Monday, July 20, 2009

The Lion in Winter

The health care debate has reached a crossroad. The Republicans and the insurance industry are staging a full frontal assault on the reform bills now working their ways through the House and the Senate. They have decided that the President is vulnerable on this issue and have gone so far as to proclaim that this issue will be his Waterloo. The President to his credit has finally jumped into the fight with both guns blazing. His statements, which used to be very conciliatory toward the opposition, have become more pointed and emphatic. His staff is no longer talking about a bipartisan bill, they are now talking about the reality of having Democrats push this through on their own.

The President has to make the point that health care reform is not a policy question, it is a moral imperative. The health and well being of the citizens of this country is not something to bartered with or toyed with because of political differences. Republicans offer no alternative to the current proposal. Michael Steele went so far as to say that he doesn't even know what's in the bill. It is very clear that Obama's opponents don't have any strategy to fix the health care crisis, they only want to block anything that comes out of this administration.

The conservative Democrats have a different agenda. They are trying to placate the constituents in their right leaning states and districts. Their single issue is cost. They have to be sure that any program does not add to the bloated deficit. I do not believe that they are actually opposed to health care reform. Of course if they do not get on board at the end of the day, their opposition, regardless of how principled it is, will sink our only chance to give Americans a proper health care system. I have to believe that if push comes to shove, they will vote with the majority. If not to approve the bill then at least to end a republican attempt at a filibuster.

We, as a people, should have a right to decent health care. I have stated before that each elected official should be willing to do the right thing even though it may be a losing issue in their next election. We vote people into office not only to do our bidding, but also to do what is best. The people don't always know what is in their best interest. Just look at California. The fact that everything is up for a vote has led them to a budget crisis of biblical proportions. They need more revenue, but refuse to vote for any tax increases. "The People" want everything for nothing. "The People" cannot always be trusted to make the right decision. Our elected officials are not supposed to be as shortsighted as "The People". If their only concern is getting re-elected, then the needs of the people take a backseat to that goal.

It is a given that there are many in both houses of Congress who do not care if the majority of citizens of this country have adequate health care. They have been bought and paid for by the health insurance industry. That however should not stop the majority from doing what they know is right. I understand that no one wants to have to go to their constituents and tell them that health care reform is going to cost them money, but as with most of the great moral crusades of the last century, cost is not the important factor. We will of course save money if we are a healthier nation, but that is too forward looking for most in this country to understand. Sometimes “We the People” have to dragged kicking and screaming into doing the right thing. I can only hope that we have enough representatives who comprehend how significant this issue is and how monumental a difference it will make in the lives of all our citizens.

President Kennedy spoke of civil rights as a moral crisis. He tragically didn’t live long enough to see the eventual passage of the Civil Rights Bill. Critics at the time attacked the bill as government interference in private enterprise. They argued that the government has no place in dictating the actions of the private sector. They argued that we needed less government, not more. Time has proved these arguments wrong. His brother Ted Kennedy has made universal health care his life’s work. He has pushed for universal coverage since the early seventies. He has spoken about the fact that he and his family have always received the highest level of care. However, unlike some of his more callous fellow members of Congress (Senator Grassley had the nerve to offer this bit of advice as to how to get the same level of coverage that he enjoys, “get a government job”), he has always said that he wants all Americans to have access to that same level of care. As Kennedy battles brain cancer, he is doing all he can to lend his support to this most important of issues. It is his life’s work, it is his legacy. It is the moral imperative of our time. Let us hope that we are up to the challenge and I believe that time will treat the opponents of health care as well as it has treated the opponents of the Civil Rights Bill.


Jack Jodell said...

Mycue 23,
You have done a correct and superb analysis of the situation at hand regarding health care for all.It is indeed THE moral imperative of our time! It would surely be a grave injustice were another Kennedy to go to his grave without having seen his dream and the fruits of his labor come into being!

The Republicans, like Michael Steele and that absolutely worthless Jim DeMint, just don't give a shit about anybody but the wealthy and their corporate masters. That is clear. Obama needs to do a better job of cultivating support directly from the people and to show how much more costly it will be to the country to NOT adopt his plan. That should get more of the blue dog Dems to support him. Your point about people wanting everything for nothing is true too, especially among Republicans. No one can go into Macy's, Lowe's, or even Wal-Mart and just help themselves for free to everything in sight. Health care, as well as government services, HAVE to be paid for---WITH TAXES. These self-centered crybabies just need to grow up and face facts.

I think if I see even one more lying, distorted ad about how "government bureaucrats must not make choices for you and come between you and your doctor on health care" I'm going to puke like a flamethrower ON insurance company CEOs, their lobbyists, and Republicans like Jim DeMint and John Boehner! What a disgusting and nauseating pack of liars!

Great job, Mycue23! Let's keep it up---all of us. Health care IS a human right, and it must be provided for ALL!

SJ said...

Don't forget Eric Cantor.