Health care reform needs clear goals

February 11, 2010

As reported in Courier Post Feb 10, 2010

Obama and Congress need a focused reform bill that brings changes most Americans want.

Improving and reforming health care in the United States, at one time, must have seemed like a simple and clear idea to President Barack Obama. After all, once he began hard-selling the idea in the summer, his administration seemed to believe that legislation could be ready to go by Labor Day.

That was six months ago — six long months filled with heated rhetoric, back-and-forth debate, writing and rewriting of the legislation, major changes and a steady erosion of public support among Americans.

It was all done wrong.

The legislation approved a few weeks back by the Senate (the version more likely to be approved than the one passed by the House of Representatives in December) is so muddled, so convoluted and confusing that it has left supporters of health care reform scratching their heads, trying to make sense of exactly what it is. It doesn’t have a public health insurance option for the most needy Americans. It won’t manage to get everyone who isn’t insured onto some kind of health insurance plan. It will lead to hefty fines for people who don’t get health insurance. And it will cost hundreds of billions.

Bottom line, few average Americans understand very much about this monstrous, thousand-page-plus bill. What parts they do understand, they don’t like, including the cost. That’s why opposition to it has steadily mounted and support has weakened.

That’s also why the current version of the health care reform legislation now looks destined to die. The election Jan. 19 of a Republican U.S. senator in Massachusetts who opposes the bill hit Washington like a bomb. The shockwave of that bomb: Many Democrats worried about getting re-elected are reconsidering their support for the bill. And the president is now calling for a televised, bipartisan health care summit in which Democrats and Republicans offer ideas for health care reform.

Obama is changing his game and trying to get Republicans involved because he did it wrong. The Democrats controlling Congress did it wrong, also. They tried to write a bill without a defined set of goals. They just went about fixing every problem, large and small, that they identified. There became no central point of what this legislation would do, aside from create a public health insurance option. Then that got compromised out of the bill.

Health care reform, if it happens at all now in a charged election year, needs to be clear of focus. It needs to prioritize a handful of important goals that most Americans want to see addressed such as lowering the cost of temporary individual (COBRA) health plans and stopping health insurers from rejecting people for coverage due to “pre-existing conditions.” Those and a few others are points we think most people and lawmakers — Republican or Democrat — can agree on.

Stick to those things that have broad support; get Republicans involved in the process; and, above all, make the cost bearable and clearly explain how it will be paid for without cutting Medicare or Medicaid, and you’d have health care reform legislation that more Americans would understand and feel good about.

Our Perspective:

What seemed like a good idea has been corrupted by politics. The fact that in 2010, the United States can not offer access to basic medical care or coverage to all it citizens is shameful. 

Those who are covered by private and group plans  are already paying  a  fee in their premiums for uninsured coverages. As usual pork and politics take front stage and the American people are left holding the bag.

President Obama has to take charge and bring both parties together. Define what they all can agree on and strip everything else out. Maybe it cannot be done all at one time! Think of the people who put you in the office first.

A bipartisan commission can be set up to present an overview of the implementation and define issues they find that should be addressed at a later date.

3 Responses to “Health care reform needs clear goals”

  1. I do not generally comment on web sites but I needed to drop in and say thanks for making this, I absolutely agree with the fact and with a little luck people today can understand this argument.

  2. Hi. I needed to drop you a quick note to impart my thanks. I’ve been observing your blog for a month or so and have picked up a heap of effective information as well as relished the way you’ve structured your site. I am undertaking to run my own blog however I think its too general and I would like to focus more on smaller topics.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: