Health Care Reform – of a sort – now the law

It’s been almost exactly two months since I’ve posted – been busy, and more on that later – and, perhaps ironically, the last post was directed at criticizing Barack Obama for his proposed spending freeze. As I write this, he has just finished brief remarks before signing the health care reform bill into law.

On some levels, this is a remarkable achievement, but it falls far short of what we need. Obama argued to many on the left who were pushing for more, and who felt let down, if not betrayed, by his dropping the public option, that landmark legislation can begin small and grow from there. Perhaps. We’ll see.

Another irony is that Obama remarked that this was an example of America stepping up to do what was right despite the costs. Spare me that. We are the only industrialized country that does not have universal health care. We have not done what is right, not yet.

Note Jane Hamsher’s post yesterday at Firedoglake – Jane Hamsher reminds us of the work not yet done.

As we “speak,” a group of right-wing yahoos who happen to be Attorneys General in several (mainly South and Mountain) states plan to sue over the requirement to purchase insurance. That will likely go to the Supreme Court, which is currently dominated by other right-wing ideologues who may well vote to strike that down. Heck, they already overturned nearly 100 years of precedent to allow corporations to flood our elections with money.

I was asked last week what Dems had done wrong in terms of message on health care, and I held forth at length. But when you get right down to it, they abdicated the message to the Rs, who quickly proceeded to define the debate for nearly a year. Then they failed to remind people of all the benefits in even this flawed bill, and they chose to ignore a great opportunity last July with the 44th anniversary of Medicare. Now, they have to go out and tell Americans what they stand to gain, in concrete terms, from this legislation. They do that, and they undermine, if not neuter, the coming attacks from the Rs.

And while they’re at it, they can get back to the work of ensuring affordable health care for every American.

But, okay, they can take a moment to gloat over the fetid form of Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), a certified whack job that even a cynic like me can take pleasure in kicking a little. In case you’re not aware, he’s the one who laid bare the R’s agenda during the health care reform debate – “If we’re able to stop Obama on this it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.”



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