Health care reform needs careful debate

Published 1:31 pm Friday, June 23, 2017

The overhaul of our nation’s health care system will likely be voted on next week and it is sadly ironic that a Kentucky senator — a state with nearly a quarter of its adults uninsured or underinsured prior to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act — appears to be driving this forward with as little public debate as possible.

Sen. Mitch McConnell, the majority leader in the Senate, is pushing hard to put the plan to vote early next week despite the fact many senators and the public didn’t even see the complete plan until Thursday.

Don’t forget, this lack of transparency was the exact thing Democrats were blasted for — and rightfully so — seven years ago.

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Now that the details are out, it is clear there are both good and bad changes in the proposal but the complete ramifications aren’t yet fully known because there simply hasn’t been enough time for thorough analysis.

Regardless, the bill will have a tough path as it is not expected to get a single vote from the Democrats and only two Republicans have to oppose it for the proposal to fail. Even if it is adopted, it would then have to be approved by the more conservative House.

If that doesn’t happen, Congress will essentially start at the beginning to reconcile the two versions of the health care reform proposals.

The approach this time is just as flawed as it was when the Democrats essentially pushed “Obamacare” through with little transparency and public discussion.

Although citizens deserve answers about the future of our health care system, we would like to see the Senate’s proposal get defeated and, hopefully, by a large margin. That may be the only outcome that gets both parties to put politics aside and come to the table with an open mind and ideas to find a solution that truly has all citizens at heart.

Health care shouldn’t be about statistics or political victories or mid-term elections or anything else other than creating a sustainable system that provides affordable access to the best care possible for as many people as possible.

Because of his leadership role McConnell has the opportunity to lead this reform and help ensure the replacement plan takes care of Kentuckians and those in the other 49 states, but it may take defeat to convince Republicans and Democrats alike that compromise is the path to a victory where all Americans win.