Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The Live-and-Let-Live Deli

Convening of the new Congress brings back a long-age image, a Manhattan store called the Live-and-Let-Live Deli with a sign in the window: "Out of Business."

The proximate cause is literal--the White House's backing off from a provision in health care reform that would allow doctors to include end-of-life discussions with Medicare patients. Whether this is in response to the "death panel" scare raised by Dr. Sarah Palin and other GOP advocates for the elderly, no one will say, but Dr. John Boehner has diagnosed such consultations as a step “down a treacherous path toward government-encouraged euthanasia.”

In a broader sense, that old phrase of tolerance for others, "Live and let live," is as far from the new atmosphere in Washington as it can possibly be. Now that he has the power of House Speaker, Boehner is faced with reconciling the fireballs elected in November who want to tear down everything yesterday with the realities of what a responsible legislative body can and can't do.

“They have no sense of the limits on a party that controls only one of the three seats of power. Managing that relationship is going to be difficult,” says a former GOP House member.

“But, gee whiz," adds Boehner's friend, Sen. Saxby Chambliss, "it is not going to be easy. We have a bunch of those House guys who are really on fire.”

So let the legislative games begin but, as the debates grow hot and heavy, don't plan on sending out for sandwiches from the Live-and-Let-Live Deli. Some from either side, and possibly both, are going to be eating crow.


Yellow Dog Don said...

Maybe that's really what made Boehner cry again today.

Nothing will get done this week, except the newbies will hear that the Constitution does not mention God but it does give Congress the authority to raise taxes.

Fuzzy Slippers said...

Well, let's be honest. This administration, including BO himself, has repeatedly said that the cost of life-sustaining treatments/devices/intervention is too high. This is nothing new. Look at the breast cancer guidelines that were proposed: the cost of the mammograms for women in their 40's simply doesn't outweigh the number of lives saved. The recommendation? Not only to stop mammograms but to stop doctors from teaching their patients how to do self breast exams. This is outrageous, and even you, dearest Mr. Stein, should be able to see the problems with it.

There is no government-run healthcare on this planet--past or present, actually--that does not engage in rationing. Likewise, there is no private health insurance system that does not engage in rationing. The question is whom do you want making those decisions? The government, whom only the wealthiest can challenge, or the private sector, whom even the poorest among us can challenge both as consumers and as citizens who have a government to turn to? For me it's a no-brainer.

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