Smile Politely

Compromised reform

I’m a liberal.  I believe in giving a little to try to make more people happy. I believe people’s concerns should be taken into account if it will make for a stronger community. But I believe that compromise is warranted based on its effectiveness, not that it is a goal unto itself.

So, when I look at the current health care debate, I wonder why Democrats keep banging their heads against the wall of accommodation and compromise, when it clearly isn’t going to make any difference.

Liberals believe our health care system is seriously broken. It has an infection, and the best way to fix this infection is to apply the antibiotics of a single-payer, universal health care system. This is how modern, civilized nations provide health care to their citizens.

Conservatives don’t believe there is much of a problem in health care.  Health care is properly handled by a byzantine collection of profit-making industries and rationed to those with access to good jobs. What little infection exists in our system they believe is best handled by applying more profit-sucking leeches to the skin of the system. 

Compromise can happen when, say, one person likes one shade of color and another person likes a different shade of color. Both parties then work hard to find a third shade of color that they both can live with. Compromise cannot happen when one side likes one shade of color and the other side thinks color is evil.

So, compromise for health care reform is hard, because one side wants to use antibiotics and the other wants to use leeches. Nonetheless, Democrats compromised even before the discussion started by coming up with a plan to use half the recommended dose of antibiotics (in the form of a public, Medicare-like insurance option) along with the full number of leeches recommended by the Republicans (in the form of continuing with employer-based private insurance company plans).

Of course, Republicans are not happy with this, so the White House has now floated the idea of not using antibiotics at all, but using some co-op-based homeopathic, herbal remedy that scientists say won’t work at all. Plus the full number of leeches the Republicans want.

Even before Democrats suggested the homeopathic remedy of the co-ops, it wasn’t clear that the half-dosage of antibiotics was going to cure this patient, especially given the number of leeches attached to it. So, yeah, we’re angry that the latest suggested compromise will likely kill the patient, which we believe to be an even worse solution than the leeches.

There’s hope though. A few Democrats seem to have finally connected the dots, and determined that Republicans who have always been hostile to health care reform, and are still hostile to health care reform, will likely continue to be hostile to health care reform in the future. These Democrats seem ready to go forward without seeking Republican buy-in. In this case, that’s a good thing. 

Despite his lack of decorum, perhaps Barney Frank has the right general idea:

Related Articles