The President of the United States Barack Obama hailed the start of a “new season in America” and, earlier today, signed his $938-billion health care reform bill into law. Such legislation has eluded for decades successive American leaders both Democrat and Republican—most recently former President Bill Clinton in 1994.
By extending health care insurance to almost all Americans, President Obama was successful where Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt were not. Harry S. Truman and Lyndon B. Johnson also failed. President Richard M. Nixon called for comprehensive health insurance, but couldn’t deliver it. President Jimmy Carter also failed in his efforts to provide a comprehensive health care system for the country.
The bill marks the biggest change in the U.S. health care system since the successful Medicare health program for the elderly was created in 1965. President Obama has spent his first year as president and much of his political capital pushing the legislation through Congress. It has been an immense struggle not unlike the push for civil rights legislation in the 1960s.
The residue of anger throughout the ranks of those opposed to the bill is almost unprecedented. But President Obama won—and against great odds. The law passed Congress without getting a single Republican vote, a fact that almost certainly will make health care the issue in next November’s elections.
Senator Judd Gregg, New Hampshire Republican, prophesized that the coming fight “will make last August look like a love fest,” when referring to town hall meetings that drew protests last summer over the president’s health care plan.
We’ll have to wait and see how many of their threats the Republicans can make good on.
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© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
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