It looks like Congress is going to pass health care reform whether we like it or not.
Our system needs reforming, and I've discussed that at length in a previous column. So this is not a pass-it/don't-pass-it-column.
It's a don't-pass-it-like-this column.
First of all, no one seems to be able to get their facts straight, least of all the president.
President Barack Obama keeps "misspeaking" (politicians' code for BS, lies and/or to clean up a colloquillism talking out of your rear end) in speeches calling for health care reform, including saying business premiums would go down 3,000 percent and missing on his deficit savings by hundreds of millions of dollars. If you're going to convince others, you should know what you're talking about, especially when you're the head honcho.
Then, no one seems to want to play by the rules. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is pushing House Democrats to use a special process that allows them to avoid an actual direct vote on the Senate measure passed on Christmas Eve. It is apparently unpopular with voters. And how do you avoid looking bad to voters while still looking like you're doing something? You pass it indirectly, by making it a part of the vote on the rules of debate.
I don't know how you feel about that, but when I was a Boy Scout, the Scoutmaster always said, "If you're not proud enough of something you did to sign your name to it, then you didn't do it right."
And finally, the reaction by the states has moved into the surreal. Idaho on Wednesday became the first state to pass into law a measure rejecting any federal mandate on buying health insurance. On the same day, the Georgia Senate narrowly missed having enough votes to pass similar legislation. Nearly 40 states are working on similar bills.
Two things are glaringly apparent about this last bit of states' rights wrangling: 1) A lot of people apparently think this version of health care reform is a bad idea; and 2) It's not going to matter how many states pass such bills if Congress passes it because federal law always supersedes state law.
And just what is this version of the health care reform bill? That's a great question. At last count it was 2,700 pages long. I haven't read it. You haven't either. Chances are no one on Earth has.
But we do know this. It would change how health care is handled. A lot. Some things would happen now and some later. And it's going to cost a bundle no matter what any politician tells you.
So why in the world do we have to ram it through this week, especially when it was considered dead a month ago? Why can't we take a deep breath, push the pettiness aside and really work on this thing?
Why are they treating fixing health care as a frantic trip to the emergency room, when in fact, it should be treated as a long-term plan for a better quality of life?
E-mail Nate McCullough at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Fridays.