View Full Version : FINALLY! A leftist talks sensibly about heath care

12-04-2010, 10:54 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Dear President Obama: I hate to say I told you so, but I did.

In March of this year, when you visited St. Louis, I used this space to write you an open letter and it began this way: "Welcome to St. Louis, Mr. President. I'm a supporter. I also believe we need to reform the health care system, and I hope you fail in your current efforts to do so. Have you heard that expression about the best deals are sometimes the ones you didn't make? That's the way it is with the health care proposal that you've come to town to promote. The best thing that could happen to you and to the country would be for it to fail."

You didn't listen to me. (That's all right. Nobody does.) You pushed through a complicated bill that people neither understand nor trust. Obamacare, they call it. Even though few of its provisions have gone into effect, it is already being blamed for rising premiums as if premiums haven't been rising for years.
Now your party has been crushed in the off-year elections and the Republicans are vowing to block, defund and repeal your health care program.

Instead of digging in your heels and waging a bitter fight for a bad law, consider this an opportunity. Announce that you support the repeal of Obamacare, and you intend to work with Congress on other important issues while a nonpartisan commission studies health care.

Health care reform is too important to leave to Congress. In the first place, nobody trusts Congress. In the second place, they shouldn't. The Republicans are in the pockets of the insurance companies. The Democrats are in the pockets of the lawyers.

If we want the most bang for our health care buck and that is the essence of reform we don't want the insurance companies or the lawyers calling the shots.

The commission should be composed of health care professionals doctors, nurses and hospital administrators as well as folks with a vested interest in the subject. Employers, for instance. People from big businesses who employ thousands, and people from small businesses who see their profits eaten up by rising premiums. I'd throw in a couple of economists and a few advocates for patients and then I'd step aside.

We have a pretty good idea of what we want. We want everybody to be covered. We want simplicity. We want doctors to be well-compensated. How can we achieve this efficiently?

The heavy lifting has been done. Every other industrial country has some version of universal health care. The commission can look at these plans and see what would work here and what wouldn't. Maybe we'd take some of this plan, and some of that plan. Perhaps we'd end up with a hybrid system like we have in education. A public option and a private one.

But whatever we do, a commission needs to do it. This is far too nuanced to let politics have a role.

Think about end-of-life care. People in the system talk about the huge amounts of money we spend prolonging a person's life at the very end when there is no reasonable hope for recovery. But when health care becomes political, you can't even talk about that. If you do, you favor "death panels."

Truth is, the political atmosphere is poisoned. A sizable portion of the other side wants you to fail, Mr. President. Any health care reform that bears your imprint will be opposed. It will be savaged.

That's why you should name Bob Dole as the honorary chairman of the commission.

He agrees that we need to do something. In 2009, Dole and three other former Senate majority leaders Howard Baker, Tom Daschle and George Mitchell proposed a plan in which everybody would be required to buy health insurance and the government would subsidize the cost for those who needed financial help.

That may or may not be something the commission decides upon, but it shows he's thinking about things, Mr. President, and his thinking seems to be somewhat in line with your own.

Of course, you can't let on that you agree with anything the commission decides upon. You've got to be totally divorced from this.

Just stand back and let the people who know about health care figure out what we should do. They're capable of it. They're smart people. I don't think it will take them more than a year.

When the commission's work is finished, let Dole announce the results. We can still have real reform.

I hate to say this, Mr. President, but I told you so.</div></div>

A GOOD READ. (http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/columns/bill-mcclellan/article_1ea53d8e-3c77-5820-8a9f-791a3339956b.html)