A century-long effort to bring some compassionate sanity to America’s health care system was passed by Congress last night. Lo and behold, the hammer and sickle is not flying from capitols across the land. Instead, it’s care and security for millions of our neighbors who have been locked out of doctors’ offices by yesterday’s rogue insurance industry.
Insurance companies can no longer deny you coverage because of a pre-existing condition. You won’t pay premiums for years only to be kicked off your insurance plan when you get sick. Small business gets a tax break to provide insurance to its employees. A high-risk pool is established. And, the budge deficit is reduced by a trillion dollars over 20 years.
Despite the claims of the radical Right, there are no government death panels. Government is not running your health care. “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” remain the guarantees bequeathed to us by the Founders. “Remain” is the wrong word. Those promises were strengthened by passage of health care reform.
I have been saddened by the behavior of some during the course of the debate. The insurance industry spent millions and millions of dollars to mislead some Americans. They succeeded. Playing upon the fears and anxieties of some, they funded the tea parties which in the end were a lot more fertilizer than grassroots. That cynical effort also included the overt encouragement of racist rhetoric and even threats of violence. Those behind those manipulations will live in infamy.
The 2010 political landscape shifted last night. A win of this magnitude will certainly change the dynamics in Texas and around the country. The Republicans managed to put themselves on the defensive. When armed communists don’t show up in our living rooms and hospitals, they’ll have some explaining to do. I mean, they did wail that the bill meant certain doom for democracy.
It must be hell to be totally controlled by industry benefactors. Republicans had no choice but to carry water for their corporate benefactors. Well, they had a choice, but no courage to make the right choice. They are insurance shills, nothing more, nothing less.
I remember studying the Great Depression years and the New Deal in school. I was dismayed at the pure stupidity of Republicans who continued to make obscene gestures at the American people on behalf of their corporate godfathers. They paid the price. But they obviously haven’t learned that lesson.
Here in Texas, the 2010 election prognosticators will need to start over, just as they will in other states. It’ll take some time for the dust to settle. Democrats got a boost. But I wouldn’t put too much faith in anyone’s crystal ball in the next few hours and days. It will all be spin intended to influence the future, not predict it accurately. I’ll say this, though. It’ll be hard for Republicans to persuade us to go back to yesterday, to deny care because of a pre-existing condition. To them I say, health care reform is the new pre-existing condition.