Monday, March 22, 2010

Historic Health Care Legislation Passes


Ted Kennedy is smiling today.

It's not perfect by any means, but it's a good first step forward. The United States just took a major step to joining most of the civilized world in providing its population with health care.

This was an example of doing what was right and not necessarily what was popular. The easy thing to do for President Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress was to just kick the can down the sidewalk a little further. However, the Democrats in the 111th Congress drew the line and said, in effect, "It's time to act."

So, while there are problems with this bill, the great news is that 32 million more Americans will be covered. People with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied coverage, or people that get sick cannot just be dropped when their benefits run out.

I wish the bill was more progressive. I wish that it created an actual public option health care plan that you or I could buy into just like the private insurance we have now. I wish that it held insurance companies even more accountable. I wish the roll out of the plan was not over four years. I wish that it could extend to 100 percent the number of people in our country covered by insurance. We need a hybrid system along the lines of many European countries that still preserves some private options along with public plans. They lead the world, and we should follow.

That's the next step we should take. For now, let's stand and applaud the work of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who will go down as one of the great Speakers of the House, President Barack Obama, and everyone else on the Democratic side in Congress. They have pushed this bill forward. I also take my hat off to Congressman Brad Ellsworth, Congressman Andre Carson, Congressman Pete Visclosky, Congressman Baron Hill, and Congressman Joe Donnelly. All of these men are putting their careers on the line in voting for health care legislation. They understand that doing what's right can sometime cost you your job.

Now, the work begins again in the Senate.

Let's move forward.

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