Friday, August 14, 2009

Reporter's Notebook

- Steve McDonagh can be contacted at

We need discussion, not name calling, on healthcare reform

Healthcare Reform has taken over the spotlight in a big way. And everyone seems to want their moment in the spotlight – moms, plumbers, doctors and politicians, all trying to yell louder than the other guy. Ads from the left, from the right, from insurance companies, the A.M.A. and people on street corners waving the flag and holding signs for or against healthcare reform.

Much of the discussion on healthcare reform is focused on the discussion, or lack thereof, in the “Town Hall” meetings held by our elected representatives (or, in the case of Vancouver Rep. Brian Baird, trying to hold or cancelling). The news on TV is filled with video of shouting matches between hecklers and congressmen, with women throwing up their hands or in some cases throwing in the towel.

One guest on CNN this week likened it to the passions stirred up when cross-town high schools meet for the big football game. I say, hardly, since if you acted like these people at any high school game I attend, odds are you would be asked to leave the stadium. Patently rude behavior and threats of physical harm are not debate or discussion. How can you know if you disagree with the other person’s position if you don’t let them speak?

We need discussion and debate on healthcare reform – not allegations of “un-Americanism” “socialism, “Death Panels” or “Nazi-like” behavior.

Instead participants should be asking questions, listening to answers and evaluating the options being presented by the opportunity given us – healthcare reform finally making into the spotlight.

Some of the questions that should be asked and answered before we ever move on to the vagaries of what will and what won’t be covered by individual policy options, include:

WHAT is the federal government going to do to reduce the estimated $60 billion – yes with a “b” – lost annually to Medicare and Medicaid fraud?

HOW are they going to reduce the nearly $25 billion the government made in improper Medicare and Medicaid payments?

WHEN will they finally tell us exactly what additional burdens businesses will be expected to take on when reform is implemented?

WILL there be any exceptions for small business owners who are already reeling from the recession and frozen credit markets?

WHY does “reform” have to happen all at once?

There are plenty of problems with healthcare in this country – problems that almost all of us agree need to be fixed. We can also agree, for the most part, on the proper steps to eliminate those problems. I encourage everyone to join the discussion, but do so with respect and civil behavior as our forefathers once taught us. And like our forefathers, civil discourse will lead us to the answers.

Friday Fish Wrap

Paul Montague offering tips on the best time and place to exercise…..Byron Roselli serving up compliments and opportunities…Scott Miller, nice to meet you, finally...Alisa Arenz bringing the rain with her to the park…Ralph Stevens late to the party, again… but relaxing in his chair….Megan McDonagh celebrating another birthday with a camping trip….Steve Schaljo – sans cape – flying all over town…Courtney Givens scouting out the best locations….Nelson Holmberg already buried in the Fantasy Football magazines hoping to take home the bacon.


Anonymous said...


Civil discourse would be more acceptable in trying to persuade someone to not support the govt takeover of our health care. The words have changed to Health Insurance Reform because of the pushback. Without an uprising, they would have rammed TAKEOVER down our throats. My level of trust is low for our politicians. I am not sure, but I believe they passed CAP and TRADE in both houses! Our forefathers ended up demanding freedom and liberty!

Local business owner, taxpayer