President Obama's seven-hour health care summit last Thursday was
supposed to be a game-changer for the reform debates. It was not.
Though liberals and conservatives agree that the nation's health care
system is in desperate need of reform, consensus on ways to achieve
these reforms remains virtually nonexistent. As Time magazine reports,
all the health care summit did was emphasize the sides' "fundamentally
- and irreconcilably - different views of how to go about
fixing the nation's health care system." The stalemate continues.
Concerns about the high costs, unprecedented federal expansion and
oversight and unconstitutional mandates were left unresolved. Nothing
fundamental changed. But if Obamacare is to gain any support, fundamental change -- namely starting over -- is necessary.
There was one significant change that sprung from the summit: The
President's admission that his plan would not reduce the cost of
private health insurance. Obama's most important health reform
promise was his oft-repeated pledge to lower health insurance costs by
$2,500 per year. Being forced to admit on live television that his plan fails to do
that - and instead increases premiums - was the low point
of the summit for the president.
In an uneven back-and-forth moderated by the President, conservatives
held their own and urged their more liberal colleagues to scrap their
bloated proposal and, instead, work alongside them in drafting a truly
bipartisan bill. But the Democrats insisted that enough time had been
spent debating and drafting the proposal and that the necessary next
step is passage -- despite its flaws and collapsing public support.
Right now, the left doesn't even have enough votes within their own
ranks to pass the bill. They confidently insist that they can conjure
them up, but "if you were watching television [Sunday], it quickly became apparent that the leadership in the House has no idea how they are going to get them. Over the weekend, in two separate interviews, top House leaders including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) sang from different song sheets on how they plan to pass the
bill. Heritage Vice President Mike Franc argues in National Review
Online, meanwhile, that using the reconciliation procedure suggested
to ensure Senate passage is unprecedented.
The Hill reports, "Centrist and anti-abortion lawmakers who have
doubts about the cost of the president's proposal and its support for
the Senate's abortion provisions have indicated that they are still
not on board with the plan." Perhaps the left should take a hint: if
members of the Democratic Party disagree; if the entire Republican
Party disagrees; and if the majority of the American people disagree,
then maybe it's not a communication issue, as they insist it is. Maybe
it's just bad policy.