I sort of want this health care bill to die.

[graphic design by kilroyart]

UPDATE: more thoughts on Health Care and the Health Care Summit that occurred in February 2010 can be found here.

[You can read more of my recent thoughts on health care over at Reform & Revive Magazine in an article entitled “Explaining Health Care Reform and ‘Christian’ Reflections Thereof“]

I think I really want to see this whole health care thing goes down in flames.

This came as a shock to me today as I greedily consumed as much news as I could concerning the Massachusetts Senate race. Something in me sort of stirred joyfully at the thought of all of this collapsing. This really surprised me at first, but upon further reflection I began to see why I felt this way.

First off, the emotional argument. I have been having frustrations and angst over our lack of control as Americans. I wrote about some of this back in July. At the time, I was focusing more on Capitalism and corporate greed, but the same definitely goes for the government. Politicians are supposed to work for us. We are not called to serve their whims which they decide on our behalves. They are supposed to be our employees and civil servants, not our elected managers. As of yesterday, the latest Rasmussen Report finds that only 38% of Americans are in favor of the health care bill, and 56% oppose it outright. In my mind, I’m forced to ask — why are we still having this discussion then? Democrats made their pitch, the people don’t like it as it is. Either change it or drop it.

I know I’m speaking simplistically. I know that the system is built in such a way as to discourage majority oppression of the minority. I still don’t think that I believe that referendum voting is the best way to go (one need only look to California’s referendum system and the passage of Prop 8 to see how that works out). But I’ve just felt completely powerless by the political system of this country. There is an open system of corruption which allows for practices that in most any other industry would be considered illegal. And that’s the system that makes decisions and oils the cogs. To see the cronies in Congress, on either side of the aisle, be utterly frustrated by something the American people did would make me feel so giddy and excited. To put them in a position where months of backdoor deals, broken promises, and compromised convictions go down in flames would be a victory for the American people. This country would be better in the long-run if this doesn’t work out. As my friend Kaitlyn said on Facebook:

Now for the more rational arguments. Before cries of heartless insensitivity are levied against me, notice that the poll, and this post, are not against health care reform it’s about this particular health care bill. I’m definitely on board with health care reform. It’s obvious we need it; we pay more and get less for health care than most every other industrialized nation in the world. It’s unacceptable. I’d even be on board a public option (as would most Americans, at least as recently as last month), as long as it really does act like a private entity. I would also love an online marketplace where I could clearly compare my options and sign up right there easily and quickly. I love the vision and potentiality of the original dream for health care reform. But that dream is long dead. This is one case where a poor bill would not be better than no bill at all.

And Scott Brown (the potential and probable winner of Massachusetts’s Senate race today) feels the same way. He’s form the land of “RomneyCare” and helped implement it. While it has its problems, for sure, it is still evidence of a man that health-care-reform-minded and does not want to merely keep things as they are. Though his website seems to sound a bit more like the typical Republican rhetoric concerning health care, declaring how Capitalism is the answer to all our problems (I personally trust neither big-Government nor big-Corporate), Brown’s interviews show that even he is in support of public options — just options that are tailored by each state for their own needs. He doesn’t want to kill health care reform, just this particular bill. He has said repeatedly that he wants to bring this bill back to square one and start over; without the corruption, without the special interests, and without the ideologues ruling the conversation. We will still get reform if he’s elected. And it will be better. And we will better for it.

Throughout this debate, this state-by-state idea has continually popped up from various corners of the Capitol to the sound of quiet mumblings of willingness and compromise on both sides of the aisle. I’ve loved this idea from the first time I heard it. But, special interests have prevailed each time. They have been able to further polarize the discussion leading us back to the black-and-white hyperbole and caricature that has dominated the rest of the discussion. To diffuse this issue along state lines would spread too thin the potential wealth to be made. The fewer entities involved, the bigger the pot. Keep it federal, the return for the corporate interests would be huge. Not to mention the biggest issue here: the government does not even have the Constitutional right to enact such a law in the first place. The tenth amendment: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

In conclusion, this race could actually round a corner for us Americans. As Bill Shireman pointed out in a really wonderful article today, this could be our chance to move beyond partisanship to what Shireman calls “transpartisanship”. He draws a parallel between this and a similar event in the 90s:

“Bill Clinton’s success as a President began when he lost the House and Senate to the Republicans in 1994. That loss forced the necessary bipartisan collaborations that drove a decade of economic prosperity and social and environmental gains, all while eliminating the federal deficit.”

I would argue it was not Clinton’s success as much as Newt Gingrich, but regardless, things got done with broad support and Clinton still felt free to sign these things into law.

Can we see that again? Can this damning ever-increasing polarity and ripping apart of our country perhaps end and bring about a period of true civil service by our politicians? Maybe. For the first time in a long time, today, it looks like voters may very well be taking control back in their hands and telling our representatives they must start representing them, or else get fired. I’m excited. I hope and pray we’re able to do this well.

What are your thoughts?  Tell me where you think I’m wrong or mis-informed.


11 thoughts on “I sort of want this health care bill to die.

  1. Pingback: Explaining Health Care Reform & “Christian” Reflections Thereof [REPOST] | Reform & Revive

  2. I’d like to believe that this will be a “come to Jesus” moment for the President and his liberal allies on Capitol Hill. However, I’m inclined to suspect that they’ll hunker down with the “damn the torpedoes” mentality that brought about the election results in Massachusetts in the first place. You’ll never hear it said and probably never find it written in that abomination they call a bill, but I’m convinced the whole struggle has been in the name of abortion. And if successful, liberals intend the health care issue to be a springboard to bigger and better things on their agenda.


  3. just a comment on terminology…capitalism does NOT equal corporate greed…corporate greed is more properly linked to “corporatism.” there is a marked difference between the two. the same kind of mistake is done when missiologists and cultural anthropologists interchange capitalism w/ consumerism.


  4. First, I think there are very legitimate reasons to oppose the Democratic health care bill, but Republicans have articulated approximately zero of them. Rather than arguments, they’ve decided to call it it “socialism,” “government takeover,” “will ruin the economy,” etc.—all outright falsehoods. So if you want the health care bill to die, as a general rule, don’t say whatever the GOP is saying.

    Second: Public opinion can go to hell. That was part of the Bush philosophy, and is hubristic when you are wrong (as Bush often was), but it’s courageous when you are right. But public opinion will always be against what needs to happen, and even if it does support “change” in the abstract, it will always fear and oppose change actually taking place. People as political animals are simply unable to see beyond the present moment and really believe that a change might be better than what we have at present.

    Third: About that “really believing.” You are articulating how you feel about government in general—that it leaves you feeling powerless as corruption runs amok and nothing gets done. You’re right about the pork an earmarks; the’ve ballooned our national deficit and eaten away at Congress’ credibility. But welcome to the American system, where it is designed so that nothing will ever—ever, ever, ever—happen without backroom politics and slimy special interests. Health care is only a taste of what reforming any major sector of society would look like. It’s an ailing system designed for strong state governments and a weak central government, and the times have changed. So it may feel like justice when the people “thwart” Congress, but that sort of emotional reactionism is just making the problem worse (see: California, which is melting down before our very eyes.)

    In this situation, we do have people in the Democratic Party who have tried to make change happen against all odds—in the face of Republican lies and special interest obstructionism. I think that rejection of cynicism is something to be rewarded, not punished.

    Fourth: “We will still get reform if he’s elected. And it will be better. And we will better for it.” To take those three respectively: Probably not, no it won’t, and all we can do is hope.


  5. Pingback: White-Knucklin’ It (a blog filler post) « the long way home

  6. Pingback: Health Care Summit Pre-Gaming « the long way home

  7. Wow, this David Sessions seems to have everything figured out. Would you think there could be another legit opinion (because that is what your “assertions” are)? Would you recognize that you have presuppositions? Cause your hand is showing. You would make a poor poker player.


  8. Pingback: I Am A Fearful Man (and i need to get over it) {pt3} « the long way home

  9. Pingback: Why was Obamacare necessary? Christians, it seems. | the long way home | Prodigal Paul

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