President Obama’s statement on Wednesday was brilliant. He made the case again for why reform was important and listed all the broken stuff that it would fix, he allayed fears about ruining the benefits enjoyed by people who like their current insurance benefits, he was clear that Medicare benefits would not be cut, and he described how the plan is paid for.
Still, some will say it is too much. So he explained why it isn’t too much – why if you don’t cover everyone, then the other changes can’t take effect: “unless everyone has access to affordable coverage, you can’t prevent insurance companies from denying coverage based on preexisting conditions; you can’t limit the amount families are forced to pay out of their own pockets”. You may not be a fan of the size of the bill but lots of people smarter than me (and admit it – probably you too) have determined that this is fact. No reasonable person disputes this fact. The only remaining debate, then, is whether you believe it is in the best interests of everyone to insure everyone.
I believe that it is. Again, as people smarter than me have determined, uninsured sick people cost the government/taxpayers more in the long run than getting them on some sort of insurance so it’s better for me if they have insurance. And that’s to say nothing of the “golden rule” – what if it were you that got sick and got dumped by your insurer? That may be a small minority of people, but a majority of us are one crappy turn of events away from being those people.
You can’t flip past Fox News without hearing about how the American people are against the current plan. And while it may be true that the current plan would be voted down if you were to hold a nationwide referendum, that has more to do with fear-mongering and an infatuation with the status quo than with intellectual disagreement over the policy issues I’ve described above.
In 2008, the country voted a Democrat into Presidential office who promised health care reform. Here it is. The country even voted into office a Democratic majority in the House and Senate to support the President. And while the economy isn’t doing the Democrats any favors right now, they still need to stick to the plan and look at the big picture. If you are a politician who got elected for purposes of power and every day you fear what happens if you make a risky decision, then clearly you aren’t cut out for the job. But for every member of congress that has the balls to do what is right, even if it means potentially losing that job and the power that goes with it, now is the time to vote the health care reform into law.