11/14/09 — Halfway there: It really is a battle for power, but remember -- it's your money

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Halfway there: It really is a battle for power, but remember -- it's your money

With a raucous round of applause, the U.S. House of Representatives ushered in the first real victory for the health care reform plan -- passage by a vote of 220-215.

And in one long evening and after months of debate, the Obama administration and its supporters in Congress had a victory and moved one step closer to a complete reform of the health care system.

Since then, there has been much spinning -- much talk about how this historic decision will change the face of America forever -- like Social Security.

And perhaps it will be this historic, this health care initiative, no matter what form it takes.

But before you join the bandwagon or think that perhaps this battle is over and your contribution does not matter anymore, think hard about the motivations behind a quick passage of the health care initiative -- those that are expressed, but also about those that are not.

Politics is about power -- who has it, who controls it and who can get his or her agenda passed. And some of the battle over this health care reform agenda is exactly that -- a struggle for power and control.

There is no question that it would be an embarrassment for the president if he were unable to pass a reform bill -- that's why the deadline for implementation has become a moving target. When your party controls the House and the Senate, it would seem to be a cake walk to get a piece of legislation passed.

So, of course, there is a sense of urgency.

The sad thing about a "sense of urgency" is that it does not promote clear thinking -- or a desire to do something right the first time. It promotes only one desired outcome -- speed.

And in a case of a massive undertaking like this, speed is not a friend, but an enemy -- and a potential for making a disastrous mistake that will take years to undo.

All in the name of power and to be the first party to pass health care reform -- whatever the cost.

The defense of this quick push for reform is that the same problem has been in front of the federal government for decades, and no one has done anything to resolve the real problems that do exist.

And, therefore, talking about a solution is a good thing -- a step forward after years of inertia.

But in Washington, things are often much more than they seem -- and we, the keepers of the vote and the providers of the money, have to be ever watchful that what seems like our best interest is not just another Washington power grab.

And we have to be ever vigilant that we do not view progress for politics' sake as real, lasting and necessary reform, but yet, that we do not allow doubts about the current plan to prevent any future reform efforts.

So as the health care debate rolls on, those among us who understand how politics works should take all commentary -- for and against -- with a grain of salt and a heaping dose of skepticism.

That is the only way to ensure politics stays out of the mix and we get the health care system we want, deserve and can afford.

Published in Editorials on November 14, 2009 11:58 PM