Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Humble Proposal

The People are speaking loud and clear. Less than 10% of voters believe Congress is doing a good job. President Obama's positives appear to be in free-fall, but Republicans get as poor ratings as Democrats. Politicians grumble that American is "ungovernable", but the truth is that it it the governing who can't see past their own agendas.

Let me humbly propose a change in course. Stop the mammoth do-it-all bills, where pork is the norm rather than the exception, and take a page from the Republican Revolution of 2004. Put down the ideas you want to pass in single-issue bills, debate them and have an up-and-down vote. For instance, on Health Care, give us mini-bills for:

  • A ban on denying coverage for pre-existing conditions.
  • A ban on dropping insurance for individuals undergoing treatment for an illness, unless they have hit their stated policy maximums.
  • Opening up sales of insurance across state lines (but without removing the power of state laws and regulations).
  • A public option - whether medicare-for-all or a state-sponsored private plan, let's have the debate on this specifically.
  • Extension of COBRA - it is due to expire soon for those laid off at the start of the Great Recession without any bridge to the new system.
  • Ability of individuals or states to challenge egregious premium increases before an arbitrator.
  • A cap on malpractice settlement payouts to limit the potential costs of honest mistakes.
Let any Republican try to stand against the more obvious cases here. Let any Democrat try to defend a public option without all of the other "hard cases" around it. Let's have a real debate, pass some real bills, and show the American people that Congress is about more than grandstanding and stalling for time.


CRCHAIR said...

THis is what the Health Care meeting with the President and the Republicans should be. Unfortunately, I think it will just be one side talking at the other for the 6 hours. It will be interesting to see if the Republicans walk out if they aren't allowed to control some of the time as people like Newt Gingrich have suggested.

CRCHAIR said...
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Nomad said...

Agreed. The GOP should have a proposal like this drawn up and ready to present to the Press, no matter what the President brings. I believe the president's idea of "bipartisanship" is "you do what I say, and nothing else." But there is hope that I am wrong.