FLAMES OF THE TORCH: Health care reform at last

As if Barack Obama’s presidency wasn’t already historic enough, his legacy reached new heights Sunday night when the House passed a health care reform bill that will fix many of the problems currently plaguing the American health care system. For the last year, President Obama has risked his political agenda and fought for reform with his popularity
at the hands of Republicans’ lies.
As a spokesman for the millions of Americans left uninsured and neglected, President Obama’s victory in the House on Sunday night was just as much an achievement for the welfare of the American people as it
was a political victory.
Since his first months in office, Obama has faced extreme conservative opposition to reform and, in turn, the relentless difficulties of bipartisan politics. Despite the President’s repeated efforts to reach across the aisle and meet Republican leaders as politicians first and Republicans second, he received support only from his own party. The fact that Obama was able to get this monumental measure passed without the vote of one Republican makes it a historic piece of legislation in itself.

Still, until the last hours of Sunday night’s efforts, Republican representatives remained stubbornly opposed to the bill.

Until the end, they refused to face the fact that the United States, as the New York Times describes it, is the “only advanced industrial nation that does not provide or guarantee health care coverage for virtually all of its citizens.”

Unfortunately, Republican officials failed to see that this is a simply unacceptable reality for our
American health care system.

What the newly christened health care law will accomplish is a step in the right direction to changing the problems of this dysfunctional system. According to the Times, the bill’s authors claim that by 2019, 94 to 95 percent of Americans will have medical insurance. New laws will keep insurance companies in check and over time lessen the cost of coverage. Further amendments that were proposed by the House on Sunday await the Senate’s approval, but will additionally lower the
costs of medical coverage.

For college students, insurance reform will have a particularly profound impression, as young people currently make up one of the largest groups of uninsured Americans.

Now, these students will be required to receive health care, at a more reasonable price. A section of the bill also enables young people to remain insured through their parents’ plans up until 26 years of age. This will cover millions of young adults that are currently living unprotected from day to day.

In the immediate future, small businesses will receive special tax credits so they can provide for their employees. Over the next few years, we’re going to start seeing real change for the health care of Americans, and it’s about time.

Time will bring about the full effects of Obama’s health care initiative, and history will most likely reflect Sunday’s events in Washington as equally historic as FDR’s New Deal. Obama finished the work of the late Senator Ted Kennedy, who was remembered Tuesday when Obama
signed the bill as law.

Sunday night, President Obama referred to the passing of the bill as “answering the call of history.” For many future generations of Americans, his efforts will lead to healthier
and more insured lives.