It doesn’t matter if you are 18 years-old or 32 years-old and married, it’s always good to go back home to reconnect with your family and the community in which you were raised. In the past few weeks, Americans from all across our country have also realized that it is good for our elected officials come home and reconnect with their constituents as well.
Without the August congressional recess, it is likely that some version of the health care reform bill would be about to pass. Now, just a little more than half way through the month long recess, the health care proposal is dead as we know it. President Obama himself has indicated that a public option might not be the way to go, and yesterday Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that the government alternative to private health insurance is “not the essential element.”
Here in Iowa, Senator Grassley came out strongly against a government run program, and Congressman Leonard Boswell said that he might not support the bill. In fact, Grassley spoke out so strongly against the creation of “death panels” that would provide end-of-life counseling that President Obama himself attacked Senator Grassley at his town hall meeting in Grand Junction, Colorado, on Saturday. President Obama didn’t call out Grassley by name, pointed out that Grassley has supported the concept years before. Both Grassley’s and Boswell’s stance before coming home seemed much different.
In the days and weeks leading up to the August recess, it seemed likely that the U.S. Senate was bound to strike some sort of compromise that would gather at least some token Republican support. Senator Grassley was at the table with his Democratic counterpart Max Baucus, and he was the guest of President Obama at the White House for discussions on the issue on a couple of occasions. Yet, in a matter of days after members of congress had returned home, everything the Obama administration has worked towards on health care seems to have been lost.
What stopped the President Obama and his 60 seat majority in the U.S. Senate dead in its tracks? The will of the American people. All Americans can learn a great deal about what has transpired over the past couple of weeks. Our elected officials hopefully have learned that their constituents come before special interests, and before casting any vote that would dramatically alter the course of our county, they owe it to those constituents to go back home and listen to their concerns.
The American people should have learned that, despite the huge money of special interest groups that has polluted our system of government, when the people participate in the process, their representatives will listen to them. The American people, however, have to be willing to fulfill their role in our system of government on a more consistent basis.
Single payer health care has long been the central piece of legislation that the Democrats have sought. President Bill Clinton and the Democrats failed miserably in their attempt in 1994, but they continued to incrementally expand health care coverage with a certain amount of success, even during a Republican administration. While the American people have seemed to derail the Obama administration’s health care agenda, the fight against nationalized health care is far from over, so Americans must continue to be diligent. Americans must continue to keep the heat on all of our elected officials, Republicans and Democrats alike.
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