Senator Jeff Merkley happy, pained and furious over Health Bill

Senator Jeff Merkley Letter that was sent out,

…Like many of you and many progressives around the country, I am disappointed in what this health care bill is missing. I am pained that the bill does not have a public option. I am furious that this bill will make it more difficult for some women to exercise their Constitutional right to control their own bodies. I think we have missed opportunities to more aggressively limit insurance companies and big Pharma’s grip on our health care system.

But while this bill falls short of what it could be, it is a vast improvement over the system we have today.
“¢ Under the health care legislation, 30 million friends, family members, and neighbors who are currently uninsured will get help affording health care.
“¢ It will become illegal for insurance companies to kick their customers to the curb if they are so unfortunate as to need the insurance they’ve been paying for.
“¢ Whether you get covered and what you pay will no longer depend on how healthy you are or whether you have a pre-existing condition.
“¢ Seniors will get better coverage under Medicare, including a fix to the “doughnut hole” in drug coverage and free preventive care.
“¢ And there’s much more to be happy about in this bill — big increases in funding for community health centers, new innovative programs to improve coordinated care, investments in prevention and to bring more primary care doctors, nurses, and other skilled professionals into health care, and more.But most importantly, this bill marks the dawn of a new promise: a promise that our country will provide health care to its people. In America, we have finally settled the debate over whether health care is a right or a privilege. This is a big deal.

Without question, how we’re delivering on that promise is flawed. But remember the example of Social Security.

When that landmark program became law in 1935, it lifted millions of seniors out of poverty. It also excluded agricultural workers, domestic workers, railroad workers, and state and local employees — a huge swath of the population. It did not include survivor or dependent benefits. It wasn’t even indexed for inflation.

The promise was crucial, and helped a lot of people, but its delivery was flawed. But getting the program started was the hardest part – over time we improved Social Security. And over time, we’ll improve health care too.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” But as President Obama reminded us, “it doesn’t bend on its own. It bends because each of us puts our hands on that arc and bends it in the direction of justice.” The struggle for social and economic justice never ends…


Jeff Merkley