Sunday, October 11, 2009

Health Reform; Why? Why Not? Why Can't We Just Get Along?

The House is inching closer to voting on a comprehensive health-care bill, even as the chamber appears so divided that the measure may not attract a single Republican supporter.

There is a strong chance the GOP will be unanimous in its opposition. Such a result would mark the second time -- the first came on the economic stimulus package in February -- that the entire House minority rejected one of President Obama's top domestic initiatives.

The effort at bipartisanship has been difficult on Capitol Hill. The two parties have traded blame for that, with Republicans alleging that they've been shut out of the process and Democrats arguing that GOP members were never interested in a constructive discussion -- only in a chance to deal a defeat to Obama.

The White House's only hope for a Republican nod when the Senate Finance Committee votes Tuesday is Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (Maine).

Ben Pershing, “Health-Care Bill May Not Get Single GOP Vote, Washington Post, October 10, 2009

It is Sunday morning, and I find myself asking “Why?” “Why Not?” and “Why Can’t We Just Get Along?”

Why not a single GOP vote for the House health reform version?

Why only a single GOP vote for the Senate Finance bill coming up on Tuesday?
Why is health reform so politically polarizing when everyone agrees some reform is necessary?

Why when everyone knows current health costs trends can’t be sustained?

Why when everyone says health care is a social good?

Why when everyone says no one should be denied care because they can’t afford it?

Why should House Democrats repeatedly proclaim, “No public option. No bill.”

Why should Senate Republicans say, “A public option. No votes here.”

Why should Democrats boast, ‘We’re going to ram reform through this year, no matter what the Republicans say.”

Why should Republicans bluster , “Just try. When premiums explode and taxes rise, we’ll see what voters say.”

Why do Democrats refuse to consider or vote down every Republican amendment?

Why not at least debate sensible suggestions such as tort reform, shopping for plans across state lines, or even extending the Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan (FEHBP), which covers government employees including Congressman and Senators, to all citizens?

Why all this tendentious talk about mandates, be they individual or employer directed, when America is supposedly the Home of the Free and the Land of Choice?

Why not tax credits for all – individuals as well as employees?

Why not have individuals , rather than employers, choose and own their own policies?

Why not make people be responsible for spending their own money through health savings accounts and for saving money for retirement through those accounts?

Why not let people spend money outside of Medicare by contracting with doctors should they choose?

Why rely on the repeatedly disproven assumption that more government entitlements will save more money and not result in more unfunded benefits down the road?

I suppose it all comes down to raw political power, pride in one’s political philosophy, individualism or socialism, and whether one should depend on government or free markets, not who is right and who is wrong.

Maybe the old socialist, George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) had it right when he said im Back To Methuselah, “You see things; and you say,’Why?’ But I dream things that never were, and I say,’Why not?’

Dr. Richard Reece is author, blogger, speaker, and innovation and reform commentator. Dr. Reece’s latest book, Obama, Doctors, and Health Reform ( is available at,, and for $31.95 (hardcover), $21.95 (softcover), and $6.95 (electronic). For information on speaking fees and arrangements, call 860-395-1501.

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