A big, fat fail for America. Thanks for nothing, Congress


Today is the 123rd anniversary of Yosemite National Park, according to Google. Too bad you can't visit it. Congress has once again failed the American people and forced a government shutdown.

Let the fingerpointing begin, but I have a feeling I am not the only one who is tuning it out at this point. Congress does what Congress wants and the hell with we the people.

I am not old enough, nor politically interested enough, to put a finger on where the evolution of elected officials went from representing constituents to representing big business, big interest and, frankly, themselves. So busy are they sticking to their own agenda, and that of their party line, they can no longer get anything done. Congress is a joke.

And yet, there are still people who run for public office. I had a chat with Todd Tyson last Friday afternoon. Todd is running for his state House. I asked Todd, point blank, whether he would be one of the brave folks, if elected, to reach across the aisle. After a long pause, Todd said, "you got me."

But after another moment, Todd explained further: "I think there has to be conversations and those are going to be hard coversations."

Todd has been having plenty of conversations on the campaign trail, many of which center around health policy, including the new healthcare laws. It is those laws that, as I understand it, are at the root of Congress's latest debacle.

Todd is no huge fan of the Affordable Care Act, but he's definitely on-board with fixing the broken healthcare system.

"I don’t want to be the one that goes up there and says, 'We need to kill Obamacare.' I don’t think that’s a popular thing to say. We need to have some solutions."

Todd said that until Americans have skin in the game, and understand what health care actually costs, we will not wrangle the system into shape. I agree with this and I know, from the thousands of calls I have had with providers over the past eight years, that this is something they see all too often: beneficiaries who get power chairs and glucometers for "free." Beneficiaries who refuse to pay their portion of a lift chair, but have a shiny red sports car in the garage. And what about the poor provider, who, after Hurricane Sandy, had to deal with a beneficiary saying, "you guys must be making a killing," as he delivered lifesaving oxygen cylinders.

Don't even get me started on all the unhealthy eating, drinking and smoking people out there, just begging to be added to the ranks of the diseased in need of medical care.

Theresa Flaherty