On a Health Care Restart

President Obama addresses the nation and a joint session of Congress tonight about health care reform. I recently saw a poll showing 25% of Americans want Congress to start over health care legislation. So I ask “Why?” – Just so we can return to the same point of partisanship? So we can retrace Speaker Pelosi’s methodology on legislation? So we can continue to hear partisanship excuses? No thanks.

I have a novel idea – one that would be an innovative approach for Washington. Something that many Americans will appreciate – I said “many” because it is an approach that many partisans will not favor – but this approach could yield a meaningful solution. Instead of restarting the process, I suggest the Being Honest and Truthful approach to this important and complex issue.

Besides doing and saying whatever to make a point and get their way, our politicians (like us in life) misrepresent the facts by generalizing. Generalizations are broad summary-type statements that tend to be vague while appearing to by fact. Once one begins to generalize generalizations, the statement becomes further away from the truth.

Below are examples to support my point; and here are others from me, me again, and numerous statement regarding health care from PoltiFact Check.

Howard Dean (D, DNC)
“All the really great programs in American history, Social Security, were done without Republicans. Medicare was done without Republican support until the last vote where they realized they had to get on board.”
PolitiFact Rating: False, Explanation

Michael Steele (R, RNC)
“The Department of Veterans Affairs has “a manual out there telling our veterans stuff like, ‘Are you really of value to your community?’ You know, encouraging them to commit suicide.”
PolitiFact Rating: Pants on Fire, Explanation

Rush Limbaugh (R, Commentator)
“President Obama . . . wants to mandate circumcision.”
PolitiFact Rating: Pants on Fire, Explanation

Rep. John Boehner (R, OH)
“The health bill’s plan for comparative effectiveness research “would be used by the government to ration care.”
PolitiFact Rating: False, Explanation

President Obama (D)
“If we went back to the obesity rates that existed back in the 1980s, the Medicare system over several years could save as much as a trillion dollars.” PolitiFact Rating: False, Explanation

I recommending reading all the PolitiFact Check statements on health care reform to understand all the misconceptions that representatives from multiple sides are promoting.

The Annenberg Public Policy Center also provides fact-check information with Twenty-six Lies about H.R. 3200, clarification about government-funded abortions, a claim of additional breast cancer deaths,  a party-based claim about abolishing Medicare, big myths about health care, Michael Steele’s ad to seniors, a set of articles, and the FactCheck Wire with the latest updates.

On Transforming the GOP

Shortly after the November election I wrote about the problems within the Republican Party.  In January 2009, the party elected a new leader.

Michael Steele, the new Republican Party leader, is in charge of picking up the pieces of a shattered party and transforming it into a new blueprint with a broader appeal. Given this is a noble and worthwhile cause, and being an independent moderate who has and can vote Republican, let’s see how Mr. Steele is doing.

Recently, Mr. Steele sent a letter to Republicans with the comments below.

  • President Barack Obama, the most far-left President in American history
  • Speaker Pelosi is even farther to the left than President Obama
  • Senate Leader Harry Reid, one of the most ruthless, liberal partisans in Congress
  • President Obama embraces a socialist economic philosophy
  • The Democrats try to sabotage the USA Patriot Act that has kept us safe
  • Their efforts to …. shut down conservative talk shows
  • We remain strong and so NO to socialism, but also to put together a positive agenda for the future
  • We need to resist the militant leftist agenda
  • Your contribution of any amount will go directly toward building, uniting, and mobilizing our Republican Party at this critical moment.

Where’s the new blueprint?

Congratulations Mr. Steele. It appears that instead of transforming the party, the party has successfully transformed you.