Daschle Is Gone And Gives Republicans Room

Now that Daschle bowed out, health care reform pushes to the back burner. Bob Laszewski is disappointed.

It is also possible that Obama’s biggest health care reform challenge may not come from Republicans but from those on the far left of his own party. Their pushing on things like a public health plan to compete with the private sector could be a big hurdle. While Daschle supported some of these things, like the public plan and a cost board, in his book he was also a skilled and pragmatic legislator and could well have done a good job managing the President’s left flank.

This will set the health care debate back months not weeks. It appears the economic crisis is deepening and there is talk of President Obama planning to come up with another giant bailout bill. That would take a lot of time and political capital.

Unlike Mr. Laszewski, I am not disappointed. What sounds like good policy (to some), in theory, would be terrible in practice, as I wrote before. So, I’m all for obstruction and scheduling difficulties.

Forget the particulars for a moment. The last thing America needs right now is government health care expansion (the government never shrinks). And besides, I want this whole thing to delay, delay, delay. The Republicans are woefully inadequate on the issues of health care and environment.

They need time to come up with a coherent message and a solid alternative to the Democrats. The Democrats can synthesize their views: Health Care For All! It sounds good. And more people believe that health care is a right not a privilege. As Baby Boomers age and get even more afraid–of aging and dying and the inevitability of being human, there will be a push for government guarantees.

Republicans need to address the real concerns in the market–that small businesses and individuals get hammered unfairly because they do not get to negotiate rates like big companies. There is also the problem of uneven coverage depending on the state. Liability and tort reform should be undertaken nationwide. In Texas, it has brought the best and brightest doctors here and lowered malpractice rates.

Doctors need to be pushed to automate. They also need to be tracked and better rated. Just like there are some drivers who cause all the accidents, there are some doctors making the most mistakes. These people need to be identified and either pushed out of the profession or given warning labels so patients are fully informed.

There are lots of changes that need to happen right now. They would result in lower costs, more accessibility and better care, and none of the ideas would mean nationalizing health care. Republicans need to get on the ball and get on top of this issue. With Daschle out of the picture, they have time to do it. Let’s hope they carpe diem.

Cross-posted at MelissaClouthier.com

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