100 Years in the Making: Historic Health Care Reform Finally Passes

Via News
on Mar 23, 2010
get elephant's newsletter

One of the most important pieces of federal policy has just passed the House of Representatives. Ezra Klein, health care reform columnist for the Washington Post, says “tonight’s vote changed tens of millions of lives for the better, and literally saved hundreds of thousands of those lives.”

slide_5497_75079_large33% rate increases, insurance denial based on pre-existing health conditions, and not having health insurance because you’re between jobs just became a thing of the past. There’s no doubt that this bill will directly impact every single American. Nearly every American will soon have health care–whether on your own through the private market, through your employer, or from federal subsidies that will assist those who cannot afford it.

The bill passed on a close vote of 219 to 212 (it needed 216 to pass). I’m guessing most of you weren’t streaming CSPAN at 9:30 on a Sunday night like myself, but there was one thing throughout the debate that is crystal clear–this vote illustrated how polarized our nation’s representative democracy has become. Aside from the obvious appalling actions of the teabag protesters throughout the day (black members of congress being called the “N” word as they walked by and homophobic remarks launched at Barney Frank during a press conference), the unruliness carried over onto the House floor as well. One member even yelled “baby killer” at the pro-life Democrat Rep. Stupak while he was urging his colleagues to not vote for procedural tricks to kill the bill.

I’m not one that pretends to swear by bipartisanship. Frankly, I think Democrats may have given in too much to Republicans on this health care bill only to get exactly zero of their votes on the final bill. However, I do think there is an obvious void in much of today’s politics: inherent respect for one another and our differences in opinions.

I’m not going to sit here and come to some false conclusion about why this is the case, nor do I really care to understand it completely. All I know is that our government did a good thing for the American people tonight. I can’t wait until we can look back and agree on that.

As Pelosi said in her closing remarks tonight, “Senator Kennedy wrote that access to health care was the great unfinished business of our society – that is, until today.”

You can find this blog and others on New Era’s political news blog, NewEraNews.org


About News

Andrew Whitehead is a soon-to-be graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder with a degree in Environmental Studies. He grew up in the grand country of Ireland, which is probably where he began to develop his exquisite beer palate. After moving to Wayne, Pennsylvania, Andrew became seriously passionate about the environment and strives to spread his awareness with anyone willing to listen. In his free time he loves to play hockey and soccer as well as go hiking. All that know him well fear his obsession with goats will land him a staring role on the well-known American TV show “Hoarders”.


11 Responses to “100 Years in the Making: Historic Health Care Reform Finally Passes”

  1. C.Smith says:

    Healthcare is still 'the great unfinished business of our society,' it is just slightly less-unfinished then it was yesterday. This bill is a good start, but let's not stop until we get single payer. No reason anyone needs to go without healthcare – ever.

  2. Steve says:

    Agreed. This is definitely not a perfect bill and it by no means has fixed all of the problems with the health care industry in our country. However, with that said, it's an enormous step forward. And forward is the only direction we can afford to go in right now.

  3. integralhack says:

    Right on! It was the right thing to do.

  4. Here's a useful summary of what HCR will do for US: http://motherjones.com/mojo/2010/03/health-care-r

  5. rachel says:

    One thing the debate in the US has done is made us absolutely aware and thankful of what we have got, I for one took the NHS as an absolute 'right' until the noise across the Atlantic made it clear, that no, it isn't actually.
    Quote from David Nunes (but you could insert any other republican going on what i saw on C-span last night') -"say no to socialism, say no to totalinarianism, say no to this bill"
    Do US republicans realise HOW insulting this kind of emotionally charged rhetoric to the memories of those millions who suffered and died under REAL totalitarian states? 20 million dead in USSR alone, We in Europe KNOW all about the threat of living under real totalitarian regimes, (especially those in Eastern Europe).

  6. Greg:

    I understand the concern – but I'm not sure it's warranted. I've lived in two other countries that had very comprehensive health care systems with huge amounts of government involvement (Norway and France) – and I wouldn't class either of them as repressive totalitarian regimes.

    You are right that time will tell. In the two instances I mentioned above, the gov't power is used to enforce regulations on healthcare providers – prices must be posted – there are maximum allowable charges for procedures, etc. Both have universal insurance so you don't need regulation on that end of things. If it's used to scrutinize citizens then that's the wrong avenue….

    I guess what I always liked was when I went to the doctor – I knew EXACTLY how much my insurance would cover – EXACTLY what the cost would be and what portion of this was my responsibility. When I go to the doctor here in the US, I feel like a roulette player – will they cover it? How much? How many times will I need to appeal before they cover it? How many hours will I spend on hold trying to do that?

    This isn't my favorite plan (for probably the opposite reasons that you have) – but I do think it's a step in the right direction. You are right that time will tell though. Doing nothing was not an option though….

    Thanks for an opposing viewpoint based on reasoning- there's been too much wild speculation – I'm open to reasoned counterarguments – JOHN

  7. via http://www.facebook.com/elephantjournal

    Stephen Fenberg, Christopher Carson Smith, Todd Mayville and 12 others like this.

    Tom Frascone
    "As you know this bill was posted online only about 24 hours ago. Therefore, we're seeing it for the first along with the American public. As our various House Committees read through the bill, we are appalled by some of the things we are seeing for the first time.

    For example we just found out if you are a Veteran with TRICARE coverage your … See Morepolicy might not “qualify” under the bill. By "qualify", I mean meet the minimum standards for health insurance which will be set by the new government oversight bureau. The Senate bill and now the subsequent reconciliation do not clarify that TRICARE coverage is sufficient, leaving it up to a Department of Treasury bureaucrat to decide whether or not our veterans' health care qualifies or if they will have to purchase additional insurance.."

    oh this will be fun…

    Stephen Fenberg
    What? The bill has been public since the Senate passed their version last year.

    Ian Jessup
    Gotta love how some people like to distort the truth. Everyone's a lobbyist these days.

    Cathy Lilly
    Poor Tom is so misinformed as so many veterans health care acts have been implemented. Latest was last Fall when Obama signed new legislation that created predictable funding for veterans’ health care.

    Greg Stone
    Ian, ain't that the truth. The distortion and corruption in this bill is staggering.

    But if you stagger, Greg, now you're covered: http://motherjones.com/mojo/2010/03/health-care-r

    Ian Jessup
    Sorry Greg. Looks like you and I are on opposite sides of this one. But you have fun with that.

    Greg Stone
    Waylon, it is heaven. I can now quit paying my premiums, pay the fine (much less) and then wait until I stumble. Given I am old and frail and can practice yoga only three days a week it means that you, a virile, productive earner will pay for my health care – and your kids will keep on paying and paying… this is sweet. And you will subsidize the … See Moreunions – dude, that is sooo kind. (I'm a union member – DGA). And Andy Stern will not face the SEIU pension and health fund going B.K. as his ass is now saved – you are total compassionate dude, Waylon. (P.S. And I can move to Nebraska where you will pay my Medicaid. This is sweet.)

    Greg Stone
    Ian, I am going to have sooo much fun. The look on your face and the face of others who bought this con – it is going to be worth the price. That knocking at the door is the IRS making sure you have paid your share. And the gunboats off shore here in Cal. It's the Chinese wanting to get paid on U.S. Treasury's they hold. You get the door, I'll try to convince the Chinese Waylon is good for it. :>)

    Greg, I'll be happy to do my small part to help pay for you when you need it. My mom lives in Canada, and has first rate care.
    a few seconds ago

  8. integralhack says:


    I'm not sure these bills represent "corrupt special interest deals the like of which we have never seen previously." Corruption and special interests (embodied as lobbyists) have been part of American politics for a long time. Personally, I find the the Iraq War to be a much more "corrupt deal" than health care ever was since it was founded on lies (remember WMDs?) and perpetuated with an eye toward profit (thanks Halliburton and Blackwater!).

    Back to Health Care: What could we hope to achieve, realistically, when most Republicans feigned participation in the process–received concessions (many of which were the "crappy parts" of the bill, like no public option) and then voted against health care reform anyway? It became clear that to move forward one is going to have to take baby steps in this country.

    Could it go badly? Sure it could–and you raise some legitimate concerns especially in regard to reigning in insurance companies. But this is why we have other legislative processes like amendments. As Americans we will need to remain vigilant as voters to make sure that the health care system (which has so far only been mandated) works and that we demand changes when things aren't working.

    But in order to demand effective change we need to be rational. We need to get past the irrational notion that any amount of government oversight is a slippery slope to Nazi Germany and genocide. Government oversight does not equal tyranny–especially in our new world of corporations running amok. After all, history–including the current recession–shows that when we don't have proper government oversight the results can be traumatic.

  9. […] historic health-care reform package just passed today is, I believe, really good […]

  10. Linda says:

    Seems to me like the US has got its foot in the doorway toward benefit and compassion, rather than the old every man, woman, and child for his or herself. When I shattered my wrist in Canada 10 years ago, there is no way I could have pd. for four days in the hospital, two operations, and all the rest of it. I think it is good that the US is beginning to care for its citizens.

  11. I do enjoy the manner in which you have presented this difficulty plus it does supply me a lot of fodder for consideration. However, from what I have experienced, I simply just hope when other remarks pile on that people today keep on issue and don’t embark on a tirade regarding the news du jour. All the same, thank you for this outstanding piece and though I do not really agree with the idea in totality, I regard the standpoint.