Today’s question:

Will President Barack Obama’s new health reform plan generate momentum for the stalled legislation?

Michelle D. Bernard, President & CEO of the Independent Women’s Forum, said:

The American people have soundly rejected the fundamental reform proposal that’s being advanced by Congress and the White House. The tweaked bill that’s being offered by the White House isn’t going to change the consensus among Americans that a trillion-dollar government effort to micromanage the health care insurance of all Americans is the wrong direction.

Yet the White House and Congress don’t seem concerned about the American people’s attitudes per se. Their only priority is insuring they can convince enough House Members that something has changed and that there will be political benefits to passing health care once and for all so they can sneak the legislation through via reconciliation. It seems like it will be an uphill battle to convince vulnerable Democrats that somehow supporting this wildly unpopular initiative is in their political interest.

The White House would better serve the American people by going back to the drawing board and considering reforms that really could improve the system. They could start by thinking about some of the challenges that women face:

Today, health insurance is tied to employment, which means that women (who frequently take time out of the workforce and work in part-time positions that don’t include health benefits) often face disruptions in their coverage. Buying health insurance on the individual market (instead of through an employer) can often be costly and difficult. Why is this such a problem? It’s largely the product of ill-conceived government policy. In particular, employers purchasing health insurance receive tax breaks while those purchasing in the individual market don’t. They could start addressing that problem by reforming the tax treatment to put employer-provided and individually-purchased insurance on a level playing field. You can check out more ideas for how to improve the system here:

The President may be able to gin up a little momentum among those in his party to pass his health care reform. But that won’t make the bill any better or more popular.