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House Calls February 5, 2010

Posted by Lynn Christiansen Esquer in Politics.
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Healthcare reform is on life support. And the Democrats have no one to blame but themselves.

Today, Obama conceded that healthcare reform might die on the Hill. While some others said he appeared resigned to failure, it’s not what I saw — at all. I saw a man essentially saying to his fellow Dems in Congress, “You don’t want to unite and push this through because you think it’s too hard and too politically risky? Fine. Let down your constituents and your country, and take the gamble on whether they’ll forgive you.”

While it wasn’t exactly forceful, it’s a step in the right direction. Ever since the Massachusetts senate election two weeks ago, the only thing dejected Congress Dems have done is throw their hands up, cry over their lost filibuster-proof majority and whine that maybe they should abandon their efforts for now in favor of… what, I don’t know.

OK, yes, they have made it more difficult for themselves. They had a year to put together and pass a healthcare reform bill and failed to come to a consensus. Now they face Republican filibusters, but last time I checked, they still enjoy healthy majorities in the House and Senate and can make this work if they get on the same page and show some muscle. Already, some progressives have started to take up the rallying cry — notably not led by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid or Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Leadership is needed and someone else, perhaps, needs to take up the mantle if Pelosi and Reid are unwilling or unable.

It’s time for the Democrats to resurrect reform, reconcile their issues, work together, and believe enough in their own ability to do the right thing. To parlay a favorite phrase these days: Healthcare reform is just too big to fail.

And regarding the Republicans: If 41 Republicans believe they can stop the Democrats from passing any bill — a ridiculous claim but one the Dems have apparently swallowed — then they have now made themselves part of the solution. With great power comes great responsibility, Republicans. What’s your healthcare reform plan? Or has working on behalf of the insurance and pharmaceutical companies become too lucrative? I think I know the answer, but they deserve to have the chance to prove us all wrong.

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