I’ve found myself anxious and maybe even a little depressed over the health-care reform debate recently. I found this article that is titled, “Take a Chill Pill,” and it worked to calm me down just like the author intended. Now I know all I really need to do for now is make sure Brownback, Roberts and Tiahrt know reform is needed, and expected. I can do that. I can do that often. I can encourage my friends, neighbors and relatives to do that too. Read this article, it’s like taking a chill pill. From a place of reason will come reason.
Whatever your leanings, if (like me) you’re hoping for some kind of major health reform this year, the crucial text at this juncture is from Schoolhouse Rock—where that famous old ditty, “I’m Just A Bill,” lays out how a bill becomes a law. We’re at the point in the process where this is literally all that matters. For health reform to happen this year, something has to pass the House, and something has to pass the Senate. It doesn’t matter exactly what those somethings are, or how offensive big chunks of those somethings may be to some of us. Never forget that when the Clintons convulsed the country over health care in 1993 and 1994, these simple Schoolhouse Rock steps never came close to happening. For all the drama back then, nothing came to a vote.
Only after something passes the House and the Senate will the real work begin. The conference committee to hammer out a final, identical bill will be the mother of all summits. That’s where President Obama must weigh in heavily to shape and then sell the outcome. Contrary to all the carping, what he and the White House do before then on the specifics of the legislation doesn’t much matter. The White House’s only job until we get to conference is to shape the climate of opinion with one simple end in mind. Legislators need to get the message that their constituents want “change” on health care, and will punish them for supporting the status quo. The White House’s mission is to be sure that enough legislators feel they cannot safely oppose Obama’s definition of “change.” That’s it.