To blame the Republicans for the U.S. Senate's health-care bill, as the Herald editorial did (Dec. 30), is absurd. That
Republican ideas were not incorporated into the bill is solely the work of the party in control.
Having been in the same minority shoes at the state level, I can assure you that shutting one side out completely, and
sometimes gleefully, happens. It happened to me on budget and constitutional reform in the last year in Denver. For
those of us in the legislative arena who are there to work on good policy, rather than partisan blood sport, it's
infuriating and extremely disappointing. Power corrupts, and one-party control is that power.
Describing the Republicans as only the party of no" on health-care reform denies reality. It's a catchy, but
deceitful, sound bite. Former Speaker Newt Gingrich has been writing books and giving public speeches on this topic for
many years, putting into the public sphere serious reform ideas that would contain costs and save lives.
To the dismay of many, Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe, no shrinking violet, voted this fall to get the Senate bill out
of committee so it would be fully discussed. Given her final vote, though, she wasn't convinced the bill was worthy of
passing. These aren't the only two Republicans who have tried to address meaningful health-care reform, but a couple of
the more notable ones.
Over the last several years and without fanfare, I, along with a number of statehouse Republicans, have proposed and
passed legislation at the state level that increases access to actual health-care services, not just access to an
insurance card, which, as many know, doesn't mean access to care.
I'm the first to say my party has been too slow to take on the very important area of health-care reform. But trying to
pin on the Republicans the responsibility and shame of the deals made for Sen. Ben Nelson and others to buy their votes
on the federal bill would be incredibly funny, if all of this wasn't serious in so many ways.
State Rep. Ellen Roberts, Durango