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Several years ago, when the Democrats took over the House, they elected Nancy Pelosi to be Speaker. I thought that was an interesting choice. (Interesting, in this context, is not really a compliment.) When Harry Reid was chosen to lead the Democrats in the Senate, I thought it was odd. Now, as we look back over the last three years, what is the tough legislation that Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have guided through Congress? Nothing. We have not been able to end the war in Iraq. As a matter of fact, we're still there. We have not held hearings on torture, or former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, or the outing of Valerie Plame, or domestic spying, or even our election system, for that matter. All of these issues take political will and leadership. Now, we need leadership on healthcare and these guys are, again, AWOL.
Aaron Carroll on the Colbert Report:
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
There should be no doubt in anybody's mind that healthcare is difficult. In order to do healthcare right, several special interests must be directly confronted. Neither Harry Reid nor Nancy Pelosi have stuck their necks out to say that we are giving way too much money to health insurance companies. No one is saying that health insurance companies do not add any value to our healthcare dollar. This is what needs to be said. Instead of leadership on this issue, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are nearly invisible.
We, as Americans, should not take half-measures. If we are going to truly reform healthcare, then let's reform healthcare. By moving to a single-payer system, Americans save over $700 billion. This money then can be used to cover the 46 million Americans who are currently not covered by any insurance plan. This would provide basic medical insurance for all Americans. This does not require any special tax on the wealthy. It does not require any additional funds from the middle class. Even while not spending an extra dime, we can cover all Americans. Why isn't Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi saying this on the Sunday talk shows every week?
When is somebody going to stand up and say that immigration reform is part of healthcare reform? Hello, Harry and Nancy, I'm talking to you!! Out of the 46 million Americans who don't have health insurance, somewhere around 12 to 15 million are economic refugees (illegal immigrants); therefore, these two topics are linked. When is a politician going to stand up and tell us this? That would be leadership. Informing the American people and leading Congress through potential pitfalls is what we're paying the majority leader and the Speaker of the House to do and they ain't doin' it.
Finally, if we are able to negotiate some basic tort reform, physicians will begin to order less tests. Americans instantly save billions of dollars. The quality of healthcare doesn't change. As a matter fact, you can argue, that the quality of health care may improve.
Today we learned that the Blue Dogs and Republicans have worked out some sort of agreement that there will be no vote on healthcare reform before the August recess. Fine. We (progressives) need to organize. We need to push for a single-payer system. We need to write and fax Congress. We don't need to spend any more of our hard-earned money on garbage. This latest bill that came out of the Senate is 1000 pages of garbage. We need to tell our representatives that they need to start with a clean piece of paper. Then, they need to write down the goals of healthcare reform -- portable, efficient and cost-effective. These should be the goals. Co-ops do not meet these goals. Some sort of public-private hybrid is not efficient or cost-effective. No American should have to pay anymore money than we're paying now for healthcare. $2.2 trillion is enough. 16% for gross domestic product is enough. A single-payer system is the only way to meet the goals of a portable, efficient and cost-effective healthcare system.
It is time for Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to listen to what Americans want - single-payer. They need to lead Congress and make this happen.