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Tax reform's lesson for health care

"Whenever Congress undertakes large-scale reform, there are times when disaster appears certain — only to be averted at the last minute by the good sense of its sometimes unfairly maligned members."

That's the assessment of Bill Bradley, a former U.S. Senator from New Jersey, as well as a former tax loophole for the New York Knicks.

In a New York Times' op-ed, Bradley notes how his time as an NBA depreciable asset helped in the 1986 passage of the historic tax reform measure.

Twenty-three years later, Representatives and Senators need to find similar creative but effective legislative ways for Democrats and Republicans to reach an agreement on health care reform.

I was working on Capitol Hill in 1986. I remember the dissension and partisanship, but I also remember how lawmakers were able to put a common goal above their political bickering and, more importantly, compromise.

A possible give-and-take in the health care debate, says Bradley, is combining universal coverage Democrats want with medical malpractice tort reform that's on the Republican wish list.

"The August recess has given each party and its constituencies a chance to reassess their respective strategies," writes Bradley. "One result, let us hope, may be that Congress will surprise everyone this fall."


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Pam Baggett

Texas has had med mal "reform" for more than five years. It has done NOTHING to lower health care costs or insurance rates. One positive is that physicians moved to Texas to avoid med mal rates in their states. One can only wonder at the law suits filed against them before moving here. A bad thing: It included nursing homes and assisted living centers. Since the tort reform limited "non-economic damages" to $250,000 per facility and/or doc. Obviously, the elderly do not have earnings or services they provide in the household. For chain nursing home corporations, $250,000 is chump change. It's less than their top officers earn in a year.

So hear me people: tort reform does not reduce healthcare cots nor insurance rates!

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