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Posted on Sat, Feb 27, 2010 : 4:54 p.m.

Health care bill 'isn’t perfect, but it is a giant leap forward'

By Guest Column

You might not have known it from the discussion at Blair House Thursday, but Republicans were for much of the Democratic heath reform package before they were against it. In 1993, Republican Senators supported a bill that would have:

  • Banned discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions.
  • Required employers to offer insurance, as well as required people to buy insurance.
  • Reduced growth in Medicare spending.

Thumbnail image for john_dingell_0210.jpg

U.S. Rep. John Dingell

But now, for curious reasons that I cannot figure out, my Republican colleagues refuse to even consider this package now.

I’ve been a part of many bipartisan efforts to write good legislation, but unfortunately what happened at Blair House was not one of those moments due to the obfuscation on the part of my Republican colleagues. We saw another example of why Americans are so angry at Washington. 

They see politicians twisting the facts, like when Republicans falsely claimed the CBO said that the Democratic bill would raise health care premiums, when in fact it would lower premiums. Perhaps in his closing remarks, the President gave Republicans reason to reconsider their tactics. Maybe we’ll see something good signs the days ahead. I hope we can still find a serious partner in legislating and governance.

When asked about health care what kind of health care plan I want I have often quoted Deng Xiaoping and said ‘It doesn't matter if a cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice.’ I have long argued for Medicare for all, joining my good friend Ted Kennedy in that pursuit. But I’m not one to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. As I said during the summit, the last perfect legislation was the Ten Commandments. 

This bill isn’t perfect, but it is a giant leap forward. Social Security and Medicare were not perfect when we passed those bills either, but we improved on those laws over time and they have been tremendously successful. We need to act now. We must get insurance for tens of millions of Americans who currently have none. We must protect Medicare, a bill that I worked on in 1965 when it became law, and make sure our seniors can continue to rely on it. We must lift the burden on many of our businesses, from small entrepreneurs to large manufacturers, now being hammered by out-of-control, ever spiraling health care costs.

U.S. Rep. John Dingell offered this guest opinion piece on the developments in the health care reform debate this week.



Fri, Mar 5, 2010 : 12:31 p.m.

Same old blame game. Democrats, lead by you Rep. Dingell have fashioned a bill that takes over 1/6th of the American economy, places rules and regulations on every aspect of health care in this country and when the American people say NO you do not listen. You and the Democrat leadeship shut out Republicans from the start and have no one to blame but yourselves for the mess you have created. The majority of Americans do NOT want the governemnt to take over health care in this country. No matter how you spin it a 2700 page bill can only result in higher taxes, and the heavy hand of government coming between a doctor and a patient, determining the outcome under a regulatory rule book. You claim this bill will save money and help business. This bill finances 6 years of expenses with ten years of taxes. How will increasing taxes help business? You say we need to protect Medicare, but the bill cuts $500 billion from Medicare and ends Medicare Advantage plans which are a way for seniors and disabled to get medical care. The opposition to your bill is not from Republicans, they just reflect the will of the people. Real health care reform can be achieved by an approach that puts the emphysis on the individual and not on the Government. That is what the people want and the Republicans have been saying all along.


Mon, Mar 1, 2010 : 9:21 a.m.

Health care bill 'isnt perfect, but it is a giant leap forward' Right...a giant leap into the cesspool of bankruptcy for our country.

Bill Wilson

Sat, Feb 27, 2010 : 5:32 p.m.

Enough of the blame game John, either get the bill passed, or the voters will pass on you.