Voters waking up

Supporting candidates who helped pass health reform

It’s about time.

The sad saw that voters have rejected health care reform has worn out its welcome. A new survey shows that a clear majority of voters is more likely to cast its ballots for the brave souls who helped pass this landmark legislation which protects the self-employed, sick kids and the needs of individuals over the greed of corporations.

Fifty-four percent of Americans surveyed by the Public Religion Research Institute – including 51 percent of  independents – have taken another look at health care reform, and they like what they see. This reinforces a recent Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll which revealed that Americans have an increasingly favorable view of the legislation. And the Associated Press recently found that people, by  a 2-to-1 margin, favor MORE – not less – action to reform the health care system.

This surge of understanding and support, though late in the election calendar,  has us feeling encouraged about democracy. The simple truth that opponents of reform need to understand is that government is no more the enemy of the people than is business.

Both have an important role to play in our society, and when the pendulum swings too far either way, we need need to bring it back a bit. Since the 1980s, that pendulum has swung away from the middle class and toward corporate profits. Health reform – like financial reform and other targets of the Obama agenda – is simply a needed course correction.

no more pre-existing conditions

If you’ve ever been denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition – or have a family member who has – tell your family and friends about it before the upcoming elections. Denial of coverage due to pre-existing conditions will soon be a thing of the past, thanks to health care reform.

no more medical bankruptcies

If you know anyone who has exceeded the annual or lifetime cap on their health insurance and gone bankrupt, or if, God forbid, this has happend to you, go to your local coffee shop and share the story with anyone who will listen. Insurance-induced financial catastrophes will  also become a thing of the past, thanks to health care reform, as will rescission: the pain of having your insurance company drop your coverage when you need it most.

protecting our kids

If you have a sick kid, his or her pre-existing condition can no longer be used as a reason for denial of coverage. People need to know that’s a new protection, thanks to reform. You can also now keep your kids on your health insurance policy longer – until their 27th birthday. That’s health reform at work, too, providing a safe port for families in an uncertain economy.

The Democrats in Congress did a journeyman’s work in crafting a moderate bill that gives our private health care system a tune-up rather than replacing it, but they’ve done a lousy job of selling that accomplishment to voters. They provided steak without the sizzle. In short-attention-span-America, that’s a sin.

For our part, we’d rather have good legislators than good public relations people. Crafting legislation isn’t a pretty process, but it’s a necessary part of moving our country forward. But if legislators aren’t doing a good job of selling their accomplishments, it’s up to you to tell your neighbors.

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