Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Is the perfect the enemy of the good?

About a month ago, I attended a Progressive Democrats of America state conference. And I felt like the most conservative person (if one could imagine) in attendance. I agreed (and still do) with all of the issues that the organization stands for. However, I also consider myself a realist. Most people (even conservatives) would not disagree with me that healthcare reform has been one of the hottest issues of 2009 and into 2010, so that is the issue that I will focus on today. PDA endorses single-payer health care. I would like this too, but the realist in me does not see it happening anytime soon. The House was able to pass a public option, but a very watered down one that not everyone is eligible for. The Senate, held hostage by every Republican, and Democrats such as Ben Nelson and Blanche Lincoln, was not even able to pass a public option or an optional Medicare buy-in for Americans aged 55-64.

Health care reform is at the finish line and needs a final push. Because of the Republicans filibustering everything, the Senate bill cannot be changed at all. The House is (thankfully) more progressive than the Senate and rightfully has a problem with some of the measures in the Senate bill. However, President Obama’s plan is to pass the Senate bill through the House and later a reconciliation bill, which would only require 51 votes (instead of 60) in the Senate to pass, that would correct some of the biggest problems in the Senate bill.

There are a few Representatives that will not vote for the Senate bill to get healthcare reform over the finish line. Most notable is Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), my first choice in the 2008 Democratic Presidential primary. I admire the man for his guts and how he stands up to Corporate America. Kucinich is a single-payer guy who was one of the sponsors of HR 676, the single-payer bill in the House. He was one of the 39 Democrats who voted against the House bill in November. However, he was the only one of the 39 who did not come from a conservative district, identified as a blue dog, or is a freshman member of Congress. He voted against the bill because it did not go far enough. Today, he went on Ed Shultz’s MSNBC show saying he would do the same again.

I will agree with Dennis Kucinich and the rest of the progressives opposing the current healthcare reform bill that it is not perfect. It’s far from it. However this is a question I would like to ask all of the progressives opposing the bill. Is the perfect the enemy of the good? I think not. This bill is far from perfect, but it’s a step in the right direction. If this bill passes, discrimination based on pre-existing conditions would end, insurance companies could not drop a customer if they get sick, and young adults would be able to remain on their parents’ plan until age 27. This is just part of what the bill would cover.
If healthcare reform is not passed, insurance companies will continue to raise rates by double digits as they have done recently. Someone with a pre-existing condition, no matter how minor, would be excluded, and more people will go without insurance and preventive care. This is the cost of doing nothing.

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