Thursday, December 24, 2009

'Tis only a step foreword

But an important step nonetheless.

Without a single Republican vote, the United States Senate passed a sweeping health care reform bill in a landslide, shortly after 7:00 in the morning on Christmas Eve. After months of intense back and forth, and more than three weeks of continuous floor debate, the bill moved through the Senate by a gaping 60-39 margin.

The House of Representatives previously passed a much stronger version of reform with a tighter 220-215 margin. The two versions will now be merged in conference committee negotiations, with the House pushing for more generous subsidies for those required to buy insurance and the Senate attempting to hold the line. The cross-Capitol negotiations will not involve the Republican Party.

Am I deeply disappointed that there isn't a public option or an expansion of Medicare? Yeah. The important thing is that we, finally, after decades of debates and setbacks, are beginning to reform our broken healthcare system. It's far from perfect, but that's why there's the conference to merge the House and Senate bills over the next few months. Be joyful that we got the damn bill and passed!

In the words of the late, great Ted Kennedy: "The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die."

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