As I write this on Thursday afternoon I am halfway watching and listening to President Obama’s health care “summit” taking place live for the benefit of the cameras and, one can’t help thinking, for the purpose of providing political cover for the administration and congressional Democrats.
What I have seen and heard is more of the same political sludge. The fact that we’re still talking about a massive overhaul of health care after the American people have spoken through a galaxy of public opinion polls and, more on point for a bunch of politicians, at ballot boxes that Democrats could once count on, is truly flabbergasting.
What will it take to get these people to listen? As a friend of mine said of those that attended the You Tell Me Live event last Saturday, “they just want to be heard.” The ‘they’ he was referring to is you.
In the case of health care, we may not have yet been heard but we certainly have spoken. There is not a single public opinion poll out there that shows a majority of Americans supporting the House bill, the Senate bill or, by extension, the president’s recent proposal as posted on the White House website (which is not much different from the Senate bill).
Mr. President and members of the majority in Congress, we’re talking and you’re being paid to listen. We don’t want a vast, radical overhaul of our health care delivery system. Yes, we know that health insurance premiums have been increasing at several times the rate of inflation. Yes, we know that health insurance carriers are frequently arbitrary and capricious in honoring their obligations. Yes, we know that it is difficult for many Americans to afford health insurance. We know all of these things and we think they’re all bad.
But we don’t think they’re as bad as the postal service (which is going broke).
We think what you are proposing is worse than the postal service and we want you to stop.
It used to be that when the American people spoke, politicians listened. When did you guys get the idea that you no longer have to?
We can live with the shortcomings of our health care system for a while longer. For all that is wrong with that system, it remains the best in the world.
We don’t want this thing with which you have become obsessed for a long list of reasons but the biggest one is our growing understanding that we can’t afford it. Americans know that the creation of the largest entitlement in our history could be what finally bankrupts us.
Americans are getting their financial houses in order and they now understand, better than at any time in nearly a century, that our government must do the same thing.
If you want to solve the health care problem, fix the underlying economy first. It is only when our economic future is more secure that we can address securing how we finance health care.
Mr. President, Madame Speaker, Leader Reid, if you want to talk about overhauling health care, get us feeling good about the future again. Right now, we don’t and we’re resisting anything that we think is likely to make things worse.
Call the health care debate off. With each passing day and with each new revelation about our country’s financial situation, you folks are increasingly looking as if you’re polishing the silver on the Titanic.
We want from our government what we are imposing upon our own households. We want fiscal responsibility. We want to reduce debt.
Have a televised summit at Blair House about that.
Because we were done with health care last month and we told you so.
Why aren’t you listening?