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Why Washington Isn't Solving Our Health Care Woes

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Is there any hope for change? The answer is a resounding yes. The start of a new presidential administration usually is an opportune time for the enactment of significant legislation. Regardless of who the next president is, he will be experienced in how the legislative cycle works and hopefully will seize the opportunity to provide leadership.

On the other hand, legislation passes more easily when the same party controls the White House and Congress. It is unclear which party will be in charge in Washington next year -- and whichever one is in control of Congress and the White House, it won't be with an overwhelming mandate from voters.

The presidential election is expected to be very close. The House, now controlled by Republicans, could go either way. The Senate is likely to remain in the control of Republicans, but by a narrow margin.

Voters who are concerned about health care issues can influence the politicians most effectively during the election campaign. If you think change is needed, between now and November is the best time to communicate that to the candidates of your choice. If you don't speak up, then the next Congress will be a repeat of this one -- without any legislative changes in how our health care system works.

Wayne L. Pines, WebMD's Washington columnist, is a former Associate Commissioner and Chief Spokesman of the Food and Drug Administration. The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of WebMD.

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