History was made today, and the lives of millions of Americans will be better off for it.
A major mileston in health care reform was passed by Congress tonight, allowing millions of Americans greater access towards achieving their health care needs. Though without a desired public option, the reforms passed will expand Medicaid to millions and grant millions more the opportunity to purchase private insurance with the assistance of government subsides if they are unable to afford it. The reform package passed tonight also grants millions of Americans more choice in health insurance plans.
In the near future, it will also be illegal for any insurance company to deny a client coverage based upon a pre-existing condition.
All of this was done while lowering our deficits by $130 billion over the next ten years, and $1.2 trillion over the next twenty.
Republicans have already vowed to repeal the bill, assuming they will take control of Congress in the 2010 midterm elections and the presidency in 2012. If they decide to make this bill an issue in the future, they will do so at their own peril: while many Americans said they didn't support the bill being passed tonight, when each individual aspect being affected by the bill was mentioned, support for reform shot up. Most Americans supported reforming a broken system, and in the vote tonight they got what they wanted.
Politically, the bill's passage is a huge victory for President Barack Obama, as well as for Democrats overall. The president had much to lose if the bill failed, perhaps staking his entire presidency upon it. However, when he eventually signs the bill, he will have done something that presidents since Teddy Roosevelt have been dreaming to do: enact reasonable reform that will cover nearly every American in the process. The people will not soon forget that accomplishment.
The fight doesn't end here: there's still much work to be done to help Americans struggling with health care needs. Still, tonight is a night worth celebrating. Somewhere far away from here, a Kennedy is smiling upon us.