The United States Congress’ Historic passage Sunday—by a 219-212 vote— of President Barack Obama’s healthcare bill is monumental on a number of fronts.
First, the legislation, which will be implemented over a 10-year period at a cost of $938 billion, is an example of a political candidate keeping his campaign promise to change the paradigm of an established institution.
Candidate Obama made this promise during his equally historic presidential run, pledging to overhaul the nation’s health care system, touted as the “best in the world”…if you are not among the millions of Americans too poor to afford it or have a pre-existing condition.
Second, as the president himself noted during a statement after the vote, the bill’s passage showed the nation and the world that America, when it puts its mind, energy and passion to a cause—to an endeavor—can still accomplish anything.
Third, President Obama, the first African American chief executive, did something that his previous predecessors could not—or would not—do: Take on the behemoth health care system and the equally monstrous health insurance juggernaut with its lobbyists and defeat them!
Given the rancor generated by Obama’s critics and foes—most notably the Republican Party and the Conservative Right over the healthcare issue—one wonders if the objection to healthcare reform was really based on principle and ideology. Was the reference to healthcare reform as “socialism” code for “coloreds need not apply.”?
Were the conservative tea parties in opposition to healthcare reform and other presidential initiatives or “high-tech lynchings” that gave racists and the racially naïve an opportunity to “vent” their true feelings
That may seem harsh. But anyone who lived through the Jim Crow era, who marched and bled to end “American Apartheid” probably had flashbacks watching Black congressmen like John Louis, a decorated soldier of that period, spat upon and called the “N” word by health reform opponents gathered on the Capital steps before the vote to “exercise” their Constitutional right to “voice” their opposition to the bill.
The Senate must now reconcile and pass the measure and the president must sell the sweeping healthcare changes to the American people who are undecided or unconvinced that it will benefit them, their families and the country.
We believe the president can sell the reform measures and that once Americans sit down and actually internalize what’s in the bill, they will accept it and allow the president to keep other campaign promises.