Health care gridlock

September 10, 2009 12:55:32 PM PDT
I've been doing some checking today, and I've discovered something fascinating.

Barack Obama won the Presidency last November.

I was curious about the results of that election, because if an alien - the real, outer-space kind, not the racist description of undocumented immigrants - landed here and wondered what party was in power in Washington, he/she/it might conclude that it was the Republican Party.

Let's put aside the rude behavior by Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina, who shouted out "you lie" while the President was speaking. (He has since apologized, sort of.)

The Republicans are behaving as if they won the election, they got the mandate - when the truth is the overwhelming opposite. Hey we're all for a good political battle and sparring. But this seems to have less to do with political leanings than it does a realization that the party in power for eight of the last eight and one-half years was booted out.

Is health care in a crisis mode in this country? Few would argue otherwise. Is it the government's role to protect about 46 million Americans who don't have health insurance (creating an economic burden on everyone else)? That's where reasonable people have some disagreement.

(As if on-cue, the Census Bureau released data that showed between 2007 and 2008, real median household income fell 3.6%; 2.5 million more Americans fell below the poverty line; and the number of people without health insurance grew from 45.7 million to 46.3 million.)

But rather than allow the man elected by a rather substantial margin to follow his agenda (and let's remember it wasn't his goal when he was running to bail out the greedy corporations who were allowed to operate unfettered under his predecessor), those who oppose health care reform have raised the specter of every boogie man imaginable to scare Americans.

No wonder the public holds politicians in such low regard. If nothing gets done, things will get worse - and any rational mind would acknowledge that.

Enough of the rant, but I'm as frustrated as most Americans about the inability of people who claim to be committed to public service to truly serve the public.

Our Jeff Pegues is in Washington again tonight, with the what's next in the health care reform debate. He'll file his report for 11 p.m.

Also at 11, a mystery up at Yale University, where a graduate student has disappeared and police, her friends and family - are all trying to find her. Annie Le hasn't been seen since Tuesday morning. We'll have the latest in the search for Ms. Le.

And in Yonkers, finally, they're trying to do something about the crime wave that has ripped through that city this summer.

A summit of sorts is planned for tonight - organized by elected officials and the Yonkers Police Dept. to talk about crime and the proposed staffing cuts for police.

And under the heading - first on the road. Ford Motor Co. has become the first automaker to support a ban on texting while driving. Ford is also endorsing legislation introduced by two lawmakers from New York - Sen. Charles Schumer and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy - to encourage a faster transition to hands-free and voice-activated technologies.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER


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