D-Day on health care legislation; will it pass the test of reform?

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 By Juanita Bratcher 


After months of debate, health care legislation heads for the finish line. On the heels of the House vote, President Barack Obama said he was confident “History will be made” with this “historic vote.”

The upcoming vote on health care legislation expected this Sunday (March 21) in Congress is synonymous to that great game of competitive sports – the Super bowl. After months of debate, political ideology clashes, boisterous health care reform rallies, and infighting between lawmakers in both the Democratic and Republican Parties, it seems that America is in the final stretch of what has been an unnerving debate. Tempers flared, incendiary remarks were strewn about, and mean-spirited words lit up the poster boards and took on new meanings – polarizing and dividing the country.

While some speculate that the votes are not there for passage, others predict that health care legislation will pass, even though the numbers will be very close. And no Republican in the House or Senate is expected to vote for it. Republican leadership has tried to torpedo the legislation from Day-One. And in the final days, suggested that health reform talks go back to the drawing board and to start from square one even though legislation had earlier passed the House and Senate.

President Obama, speaking before thousands in Virginia’s Patriot Center, March 19th, declared:

“…At the heart of this debate is the question of whether we’re going to accept a system that works better for the insurance companies than it does for the American people — because if this vote fails, the insurance industry will continue to run amok.  They will continue to deny people coverage.  They will continue to deny people care.  They will continue to jack up premiums 40 or 50 or 60 percent as they have in the last few weeks without any accountability whatsoever.  They know this.  And that’s why their lobbyists are stalking the halls of Congress as we speak, and pouring millions of dollars into negative ads.  And that’s why they are doing everything they can to kill this bill.”

Those who keep a close eye on the political arena, and have become swept up into this political/ideology battle, are now poised, waiting for the outcome, the end result of a once seemingly unending fierce political battle. After the results are officially in, assessments will be made – of winners and losers – and will then move on to the next political episode…battle? There’s bound to be more. Believe it, there will be innumerable ones down the road. Why? Because there’s never a boring time in the political arena; it’s filled with exciting blurbs and innuendoes, and at times, can be very dramatic with lots of grandstanding.

From the outset, CopyLine Magazine has always been in favor of a public option in health care legislation. Unfortunately, public option didn’t make the cut. Nonetheless, health care legislation up for vote on Sunday is a very good start, though not perfect. Yet, if passed, 32 million uninsured will have accessibility to health care, those with pre-existing conditions will now get a fighting chance, without being dropped by their insurance companies, among other things. 

When all is said and done – which ever way the vote goes – whether it passes or fails – there is bound to be winners and losers. And in the aftermath, it will be an excellent time for assessment. Voters should take a closer look at those that represent them in the U.S. House and Senate. Did they like what they saw or heard from their representatives? Were elected officials’ actions more about politics (whether it would hurt their chance at re-election), or in the best interest of their constituents and that of the country?

If not, it’s time to throw the incumbent bums out and send some fresh talent to Washington; those with constructive, innovative voices that are worthy of our support and trust.

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