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Middle America Deserves Thoughtful Deliberation on Healthcare Reform

November 21, 2009

As the healthcare debate is coming to a procedural head on the floor of the U.S. Senate tonight, news this week that the U.S. Postal Service lost money for the third year in a row—a staggering $3.8 billion, versus a loss of $2.8 billion last year—should give Middle America real concerns about government’s ability to effectively insert itself into individuals’ lives and deliver quality, affordable healthcare.

Government is not a bad thing.  For those who think differently, view government as a necessary evil, whose purpose is to serve the people, not vice versa.  As we were reminded by Abraham Lincoln in the Gettysburg Address in 1863, “. . . this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. . .”  Like it or not, government belongs to the people and it is here to stay.

The speed with which politicians are moving to rush a 2074 page healthcare bill through Congress leads the reasonable person to ask the obvious question, “What’s the hurry on an issue of such great importance?”

Well, the hurry is that this week Middle America picked up the scent of the rationing of healthcare with confusion over when and what women should get mammograms and pap smears.  As time drags on, Americans are becoming increasingly concerned about how healthcare might be rationed, which has Democrats as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.

If ever there was an issue that touched every American personally, healthcare is it.  Clearly, something has to give—there has to be some sort of healthcare reform, like the ability to shop for healthcare across state lines, a prohibition against rejecting pre-existing conditions, a requirement that every American have health insurance, etc.  However, the need to get healthcare reform done right greatly exceeds the political demands to just get “something” done and declare victory.

Middle America has been betrayed in a way, since every page of the 2074 page bill isn’t being discussed and publicly debated in great detail by this administration, which campaigned on “transparency.”  Sound public policy requires a lucid and thorough examination of this legislation, but it appears that once again, sound public policy is being traded for political expediency.

Obama’s advisors and Democrat consultants know that time is their enemy—the longer Congress takes to pass healthcare legislation, the less political capital they have to pass anything at all, and the more likely voters will thoughtfully consider how it might impact their own mammograms, pap smears, and healthcare needs.

The honeymoon period typically extended to new presidents is now coming to an end, if it hasn’t already come and gone.  Unfortunately for President Obama and Democrats, they campaigned on delivering “healthcare reform” and staked their political future on it.  Making healthcare reform their lynchpin issue was a very calculated decision by Democrats, not done hastily, but after much polling and many focus groups.  Democrats have made healthcare a political football and voters are increasingly concerned about it.

Understandably, Democrats exploited the issue of healthcare reform for maximum political value during the campaign, but now the campaign is over and the wolf is almost at the door.  Democrats know they have to deliver something, and this “something” really needs to be thought through with great deliberation and debate.  If given a choice, Middle America would be better served with nothing, rather than “something” hastily rammed through Congress.

A. Muser

10 Comments leave one →
  1. November 21, 2009 12:09 PM

    It’s more than people are afraid of rationing. It’s that they see this bill for what it is: The government taking over another 18% of the economy and creating a path for a single payer system. To put it succinctly, socialism. I also believe that many people have voter’s regret right about now. What is instructive is that despite the kamikaze tactics of the democrats, this will come to pass, and they know it never will be repealed. It’s Ai-Uchi at it’s best, and some from the right are stunned….

    As far as middle America goes, I am not impressed. Having moved to Iowa 7 years ago from NY, I can say they are too middle of the road and are complicit in BS like this. At least in NY I know who was left wing, where other people stood. The go along get along collect mentality here only serve the sausage grinders in DC in making government bigger. If they don’t like what they see now, may be they should have heeded my and other’s warnings to these very same things before the election of 2008. Instead they gave Obama his first primary win. Idiots, one and all.

    Thanks for a well written article.

  2. Chredon permalink
    November 24, 2009 1:33 PM

    Actually, when the 2076-page health care bill is printed single-spaced with 1-inch margins in a 10-point Ariel font, it’s 206 pages. It’s only 2076 pages when the printer goes out of his way to make it that long by using a 14-point monospace font, double spacing, and 2-inch margins. If you would like, I could make it 5000 pages, or 150, by manipulating the type, the spacing, and the margins.

    And that is exactly what the GOP is doing – manipulating you with false numbers.

  3. November 25, 2009 4:16 AM

    Have you ever tried to read single spaced 10 point type with 1″ margins? I bet many politicians need reading glasses. The other thing is, if you know about styles, as in APA etc, I don’t know any organization that use that standard you wish. What you say is rubbish.

    • November 25, 2009 8:55 AM

      I’m sure after some folks manipulate it, it’s at least as readable as the credit card disclosure statements consumers receive monthly; 2-point font, printed along the edges of the document as well.

  4. Got Kids permalink
    November 30, 2009 5:31 PM

    American Muser, I came here because you gave a very reasoned and rational argument elsewhere. Frankly what I’ve read here is a disappointment. There is simply no way to support the current health care sysytem under the crushing weight of the baby-boomer generation. I think Hurrican Katrina put in stark relief that Americans are prepared to see people die in the street. Finally, it was the irresponsibilites of the previous Admin that put US in this financial whole. Why won’t you give the other side a chance to dig US out. That would be the Middle American thing to do.

    • November 30, 2009 8:40 PM

      Got Kids, I agree with both of your points. Forgive me for not clarifying my position. As the party in power, the Obama administration is in fact entitled to put solutions into motion to dig the country out of the mess we’ve been put in by the former administration. And I completely agree with your assessment of cost; common sense tells us that American families and small businesses cannot keep paying for healthcare that increases in cost 10% a year. American families and small businesses are being slowly suffocated by healthcare cost increases, and something has to give.

  5. November 30, 2009 5:45 PM

    You’ll have to go back before the previous administration to find the progenitor of our problems. Ever heard of CRA? As far as back as 2003, the GOP tried to make changes to the system, but Barney Frank and Chris Dodd put up road blocks. They were too busy getting preferential loans. The worst that you can say is that may be the bush administration didn’t put controls on hedge funds that sold the bad debt, but no previous administration had done that either. What I do blame bush for is TARP. That made things a whole lot worse.

  6. January 29, 2010 9:48 AM

    Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.

  7. dmcmd permalink
    May 13, 2010 9:46 PM

    The answer is simple: More personal accountability for one’s health; insurance across state lines; TORT reform…and did I mention TORT reform; keep the governmental bureaucracy out; charitable contributions with the requisite tax write offs; tax deferred health savings accounts; medical school scholarships in which the payback includes county hospital “tours or duty”. Socialism is NOT the way. As a physician, I can certainly attest to the fact that patient’s on the government dole are more demanding, less accountable, more litigious, over utilize ER services, miss more scheduled appointments ….and feel ENTITLED not grateful.

  8. December 26, 2010 1:56 PM

    Politics of Compromise

    What this country has not seen in over 150 years, what the current generation can’t even imagine, is a government that finds consensus. Americans know what consensus is, however. They voted for Obama because his campaign was a vision of consensus. “Yes we can” is vision of consensus. Governance requires consensus. Good policy requires consensus. Americans understand this intuitively. Real democracy finds consensus. America needs real democracy.

    Washington, today however, is an elected oligarchy. Oligarchy is personality, deal making, and compromise centered governance. Oligarchy does not require or seek consensus. It governs without consensus. It shortcuts with deals and compromise.

    This type of governance brings eight elephants: war, immigration, ecology, recession, foreclosure, joblessness, tax, and debt to middle America. This is because no traction, on any of these issues is possible using an elected oligarchy government without consensus.

    Obama’s “deals” are a compromise, in an age of elected oligarchy, and an age of compromise. Instead of getting consensus, by barnstorming the country, like his campaigning, compromise is easier. Cutting “deals” is easier. Oligarchy shortcuts governance by cutting “deals” rather than finding consensus.

    Democracy finds consensus. A house, with 400 members, sometimes finds consensus. Any consensus from the house, however, is quickly killed by the tighter knit oligarchy senate. Obama’s “deals” is not his fault. He’s just one lonely elected monarch trying to do the best he can and have christmas at the same time. Elected monarchy is another topic.

    America needs enough person-power in government to consistently find consensus, the true center of democratic successful policy making. “Deals” and compromise are cheap governance. Consensus is governance.

    When service in a restaurant suffers, more waiters are needed. When fire breaks out everywhere, more fire fighters are needed. When crime becomes rampant, more police are needed. When democracy morphs to elected oligarchy and America lacks governance, send help to the few surviving democratic representatives. More representatives are needed. More presidents are needed. The antidote to corruption of power is disbursement of power. Step it up, America. Be proactive. Check out plan-b.

    Citizen is coach to team democracy. Coach is responsible for success. It’s your call, coach.
    Seeking presidential candidate (for one of 9 elected executive branch presidents) 2016

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