Missing his chance for a place in history
McCook's native son is missing his chance to serve this nation and go down in history as an outstanding statesman by not standing firm against the Obama-Reid-Pelosi crowd on the health care issue.
He has said he will go along and become the last vote needed to this highly questionable bill written largely behind closed doors with some 2,000 pages of technicality that places the federal government in the middle of health care at an expense of an estimated $871 billion over the next decade. Besides protecting the insurance industry and gaining anti-abortion support, his partial "pay back" provides Nebraska with a "bonus" toward the state's share of the added Medicaid cost. The bill has the federal government permanently paying 100 percent of the cost of the expanded coverage in Nebraska while other states will pay, according to news reports.
Harry Reid, senate majority leader, has been quoted as saying "If you read the bill, you will find a number of states treated differently from other states. That's what legislation is about. It's called compromise."
In our book we don't call it "compromise" we call it simply government at its worst. It is unfair and wrong as it is in giving Louisiana $300 million for that vote. Whatever happened to the theory that the primary responsibility of the House of Representatives was state interest while the primary interest of the Senate was the nation at large?
Health care in America can stand improvement. Encouraging health insurance companies to compete nationwide and limiting the liability of medical personnel so extra tests and procedures would not be done simply to "protect" the profession would go a long way in improving the situation. More medical facilities and personnel would also help.
But putting the federal government in charge is going to be the most costly and least efficient approach.
Sen. Ben Nelson stood at the door of making the right decision for the benefit of all Americans. He is loved and respected in his hometown which is renaming its airport in his honor as well as preserving his boyhood home and planning a statue to further honor him. He is loved in McCook but passed up a chance to extend that respect and honor nationwide.
-- Strunk is former publisher of the McCook Daily Gazette.