CNN reports today that Senator Max Baucus has been targeted in an ad campaign over his current health care proposal. As I live abroad it is hard for me to express strong feelings over the current debate, other than to say that the fastest way to hand Congress to the Republicans is for Democrats to kill health care reform. We can argue over the wisdom of Obama putting this issue front and center, but now that it is, he and the Congress have to deliver or there will be very serious consequences next Fall. In fact, it would be a repeat of 1994, only here the consequences would be worse. Back in 1994 President Clinton didn’t have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, and Senator Dole took advantage of that fact.
Open, honest debate is good. It should be something that everyone allows for, and it was something that Republicans have traditionally suppressed. However, that debate needs to be respectful, with a recognition that there are many sides to this very complicated issue. Having seen several national health care systems up close and personal, I’ll just point out that each has its problems. You cannot have both universal healthcare and the choice of every healthcare option for everyone. The numbers just won’t add up. I’ll also mention that in America the argument is not between the government choosing and consumers choosing, but rather between government-regulated insurance choosing and insurance companies choosing. Consumers already have very few choices, and 46 million people have none.