Waiting for a clear message

Published 3:54 pm Saturday, September 5, 2009

By Staff
When President Barack Obama goes to Capitol Hill on Wednesday to address Congress regarding health-care reform, the representatives and senators should listen closely.
So should the American people.
The president should take the opportunity to explain his vision for health-care reform, what it includes and what it excludes. It is time for the president to get as specific as possible about what he wants to accomplish with health-care reform, what that reform means in terms of cost and who will pay for it.
It’s time to ratchet down the partisan rhetoric on both sides of the political aisle and to do what’s best for the American people. There is a solution, but finding that solution is going to take a give-and-take approach. It’s time to get rid of confusion and bring in compromise.
The president should listen to his supporters, supporters who have been urging the president to be more specific about his plans and to take a more significant role in the debate. That makes sense; the more details the public knows about the president’s views on reforming health care, the easier for members of the public to understand how that reform could benefit them or identify parts of those views with which they take exception.
The president’s remarks next week could go a long way to satisfying some of his fellow Democrats and other liberals unhappy with what they consider his unwillingness to insist on a government-run program to compete with private health insurers, an option the president has said he prefers. The president’s remarks could indicate just how far he is willing to go when it comes to working with Republicans, most of them critical of his reform ideas, on finding compromises that could produce effective and beneficial health-care reform.
When it comes to health-care reform, it’s time for politicians to stop berating one another and start legislating together.