Sunday, March 21, 2010
A few words about Healthcare Reform
I'm writing this on the Sunday that the House is holding its supposedly final debate over healthcare reform. President Obama has just agreed to issue an executive statement emphasizing that the Hyde Amendment is firmly in place and that abortion will not be funded under government paid healthcare, thus winning over the votes of the conservative anti-abortion rights Democrats like Bart Stupak. Which makes the healthcare reform bill slightly more imperfect than it already is.
It's sad that the Hyde Amendment is law and it's sad that this capitulation is necessary. It's sad that this is not really universal heathcare in the sense that phrase is understood in more advanced countries like Canada and Europe. It's sad that this bill doesn't mark the death of the predatory health "insurance" industry, and it's sad that even something as tame as a "government option" isn't included. It's sad that lesbian and gay partnership benefits were also excluded at the last minute, and it's sad that it includes some funding for what is euphemistically called "Abstinence Only Sex Education" but is actually just teen murder.
But the question is: do we want the racist and anti-gay horde of teabaggers and the ultraright Republican party to win or do we want to be on the side of people who are, at least, laying a foundation for what could, as social security and medicare have, evolved into being social programs that are of huge value and importance to regular people?
Choose your side carefully. And meanwhile tell me what groups like all those self-proclaimed leftist groups and "progressive" bloggers who are howling over the betrayals in this bill have ever, ever, actually achieved?
We should fight for universal medicare. We should fight against the Hyde Amendment and for universal access to safe and accessible abortion. We should fight for all sorts of gay and lesbian partnership rights in healthcare. All these things are absolutely righteous causes. But right now, this fight is over this very imperfect bill and it's a fight we MUST win.
(photo is of the shrine of St. Roch's in New Orleans, taken by me.)