By GARY BAUMGARTEN
Paltalk News Network
There's an old adage. If you're going to do something, do it well.
When it comes to health care reform, Congress isn't doing it well. In fact, the business-as-usual approach to this issue not only amplifies how the compromising, deal making and arm twisting can be injurious to the nation. But it also leaves Americans in a lose-lose situation.
Let me start out by reiterating my position on national health care.
I favor it. I also favor a single-payer system.
I've had it - as has every single one of my fellow Americans who have been victimized by it - with insurance companies who practice medicine without a license.
When I go to a doctor - I expect him or her to be my physician and prescribe treatments that are in my best interest as the patient. I do not expect some insurance bureaucrat who has never met me, examined me, diagnosed me to second-guess my physician and decide what medical treatment is appropriate.
I have no problem with insurance companies demanding that I get a second opinion. But from a physician who actually examines me first.
So it was with great disappointment that I watched Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) abandon his opposition to the health reform plan over its failure to include a single-payer system.
Not only did he abandon it - but the consummate Democratic Party outsider - assuming a very foreign role - has been whipping for the bill ever since.
So now we're left with a bill that does not assure equal medical protection under the law.
There are those who argue - we need to do this now - or it will be generations before health reform comes up again. Take what we can now - amend it later.
The alternative - of course - is the status quo. Allowing insurance companies to continue second guess and overrule our doctors.
And that's just for those of us who are lucky enough to have good medical insurance.
Opponents to a government plan - by the way - shouldn't be dismissed out-of-hand. Some of their objections are valid and deserve to be addressed.
They point, for example, to the debacle of Medicaid. Many doctors, hospitals, clinics, and now, increasingly, pharmacies, are refusing to take new Medicaid patients because of unreasonably low reimbursement policies. They say that the reimbursement is less than the cost of treatment. And that they spend more time filling out forms than they do examining their patients.
If we are going to expect the government to manage a health program - we have to demand better. But we've not seen better with the systems already in place. So how can we expect better from a new program?
There is, I respectfully suggest, an answer to this. Make Congress use the same medical plan the rest of us do.
Right now, the taxpayers of the United States fund a medical insurance plan for members of Congress that far exceeds anything most of us enjoy. I expect that if members of Congress and their families have to subscribe to the same insurance as the rest of us they'll put together a program that actually works.