Public Support Badly Compromised by Health Care Debate

February 25, 2010

Michael McAuliff, writing for the New York Daily News hit the nail squarely on the head with the article “President Obama’s Health Care Summit Will Be Political Theater of Highest Order.” One cannot help but get the feeling of Christians and lions in the arena (with no implied suggestion about which side is which) in the current national debate over health care reform.

Actually, if you take that analogy a little farther, both sides are being gobbled up by the same hungry carnivorous beast — partisanship. From the moment Obama announced his health care summit in the spirit of compromise and indicated it would be televised, the Republicans started looking for an ambush that may or may not have been there.

On Monday, February 22, Obama announced his own health care plan largely in line with the legislation currently sitting on the table in the Senate — with a $950 billion price tag attached to it.

Americans can read what the White House has to say about the current state of health care and reform efforts on its official website. The opening statement on that page reads:

Over the past year the House and the Senate have been working on an effort to provide health insurance reform that lowers costs, guarantees choices, and enhances quality health care for all Americans.

The only problem with that is that in the process, the members of Congress from both parties have done so with a nasty spirit, routinely mischaracterizing the other’s position, and allowing rumors to run rampant in the American public.

They’ve sacrificed one of the most important elements of health care reform in the United States — public support.

Regardless of what they do manage to get passed, reclaiming that support and clearly articulating to the American people any set of new rules, regulations, and “benefits” will be a major hurdle for our warring, partisan “leaders.”