Do We Really Want to Enshrine Insurance Monopolyinto Law? This and 5 Other Complaints About theHealth Bill
By John Nichols, The NationPosted on November 9, 2009, Printed on November 13, 2009http://www.alternet.org/story/143842/
The Affordable Health Care for America Act was approved by the U.S. House Saturdaynight with overwhelming support from progressive Democrats who serve in the chamber and from a president who was nominated and elected with the enthusiastic support of progressive voters.But that does not mean that informed and engaged progressives are entirely enthusiasticabout the measure.In fact, some are openly and explicitly opposed to it -- among them former CongressionalProgressive Caucus chair Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, and CPC member Eric Massa, D- New York, both of whom broke with the majority of their fellow Democrats to vote "no"when the House approved the measure by a narrow 220-215 vote Saturday.How can this be?Isn't this a fight between Democrats and Republicans? Between reforming liberals andtea-party conservatives?How can there possible be any subtlety or nuance to this debate?Well, of course, the debate over this 1,900-page behemoth of a bill
more complicatedthan the easy spin of political insiders -- and media cheering sections -- would haveAmericans believe.Key interest groups, such as the National Organization for Women, and key congressmenwho have been long-term supporters of reform, such as single-payer backers Massa andKucinich, argue that the bill is not the cure for what ails the U.S. health care system.Indeed, they suggest, the bill as it is currently constructed could make a bad situationworse.Many sincere progressives in the House, and outside of it, chose to back the bill as the best that could be gotten. Others supported it on the theory that flaws could be fixed inthe Senate and in the reconciliation of the House and Senate bills.But those repairs will only be made if activists are conscious of what ails this bill.