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Healthcare Reform Passes

I have to admit to some satisfaction to the fact that the healthcare bill so furiously argued, depicted, ridiculed, attacked, defended, adjusted, compromised, and a whole lot more, passed through the House of Representatives yesterday.  This wasn’t the first hurdle.  It won’t be the last one either.  But this was arguably the most crucial moments in the healthcare reform debate.  At least this is the most crucial moment since the last most crucial moment when one of the Houses of the Congress had to do their vote on the measure with threats of filibusters and other parliamentary finagling and nonsense.

The opponents of healthcare reform pulled out all the stops.  There were talks of death panels killing old people, threats of new forms of healthcare rationing, promises that the federal government was going to get in between doctors and patients, assurances that healthcare reform would bankrupt the country, town hall sessions where people on government managed Medicare program fomented their anger towards socialized medicine, and comparisons of President Barack Obama with German Chancellor Adolph Hitler.  Nobody wanted healthcare reform.  Through a series of compromises the bill was significantly watered down to a point that a lot of its bite was purged.  Reform was seriously hampered when the public option was taken off the table.  The bill became a mere shadow of itself.

But in the end, even with all the negotiations and concessions that weakened the bill and  transformed the measure into a mere shadow of what could have been done, political opponents found it more politically advantageous to reject the measure and try to force the bill’s supporters to throw the healthcare reform baby out with the public option bathwater.

The President’s steadily dwindling poll numbers and the Senate race in Massachusetts to replace the late Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy that saw the Republican Scott Brown defeat Democrat Martha Coakley was proof positive that the entire country was against healthcare reform.  The conservatives generously offered to return to the negotiation table if the President and the other supporters of the bill would simply stop pushing this version of reform and start the entire process over again, pushing any reform even further down the road.  The opponents of reform would have taken their success of defeating healthcare reform into the midterm elections scheduled for the end of this year and promising more political stagnation of the entire reform process.  For all practical purposes, the whole affair would have resulted in healthcare business as usual.

A defeat of healthcare reform would have significantly derailed the presidency of Mr. Obama.  As Republican Senator Jim Demit of South Carolina suggested during the reform debate, if the Republican Party was able to stop Obama it would be his Waterloo.  If healthcare reform was something that seemed to be a benefit to the country, that line of reasoning was lost in a rather narcissistic bid to score political points by blocking any kind of progress.  The end result would have changed the political environment in favor of the conservatives.

Thankfully this will not be the case.  Despite trying to boil the whole case of healthcare reform down to an issue of whether or not the bill would kick open the door to government sanctioned abortions, another compromise was quickly arranged.  The President promised abortion opponents that he would issue an executive order that would reaffirm the long standing restrictions against the usage of federal funds for abortions.  This whole sidebar was nothing but smoke and mirrors.  The healthcare reform bill does nothing to change the abortion issue.  The whole abortion ordeal was just another one of those hurdles fabricated to provoke people’s fears.

This morning, the country is one giant step closer to making healthcare reform law.  There are a lot of disappointed people out there.  A Republican Senator promised that healthcare reform will destroy America.  Obviously, although healthcare is everything but a done deal, the rhetoric regarding is passage is just kicking into high gear.

A person’s attitude towards healthcare reform depends on his or her attitude towards social structure.  People who see healthcare as a privilege are against reform.  People who see healthcare as a fundamental right are for reform.  People who have no access to quality healthcare, other than the most expensive kind available at the emergency room that is guaranteed to be too late to nip a health problem in its early stages, are looking for help.  People who are comfortable with their relationship with their health insurance company are trying to defend their peace of mind.  Insurance companies are a health resource and some people want to protect that resource as much as possible.  Too many undeserving people in the pipe, people who can’t afford or won’t buy their own health insurance, means less healthcare may be available when somebody who can afford it needs it.

If Medicare and Medicaid are any indication we already have socialized medicine.  When people who can’t afford health insurance go to the emergency room and that bill gets passed to people who do have health insurance, we already have socialized medicine.  When we allow insurance companies to reject people’s claim for healthcare or allow insurance companies to rejects people for preexisting conditions for whatever reason, in essence we already have people facing death panels.  This bill isn’t going to make abortions more popular.  This bill isn’t a communist plot to overthrow democracy.  The bill is an attempt to correct a problem we have in our healthcare system.

People are free to believe whatever they want.  Only time will tell for sure if this will be a godsend or a curse.  But even that will depend on people’s perspective.  When we see the healthcare insurance rolls swell and see more people with health insurance getting the care they need, we might see that as a good thing.  Unfortunately, some conservative people simply won’t be able to ignore the fact that this change for the better comes courtesy of a law at the federal level.

Sunday, March 21, 2010 - Posted by | Barack Obama, Healthcare, Healthcare Reform, Life, Politics, Thoughts

1 Comment »

  1. Interestingly enough, I’ve had socialized medicine (dad was in the Air Force and I was in the Navy; hence I had military health care).

    Yes, I have insurance and I want others to have insurance. I think of it this way: we fund a military to keep us safe, but studies I’ve read show that 18,000-20,000 (at least) die each year due to a lack of health coverage.

    So, I favor health care reform for the same reason I favor funding a military, police force and fire department.

    Yes, this plan will need to be tweaked and adjusted again and again. But it is easier to tweak and adjust than to start over.

    Congratulations to President Obama for doing what Presidents Truman, Nixon and Clinton could not.

    Comment by blueollie | Thursday, March 25, 2010 | Reply

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