When the speeches are all finished…when even the pundits are silenced momentarily…when citizens watch and listen with both hope and dread in their hearts, the crucial votes in the House of Representatives will decide the success or failure of the current health care reform legislation. When those decisive votes are cast, some will cheer and some will curse…but very few will say, “So what.” Today, none of us can know for sure which we will be inclined to do…come Sunday. Of course, we can’t know for sure if Sunday will be the day for this historic vote…there’s still plenty of time for more political intrigue and stalling, and the Democratic leadership is not going to call for a vote unless they’re pretty certain it will go their way. But still in this vote, courage is required.
Courage is required when there is a lot at stake and risk is great. Let’s talk about what’s at stake first. We could go on and on about the pros and cons of various parts of the pending legislation without touching what I consider to be the most important part of it…access. Over the past decade, health care has been the focal issues for several National Issues Forums discussion guides. When people have gathered for these forums, access to health care has been one of the pivotal topics of conversation…and it’s seen to be one of the most important reasons for supporting any efforts in health care reform.
Please read the Op-Ed by Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times just yesterday…the link is included below. He stated this point about access much better than I ever could, so please read it…even if you think you’ll disagree with it. There is a lot at stake…and most of what is at stake is access to any health care at all for more and more people.
Yeah, there’s a lot at stake…but the political risk in staring down the insurance lobbyists and status-quo advocates is extremely high. This is another blatant example of how money speaks far louder than public hopes and dreams. A vast majority of our fellow citizens feel the status quo is leading us into disaster…and costing a lot of lives. It takes true courage to take a stand for dramatic change…away from corporate interests that currently drain off 20% of our health care expenditures as profit. It takes true courage to confront insurance companies that make most of their profits from excluding people from health care, rather than including them. Yeah…you can see where I’m going with this. Courage is required to give many more people access to some kind of health care…other than the emergency room.
Let me be clear…I don’t like a lot of things in this bill, but it’s essential to our nation’s survival as a moral and economically-viable force in the world. Access is the critical key. Everything else fades into the background. Read this article and share it with friends…it’s eloquent and important! Think about how people feel when they have to choose between buying food for their kids and buying the medicine that will keep them alive so they can see their kids grow up. I work hard to be faithful to the tenets of deliberative fairness and balance, but politics is ultimately about decisions. Deliberation without decisive action is irrelevant. The current health care reform legislation is critically important to our future as a nation…support it wholeheartedly and strongly…today!