Tuesday, November 5, 2013

No "Profiles in Courage" Here!

Today is Election Day in many local districts.  Perhaps as you scan your ballot you will find a “Profile in Courage,” a candidate or two that will have the political courage to make the tough decisions necessary to get things done.
You certainly won’t find any of those in Washington D.C.  One need only look back on the past twenty four hours to prove the point.
You are all familiar with the much publicized disaster that is the rollout of the Affordable Care Act.  We have now learned that this train wreck goes much deeper than a website that simply doesn’t work.  We have learned that in spite of the president’s assertions to the contrary, millions of people are not able to keep the health care coverage that they currently have.  We have learned that the technology company hired to implement the project had little understanding of the massive scope of the startup and had been recently fired by the Canadian government for performance issues.  And we have learned that no one in the administration charged with overseeing the rollout had any previous business experience or any experience whatsoever in implementing a startup.  In fact the administration dismissed recommendations from outside advisors to bring in an experienced “overseer” choosing instead to assign the task to its more trusted yet woefully inexperienced inner circle.
Yesterday the White House pivoted into full on damage control.  And as we have seen so many times before, the cover up is always worse than the act itself.
There is video proof that on 26 separate occasions over the past three years the president has said: “If you like your current health care plan, you can keep it.”  No “ifs” “ands” or “buts”!  “You can keep it.”  Period!  Now we hear him saying that the law has always stated that the “junk” policies in the “individual market” were grandfathered unless “you or your insurance company changes the plan.” 
While that is true…that’s not what the president said…on 26 separate occasions.  “If you like your current health care plan, you can keep it.”
The president now tells us that if the insurance company cancels your plan you can go the exchange and get a better plan for less money. 
But you can’t…because the website doesn’t work.
The president now tells us that you don’t have to go to the website.  “You can apply by phone, or in the mail, or in person.”   
But you can’t because those applications must pass through the same screening portal that has jammed up the website.
The president needs to stop trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.  He needs to own his administrations’ mistakes and put forth his detailed plan to fix the problems…even if it means taking the political hit and suspending the rollout for six months or a year. 
We have said all along that the ACA is a flawed attempt to provided health care for everyone through the current free market insurance system.  But it is the law and the administration has to make it work. Health care is far too important to all Americans to be subjected to the whims of politics. 
The President needs to find the courage to do his job.
The other example of the “spine free zone” that encompasses all of Washington involves the LGBT community.
Yesterday the senate passed a cloture vote on the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, a bill that if passed would make it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of their sexual orientation.  The reason for the bill is that it is legal in twenty states to fire someone on the basis of their sexual orientation. 
The bill is expected to pass the senate with bi-partisan approval.
The bill will then move to the House where it is already finding opposition.  Speaker Boehner’s office has issued a statement that the Speaker is hesitant allow a vote on the bill.  “The Speaker believes that this legislation will increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs, especially small business jobs.”
Translation…the Speaker does not want the members of his caucus to be forced to go on the record on this issue.  Any Republican that votes “Yea” will incur the wrath of the Tea Party and face a primary challenge come Election Day.  Any Republican that votes “Nay” will get hammered by the LGBT community.  So even though passing the bill is the right thing to do for the country, Boehner will take the coward’s way out and pretend the senate vote didn’t happen.
We would pose this question to the Speaker.  “Mr. Speaker, please explain why we should expect members of the LGBT community to pay the same taxes as straight individuals when they are not given the same rights and protections under our laws?  Why not bring a vote to the floor and allow the people’s representatives to vote their conscience?” 
The Speaker needs to find the courage to do his job.
No “Profiles in Courage” here.       

No comments:

Post a Comment