The Free Press, Mankato, MN

May 12, 2013

GOP 'no' on health care falls short


The Mankato Free Press

---- — A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Having failed 36 times to repeal or defund all or part of President Obama’s health care overhaul since it became law in 2010, House Speaker John Boehner said the House again will vote to repeal the act this week.

Sigh.

And piling on to the initiative known as Obamacare, both the House and Senate Republicans are refusing to nominate candidates to serve on the advisory board charged with holding down Medicare costs if those costs rise beyond certain levels.

Never mind that the law explicitly forbids this panel from rationing care, shifting costs to seniors or even cutting benefits, the Republicans don’t believe it and again insist this is merely a vehicle to deny care to seniors. Boehner told news conference attendees that this is a board “with 15 unelected, unaccountable individuals who have the authority to deny access to care” conjuring up the old “death panel” fears from then former presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

However, the members of this board not only would consist of people nominated by both parties but also who would be subject to Senate confirmation. That sure sounds a lot like accountability but it doesn’t play as well on the sound bites.

Economists have gone so far as predicting this board may not even be needed soon because Medicare cost increases have been tapering off as the medical community in recent years has been reacting to rising costs.

The American people have consistently told Congress to work together and are not only tired of these shenanigans but in poll after poll rank lawmakers in low esteem. The most recent Gallup poll shows a mere 16 percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing.

The Republicans have the opportunity to craft this health care law with input. But if, in fact, from the deep, dark recesses of the unknown we do find the law reaping havoc with formations of “death panels” and seniors being tossed into the streets, then Republicans will have the opportunity to say “Aha! I told you so” and ride in as heroes to change the law after the fact.

Today, however, they are merely giving further credence to the perception that they are the party of “no” - no to any agreement or any reasonable solution or plan.

In other words, we’re still stuck in neutral.

Sigh.