Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Whom, exactly, do you represent?

Capital HillTo listen to the recent coverage, Congress is finding it nearly impossible to put together any sort of healthcare bill at all, let alone to face the possibility of funding a public option. But it's not their constituents that they're afraid of -- the public supports a public option by a huge margin!
The poll found that most Americans would be willing to pay higher taxes so everyone could have health insurance and that they said the government could do a better job of holding down health-care costs than the private sector....
Which raises the question, of course, as to who is striking such fear into our legislators . . .

Edit: Digby notes that there are differences between the parties, with Republicans out to block any compromise and thus hoping to block any meaningful reform.
Republicans, (Schumer) suggests, are standing lockstep even against efforts to create a private co-op system that could offer an alternative to for-profit insurance. Their concern with the co-op plan is not that the government would be taking over the health-care system. It's that the current insurance providers would face unexpectedly aggressive competition in the marketplace. Which raises an interesting, and potentially clarifying, question: Are Republicans in this to preserve the healthy functioning of a competitive private market or preserve the profits of the currently dominant insurance companies?
Hmmmmm.... If only the Democrats can pay attention, look to their constituents, and just get something done! I like this quote (from the Times) too:
The real risk is that health care reform will be undermined by "centrist" Democratic senators who either prevent the passage of a bill or insist on watering down key elements of reform. I use scare quotes around "centrist," by the way, because if the center means the position held by most Americans, the self-proclaimed centrists are in fact way out in right field.
That's not the least of it, pal!

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