Message to Washington D.C. - Set Aside Politics as Usual and Find Health Care Solution

A group of foundation leaders who fund programs in Kansas recently met with Gov. Mark Parkinson. In my opinion, Gov. Parkinson is a hard working, compassionate and honorable person. I am so impressed that he looks at issues without being overly concerned about the politics of the issues. He simply is trying to do what he thinks is right. It is so refreshing to see a politician with this kind of integrity.

Gosh, I wish he was in Washington DC during the debate on health reform. Democrats in the House are not consulting with Republicans in drafting legislation. House Republicans are for the most part simply opposed to whatever Democrats propose. It is so disappointing to see elected officials act in a way that is so immature and dangerous to our future. Both sides are already talking about the 2010 election and how they will use the upcoming health care votes to raise money. Shouldn’t elected officials from both political parties be working together to see how a new health bill can be drafted to provide quality and affordable health insurance to all Americans?

I was proud to work on the staff of Senator Tom Eagleton in Washington DC for over seven years. He, like Gov. Parkinson, was a person of integrity who always voted his conscious and worked with people on all sides of an issue to reach a common solution. Sen. Eagleton and Sen. John Danforth represented Missouri in the U.S. Senate and it was very common to see these two leaders from different political parties often consulting with each other trying to determine what was best for the state of Missouri and for our country.

It seems to me that the current political culture in Washington D.C. is not helpful to obtaining good public policy.


I share the disappointment that Steve and other respondents have expressed over the partisan politics being played out in this life and death health care reform debate. And I wish I could do more than just send letters begging my representatives to act more like statesmen and women, and less like political hacks. One of the things that I found most glorious about our last presidential election was the inspiring engagement of young people. It was great seeing cynicism fall away and passion and hope and ownership return in the form of young people working to change the world they live in. I hope that watching what's happening in D.C. won't sour all that optimism and support for our political process.

As a not so young any (in my 50's) activist I say that we need to vote everyone out in 2010 (radical for an old bird I'd say) if they do not draft and pass a health care reform bill. If politicians can not move past their own self interest they are not deserving of my vote!If a bill is passed and seems not to be working we can alter it. The problem is that doing nothing is allowing EVERYONE to suffer.We have become a country governed by politician's self interest. And they get away with their ineptitude by using words that "scare" the public into believing it is in their interest that things stay the same...I am tired of being frustrated and lied to. Our constitution was written to protect top 10% richest? I think not!

Thanks for your Blog Steve. I am glad you were able to meet with the governor of KS. He sounds like a fair man that is truly for the people. Does he know that the Tigers are better than the Jayhawks… did you all cover that:)As young activist working with the working poor in the inner city, it is so frustrating to see politicians working towards political goals instead of for the people who elected them and who desperately need their leadership skills and support in the daily lives for survival. It is a crime that these politicians are not held accountable for their campaign promises. Our clients that we serve are held accountable for everything that they do because they are at the bottom of every system and have absolutely zero power. Our clients depend on politicians to create policy to improve their lives and all the politicians do or at least seem to be doing now is waste time on partisan politics. They are literally making people’s lives worse instead of better. I hope more people like Gov Parkinson make their voices heard in Washington so they can get some real work done. I love reading your blog Steve! It is better than the KC star, NY Times, and Washington Post.

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About Me

Steve Roling

Steve Roling

Steve Roling is the President/CEO of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City. Each week he blogs about issues that inspire him as we work toward eliminating barriers to quality health.