Seventeen years ago, in response to President Bill Clinton’s efforts to reform the American medical system, the newly resurgent GOP caucus offered this plan for health insurance reform, universal coverage and an emphasis on medical best practices as a way to lower long-term costs.
Anyone even passingly conversant with the legislation passed by the US Senate without a single republican vote should be amazed at the hypocrisy of a “conservative” caucus that advocated virtually identical solutions less than a generation ago now being so venomously against such measures.
A caucus staffed by many of the same people who wrote the conservative health care solutions that so closely echo today’s democratic proposals.
A bill that should have offered a bridge across troubled partisan waters, built at the behest of centrist legislators of both parties and none at all aiming to craft a moderate response to our pressing needs, was instead burned to the shoreline in fits of illogical and reflective partisan dogma by the faithful of both parties.
House republicans should take this singular opportunity to fix the Senate’s mistake, stop the party’s continuing hypocrisy on this issue and claim ownership of the very ideas they championed from the same seats in 1994 and delivers just about everything they said they wanted back then.
I don’t like using yesterday’s solutions to address today’s problems any more than the next guy, but many of these proposals still make sense and should have been supported by the republican party if they care to claim an ounce of intellectual integrity and ethical standards.
Perhaps Gingrich or Chafee should have been a little more forceful in reminding their former colleagues of the earlier republican reform package. Especially Newt because as recently as 2005 he was still talking about the health insurance reforms his party’s Contract with America put forth as part of their small business package.
This could have been an historic win-win for the American people with just a little bit of creative thinking from our chosen representatives, right and left, but I fear it will only provide fuel for our Bonfire of Partisan Vanities in the weeks and months to come.
It is way past time we held these men and women accountable at the ballot box during primary elections, though I am not so sure We The People understand the true nature of the power we wield in a representative republic with universal suffrage.
The only universal right we really need if we could just be bothered to participate in our own destiny twice a year, every two years.