Health Insurance Reform Passes!

Looks like the left finally got its sh*t together:

The Huffington Post has a great post summarizing the dramatic events. Click here to read.

Also, David Frum, George W. Bush’s former speechwriter, declares:

Conservatives and Republicans today suffered their most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s.

It’s hard to exaggerate the magnitude of the disaster. Conservatives may cheer themselves that they’ll compensate for today’s expected vote with a big win in the November 2010 elections. […]

No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed.

Read more of what he had to say here.

My take? Let the Republicans run on repealing Health Insurance Reform.  If progressives keep their act together, conservatives run the risk of keeping the debate alive to such an extent as to give liberals an opening to argue for even deeper reforms: single-payer healthcare (which would basically be an expansion of medicare to cover everyone, rather than just seniors).

In the meantime, be sure to sign the petition to the Senate to get the job done on this round; click here.

Update: DailyKos has a great picture of Hillay Clinton and Obama embracing in joy upon the signing into law of this historic bill.

Update #2: I was listening to the Thom Hartmann show on the drive to work and he pointed out something very interesting that I thought was a very good point.  One of the reasons (besides a more energized progressive base) why Obama succeeded where other Democratic presidents failed in getting Health Insurance Reform was that he did what Lyndon Johnson did (and that Clinton did not): he made a “deal” with the insurance and pharmaceutical drug companies.  Thom explained that Lyndon Johnson actually went to the insurance companies and told them that he would alleviate them of their riskier assets: the poor and the elderly and have them covered under the government plan that he wanted passed: Medicare … thereby allowing for the insurance companies to just focus on more profitable market demographics.  For all the criticizing on the left for this kind of “deal-making”, I have a different take.  It sounds like Obama applied what a community organizer knows: you start where you’re what, with what you have, and do a reformation (which must always precede a revolution if a BIG change is to be successful).  You play the system within, and you play the powers-that-be against each other by appealing to their self-interests.  If that is the case: very well played Mr. Obama, very well played indeed.  I wonder what Saul Alinskly would think of this play.  Personally, deals like that make me nervous; but I understand the reality of the world we live in … which in some ways, is a bit depressing but also serves as motivator to change things.

Update # 3: It’ll be interesting to see how this reform improves the economic standing and the lives of Latinos in general over time, as it is currently estimated that one in three, or 34 percent, of Hispanics do not have health insurance, which tends to have multiple socio-economic repercussions.  The bill itself (which could easily be branded as “Obamanomics”) is actually the biggest attack on socio-economic injustice and on “Reaganomics” in decades, as the New York Times has analyzed:

For all the political and economic uncertainties about health reform, at least one thing seems clear: The bill that President Obama signed on Tuesday is the federal government’s biggest attack on economic inequality since inequality began rising more than three decades ago …

…Beyond the health reform’s effect on the medical system, it is the centerpiece of his deliberate effort to end what historians have called the age of Reagan…

…Since 1980, median real household income has risen less than 15 percent. The only period of strong middle-class income growth during this time came in the mid- and late 1990s, which by coincidence was also the one time when taxes on the affluent were rising…

…The laissez-faire revolution that Mr. Reagan started did not cause these trends. But its policies — tax cuts, light regulation, a patchwork safety net — have contributed to them…

To read more of that analysis click here.

Update # 4: to read a more recent take on how all of this will affect the Latino community, visit this site.