Although several legislators are now using Sen. Kennedy’s passing as an excuse to push ahead on health reform (possibly even naming the bill after him, a suggestion endorsed by Sen. Robert Byrd) a growing number of legislators are realizing that expediency is about the worst possible thing given the gravity and magnitude of the debate.
IWF chairwoman Heather Higgins expressed concern about these reforms being forced through on the G. Gordon Liddy Show last week, pointing out that “to do this particularly in a rushed way, when President Obama took 6 months to pick a damn dog, I would think that we should have a little bit more time to talk about our entire health care system and what a government takeover of it would mean.”
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who has prided himself on his bipartisanship in the past, admitted the process was going to stall by necessity. Kaiser News Network reports: “Asked whether he thought the six Democratic and Republican negotiators on the committee would be able to cut a deal when Congress returns from its summer recess next month, Grassley replied: ‘If you asked me that on Aug. 6, I would have said yes, I think so, September. But you’re asking me on Aug. 27 and you’ve got the impact of democracy in America. Everybody’s showing up at town meetings.'”
Perhaps heeding Heather Higgins’ advice, some legislators have moved away from compromising on health care whatsoever. Roll Call reports that “Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.) told members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce here Thursday afternoon that Republicans and Democrats should throw out the proposed Democratic and Republican health care bills and start over.”
Hopefully this last week of recess will convince more members of Congress to drop the current health plan, in all its 1200-page glory, and go back to the drawing board. A bill based upon command-and-control principles is a bad bill, period, and no amount of tinkering will change that.