The D-Day (as in “Defining-Day”) for health care reform in
Even among his die-hard supporters are those who feel that the president’s “obsession” with health care has diverted attention from the foremost problem facing
Yet there is also no denying that universal health care coverage is a right, not a privilege. Sure, the cost to the economy will be in hundreds of billions of dollars but can we, as a civilized and humane society, allow money and politics to trump what is fundamentally an ethical and moral issue? What kind of society will ours be if insurance companies continue to deny or revoke with impunity (the case of Jerome Mitchell, a 17-year old college freshman from rural
The idea underlying insurance companies is: Grab as much premium as possible from the healthy but exclude those who are sick. This macabre 'survival of the fittest' business model is unacceptable in any civilized society.
Obama’s administration has to bear responsibility for the cliffhanger that the health care bill has become. We Americans abhor serpentine language. We believe that if anything is worth fighting or dying for, we should be able to understand it without having to master the language of lawyers. Yet there has been no coherent explanation by the president or the democrats about why and how the heath care bill makes sense economically, socially and politically. Simply evoking the moral principle has played into the hands of Republicans. Their shrill warning that American capitalism, as we have known it for two hundred years, will die if the health care bill were to pass, has resonated with many fence-sitters simply because Democrats have not matched them in the “easy-to-understand” department. This is particularly ironic given the president’s reputation as a wordsmith and his facility in distilling an issue to its essence in words that can capture the imagination of Americans, as we saw repeatedly during his presidential campaign.
The American most passionate about health care reform was the “Liberal Lion of the Senate,” the late Ted Kennedy of
Yet I believe that tomorrow House Democratic leaders will find 216 votes to make the health care bill the law of the land. Like most Americans, I am a prisoner of hope (especially today, the first day of spring!) and I cannot accept the fact that 216 of our representatives will miss out on this historic milestone that will affirm the right of every American access to health care. It is almost as historic a milestone as the election of an African-American to the highest office in the land, and there will be enough, just enough, votes to see the bill through.