Friday, April 2, 2010

Reform Rx – Moral Clarity

The New York Times tells the story of President Obama’s visit through a different lens:

On one side of the street, Obama aides scurried, the police blocked off traffic, and people waited in the sun, holding signs that said “Thank You” — though by lunchtime, hundreds were chanting the opposite. And on the other side, uninsured and underinsured people sought care, beginning with a man who saw little reason to eat.
Often lost in the battle of costs, the continuance of private insurance, and the sheer obstructionism of the right are also the individuals that need the Portland Community Health Center. For at the core of this issue is the moral essence of doing what is caring and just for every single person in this country regardless of means and circumstances.

President Obama signaled his readiness to engage in the moral debate:

"And now that it's passed, they're already promising to repeal it. They're actually going to run on a platform of repeal in November.

Well I say go for it. If these Congressmen in Washington want to come here to Maine and tell small business owners that they plan to take away their tax credits and essentially raise their taxes, be my guest. If they want to look Lauren Gallagher in the eye and tell her they plan to take away her father's ability to get health insurance, that's their right. If they want to tell people like Theresa D'Andrea that they could once again face a lifetime of debt if they lose a family member, they can run on that platform. If they want to have that fight, I welcome that fight. Because I don't believe the American people are going to put the insurance industry back in the driver's seat. We've been there already and we're not going back. This country is ready to move forward.".

This state will be moving forward too. Appeal for repeal will rear up in the Congressional and Gubernatorial race from the right. In Maine we will have the opportunity to defeat these initial repeal challengers to show support for President Obama. And, Senators Snowe and Collins, despite their present political protestations, will dare not run their eventual re-election bids in 2012 and 2014 on repeal. Moral force and the practical positive results of the new law will be far too apparent. They will need to be challenged on their obstruction activities during passage and their forthcoming records regarding if they are supporting and enhancing the law.

We, the supporters of Barack Obama, may not all agree on the final outcome of this legislation but we must see it as a vital positive step in the right direction. We may bemoan that we would have had single payer or a better bill with less compromise if we had made a more forceful moral argument. But this is a young presidency. This is a massive accomplishment within a single year. And the moral flame has not flickered out; we need only to feed it.

Health care is now a right. We Americans expand rights

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