Mr. President, there has Never Been a Time Like Now to Pass Healthcare Reform (article 1 of 3)

If President Obama isn’t careful, he is going to let a golden opportunity to go by.  As cliche as the phrase is, being used by so many politicians to demagogue so many issues, it rings true with healthcare: “There has never been a better time or a more important time to act on healthcare.  Never will we see this opportunity again.”

The stars are aligned for major healthcare reform – torpedoes be damned!  Full speed ahead! That is what President Obama should be doing right now.  Why:

  • President Obama was elected with a clear mandate (another cliche) for change.  He won a majority of the electorate – 52%.  This was the highest total in 2o years.  People expect this President to bring change.  His historic election and the enthusiasm should carry him to be successful in his policies and have the trust of the American people.
  • The majority of the American people want reform.  59% are concerned about the health care in this Country per a Washington Post/ABC News poll in late June.  This has dropped, but it’s not because people don’t want reform, but because the President hasn’t been the staunch advocate to rally support he should be.  Regardless, people see a real issue with healthcare.
  • Costs are spiraling upwards and more and more people are getting caught short without healthcare.  The evidence is dramatic, apparent, and scary.  It’s not a hard case to make that something needs to be done.  The disagreement might be on what, but not that there isn’t a problem.
  • Political memories are short.  President Obama needs to put it on the line.  He’s got four years to work with.  If the plan works, he can reap the benefits and his naysayers will have less to attack.  If it fails, he can still prove his Presidency through all the other legislative agendas that are planned.  Yes, Congress has an election next year.  But the President has enough political capital to ram this through.  If he waits, that will go away and as mid-terms get closer, the opportunity will close.
  • It’s the right thing to do.  The difference between a good politician and great politician is guts.  It’s doing what you believe to be right and dealing with the consequences.  It’s Roosevelt and the New Deal.  It’s Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis, it was Abraham Lincoln and slavery.  Obama wants to be a great President.  But words alone don’t make it so. Nor does trying to pacify everyone.  It’s the right thing to do. It’s what Democrats and Liberals stand for.
  • The numbers in both the House and the Senate for the Democrats are as high as you should ever expect to see.  A pseudo-filibuster proof majority in the Senate and a significant advantage in the House.  You don’t need bi-partisan support.  You can do it yourself.   No negotiating, no need to water down.  You can do what you want.

Regardless of what the media state or what is portrayed by the drug and insurance companies, people want change.  Couple that with a popular president, an overwhelming  majority in Congress, the moral high-ground, and in early in the Presidency – he’s got a recipe to go for doing what he wants with healthcare.

Compromise should not be an option.  The GOP has overplayed their hand.  Kudos to them.  They came out of the gate the right way- strong, on message and dedicated.  But like Obama, instead of holding some of their cards close to their vest – they played them all.  They have admitted they don’t want reform, that they won’t support any bills, and are going to slow down the progress of a bill.  This was their fatal error.  The President can regain control of the debate.  Those things – the public option, employee mandate, etc – are all back in play.  If the President truly wants to be a great one, he needs to pass the bill we need instead of the political bill the Congress wants.

The ire of the left was not anticipated by the Administration and the media.  The right-wing has so often been able to demagogue any issue they choose, they didn’t realize there is a new breed of liberals tired of compromise and willing to raise their voice.

If you support healthcare reform – raise your voice. Raise it to the politicians, raise it to the media, your friends, and your co-workers.  If reform doesn’t happen now, it’s not going to happen in any meaningful form for many years to come.

A compromise will be just as bad.  This is not like the civil rights movement, as some have equated where small incremental changes worked until all issues were addressed.  The outrage is not the same.  The ability for the GOP to sell a compromise as the end all of the healthcare debate will be strong. No.  The full reform needs to occur now.  Those who live in blue-dog democrat areas need to rally support, as the Liberal Crab does with Frank Krativol in his home district.   We need to let them know that unless they support a comprehensive solution, they aren’t helping solve the problem and they need to be replaced.

46 million uninsured Americans is too much.  Tripling of healthcare costs is too much.  If it doesn’t touch on you now, it will touch you or someone you love soon.  Whether it’s the family member with cancer, or the child that needs surgery to fix his heart, or you needing your drugs to take away your chronic pains.  It affects all of us and we need to make the chance now.  We let it slip away in 1992.  As the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Canada, Mexico, even Cuba have socialized medical programs that the people want – we continue to debate on false grounds of Nazism, Socialism, or selfishness.  Rather, the debate must be on what is the right solution.

This is the first of three articles regarding healthcare.

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