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Republicans Fail to Defeat Obama's Healthcare Plan in CongressPolitical Perspective by Tim King Salem-News.com
The plan to reel in insurance practices and provide healthcare to all Americans now goes to the Senate for approval.
(WASHINGTON D.C.) - The House of Representatives voted to pass their health insurance reform bill Saturday evening at 11:15 p.m. Despite countless attempts over nearly a century, no chamber of Congress has ever before passed comprehensive health reform. It is an historic event.
The bill would expand coverage to most Americans and stop insurance companies from refusing to cover people with pre-existing medical conditions.
The bill passed by a narrow vote of 220-215.
Oregon's five Congressional members voted along party lines. The state's four Democrats stood with the new $1.2 trillion Healthcare policy, while Oregon Republican Greg Walden voted against the plan.
Only one Republican voted for the bill, that was Representative Joseph Cao of Louisiana. 39 Democrats opposed the package, but that wasn't enough dissent to halt the success of the bill that their party and the Obama administration worked very hard to pass, even in spite of the lack of support.
Who is the real opposition to the Healthcare reform agenda?
Obama said, "The final Senate bill hasn't even been released yet, but the insurance companies are already pressing hard for a filibuster to bury it."
Along with an extension of unemployment insurance for out-of-work Americans by up to 20 weeks, this legislation includes an expansion of the Homebuyer Tax Credit.
Obama says the vote brought Americans closer to secure, affordable care, but he stresses that it was also a watershed moment in how change is made.
"Even after last year's election, many insider lobbyists and partisan operatives really thought that the old formula of scare tactics, D.C. back-scratching and special-interest money would still be enough to block any idea they didn't like. Now, they're desperate. Because, tonight, you made it crystal clear: the old rules are changing -- and the people will not be ignored."
The President says power never concedes without a fight, adding that it is especially true today.
"But that's okay -- we're not afraid of a fight. And as you continue to prove, when all of us work together, we have what it takes to win."
Some Republicans, intent on seeing the defeat of the healthcare proposal, went to great efforts to discredit the plan while disillusioning its supporters.
Senator John McCain, Republican from Arizona and former Presidential Candidate, said, "I am very troubled by the potential cost of the President's outlined plans. I know that you are very concerned with the national debt and a projected $9 trillion deficit. The prospective cost of the President's plan could reach $2 trillion, and frankly, our country simply cannot afford this price tag."
McCain outwardly supported the invasion of Iraq and the ensuing war that has continued for over six years, claiming the lives of several thousand Americans while severely injuring over 50,000, and killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens.
Many critics say the notion of supporting Middle East war and occupation by ill equipped and often defenseless forces, but not helping Americans at home, is a glaring example of why McCain and the other Republicans have lost so much credibility, and so many political offices, in recent years.
Republican Michele Bachman of Minnesota, one of the most outspoken foes of the proposal that would bring control to the ruthless tactics of insurance companies, stated that it, "Sounds good, but once you peel away the 'feel good' rhetoric, there’s nothing to be excited about."
Bachman says the bill includes a "job-killing employer mandate".
She describes this as, "an individual mandate that requires Washington bureaucrats to define what kind of coverage is acceptable, burdensome tax increases, Medicare cuts, and a huge expansion of Medicaid that will break already strained state budgets."
According to reformplans.com, an 'employer mandate' as it is properly termed, "usually refers to a state or federal measure requiring that large employers provide health insurance benefits to their employees."
Interestingly, Wal-Mart is one of the few large-scale American companies that has backed the "employer mandate" idea.
Along with GOP members like Bachman, groups like Heritage Foundation, republicanleader.house.gov and rightwingnews.com, seem to be leading the way in use of the term, "job-killing employer mandate".
The phrase is misleading, and perhaps little more than a campaign slogan for big corporate business fighting the idea that they might have to provide realistic insurance benefits to their hard working employees. This is an age old battle between big money interests and the sweat of hard working American citizens.
It is noteworthy that most of the Republican accusations against Obama's Healthcare Bill have been proven to be false by the fact checking agencies such as Snopes.
Shortly after the House of Representatives concluded their vote on health insurance reform, President Obama released the following statement:
"Tonight, in an historic vote, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would finally make real the promise of quality, affordable health care for the American people."
"The Affordable Health Care for America Act is a piece of legislation that will provide stability and security for Americans who have insurance; quality affordable options for those who don’t; and bring down the cost of health care for families, businesses, and the government while strengthening the financial health of Medicare. And it is legislation that is fully paid for and will reduce our long-term federal deficit."
"Thanks to the hard work of the House, we are just two steps away from achieving health insurance reform in America. Now the United States Senate must follow suit and pass its version of the legislation. I am absolutely confident it will, and I look forward to signing comprehensive health insurance reform into law by the end of the year."
I in no way see him to be without flaws, but in this case Obama is doing something that is vital to the future of this nation. Too many people, regardless of their individual circumstances, are in need of help.
The way the insurance industry as a whole has treated the people of this great nation is truly shameful.
Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor.
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