Wednesday, March 24, 2010

An incredible moment in American History

This is not a political blog. This might be the only time I write about that kind of topic. But while I love fashion, tea-parties, jewelry, make-up and meet-ups there are some things that are much more serious and important. Like Health Care.

So what does Universal Health Care look like. As President Obama stated:

For the first time in our nation's history, Congress has passed comprehensive health care reform. America waited a hundred years and fought for decades to reach this moment. Tonight, thanks to you, we are finally here.

Consider the staggering scope of what has been accomplished:

Every American will finally be guaranteed high quality, affordable health care coverage.

Every American will be covered under the toughest patient protections in history. Arbitrary premium hikes, insurance cancellations, and discrimination against pre-existing conditions will now be gone forever.

And we'll finally start reducing the cost of care -- creating millions of jobs, preventing families and businesses from plunging into bankruptcy, and removing over a trillion dollars of debt from the backs of our children.

But the victory that matters most tonight goes beyond the laws and far past the numbers.

It is the peace of mind enjoyed by every American, no longer one injury or illness away from catastrophe.

It is the workers and entrepreneurs who are now freed to pursue their slice of the American dream without fear of losing coverage or facing a crippling bill.

And it is the immeasurable joy of families in every part of this great nation, living happier, healthier lives together because they can finally receive the vital care they need.

Death Panels - remember Sarah Palin going on and on about how so-called death panels were going to put Grandma to death. Check out this story. Woman's move triggers loss of coverage for cancer treatment.

This woman did something she never imagined would jeopardize her good health. She moved. Less than 30 miles - from one county in Wisconsin to another. The move triggered a review of her health insurance from Medicare, which eventually led to a loss of coverage, including the drug. And the tumor returned within four months. What happened to Ms Oertel stunned her doctor, Mark Malkin. Nothing he learned in medical school prepared him for what now is too often a sad and frustrating part of his job as a cancer specialist: fighting Medicare and private insurance companies over life-or-death decisions. She was sentenced to death by her private insurance company. This is not an isolated incident. Hardly.

But let's look at one of the most positive outcomes of this legislation. Young Adults.
The passage of health care reform -- and the under-publicized but far-reaching student aid reform that passed along with it in reconciliation -- arguably constitutes the broadest, most meaningful and beneficial legislative victories for young people in recent history. Adults from 19 to 29 -- although they tend to be healthier than older adults -- represent nearly a third of the uninsured population. Two-thirds of those uninsured young people reported going without necessary medical care in 2007 because of costs, according to research for the Commonwealth Fund. By addressing these two issues in the face of epic political opposition, Congress and the Obama administration did a great deal to restore young Americans' faith in a system that many considered irreversibly broken.

Some amazing quotes from Arizona Senator John McCain that reflects the general sense of the Republicans who refused to accept a constructive role in shaping health care reform.
"There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year," McCain said during an interview Monday on an Arizona radio affiliate. "They have poisoned the well in what they've done and how they've done it."

"With all this euphoria that's going on, this inside-the-Beltway champagne toasting and all that, outside the Beltway the American people are very angry. And they don't like it, and we're going to try to repeal this, and we're going to have a very spirited campaign coming up between now and November, and there will be a very heavy price to pay for it," he said.

"I believe the will of the people is reflected sooner or later in the makeup of the government," McCain said.

No cooperation for the rest of the year? Laughable. The Republican's plan since Obama became President has been to do everything in their power to make him fail. Armageddon. No cooperation. Nothing. Nada. The party of NO! Also, when a Republican quotes the "people" you need to understand that their "people" are the fat cats on Wall Street, Insurance Company CEOs, and the like. The Republicant party has not changed one iota since the days of Marie ("let them eat cake") Antoinette. Sorry, I meant Herbert Hoover. But you get the idea.

Guess what. Now that the rhetoric is over the American people check out the latest pool. Health Care Reform a Political Victory for Obama.

BTW - for those of you who are not all that familar with history read about the fights for Social Security (FDR) and Medicare (LBJ). History repeats itself.

If it's any consolation to Democrats, progressive policymakers are always vindicated by history. In 1935, Republican opponents of Social Security insisted that Roosevelt's "socialistic" plan would, among other things, force all Americans to wear dog tags. Not quite a half-century ago, conservative critics of Medicare seriously argued, in public, that the law would empower bureaucrats to dictate where physicians could practice medicine, and open the door to government control over where all Americans were allowed to live. Around the same time, many opponents of the Civil Rights Act believed the fabric of America was being torn apart by the legislation.

Right-wing arguments of today are absurd, but they are branches on a large and ridiculous tree.

Andrea Nicole Baker


betty said...

I'm so happy about this. I got the text about HCR passing the house Sunday night after the con and I was all smiles Monday morning.

Granted, living in Georgia it's hard to be too happy when everyone around you is conservative republican. What makes my blood boil is these people calling our country communist and not even understanding the slightest bit about what it truly means to live under *real* communist rule. We're practically SPOILED with everything we have in America while those living under communist rule basically have NOTHING unless they're rich and can bribe people.

Another thing I have a problem with is a point my friend brought up which she puts it better than anyone I know:

"One thing that's especially nutty about all the protests to health care reform is the fact that, if you tell the average person, "This drug costs 10 cents to produce but is sold for $200 a dose," they typically react like, "How can they get away with that?" Indirectly saying, capitalism has no place in health care. If you need something to live, you should be given a fair shot at getting it.

But when it comes to legislating it, we get all up in arms about socialism? I guess we're just supposed to trust drug companies to cut their prices in half out of the goodness of their hearts. The government certainly can't go in and legislate price cuts, because that would be interfering in the competitive market, which is unAmerican...

So we get stuck in this loop. It's unacceptable that people should be denied health care because all of the providers have agreed upon a price point that's too high, but ANY kind of legislative solution to this is going to interfere in the notion of laissez-faire economics, which is clearly an affront to our democratic foundation... (We clearly don't care about times when the government gives money to companies or allows them to save money -- it is only Bad and Socialist when they're taking money away.)

Pick your battles, you know? Which are you truly more concerned with, in your heart of hearts -- being able to keep yourself and your loved ones alive, or economic philosophy? Would you let your own mother go bankrupt trying to afford her medication, because making it cheaper would mean doing something "socialist"? I cannot accept that ANYONE who is out there fighting health care reform has ever endured, or had loved ones who endured, catastrophic illness. And if they have, they obviously need a sharp blow to the head to help reset their priorities.

And that's why it really is true that so much of the Tea Bagger movement and anti-HCR and all this comes down to racism. I'm sure that we'd still have plenty of irrational fear of "socialism" in any case, but I don't believe that a white Republican administration would be met with this much resistance. Because other white Republicans would implicitly trust that administration, assuming their decisions were guiding us in the right direction. Even if they had doubts, the attitude would be, "They must know something I don't," as it was with Iraq and all of the anti-terrorist actions. But because our President had a black Muslim dad, he can't be trusted, and THAT IS THE FUCKING CRUX OF IT."

betty said...

I also think we should get lunch or dinner together whenever you're free!

Andrea Nicole Baker said...

The communist/socialist label does not scare anyone anymore. Its a remnant of the past.

The right wing is basically xenophobic. They are afraid because they see the US become much more diverse. That scares the daylights out of them because they know they are becoming a smaller and smaller minority. This diversity is what will make the US a better, stronger and accepting country.

Remember Sarah Palin, during the campaign, talking about the "Real America"? Small town America? Meaning white America unpolluted by anything that looked or talked slightly different from her? Need I say more?

I do remember when there were moderate Republicans who were willing to work across the aisle in the spirit of doing what the American public sent them to Congress for. But those days are long gone. No one but "true believers" remain. the 20%+ in the Republican Pup Tent won't win many elections.

For years I was disillusioned by the political systems. Democracy is such a messy thing. But in 2008 I felt that it was too important to sit back and do nothing. RFK would be proud of this accomplishment.

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