“Shaping up as one of 1960’s most incendiary political issues is the problem of providing adequate medical care for those who need it most and can afford it least: the 15 million U.S. citizens 65 and over. A variety of bills calling for federal medical subsidies to the aged is before both the Senate and House. By far the most popular and controversial of all has been introduced by Rhode Island’s Democratic Representative Aime Forand, 64. Last week the Forand bill was drawing more mail than any other bill of any kind before Congress.”
Fast forward almost 50 years, boost the numbers and change the names and the same opening paragraph can be written of the new universal healthcare legislation that was recently hammered out by the most liberal legislative leaders Congress has ever housed.
Under the orders of the President of the United States, Congress must hurry up and pass a universal healthcare package. Yet this is not an issue easily solved.
After winning reelection in 1938, President Franklin Roosevelt sent Congress a national health-care program of his own.
On November 19th of 1945 President Harry Truman declared that he would protect Americans from the “economic fears” of illness and gave Congress a national healthcare bill of his own that increased federal aid for healthcare, health education and research for the medical profession; and it was to make health insurance and disability insurance compulsory.
Truman’s initiative had a mixed reception in the Democrat controlled Congress of the time and on the Republican side people like Senator Robert Taft of Ohio declared that Truman‘s proposal was “the most socialistic measure” that “this Congress has ever had before it”.
Truman’s national healthcare initiative failed.
Sixty four years later and here we are again but now what Truman called national healthcare is called universal healthcare and President Obama wants Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to rush a meaningful plan together before Congress takes their traditional summer recess.
This debate has gone on for over seven decades but Obama, Pelosi and Reid are going to hammer out the elusive solution together in the first seven months of the new President’s administration.
Why is he rushing?
Could it be that President Obama wants to ram some half-assed legislation through immediately because he fears that the newness of his tenure in office which affords him the good will and popularity may not be there a year and a half from now when mid-term elections take place and the effects of his leadership set in?
Is such a partisan rush responsible or rational? Is it sensible?
I am not suggesting that important issues get sat upon while Americans see health costs rise and feel increasingly insecure about the future of their current healthcare coverage. What I am suggesting is a careful, thoughtful, comprehensive and different approach be taken. I am offering an approach different from those which other Democrats in President Obama’s position have taken and failed at.
Perhaps a bipartisan approach can be attempted. And maybe, just maybe President Obama could try and initiate a plan that does not involve a government takeover and government run solution that overrules the founding principles of our democracy. We have had enough of that from him already.
A start would be understanding that one solution for all is not appropriate and that the federal government could and should allow states the regulatory and legislative flexibility that would enable and inspire them into action.
The Democrat leadership in Congress, under the direction of President Obama, needs to understand that the many regions and populations in America are so varied that their differing conditions warrant different approaches to the different needs of our divergent society. Another words, a federalist approach to healthcare will not work. Democrats may seek to insure healthcare for all but a one for all national policy will not suit the needs of all.
That is just one reason why the differing states should have the flexibility to formulate different systems, systems that best suit the needs of each state’s population.
Yet while there should not be another failed national attempt to make one policy fit all, one direct line does exist which can allow, as Dr. Henry J. Aaron of the Brookings institute puts it, federalism to “spur bipartisan action on the uninsured“.
Bipartisanship is the key to any enduring solution to reduce the number of American citizens lacking healthcare. Bipartisanship is the one component that every Democrat proposed, national healthcare, initiative from Roosevelt in 1938 to Hillary Clinton in 1994 lacked. Without bipartisanship only one approach is looked at and the pool of ideas is limited to one school of thought.
That limited scope of thinking will inevitably leave many stones unturned and lead to many failures as such a single minded policy is imposed on all the states’ people.
Arranging allowances and guidelines for state experimentation is the first area where bipartisanship can allow for a federalist approach on healthcare.
With federal legislative guidelines and financial support, state experimentation would produce a myriad of various solutions and in time the best solutions for each state will evolve into better and stronger healthcare availability options fore all states.
Dr. Stuart Butler, a devoted and learned expert on the issue contends that “ Congress could enact a policy toolbox of federal initiatives that states could include and federal funding to the states would be linked to success in reaching the goals.”
Another issue that collectively, all the parties that make up Congress can work together on when it comes to national action on healthcare, is portability.
Millions of Americans cannot keep their coverage when they change jobs and often they can not continue with the same coverage they have throughout their lives as changes in their lives occur. Federal action that would allow for the portability of health insurance would solve this problem and help to stabilize insurance markets, reduce costs and ultimately reduce the fluctuating number of uninsured in America.
Comprehensive immigration reform measures that secure our borders are yet another bipartisan effort that could inspire a federalist approach that will significantly help to lower healthcare costs.
If Democrats can understand that we are a sovereign nation with borders that mean something and realize that Republicans are not an anti-immigration party, maybe cooler heads could prevail and a secure border can be achieved.
As an “Open Arms-Secure Borders” Republican, I know that most in the G.O.P. understand the national and moral value of immigration and that we welcome immigrants. The difference is that unlike liberals we do not condone and promote illegal immigration. We do not wish to promulgate an underground society and culture of illegal immigrants who hide from the light of day and the law. If the left could grasp these facts perhaps they could embark on a bipartisan effort to secure our borders.
With secure borders the flow of the millions of illegal immigrants who overtax our already overburdened emergency healthcare services will be sharply reduced. Currently millions of undocumented, untraceable illegal immigrants find themselves in need of emergency health care and in the end, the costs for their medical attention is tacked on to the bill of every medical procedure that every American citizen undergoes.
These are but a few options to the one size fits all, socialist approach to healthcare that Democrats in the past and present have tried and are trying to inflict upon society.
Each time Democrats have attempted to take the lead on the issue of healthcare, they have refused to work along bipartisan lines. Roosevelt presented his own partisan plan, and so did other Democrats like Aime Forand and Hillary Clinton. History shows that these same partisan, socialist approaches have always failed. Now President Obama has asked Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to follow the same path that all of histories other failed federal healthcare initiatives took.
Pelosi and Reid are not discussing healthcare with their Republican counterparts. They are simply crafting a proposal together that will suit the desires of their major backers such as the N.E.A., C.W.A., AFL-CIO and UAW.
Left to their own partisan tendencies these liberal leaders are allowing an alphabet soup of special interests influence a national policy for all Americans. Facts are not the soul determining factor in their partisan proposal and neither is the Constitution of the United States. The one sided healthcare bill being thrown about in Congress today totally ignores the founding principles of our once and hopefully still great nation.
The current conduct and intentions of the liberal controlled federal government simply proves that history repeats itself.
So much so that the dated words of Time Magazine from 1960 can be applied to the contemporary plans of liberals in 2009. So much so that even the urgent warning about socialized medicine that Ronald Reagan gave 20 years before he became President still applies to approach to healthcare that Democrats are taking today.
Below is a video that I prepared which contains that warning. Look at it and listen to it.
Allow yourself to grasp the truth of his words and allow yourself to see how, in so many cases, America has already ignored Ronald Reagan’s warning. So much so, that I dare suggest that the degrees to which our nation has already adopted socialism would have The Gipper leading a second American revolution…..a revolution of restoration to life that Reagan warned we might someday be telling future generations all about as we describe how America once was when men where free.