Health care reform.
It wasn’t pretty, but the battle for health care reform has been won.
When congressional Democrats sent the final piece of landmark health care legislation to President Barack Obama on March 26 before heading home to face a skeptical—and sometimes threatening—public, it was a historic victory for America.
“This makes a tremendous difference in the lives of Americans,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said at a Capitol Hill ceremony. The House GOP leader, Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, bitterly opposed the overhaul to the end, called it a “grim moment for millions.”
While the health care reform bill is not a perfect plan, it is good legislation.
The bill will provide Americans with greater consumer protections and a ban on discriminating against customers with pre-existing conditions.
Insurance companies would no longer be able to drop patients’ coverage if they become sick and insurers would be required to offer free preventive care to customers.
The bill will cost $940 billion over the next 10 years, according to a preliminary analysis released last week by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The bill cuts the deficit by $138 billion in the next 10 years and further reduces the deficit by another $1.2 trillion in the following decade, according to the CBO report.
Decades from now, Americans will look on this legislation with pride.
Now 32 million more Americans will have health care coverage.
Now when fully phased 95 percent of eligible Americans will be insured.
Now people with pre-existing conditions will not be denied health care coverage.
Now people will not have their coverage canceled because they got sick.
The battle for health care reform was won because:
In the end, the false fears of death panels and socialism met the reality of middle class families complaining about rising premiums and small business complaining about costs.
The Democrats majority in Congress finally acted like they were in charge.
Still the president had to use all his persuasive skills to convince wavering Democrats fearful of mid-term elections.
In the end, President Obama became a leader.
He stopped trying to persuade Republicans who weren’t going to be persuaded no matter how many GOP ideas he incorporated into the health care plan.
He could compromise, compromise, compromise but Republicans were determined to make health care his Waterloo.
There has been months of debate on this issue. All sides had been heard.
Attempts at a bipartisan compromise had failed miserably.
In the final days Obama made his position clear on what he wanted and fought for it.
He showed compassion. He showed courage. He showed determination.
His leadership gave congressional Democrats the courage to do the right thing.
We saw the president we voted for finally reemerge.
(Reprinted from the Philadelphia Tribune.)