Only eleven months between passage and implementation

While I understand the urgency in passing healthcare reform, and the campaign of the progressive blogsphere to demand Congress stay in session and skip their vacations to pass healthcare reform legislation, we need to consider the last time we pushed Congress to do something in a hurry.

  • Americans pushed for economic reform – the result was the worst Economic Bailout of Irresponsible Corporate America we’ve ever seen, and our grandchildren will be paying for it 50 years from now.
  • When America was attacked on September 11, 2001 – we got our rights to liberty, dissent and protest eviscerated by the PATRIOT ACT.

If Congress bumrushes legislation that gives Americans the promised Health Care Reform Legislation that the POTUS campaigned on, we’ll get said legislation, but it will not cover everyone it said it would, and it won’t be implemented until 2013, FOUR YEARS FROM NOW.  And while the President says the public option will be included, how much you want to bet it will get buried in fine print or attached to another piece of legislation that makes no friggn sense and does absolutely JACK SHYT?

If that’s the case, hell, we might as well let the CongressCritters go on their damned vacations and come back in September with some legislation that makes sense, is comprehensive, and can be implemented before the midterm elections, not 2013.  If it’s a good bill, why not get it passed so that not only the incumbent Congress Critters can campaign on it in 2010, but the President can campaign on it for re-election in 2012?

When we already know, courtesy in large part due to Michael Moore’s documentary, “SICKO”, that at least 45 million Americans are without health coverage, we need to start asking hard questions, like, “WHY DO WE HAVE TO WAIT FOUR YEARS FOR SOMETHING THAT WOULD BENEFIT ALL AMERICANS RIGHT NOW?” 

I mean, this type of comprehensive health care reform is supposed to be a good thing, right?  So, as GreenLadyHere would say: “Whycome we have to wait until 2013 for the healthcare legislation to kick in?”

Could it be that this health care reform legislation isn’t as GREAT as it’s been promoted?  I’m not blaming the President, but I swear, who he’s surrounded himself with is giving him horrible advice on this issue, all in the name of “playing it safe” and being able to say he kept his promise with a straight face, by promising something in the future that we might not get to see if he’s not the PRESIDENT in 2013. 

That’s what I call a pure “bait and switch” scenario that we need to kneecap.  While we still need to howl about the increasing trajectory of bigotry on the airwaves with the Skip Gates controversy and Lou Dobbs losing his mind, we must not be distracted from real issues like the ones the President campaigned on, such as health care reform.

My collegue and play uncle, Bruce Dixon, of Black Agenda Report, sent me an interesting email, complete with links to articles and sources that lets me know he’s not pulling his concerns out of thin air.

Bruce’s concern is when will the legislation become law and implemented into action.  According to the story he got from the AP wires:  if President Johnson could sign into law and implement health care legislation that benefitted seniors within a year of passage, and this, done in an age where there was no internet, Google or Blogs, what’s up with President Obama doing something similar?

WASHINGTON – President Lyndon Johnson signed the Medicare Law on July 30, 1965, and 11 months later, seniors were receiving coverage.  But, if President Barack Obama gets to sign a healthcare overhaul this Fall, the uninsured won’t be covered until 2013 – after the next Presidential election.

One thing we must understand about politicians – in nearly all instances, they will say and do whatever it takes to get elected.  Some even think that once they’re elected, they can actually reneige on their campaign promises.  While I don’t believe the President is doing that, we must not be afraid to ask why he’s pushing to pass something that won’t be effective until three years from now?  While one can say he’s optimistic about his chances for re-election in 2012, let’s consider the worst case scenario – Mr. Obama gets only one term to do his thang.  If the Health care reform is not slated to take place until 2013, should Mr. Obama lose re-election, his successor has no obligation to follow through on implementation of this legislation – his successor can bury this legislation so that it takes another 40 years before it’s brought up again.

Bruce also shared these thoughts with me, and since he knows we at JJP have intelligent, astute readers, he asked me to share his thoughts with you as well.

And if the president’s health care reform bill is really such a good thing, why do he and national Democrats need us to help him hurry up and pass it this year so it can take effect three years from now?  If it’s a good thing, you’d think they would pass it now so they could run (campaign) on it at midterm (elections), and Obama could run for re-election on it too (in 2012).  Putting it off till 2013 just does not make good political sense, unless they know it’s a truly bad bill.

22,000 Americans die each year because they cannot access or afford health care.  Two thirds of the more than one million personal bankrupticies which will occur this year will be due to medical expenses, in many cases the expenses of people who already had insurance.  Instead of hurrying up to pass a bill that takes effect three years from now, what if we let them all go home on vacations, and next year try to make them pass something like they did in the sixties that takes effect within a year?  Maybe even single payer.  How many lives would that save?  How many families would get to keep their homes and avoid financial ruin?

Why do we need to pass this hurry-up-and-wait bill now?  If we must hurry why can’t we pass something that will take effect right awy, like in 1965-66.  If we have to wait anyway, why not wait a few more months and try hard to get something better that takes effect sooner? 

I have to agree – why hurry up and WAIT?  Now, I know you’ll shoot me for writing this piece and sharing my play uncle’s concerns with you, but since we’re part of the Americans who would benefit from this coverage the most, why do we have to wait for something that not only benefits US, but helps the CongressCritters keep their majority in Congress if not add to it, or set the President up for an easy re-election come 2012?

Love or hate Bill Clinton, he did what he needed to do to set himself up for re-election in 1996.  If you look at the legislation he passed after he was re-elected, he didn’t give a damn if if helped us or hurt us.  Mr. Obama need not be this timid in his first term – we elected him because he promoted himself to US as a bold leader.  Why not be bold on healthcare reform, if it’s done correctly?

And if you say he has 2012 to lose, let me say this; if the health care reform is not comprehensive but chickenshyt; if it does not cover the more than estimated 40 million Americans who are uninsured, but 10% of those individuals – if the people who benefit are Big PhARMA and lobby groups and NOT US, Mr. Obama won’t be worrying about a second term because there might not be one.

Before you shoot me, consider the above carefully, cause I don’t have health insurance to dig out another blogging bulletwound that I always catch when I ask questions like this.



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