Column - Pop the champagne! CelebrateForget the tea party. Pop the champagne! Yippee! Time to celebrate. Let’s rejoice that the Democratic majority in the U.S. Congress – at long last – finally flexed its muscle, tossed obstructionists aside and passed a health-care reform bill.
By: Dennis Dalman, Alexandria Echo Press
Forget the tea party. Pop the champagne! Yippee! Time to celebrate.
Let’s rejoice that the Democratic majority in the U.S. Congress – at long last – finally flexed its muscle, tossed obstructionists aside and passed a health-care reform bill.
This historic action should have been done a long time ago, but special interests, their lobbyists and their legislative puppets had erected a veritable “Berlin Wall” of opposition. Now, thank goodness, there are some big chinks in that wall, which we can only hope will some day crumble if not fall.
For too long, health insurance companies acted like greedy ogres, holding ailing people hostage to a system they could not afford to join. Imagine how many have died because of that heartless greed.
There are really two reasons to celebrate this reform victory.
The first reason to celebrate is this: Obstructionists, led by that cheerleading clown Rep. Michele Bachmann, were defeated. It was pathetic to see them whine about the reconciliation process used to pass the bill when Republicans have resorted to it 16 of the last 22 times it was used; most infamously to pass Pres. George W. Bush’s trillion-dollar tax cut for the rich. These Obama baiters and Obama haters kept screaming, “Let’s start over!” That was obviously their code phrase for “Stop ANY health-care bill dead in its tracks.” They used one big lie after another (death panels, socialism, government take-over) to scare constituents. Ultra-right-wing shills like gasbag Rush Limbaugh and Weepy Glenn Beck (“Son of Rush”) kept up that drumbeat of fears and lies, which too many gullible listeners swallowed hook, line and sinker.
There is an old nomadic desert-tribe saying that goes like this: “The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on.” In this case, the “dogs” are the obstructionists, Republican and Democrat, who are whining, yipping, nipping, licking their wounds. Sounds mean, but it’s so much fun to observe their sourpuss reactions. Maybe rah-rah Bachmann will put away her anti-progressive shish-boom-bah pom-poms for a change and quit promoting herself. Maybe she’ll actually do some work for a change, trying to help the middle class and the working poor. Don’t hold your breath, though.
The other reason to celebrate is this: Imperfect as the reform bill is, it is a long-overdue first step in what will prove to be an even longer struggle toward affordable care for all. Someday, sooner than later, this country is going to come to the conclusion a one-payer system (or a strong public option) is inevitable. Unfortunately, the Party of No will fight any further health-care reforms tooth-and-claw; they’re already threatening to repeal the just-passed bill.
What is good about the current reform is that it puts the brakes on some of the abuses big health-insurance companies are notorious for perpetrating on suffering people, such as exclusionary practices and polices that lock out those with pre-existing conditions. What is worrisome about the current bill, however, is that those same companies will likely figure out ways to get around any newly imposed regulations. Not to forget: Where there is big money, big loopholes abound.
The progressive members of the U.S. Congress and we must be ever vigilant to make sure these reforms are implemented and, most of all, that people can afford them, based on ability to pay. If insurance companies find loopholes and new ways to gouge customers, this reform will be no reform at all. However, it appears the foundations of their greedy fortress have been breached; we can only hope for more vigorous victories.
Half a loaf is better than none. Even one slice of a loaf is better than no bread at all. If these reforms work, if Americans see across-the-board successes, a strong populist push for much stronger improvements will start to happen. That is why this first step is so historic, and that is why we should all be celebrating.