Thursday, March 18, 2010

Turning the Corner on Health Care Insurance Reform

Although the GOP has decided to oppose any reform of the health care funding system, despite numerous efforts to reduce the scope of the bill to make it more amenable to GOP concerns about costs, the momentum seems to have finally turned in the Democrats' favor.  I will agree that leaders in Congress have mishandled this, and President Obama probably should have jumped into the middle of this much sooner, the key to this change comes from two directions within the Democratic Party.  

First, Dennis Kucinich, one of the most liberal members of Congress decided to vote for the Senate bill.  He'd like a stronger bill, especially one that would offer a single-payer provision, but he realized that's not in the offing.  Thus, he'll vote for that which can be achieved.  I expect that other liberal members who voted no initially, will follow his lead.

Second, and equally important, is the collapsing of Catholic opposition to the bill.  This includes the move on the part of nearly 60,000 members of Catholic women's orders to come out in support of the bill -- bucking the resistance by the bishops.  Their decision follows upon the endorsement of the bill by the Catholic Health Association -- an organization that represents the church's hospitals and clinics.  They did all of this due to their understanding of the church's long-standing social teaching.  Again, cover is provided those Catholic Democrats who oppose abortion.

Added to this, we hear the CBO estimate that this proposed program will reduce the deficit.  Now, whether that will be true remains to be seen.  Things could change over time, but at least their is the sense that cost controls could be introduced that will save money.

Now, there are issues that remain to be solved.  This doesn't provide universal coverage -- there will still be many left out.  That will have to be worked out.  Then there is the issue of creating the networks wherein we can purchase the offered health programs.  

Still, I'm more hopeful than I have been in a long time.  Yes, the Republicans will try to make this an issue in the 2010 election, but in the end, once the legislation is enacted, will most Americans remember the "process"?  Or will they recognize that something -- while not perfect -- was done!?  At this point the Democrats face the reality that they are the party in power and thus, they'll face political consequences due to the economy.  People want results, and results have been long in coming.  Still, progress is being made.  


Allan R. Bevere said...

So, Bob, therefore it is OK to pass this thing by hook or by crook or should I say deem and pass... the ends justifies the means.

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...


Since the GOP is using the filibuster to clog up everything in the Senate, I'm not opposed to using other rules to bypass a recalcitrant minority.

If you oppose the House moves, then would you also oppose the Senate ones?

Allan R. Bevere said...

Actually, Bob, I do oppose such things. It's too bad Christians are willing to compromise.

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

Allan, as you know, politics is the art of compromise. In a democracy that's the way things work. What is is unfortunate is that the party system has become so polarized that bi-partisanship has become increasingly impossible. The fact that some 80% of bills have been "filibustered", which is a dramatic increase is mind boggling.

So, am I willing to live with using arcane rules to get something done. If the alternative is to deny people access to decent health care, well, I'll make that compromise.

Allan R. Bevere said...

Bob, with all due respect, if you think the current health care reform bill is going to make things better, well... you know the proverbial swampland I have for you...

But, of course, only time will tell.,, since this bill will indeed get passed buy outs, payoffs, back room deals, bribes, and all.

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...


You may not think it will make things better, but its interesting that nearly 60,000 Women religious have broken with their bishops, as has the Catholic Health Association, and has a retired bishop. I think its also interesting that the AMA supports it.

It's not a perfect bill, but it does help deal with things like pre-existing conditions that make it difficult to get help.

The reality too is that these things are all connected, so you can't do it piecemeal. You have to require everyone to buy if you're going to create protections.

Of course, medicare for all would work best -- but that's so Richard Nixonish!

Anonymous said...

Richard Nixonish! That's funny, he started the EPA too. Oh, hey, LBJ signed Medicare into law.

Anyway, if the AMA and Dennis Kucinich think they can work it out, I'm okay with it, I suppose, if I hold my nose. We need the sausage, it's just that with today's type of news reporting, it's hard to avoid knowing how they're being made. This shouldn't be a political issue, or even a religious one. David Mc

Michael Westmoreland-White said...

Mr. Bevere, "deem and pass" is not by hook or by crook. It was routinely done by the Republicans during the Bush admin. It's still voting, but just substitute's one bill for another. That's been done often enough.

Allan R. Bevere said...

Michael, name one piece of such sweeping legislation that was done by deem and pass?

The point is that every piece of sweeping legislation historically has been bipartisan and widely accepted except for the boon doggle that is health care reform. You can spin it how you want, but once the Democrats pass this in whatever fashion they can, the lawsuits will move forward and the public will turn the Dems out of office this Nov.-- and things will turn around. The fight over this legislation will take years and nothing will happen.

So much for the possibility of working together.

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...


There was a possibility of working across party lines when the parties had not become so polarized. Back in the 1960s, when Welfare and civil rights were passed there still was a moderate/liberal wing in the Republican Party -- I know because I grew up in it.

That party is gone. The Democrats have a larger tent, which is why the health care debate has been held within the party.

In many ways Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins are to the left of many Democrats, but they fear backlash in primaries.

As for whether this is a boondoggle or what, time will tell. I don't think that this is true. I also don't think the piecemeal solutions proposed by the Republicans will work. There are too many elements that are interrelated.

I listened to Paul Ryan last night on Charlie Rose, he's talking about the reforms proposed by the GOP, but as far as I know, the party elders haven't supported them either. And at the heart of his proposal is the use of vouchers for medicare. Not sure how that will go over with the seniors.

So, I'll stay with this bill.

Anonymous said...

The Republican agenda is not to have the Democrats accomplish ANYTHING! If I can see this is mostly sour grapes, then anyone should be able to. Hey, Bush/ Cheney aren't in prison, don't they get some slack for that? David Mc

Anonymous said...

You can't filibuster in the house.. Deem and Pass is used for something that represents SIXTEEN PERCENT of the economy???...and least we forget DEMOCRATS holding it up. They got the majority.

Sorry.. but I feel I need a wave of I told you so's. Running on "hope" simply sets you up for disappointment. The presidency seems to be the first time Obama has ever had anyone seriously disagree with his thoughts. My sense is that he has always walked into a room and been able to use charm, charisma, and some good thoughts to win over a crowd. Now he runs into the buzzsaw of something larger than a community, to a world powered by self interest and stubborn belief in self.

This whole process stinks to high heaven and IS NOT a democracy. This is what happens in dictatorships.. we will all kinds of "technicalities" to win what we want.