Reactions to the Health Care Bill

| 3/22/2010 8:25:05 AM

Congress pic

 From Jonathan Chait at the New Republic:

Let me offer a ludicrously premature opinion: Barack Obama has sealed his reputation as a president of great historical import. We don’t know what will follow in his presidency, and it’s quite possible that some future event—a war, a scandal—will define his presidency. But we do know that he has put his imprint on the structure of American government in a way that no Democratic president since Lyndon Johnson has.

From Andrew Sullivan at The Atlantic:

Yes, in the end, he got all the primary delegates House votes he needed. Yes, he worked our last nerve to get there. But, yes, too, this is an important victory—the first true bloodied, grueling revelation that his persistence, another critical Obama quality, finally paid off in the presidency. He could have given up weeks ago, as the punditry advised (because they seem to have no grasp of substance and mere addiction to hour-to-hour political plays). But he refused. That took courage. And relentlessness.

From John Nichols in The Nation:

The rancorous debate over President Obama’s reform proposal was portrayed by much of our historically-disinclined media as an ugly degeneration of the body politic. In fact, the fight over health care reform has been no more difficult or disturbing than past fights for needed federal interventions.

Consider the battle of the mid-1930s over Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Social Security Act, which created what is now one of the most popular federal programs.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, recalled during Sunday evening’s debate that critics of Social Security denounced the reform as “the lash of the dictator.”

“Those slurs were false in 1935. They were false in 1965. And they are false in 2010,” declared Hoyer, as he argued that the similar slurs against Obama’s health care plan will be proven equally false.

Chris Hedges at Truthdig is not moved:

This bill is not about fiscal responsibility or the common good. The bill is about increasing corporate profit at taxpayer expense. It is the health care industry’s version of the Wall Street bailout. It lavishes hundreds of billions in government subsidies on insurance and drug companies. The some 3,000 health care lobbyists in Washington, whose dirty little hands are all over the bill, have once more betrayed the American people for money. The bill is another example of why change will never come from within the Democratic Party. The party is owned and managed by corporations.

Finally, Paul Waldman at The American Prospect:

Scott Nass, MD
3/22/2010 3:06:50 PM

This bill is a sad legacy for Obama to leave behind at the end of his four years. Low- and middle-class America will be burdened like never before at the expense of quality public healthcare programs that currently exist. This bill, written by the pharmaceutical and insurance industries themselves, is a shameful representation of American democracy. For a factual review of some popular claims about the reform bill as passed, check out Healthcare Now's post here (, which links to FireDog Lake's easy to read fact sheet on the issue. Americans deserve better than having to subsidize big industry even more, rather than put food on their families' tables.

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