Saturday, November 21, 2009

Reform Rx – The 2011 and 2013 Amendments

During the last couple of weeks, gaining perspective on the two health care reform acts working their way through Congress has been a priority over commentary. Observing whether or not the public option is being so weakened as to make it ineffective has been a constant concern. Watching the developing and predicted force feeding of abortion issue politics as a poison pill within the debate has been disquieting…more doses unfortunately will be forthcoming.

On balance, not everything in these bills is as progressive as one might desire but with liberal Representatives and Senators we can trust staying with the process and compromises, it continues to be reasonable to be supportive of both bills prior to conference committee work at some time in the future. Perfect is always the enemy of the imperfect. If the outcome is a marked step forward toward regulating insurance company discriminatory practices, will increase access to quality and affordable care, and develops a public option, we will have a framework on which to build, modify, and expand further substantive health care reforms in the near future.

One perspective to view health care reform from is the historical development of Social Security. The original legislation in 1935 had many coverage gaps and was a far weaker program than it is today. Significant amendments to the act in 1939 and 1950 (when it became much more universal) along with the constant attention to improving the program’s effectiveness to the present day are a result of expanding on Franklin Roosevelt’s vision. Republicans do also recognize that health reform today will open the door to additional reforms tomorrow. It is no wonder that right-wing efforts to engage in revisionist history and to vilify FDR and the New Deal are at a fever pitch on scream radio and conservative blabsites.

In Maine, once again our efforts must be focused on preventing our Senators from derailing or damaging the initial legislation.

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