Monday, March 22, 2010

Dear Congress

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The biggest piece of legislation since my generation was born...

via The New York Times:
House Democrats approved a far-reaching overhaul of the nation’s health system on Sunday, voting over unanimous Republican opposition to provide medical coverage to tens of millions of uninsured Americans after an epic political battle that could define the differences between the parties for years.

With the 219-to-212 vote, the House gave final approval to legislation passed by the Senate on Christmas Eve. Thirty-four Democrats joined Republicans in voting against the bill. The vote sent the measure to President Obama, whose yearlong push for the legislation has been the centerpiece of his agenda and a test of his political power. After approving the bill, the House adopted a package of changes to it by a vote of 220 to 211. That package — agreed to in negotiations among House and Senate Democrats and the White House — now goes to the Senate for action as soon as this week. It would be the final step in a bitter legislative fight that has highlighted the nation’s deep partisan and ideological divisions. On a sun-splashed day outside the Capitol, protesters, urged on by House Republicans, chanted “Kill the bill” and waved yellow flags declaring “Don’t Tread on Me.” They carried signs saying “Doctors, Not Dictators.”

Inside, Democrats hailed the votes as a historic advance in social justice, comparable to the establishment of Medicare and Social Security. They said the bill would also put pressure on rising health care costs and rein in federal budget deficits.

“This is the Civil Rights Act of the 21st century,” said Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, the No. 3 Democrat in the House.

Kudos Congress, kudos. Though there was arm-pulling, hair-pulling and numerous shots fired (all metaphorical), a bill that will change the social course of the United States is officially a GO. By a vote of 219 to 212, you in the House and Senate finally passed the Health Care Reform that President Obama promised in his epic 2008 election. That said, I have one question: WHY DID IT TAKE SO LONG?? Congress, (or the House, more specifically) ALL of you have above satisfactory health care. In fact, none of you will ever need to go through the bureaucracy, heartache and bullshit that 32 million Americans faced up until this bill's passing. Why was it so hard to make that move for the people who put you in office. Whether it was the insurance companies in your pockets, or the incredulous screams of 'death panels', nothing should have kept America from making good on the 'life' part of it's promise of 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness'. Every piece of reasoning that you guys pushed in front of the bill dwindled when compared to the savings and overall good that the bill would ultimately do, and you know it.

Yes, the bill will take some time to balance out the budget that you guys unbalanced through numerous military expenditures and interest rate hikes. However, since when has your job as Congress been to protect the interest of the military or private insurance companies? Congress, your job is to represent the people; the same people that voted you in (many of whom are still in the dark about the benefits of the bill). Your job isn't to stand in the way of progress simply because you believe health care reform is detrimental to the interests of the few. Am I a political pundit? No. Am I a concerned voter who believes that everyone should be entitled to satisfactory health care? Hell to the yes.

This isn't a letter condemning your sloth in passing the bill as much as it is a regale of a 2-year long struggle. I will never understand how some of you voted against the bill, but to those of you that helped pass this landmark legislation, I give the utmost respect. It takes cojones to uproot a system so closely guarded by bureaucracy and special interest. Hopefully the ideal of bipartisan support doesn't halt any other reform, yet I can't help but think the 212 of you who voted against it are foaming at the mouth to shoot down another Obama bill. Don't let your own personal idiosyncrasies affect what's best for the people, or you might not even be around for the next big vote...

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