In response to John D. Ondich’s letter, “Put aside petty politics to fix U.S. health-care issues,” I would like to offer a few specific examples of what bipartisan reform to our national health-care system might still look like. As long as there are federal regulations of health-insurance companies in place (a Democratic idea), allowing people to buy insurance from across state lines (a Republican idea) shouldn’t be too problematic.
Regarding Ondich’s preferences (a Democratic one) for a public option such as Medicare to be available to all, I would support that option as well. To make this bipartisan, all one has to do is recognize that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was based on a conservative, Republican idea first posited by the American Heritage Foundation in 1989 and supported by Republicans throughout the 1990s. It should also be noted that the state exchanges, mandates and government subsidies are still consistent with Republican goals. Consider simply how they are part of Republican Paul Ryan’s current plan for reforming Medicare. Perhaps we need to improve health care with a single front: exchanges for all, as long as those exchanges include a public option.
American health care is certainly large enough and complex enough for reforms to come from lots of different places, people, and even competing political ideologies and parties. There is no reason that health-care reform should, or is likely to, end with the ACA.
If we start with a common goal of making American’s health care better, cheaper, faster and fairer, we will see virtually no end to the possibilities of how that can be done. All that is required is the political will to make it happen. Political will starts with elected officials working together — and that begins with the people telling them to do just that.
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