Lawmakers must be open now

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 10, 2010

Medical doctors are taught many, many things. For those of us who stand in awe sometimes of their understanding of the intricacies of the human body, we wonder how such knowledge is crammed into their brains.

But perhaps one of the first, most basic, things young physicians are taught is to first, do no harm.

It’s a simple sentiment one meant to focus the young physician to realize that their moves need to be deliberate, when possible, and always with the overriding purpose to help, not hurt.

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We can only hope that this common sense, logical approach to medicine can find its way into the plans to reform our nation’s health care and health insurance.

Separate plans created by the U.S. House and U.S. Senate appear to be steaming down the track toward reconciliation between the two versions and ultimate passage into law.

But the horrifying thing is that much of the discussion is happening behind closed doors and without allowing the public to the table during the discussion phase, the huge piece of legislation — so big that many lawmakers admit they haven’t read it — is about to become law.

President Obama said during his campaign that such debates would be transparent and aired on television and the Internet.

Unfortunately, the reconciliation discussions so far are happening behind closed doors. If that continues, none of us knows what harm the proposed law may ultimately cause.

Rather than taking steps to reform the status quo in a measured, logical manner, we’re blundering into this with little regard for the massive unintended consequences — and harm — that may follow and little, if any, citizen involvement.