There doesn’t seem to be any point in my pretending not to be thrilled by the historic House vote that sent health care reform legislation to President Obama.
The victory is even more astounding when you consider that just a few short weeks ago health care reform was being pronounced dead upon the election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts, an event that denied Democrats the magic 60 votes they needed to get anything done in the dysfunctional Senate.
Credit for this amazing revivification must go to President Obama for finally—finally!–making an all-out push to get his signature issue passed into law. Part of the reason that this took more than a year of agonizing twists and turns is that the President was too reticent for far too long. Yet in the end, he can take pride in the historic victory.
Credit must equally go, however, to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who pulled off a feat that was deemed impossible—getting the House to ratify the Senate version of health care reform.
Despite the factionalization of Democrats in the House, Speaker Pelosi was able to make it happen. Bravo, Madame Speaker. Somehow your persuasiveness and doggedness did not allow the perfect to become the enemy of the good.
It is also so refreshing and even inspiring to see that in the end demagoguery and malicious falsehoods did not triumph. We shouldn’t expect that the braying from the GOP will stop any time soon, however. They see political gold in disseminating smears about the bill, but time will tell.
What this shows is that the President and Democrats need to continue pressing their story and the benefits of this bill for millions and millions of Americans.
I find it interesting that while the President used the insurance companies as whipping boys in the last stretch of his campaign to get the bill passed, those same insurers didn’t say ‘To hell with it.’ They protested the ‘vilification,’ all right, but somehow were able to keep focused on the balm of millions of new customers amid the public lashings.
This is by no means the radical bill that the right would have you believe. This is no government takeover of health care. If it was, there would be no place for private insurers in it. A government takeover would be something like Medicare for all and this legislation doesn’t even come close to that.
This bill may not be perfect but it goes a long way toward eliminating the stain of having America be the only major democracy in the world whose citizens were not guaranteed health coverage. And for that, we can hold our heads higher.