opinion

What editorial writers are saying about health system reform negotiations

Following health reform passage by the House and Senate, Democrats are negotiating a final bill without Republicans and media present.

Posted Jan. 25, 2010.

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A brief sampling from newspapers across the nation finds editorial writers criticizing President Obama for reneging on a campaign promise to put all health care reform negotiations on C-SPAN, though a few also say the highly partisan process might be to blame for the secret, one-party talks.

Remember the promise -- bring in the cameras

Barack Obama the candidate repeatedly pledged to open the negotiations of health care reform to public examination. ... At the time, the idea ... seemed a bit gimmicky and fanciful. But a promise is a promise, and President Obama should consider candidate Obama's rationale for instilling accountability in a process that has been infected by backroom deals and shadowed by misinformation and conspiracy theories in the blogosphere. San Francisco Chronicle, Jan. 8

Open the debate

C-SPAN and other media were able to cover the debate on these issues as the House and Senate worked on their bills over the last several months. That access shouldn't be shut down, now that the final product is nearly at hand. Philadelphia Inquirer, Jan. 7

Both parties blow it on health care

It's no surprise that Democrats have shut Republicans out of Senate-House negotiations on a final federal health care bill. This has been a deeply partisan fight from the beginning. ... [N]ot too many years ago we suspect the leaders of both parties would have recognized the basic problems and hashed out much better legislation, with backing from more flexible, less ideologically pure parties. ... Maybe it's better that these guys and gals aren't talking to each other. They might make this mess even worse. News-Press (Fort Myers, Fla.), Jan. 6

Democrats shouldn't legislate health reform from behind closed doors

The thought of circumventing GOP roadblocks is tempting. Republicans had many opportunities to make their mark on health care legislation. With very few exceptions, they have opted instead to obstruct the process and have vowed to continue. Even so, health care reform is too big and too important to carry out in secrecy. Kansas City Star, Jan. 6

Health care reform: Republicans dealt themselves out

It sounds sneaky: Rather than convene a formal committee of House and Senate members, a small group of Democratic leaders will work with President Obama to craft the final version of the health care reform bill. ... A year of non-stop public debate has shown it's no use trying to find common ground with Republicans. They want to do nothing, and Democrats want to do something. And it's about time President Obama got directly involved in shaping the reforms he promised to bring about. Star-Ledger (Newark, N.J.), Jan. 8

Transparency: Full of holes

The star chamber negotiations clearly are not in keeping with the pledges made by the president and his congressional allies. ... The proposed new law affects virtually all Americans and deserves to be cobbled together under the lights and in full public view. Amarillo (Texas) Globe-News, Jan. 7

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