Sunday, August 23, 2009

What we can learn from Montana

I was in Montana the same day that President Obama held his town hall in Belgrade (pop 5,728- 2000 Census), right outside of Bozeman. I took a break from listening to "This American Life" podcasts and stumbled upon a live broadcast of the town hall on AM Radio.

The highlight of the meeting was a sharp question by a Randy Rathie, who was obviously passionate about his beliefs (though I chuckled that he got his news from cable outlets because he didn't like the spin of the networks). He called Obama out and wanted to know from the President how we can pay for this without raising taxes. It was blunt and sincere.

It wasn't the question that impress me. It was the way he asked it. It was a question pointed at the president that was asked in a respectful manner. He didn't yell, kick and scream or bury his head in the sand. He asked a question and listened.

In the rhetoric on health care, the biggest loser is all us who are not privy to dialogue and debate because of ranting, baiting and fanaticism. I cannot think of many things more "Un-America" than the supression of of debate. We must have dialogue.

Health Care has to be reformed. We spend more than any other nation, but our care is not as efficient. It's an travesty that in the wealthiest nation on earth, over 15 million go uninsured. No one should have to decide between taking a sick child to the doctor or buying groceries for the week. How do we streamline health care and cut costs (cheaper does not mean worse-- an Accord is cheaper than a Jaguar, but the Jag will be in the shop most of it's life) while still providing quality services and encouraging medical companies to innovate, research and discover? These are the things we need to be talking about and working towards.

Maybe Obama's plan isn't the one. Perhaps it will die much like Clinton's did. Before it does, I would like to see us to talk about the way we insure, care for and treat ourselves in this country. An honest debate is what we need and is what we should get. Anything less would be a disservice to all Americans.

No comments: