Health reform needed a moderate third party

Partisan rancor was one of the signatures of the recent health reform debate.

Can middle ground actually be sought?

That’s a question that Eric Segall asks in a recent AOL News op-ed. As is the case in Washington, both sides are to blame:

Contrary to what Democrats suggest, there are few examples (if any) where the federal government, or for that matter any government, has required individuals to purchase something from the private sector or pay a tax. Regardless of its real-world applications, or its constitutionality, this individual mandate scares a lot of people, because if Congress can do this, what can’t Congress do? These are serious points worthy of discussion and should not be casually dismissed.

Second, Republicans and those on the right need to stop talking about how the “government is taking over health care.”

Why couldn’t we have reform where a political party advocated for guaranteed universal coverage combined with health savings accounts and tort reform?

The lies emanating both ends of the political spectrum nearly crippled health reform — to the potential detriment of millions of patients who will benefit from the new law.

A few weeks ago the New York Times’ Tom Friendman wrote about the need for a moderate third party:

The radical center is “radical” in its desire for a radical departure from politics as usual. It advocates: raising taxes to close our budgetary shortfalls, but doing so with a spirit of equity and social justice; guaranteeing that every American is covered by health insurance, but with market reforms to really bring down costs; legally expanding immigration to attract more job-creators to America’s shores; increasing corporate tax credits for research and lowering corporate taxes if companies will move more manufacturing jobs back onshore; investing more in our public schools, while insisting on rising national education standards and greater accountability for teachers, principals and parents; massively investing in clean energy, including nuclear, while allowing more offshore drilling in the transition.

Now that’s a platform that I can whole-heartedly support. And so can most of America which, as those on the fringes sometimes forget, resides squarely in the middle.