Wednesday, August 19, 2009

On health-care reform, it's time for Democrats to do it by themselves

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Finally: "Given hardening Republican opposition to Congressional health care proposals, Democrats now say they see little chance of the minority’s cooperation in approving any overhaul, and are increasingly focused on drawing support for a final plan from within their own ranks."

Republicans, you see, are against reform. It's that simple. They may say they're for reform, but they're against Democratic reform more than they're actually for anything themselves. And it isn't just the "public option" that arouses their opposition. They're against the non-profit co-op option, too, a compromise that has been tossed around of late by centrists. Indeed, as Senator John Kyl of Arizona put it -- and he's the minority whip, and so speaks for the party -- the co-op option is a "Trojan horse," government-run health care "by another name." In other words, to Republicans, it's the thin end of the wedge. As the "Trojan horse" was filled with Greeks, so is the co-op option willed with the "public option."

This isn't the case, of course. The the "public option" and the co-op compromise are simply not the same thing, though a successful co-op system could lead to the eventual creation of a genuinely public system. Regardless, Republicans aren't going to vote for any bill that includes either a "public option" or a co-op compromise. Kyl himself said so: "I don't believe Republicans will be inclined to support a bill." Again, it's that simple.

So why bother? Why try, as Democrat Kent Conrad of North Dakota, is doing, to work out a compromise, a deal with Republicans who have no interest in compromise and who aren't about to negotiate in good faith and who see bipartisanship as empty rhetoric?

It's time for Democrats to do what needs to be done on their own. To me, that means introducing and passing a bill with a robust "public option," but, realistically, they need to work out a bill that secures as much Democratic support as possible, preferably one that actually achieves meaningful reform. Instead of reaching out to the other side and pushing inadequate compromises, they need to pull together, ignore Republican obstructionism, and do what's right for America.

(Now, whether they actually pull together 60 votes in the Senate is another matter. But why not give it a shot?)

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  • I say "bring it" and watch the US Senate come to a screeching halt...

    I seriously doubt Dems would get anywhere by going this route.

    By Blogger Dr. J. Robert Asten, at 11:47 AM  

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