02.28.2010 0

Fighting the Good Fight

  • On: 03/23/2010 09:37:25
  • In: Health Care
  • By Michael Swartz

    It was a battle which began last spring and it took the side of right nearly a year to fall despite the odds against it. As I write this, the nationalization of one-sixth of the nation’s economy and the ability for government to pry further into all aspects of your personal life – indeed, control the fate of your very being – is essentially one Presidential signature away from happening.

    Here’s yet another lesson to show elections mean things. Despite the turnover which played a vital role in the outcome, most of the main players were elected in 2008, the year America believed in hope and change. What we hoped for and what we’d change into were simply taken at the face value of that which was promised by most, but a few thinkers foresaw this entire drama coming and, like Paul Revere, attempted to sound the alarm.

    And there were hopeful moments even after the 2008 elections played out. The dreaded 60-seat Democratic majority in the Senate didn’t occur right away – while Al Franken and Norm Coleman battled out a protracted election recount, Saxby Chambliss easily won re-election to his Georgia Senate seat. This denied the Democrats their 60th vote for a time, although that possibility was reborn last April when Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter switched parties from the GOP to the Democrats. A few weeks later, Coleman conceded, Franken was sworn in, and the Democrats had their precious 60-vote majority.

    That Democrat victory was short-lived, though. On August 25th Ted Kennedy died, and it took a few weeks for Paul Kirk to be named his replacement. Yet even after Kirk was sworn in, Senate Democrats still needed until Christmas Eve to hammer out their health care bill. Most importantly, there were significant differences in the bills approved by the Senate and House – changes put in place to mollify particular Senators. The term “Louisiana Purchase” gained a new meaning and we learned more than we ever wanted to know about the “Cornhusker Kickback.”

    Conventional wisdom held that Congress would come back from their holiday break and figure out the details. But Scott Brown’s election on January 19th ended the prospect of a conventional conference process and bill opponents were buoyed by the presence of “Mister 41” when he was sworn in on February 4th.

    However, ObamaCare was resurrected from the dead once again as the House employed a number of questionable tactics to allow their membership to swallow a Senate bill few liked. That’s where we are today.

    All of the drama came about despite TEA Parties, acrimonious town hall meetings, a number of Capitol rallies (including two in the last week,) and the ominous threat that those who voted for ObamaCare would be committing political suicide. Perhaps it will turn out that some did, as most national polls reveal the people are against ObamaCare and a poll commissioned last week by Independent Women’s Voice showed 60 percent of respondents would vote for a candidate who opposes “the current version of healthcare reform and wants to start over.”

    While it’s likely that the courts will be deciding on key aspects of the bill for months to come, it may not matter. ObamaCare wasn’t slated to take effect until 2013 anyway.

    The problem is that history has shown that once a new entitlement program is created, it’s impossible to kill. For all the brave talk of repeal it’s likely that we are stuck with ObamaCare because of those who placed power before people.

    Michael Swartz, an architect and writer who lives in rural Maryland, is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer.


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