Now they’re back to work, but for many of our elected officials, Job No. 1 means stopping healthcare reform dead in its tracks.
Meanwhile, yet another caravan is winding its way to D.C., this one dubbed the Tea Party Express. It’s scheduled to arrive this weekend, when the culminating event of a two-week cross-country trek will be an organized taxpayer protest.
For those unfamiliar with the present-day tea-partiers, these protesters borrow loosely from that noted historical event in Beantown more than 200 years ago when some colonists decided they’d had enough of punitive tax policies and found a novel way to show their displeasure.
Today, organizers of the Tea Party Express ask: “Have you had enough of the out-of-control spending, bailouts, higher taxes, spiraling national debt?” It’s time to “take back” the nation, they’re telling us.
Their latest target is healthcare reform. One organizer of the movement is quoted as saying, “In the past we have focused on the excessive size of government. Now the debate is about the idea that government is becoming too powerful and making decisions it shouldn’t make about people’s personal lives, including healthcare decisions.”
Translation: Beware those federal government “death panels.” Under healthcare reform it’s going to be the intrusive hand of a government bureaucracy that will tell us when it’s time to “pull the plug on grandma.”
It’s the same old nonsense.
Yes, the national debt is too high. And we can have a philosophical debate over the appropriate size of our federal government and other issues. But when it comes to their healthcare claims, the wheels come off the bus.
Our healthcare system costs way too much for too little access and quality. Some 50 million people don’t have healthcare coverage. Medical bills are bankrupting more and more Americans. The status quo should not be an acceptable option.
Folks, it’s time for another mode of transportation, the Straight Talk Express; it’s time to have an honest, civil discourse on the direction of healthcare delivery and payment.
With all due respect to Sen. John McCain, the original driver of the Straight Talk Express, don’t look for his leadership when it comes to healthcare reform. In an interview last month, when he was asked whether he agreed with the “death panels” comment by his former running mate, Sarah Palin, the senator hemmed and hawed before finally admitting there’s no such thing in any of the reform bills before Congress.
President Barack Obama will address a joint session of Congress this week to again make his case for health reform, and there will never be a better time to shoot straight with the American people. We need to hear what he considers the essential tenets for changes to the system. How does he propose to bend the cost curve? Exactly how much does he expect it to cost and just who will pay for it?
The tea-partiers want you to believe that most Americans don’t want and won’t pay for healthcare reform. But it’s just not true.
According to an August poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a majority of Americans—53%—still want healthcare reform. The poll also shows that a majority of those surveyed are willing to pay some forms of higher taxes to accomplish the healthcare fix.
Here’s hoping the Status Quo Express returns home with plenty of empty seats.