First let me say that this has nothing to do with the pinky incident at the town hall meeting! O.K. We got that out of the way.
What this is about is the attempt by Congress to deal with the whole of health insurance reform in one bill. That is like trying to swallow an entire Thanksgiving meal in one bite: if you do manage to do it you’re going to be sick and if you can’t manage to do it you’re going to have a mess to clean up.
Several things make the step by step approach a much more manageable and honest way to approach reform
- First, you can give each individual issue the time that is needed to study it. The bills would be shorter, and the Congress would have time to read those types of bills. Jim DeMint’s Senate Bill 1459 is a great example. It’s about 30 pages and deals with being able to buy health insurance across state lines. There should be bi-partisan support for such a common sense step.
- Second, the public would be able to give issue specific criticism to their representatives, and those representatives would have a much better idea as to where their constituents are on that issue.
- Third, you would be able to deal with the special interest groups easier. Howard Dean admitted that the reason that there was no tort reform in the House bill 3200 is that they just can’t take on any more special interests than are already in the bill. Here is exactly what he said: ““Here is why tort reform is not in the bill. When you go to pass a really enormous bill like that the more stuff you put in, the more enemies you make, right? And the reason why tort reform is not in the bill is because the people who wrote it did not want to take on the trial lawyers in addition to everybody else they were taking on, and that is the plain and simple truth. Now, that’s the truth.”
- It gives the constituents concrete grounds to hold their representatives accountable for. I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve heard a politician say, “Well, I didn’t agree with all of it, but I agreed with most of it.” So which part did you vote for and which part did you vote against?
- Another reason is that it keeps sneaky politicians from sneaking things in that are way out in left field. I’m thinking about abortion, end of life medicine, etc.
- Finally, it’s easier to see what each bill is going to cost.
We need to get Senator Jim DeMint’s S1459 voted on dealing with crossing state lines to buy insurance. Some other issues that could be separated out very easily are tort reform, allowing small businesses to form groups so that they have the same negotiating power with health insurance companies as large employers have, and Medicare waste and fraud just to name a few.
These issues are complicated enough to stand on their own in legislation and would not make the American people think that they are having the wool pulled over their eyes. The only reason for legislators to lump this whole thing all together and then to say that it must be passed quickly is in order to make a power grab. The American people are not stupid. Washington should stop treating us that way.