been impressed by these alternative plans.
I haven’t read them. I’m sure there are some nuggets of truth, common sense, and smart ideas to be found when you examine these plans. Call me close minded if you will, but I won’t be supporting these reform plans, because of their disingenuous origins.
Over twelve years ago, when Bill Clinton recruited Hilary to craft a health care reform plan, the oft-cited number of 39 million uninsured was a major talking point in favor of reform. The Clinton plan was complicated, created somewhat behind close doors, and costly. But, normally, it should have been considered a starting point for legislation.
Instead, the Republicans went into full-on attack mode. After trotting out Harry and Louise, and all manner of scare tactics from the ballooning federal deficit to health care rationing, they succeeded in scuttling health care reform.
Then, the Republicans won a Congressional majority under Gingrich’s leadership in the house, and later the presidency with W at the helm. With their leadership, they took the country, with more than token support from some Democrats, into a war we should have finished by now (Afghanistan) and a war that should never have been started (Iraq). They found time to support Terry Schiavo, the gun lobby, and big oil, all the while nodding off when it came to regulating banks. They couldn’t find time to do something meaningful about health care. Meanwhile, the number of uninsured has risen to 47 million, 8 million more than when they killed “Hillary-care.”
So, after twelve years of Congressional control, eight years controlling the executive branch, and even with 8 million more uninsured, they never saw a problem, never lifted a finger to try to change things for the working families struggling to pay for health care. And now all of a sudden we are supposed to take seriously their market driven reform plans? Give me a break. If they are such great ideas, why weren’t the Republicans championing them when they were in power? And, oh, don’t we have market driven health care today? Haven’t we seen enough problems with that already?
Obama has borrowed ideas from around the political table, and wisely, I think, let the Congress squabble just enough to gain the high ground be staying out of the fray. His health care speech hopefully will light a fire under Congress.