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Slade Gorton
Political leader

Slade Gorton

A former U.S. Senator and Washington State Attorney General, Slade Gorton served on the 9/11 Commission.

Making good on a promise

Question: In taking control of the House this week, Republicans have committed themselves to investigating and repealing all of the major initiatives taken by the Democratic president and Congress over the past two years. How much should the new leaders of any organization focus on undoing the past as opposed to charting a more affirmative course for the future?

Republican candidates almost universally promised to repeal the Obama health-care bill during the course of last year's campaign, and that is a promise they must keep. It is not certain, however, that they made such promises with respect to all other administration initiatives, and so it may well be that the first such total repeal bill will be the last.

From that point on, the agenda should be largely positive, aimed primarily at economic recovery. Such an agenda will necessarily involve a number of attempts to dramatically modify last year's initiatives, but much of it should be directed at modifications that have a real opportunity for success. And finally, of course, a truly bipartisan program to deal decisively with debt and deficits should be the primary goal of both Congress and the White House.

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By Slade Gorton

 |  January 4, 2011; 11:22 AM ET
Category:  Accomplishing Goals , Congressional leadership , Economic crisis , Government leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Solutions not sound bites | Next: The death of old ways

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They owe it to us to try and fix the health care bill.

It shouldn't be too difficult to come up with better ideas than those currently included -- the most difficult part is the politics.

Posted by: postfan1 | January 11, 2011 11:45 PM
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While the Dem bill is far superior to status quo, it does not address the 3 major problems with health care delivery in our country. First is unlimited profit causing things like duplicate tests, unneeded treatments, a 4-1 ratio of specialists to GPs (they earn more), the opposite of need. The second is the massive fraud in medicare/medicaid costing up to 100 billion a year. The third and most important, boomers will bankrupt medicare collapsing medical care delivery, GOP solution is kill grandma with Ryan's $9800 annual cap, while the Dems afraid of old man Bush's fate refuse to raise the tax.

Posted by: jameschirico | January 10, 2011 8:05 AM
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Let's think for a moment just about schizophrenia, which the Arizona shooter apparently suffered from, and the health care bill that Rep. Giffords voted for and the Democratic congress passed. The GOP is now hell bent on repealing it, of course, because it will help too many people.

Obama and Pelosi just extended coverage to 30 million new Americans. If those people are similar to the rest of the population genetically, and there's little reason to assume otherwise, roughly 150,000 (schizophrenia has a lifetime prevalence of roughly 0.5%) of them are currently walking around without medication of any sort like this young man. Actually the number is most likely much higher among the uninsured for obvious reasons (for starters, many have been rejected for health insurance for this prior condition).

So thanks to Obama and Pelosi doing something Republicans fought tooth and nail against, 150,000 people like this young man will at least have the chance to get treatment. Possibly keeping them from shooting your family at a Safeway one day. Conservatives, please say thank you to the nice president and Speaker now. On behalf of your family, and the newly-medicated strangers you will never meet, thank goodness. Think about what you are "undoing" here.

Posted by: B2O2 | January 10, 2011 1:46 AM
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If we seriously wanted to address health care costs, then a law should be passed such that insurance companies will heretofore be non-profit.

Posted by: mikebw | January 9, 2011 5:54 PM
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frichards72 posts January 8, 2011 4:35 PM
"Bring back the Doctor who makes house calls and accepts what the patient can afford. Eliminate insurance completely."

Talk to the AMA while you are visiting with Alice in Wonderland will YA.

For "C"sake doctors are 2%'ers .. pull your head out will ya!

Posted by: knjincvc | January 9, 2011 1:15 AM
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"Republican candidates almost universally promised to repeal the Obama health-care bill during the course of last year's campaign, and that is a promise they must keep."

Well, they are screwed because it is a promise that they do not not have a pin-head of a chance to keep that promise. No way, no how.

Posted by: ddraper81 | January 8, 2011 10:23 PM
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Republicans had 8 years to deal with health care in the United States. They had both branches of Congress and the Presidency. And what they accomplished was the worlds largest spending spree ever giving us the world's largest debt ever: they funded two wars, cut government revenues, significantly increased government bureaucracy and costs with a new government department, they approved every Republican-proposed spending bill. AND they refused to have anything to do with healthcare.

So: I hear them smiling and saying: "trust me, trust me, trust me. We'll give the United States a good health program.
Just don't ask for details until AFTER we've disappeared the Health Care legislation"

Sorry. I want to see their health care proposal BEFORE they try to destroy the current program --- something that is a minimum of 20 to 30 pages long with budget notes, sources of funding, --- a serious proposal for health legislation for the people of the United States.

For the last 2+ years, Republicans have been the "NO". What I'm hearing is that this is one more "no" on their part and they have nothing to replace it with --- or do they plan to replace it with anything? And, I worry that this is what the Republicans will create, once again.

Posted by: thetravelingmasseur | January 8, 2011 6:28 PM
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This, in most rational business circles, has been called "thinking off"... There is not a single chance that the republican pee-party clowns can get the health care law repealed over the next two years...NO CHANCE.

If they try, they will be painted as against all American's health and be asked WHY they want American children to die.. They are basically setting themselves up, with their very first vote as the majority in the House of Representatives, as bungling, racist fools.
Which I find is a good description of these bozos.

It will be good for them to get treated the same way, everywhere, that Jim Bunting, the clown senator from kentucky, tried to treat everyone else in public. The man was a pig..

Posted by: rbaldwin2 | January 8, 2011 6:16 PM
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Bring back the Doctor who makes house calls and accepts what the patient can afford. Eliminate insurance completely.

Posted by: frichards72 | January 8, 2011 4:35 PM
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The last positive initiative the republicans had was the creation of the National Cancer Institute as part of the "war on cancer", under Nixon. Since Reagan the party has had only one constituent, the very wealthy, and lowering their taxes has been priority #1. They have gotten the top tax rate down to 35% but that in their minds is still not enough, with a target of 14% being mentioned now. And their actions have directly led to the increase in the debt and deficit, which they could care less about, instead saying social programs are doing so, even though these social programs have not increased debt or deficits when they were created.

The single cause for the increase in the debt is the lowering of the top tax rates. Look up the history of the top tax rates and see how lowering them in the past led to the depression (25%).

We will not get out of this financial mess the republicans have created until we raise the top tax rates. Its time to start talking about this in frank terms. We had a surplus under Clinton with a higher top tax rate. Lets go back to the Clinton era tax rates and stop playing chicken with the American economy. To do that we need to vote out these crazy republicans in 2012, the very people who are destroying America at every turn.

Posted by: Fate1 | January 8, 2011 11:01 AM
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"try and pass reasonable medical tort reform."

Except, as was pointed out endlessly during the last two years, that is not a solution to any problem other than the fact that doctors don't think that they have enough take-home pay. Where tort reform has been in effect for a while (e.g. Texas), it has not resulted in more or better care, or in lowering costs. It is a MYTH, just like death panels and all the rest of the baloney that the Party of NO wishes we would accept without looking at the evidence.

Posted by: DaveR1 | January 8, 2011 8:58 AM
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If the Democrats cared at all for the people they would join the Republicans in repealing Obamacare. It a mess, cobbled together by compromise and we have no idea if it will really work or not.

There are dozens of countries that provide universal health care to their citizens. We should study them all and pick the one that best fits our citizen's needs best.

Posted by: Trakker | January 8, 2011 8:40 AM
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The remedies to fix health insurance are all going to be very expensive, if there is to be any underlying fairness in the system, because health insurance companies have- for decades- played games with policy holders. These so-called "low cost" health insurance policies that businesses love are in fact very high cost if you exceed the payout limits. And now that Congress is not going to deliver on their end of the bargain to bring-in millions of new, healthy policy holders to offset the costs of risky patients, the full-level benefit health insurance providers are again playing games by making astronomical rate increases in an effort to undermine what remains of support for the law that was passed.

Health insurance reform should be a part of a comprehensive Federally-funded job training program which provides health benefits and unemployment insurance while job training occurs for recipients. I don't understand the rationale of conservatives who are willing to pay for prisons, but unwilling to pay for job training programs and for adequate income support during job training.

Posted by: armyofone | January 8, 2011 3:10 AM
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The Republicans will pander to their noisy, ever narrowing base and keep their promise to attempt a repeal of the health care bill. They will conduct a grand kabuki play knowing full well the outcome: that the law will stand.

They know that in the same way that they knew once Bush tax cuts were rammed through reconciliation, their "political time bomb" would be near impossible to defuse - no matter the consequences to the deficit. Bush advisor Dan Barlett was quoted last month as saying, "The fact that we were able to lay the trap feels pretty good, to tell you the truth".

President Obama was right, elections do indeed have consequences.

Posted by: hardrain | January 8, 2011 2:17 AM
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The Republicans will do all they can to gum up the system, to make the regulations in the new Healthcare law as ineffective as possible. There goal will be to ensure the public doesn't notice the benefits of the new law. Personally, I'm relieved that health insurance companies can't deny coverage to my kids based on their pre-existing conditions. The Democrats would do well to go on the offensive and speak about Healthcare as a fundamental right, and empowering consumers, rather than insurance companies.

Posted by: tedf1 | January 7, 2011 8:00 PM
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Quit posturing behind "verbal virtuosity" and the blatant liberal progressive double speak! Congressional leadership under Ms "P" and Mr "R" was dispicably opaque when promising transparency. Shoving bad legislation through over the objections of the citizens is a new form of lawlessness being allowed by the liberal press. After reading many articles on this issue I am of the opinion that no one knew the effects or financial implications of the "Bill". Many still don't - including those that passed it! So the prodent and responsible, as well as reasonable action is to repeal the "Law". Tort reform, payment limits, peventitive medicine that is focused on patient results and not on 'avoidance of legal outcomes' should be driving the force of legislation, not Governmental Control of the industry. Stating "it will make things more equal" or "I is the right thing to do" are not valid criteria for the unknown affects of this legislation. Why is it necessary for the Government to spend tax dollars on advertizements still trying to convince us that ObamaCare is good? It is just more verbal virtuosiyt from the liberal elite and those that consider themselves as "intellectual" and having "the greater good" in mind for us all. They are consistantly wrong, and never willing to correct the errors they creat. Never!

Agree it is a bad law, passed using bad practices and for political reasons only, and get on with correcting the mistake. Congress has the responsibility to the US Citizens to correct these and other errors. Get on with it, and Gods speed to you!

Posted by: papamckie | January 6, 2011 11:33 AM
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Making good on an ill conceived promise does not speak well of the ability of the new GOP majority to do anything of value for the country.

Posted by: oldguy9 | January 5, 2011 1:34 PM
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More generalized BS that gives us no clue as to what specific actions the GOP will take. We don't have any idea what they would do with health care...or the deficit...or our two seemingly interminable wars...or energy policy...or tax reform...or SSI...

Once again, the ONLY message is, "Democrats bad. GOP good. Trust us."

Posted by: st50taw | January 5, 2011 9:33 AM
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They should pass their repel, and just fail to get through the Senate, and then try and take the Senate and forgo trying to defund the current bill.

If they really want to do what they promised, they should pass a replacement and repeal bill in the House, because everyone Republican I heard said Repeal and Replace, not just repeal.

OR
They could give a darn about the country, and try and pass reasonable medical tort reform. That way they add to the solution before the election, and can modify the current law if they win the elections.

Posted by: Muddy_Buddy_2000 | January 4, 2011 4:57 PM
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