“Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks in opposition to this flawed health care bill”….We heard this canned statement over and over and over again tonight. We heard about the “Cornhusker kickback, the Louisiana Purchase, the Gator aid. We heard that this bill, if it passes, will make Americans less free. We heard that members of the military would loose their health coverage, that abortions would be paid for, that Medicare would be slashed. We heard from John Boehner that this was not the time to create bureaucracies, that there was no transparency, that there was not time to read the bill, that the people do not want this bill. His remarks continued to accent his distress over the process. If I had not been watching and only listening to his remarks over the radio, one would certainly have gotten the distinct impression that he was a very, very angry man. The tone and inflections in his voice gave one to believe that John Boehner just might be a little bit concerned that history was about to pass him by.
Health reform has been talked about and debated dating back to Theodore Roosevelt’s Bull Moose party which called for health insurance for industry. In his first term, President Roosevelt appointed a committee which was to report a program that addressed old-age and unemployment issues, medical care and health insurance. President Truman proposed a single insurance system that would cover all Americans with public subsidies to pay for the poor.
During nearly every Presidential election cycle since those days, every candidate has campaigned on the slogan of “health care for all”. At the end of that cycle, nothing gets done and the cycle continues. We immediately resort back to the status quo. The numbers of uninsured rise, the cost of insurance premiums skyrocket, rescissions continue, out of pocket expenses increase, denials for pre-existing conditions fall off the scales and even children are dropped from coverage.
Well, the time for change is long overdue. Republicans, for too long, have played politics with the lives of all Americans. At every turn, they have denied, delayed, obstructed, lied outright and instilled fear in the hearts and minds of the populace. As Speaker Pelosi said tonight, “all politics are personal”. After tonight, there will be no more politics of fear, no more politics of intimidation, no more threats of personal destruction. All of the talk about process, and all of the whining from republicans with bruised egos, don’t mean a heck of a lot now. What matters to those with no insurance, to those who are uninsured and those who have been bankrupted or lost their homes because of medical bills, simply stated, are results.
Many had given up on health reform with the Senate election results in Massachusetts earlier this year. Many have talked wildly about the upcoming November elections. The insurance companies became emboldened and Sen. Mitch McConnell and Rep. John Boehner actually began to believe their own words. Their repeated echo’s of “No” with the brazen 30-60% premium increases by Anthem and other insurers, re-awakened a cautious Democratic party. I want to personally thank Sen McConnell, Rep. Boehner and the insurance companies for their inadvertent contributions to the cause of health care reform.
In November 2008, America elected a President who said that he would get health reform done. For this President, it was not just a “slogan”. He took flack from all sides…Republicans and Democrats alike. With a determined Speaker of the House in Nancy Pelosi, President Obama and the U.S. House of Representatives delivered for the good of the American people.
When the sun rises in the east tomorrow, the earth will still be turning on it‘s axis, the American economy will not have collapsed, America will still be free, and there will be no Waterloo….the only thing that will be different tomorrow is that historic health reform for all Americans was passed tonight. History is now on the side of the American people.