Tuesday, December 22, 2009

To Save a Health Care Bill

Merry Christmas, Vice-Presidenters. Meet Joe Biden, the harbinger of all things Christmasy. And healthcare reform.

The debate rages on as a seemingly unrecognizable health care bill blazes up Capital Hill for the sake of passing a healthcare bill before Christmas to make the Administration look passionate. Joe himself, in a NY Times op-ed yesterday, pleaded with Congress to push this thing through, despite the fact that it is nowhere near what was promised. The biggest hit - there is no public option.

That said, in terms of Vice-Presidenting, Biden has brought it up a notch. In that he's giving op-eds, in office, about reforms he deems important. The language of the piece speaks to both sides of this invisible and incredibly useless aisle. Here are some incredibly truncated, but choice, bits from the piece.
...one of the most historic votes of my 36 years in the Senate...
...fundamental, essential change that opponents of reform have resisted for generations...
...Theodore Roosevelt...
...it does not contain every measure President Obama and I wanted...
...it is very good.
...this country’s single largest deficit-reduction measure in a dozen years.
It's easy to pick apart the soft language of politics, so I won't bother with it. What I will point out is that this bill has been doomed to fail from the beginning - perhaps rightly so. Any challenge to an administration that promises not to deal with lobbyists, then makes a back-room/public/back-room deal with Big Pharma is a positive one, even if it starts us at square one. Yes, the Administration would like a magical health care bill under everyone's Christmas tree. But the bill's imperfect nature began when the Administration of Change promised "Universal Healthcare" with no qualifiers and then shook hands with Pharma.

Regardless, Biden is a handy mouthpiece for getting this legislation through. And the Obama Administration has stressed the importance of baby steps, especially in something so sweeping. So, in terms of Vice Presidents, Biden is doing a fair job, and I'm sure they edited out all of his crazy gaffes from the op-ed, so he comes across well-spoken, intelligent and thoughtful. Not to say that other white people aren't well-spoken, it was just an observation. Seriously.

Jason C. Klamm, B.A.

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