Health Care Reform To Pass Into Law

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CNN-Health-Reform-Image.jpgWith Michigan's Representative Bart Stupak, leader of the anti-abortion coalition amongst Democrats, finally agreeing to vote Yes for the Health Care reform measure in the House, the Democrats appear to have more than the 216 votes needed to move the Health Care reform bill to President Obama's desk for signing into law, and into the Senate for the Reconciliation vote.

Rep. Stupak and his group bargained for an executive order assurance by the Obama Administration that the new law would not be interpreted by the Administration as a path opening the door for federally funded abortions. The language in the Senate version which the House will shortly vote on, appears to hold the status quo for years against federally funded abortions. But, as everyone knows from the Bush administration, the President can issue a signing order reversing or ignoring entirely provisions in the bill being signed. This executive order promised by Pres. Obama is insurance that will not occur with Pres. Obama's signature.

There are several procedural votes yet to take place, and the reconciliation bill to immediately be taken up by the Senate. But, the House passage marks the last major hurdle to the Democrat's and Independent's passage of historic health care reform, which all Americans will benefit from at some point in their lives, if not throughout. There will be losers upon passage. The private health care insurance industry, heavily represented in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will have lost their contributions to halt health care reform. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent $123.3 million on all lobbying activities for 2009, compared to $62.3 million in 2008, according to lobbying disclosure forms. Presumably, a major portion of the increase was spent on lobbying efforts to defeat health care and Wall St. regulatory reforms.

Republicans too, will be big losers, following their losses in 2006 and 2008. A Kaiser Health poll [PDF] this month, reveals more Americans for passage of the reform than against by several percentage points. Further, the number saying it is time for a vote well outnumber those calling for returning to the drawing table on health care reform, 42 to 36%. With the passage of health care reform, the GOP, for all its obstructionist activities, will have simply wasted their and their supporters time and dollars spent to defeat the majority in Congress. This one fact will stand as testament to the power of democracy still intact in the U.S. Congress, if only by a thread.

The gratuitous and unprecedented use of the filibuster by Congressional Republicans has spawned moves and support for reforming the filibuster rules. When all is said and done, however, I don't think Democrats, knowing they will one day be in the minority again, will actually modify the filibuster rules by much. The Democrats were able to stymie a good deal of Pres. Bush's initiatives in the Senate during 2007 and 2008 years. Still, the issue has a high rallying capacity for Democratic voters entering the Nov. elections, if it is made a campaign issue.

But, there is empirical research and evidence that Republicans will continue to lose on this Health Care Reform bill after it passes, in this excellently controlled and objective, Kaiser Foundation poll [PDF]. This poll demonstrates, the more the public knows about the contents of the legislation, the more they favor those contents. Between now and November's elections, the media which has covered the naysayers and proponents arguments, will have black and white provisions to disseminate to the public without all the controversy. As the poll shows, when the public learns what's in the bill for Americans, they, in a majority, approve of those provisions. This has the potential for a huge backlash against Republicans in November, depriving them of what otherwise may have been larger gains at a purely statistical level of having fewer seats to defend.

Americans like to identify with winners. This legislation having passed against all odds, will leave many, who now say they oppose it, saying they supported it 6 months from now. That is a sociological phenomena that is demonstrated time and again. Many who opposed civil rights legislation in the 1960's, now would not admit it, declaring themselves to have never been racist or bigoted. Such changes of mind resulting from cognitive dissonance and invoking rationalization to place oneself in the majority, after the fact, will account for Republicans not getting some of these votes they are now counting on, in November's election.

Tens of Millions of Americans will realize the benefits I, and my family, will receive from this reform. My daughter will be going to college part-time while working full-time to get her nursing degree. She will be well past the age of 24 in Nursing School. Currently, she would have to do without health insurance after the age of 24 or quit college to afford health insurance premiums. With this reform law, our daughter can remain on our family policy at 1/3 the premium cost until her 27th birthday.

I have genetic hypertension. This reform law will prevent an insurance company from canceling our policy for subsequent conditions arising from hypertension, and permit us to competitively shop for insurance in the future without fear of pre-existing conditions denying us choice and competitive rates.

This bill will begin to lower all American's health care costs by allowing 32 million Americans currently uninsured to visit a doctor's office with insurance, rather than the emergency room at 3 to 30 times the cost passed on to all premium payers. This new reform will further reduce our costs with the implementation of new Medical Information Technology which will reduce duplicated testing and diagnostics, and assure less errors and malpractice due to absence of medical information sharing between health care specialists and our general practitioner.

These are all benefits which tens of millions of Americans will enjoy along side our family. Objectively, whether one is opposed to this law or not, it contains many provisions which Americans will benefit from. Does it solve our future debt threat due to Medicare and Medicaid? No. But, it does begin to address that threat by taking substantial steps to lower health care costs going forward, and thus, reducing the debt threat posed by Medicare and Medicaid. And it does so, without substantially increasing the deficit or the national debt.

To be sure, there remains an enormous amount of heavy lifting to be done by America's health care industry and government to eliminate the debt threat growing as a result of entitlement programs. This law makes a down payment on addressing that challenge. As with all great achievements, they begin with a first step. Putting this health care reform issue behind us on the law books, opens the door to taking further steps to address the entitlement threat to our nation's economic future. Let us move on, demanding and securing the changes that are necessary, to secure our nation's future for our children, and theirs.

AP-Lauren-Victoria Burke-Photo-HC-Passage.jpgOn a final note, regardless of how one feels about Nancy Pelosi as House leader, she has vindicated herself as Democratic leader in a most profound way, by tenaciously and unrelentingly, marching this bill toward passage against all odds, hurdles, and road blocks. Her leadership on this health care reform is nothing short of remarkable and rivals the performance past House leaders, whose efforts to overcome the seemingly impossible, bore fruit. It has been an amazing piece of leadership, which included even forcing the President to the bargaining table to get this historic legislation passed by the House of Representatives.

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on March 21, 2010 6:39 PM.

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