Those who wish to oppose the current health reform plan wending its way through Congress will not succeed simply by opposing the current bill, nor by offering an equally complex alternative bill. This is a major mistake being made by those in Congress who are not ready to back the overhaul currently being proposed (mostly Republicans). The only hope is to offer a simple bill that can gain wide support and propose to pass it as a first step to real health care (or health insurance) reform.
A simple bill allowing the purchase of health insurance from other states could be just exactly the medicine this health care reform fiasco needs to turn it from the current monstrosity to a real, effective push for sustainable reform. This could not be a full solution to our health care problems but it could be an easily understandable bill that could gain wide support and show clearly that those opposing the bill being thrust upon us now are serious about reform and offering clear alternatives. In fact, such a bill plays directly to the president’s latest soundbite that the important thing to satisfy the President is that there be “choice and competition in the health insurance market.” (See remarks by Robert Gibbs among others.)
Perhaps passing such a bill would be just the thing to get the White House and Congressional leaders to come back to the bargaining table and work with the rest of Congress on this issue to get bipartisan reform (and preferably to approach reform as a series of small, easily understood bills passed in succession) instead of trying to craft their preferred bill (hiding who knows what in a massive reform bill that few people have read and nobody truly understands) and then trying to convince some Republicans to support it so that they can call it bipartisan.
I wrote to my congressional representatives to say as much. I told them:
Republicans in the House and the Senate should be able to put together such a bill (likely only one or two pages) and a coalition of support and be ready to present it in both houses of Congress as soon as the August recess is over. I’d like to see all my representatives sponsoring or cosponsoring such a bill within the first week after the Congressional session resumes.
For anyone who would like to send a similar message to their representatives (anywhere in the nation) they can do so by going to the Make Health Insurance More Affordable campaign from Downsize D.C.