Health care reform: How Harry Reid could pull off a miracle
By giving ground on tort reform, Harry Reid could meet Republicans in the middle and pass meaningful health care reform for all Americans.
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Reid’s desperation could prove to be the American people’s best opportunity to get the reform they want and deserve. If Reid decided to be a true legislative leader and meet the Republicans in the middle on one issue, he would pass a bill that perhaps could save the Democrats from losing control of Congress next year and the White House in 2012. If he fails, he will create a huge wedge issue against his own party come election time in 2010 and, possibly, even 2012.Skip to next paragraph
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In order for the Democrats to break the current Republican filibuster, which seems stronger than the Iron Curtain, they must make a tremendous concession by offering real tort reform. While the trial lawyers are some of the most loyal supporters of the Democrat Party, their refusal to tame medical malpractice lawsuits adds $54 billion annually to the medical industry’s cost of operation.
In his prime time address to Congress this September, President Obama reached out to Republicans by acknowledging that medical liability costs are a serious problem.
Yet a month later, Reid said he didn’t see any substantive need to address tort reform. Were he to break away from his party’s chains to the trial lawyers’ association, the public mood might turn in favor of the current reform scheme. The Republicans would most likely be quick to accept compromises on their end, and the American people would get true healthcare reform.
He also compared Republicans who oppose the current bill to those who didn’t want to abolish slavery and who opposed women’s suffrage and the civil rights movement. Reid conveniently forgot that it was the Democrats who were the major opposition in all three cases.
While we at the American Center for Law and Justice’s government affairs team lobbied hard for the Stupak-Pitts amendment to be added to the House bill, we also remain opposed to Ms. Pelosi’s bill in full. However, the American public deserves better than to have something as important as healthcare be used as an election-year political tool. The Republican leadership has agreed that the insurance industry needs some corrective measures, yet the Democrats have not offered any compromises on their end.
The elusive middle ground
One of the most timely lyrics in music is from “Meet in the Middle,” a song by the country band Diamond Rio: “We’d gain a lot of ground ‘cause we’d both give a little and there ain’t no road too long when you meet in the middle.” All of us apply this principle in our daily lives whether it is in the workplace or at home.
Republicans could be willing to meet in the middle. Is Harry Reid?
Jordan Sekulow is the cohost of the “Jay Sekulow Live!” radio broadcast, cohost of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) television broadcast, and ACLJ’s director of international operations.