Each week the Keizertimes asks community leaders a question about current events. To see more of this week’s answers or answers to past questions log onto www.keizertimes.com and click on In the Ring.
This week’s question: Should health care reform opponents focus on repealing the bill, or move on to other pressing issues?
Art Bobrowitz, Compass Rose Consulting:
“The major problem I see is more than repealing the bill is how will we pay for it? This legislation will probably wind up in the court system. States are already lining up with litigation.
“The majority of the funding for this bill will come from borrowed money and future generations. This bill has the potential to bankrupt this country. Moving on to any other issues would be senseless. We are being told to start paying on a piece of legislation whose benefits will kick in four years from now. If you like this idea then you wouldn’t mind buying your next car on a four-year twenty-seven hundred page contract. The purchase price will be increasing along the way but you don’t get to pick up your new car until 2014. Surely everyone would like a deal like that.”
Dennis Koho, attorney, former Keizer mayor:
“Move on – anything else is merely political posturing. Opponents of the bill just lost. Can they seriously think we believe they now have the votes in the House and the Senate to undo what the Congress just did? Or that they have somehow convinced the president that he was wrong all along and is now willing to sign their repeal bill? Whether voters love the bill or hate it, we understand math well enough to know that won’t happen.
“I would prefer opponents spend their efforts pinpointing areas where the bill can be improved or where it may have gone too far and work to fix those specific areas. Unfortunately, I think we are in for many more months of name calling and political gamesmanship from both sides, and I want Congress to be better than that.”
Vic Backlund, former state representative:
“At this point I don’t think it would be productive or logical for opponents of the health care reform law to try to repeal it. After all, it just passed. In addition, a Democratic majority in the U.S. House and Senate, plus a Democratic president, would never support repeal. Further, it will be a while before the intricacies of the new law will be understood. But, after the law has fully taken effect, and if opposition to the law remains strong and widespread and if Republicans regain majority of the U.S. House and U.S. Senate, repeal at that point might be considered. In the meantime, the Congress should move on to other issues.
“Interestingly enough, I’ve read that there are some legal scholars who think portions of the health care reform law are unconstitutional. Also, there’s the possibility that the reconciliation approach to getting the health care reform law passed is itself unconstitutional Thus, it’s conceivable that legal challenges will be mounted.”
Jacque Moir, former Keizer City Councilor:
“This is a hard question to answer. This was done in such haste that I question what was tacked on? What is it really going to cost? Who is this really covering? What are the ramifications if a person does not want to be included in this program? I also think that people should look at the actions of the folks who are elected to represent all of us. How much arm twisting occurred and what deals were made? I am afraid we will never know all that has been added to this legislation. I believe early on I heard the term “transparency in government”– where is it? If there is more debate on this program maybe more information will come out regarding what is actually in this legislation that was passed. The big question is are the states prepared to handle another “unfunded mandate”?
“This [bill] is historical in every way through the whole process. I question the way the whole thing came about. I watched a lot of what they televised, but I have a feeling the work was all done behind the scenes and who knows what occurred. It will be interesting to see what the legal rulings are if it goes that far. I fear that again we will only hear what they want us to hear. To answer the questions if it has all been done illegally then it needs to be repealed. If not, then work on making it the best legislation possible fixing whatever is wrong with it. The biggest fear for me is what is it really going to cost us? We may or will be living with this for a long time.”