Let Us Gather ‘Round the Table

I’ve had people assume they knew where I stood politically. The only time that was particularly annoying was when I was in the news business. I tried to go out of my way to not take sides, particularly in the way I covered stories. The one thing I looked forward to when I got out of the business was being able to take side. That included being able to make political contributions. I never felt comfortable doing that when I was reporting or writing news.

Talk Talk

Now however, I’m okaying with expressing an opinion from time to time. So. I caught a little of the the little sit-down the president had with the various members of Congress to discuss health care reform. I’m okay with Republicans and Democrats having a difference of opinion on the matter. I listened with interest when Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander started out by telling the president that his plan would hike everybody’s insurance premiums. It’s also interesting that Tennessee Representative Marsha Blackburn compared the proposed reforms to TennCare. It seems as if all the Republicans are concerned over an effort in the Senate to pass legislation using “reconciliation,” which would only require a simple majority, rather than two-thirds.

Hmmm. The Congressional Budget Office says that everybody’s premium’s wouldn’t rise. And TennCare was an underfunded replacement for Medicaid, not an effort to reform all coverage. And the Senate Budget Committee chairman (a Democrat) says Senate rule wouldn’t allow its use to pass health care reform.

There’s also the scrap everything and start over demand. This is when they passed on the chance to offer any substantive input the first time around.

Scene of the Crime

Blair House: Scene of the Crime

There are millions of people who can’t afford health insurance. Insurance companies make tremendous profits. Employees of those companies take medical decisions out of the hands of doctors and patients everyday, acting, in a way as “death panels.” Republicans had control of the White House and both houses of Congress in the last decade and didn’t take a step to bring about legitimate health care reform. There were other things on their agenda. But it seems unseemly to stand in the way of progress merely because being obstinate is a plan of regain disaffected voters.

If you’re sitting at the table while you’re in the minority, you’re lucky to be there. Don’t rely on parliamentary tricks to stymie progress. And don’t use scare tactics to take support away from reforming a system you’ve admitted needs reform. And for cripes sake, don’t complain about the shape of the table.


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