The First Draft: US healthcare reform as a tale of two cities

November 23, 2009

“…it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way…”
Charles Dickens never met U.S. senators Chuck Schumer of New York and Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas. But he may have inadvertently captured the partisan spirit of the U.S. healthcare reform debate when he published his novel, “A Tale of Two Cities,” with its famous introduction, 150 years ago.
Democrat Chuck and Republican Kay made clear on NBC’s Today show how many in their respective parties see the sweeping overhaul legislation that reached the U.S. Senate floor over the weekend. And by the sound of things, Washington could be two different cities. 
Chuck seemed to present healthcare reform as a vehicle for economic salvation: “The future of the country depends on getting something done or the government will go broke, private businesses will go broke and people will go broke.”  

Or could reform lead in that other direction?    

Here’s Kay: “We are in a jobless situation in our country, an economic crisis. You are going to put taxes and mandates on business that are going to make that situation even worse. One in 10 people in America today do not have a job. Now you’re putting mandates and taxes on every individual who doesn’t have healthcare and every business that we want to ask to hire people. And yet you’re putting taxes and mandates on them that makes this unaffordable. This is a terrible idea at this time.” CONGRESS JUDGES
Of course, partisan differences will mean little if Democrats can retain the same 60-vote, Republican-filibuster-proof sense of community that got the bill to the floor in the first place.
Chuck seems confident: “We will come together for this reason. The healthcare system is broken in this sense: Medicare will be broke in seven years, private insurance doubles every six years (and) tens of millions will lose it. If we don’t do anything, that is the worst situation. And we have a good bill that cuts costs, reduces the deficit and covers more people.”
Either way, it’s bound to be one dickens of a debate. 

Photo credits: Reuters/Chip East (Schumer); Reuters/Jonathan Ernst (Hutchison)


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It is all politics as usual,in most cases there are organizations who see the different government policies as a opportunity to further their own interests.AARP are one organization who decided to support Obama even though there were plans to reduce funding media care by 500 000 000 dollars and AARP represent retired people.At present here in CA they is an advertising blitz of their medical plan which must cost an unbelievable amount of money!We have heard that they got 18 000 000 dollar dollar stimulus grant to create jobs,now many created? none.There are other ramifications to this deal between AARP and the Obama government but i will be surprised if this gets posted by Reuters so mentioning them is a waste of time.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

Yeah… I love the idea of “progress” these fools have hammered out. So both bills require people to buy insurance or pay fines? Are you f!@#$%g kidding me?!!So the way to ensure better health is to force people to keep insurance companies alive by forcing citizens to purchase insurance under penalty of law?!?!?!Once again the interests of the false corporate citizenry takes precedence over the needs of the true citizenry. This is a joke. And not an all too funny one either.There you have proof that our reps care nothing about individual citizens. And also you have the courts who will do nothing to strip America from the bondage of corporate citizenship even though it hurts the people.They still look to saving systems rather than saving citizens from financial rape. Both bills senate and house, require people to purchase insurance or pay fines or increased taxes.If this is the case, then common sense demands that corporate welfare end and a comprehensive financial social safety net be implemented for the people. Then we can afford to buy that insurance and we would have the freedom to choose.Lets see how long it takes our geniuses on capital hill to figure that out.

Posted by Benny Acosta | Report as abusive

Im a Hard working tax payer I demand the same (Socialized) HEALTH CARE coverage as all Honorable Senator & congress person has, which i pay with my Taxes.So If i have to pay 40% of my wages for Health insurance you should too.Beside How can I give my children and Grand children any inheritance if The insurance company takes it Even before i die.Think about it and look it our children future.Respectfully.Michael Kovacs

Posted by Michael Kovacs | Report as abusive