Editorials and Opinions

Denebola sees promise in light of major health care bill

By Volume 50 Senior Editors
Published: March 2010

Late Sunday evening, 21 March 2010, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the long-awaited health care reform bill that will, among other things, provide coverage to over 30 million currently uninsured Americans.

Many see this legislation’s long-sought success as a triumph for President Obama and the Democratic Party. The truth is broader and deeper.

It is a success for the American people, particularly the least resourced and most vulnerable of our fellow citizens.

The bill passed by a small margin in the House, with 219 voting for it and 212 voting against it. Sadly for legislation with numerous amendments sensitive to Republican concerns, not a single member of that party voted for passage.

After decades of attempts by some of the most influential American presidents and legislators, the bill’s passage is a historic event in United States that all citizens should take pride in. The days of citizens being denied coverage for pre-existing conditions are gone, as the bill strives to extend coverage to all citizens, no matter their economic standing or prior health conditions.

Since Franklin Roosevelt and the Great Depression, politicians from both the Democratic and Republican parties, including Presidents Lyndon Johnson, Richard M. Nixon and Bill Clinton, have attempted to rally bipartisan and then partisan support for health care reform’€despite strong opposition from half a dozen powerful interests, particularly insurance companies and drug manufacturers.

One index of the power of those opposing health care reform is that 34 Democrats failed to vote their party’s legislation, many of whom recently praised the late Senator Ted Kennedy, knowing full well such reform was his life’s mission.

A chief criticism of the bill was the price.

But for a healthy nation, no price is too high. Moreover, the $940 billion price tag appears astronomical but as reform’s supporters pointed out, that cost is relative; it shrinks in comparison with a decade of defense costs, particularly the war in Iraq. Health costs properly managed will not only improve the quality of life for countless citizens, improving the economy, but also help reduce the deficit by creating health care jobs that reduce unemployment.

The Congressional Budget Office predicted that passing of this bill would aid the Federal deficit by $143 billion in the next decade and by $1.2 trillion in the years following. On top of that, the health care bill is having seemingly unexpected effects on Wall Street. Stocks of major health care companies, including insurance firms, rose immediately after the bill passed.

In addition to the health care bill, Congress also passed a new educational bill attached to the health care bill. The bill, championed by Obama, alters the process of taking out student loans. This bill will benefit students who take out loans to pay for school because it eliminates fees to private banks. As a result of the bill, students do not need to find a bank to loan anymore; they now just deal directly with the college’s financial aid office.

These new developments will positively affect the Unite States as a whole. Although most Newton South students and their families have health care insurance and access to some of America’s most respected teaching hospitals and staff, families not so different walk a health care “razor’s edge.

Worse, over 30 million American citizens lack both insurance and access, many of those youth and children. If they or their family encountered a health problem, they would be helpless, forced to choose between paying the mortgage or getting groceries and visiting the doctor or obtaining necessary but often tremendously expensive medications.

Within a few days and with the stroke of President Obama’s pen, all American citizens will get the coverage they deserve.

Denebola supports this historic advancement. We applaud the efforts of Obama and all politicians and supporters of this important bill, and particularly the memory of Senator Kennedy.

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