March 22nd, 2010
11:17 AM ET

Health bill a milestone - or a mistake?

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For decades, health care has sparked controversy in American politics. In the 14 months since President Obama took the oath of office, the issue has been debated passionately and exhaustively. With House passage of a sweeping health care bill, CNN.com asked a variety of political and medical experts to comment.

John Avlon
The Daily Beast

First, the big picture - the passage of health care reform is a huge win for President Obama, a goal that has been unsuccessfully pursued by presidents since Teddy Roosevelt. But while Obama succeeded in gaining the endorsement of the American Medical Association, an influential opponent of previous health care reform efforts, this is unfortunately not a unifying win for the nation.

After a year of heated debate, the American people remain deeply divided on this legislation, and Democrats are looking at a tough re-election fight this fall. Most major pieces of social legislation in American history - such as Social Security, Medicaid and welfare reform - have passed with broad bipartisan support. The Democrats' political bet is that rallying the base with a win on liberals' longtime No. 1 issue will outweigh anger from conservatives and distrust of one-party rule from independent voters.

The reality is that even though the vote is over, the fight over health care reform is not. Opponents, including the attorneys general of several states, are expected to file lawsuits asking the courts to declare the bill unconstitutional. The anger of conservative activists has been stirred to fever pitch - witness the spitting at Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver or slurs directed at Reps. John Lewis and Barney Frank during Capitol Hill protests Saturday - and it will not go away any time soon. At a time when some people feel like losing an election is living under tyranny, the passage of this health care reform bill has taken on significance far beyond the legislation itself.


Filed under: 360° Radar
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Pam

    I am a retiree from state government and pay my own health insurance for myself. I pay the full premium, as my employer no longer pays its portion. There are many other retirees in this situation.

    I am currently unemployed, and have so far been able to pay the premium each month – my current requirements under the contract are that I have to continue the insurance or I will "never get it back". I have no other person to rely on for income, and do not get unemployment. My work has been sporadic after having breast cancer in 2008.

    What assistance can I get?

    Will my premium go up since it is through an employer, even though I am currently not able to work (applied for SS Disability)?

    March 22, 2010 at 2:14 pm |
  2. Jen

    All i can say is this–I'm glad it passed. I am from Canada and found the health care down here such a nightmare compare to ours back home! Me and my children felt into a gap for not qualifying for any health care (medicaid n health choice) because my husband income was consider over the limit. They used how much he made before deductions but not after deductions as he was paying for 50% child support every pay cheque so he couldn't afford to pay for ours through work. So we were the victims of not being eligible with alternative health care approach. We were told that's how the policies were in place? Now, I know how much I appreciate Canada's health care!

    March 22, 2010 at 1:49 pm |
  3. Heidi Little, Sanbornton, NH

    I am thrilled and so grateful for the tremendous accomplishment of Obama and his administration!!!! As I am trying to understand specific ramifications for my family, I still haven't heard anything about relief from the exhorbtant insurance premiums, co-pays and deducatbles that the "middle class" self employed are strapped with currently. I fear that our Health insurance premiums will go up again immediately, as the industry tries to collect as much $ as they can before these reforms go in to effect. Is this a reasonable concern??
    Can you help me understand??
    Thanks, Heidi Little

    March 22, 2010 at 1:36 pm |
  4. Sharon Kangas

    I am happy the Health Care Reform has passed so far. People will not be discriminated against pre-existing conditions and there will be the toughest patient protections in history. The cost of health care will be reduced and over a trillion dollars of debt will be eraced in the future. I think people will pay more attention to preventative health care which will help bring the costs down.

    March 22, 2010 at 12:56 pm |
  5. Cindy

    Some may call this fiasco a milestone but when it ends up bankrupting our country and causing our health care to fall below standard care then we will all see it for the mistake that it undoubtedly is.


    March 22, 2010 at 11:26 am |