Last night, after the House of Representatives passed the first comprehensive health care reform bill, President Barack Obama tweeted, "this is history." Truer words have never been spoken. After decades of party bickering and political posturing, Congress finally did something.
Now there's no guarantee that the Senate will pass its version of the bill, or that the final version of the bill will even work. (Of course I believe it will be successful, but there are no guarantees). However, at least it's something. It's an attempt to fix one of America's biggest problems. According to CNN, if passed, the bill "restricts insurance companies from denying coverage to anyone with a pre-existing condition or charging higher premiums based on gender or medical history. It also provides federal subsidies to those who cannot afford it and guarantees coverage for 96 percent of Americans, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office."
Maybe I am simply a crazy liberal, but I will never understand how any of those outcomes deserved the heated debate that preceded the vote. I'll never buy the "it's happening too quickly" argument. The last time I checked, taking 70 years to pass a bill didn't qualify as "quickly." I don't put stock in the "it's too costly" argument either. Congressional budget figures show the reform pays for itself. Even if it doesn't, I think we'll find a way to make it work -- this country has gone to war on less information and less budget analysis. If we can't ultimately pass a bill that is meant on helping Americans, but we can irresponsibly risk the lives of thousands of our own citizens, we have a serious problem. Don't even get me started on Utah's lone "Democrat," Jim Matheson. Come 2010, if he survives a likely inter-party challenge, I am going to have a very hard time voting for him.
With the bill's passing you have morons like Sarah Palin (can't she just go away already?) saying, "Congressional action tonight just put America on a path toward an unrecognizable country. It's on to the Senate now. Our legislators can listen now, or they can hear us in 2010. It's their choice." Are you kidding me? An unrecognizable country? In my opinion, there is nothing more American than passing a bill that will improve the lives of millions. We're Americans, we're supposed to look out for each other.
Now that the House has done it's job, we wait. Harry Reid has said that the Senate may not pass it's version of the bill until early 2010, so prepare yourself for more scare tactics and ridiculous accusations. However, this moment cannot be underestimated, we're the closest we've ever been to creating a health care system that's for the people and not for corporations or bureaucracies. The next few months could define a generation, and I am hoping that it does.