Thursday, March 25, 2010

Health Care Hyperbole vs Voting

I’ve been reading and hearing a lot of comments from people who believe that Washington is not listening to the American people. I’ve heard a lot of complaints about a rushed process that didn’t allow people to see the details of the complicated health care proposals, 2,700 pages, back room deals, secret negotiations, trashing of rules and the Constitution.

I’ve been listening to these complaints daily for months. Months! So where was the rush?

I couldn’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent listening to or reading about ideas and comments from both sides of the health care discussion. I think I understand the major parts of this bill. I believe people who don't understand the basics of this bill have no one to blame but themselves. I listened and read a lot so I could understand the issues and arguments. Isn't that what you are supposed to do? Too many people are lazy and want someone else to do their thinking.

I suspect I understand health care reform at least as well as I understand my credit card agreements, my car insurance, the privacy statement from my bank, my health insurance policy, the 30 pages of documents I signed for my home loan or any other number of complicated documents we have to deal with. This is a complicated world. I’m sure I understand the health care bill better than those agreements I am constantly being forced to accept when I use my computer.

Back room deals. Secret negotiations. I think I’ve heard about all of them. I agree the “Cornhusker Kickback” was disgusting, but we all know that. What was secret about it? If it hadn’t been removed in the reconciliation bill, a simple bill next week could remove it. Why didn’t Republicans just write a bill to do that and then dare Democrats not to vote for it? (Answer: That solution is too reasonable. It is not inflammatory enough.)

Health care was passed by a majority in the House and a super majority in the Senate. Democrats correctly used the rules of the Congress to pass the bill. Democrats correctly used the reconciliation rules to make some changes to the health care bill that had just been passed. No rules were trashed.

There may be a debate about whether parts of the bill are unconstitutional. OK, if that is what you think, we have a way to deal with this. The courts.

As to Washington not listening to American, well I’m an American. I and millions of other Americans believe Washington has been listening. Now was the time to start making health care available to all Americans and to start the process to bring some rationality to how health care is provided. The bill that passed is not perfect and not what I would have liked to have, but it is a start. We now need to work to make it better.

I heard a woman on NPR yesterday complaining about the health care bill. She seemed very reasonable until she admitted that she was glad that at least conservatives had the Second Amendment and their guns since they might be needed. I wished someone had asked her how her guns would help resolve her concerns about the health care law.

One thing I know. If you believe that Washington is not listening to you, there is a way to make sure they get the message – vote. Leave the rifle over the fireplace.

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