The health care reform debate, or rather, free-for-all, gets more confusing by the day, with signs of both retreat and progress on both sides. Yesterday, it looked like a public option was dead, as both Pres. Obama and HHS Secretary Sibelius implied that a public option wasnt an essential part of health care reform. Today, theyre saying thats not what they meant, they still support a public option, and what ever gave you any other idea?
Meanwhile, and this is a real surprise, a couple of Republicans seem to be coming around to the idea of a government role in offering health insurance. Yesterday, at a town hall meeting in Hamlet, N.C., our own Sen. Richard Burr was discussing how his main concern was that the government would eventually take over all the private insurance companies that have so generously filled his coffers (OK, he didnt say that last part).
Anyhow, Burr stunned some in attendance by concluding, "It's OK if you want to have a government option but you've got to leave the private sector private." Well, Richard, weve got just the plan for you. Its called any of the health care reform proposals currently being considered in Congress. Not one of them even remotely contains a federal takeover of private insurance companies, so, um, are you on our side now?
This morning, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, who has been very critical of health care reform, at last admitted that a public option is not a government takeover of health care. Hey, it's not much, but well take a little progress wherever we can find it.
One of the main problems in the health care fight, as I see it, is the Obama administrations piss-poor job of defining what they want out of health care reform. And no, the vague parameters suggested months ago by the President wont do. Were way past that time. Members of Congress are actually saying things like, The President needs to tell us what he wants in [such and such area of] health care reform." Then, of course, Sibelius says one thing, Biden says another, the press secretary brings up a third thing, and Obama acts as if its all clear as day. Well, no, dude, its anything but clear. How about taking a break from vacationing all over the place, getting your senior staff together, and cracking the friggin whip? I know being in the White House has been a blessing for your family life, but damn, man, get to work.