It's what it is: Yes, in this case, the process absolutely failed.In the end, the passage of the health care reform bill in the U.S. House of Representatives Sunday was not really simply a gargantuan -- and selfless -- effort to bring health care to the masses.
It was not even really an historic piece of legislation backed by legislators who had read every word and believed that plan was sound and made sense.
It was a deal.
The last few hours of the debate over the bill were spent running around to the offices of various "on the fence" legislators to strong arm them into coming back into the fold -- and if that did not work, offering them a few concessions -- a bit of pork if you will -- to turn their votes from "no" to "yes."
And in the end, the Democrats made it work and they got their historic legislation and their chance to feel like they have "changed" Washington.
But they didn't.
The health care reform bill is ill-conceived, deceptive and will end up having a more negative than positive effect on this nation's future.
So, instead of really addressing health care costs and providing care for all Americans, we now have a soon-to-be law that has done little more than ignore the wishes of the American people and has possibly made a president and congressional leaders look good.
And that is not what this was supposed to be about.
Now that the grandstanding is over, it is time to look back at what has just happened -- rationally.
The Democratic leadership in Congress knew they did not have the votes and knew that the mood of the country was against them. So, they decided that the way to get this reform bill through -- and to save the president from an embarrassing defeat -- was not to do what they said they were going to do, reach a bipartisan decision that addressed the need with all the good ideas available. They chose instead to bend a rule to push through a bill that just about everyone agrees has flaws so large that you could drive a truck through them.
This was not about what was right for the American people -- or even what an overwhelming majority said they wanted. It was about politics.
There are some who are defending the health care vote with the curt response that the majority of Americans put the Democrats in power -- and this is what they said they wanted, change.
But in the end, voters, and politicians, will realize that politics is a funny business. You might get the vote, but if you do not listen to the people and vote your party line instead, you will be looking for a new job come the next election.
Published in Editorials on March 22, 2010 10:45 AM