Congress: Take your pulse, then pass health reform

This means we must expand affordable health insurance coverage to those who are uninsured, provide funding for public health and prevention activities, implement much needed insurance and coverage reforms, strengthen the Medicare system and enhance the health care and public health work force.

While the new political dynamics of passing a bill may be challenging, we cannot allow politics to derail the much needed reform the American people need and deserve. Yes, the House and Senate bills are imperfect in their current form, but most agree that both bills contain good policy that can be combined and go a long way toward solving the problem. With this in mind, there is a three-bill approach that could work.

Bill #1 would contain all of the agreed upon changes to the Senate bill that could be achieved through reconciliation. This would pass first. Then the House would approve the Senate bill — Bill #2 — as currently written. The President will sign both bills into law.  Bill #3, which would pass after the midterm elections when cooler political heads prevail, would contain the remaining improvements that could not be accomplished in reconciliation. This approach would require political will and stamina, but it is doable.

While the proponents of reform do not have an easy path, the public still wants Congress to solve this problem. Bad medical problems do not get better with time and neither do bad administrative ones. Fixing this requires strong medicine that may not taste good and might even hurt; but in the end, it is needed. Enacting health reform will become more painful, more costly and more difficult as time goes on. We should pass health reform now.