Mr. Obama was elected largely by promising to “change” the tone in D.C. and govern in a bi-partisan manner. We’ve seen little of that so far, and this debate seems to only be reinforcing the partisan divide.
Mrs. Snowe began by noting that this year's health debate is "one of the most complex and intricate undertakings the Congress has ever confronted," and that she, too, has devoted much of her three-decade political career to promoting cheaper, better quality insurance. "But it must be done in an effective, common-sense and bipartisan way," she cautioned.
Far from "systematically working through the concerns, the issues and the alternatives," Mrs. Snowe added, Democrats have instead favored "artificially generated haste" and settled on a strategy "to ram it, to jam it" through Congress. The Senator detailed her good-faith participation in the "group of six" on the Senate Finance Committee, which met some 31 times over the spring and summer and reflected "the kind of extensive, meticulous process that an issue of this magnitude requires."
Her main and telling point was that durable social reform in America has always been bipartisan, and not merely with one or two opposition party votes.
While Social Security passed when Democrats controlled both Congress and the White House, she said, 64% of Senate Republicans and 79% of the House GOP supported it. Civil rights passed with 82% of Republicans in the Senate and 80% in the House, while 41% and 51%, respectively, voted for Medicare. Mrs. Snowe could have added the 1996 welfare reform that President Clinton signed with the support of nearly all Republicans in Congress, 98 Democratic Representatives and 25 Democratic Senators.
"Policies that will affect more than 300 million people simply should not be decided by partisan, one-vote-margin strategies," Senator Snowe explained, and Congress should not be "railroading solutions along partisan lines."
The [current] bill's main problem isn't its abortion provision or even the debate over the "public option" that Democrats will probably settle with an inartful dodge. The problem is the core of the bill: more than $400 billion in new taxes and a half-trillion dollars in Medicare cuts to pay for a vast new entitlement that is certain to increase the cost of insurance, reduce the quality of medical care and ruin the federal fisc. This is the reason Democrats have no chance of winning over Orrin Hatch, Bob Bennett, Judd Gregg, Chuck Grassley, Susan Collins, John McCain, Mike Enzi or other Republicans who have cooperated with Democrats on health care and other issues in the past.
Note: To better understand why none of the current proposals will actually improve health care in this country, be sure to read the previously posted article How American Health Care Killed My Father