HealthCare: One Victory, Many Battles

Ralph Nader talks of third parties but has no major grassroots initiatives to mobilize the masses to make a third party truly viable. In the final analysis, wars are won one battle at a time. This is one battle won. By chipping away, we can win the war to forge a better more compassionate America.

[Speaking Truth To Power]

Tuesday, President Barack Obama signed the major healthcare reform bill into law. The toxic year-long “debate,” highlighting this battle, underscores the polarizing chasm of American politics.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590) passed by a vote of 219-212 in the House of Representatives. Among other things, this bill would: (1) Cover 32 million Americans who now lack healthcare insurance. (2) Stop insurance companies from denying coverage to children based on pre-existing conditions. (3) Stop insurance companies from dropping coverage on those who become sick. (4) Expand Medicare—while reducing waste in programs like Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage—to rural communities. (5) Improve fraud detection techniques. (6) Force insurance companies to reveal details regarding executive and administrative expenditures.
A companion bill, The Health Care and Educational Affordability Reconciliation Bill (H.R. 4872) was also passed.

This bill “fixed” certain components in H.R. 3590. Under the measure, Medicaid state subsidies will rise. Moreover, the bill will prevent private lenders from receiving government subsidies for student loans. According to the Congressional Budget Office, through these bills, the deficit will be cut by $138 billion during 2010-2019, and by $1.2 trillion during the second decade.

This legislation will cost approximately $940 billion over the first decade.
At the White House, President Obama signed the bill into law calling the moment “remarkable and improbable.”  He added, “With all the punditry, all of the lobbying, all the game-playing that passes for governing in Washington, it’s been easy at times to doubt our ability to do such a big thing, such a complicated thing.”
However, Republicans, Tea Partiers, and some progressives, aren’t happy with the bill. In fact, Republicans have vowed to repeal the measure. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., claimed the new law will “force taxpayer funding of abortions, raise health costs, hike taxes, cut Medicare, raid Social Security and put bureaucrats between patients and their doctors.” Last year, DeMint predicted the health care bill would be President Obama’s “Waterloo.” However, in a devastating assessment, former conservative George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum declared “it’s Waterloo all right: ours.” What’s more, Frum said the Republicans overreached in trying to destroy the bill rather than negotiating with Democrats. He also said Conservatives once thought Fox News network worked for them, only to discover that “We work for Fox.”

Yesterday, he was fired from the American Enterprise Institute, a Conservative think tank.
Also, several state attorneys general have filed lawsuits against the legislation calling the bill’s mandate that everyone buy healthcare coverage “unconstitutional.” The White House says it’s confident the lawsuits will fail. President Obama warned “Those fighting change are still out there, still making a lot of noise about what this reform means,” and telling “lies.” 
The “lies” emitting, from those on the right, have been disturbingly xenophobic. President Obama has been repeatedly demonized by an assortment of crackpots including: Tea Party phonies, White militia members and racist rednecks. Since Obama took office, cries of “socialism” and “big government” have become ubiquitous. Some say we can’t afford healthcare reform. Question: why don’t these people—who pretend to care about the deficit—protest the bloated military budget, where we spend over half-a-trillion every year? We can spend to kill but not heal?
Some of these xenophes wail “I want my country back.” Translation: we need to get rid of this N-word and his multi-cultural constituency. The racism directed toward Obama underlines the hatred these pseudo-patriots feel toward those who don’t fit their narrow-minded, homogenized, White, retrograde blue-eyed view of America. These attacks on Obama are attacks on all of us. Thuggery has mushroomed across the country, including Twitter assassination threats.
We shouldn’t be surprised by ignorant Tea Party fascists and their antics. These people are fed with the stale bread of intolerance by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. The letter recently said Christians should leave their churches if they hear sermonizing about “social justice.” What an ignoramus–that’s what Jesus preached to build his reputation.

So-called progressives seem oblivious to some harsh realities of American politics. Progressives complain that this healthcare bill isn’t as good as it should be. I agree. Single-payer would be a more cost-effective, humane system. It would surely eradicate the current lecherous private insurance system.
Yet, what is lost on many progressives is this simple fact: average America isn’t a progressive country. Recently, the great progressive intellectual, Chris Hedges, decried the bill, while noting “Between 40 and 62 percent of the American people…want universal, single-payer not-for-profit health care for all Americans.” Assuming the true figure is on the high end; that still means nearly 4 in 10 Americans oppose it.
A CNN poll found that 43 percent of Americans said the Healthcare Reform legislation is “too liberal.” Given that reality—and the fact that 34 Democrats, mostly from the conservative Blue Dog Coalition, voted with Republicans against this bill—how would have a plan with single-payer fared in Congress?

Ralph Nader talks of third parties but has no major grassroots initiatives to mobilize the masses to make a third party truly viable.
In the final analysis, wars are won one battle at a time. This is one battle won. By chipping away, we can win the war to forge a better more compassionate America.

“Speaking Truth To Empower”

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