This morning came the news that the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, has brought forth the Senate's Health Care bill. Senator Reid also claims there are 60 votes needed for cloture. Ever since the House passed its own version of a health care bill by only 5 votes, there has been a great deal of speculation about the Senate's ability to come through with a bill not only acceptible enough to get through a Senate vote, but also to get through the reconciliation process that both houses of Congress must go through and vote on before it reaches the President's desk.
I believe the benefit of the reconciliation process is that it enables the Senate to limit debate on the bill and so avoid the dreaded filibuster. Reading that Reid believes he has the votes for cloture suddenly gave me hope that maybe after all my native land will have some form of health care with a public option -- well, it all made me feel very emotional and teary-eyed ...
But, I'm still holding my breath. Someone on the republican side said it will be a "holy war". I shake my head in wonder. Another article among today's offerings on the Internet reported that prescription drug prices have risen extortionately despite the recession. How fortunate I am to live in a country where all my prescriptions are paid for and have been since I was 60. Any American who thinks it's not a blessed relief to know that if you need a doctor or medication it's there for you, well any American who thinks that is not thinking. For sure, the NHS is not perfect and needs improvement, but few here would be without it you can be sure.
Well the tears have abated now. I'm holding my breath again as I have since medicare passed. I hope the spirit of Ted Kennedy is successfully haunting the halls of Congress and that somehow our legislators can think beyond the dollars of lobbyists and the political rhetoric to the public good and general well-being of our nation. So far the halls of the mighty have rung with sounds of apathy and injustice, with talk of 'holy wars' and so on and on.
Last November with the election of Barack Obama I felt a new hope for my long lost country. I felt that at last the people had woken up to a greater sense of nationhood than the selfish stand of the individual. But it will always be a battle to sustain a caring society; it will always be a battle for liberty and justice for all and not for the few. But it would behoove the 'few' to remember well that as distant from the 'many' as they deem themselves to be, wealth and success derives from those they would not be.
Apparently the Senate bill has pushed back the date for implementation of the legislation from 2013 to 2014. I worry about this ... what are so many uninsured people supposed to do until then? I worry this is a ploy by republicans and conservative democrats to be able to overturn the legislation before it takes effect should the re-election of President Obama fail. I wonder though, if it is possible to implement the change earlier if democrat numbers increase in 2010. What are the chances of that, though -- greater than electing a black man president do you think?