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President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi achieved a stupendous – but still incomplete – victory Saturday, winning House passage of the biggest expansion of health care coverage since Medicare’s creation in 1964, in the face of nearly unanimous Republican opposition…
“This bill is change that the American people urgently need,” Obama said Saturday in a Rose Garden speech. “This is their moment, this is our moment to live up to the trust that the American people have placed in us – even when it’s hard; especially when it’s hard…”
The House bill promises to expand coverage to 96 percent of Americans, but many key provisions, including a new insurance exchange where those without insurance could choose between a government option or private plans, would not take effect until 2013, after next year’s midterm elections and after the 2012 presidential election…
Part of the delay is due to the complexity of implementing changes to a $2.6 trillion industry that consumes $1 of every $6 Americans spend; part is due to budget maneuvering that delays expenditures to meet Obama’s pledge not to add to the burgeoning federal deficit within a 10-year budget window.
Just one Republican voted for the Democrats’ bill, Anh “Joseph” Cao, a Vietnam immigrant from Louisiana. All but Cao continued a GOP boycott of the Obama agenda that began with last fall’s $787 billion fiscal stimulus.
Democrats emphasized coverage expansions and the new security promised to millions whose employment-based coverage is threatened by rising premiums. The legislation would also impose new regulations on insurance companies, banning such practices as cancellation of policies when people get sick, and strip the industry of its antitrust exemption.
One non-white immigrant Republican voted for change instead of corporate lockstep obedience. The majority of Democrats voted for the people. The Blue Dogs belong on the cowardly side of the scoreboard. As they always have.
I grew up in New England. There is not a single Republican remaining in the House of Representatives from New England.
I have lived the past few decades in New Mexico. In the last election we voted in a Congressional delegation, House and Senate, that was all Democrats.
That doesn’t mean I’m going to register as a Democrat, this week. But, it surely is a good feeling to see some of our politicians begin to catch up with the people.