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The journey of ‘Obamacare’

BY MICHAEL DALE-STEIN | MARCH 25, 2010 7:30 AM

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As Vice President Joe Biden phrased it Tuesday on live television, “This is a big f—ing deal.”

The vicious war over health-care reform is over. The partisan squabbling, sophomoric name-calling, and rewrites upon rewrites. It’s finito. Actually, to make such a declaration is equally as preposterous as screaming, “It’s a baby killer,” during a live health-care debate. All the rowdy shenanigans, which created a malignant aura enveloping the sentiments of health-care reform, are bound to continue for years to come.

The public debate, for both those in support of health-care reform and vehemently against it, encompassed an entire year of emotional and intense discourse. Town halls, rallies, and round tables were the norm in the legislative debate. In the debate, proponents and opponents spat at each other with castigation. And when bipartisanship failed to work for the president, he fought back with a newfound populist vigor, much to the liking of Democrats and disdain of Republicans. By finally polarizing the politics of health-care reform and giving up on swaying the GOP, Obama secured the votes necessary from his party.

When Obama visits the University of Iowa today, a microcosm of health-care reform’s highs and lows will accompany him. Sheer jubilation to downright affront will represent the emblematic battle cries of this small Midwestern town; but is not the freedom to articulate myriad opinion — intelligent or otherwise — exactly why we are all fortunate? Come midmorning, Tea Party protesters will presumably fill sidewalks, waving their flags and raising their signs.

Surely, some of the 10,000 students who vied for tickets to hear Obama’s oration will convene upon the Field House, entertained with a chance to catch a glimpse of the president. Inside the gym, with a ripe stench of damp sweat and chlorine from the adjoined pool, an estimated crowd of 3,000 will listen to Obama’s remarks.

Ultimately, Obama must be recognized for one thing: He’s created an environment where no soul is afraid to speak out in approval or discord of the government’s decisions. Yes, he’s faced scrutiny of epic proportion in the past year. So has his necessary, albeit flawed, health-care reform plan.

However, Obama has brought political discourse back to the masses — masses who essentially burnt out after a tumultuous relationship with the former administration. Now the nation is ripe with political fuel.

Here in eastern Iowa, the president and Iowa City share a special connection. Old chums, one might call them. Iowa City marks the locale in which Obama first laid out his vision for health-care reform. That was May 29, 2007. And on March 23, 2010, a man’s vision transcended optimistic possibility and became reality.

Yet Obama’s work to inculcate reformed health care into the societal canon is far from complete. In fact, a threat to arouse minutes after he signed the bill into law. Officials representing 13 states have filed suit to obstruct the massive reformatory law, claiming its requirement for individuals to purchase health insurance is in violation of the constitution. So, as can been seen, the road will be long and arduous for Obama. He’s relished success and experienced the twinge of failure. No doubt many of each will accompany his remaining years in office.

So today, expect to hear a lot thrown around because of Obama’s presence: Hope, change, socialism, government control. But none of those matter. Obama sought to accomplish something many former presidents hoped to do but never could: He signed into law a reformation of the American health system.

Yes, Joe Biden, it is a big f—ing deal.


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