THE BLOG
03/24/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Health Care: Arrogance Can Never Be A Substitute For Reform

I am currently out of the country (in Costa Rica at a fine place called Recreo in Guanacaste Province), so it provides me with clarity of mind, not having to be cluttered with all those pundits listening to themselves speak on the claimed debacle that took place in Massachusett's special election. There is only one word that came to mind in describing what the outcome means as I looked out at the beauty of where I am at and listening to nature and her children, and not human beings: Arrogance -- whether in Coakley thinking she had the election in the bag and did not have to work for it; the Democrats thinking that they still would have a filibuster-proof Senate with a new junior Democratic senator from the Commonwealth; or that it was health care, the economy, the banks, or some other issue that did in who was to inherit the seat held by the Lion of the Senate.

Voters do not like to be toyed with; they don't like politicians to lie to them once in office after telling them just the opposite on the campaign trail. Take health care, for example. Obama said he was for change; for transparency; for health care as a right for every single American as he told the audience in Nashville when he debated McCain in the fall of 2008. What we have is the insurance industry full employment act with what is before both the Senate and House, though less so in the latter's bill. How can Obama really believe that mandating health care for all citizens yet provide no effective competition to insurers' ability to raise premiums as they will is anything but arrogance. How can Obama say that no pre-existing condition will bar coverage when he knows that insurers will charge mightily for that coverage -- charges, no doubt, to be placed on Americans who can't even pay for insurance and access to our nation's health care system today. How can Democrats tell us that a public option or not lifting the antitrust exemption on the insurance industry remains good for consumers and voters alike?

I am glad Coakley lost, for it tells those in Washington not to screw around with American lives just because they don't have the money to lobby like corporate interests have (and with what the Supreme Court did the other day on campaign financing, this becomes more problematic). But even more important, her loss is a strong shot across the bow, telling politicians, from Obama on down, that they are only in Washington because we put them there... and we can take them out of there if they don't pay attention to what they said they would do for us while campaigning for our vote.

If Coakley won, Democrats would have continued on in their arrogant ways. Republicans, you all are not immune from this either, so get your collective noses back to the ground from smelling the clouds, even with Brown winning. Now, to both parties, Americans need real health care reform, and that includes for once paying attention to every individual American who either cannot access or afford health care or, as is equally true, health care insurance premiums.

In the end, arrogance is nothing more than deluding one's self concernng his or her importance. It is neither no more glaring nor more obvious than with being an elected official.