The bill passes with three votes to spare, Bart Stupak finishes his month-long publicity stunt, and HCR passes on to the Senate. Good. I think Josh Marshall hits the nail on the head here:
The US has had several runs with major pieces of social legislation. And the record is that they don't get repealed. They're expanded and become embedded in the national political economy.
And like I say yesterday, the bill is flawed, but that's not the point. Ideally, every Democratic majority in the future will pick up this ball and run with it, because it's shown that social reform is possible. That should make cases for its necessity easier in the future.

Also, 200,000 people marched on DC for immigration reform yesterday. I don't think any talking head paid them any heed, but there sure was plenty of Teabagger footage.
People often seem to wonder why I pay attention to American politics at all, especially when I theoretically don't even have a horse in this race. They may be able to excuse foreign policy, but health care reform?

Health care is a basic human right — take a look at articles 22 and 25.1 in the Universal Declaration if you don't believe me. That means that there are 46.3 million people in the United States alone lacking that basic right. Among them are my ex-fiancé and my oldest friend online, who would be paying insane sums of money every month if they didn't live in places that already provide them with shoestring health care, and who wouldn't be buried under crushing mounds of debt if they'd been properly insured. And they're the lucky ones.

Is this a good bill? Of course not. It's deeply flawed and compromised, merely kicking the can down the road. On the other hand, this is lightyears ahead of the previous "there is no can" handwaving — the problem has been acknowledged and there being any legislation at all is a miracle. After all, this agenda item is older than any of the seated Democrats in the House. Simply passing it would be a historic turning point.

In fact, it's the turning point. Electoral victories are worthless if they don't result in actual policy changes. What use is it to have House, Senate and Presidency in blue hands if they can't pass their key reform? Democratic credibility absolutely hinges on this bill. The Bush hangover will fade, and the swing to the left will reverse itself unless the Democrats anchor it down by actually implementing their program.

And that's not a miracle solution, but it's a start. Just like the bill itself.

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Julianna Lacroix

July 2010

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