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February 24th, 2010
11:59 PM ET

The Blair House Health Summit: Missing Pat Moynihan

David Gergen | BIO
AC360° Contributor
CNN Senior Political Analyst

It is easy to be sympathetic with President Obama’s attempt to revive health care reform by embarking on a big, new gamble this week. After all, he campaigned on health reform, has made it the signature issue of his presidency, and according to those around him in the White House, focuses on it almost to the point of obsession. Like many of his predecessors, Mr. Obama seems deeply moved by past health care struggles of a close family member – in this case, his mother.

So, the President deserves a significant measure of respect for trying to get reform across the goal line. He has already come closer than any of seven other presidents who have tried. Now he and his aides believe it imperative to give one last try.

But one should not underestimate the size of the gamble. The President and Democrats are already in political trouble for spending a full year on health reform and then hitting a wall. A more cautious president would have walked quietly away from the scene of the accident. Indeed, that’s what Mr. Obama appeared to be doing in his recent State of the Union, insisting that he now focus on jobs and not mentioning health care until he was a half hour into the speech.

But he was apparently itching to try again and when he had a bravura performance, with cameras rolling, as he paid a call on House Republicans in Baltimore, a light bulb went off in the White House: let’s have a “summit” at Blair House with Republicans and Democrats. If the President, they thought, can once again dazzle in debate with Republicans, that will light a new fire behind reform and maybe – just maybe – it will then pass.

So, Mr. Obama is doubling down on his bet. If he succeeds, he could not only revive health care but his presidency. If he fails, however, he will deliver a second body blow to himself and his party. And prospects for passage of a comprehensive bill are uncertain at best: while looking better in the Senate, the House could go either way. So this is a big gamble.

Hovering over Blair House is an even bigger question: Even if it were possible for Mr. Obama to succeed, is it wise? Given current conditions, would passage of his comprehensive bill be in the best interests of the country?

There is no right answer to those questions – much depends on what you think about the substance of the bill. But there is a deeper wisdom from the past that ought to be considered, too. It was taught to me back in the 1990s by Daniel Patrick Moynihan, one of the brightest lights ever to serve in the U.S. Senate and a personal friend. Pat was then chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, I had just joined up with President Bill Clinton at the White House, and a titanic struggle was underway over the Clintons’ efforts to reform health care.

Moynihan, a Democrat, told me that there were two essential pre-requisites to passing major social reform in this country. The first, he said, was that landmark social legislation should be passed with significant, bipartisan support from both sides of the aisle – otherwise, there would always be trouble with it. He sent me the vote tallies to show how at least a half dozen or more Senators from the opposition party voted for big social initiatives stretching back to the New Deal – from Social Security in the 1930s the civil rights bills of the mid-60s and Medicare and Medicaid bundled together in 1965.

Secondly, he said, landmark social legislation should enjoy solid support from the public before it is passed. Again, history bears out his point. Presumably, the fact that major legislation enjoyed bipartisan support in Congress helped to build up majority support in the country.

It is sobering – and should give us pause – that the comprehensive health care bill now under debate meets neither test. In the House, only one Republican has voted in favor (and has since changed his mind) and not a single Republican in the Senate. People can argue till the cows come home about why. The point is that passage of this omnibus bill through the reconciliation process would be a strictly partisan affair – a sharp break from recent history.

Just as important, the public doesn’t want Washington to do this. Averaging up the results of ten major polls over the past month, Real Clear Politics finds that opinion is running 52-38 percent against passage of the Obama/Democratic plan. There has been some tightening of late in the Democrats’ favor, but the margin against is still the most negative in memory for major social legislation. Today, CNN released a new poll, just out of the field, showing that only 25 percent want Congress to pass this big bill, 48 percent want Congress to start over, and 25 percent want to stop working on health care. Those are important results.

It is possible that President Obama can turn opinion around in the Democrats’ favor through the Blair House summit. Again, one should accord the President great respect for trying. But if he is unable to win Republicans to his side AND if he is unable to win over the public, doesn’t that suggest that he should reconsider?

Should he not think again about the recommendation of his own chief of staff – to take a handful of the best ideas from Democrats and Republicans, weave them into a scaled down bill, and win passage of a bill that will be both bipartisan and enjoy the support of the country? Wouldn’t that be a good way to get started on serious health care reform so that we can also turn our attention back to jobs? I wish Pat Moynihan were at Blair House to whisper in the President’s ear.


Filed under: David Gergen • Health Care • Opinion
soundoff (186 Responses)
  1. John juby

    I am glad Patrick Moynihan is not here to whisper in the President's ear. Polls can be misleading . In any case, I hope the Health Care reform package is passed, even if it's bulldozed through by reconciliation. The time is now.

    February 24, 2010 at 11:52 pm |
  2. Richard Cavuto

    48 percent from poll want Congress to start over. The Republicans have voiced that they want to start over. So why did the president post his version of a healthcare bill on the internet?? It poisened the water.
    He could have started the Blair House meeting with everyone on page 1.

    February 24, 2010 at 11:50 pm |
  3. jackstraw

    "Presumably, the fact that major legislation enjoyed bipartisan support in Congress helped to build up majority support in the country."

    very scary that our politicos state this sentence this way instead of the other way around

    February 24, 2010 at 11:44 pm |
  4. Hugh Maguire

    The problem with addressing the problems in our healthcare system is that most people don't have a problem with it. Yes, it costly but the quality is excellent as I have experienced first hand. And yes, that cost is a brutal burden for many, especially independent contractors. So, address that with tax credits/subsidies. Why insist that we are all in crisis when we all don't believe that we are?

    February 24, 2010 at 11:42 pm |
  5. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    "Given current conditions, would passage of his comprehensive bill be in the best interests of the country?"

    The Democrats don't care one way or the other whether their "nationalised" medicine is in the "best interests of the country." Or, if they honestly do, it's an arrogant certainty that bespeaks an utter indifference to what those too-dumb-to-make-their-own-decisions mere citizens want.

    Either way, though, nationalising health care would be an act of tyranny American voters will remember for a long, long, time.

    February 24, 2010 at 11:31 pm |
  6. walter

    it is going to happen, if you want on board now is the time.

    February 24, 2010 at 11:31 pm |
  7. Mr Grouse

    Please, don't use republicans from the past to compare with Republicans of today. Those who pander to the high school cheer leader Pailin and mix with the secessionist movement or folks with a white pillow sheet in the trunk of their car, are not true Republicans. These days republicans in the senate and merely here to serve themselves and are for themselves.

    February 24, 2010 at 11:25 pm |
  8. Keith

    edit to my paragraph above, I meant "....particularly the Republicans, continue to Not do the Right thing......

    February 24, 2010 at 11:24 pm |
  9. Keith

    There was a time when the country was against giving Blacks equal rights. Probably most of our leaders at the time were too in their hearts. Does that mean the right thing shouldn't be done? In 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981, ending segregation in the United States Armed Forces. Do you think that is what most people wanted back then? He is doing the Right thing, not the easy thing. The fact that we live in a country where everyone only cares about themselves like those in Mass. who only cared that they have good coverage doesn't mean he shouldn't continue fighting for those millions who desperately need this bill passed. The fact that we live in a country where people are blinded by the short term rather then the benefits in the long term doesn't mean the President should not do the Right thing. A true leader isn't afraid to take risks and the issues you are referring to in the past that had some bi partisan support weren't during this once every century economic nightmare that Obama was handed from the Bush Administration. If anything, he is brave for doing what is required, not what you want him to do based on circumstances that didn't apply in today's world or today's economic situation. Special times require special circumstances and people are dying while Congress, particularly the Republicans, continue to do the Right thing in the best interest of those who need the help NOW, 10 years ago, not 10 more years from now when our country is broke for taking too long to curb these horrific health care costs.

    February 24, 2010 at 11:21 pm |
  10. Jeff

    Pay Moynihan would have to do more than whisper. Obama doesn't listen.

    February 24, 2010 at 11:20 pm |
  11. sheelahmpls

    Why did the tremendous tide that represented the people's wishes for health care reform, among other desires for change, diminish so much after Obama took office. To me the answer is simple. We elected a Repub and didn't know it. Obama had no "fire in his belly" for the change that is needed to help the average American, only those who voted for him didn't know it. Now we know him for what he is– a Pres. with a dissociative disorder that keeps his brain from processing all the social disorder and suffering that has gone on because the lobbyists have too much influence and the people too little.
    Howard Dean 2012

    February 24, 2010 at 11:20 pm |
  12. Bob Loftur-Thun

    I have a lot of respect for David Gergen, but I think he misses an important point. The Republican Party is not the party it was when there was bipartisan support for the major social legislation he cites. It is doubtful that the conservative Goldwater Republicans of the 1960's supported the Civil Rights bill or Medicaid and Medicare legislation. The Republican Party has swung substantially far to the right and the leadership and platform of the Republican is now controlled by it's conservative wing. Moderate Republicans struggle to have their voices heard in the GOP.

    In the 1980's and 1990's, the Democratic Party, through the DLC, realized that most Americans are neither conservative nor liberal, but moderate, and moved their party, through the DLC, at least more towards the center. The present Republican Party leadership is made up of conservative idealogues who genuinely believe that there should be a peaceful Conservative revolution in the U.S.. They are not really interested in political compromise and strive to redefine the "center" of the U.S. political spectrum.

    When you have idealogues (whether liberal or conservative) controlling one or both of the major U.S. parties, and you have a strong party discipline, such as exists today in the Republican Party, the country will experience legislative gridlock and obstructionism.

    The solution for the country? I hope that the political pendulum in the Republican Party will eventually swing back towards the center. The institution of Congress itself is not "broken". The American people, who are, I believe, essentially moderate, need to send a message to the Republican Party at the polls that they need to abandon their obstructionist strategy and their use of virulent attack politics and get back to their past tradition of governing the country from a center-right, not an idealogue-based far right position.

    February 24, 2010 at 11:20 pm |
  13. marianne salinger

    American doctors practice defensive medicin. Unless you reign in malpractice insurance don't even bother. For a starter the government could re-insure the insurance companies for catastrophic insurance (like a Lloyds), as most of us are not catastrophically ill this would lower the premiums considerably for everyone.
    If it were not for out of control malpractice, the emergency rooms could have clinics attached, run by nurse practitioners for the sore throats, splinters or earaches. In case of a complication the emergency room is there.

    February 24, 2010 at 11:19 pm |
  14. Kenny

    Fortunately, majority of my fellow Americana understand that window dressing is not going to solve problems in the health care. But unfortunately, our president does not have a better understanding of the health care problem than majority of Americans people. He is not listening to American people or only listen to what he wants to hear.

    February 24, 2010 at 11:14 pm |
  15. George Lutz

    The individual parts of this bill are quite popular with the public. Democrats should pass each one individually. What is not popular is the lack of a public plan in this bill and of course the length of time Democrats have wasted trying to gain Republican support.

    February 24, 2010 at 11:13 pm |
  16. Art

    Seems to me you are blaming the bill when you should be blaming the Republicans. I remember when Richard Nixon was considered a conservative. I believe he started the EPA.

    February 24, 2010 at 11:11 pm |
  17. Win

    The most important thing is economy, try to favour business,jobs.curb the tax, govt spending, trade and budget deficits. In recession period don't overload the people with huge spending bills (govt spent more than enough). About 5-8% of population is lazy,crooked,crazy and addicts. In the county hospitals,we have to take care them free,mostly they ask pain killers,sleeping pills or morphine etc. Don't be too generous overloading us more. OK.some regulations need to regulate on insurance ,banks,credit companies without any cost. If Obama is still dreaming his utopian socialist idea, now 'broken govt' just after 1 year,impeachment will be next year.

    February 24, 2010 at 11:10 pm |
  18. Donald, North Carolina

    Obama was sent to Washington to get health reform done.
    The Democrats have allowed the Republicans and their greedy Senators, as well, to side-track the important issues and consequences of not passing REAL health reform.

    President Obama and Congress were given their marching orders in Nov 2008 - not to do so now for all their excuses should be done only at their peril. The American people are sick and tired on a do-nothing Congress and Executive Branch.

    Cut of the political and partisan BS and serve your country - not your interests and your lobbyists!

    February 24, 2010 at 11:09 pm |
  19. towens

    president obama fiddles whilst rome burns.

    February 24, 2010 at 11:08 pm |
  20. Paul E. Baker

    This appears to be a very perceptive analysis of the current political situation. It also appears to be based upon an appropriate historical analysis. While I have read numerous commentaries regarding the health care reform effort, and personally believe that reforms are needed, this is the first commentary which I have read based upon this type of historical analysis. Mr. Gergen's analysis is very interesting, and appears valid. Based upon Mr. Gergen's reputation, I feel fairly safe in saying that he probably 'has his facts straight'. I believe that Mr. Gergen's conclusion is very valid, and suspect that more than 50 % if Americans may well agree with the '"scaled down bill" approach as an acceptable way of beginning to address the most serious social and economic problems associated with the current US health care system.

    February 24, 2010 at 11:07 pm |
  21. James S roberts

    Unfortunately there isn't a choice for or against reform; e.g., it's not a question of whether it's when. The country is bankrupt, and still borrowing.

    When the Roman Empire was collapsing the last to learn, know, accept the collapse were the Romans living in Roman. They probably believed their "being", their life style was "entitled" to them.

    History has a way of repeating itself.

    February 24, 2010 at 11:07 pm |
  22. Milton

    It seems that the Republicans are determined to resist anything that Obama puts forward. If that is the case, should he hold back passing major legislation when that is what he was elected to do?

    I would think not. This minority by inaction blocks the majority from action that is deeply needed in the country. It is not only the wise thing to do for the financial future but it is the moral thing to do. There comes a time when leaders of good conscience must stand alone for thier beliefs.

    Many complaining about the health care bill are those that need it the most, but have been frightened by misinformation. I have good medical coverage. My coverage right now is good, but I now see clearly the many that need it and don't have it.

    Maybe those that are most dead set against it need to spend some time around the ER and the hospitals to see what is going on. Maybe they need to visit the local drug store and watch people struggle to decide what what medications they can afford and what they can do without. Maybe they would then see who is really trying to kill grandma and grandpa too!!!

    February 24, 2010 at 11:06 pm |
  23. J. Samuel Cook, MLS

    The economic facts support that an overhaul of the health care system is necessary. Public disapproval comes merely from the overwhelming opposition to health care reform and is deeply rooted in opposition propaganda and public misinformation, which is unfortunate. Health care is not merely a matter of quotidian bleeding-heart liberal pathos, but of but an economic logos of which the American public is blithely unaware.

    February 24, 2010 at 11:02 pm |
  24. curt

    I wish the President acts on the interest of the country and the people, not the interest of his legacy, party or the personal/family experience

    February 24, 2010 at 10:56 pm |
  25. Joel Patterson

    Mr. Gergen–I do not begrudge your wealth and influence, but I voted for the Clintons (Bill then Hillary) and Obama because I want everyone to have healthcare coverage, and we need more regulation to control the insurance spiral.

    You've already got your insurance, Mr. Gergen, but my sister is a teacher whose job might be cut due to the recession–and if she gets sick she won't have insurance. She'd have to go bankrupt if she were to get cancer or some expensive illness.

    It's not fair to have some wealth man like you cite some wealthy Senator like Moynihan who lived in security and comfort tell us middle class people we need to suffer on and on.

    It's our government just as much as yours, and if we elect a President to get us healthcare reform, then we should get it.

    February 24, 2010 at 10:54 pm |
  26. Yao

    Mr. gergen:
    I always like your well-thoughtout remarks. Sometimes, I wish that you were one of the advisors to the President.

    February 24, 2010 at 10:53 pm |
  27. Leslie McCloud

    Polls do not tell the honest story of the average American. No average citizen is paying attention to health care. If a person already has health care, they don't care if the person next to them does not. I care because I am the person next to them!
    People are seemingly ambivalent to the health care debate. There are those politically charged people who are heard but they are only a very noisy minority. People who say, "who's going to pay for it," and "I don't want the government doing things for me," are simply delusional. The government does lots of things for lots of people without complaint and no one person or corporation ever asks how will anything be paid for when the government is buying and they need the help. Most people don't even pay federal tax because they don't earn enough to do so.
    No politician wants to throw away money on average citizens. We don't count, we are only a consequence, or distraction. The President doesn't seem to be this way, so he becomes unpopular with the typical pol. I get it.
    Tax season is here and for many people that means huge returns and that means spending. Or they are thinking about Easter or they are thinking about their next strategic move in life, parties, if he really likes me, will I ever get married or whatever. I really do not feel as if the average citizen is paying attention to anything not related to their immediate, everyday survival and needs.
    I'd hate to think that the barn door has closed and it's too late to care.
    It would be great if the government could force insurance companies to be honest and offer real insurance that actually covers dental work and vision care. When I tried to buy dental insurance on the open market, one policy wouldn't cover emergency dental work or pre-existing issues but the premium was low. The other was the same but the premium was high. All of the details were in fine print however, I took the time to read it and saved myself some money. Buyer beware, nothing has changed and i still don't have vision or dental insurance.
    I understand what the President is attempting to do and I congratulate him.

    February 24, 2010 at 10:52 pm |
  28. Robert

    Most of the country wish he was there also to whisper in the Presidents ear. I am fully against this bill but would like to see some of the things that both parties have talked about go through. But it seems the president thinks the american people are stupid and he knows best. Too bad for him and the Dems. if this goes through I think they will lose the congress both houses for years to come.

    February 24, 2010 at 10:51 pm |
  29. Elizabeth in Florida

    David,

    You are my hero, but I think you too have been drinking the GOP-aide. This is a moral issue; If Obama goes down for it, he'll be all the more a hero in my mind. So sad it takes us so long to care for one another....

    February 24, 2010 at 10:49 pm |
  30. David Gordon

    Mr. Gergens point of starting over assumes that Republicans, who have run away from their own ideas like the Deficit Reduction Commission, Pay go, and the health care plan that largely mirrors what Mitt Romney did in Massachussets, will not run away from their own ideas again and remain the party of no. Do we have to wait for another 48,000 people to doe a year because they did not have health insurance. Why do the American people not deserve the same health care opportunities that Mr. Gergen and former Vice President Cheney enjoy. They do work for us right.

    February 24, 2010 at 10:47 pm |
  31. Steve

    Regarding this quote from Mr. Gergen: "Presumably, the fact that major legislation enjoyed bipartisan support in Congress helped to build up majority support in the country.".....

    This is absolutely backwards. Congress should follow the lead of the people.....not the other way around!

    February 24, 2010 at 10:44 pm |
  32. Rose

    Health care reform really needs to become reality especially during these difficult times for the poor and middle class. Paying COBRA and still have to maintain your family needs is very stressful because the money being paid to COBRA can be used to fullfil another household need such PSE & G or the water bill. I hope people will wake up and realize how the poor and middle class are hurting in this country and stop being selfish.

    February 24, 2010 at 10:41 pm |
  33. Carlos O

    Mr. Gergen completely and rather surprisingly ignores that this is a CRISIS: every year that passes millions more loose medical insurance coverage; that rates are growing without bound (motivated by higher costs + greed), and tens of thousands of people die every year for lack of coverage. So his proposed cautious approach is NOT compatible with the size of the crisis. Surprising that someone so smart, knowledgeable and experienced have such opinions (Why? When smart people say dump things it's for a reason). Regarding popular support for major social initiatives...well, as far as history show, I don't recall people in the South strongly supporting civil rights legislation...perhaps in his part of the world that was the case...I'd say on the contrary: the presidents that rose to the occasion supported and helped passed legislation despite strong opposition from a large part of the public. That's what leaders do, and that's what Obama is trying to do...Again, surprising that Gergen says these things (Why???). Carlos

    February 24, 2010 at 10:41 pm |
  34. Marilyn Lange

    Dear Mr. Gergen,

    What you fail to grasp is the Rebuplicans in Congress today wouldn't vote for any form of health care reform because it would mean a victory for Obama and the Democrats. They are so angry they're not
    in power they made a pact early in 2009 to become the party of "NO" for anything that benefits the American people.

    The majority of the Media in Washington, including you Mr. Gergen, haven't a clue what middle America wants. The majority of the people want health care reform and if the Democrats don't get a spine and pass health care reform we'll be left with Republicans in charge to run our country deeper into debt.

    You also have a short memory when it comes to Congress passing bills by reconciliation. The Republicans used it 22 times when Bush was in office, including his tax cut for the rich.

    Sincerely,
    Marilyn Lange

    February 24, 2010 at 10:41 pm |
  35. Alan Moore

    Common sense as to human instincts and behaviors point to the obvious of not letting the government run health care. Human beings are cunning by nature and will figure out the path of least resistance. Offering safety nets will only weaken our economic competitive advantages and future economic leadership position. If the USA develops government run programs, more and more people will work the system instead of working as productive people. Furthermore, illegal imigration will multiply and further dilute the ability of Americans to get decent jobs. Rome started off with the motto "Strength and Honor". When too many romans desired to live large and ask government to take care of them, Rome was sacked. It can happen to the USA, so vote not to government health care.

    February 24, 2010 at 10:39 pm |
  36. joe

    Its too bad that Obama is being stubborn about passing this unwanted bill...So much for what the people want... True reform is coming. Carter brought Reagan, who will Obama bring?

    February 24, 2010 at 10:39 pm |
  37. Kailash

    Absolutely not! You make excellent points David but you also forget that the reason previous bills got bipartisan support was that the republicans back then were more tractable and amenable to working across party lines.. That has disintegrated since the 1990s...
    Also, regarding public opinion, I am sure it'll turn around once the bill has been passed (as most polls are showing) and as the democrats teach the virtues of the bill to the common folks.. Public support cannot be the basis for a sound public policy..

    February 24, 2010 at 10:36 pm |
  38. JMCody

    Your voice of reason is the missing component in the approach being taken by Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reed. They have exhibited no desire to do the peoples' work. Remember, we citizens don't know what we need. Thanks for your comments.

    February 24, 2010 at 10:36 pm |
  39. Fred

    Once again, David, you are 100% dead-on with this excellent piece. Unfortunately, the "chips" Mr. Obama is gambling with are the lives of every citizen. The concept of "affordable" health care is worthless to the growing number of unemployed. Yes, good health is a basic need, but groceries, and a job to pay for them, come first.

    February 24, 2010 at 10:34 pm |
  40. Annie Kate

    I'd like to see Obama and his administration pass some health care reform. However, I do think that he needs to concentrate on the economy and jobs first and then health reform. And lets not forget an energy bill as well. Once the voters see the economy improve and the job situation improve they will be more interested in both the health care and the energy bills.

    February 24, 2010 at 10:33 pm |
  41. jsbrem

    FINALLY – someone has said what no one else will – that in the face of so much opposition, maybe this isn't such a good plan, after all. This isn't just partisan politics – it's about a majority of the people in this country who DO NOT want this bill passed, for hundreds of reasons. I would not call a legislator who votes according to the wishes of his/her consituents voting strictly partisan. He/She is actually doing what they were elected to do – represent the folks back home. The president may have campaigned on health care reform, but of far more pressing urgency is economy reform. Maybe if he accomplished that, more of us would consider backing health care reform. Great piece, David, but I'm afraid Mr. Moynihan would have to shout and tap dance to get the president to listen, and maybe not even then.

    February 24, 2010 at 10:29 pm |
  42. Joshua Frank

    I agree with Mr. Gergen that a bill with such large ramifications to the future of our country should be bipartisan and have the support of the people. I am not for one party or the other – I am for what makes the most sense for the Nation. That being said, whether you agree or disagree with the current Health Bill, I'm fed up with the Republican's lack of any support in what is perceived as simply posturing for the next election. The lack of teamwork is embarassing and I cringe at the thought of what other nation's are thinking when they look at us. But what matters is what Americans think. The answer to our problems are somewhere in the middle. If the Republicans continue to thwart every Democratic endeavor simply because it's in the best interests of the Republican party, then I hope that Republicans win most of the seats in the House and Senate this next election. In my opinion, if there is no change and no bipartisanship, then our country will not only be without competent leadership in 2010, but most likely through 2012. I find it highly hypocritical that the Republicans believe they can solve all the problems that they have said the Democrats are unable to solve. If you believe that one party can solve our problems, you are listening to too much television. It will take all of us to resolve our country's challenges. It looks like the Democrats are trying to involve the Republicans. The Republicans look like they only want to get reelected. Again, it will take everyone in the House and Senate to make our country better. Anyone that believes giving the Republicans power until the next Presidential election will strengthen our Nation, then I ask, "Do you really believe they will work with the Democrats after they take over again?" Is it going to take another 9/11 to bring our leaders together again? Simply idiodic. To everyone in Congress, it's not a question of right or wrong – it's a question of working together.

    February 24, 2010 at 10:29 pm |
  43. Tim in Vancouver, WA

    Superb article David! This is one of your best. Probably the best advice the president could use right now.

    February 24, 2010 at 10:25 pm |
  44. Michael

    The problem is that what Obama is calling health care reform is not reform. At best it could be called an attempt at a unified health care plan.
    Politicians need to first acknowledge that the whole system is broken. And if the whole system is broken then why should we put everything in to covering millions more on a broken plan. When we finally address the outrageous lawsuits that have caused mal-practice insurance rates to skyrocket, then we would be able to keep health care costs down and make coverage affordable for everyone without putting this country even further into debt.

    February 24, 2010 at 10:23 pm |
  45. marvin hyman

    good article from a Dem

    February 24, 2010 at 10:22 pm |
  46. glenn Burton

    Obama is on a kamikaze mission. He's going down in a ball of flames.

    February 24, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
  47. Jeff

    Nice write up David but how can you say one should accord the president great respect for trying? And its easy to sympathize with him? A majority of America doesn't want this and because he is trying to cram it down our throat, you accord him great respect for continuing to try? Seems to me you like the president so you are writing more as a positive twist to him.

    February 24, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
  48. Evelyn Turvey

    Re: Health Care.
    I have great interest in the outcome of the proposed Health care Bill.
    My main concern is how will it effect my life and finances as well as my children and their children's burden of how to pay for it.

    February 24, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
  49. Kathryn

    The key sentence in this article is "Given current conditions, would passage of his comprehensive bill be in the best interests of the country?" Given current conditions in our country, passage of a comprehensive health care bill is imperative for our country!

    February 24, 2010 at 10:08 pm |
  50. Frederick

    The isue is not wether we should pass a health care reform bill, the issue is that America cannot continue to finance a health care system that is broken and that will eventually break the country.

    February 24, 2010 at 9:54 pm |
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