One of the most bogus assertions in the health-care debate is the Republican notion that the bills passed by the House and Senate should be junked and Congress should start over.
Starting over is political code for doing nothing. It's an invitation to drag feet until another election cycle starts and the chance is lost. It's a siren call to put health-care reform forever on the rocks.
At President Obama's health-care summit in February, Republicans conceded that reform was important, given rising premiums and other problems. But their piecemeal approach would add at most 3 million people to insurance rolls.
Compare that with the 31 million more Americans who could be insured by passing the Democratic version, which the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said would trim the deficit by $138 billion over 10 years.
Republicans, caught up in ideological fictions about government takeovers, will not help to get the job done. It is up to Democrats to exercise the mandate they won in the 2008 presidential election.
In this eleventh hour, Democrats must find the courage to treat the claims designed to sink health care as desperate and untrue.
Abortion is the prime example. When tens of thousands of people die every year for lack of medical insurance, it is perverse that some groups would sink health-care reform because it doesn't ban abortion outright, even though it also doesn't use taxpayer dollars to fund the procedure. That truth has moved the leaders of 59,000 Roman Catholic nuns to write a letter in support of the legislation.
This legislation has been talked to death. It's time now to give it life by passing it, forthrightly and bravely, with as few gimmicks as possible.
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