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Country First? Not So Much

I could not be more pleased with the passage of health care reform yesterday. While it is an imperfect bill, it is far superior to the status quo and probably represents the most significant legislative achievement since the civil rights movement. For readers of this Blog, it means no more denials of insurance because of a pre-existing condition (i.e. infertility) or the rescission of an insurance policy because of an infertility diagnosis or due to hitting the lifetime cap of the policy. As importantly, more than 31 million fellow Americans will now have access to health coverage.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised at the hyperbolic claims made by the opponents of this health bill, yet I was. After all, didn’t candidate Obama run on a platform in which health care reform was among the central planks? President Obama won the election in a landslide yet Republicans would have us believe that the American public is opposed to the reform that comprised the core of his candidacy. Absurd.

Now, conservatives are strategizing on how they can repeal health care in 2012. I hope and pray they run on that issue because imagine how well it will be received by the tens of millions of American voters who now have health insurance because of this bill. Imagine the reaction when seniors are told they again have to pay for their prescription drugs or the cancer victim is told she needs to lose her health coverage again. Sounds like a winning strategy to me! While you are at, why not also seek the repeal of Social Security and Medicare if you have a principled objection to government run programs?

Then there is John McCain who campaigned on a platform of “America First.” Courtesy of Balloon Juice, President Obama’s opponent in the 2008 election illustrates what “Country First” actually means:

Democrats shouldn’t expect much cooperation from Republicans the rest of this year, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) warned Monday.

McCain and another Republican senator decried the effect health reform legislation has had on the Senate, a day after the House passed the upper chamber’s bill.

GOP senators emerged Monday to caution that the health debate had taken a toll on the institution, warning of little work between parties the rest of this year.

“There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year,” McCain said during an interview Monday on an Arizona radio affiliate. “They have poisoned the well in what they’ve done and how they’ve done it.”

Spokesman for Nevada Senator Harry Reid, Jim Manley, released the following statement today regarding Senator McCain’s comment pledging no cooperation from Republicans for the rest of the year:

For someone who campaigned on ‘Country First’ and claims to take great pride in bipartisanship, it’s absolutely bizarre for Senator McCain to tell the American people he is going to take his ball and go home until the next election. He must be living in some parallel universe because the fact is, with very few exceptions, we’ve gotten very little cooperation from Senate Republicans in recent years.

“At a time when our economy is suffering and we’re fighting two wars, the American people need Senator McCain and his fellow Republicans to start working with us to confront the challenges facing our country—not reiterating their constant opposition to helping working families when they need it most.”


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