Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pass health-care reform NOW!

By J. Kingston Pierce

Washington Monthly’s Steve Benen has an excellent post up today, pointing out how essential it is for Democrats in Congress to pass health-care reform legislation immediately, even if it means that House Dems
must accept the Senate’s weaker compromise bill and then make improvements through the upcoming budget reconciliation process. Writes Benen:

Congressional Democrats have already voted for the controversial health care reform bill. Do they seriously believe the electorate will be impressed if they spend a year doing the hard work of tackling this seemingly-impossible challenge, pass the landmark legislation, and then let it die? They think that’s the smart political move that increases their chance of winning re-election?

Failure begets failure. Choosing to walk away would be electoral suicide--the attacks from the right will only be more intense for Dems who voted for reform before deciding to throw in the towel.

The reform initiative has obviously suffered in the face of an intense misinformation campaign. But Dems stand a far better chance of persevering if they at least take their case to the public, and explain the strengths of the proposal. There is literally no upside to the majority party asking voters for support after failing to do what they said they would do. Democrats were elected to finally pass health care reform; there will be no reward for turning success into a fiasco.

As Paul Begala said last night, “If it’s the end of health care, it’s the end of the Democratic majority.” Josh Marshall added, “The Dems have no choice but to finish the job. No choice.”

The whole piece can be found
here.

I wholeheartedly agree with Benen’s point. After a century of trying to pass health-care reform legislation, Democrats in Congress are on the brink of success. This is a historic moment. Now is not the time to slam on the breaks and try to negotiate with Republican’ts, who are determined to destroy President Obama and his fellow Dems, and regain the power they had under George W. Bush to ignore the health care needs of Americans and further bankrupt the federal government they so despise. They’ve already proved this year that they have no interest in compromising--even if it means people go without steady employment and affordable health-care coverage.

The message of yesterday’s election in Massachusetts was not that Democrats have gone too far, and that they need to be more conservative in their governance; it’s that they’ve accomplished too little during the last year. Democratic voters are disappointed by the lack of change. They are looking for more bold action, not impossible compromises that leave them out in the cold--again.

Were Republican’ts in the position Democrats face now,
they’d be barreling ahead with their plans, not second-guessing themselves. Obama and Democrats in Congress must move forward, not retreat, for retreat at this point can bring nothing but worse results in this year’s midterm elections.

READ MORE:
Learning the Wrong Lessons from Massachusetts,” by Joan Walsh (Salon).

(Cross-posted from Limbo.)

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