Despite an annoying overuse of the word by sportswriters, this is truly an historic moment. For only the third time in the past 75 years, the United States has taken a meaningful step toward making America a more caring nation. And once again it took a Democratic Congress, with the leadership of a Democratic President, to make it happen.
Passage of Health Care Reform is a major step toward assuring that every American has access to basic health care, something that is long overdue, and the credit must be given to President Obama and the Democrats in Congress.
Universal health care is not a new idea. It was a plank in the Socialist Party platform at the beginning of the last century. It has been established in some form for more than half a century in most of the major industrialized countries around the world, where it seems to work well. Unfortunately, America has had to fight the greed of an insurance industry that profits from sickness and disease.
Twice before, Democrats have provided the leadership necessary to help those Americans most in need. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Franklin Roosevelt and a New Deal Congress created Social Security, providing security for the elderly, widows and their children. During the 1960s, Lyndon Johnson, pushed Medicare through Congress, helping to guarantee medical care for the old, the disabled and those most in need.
While I am no great fan of the two party system, and the Democrats had done some pretty sorry things in the past, they deserve an enormous amount of credit for providing this nation with the essential elements of a basic social safety net.
Interestingly, to find the only point in time when Republicans did something of comparable value, one must go back 150 years, to the Civil War, when Abraham Lincoln and a Republican Congress freed the slaves and helped African Americans begin their journey toward true equality.