Health care is here — so what now?

So what does the newly signed health care bill mean to all of us in this country?

In the first place, it is right and fair that those Americans, often but not always at the bottom of the economic totem poll, will finally receive a basic human right that is guaranteed by so many other countries. If you have health insurance now, all you have to do to understand what they faced is to imagine yourself without it. You would be appropriately terrified.

The Limbaughs and Becks and Savages make me ill. They have theirs and when someone else is treated humanely and with dignity, they start calling us socialistic and every other name in the book. Make no mistake about it — this is a redistribution of wealth, and an appropriate one. The fat cat, political right wing has gotten so needlessly greedy that it actually endangers this country.

The fairer a society we have, the more likely its citizens will support the country and its institutions. We have seen this before, when the country adopted a Social Security program and a Medicare program. These programs were both met with the same wild opposition by the same Republicans who made the same case that socialism is here and will break the government bank. These programs are now so popular that they are called “the third rails of American politics.” Any politician who tries to touch them will be politically electrocuted.

All signs were pointing to a huge victory for the Republicans in the coming state and federal elections, but quick and dirty polling following the passage of the bill has shown a new groundswell of support for the bill that did not exist before it was passed.

In fact, the Republicans who relied on the old scare tactics with Scott Brown’s victory over Martha Coakley may have well hoisted themselves on their own collective petard.

With this success under his belt, Obama now marches forward with those other policy initiatives that were queued up like so many airplanes on the runway. Now he will go after the country’s financial institutions that have enjoyed virtually no real supervision up until this point. Without the first victory there could have been no second or third. What looked like it might have been a one-term presidency has gained a lot of new steam.

As for the other opposition, it is hard for me to figure out how that nation’s insurance industry will be ruined by this bill. More than 30 million Americans will now have to buy insurance from them. The drug companies (big pharma) recognized the bonanza from day one and signed on to the program.

Perhaps the insurance companies believed that this was the first step in the march to single-payer universal health care that would have put an end to their disgraceful profiteering from the nation’s health care needs. There are certainly those of us who believe that had Obama gone forth with the whole enchilada from Day One, he would have succeeded. We will never know.

For those blue dog Democrats who split from the president on this bill, I predict political disaster. Now that the bill is being perceived as a win for the president, those who opposed it may well find themselves hated by partisan Democrats and as well as by Republicans.

Much will depend on how this bill is implemented. It has taken a long time to eliminate fraud from the Medicare and Medicaid programs. The cheats and hucksters and predators must already be hard at work trying to figure out how to game the system. This will present a challenge for the Obama administration. The tougher they are on the despicable corruptors, the better they will look.

One can only wonder what our new senator, Scott Brown, must be thinking as he enters the history books as the man who tried to kill the program. He must be looking for a parachute.

The other Massachusetts guy who would seem to have a problem, our own Mitt Romney, must be wondering how he can get to be president, because he is the man who invented the mandatory health care program that Team Obama clearly used as their model.

Since the Republicans have vowed to fight this until the end, it will be interesting to see how and whether Romney reinvents himself.

As for the tabloid press, they tried to divert attention from this revolutionary bill by telling us that an exuberant Veep, Joe Biden, used a dirty word to the president.

Originally published in the Berkshire Eagle, 3/27/10

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One Comment on “Health care is here — so what now?”

  1. merv Says:

    Healthcare for all is a good thing, too much government control and taxes is not.
    Turning the medical profession into civil servants will turn it into something akin to our educational system. If we just taxed the rich a little more, all our problems will go away. Yeah, I don’t think so.
    Now we’ll be able to compete with Europe. They are doing so well.
    You think with over one hundred new government agencies fraud will be addressed, I think there will be more fraud. The fraud is on the American Citizens.
    Think about the efficiency in government run agencies.
    As the quality of healthcare goes down the waits will go up. Prevention pays less so treatment will wait for emergencies, don’t treat the diabetes, but do cut the leg off. I think the right is holding back and not telling it as it will be; it will be way worse than they say. Ask your Doctor or any one in the health field.
    How do you think a Doctor that went through 15 years of schooling after college will handle some Government fool tell him/her what test is appropriate for the patient based on age and cost, or that he/she makes too much money and all Doctors should make the same. Not in America.

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