There’s a fairly easy way to solve the problem of passing the health care reform—especially dealing with conservative congressmen and senators who are against anything that the Obama administration proposes.
Let’s use the example of House Republican Leader, John Boehner (Ohio), who is on record as saying that “America has the best medical care in the world.” Boehner is saying that residents of his state don’t need any changes or improvements in their health care, since they already have the best in the world.
Let’s pass legislation that permits senators and congressmen (and women, though I’m not aware of any women who think this way) to exclude their states from any changes in their constituents’ health care. After all, some governors have said their states don’t need the stimulus money.
Is this possible? Of course. There are many precedents for this. Farm states get agricultural subsidies; coastal states get fishing subsidies. Amtrak cannot benefit those states where Amtrak does not go, and yet it’s still supported by federal tax money every year.
If states like Ohio (and others I won’t mention) are not included in health reform, think how much the federal government will save. And if Ohioans decide that Congressman John Boehner is wrong after they observe what happens in other states, then they can easily vote for another candidate in the next election.
As my wife says, if people are against what they call “socialized” medicine, let them produce their own flu shots.
CHARLES R. LARSON is Professor of Literature at American University, in Washington, D.C.