“Change is never easy, but it’s always possible”
The final votes in the long, arduous health care debate came on Thursday. The Senate passed the bill of “fixes” to their health care reform package in the afternoon. Then, because two small changes were made to the legislation, it went back to the House where it passed 220-207 Thursday night.
As President Obama stated in a speech in Iowa, this marks the culmination of “a year of debate, a century of trying” to improve access to health care in a nation where 1 in 6 do not have health insurance.
[W]hat this struggle has taught us — about ourselves and about this country — is so much bigger than any one issue, because it’s reminded us … that change is never easy, but it’s always possible. It comes not from the halls of power, but from the hearts of our people. Amid setbacks, it requires perseverance. Amid calls for delay, it requires the fierce urgency of now. In the face of unrelenting cynicism, it requires unyielding hope.
[T]his is a middle-of-the-road bill. This isn’t single-payer, which some people wanted. It’s also not what the Republicans were looking for, which was basically to deregulate the insurance industry
[T]his is a common-sense bill. It doesn’t do everything that everybody wants, but it moves us in the direction of universal health care coverage in this country and that’s why everybody here fought so hard for it.
—President Obama, Iowa City, Iowa, March 25, 2010 (full remarks)
This is the beginning of health care reform, not the end. Now begins the difficult task of education and implementation. At the MCC Washington Office, we will be working with other faith-based organizations to help patients, providers and small business owners understand their rights and responsibilities under the new law. And we will continue to advocate for administrative and legislative changes to ensure that health care reform benefits the most vulnerable in our society.