Thursday, February 17, 2011

Stark Contrast: How the Democrats are missing again on healthcare

Recently Pete Stark told a group that the Republicans were trying to shove a massive bill to repeal the Obamacare Bill down the throats of the Democrats.

The Republicans two-page bill stands in sharp contrast to the 2000-plus page bill pushed through by the Democrats last spring. So Mr. Stark, what's different now?

I had the pleasure of spending an hour with Congressman Stark last March right before the historic vote that changed the way healthcare is financed and delivered in this country. He was adamant at that time that he would never "support" the Senate version of the healthcare bill.

Well he did.

Now this isn't the first time or probably the last that a member of Congress has changed their mind.

But fundamentally the reason he voted for the bill as did most of the Democrats was political: legislation had to be passed regardless if it was good or not. Nancy Pelosi's health care chief told me in a meeting the same day that "we know its not a good bill but we can always fix it later."

The Republicans have taken the position that repeal is the best choice, followed by not funding key elements of the legislation, and probably hoping that the Supreme Court will rule that the Democrats overstepped their interpretation of the commerce clause. The latter is the ruse that allowed them to pass the bill in the first place.

So now the Democrats believe they have to defend the bill they created. And reforming the legislation would be tantamount to failure.

The American Medical Association adopted a recent slogan from their Texan brethren when they started preaching the "Keep what's good. Fix what's broken" mantra. But this lobby tactic would assume that either side would want to fix anything in the first place.

Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are really motivated to reform the legislation. These polar opposite positions place American patients right in the middle of a stand off -- most likely to be killed by "friendly" fire.

Democrats are missing the boat here by not learning from prior mistakes and following the advice that we talked with Pete Stark about a year ago. Give patients some protections from preexisting illness and right of recision rules from the insurance companies and allow them to keep their doctor.

That's really what patients and taxpayers want.

And, tank the rest of the 2000 pages of the bill.

The 18 thousand new IRS agents, the Independent Medicare Advisory Panel, the criminalization of billing issues, the mandate on individual coverage, the expansion of a broken Medicaid system -- all of this needs to go away. None of it will improve the health of America.

But sadly it is doubtful that anything good will happen in Congress this term related to healthcare.

Yes, the House can refuse to fund key elements of the legislation...they can vote to repeal the bill. But the Democratically controlled Senate and the sitting President will not allow the bill go away.

In the meantime Washington bureaucrats will be turning out millions of pages of rules and regulations that will immortalize Obamacare for millions of patients.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

No comments:

Post a Comment