Welcome to democracy in America.
In one profound sense there is nothing new about the healthcare bills
passed by the House and Senate.
Both are imperfect. That
can be said about virtually every important piece of legislation passed in the history
of this Republic, certainly in modern times. Sure this vote was along party lines – and the poisoned
partisan atmosphere in the country is something about which to be deeply concerned. But even major bills that have been
passed with substantial bipartisan majorities have been flawed. Liberals, including myself, obsess
about the absence of a public option, and understandably so. But consider it unfinished
business. It is only a matter of
time. Cradle to death Medicare is
in America’s future. About that,
if only for financial reasons, there will ultimately be no option.
So today was a big day, one that deserves celebration and the day that
the President signs a final bill, however imperfect it may be, will be one to
break out the bubbly. Truman was
President when I heard adults in heated debate about the threat of “socialized
medicine”. In those days the
doctors killed healthcare reform only to be replaced over the years by big
pharma and insurance interests.
Today Mitch McConnell derides backroom deal making, and does it with a
straight face. How disingenuous
can you be? He and his colleagues have
never shied away from handing out sweeteners for votes when they were in the majority. That’s how the place works and if it’s
a disgrace, it is a bi-partisan one.
McConnell also declares that the American people are overwhelming
against healthcare reform. Well
we’ll see about that come November next.
Republicans are placing a huge bet on the failure of this President and
this Democratic majority. They may
say that we don’t want healthcare reform, but we all know that what they really
can’t afford is Obama’s success. A
turn in employment figures would only add to their discomfort so expect them to
oppose any jobs programs that might require Congressional approval. I think they’re making a very bad and shortsighted
bet in relying on the worst not the best in Americans. I may be proven wrong.
For the moment, the Senate finally has passed a bill – Happy Holidays
to them and to us.