Well, here it is. After much delay, no shortage of nastiness, death panels, abortion, a public option, then no public option, more or less 100% partisanship, a lot of lofty promises and grand rhetoric, and a little bit of bribery, we have universal healthcare.
What better day to finally kick off a little bit a blogging?
As someone who follows healthcare reform with a good amount of regularity, I’m embarrassed to admit that I still don’t have a good idea what will come of this. However, at 400,000 words give or take, I’m willing to bet that no individual politician really knows either. What’s more, it’s hard to say what the final reforms will actually look like once they are in practice rather than on paper.
Even sitting here in the bluest of blue states with Teddy smiling down (maybe), it’s hard to be entirely happy with the result. The whole process revealed how infuriating the legislative process can be at times. Whether you wish the bill had accomplished more (Dems) or you think it’s a sign of the apocalypse (GOP), the whole thing has a bitter taste to it. But I, for one, plan to see the glass as 95% full. For all it’s flaws and disappointments, it’s hard to be mad at the idea of providing for 32 million Americans that previously did not have healthcare and instituting reforms that may affect many of us over the course of our lives, even if they don’t affect us right away.
Ultimately, despite many vague exclamations to the contrary, Republicans had very little to offer (except “nos” and “nays”, and let us not forget Joe Wilson’s classy outburst). It’s depressing really that the opposing side of the debate revolved primarily around, well, opposition. Healthcare spending is absolutely out of control and some how we still manage to come in near the bottom of the list in terms of outcomes. We also can claim the rather embarrassing distinction of being one of few first-world countries that does not offer universal health coverage (and we still won’t, for those paying attention).
See this map. The orange countries are ones with universal health care. You’ll notice that in addition to almost all of Europe, Russia, Japan, Canada and Australia, this also includes places like Saudi Arabia and Cuba. It’s about time that we caught up.
Doing nothing would have been a cardinal sin. For our economy, for our values, for our citizens, this is something that needed to happen. Now, you won’t lose your coverage if you get sick (which could easily happen) or be denied coverage if you have a pre-existing condition (which could also happen). Millions more Americans will be insured. For all the concerns about this (some legitimate and some not), it’s hard not to see the good that is at the core of this effort. Happy Healthcare Day, America.