On Sunday night, the House of Representatives passed a historic health care reform bill. After almost a year of prognostication and partisan politics, it finally passed. Just a few weeks ago when the Democrats lost the filibuster-proof majority in the Senate through the election of Scott Brown to Ted Kennedy’s former seat in Massachusetts, most politicians and pundits declared health care reform dead. However, since that point it seemed to have lit a fire into President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. We finally got to see the Barack Obama that we thought we would see. He was actually engaging the process and fighting for this bill which he wasn’t doing before this. Sometimes Obama does act like the coo kid in high school who seems disengaged. I know he’s a pragmatist and that is definitely necessary in politics. But people resonate to someone who is willing to fight for the issues they believe in. They resonate with leaders who will take ownership of a legislative bill and put their neck out their to pass it. Obama finally after months and months of waffling, bumbling, and floating decided to take the bull by the horns.
With all that said, I think this bill is far from perfect. It still doesn’t fully reign in the health insurance industry. I’ve always been a single payer proponent. However, next to that, I wanted to see a robust public option. However, through the lack of leadership by the White House and the Congress along with the obstructionism and lying of the Republicans and also being sold out by conservative Democrats bought and paid for by the insurance industry like Joe Lieberman and Blanche Lincoln, the public option never had a fair debate.
With all that said, there are some great things in this bill. Though this bill not as historic as Social Security and Medicare, is still a great accomplishment. More changes will have to be made over time to fully deal with our broken health care system. Beyond just the politicians, we need people inside the world of health care, especially doctors willing to be engaged in the dialogue and willing to make sacrifices. The AMA has said they are for health care reform if their salaries are not affected. How does that work? Doctors are vital in the dialogue about fixing the failing health care sytem. With future doctors like Dale Terasaki, there is still much hope.
I hope the passage of this health care reform is just the start of fixing our broken health care system. I hope conservatives and the Republican will actually have real and plausible ideas to deal with the issues of cost and access to health care instead of just obstructing and spreading fear and lies through the Tea Party movement. This is about more than politics. The lives of real people are on the line.