Questions Continue to Dominate Health Care Reform Debate
3/11/2010 6:00:00 AM - John Hanlon
In what is arguably the most important debate for the Obama administration thus far, confusion continues to reign supreme in the battle over health care reform. From what will be in the final health care bill to when the bill will be passed, it seems that questions continue to dominate the discussion over reform even as the debate seemingly enters its final stages
Most importantly, there continue to be many questions about what will actually be in a final health care bill that could be signed into law by President Obama. Salem radio show host Hugh Hewitt pointed out a lot of the questions surrounding such a final health care bill in a recent piece for the Washington Examiner
. Hewitt wrote the following
President Obama is demanding a final vote on Obamacare before the members of the House and Senate return home for the Easter recess, which begins March 29.
Whatever your views on the merits of the variety of health care reform proposals that collectively have been debated over the course of the past 15 months, you should be offended and repulsed by this schedule.
Why? Because there is no bill to look at and debate; no text to read; no budget estimate to examine for its assumptions and calculations.
Adding to the confusion about such reform is a question about when this bill could even be passed by the Congress. For example, the president's own press secretary Robert Gibbs is talking about a goal for the House passing reform by March 18th
. On the other hand, the Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer has backed away from that date. Hoyer was quoted in a CNN.com article
as saying that "None of us has mentioned the 18th, other than Mr Gibbs." Both Gibbs and Hoyer are both strong advocates for reform and yet, they do not seem to be communicating with each other over a possible vote schedule. If two primary advocates for reform can not communicate on this small item, can we really trust the Democratic party to manage massive health care reform and the consequences of it?[# More #]
Lastly, one of the most high-profile questions in the health care debate continues to be whether or not the Democrats in the House have the votes to pass the Senate bill. There seems to be a continuous discussion in D.C. about who will stand by their past votes for massive reform and who will switch sides in the debate. Although the Democrats have a huge majority in the House of Representatives, there is still a question about whether or not enough of them will come together to pass this bill. Michael Barone broke down some of the numbers recently in a Wall Street Journal article
but his whole piece pointed to an important fact: if health care does pass, this important piece of legislation that could massively change health care in this country will have BARELY made it through the Congress.
It seems amazing that health care reform is being pushed so quickly through the Congress with so many major questions remaining about it. What will be in the bill? What is the schedule for voting on this bill? Do the votes even exist to pass this bill and if so, who will be voting for it and will the constituents of those members of Congress have time to voice their feelings about this subject to their representatives?
These are major questions about a massive bill and it is disappointing that in such an important debate in this country, such questions and much confusion continues to dominate this debate.