Send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org (no attached files, please, which can contain viruses); fax to 770-532-0457; or mail to The Times, P.O. Box 838, Gainesville, GA 30503. Include full name, hometown and phone number for confirmation. They should be limited to one topic on issues of public interest and may be edited for content and length (limit of 500 words). Letters originating from other sources or those involving personal, business or legal disputes, poetry, expressions of faith or memorial tributes may be rejected. You may be limited to one letter per month, two on a single topic. Submitted items may be published in print, electronic or other forms. Letters, columns and cartoons express the opinions of the authors and not of The Times editorial board.
To find a form to send a letter, click here
I found your editorial board article "Our Views: An unhealthy obsession" interesting, and wanted to make a few contrasting comments regarding health care and the facts, myths and perceptions of the two political parties.
As you mentioned, most everyone could agree on the objectives of getting more people covered, make insurance more affordable, available and portable. When you mentioned "cut health costs any way possible," I think you enter one of the many areas where there would be significant differences between how you accomplish this and what is appropriate.
There have been many distortions regarding health care reform, and outright lies such as Sarah Palin's "death panel" comment, which continues to benefit her financially on the speaking tour.
What I think we could all agree on is that changing our heath care system is complex, and getting consensus between the two parties and the American public is difficult to impossible. This is evidenced by the fact that presidents since Teddy Roosevelt have tried to address this issue.
There are a few areas where I disagree with your analysis. First, prior to the passage of the bill, we continually heard how the public was overwhelmingly against it. Depending on which poll you read, some have showed Americans closely in favor, or against, so there is not a strong majority either way.
Republicans say that they are in favor of health care reform, so why haven't they done it previously? During the first six years of the Bush administration, Republicans had majorities in the House and Senate. Where were they then?
Secondly, I disagree with your statement that Democrats used "end-run schemes" to get the bill passed. The House bill passed with a majority vote, and then the Senate bill passed with 60 votes. The problems and "end-run" perception come in because Republicans were requiring a super-majority for passage, rather than the usual majority.
Regarding the reconciliation process, it has been used by Republicans more often than Democrats, and as an example was used to pass the Bush tax cuts where 90 percent of the total went to the top 10 percent of wage earners. I doubt that if the American people had truly understood how the tax cuts were going to be distributed that there would have been "consensus" among them for passage.
A major difference between the Democrats' and the Republicans' approaches in general and in health care is that Democrats actually provide the mechanism to pay for legislation they pass. The health care reform signed by the president does not add to the deficit.
The deficit we now have is overwhelmingly due to two presidents, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, and their Republican congressional majorities. That is not my opinion. It is fact.
Now that health care reform is law, I would respectfully suggest that we all take a deep breath, look at the facts and not the sound bites, and see how this legislation will work.
I think we should all be able to agree that our prior course was unsustainable.