On Health Care Reform and What’s Next

Last night, the health care reform bill passed with a vote of 219-212. And, of course, there are extreme emotions on both sides.

First, you should know that the debate isn’t over yet. The “fixes” bill will be in front of the Senate now and it must pass it verbatim, else we’re right back to the bill in the House.

Over the past year, I could have been annoyed by the President and all the Members of Congress and their pontificating, paranoia, and exaggerated stories, but instead I’ve been more annoyed with the name-calling.

Unlike the bill, this is bipartisan.

It’s easy to throw out “Socialist” or “racist”, but it takes a respectable person to compose a civil argument. That may make some mad (“But…they really are Socialists” or “But…they really are racists), but I don’t believe sitting around and calling names is productive.

The generalization of the tea party movement has been disappointing. I’m not going to play the unicorn and say there are no racists. But I do think it’s ridiculous to summarize this movement as racist. Sure it’s rowdy at times, but I’m glad people are at least taking the steps to make their voices heard.

What many fail to realize is this anger over the current health reform measure isn’t some sort of GOP-funded conspiracy. The national party has encouraged people to speak up, but it isn’t bussing people in and giving them hotel rooms & signs.

…[The Republicans] ought to be ashamed of themselves for bringing these [protesters] here to Washington, D.C. and they’re acting like this.

-Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), from Politico, March 21, 2010

Anyway, what do we do now? Assuming the bill is indeed a done deal, you have two options. You can sit around and lament the downfall of America & call Democrats every name in the book (apparently not the Bible for some people) or you can do something about it.

*Check out the roll call vote. Find out which Representatives in your area voted for the bill. If you’re still feeling spunky, look into Representatives outside your area.

*Find out who is running against these yay votes. I think if you really want to do something with impact, get involved with the opponents’ campaigns. Donate, volunteer…whatever it takes. You can try to call the yays’ offices, but I suspect your call will be forwarded to the trash can. It’s been obvious since the dawn of Congress that Members don’t always care what you have to say. But we all know they care at election time.

*Don’t forget to keep track of Republican incumbents’ voting records. This is the perfect opportunity for your fairweather conservative Representatives to go back to voting however they want, so long as they tout the “nay” on the health bill. Don’t let them get away with this.

So what are you going to do?

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