The great debate on health care reform has begun in the Senate, pitting Harry Reid and his innovative legislation against Mitch McConnell and the desperate Republican opposition. The bill will almost certainly have enough votes to pass, a majority of at least 51, but not enough yet to defeat a filibuster (60 votes needed). This means that this country's best opportunity for health care reform depends on individual citizens' ability to lobby their senators to allow an up-or-down vote on this reform and break the filibuster.
The arguments against this bill are two-fold. One is that it is too expensive given the country's current deficits and debt. However, an audit by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office shows that this bill will actually reduce the deficit over the next 10 years. The argument that this bill is too expensive falls flat on its face and is based on deception and ignorance.
Another argument against this bill is that it expands the power of the federal government to unprecedented levels. In fact, this bill does not add anything new to the powers of the federal government. Washington already has numerous systems through which it tracks Americans, from the census, to the IRS, to the Social Security Administration. Furthermore, the government already provides health care to a large portion of the population by managing Medicare, Medicaid, the VA, and Tricare, the military insurance system. Evidence points to the proposed reform increasing the benefit and efficiency of these already existing government programs in a way that will reduce their costs without compromising the valuable services they provide.
Health care reform needs the help of those who believe it is the right thing to do. Write, call, and e-mail your senators demanding that they not support any filibuster of this legislation. The world's wealthiest nation cannot afford to let its populace suffer from a lack of access to health care. The folks that we've spent the last years pushing to elect to congress are finally delivering for us, and we owe it to ourselves to return the favor.