It’s obviously the talk of the world, so I might as well weigh in. Congratulations on passing a modicum of health care reform and taking care of about half of your uninsured! It’s definitely a step in the right direction, and one of the first I’ve seen your nation make pretty well since I’ve become politically aware.
Sure, 15 million people are still without any form of health insurance and will still go bankrupt should something unforeseen happen to them or their loved ones. Sure, you’re now mandated to buy health insurance from one of those vulture companies that stand between you and your doctor presently or face stiff fines. And sure, there’s no guarantee that in the four years grace time where the health insurance companies are still allowed to deny your claims due to pre-existing conditions that your idiot compatriots might vote someone into office that will push to repeal every scrap of forward movement you’ve made. But you’ve made a single tiny insignificant step forward! And that’s something to celebrate. To celebrate, and to rest on your laurels.
Or not. Because every shred of progress you’ve made is in danger of being wiped out before they even become active. Most provisions in the bill passed last night won’t take effect until at least 2014. All you have to do is elect a Republican to office in 2012 and the vast majority of your progress will be lost, because this bill, though it contains lots of bones thrown to the health insurance industry (like their ability to cap expenditures per capita, or the fact that if they break the law they’re fined a mere $100 a day!), does cut into their profits. And though the GOP has watered down the bill as much as they could (some describe it as akin to Romneycare now — after some 200 amendments proffered by Republicans and still not a single Republican voting yea on it), they’re hurting from this, what David Frum calls their Waterloo. And they’ll be out for blood.
They already are, in the Tea Party movement as fomented by luminaries like Glenn Beck. And at this point, they are the staunchest Republicans. All you have to do to backslide is elect a few of them. Just a few. The House vote was 217-210 — it passed by seven votes, with not a single Republican voting for it. Just let a few of your House Democrats get defeated by anyone with an ideology like Bart Stupak at the absolute furthest right, and you’re done. No shining gold medal of single-payer like the one Canada’s had since 1962 on the horizon. And you have to admit, on reading about Canada’s system, that for all its flaws, at least we didn’t leave another 15 million people behind just to appease our corporate paymasters. What’s an oddity up here is endemic still down there, and will be for quite some time until you hammer out the problems as quickly as possible and buttress them against the corporate-funded attacks that are coming.
Please don’t backslide, folks. Don’t rest on your laurels. I hate to be the rabble-rouser on the outside, but I can’t stand to watch your less fortunate — the people you welcomed into the country that fall into the category of “huddled masses” — keep dying needlessly.