Massachusetts Election a Roadmap for Healthcare Reform
January 21, 2010
With the special election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts to the seat of, for all intents and purposes, the architect of healthcare reform, a clear message has been sent to Washington about the will of the people and what they think about the current plan.
In what was an unlikely win, Scott Brown, a Republican, easily won the seat of Sen. Ted Kennedy, whom died in 2009. With Senator-elect Brown breaking the Democrats 60-vote supermajority, the likelihood of quick, or perhaps even slow, passage of the present healthcare reform legislation is unlikely, and for good cause.
As written here before, the current plan is a good first step of lining up priorities and determining costs of the plan and avenues for paying for it, but far from a program that should ever have been submitted to a vote.
The main problem with the current legislation is that it creates a federal mandate which exceeds the authority of the government. States have the authority to propose and implement such plans if their state constitutions allow, but making healthcare reform the responsibility of the federal government is a gross over-step and one that is destined for failure since few bodies are more inept at accomplishing tasks, let alone managing coverage for the 45 million uninsured Americans. As Samuel Broder, the former director of the National Cancer Institute stated, "If you had demanded that the N.I.H. solve the problem of polio not through independent, investigator-driven discovery research but by means of a centrally directed program, the odds are very strong that you would get the very best iron lungs in the world -- portable iron lungs, transistorized iron lungs -- but you wouldn't get the vaccine that eradicated polio."
If healthcare reform is so important to so many, it should be created at the state-level so that each state can tailor the program to their specific needs and raise the funding through increased taxes and spending cuts as voted on by state government (and yes, there will be tax increases or states will go irrevocably into debt).