Many of you saw a vote for repeal, and resurgence of Republican opposition for the Affordable Care Act coming. However, you might have missed the shoes, bricks, and foul language thrown at both Republican and Democratic legislators who support health care reform. In 2010, just after the bill passed, a brick was thrown into a Niagara Falls representative’s office, and another shattered a window in the Democratic party headquarters in Rochester, NY. Last March, a Tucson-based Democratic representative’s office window was destroyed only hours after she voted in favor of the bill. Now, Gabrielle Gifford is in Houston, about to begin rehabilitation after surviving a gunshot wound to the head on January 8th.
It’s unfortunate to hear these stories, especially when they're juxtaposed with stories about those who this reform benefits. For example, pre-term infants born with chronic lung disease are currently guaranteed insurance because companies are unable to deny coverage due to a “pre-existing condition.” Medicare recipients, like Paul Horne who received a $250 rebate check to help cover his prescriptions once the bill passed, are desperate for someone to keep fighting for the Affordable Care Act. Democrats posit that mandating health insurance for all Americans will ultimately save the government money and reduce the deficit. Republicans argue that these conclusions were drawn from false financial reports from the Congressional Budget Office, and that the bill will ultimately put America in more debt.
Regardless of which side of the aisle you’re pulling for in this debate, remember to also root for civility, compassion and, especially, for common sense. Rhetoric has been toned down, even if only slightly, for the sake of progress.
This time around, we can only hope that the vandalism and threats are kept at a minimum. The real fight needs to exist within the confines of the Capitol building, with lawmakers using only their pens, Pages, and valid arguments as weaponry.
For more information on what the Affordable Care Act means to you, visit www.healthcare.gov. Read the facts, pick a side...in that order!