Despite overtures by Democrats and Republicans to work together, it is now certain that if health care reform is to move forward it will do so in the same fashion it has over the past year: primarily as a Democratic effort.
Ten years ago, Dan DeJong, a fourth-generation rancher from just outside Libby, Mont., was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma. Dan worked hard all his life, but when faced with massive bills to treat his cancer, Dan and his wife, Pat, had no choice but to sell the familys land and apply for Medicaid and food stamps.
President Barack Obamas decision to move forward with a reconciliation strategy will have the opposite effect of what he intends. Instead of ending the debate with a sweeping reform bill, he will most likely achieve nothing and restart the debate. From the perspective of the American people, that is just as well.
The public insurance option is the Lazarus of the health care debate. Time and time again it has been pronounced dead, only to rise again. Even now, though it was not included in President Barack Obamas heath care plan, it remains part of the debate. The public option is included in the House bill, and momentum is building in the Senate, where more and more Members are announcing their support for its inclusion in a reconciliation bill.
My hometown of Prescott is a small community in southwestern Arkansas with about 3,700 people. Its a quiet and cordial town where people still know their neighbors name, still say hello to one another in the grocery store and still help one another out when times are tough. And times certainly are tough. As the Congressman for Arkansas 4th district, I represent 29 counties that cover much of the southern and western parts of the state and include about 150 towns, many of which are just like Prescott.
Many of the headlines in the health care reform debate have bypassed a very important group that is too often overlooked: children. Throughout health care reform, my top priority was to ensure that no child was left worse off by our efforts and that we improve health care for children. The Senate-passed bill meets this test and would improve care for millions of children.
As the outlines of the Democrats health care endgame begin to emerge, one thing has become perfectly clear: The majority party in Washington, D.C., has no intention of bipartisanship. Before last months televised summit, President Barack Obama submitted an 11-page proposal that included targeted changes to the 2,700-page Senate bill.
As President Barack Obama continues to push health care reform across the finish line, many pundits and critics say he needs to focus on jobs and the economy, asking, Which should come first health care or the economy?
It happens after community meetings, during telephone town halls and even in church: Northeast Ohioans ask me not to give up on making health care more affordable and accessible to all.
Pop quiz: What is the goal of health care reform?
(A) Expand access
(B) Lower costs
If you answered (A), odds are youre a Democrat. If you answered (B), youre probably a Republican. But if you reject that you have to choose, youre on the right track.