cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
For the moment at least, it all comes down to this: will there be a Republican vote today in favor of the Senate Finance Committee bill on health insurance reform? Note that we have come from health CARE reform to health INSURANCE reform. Note that "bipartisan" is now defined as one Republican vote. If that vote is cast, it will almost certainly have come from Olympia Snow (R-ME) who has been a fence-sitter ever since coming to the Senate.
We are witnessing the 'sausage-making' political process at, what I would offer, is about its worst. The process has devolved over time as the political sands shifted. We moved from high-minded rhetoric to the "just get 'er done" phase as the various proposals crumbled under their own fiscal weight. We are seeing a committee vote on something that has yet to be written in the legislative language where devils and details cavort. We all know that we're being 'sheltered from the truth' (since calling politicians liars is not proper apparently).
We should now understand that the Democrat leaders will pass something, anything, just to be able to say they got something done. It does not appear there is any real concern over content and prospective outcomes, just concern about making something happen.
The groups that came "to the table" to be there and to avoid being "on the menu" are finding that they could well be eaten by this process in the days to come. Political deals that were struck have been, and/or are being, modified by the politicians who struck the deals because the original deals that may've made sense to both sides then don't fit the needs of this monstrosity as it looks today.
The earnest dialog of sixty days ago has become the shrill language of accusations and half-truths, and the politicians are just as guilty, if not more so, than the industry groups in this regard.
We are, quite frankly, at a point where the damage to be done by this "bill" will easily outweigh any good that might've been expected. The damage to which I refer will be both from a health care as well as a fiscal perspective. The 'imperfect' threatens to rapidly become the 'impossible' if the pieces that now exist are cobbled together to become the new health care in America.
We are at a point where a 'do over' is very much in order. If the adults were in charge, that is precisely what would happen.
This also should serve to give us each a glimpse into the future. If this is what we've come to in simply trying to craft legislation, just imagine what it is we'll have come to when we try to make the whole thing work.
Politics and health care don't work well together. When those two elements are brought together there is but one certain outcome, we who rely upon that result for our health care will suffer. If we will see through clear lenses, we will discern these problems around the world. Even the best of the government-run systems, found in Germany, is now fatally ill from a fiscal perspective and threatens that country with bankruptcy. Britain's system is chaos, at best. Canada looks longingly at the U.S. model just as we try to destroy that model. Switzerland has probably come closer than any other country to marrying health care delivery and politics, but it seems that has too much 'free market' in it to appeal to our politicians.
Us citizens have the opportunity, still, to call a halt to this very much flawed process. We need a time out. We need to catch our national breath. We need to calm the political waters. And then, if we can get past the hyperbole, maybe we can find the 'better' solution. There is no 'best' solution.