STAFF EDITORIAL: Pass agreed-upon health care points through Congress

President Barack Obama’s Feb. 25 health care summit was not successful to say the least. The only accomplishment? Congress agreed that they disagree.

That, and the civilized disagreement was broadcast for public viewing unlike so much of the rest of the health care debate.

Though philosophic differences have been strengthened by months of partisan feuding, both parties have found three areas of common ground: tort reform, implementing insurance across state lines and ending insurance discrimination based on pre-existing conditions.

The president and Congress need to abandon the “all or nothing” mentality in favor of perfecting and passing these three points of agreement.

Americans are tired of futile deadlines and delays. The outrageous costs and inadequacies present in our health care system are undeniable. Reform of any kind is vital — our future depends on it.

By capping malpractice lawsuit payouts, creating cost competition among insurance companies and providing insurance for people regardless of pre-existing ailments, Congress can begin to create sustainable reform in America’s health care system that will drive down health costs for all Americans.

There is consensus among many on the left and right that health care is more expensive than it should be. Solutions that lower those costs help solve multiple problems for everyone.

Insurance across state lines helps increase competition and puts more power back in consumers’ hands.

Reducing the expensive liability physicians face will allow them to practice cheaper, and they can order fewer tests that do less to diagnose patients than they do to add to potential legal defense.

Mandating that insurance companies not deny on the basis of pre-existing conditions permits all Americans access to health care regardless of their genes.

Congress should not only talk, but act and act now. Make the crucial changes that can be made now, and continue to work on the areas that require improvement.

We ask legislators to recall the old saying “accept the things you cannot change, the courage to change the things you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

You know the areas of common ground: tort reform, insurance across state lines, pre-existing conditions.

Swallow your pride and work together to put these improvements into effect.

By implementing these areas, Congress and American citizens can begin to see the reform we’ve been promised.

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