It's probably appropriate that the so-called "Democratic Senator From Oregon" has an opinion column in the city where he's rumored to spend most of his actual time this morning, but from over here in the West, this Oregonian is still bloody confused by Ron Wyden's efforts at "health reform." And I'm not alone.
Wyden's chief of staff, Josh Kardon, is due to share a stage at Kaiser this evening with Earl Blumenauer's senior adviser, Willie Smith. Let's hope Smith, or the moderator, or someone, ANYONE, can find out why Wyden keeps insisting on confusing the debate, when he could simply fall in line with the President and make something actually happen.
Wyden, who is yet to vocally support President Obama's public option for health care, sits on the Senate Finance Committee, which yesterday produced what one former health industry boss is calling "The Insurance Industry Profit Protection and Enhancement Act." Wyden says the bill needs some tweaking, however, to include individualizing the system, instead of using the employer-based system we have, now.
Ultimately I suppose I'm in favor of everyone being able to choose their health care provider, but for the time being, I agree with Obama's statement that Wyden's plan is too radical. And here's the really awful thing: I suspect Wyden knows that by confusing the issue, he may well scupper the wider effort at health reform, altogether. Billionaires for wealthcare!
Stop tinkering with the deck chairs on the Titanic, Senator, and come help us steer the lifeboat.