What editorial writers are saying about the enactment of health reform
■ President Obama on March 23 signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act after a close House vote.
Posted March 29, 2010.
Supporters hailed the move to extend health coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans, but opponents said the law would lead to a costly government takeover of the health system.
Historic health care reform shows fundamental change still possible
That hopey-changey thing is working out a little better. ... President Barack Obama has accomplished what Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson and Bill Clinton could not: passage of historic health care reform. It was a hard-fought victory signaling that real change is still possible in America. But the bitter fight over this plan and the divided reaction of the public have to temper any celebration. Democrats still have to convince many Americans that this plan is good for the country and will save money in the long run. They can do this unapologetically because it's true. San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News, March 22
No Obamacare for Obama
President Obama declared that the new health care law "is going to be affecting every American family." Except his own, of course. The new health care law exempts the president from having to participate in it. Leadership and committee staffers in the House and Senate who wrote the bill are exempted as well. A weasel-worded definition of "staff" includes only the members' personal staff in the new system; the committee staff that drafted the legislation opted themselves out. Because they were more familiar with the contents of the law than anyone in the country, it says a lot that they carved out their own special loophole. Washington Times, March 23
A new era in access to health care
Certain members of Congress, including every single Republican, have been acting as if we Americans were uniquely incompetent. The critics of health care reform have seemed to believe that the United States, unlike all other advanced democracies, was unable to extend health insurance to all, or nearly all, of its citizens. Last night, in a historic vote, a majority of congressional Democrats called those people's bluff. Watching C-SPAN is not often a nail-biting adventure, but March madness had a powerful rival as the vote approached. Call it March sanity. Keene (N.H.) Sentinel, March 22
Against our will
President Barack Obama used his Democratic majority, buttered with promises and payoffs, to pass a health care bill he declares is good for the American people, but one that the people despise. Passing such sweeping legislation against the public will, with the votes of just one party and by bending the rules of lawmaking, will make it much harder to convince taxpayers to endure the sacrifices that these changes will mandate. In the end, passage is a solid personal political victory for Obama. His perseverance in driving the bill forward despite it repeatedly coming off the rails stands as a historic presidential achievement, and one that must be admired even by opponents of the measure. But it is not likely to deliver a win for the country. Detroit News, March 23
To your health
The historic vote in the House Sunday night is a victory in establishing the long overdue principle that affordable health care is a basic right. Reforming the nation's health-insurance system couldn't wait. Soaring premiums have eroded the availability of employer-based health benefits. About 32 million Americans can now get coverage, the bulk of them working poor. As business leaders understand, the burden of rising costs on employers, individuals and the government cannot be sustained. This bill should start the nation on a path to more affordable, accessible health care with nearly universal coverage. Philadelphia Inquirer, March 23
Democrats tell American people to drop dead
Such bipartisan consensus was what the Founders sought with the Constitution. But Democrats made a mockery of bipartisanship by shoving Obamacare down the throats of Republican lawmakers and snubbing the popular majority that opposed it. The Democrats have undercut the credibility of the law they created. A fast-track challenge to Obamacare's constitutionality will likely reach the Supreme Court in coming months. The justices will have multiple issues to consider, including the unprecedented federal mandate that all individuals buy approved health insurance, the undeniable inequity of the many corrupt bargains used to buy votes for the measure, and the banana republic parliamentary tactics used by the Democratic congressional leadership. Whatever the high court's decision, it won't be nearly as unpleasant as the verdict many Democrats will hear from their constituents in November. San Francisco Examiner, March 22