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Who’s Against Health Reform?

May 21, 2009
1:09 pm

I received an interesting e-mail this morning – no, not offering me discounted luxury watches or the opportunity to move huge sums of money out of an African nation, but interesting nonetheless.   It was from one of the many interest groups here in DC, urging me to read their newest report on healthcare reform.  In the e-mail pitch, the group said, “Those who oppose health reform are choosing to maintain” a status quo defined by increasing numbers of uninsured Americans, escalating health insurance premiums, lack of health information technology and so on.

I couldn’t help but wonder, when this group talks about “those who oppose health reform,” exactly who are they describing?

As we get closer to congressional action on healthcare, we’re seeing some escalation in the shrillness of the rhetoric from outside groups – warnings about powerful forces who are out to stop health reform dead in its tracks. 

These supposed powerful cabals are apparently so deep in the shadows that they aren’t visible to, well, anyone.  Employers and business groups want health reform to succeed because reducing the number of uninsured will have a positive effect on their healthcare costs.  Health industry groups are actively supporting reform because the benefits of a fully insured population and a new health delivery culture based on wellness, prevention and care coordination, with better payment methodologies, are apparent.  Republicans in Congress just this week placed their own health reform ideas on the table.  And, in the U.S. Senate Finance and HELP Committees, Democrats and Republicans are working side-by-side on solutions.

So, who exactly is opposing health reform?

It’s really all in the semantics.  To some groups, if you don’t support their reform proposals, well then, ipso facto, you’re an opponent of health reform.  I suspect the group who sent me the e-mail today would say that anyone who doesn’t see the value of a government-run health insurance plan being injected into the health coverage marketplace is, by virtue of that position, a fierce opponent of reform.

That’s the kind of nonsense which doesn’t help us make progress.

My friend Ron Pollack of Families USA, with whom I have respectfully and enjoyably disagreed on a number of issues over the years, has spoken eloquently about the state of today’s health reform debate as compared to that of the 1990s.  He has said, in those days, every organization had its own position.  Then, if that position couldn’t be achieved, the second-best outcome was failure.  Every group in town had a my-way-or-no-way approach.  

It’s not that way this time around.  Virtually every organization in town is striving to find some acceptable middle ground that will make health reform possible this year, because we all know how necessary it is to succeed.

Ironically, those who insist that their position is the only acceptable position are the same ones who are pointing fingers at the supposed opponents of health reform.  Let’s hope they see the light before their stridency does some real damage to the cause in which they say they believe.

One Response to “Who’s Against Health Reform?”

  1. Carolyn O'Brien Says:

    I find very little reference to my main concern regarding health reform. I choose to rely on holistic healing methods. To be forced to pay an insurance premium for coverage I would not use would deny me the right to choose the method of health care that best suits my needs.

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