Health care reform supporters gather in Phoenix./Courtesy of ellene000 on Flickr

If you followed the non-stop health care coverage leading up to last night’s vote, you may be surprised to learn that Obama isn’t sitting atop the White House with a sniper rifle picking off old people one by one.

The citizen debate was passionate, at times ugly. Racial epithets and spit were hurled at black congressmen. Barney Frank, the openly gay representative from Massachusetts, was called a "faggot". I’ll leave it up to you to guess which side was responsible for this.

President Obama, a man who campiagned on the promise of uniting the country, ripped it apart in the most unlikely of ways. He created a divide by demanding more Americans be given access to health care. He’s been attacked by every side, by countless Americans and government officials, for his policy and, in some cases, his race. You have to wonder how much of the hate is directed toward the bill, and how much of it is an explosion of pent up anger from those who still can’t beleive that a young, African American with little political experience defeated a decorated war veteran from Arizona in 2008.

Anyway, back to the bill. Ezra Klein, a blogger for the Washington Post, defined the arguments against the bill quite well yesterday on Twitter: ezraklein The GOP’s argument on the bill is 1) it’s socialism and 2) it cuts Medicare too much? So, too socialist and not socialist enough?

Too true. You know how you separate the historically educated from the historically ignorant? Those who call Obama a socialist, or who beleive the U.S. is inching toward socialism, are the latter. For example, Glen Enloe, from the Kansas City Star, who says "change is just another a code word for socialism". You sir, are historically ignorant. Or maybe these people, Enloe included, aren’t historically ignorant. Maybe they know history. Maybe they’ve studied history and know what socialism is and what socialist leaders really act like. But that means they’re inciting fear and hate for the purpose of political gain. You tell me which is worse.

I’ve strayed again. Apologies. Back to the bill. Of course it isn’t perfect. It’s the first major reform in almost a century. Obviously, not everyone can be pleased. Obama’s last minute deal with Bart Stupak guaranteed the bill would pass, and that deal, which ensured no federal money would go toward abortions, angered the National Organization for Women (NOW). They say Obama’s decision to issue the Executive Order shows his commitment to health care is "shaky at best". Obviously, that isn’t true, he’s put his presidency on the line to ensure more Americans have access to health care.

NOW is angry because they didn’t get what they wanted. I never thought the abortion clause would go through unnoticed or unchallenged, or, in fact, that it would go through at all. It’s just not a conversation the country is willing to have right now, and in the midst of sweeping health care reform, to get caught up on one issue, however important, is not in the best interest of the country. Obama recognized that, that’s why he took it out. But we all know where the president stands on abortion, so I really, really doubt he’ll toss it aside for too long.

Like I said before, the health care bill is not perfect. It can’t be. It never will be. But no matter who you are, or what side you’re on, you cannot possibly think the health care system in the United States is the “best in the world.” The World Health Organization ranks it at 37, just behind Slovenia. Infant mortality is higher than the European Union, largely because of lack of access to health care caused by racial and ethnic disparity, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Life expectancy in the U.S. is last among the G7 and 38th in the world, behind Cuba. In a country obsessed with being first, that’s not good enough.

This is not the “best health care system in the world.” It wasn’t before the bill, and it won’t be after the bill. But making great physicians available to a larger percentage of the population is a mark of an improving health care system. That’s what the U.S. needs to focus on right now. It’s people.

About The Author

Sachin Seth is the Blast Magazine world news reporter. He writes the Terra blog. You can visit his website at or follow him on twitter @sachinseth

3 Responses

  1. gabriel lytle

    this is an opinion article, so i will state mine.

    Health care IS a step towards socialism and an attack (step in the direction) on our freedom.

    You yourself said that Obama wasn’t experienced, because he’s not, and you also said this is the first reform in a century. WELL AREN’T I GLAD that an unexperienced person chosen to be president is reforming for us. that’s great!

    all that aside, honestly, nothing against Obama, but really, is this the best guy in the whole country we could get? no, it’s not. i don’t know who is, but it’s not him, and he’s digging himself a grave.

    Trillions in debt, substantially more than the earth itself’s gross income. this is a decline in our country, and it is becoming a majority thanks to terrible decisions made and forced upon those who didn’t want to have to make these decisions.

    i hope whoever reads this remembers this is my opinion.

  2. whitecollargreenspaceguy

    New plan given to White House doubles savings from health care bill and pays for public option and cuts the carbon footprint of gov buildings by 50%‏‏

    Here is a major proposal I just shared with GSA, GAO, EPA, Senator Levin’s office and professors at Georgetown and GWU.
    The fact that the federal government uses over a billion square feet of office at an efficiency level of only 30% borders on malfeasance from a budget and environmental viewpoint. Someone needs to let the White House know there is a way to pay for the public option.

    This proposal would save the Federal government close to $50 billion per year enough to pay for the public option with only an executive order. We should get more congressman to sign on if we can show it is paid for and requires no new taxes or fees. New plan cuts overhead costs & carbon footprint of white collar workers by 50%. We can no longer afford to let all white-collar workers that still have jobs work banker’s hours when we can work two shifts per day in government and private industry and cut our overhead costs in half. This simple paradigm shifts solves three problems: It jumpstarts economy and fights poverty, cuts pollution, reduces budget deficits. As an American, I would like to present my answer the the health care mess, global warming which actually should be called over-pollution, unemployment, empty buildings and state budget shortfalls.

    The Federal government pays for well over one billion square feet of office space. Most office space is very expensive yet it sits unused 70% of the time because most white collar work is scheduled for only one shift per day or only 45 hours out of a 168 hour week. 30% efficiency is completely unacceptable in today’s economic and ecological environment. Most buildings are open for 12 hours each day from 6 am to 6 pm. By keeping buildings open an additional 4 or 5 hours each day, we could schedule 2 shifts of white collar workers, thus increasing our efficiency by 100% and reducing our carbon footprint by 50%. We could cut the cost of overhead for each employee by 40 to 50%, half as much infrastructure, half as much office space, half as many computers and supplies. With the overhead for each of our 2 million Federal workers approaching $50,000 per year, the potential savings could be $50 billion per year, enough to pay for health care reform.

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