It's confession time. I had already drafted a blog on a totally different subject when the announcement of the passage of our nation's first comprehensive health care reform legislation hit the news yesterday. This is simply an achievement too big and timely to ignore and not offer some commentary on, particularly after a year of heated debate and rhetoric that has further divided this country and destroyed what David Brooks calls "The Spirit of Sympathy" (read his column in yesterday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette or go to
How can one not be excited by the fact that after almost 100 years of trying, this country has finally joined the rest of the industrialized world in providing health care for most of our citizens, including the over 30 million Americans who currently have none at all. Yes, I've listened to all of the arguments that it will socialize our health care system (think Medicare) and bankrupt our country in the process. But what about families that are being personally bankrupted as a direct result of not having any health care coverage who will now be able to get it? Or finally prohibiting those who have a major medical condition from being thrown out of an insurance plan, a situation with which I have had personal experience? Or having a child with a preexisting condition who will now be able to get health insurance? Or having no cap on lifetime benefits? Or closing the troublesome donut hole in the prescription drug coverage? Or addressing the rising health care costs in the United States? Are these benefits of this new law really the ingredients of the "Armageddon" predicted by the current House Minority Leader? The sun still rose in the east this morning, and will no doubt set in the west.
Of course this plan is not perfect. But, as our President has stated many times over the past year, you do not go for the perfect at the expense of the good, and the good of HR4872 far outweighs any bad. Just as with other major legislation passed throughout our history (e.g. National Parks, Women's Voting Rights, Social Security, Medicare, Civil Rights, etc.), this country will be much better off with the passage of this transformational legislation simply because it is the right thing to do, in my view.