When my son Sam was 6 years old, we found it hard to play games. There was a lot of pouting, “bending” of rules, and sometimes even throwing of sports equipment (like, throwing of hockey sticks and tennis rackets). We worried we were raising a regular McEnroe). After reading books like “Raising Cain” , we decided this was developmentally normal for a six year old boy. We’ve since played every sport known to humans, and board games, without having to dodge projectile athletic equipment.
I wish I could say the same for our leaders in Washington, D.C. We passed a law in March, 2010, with immediate and long term provisions for our health care delivery and finance system. Now, there are some “instant replay” provisions in our legal system, at both the state and federal level. But it’s not fair to call time out to re-write the rule book. That’s just what opponents of progress are doing when they challenge the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), and threaten to dismantle or defund the law.
Similarly, legislators who supported reform broadly lost re-election in November, 2010. Now opponents of progress are claiming the law is un-constitutional. They continue to challenge the law, despite numerous rulings upholding its constitutionality. Yesterday, a federal judge in Virginia ruled that the individual mandate portion of the law is unconstitutional.
I’m interested to see who calls foul now. Perhaps private insurers who demanded the mandate be central to the law, claiming they could not afford progress without a broad base of healthy clients? This is what happens when we throw tantrums and fling rackets whenever the game doesn’t go our way. Chaos.
The fact is Congress passed health reform because a majority of Americans knew we had to take a step towards solving the U.S. health care crisis. Doctors for America’s 15,000 members repeatedly showed legislators, the media, and the voting public, that doctors support reform. Let’s move forward with healthcare reform that helps patients and practitioners.
Now is the time for good sportsmanship. Let’s not change the rules just because we don’t like them. Now is not the time to return to a state of affairs where the system is unraveling. Now we need to take advantage of the PPACA and solve the health care crisis. Most Americans agree.