The historic Obama-Pelosi health care....bill does not erect a huge New Deal-Great Society-style government program. In lieu of a public option, it delivers 32 million newly insured Americans to private insurers. As no less a conservative authority than The Wall Street Journal editorial page observed last week, the bill’s prototype is the health care legislation Mitt Romney signed into law in Massachusetts. It contains what used to be considered Republican ideas. ..... The conjunction of a black president and a female speaker of the House...would sow fears of disenfranchisement among a dwindling and threatened minority in the country no matter what policies were in play. It’s not happenstance that [Rep. Barney] Frank [who is gay], [Rep. John] Lewis [who is black] and [Rep. Emanuel] Cleaver [who is black] — none of them major Democratic players in the health care push — received a major share of last weekend’s abuse [from Tea Party activists]. When you hear demonstrators chant the slogan “Take our country back!,” these are the people they want to take the country back from.
Some benefits in the health insurance reform bill (source: OFA)
•tax credits for small businesses of up to 35 percent of insurance premiums (effective immediately) •free preventive care under Medicare (effective starting in 2011) •an end to "recissions" by banning insurance companies from dropping people from coverage when they get sick (effective six months after enactment) •no discrimination against children with pre-existing conditions (effective within six months); and •a prohibition on health insurance companies from placing lifetime caps on coverage (also effective within six months).
The health insurance reform bill passed. President Obama will sign it into law. He then must consolidate his gains. He needs to do a multi-city tour reintroducing the health insurance reforms, challenging misconceptions about it, and amplifying political communication. The White House--as well as progressive organizations like Organizing for America--need to think of the bill's passage as just a beginning of an effort to control and narrative about health insurance reform.
[T]he only bureaucrats more obdurate than those at the D.M.V. are the ones working for insurance companies. The existing system is preposterous: we rely on insurance companies whose business model is based on accepting premiums from healthy people and devising ways to exclude from coverage those who most desperately need medical care.
The health insurance reform bill pending in the Congress is the largest deficit reduction package since the Democrats’ great deficit reduction act that G. W. Bush destroyed with his tax giveaway to the rich.
The pending bill means . . . . No more denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions like diabetes. No more rescissions (“re-evaluating” your original application to health insurance of years before in order to find some technicality for dropping your coverage now.) No more caps. The President of the United States is right: much of the Republican leadership does not have your best interests in mind when it comes to health insurance. They are about the business of the insurance business first, you second.
What force is arrayed against this health care reform effort--a for-too-long badly orchestrated and poorly articulated effort, to be sure--led by Presidet Obama and the Democrats? The nihilism of Tea Republicans who sloppily uphold crass cynicism as a banner and abject bigotry as a choice weapon against effort and hope towards a better tomorrow for more Americans. Today, March 20, 2010: self-proclaimed "Tea Party" protesters called Rep. Barney Frank a “faggot” and Rep. John Lewis a “nigger” in the halls of the capital of the Unites States of America. (John Lewis bio.) This is is disgusting beyond words, but sadly not surprising for those following that movement closely. Tea Republicanism is increasingly clearly being exposed as pro-anarchy and representative of thinly-veiled bigotry like America's not seen since the Jim Crow era. This manner of Tea Republican menacing is the very opposite of our republic's Founders' commitment--as stated in the Constitution--to "promote the general welfare."
If Harry Truman had managed to add health care to Social Security back in 1947, we’d have a better, cheaper system than the one whose fate now hangs in the balance. But an ideal plan isn’t on the table. And what is on the table, ready to go, is legislation that is fiscally responsible, takes major steps toward dealing with rising health care costs, and would make us a better, fairer, more decent nation.
All it will take to make this happen is for a handful of on-the-fence House members to do the right thing. Here’s hoping.