Published December 01, 2009
Pity the poor news consumers these days. -- Who can keep up with the Salahis, Afghanistan, "climate-gate," Tiger Woods, the election in Honduras and all the rest? Oh, yes, all the rest -- the elephant in the room -- the health care spending bill now being debated in the United States Senate.
And the news coverage about that particular legislative battle is as confusing as it gets. Many in the media are focused on the government-run plan or the so-called "public option" or abortion. It's so typical for the media that what's missing from the coverage is any examination of the most important flaws in the Senate proposals: this bill includes a half-trillion in Medicare cuts, job killing tax hikes and it actually increases government spending on health care. Those other things are important but the core of the bill will not change.
In her Wall Street Journal column last week Peggy Noonan wrote that the best thing that could happen to President Obama would be for this bill to fail in the Senate. No one disagrees that health care costs and coverage need to be addressed. But the way the Senate bill is written makes a hash of the legislation.
If the Democrats were to put the brakes on and slow down a bit the American people wouldn't be so suspicious about the rush to pass the bill. And if they would allow some common sense proposals to go forward -- like protecting people with pre-existing conditions -- they would be able to win bipartisan support and take their victory lap. If they insist on racing to the finish line, they're likely to spin even further out of control. Better to take a pit stop now than to be crushed on the track later for passing an atrocious bill.