All of this frustrating back-and-forth while problems grow ultimately leads me to a positive outlook for meaningful healthcare reform—eventually. Perhaps Democrats will move toward a group of solutions that include good ideas from the other side of the aisle.
Here are some ideas for our representatives:
- After a year of debate, you should be familiar with most of the details of various proposals for healthcare reform, so you don't need help from lobbyists to craft the bills.
- Let's get companies out of the provision of healthcare
- Let's make sure people have incentives to purchase health insurance if they can afford it.
- Let's bring the marketplace to bear, where appropriate, on the cost of healthcare.
- Simpler is better.
- Vote on separate proposals for healthcare reform on their own merits (instead of loading everything into an omnibus bill that encourages pork and waste—the very thing our representatives claim to be trying to eliminate in healthcare reform).
When a momentous election loss like Coakley's happens and throws a wrench into what many of us thought was a done deal, it reminds me of what Winston Churchill said about Americans while Great Britain was the only bulwark against Nazi Germany and hoping for American intervention: "You can always count on Americans to do the right thing after they've tried everything else."
At the risk of sounding trite, here's why I'm optimistic about healthcare reform: We've already tried just about everything else.
Philip Betbeze is the senior leadership editor at HealthLeaders.