President Barack Obama’s speech last night to a joint session of Congress was amazing. He is such an eloquent speaker. From the beginning of his speech to the end, he spoke directly and clearly to Congress and the American people about what was needed to reform health care in America. It’s time for our elected officials to get behind the president and enact health care reform.
All of the other major industrialized countries in the world can’t be wrong. Citizens of the United States shouldn’t have to go bankrupt or lose their home because they get sick. It is time for the Republicans to shut up and do the right thing for their country.
The idea that the Republicans would lie about and fight against health care reform so that they could “defeat” the president is despicable.
In an interview with the Huffington Post last month, Congressman Henry Waxman, a Democrat from California said, “I think they have made a political decision that their best chance to pick up the Congress and to get power again is to be able to run in 2010 and say that Obama didn’t accomplish anything. And they are doing their best to make sure that happens.”
I was going to call Republican Congressman Joe Wilson from South Carolina, who shouted “you lie” at the president at one point during the speech, a “little weasel”, but I’m not. Maybe he is taking Wellbutrin to help him quit smoking and it’s making him a little paranoid. I was trying to quit smoking a few years back and was taking Wellbutrin. It made me paranoid and sometimes I would yell things out. I stopped taking it. As far as I am concerned, it would have been appropriate for the Sergeant-At-Arms to have removed him from the room. I would have loved to have seen that. Where was Wilson when Bush was lying to Congress about going to war with Iraq? He is more worked up about health care reform and illegal immigrants than he was about war. From what I have read, we are already giving free medical care to illegal aliens. If you have a medical emergency and show up at a hospital, the doctors have to treat you.
Cell phones and Blackberries should be banned from the room when the president is speaking. Republican Eric Cantor from Virginia could be seen playing with his Blackberry during the president’s speech. How disrespectful. What could possibly have been on his Blackberry that was more important than what the president was saying? What? He should start paying more attention to what Barack Obama is saying and stop listening to Rush Limbaugh and John Boehner.
John Boehner, a Republican Senator from Ohio, was sitting right next to Cantor. They are the dynamic duo of the Republican party. They just say no to anything the president wants to do.
It wasn’t always so. Republicans were not always obstinate jackasses. Republicans have actually supported some important pieces of legislation in the past. Eighty-one Republicans in the House of Representatives voted for The Social Security Act of 1935. Fifteen voted no and 4 didn’t vote. The Democrats voted 284 yes, 15 no and 20 didn’t vote. The Senate vote was Republicans, 16 yes, 5 no and 4 not voting. Sixty Democrats voted yes, 1 no and 8 didn’t vote.
Many Republicans supported the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The House vote was Republicans 138 yes, 34 no, Democrats 152 yes, 96 no. In the Senate the vote was Republicans 27 yes, 6 no, Democrats 44 yes, 23 no.
It actually is possible for our elected officials to do the right thing and vote their conscience and not their party.
I don’t understand the rabid hatred that some elected officials have for President Obama. How can Republicans like former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin and Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa spread lies about “death panels?” It is the same mentality that allowed Bush and Cheney to start the war in Iraq. It’s obvious that lies are being told and that the emperor has no clothes.
The Republican party needs to come to its senses and support meaningful legislation to move this country forward in a positive direction. They can’t just sit back, do their best to thwart the president and hope he fails so that they can reclaim the White House in four years. They supported tax cuts for the rich. That was the first thing Bush did when he got elected. That is one of the reasons the deficit is so big today. They supported starting a war in Iraq that we didn’t have to fight. That was another unfunded, shameful, budget disaster. We can waste a trillion dollars on a needless war, but we can’t provide health care for our citizens. That would be too much like socialism.
Doctors today, with all of the technology, drugs and knowledge available, can do some amazing things. I know. I have been a beneficiary of some of that advanced care. I’m glad to still be here. At the time I worked for a great company that provided one of the best health insurance packages in the world. I don’t think I ever had to pay a bill except for small co-pays at the doctors office. I don’t work for that company any more and I buy my own health insurance. It’s not as good as what I had when I worked for the world class company.
If something happened to me again today, I know that I would have to pay out a lot of my own money. Perhaps if the members of Congress had to buy their own insurance and didn’t have a taxpayer paid plan, they would be more interested in reforming health care. Your health care shouldn’t be dependent on where you work or what you do.
Although I remember when they did, doctors don’t make house calls anymore. Health care has changed dramatically since Teddy Roosevelt and the Progressive Party Platform of 1912 mentioned it. Franklin D. Roosevelt wanted to create a national health care system in 1935 when Social Security was started, but couldn’t do it. President Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton tried to get health care reform passed in 1993. They were shouted down by the same mentality that is trying to shout down reform today.
Daniel Gross wrote a great article on Slate called, “The Private Option.” The subtitle is “Employment-based health insurance is in big trouble, but don’t blame Obama.” In it he says that 29% of Americans already get their health insurance directly from the government (people on Medicare, Medicaid and members of the military). That figure doesn’t include teachers, state workers, county workers, city workers, and town and village workers who get their insurance indirectly from the government, but still paid for by taxes.
On September 8, 2009 in the New York Times, Paul Krugman, one of my favorite writers, wrote a column called, “Why the public option matters.” The health care reform bill must contain a public option. Anything less will not be real reform.
It’s absolutely crucial that the reforms that President Obama outlined in his speech last night are implemented. The American public must win this fight over the special interests and lobbyists who want to defeat health care reform. Contact your Congressman and Senators and let them know that you support President Obama.
I support Barack Obama and I commend him for fighting for health care reform. You should too.
Nicholas D. Kristof wrote a column for the New York Times called, “Let Congress Go Without Insurance” on October 7, 2009. Take a few minutes and read what Nicholas Kristof has to say.