Monday, March 22, 2010

Health Reform Passes

By a vote of 219-212, the House of Representatives passed the Senate version of sweeping healthcare reform, sending the bill to the President for his signature. As part of the wheeling and dealing necessary to pass the bill, the House also passed a series of alterations to the bill that they are "assured" the Senate will accede to (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). President Obama has earned a huge legislative triumph, delivering on one of his primary campaign promises and earning a good bit of the Holy Grail of Democratic domestic politics of the last 60 years.

A couple of thoughts on the morning after.

1. This is not now, nor was it ever, about healthcare. It was about fundamentally reshaping the role of government in our lives, an alteration of the relationship between the governed and the government. The Democratic Party has seen the centrality of government in delivering healthcare as the key element of their social program, and though we have moved in the direction of socialized medicine over the years, this is a "great leap" in that direction.

2. What is done is difficult to undo. Even if the Republicans capture both chambers in upcoming Congressional elections, they will not have veto-proof majorities, rendering any attempt to overturn key portions of this legislation ineffective, as President Obama will simply veto them. Republicans MUST capture the White House in order to undo this travesty. That almost all of the revenue producing portions of the bill (read: TAXES) start immediately, and all the spending portions (read: SPENDING) start after 2014 (a gimmick designed to keep the total price down), is a good thing for Republicans--there will be two full years of taxing imposed on the American people before they see any of the promised "benefits" of the legislation.

3. I've got to hand it to my Congressman (Frank Kratovil, D-MD 1). He voted against the legislation. I didn't think he had it in him. He's made Republican Andy Harris' job even more difficult in unhorsing him.

4. I cannot even think about the photos of the Speaker, the Majority Leader and the President basking in the glow of their accomplishment. It makes me queasy.

5. But make no mistake about it. This is a HUGE legislative victory for the President and the Democratic Party. They have DELIVERED. Elections matter, they did what they needed to do in 2006 and 2008, and now we have this monstrous instantiation of creeping socialism to remind us of it.

6. If the Republican Party can't use this "loss" as a spur to great victory in November 2010, it will be guilty of political malpractice. There is a lot here to run against, and there are a lot of Democrats whose vote last night ought to be considered a political suicide note.

7. This legislative session is dead. The President may try and raise immigration reform, green jobs, cap and trade, school reform---etc--but Washington is TIRED, and all thoughts will now turn to fund-raising and November elections.


Tom de Plume said...

This is what it must have felt like during October 1917 in Moscow.

Doc Milnamo said...

Я плачу за республику.

Doc Milnamo said...

CW - Your point number 4. Now there is truly the "axis of evil".


Dan said...

Did anyone else notice that of those Democrats who voted "No" a large number of them were from the south (Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky,
Lousiana, Mississippi) with a smattering of other states. I would think the residents of these states would benefit the most from this bill, yet their elected reps voted "No."

I wonder why?

Doc Milnamo said...

Anyone remember Masterpiece Theatre's, "A Very British Coup"? That's what has happened to us except President Obama is no PM Perkins.

Ghost of Halloween Past said...

It's an historic step, with some truly great benefits for Americans (children with anything from asthma, to cancer to deafness won't be precluded from getting insurance as an adult based on 'pre-existing conditions', millions of children across the country will now be insured, Medicaid and SCHIP expanded, etc.). It's a bill I grudgingly supported, despite the significant tradeoffs and horrific compromises brought about both by those in both parties. I'm astounded by anyone claiming a socialist coup or lauding this as a 'win' for liberals. We're mandated to pay directly to private, woefully unregulated corporations without a public option to drive competition, leaving us again at the mercy of corporate interests. Women's rights have been pushed under the bus, with the Hyde amendment reaffirmed by exec order rather than trashed, as it should have been (and which was promised during the campaign). Where are the new regulations for the insurance industry?

There's no socialism in this bill. It's the same plan Republicans have tried to pass in the past. This isn't reform. This is a step towards reform.

I want to see that mess of a Democratic party remain in office only because they are aligned in some small degree closer to where I'd like to see us advance as a nation and deviating in a larger degree away from the burgeoning Tea Party -- apparently short for Theocratic party -- that the GOP has become. So, perhaps it's a win in the sense that unlike Republicans who have tried and failed to make this happen, Obama and the Democratic leadership in place right now have actually, astoundingly, accomplished it.

Now the real work begins: a public option amendment, a single payer option for states through Medicare/Medicaid, protect reproductive rights. It's going to be a long slog and I only hope the American people hold the line.

Bill_C said...

Are we going to call it insurance or an entitlement? That's the issue. I have no problem with covering children with pre-existing conditions, or adults for that matter but insurance is predicated on risk sharing. If you are a higher risk you bear more cost. No one seems to be going after auto insurance companies.

GHP's comment about the executive order is baseless. Most seem to believe it ranks up there with the Munich Treaty Chamberlain brought back from Germany. Absolutely worthless. Additionally, if we are going down the "reproductive" rights lane I want equal reproductive rights. Right now, men are second class citizens with regard to our bodies. Don't think so? Try getting a vasectomy. Nothing like being a 35 year old man waiting in the Doc's office for his spouse to show up and give her approval for the procedure. And that happened in lovely, liberal California!

Ghost of Halloween Past said...

"GHP's comment about the executive order is baseless. Most seem to believe it ranks up there with the Munich Treaty Chamberlain brought back from Germany. Absolutely worthless."

And just as illegal. I agree. And am very glad for the reassurances that it's a non-issue.

Seriously, though, I am appalled to hear about you needing that permission snip, would take the wind out of anyone's sails, I suppose. Requiring an adult to obtain permission from a partner for any medical procedure certainly runs counter to privacy rights, as far as I'm concerned. Was there any recourse?

Bill_C said...

Vasectomy laws in the majority of the states do not allow a male to make that decision unilateraly. In CA, not only was my spouses permission required in writing, but on the day of the procedure she was required to reaffirm the decision verbally.
In Virginia - here's the law:
54.1-2974. Sterilization operations for persons eighteen years or older capable of informed consent.

It shall be lawful for any physician licensed by the Board of Medicine to perform a vasectomy, salpingectomy, or other surgical sexual sterilization procedure on any person eighteen years of age or older, who has the capacity to give informed consent, when so requested in writing by such person. Prior to or at the time of such request, a full, reasonable, and comprehensible medical explanation as to the meaning and consequences of such an operation and as to alternative methods of contraception shall be given by the physician to the person requesting the operation. No such operation shall be performed prior to thirty days from the date of the written request therefore upon a person who has not previously become the natural or adoptive parent of a child.

Additionally, many doctors inject their own ideas such as having children (sometimes multiple) or waiting until a certain age.

My body - my right as they say.

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