Republicans will continue to bash it. Democrats may even lose the U.S. Senate over it. But, make no mistake, the health care debate is over and Republicans lost.

I’m not talking about the program called Obamacare. I’m talking about the massive changes in how we deliver heath care and who gets it. We will never go back to a time when people are denied health care because of pre-existing conditions. We will never go back to a time when families go bankrupt trying to pay for accidents or illness. We will never again have 15% of our population limited in their access to health care. And that will be Barack Obama’s legacy.

In the world of small ball politics, the focus is on the details of Obamacare, particularly the requirement to purchase insurance. There are problems with this mandate or that one and the GOP will continue to bash the program as unworkable and a failure. But what they won’t do anymore is attack the broader goals of health care reform. On the contrary, they are rallying around their own version of reform that embraces the very principles they opposed for so long.

In the big picture world of politics, Democrats have won. From the failed effort of Hillary Clinton in the 1990s to the election of Barack Obama fifteen years later, the party of FDR promoted the idea that health care should not be reserved only for those who could afford it. Today, that premise is accepted by everyone but the dwindling Tea Party, most of whom will benefit from it anyway.

Sure, health care reform will continue to play a role in our political landscape for the foreseeable future. But the fights will be over the details, not the concepts.

Twenty years from now, our children and grandchildren won’t believe that this country allowed people to go bankrupt because they got sick or injured. They won’t hear about the delays in the employer mandates. They won’t remember the millions of dollars in ads telling us that Obamacare doesn’t work. And they won’t even know that Richard Burr and Tom Coburn offered an alternative to the current program, even if it passes. Instead, they will be taught in school that Barack Obama made health care accessible to everyone.


  1. Paleo Tek

    It amazes me that lots of otherwise rational folks don’t perceive things like denial of insurance for pre-existing conditions, medical bankruptcies, and rationing basic life saving care by ability to pay, in moral terms. EVERY other developed nation has found a way to provide healthcare to its citizens, all citizens. The devil-take-the-hindmost, pay as you go model was mostly limited to the 3rd World, AND US citizens who weren’t veterans, Indians, elderly, poor enough (that’s complicated), or covered by employers. Now, thanks to some very uphill effort by the Democrats, which has had and will have serious political fallout, that’s a thing of the past for US citizens. Thanks!

    On the other hand, I think you’re being pretty optimistic they’ll be taught anything nice about Obama in school. Not in Texas and South Carolina, anyway. Still, that was leadership, making the lives of millions of citizens better, and saving lots of money at a high political cost.

    It’s rather laughable watching the Republicans come to the table, many days late and many dollars short. Governing is hard. They’ve had four years to come up with alternatives, and their brainstorm is to raise the deficit 74 billion dollars over ten years while denying insurance to a million citizens? Way to go Einsteins!

    • Marshall Taylor

      Just one remark, they haven’t had four years, they have had over four decades and have fought every small step forward. Their recent proposals are political sham, designed for political cover not effective policy.

  2. Marshall Taylor

    I so very much hope you are correct. I fear sham legislation, such as that cooked up by Tom Coburn and Richard Burr, can still undermine the progress that has been made.

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