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Jonathan Wilsnack, Published December 20 2009

A weakened bill is not the answer

There’s talk of compromise on the health care front, which means we may be closer to getting something passed before the end of the year. Compromise is part of legislation, but at what cost? Is this compromise based on politics or policy? Has a health care bill been weakened so that the most virulent opponents can support it? I’m not sure weakening the bill that much is going to do enough to cover people or bring down costs.

One version of the compromise says that people can buy into Medicare at age 55. That’s great for baby boomers, but what about people in their 20s and 30s? We’re relatively healthy, yet insurance is still usually priced too high for us. Where is the low-cost or public option for these people? Any “compromise” that comes out of the Senate should address this.

Sen. Kent Conrad’s, D-N.D., concern about rural hospitals and Medicare reimbursement rates is fine, but why not the same passion about passing the strongest health care bill possible? We always talk about the desire to keep young people in this state after college. Wouldn’t making sure they could get affordable coverage be part of this equation?