In the 21st century, the richest and poorest countries in the world should not have a broken healthcare system in common. With the passage of the recent healthcare legislation, too many people continue to make up stories of what the healthcare reform law provides.
It amazes me that people still feel the healthcare reform debate was not vetted in public and that Republicans had no input and were shut out of the process entirely. Both claims couldn’t be further from the truth.
Every Democrat and Republican who ran for president in the 2008 cycle had a healthcare reform proposal that they presented and debated. When Republicans lost control of Congress in 2006, Democrats began to openly discuss healthcare reform and gain public interest and input. Over the last two years, approximately 100 bipartisan House Committee hearings on healthcare reform took place. During that time frame, many members of Congress hosted public forums, healthcare events, and other activities around healthcare. In the end, 200 Republican amendments are part of the healthcare reform law.
The argument that one political side wrote and debated healthcare reform is simply not accurate. It is unfortunate that one political party voted for legislation that all Americans will benefit from. Just as Medicare, Social Security, and other entitlements have proven to be beneficial and vital to many, so will healthcare reform legislation.
Republicans running for Congress are vowing to repeal the healthcare reform law without knowing the benefits it will have on the district they represent. People should not rely solely on what they hear on the radio and see on TV; those seeking office should not rely on their party’s talking points to gain votes and secure financial contributions.
People need to go to the source and educate themselves on the real effects of this law. The House Committee on Energy and Commerce provides clear information on the effects the healthcare reform law has on each congressional district.
Misinformation and made-up information have contributed to the high level of distrust and hatred that is being displayed. One political party cannot and should not continually pass legislation without bipartisan support. However, someone must lead, and history will decide who was right and who was wrong.
This time in history calls for solutions over rhetoric. This time in history calls for bold leadership and meaningful action. This time in history calls for those elected officials to make good on issues that they campaigned and won on rather than hide and pass it on to the next person and the next generation.
The sky is not falling, and the world will not come to an end as a result of healthcare reform being law. Improvements will be made and future sessions of Congress will have to address such improvements. Such actions were done in 1964, 1965, and 1968 with civil rights legislation.
In the meantime, 32 million Americans who are currently uninsured will be able to get affordable and safe health insurance. Health insurance companies will no longer be allowed to deny people coverage because of pre-existing conditions or drop coverage when people become too sick. The federal budget deficit will be cut by $138 billion over the next 10 years and $1.2 trillion in the following 10 years. Health insurance is more affordable for families and small businesses due to new tax credits. Seniors on Medicare will pay less for their prescription drugs and the donut hole gap will be closed. Medicaid will be expanded to offer health insurance coverage to an additional 16 million low-income people. Young adults will remain on their families’ insurance plans until age 26. And community health centers will receive additional funding in order to double the number of patients who can be treated at their facilities. This is far better healthcare reform than our country has ever seen before.
Right now, more social, economic, and national security issues must be addressed and more problems must be solved. And isn’t this what we really want from Congress and the president? Or do we really want them to fail? If that is the wish of some, then who really has the problem and who really suffers?