12/21/09 — The deal: If health care reform package is solid, there was no need for deals

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The deal: If health care reform package is solid, there was no need for deals

The word is that the final vote necessary for the first passage of the Senate's version of the health care reform bill came after a negotiation with a key senator, Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, who was not convinced he could support the measure.

And that vote came with a cost -- an agreement that Nelson's state would not have to pay a share of one of the costs of the new program.

And while there will be time and space to explore that piece of brilliance later, the question is, why was there a need for a deal at all?

If this health care reform package were truly the right decision, it would have been easy for a majority of senators to support it. And while there might have been a few divisions along party lines from those who simply could not move beyond partisanship, the rest of the nation's leaders, who say they want what is best for the country, could have found a way to support it.

The problem is that this legislation is a rush job -- and one that in the end will prove to be more full of holes than a block of swiss cheese.

Those who are touting it are saying it is just a beginning -- a starter bill if you will.

But what is scary about this bill is its price tag and the many areas that are not just gray, but almost transparent from lack of detail and complete planning.

We will see what happens in the coming week, but the bill is likely to get its final OK.

And then, it is back to the House -- for more deals.

A piece of legislation that requires this much shepherding is not ready to become the law of the land. Let's hope someone, somewhere figures that out.

Published in Editorials on December 21, 2009 10:50 AM