Friday, February 26, 2010

Health care summit has clear outcome

Yesterday's health care summit laid out the basic philosophical difference between the Democrats and the Republicans. Steve Benen has written his conclusions this morning, and I agree.

The Republicans do not recognize any major problems in the American health care system, and even if they did they do not believe that government could fix them. The top priority of the Republican Party is that it not regulate business or anyone and that taxes be kept very low. Every government action has to meet those two criteria before anything else. Government action is generally wrong and should not occur.

The Democrats believe that America has a broadly dysfunctional health care system that leaves out too many people and that offers suboptimal outcomes for many others. Too many Americans get sicker than they should and many die unnecessarily. In addition the system itself costs too much and the cost is increasing too rapidly. Looking at other wealthy industrial nations around the world these are problems which can be controlled, but it requires government action.

Yesterday' health care summit laid out those two positions along with the proposals the Democrats have developed over the recent year. The Democrats then asked the Republicans to join them in developing an appropriate set of activities to deal with America's health care problems. The Republicans replied "Not just no but Hell no!" and demanded that the Democrats abandon the effort to fix the system.

Since the Democrats are the majority party, they are now left to pass health care reform on their own. They have to. They were elected on the promise that they would.

That's where we are this morning, the day after the health care summit. The next step has to be for the Democrats to by-pass the filibuster in the Senate.

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