Wanted: Courage on health care vote
If I were a member of Congress struggling with how to vote on the imperfect health-care reform bill, I'd lift a line from Ohio Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich's speech announcing his grudging "yes" vote. "I have to make a decision, not on the bill as I would like to see it, but the bill as it is," he said. "If my vote is to be counted, let it now count for passage of the bill, hopefully in the direction of comprehensive health-care reform."
The legislation the House and the Senate will vote on this weekend, among other things, does far too little to rein in costs, and the implications for the deficit could be eye-spinning. But once signed into law, people will gain coverage, won't be dropped if they already have it and won't lose it if they get sick.Those are real benefits to real people right now. Congress and the White House have never come as close to passing such a monumental reform as they have today. Those who want to make the perfect the enemy of the eh-it's-okay-for-right-now, who want to start from scratch, who want to take more time to get it right have enormous faith that Congress will have the courage to "get it right." Look how tough it is now for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to scare up the 216 votes needed for passage. She's whipping so much she's either a dominatrix or a baker.
Congress will never "get it right" -- and if this vote doesn't happen or if the measure fails, these lawmakers will never regain the considerable courage needed to take it on again. The problems caused by our current health-care system will continue to grow. The solutions and the votes needed to implement them will only get tougher.
| March 19, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories: Capehart | Tags: Jonathan Capehart
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