Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Health care package passes Senate committee

The Democratic-led Senate committee on Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) has finally passed a health care bill ready for full consideration within Congress.

All ten Republicans in the committee voted against its passage, though they did slip in 161 amendments to the bill. Seems like bipartisanship is only a one-way street for the GOP, who scream for cooperation while digging their feet into the ground when its their turn to give a little.

Sen. Chris Dodd expressed to his colleagues that there were no hard feelings:
"Even though it wasn't a bipartisan vote, it was a bipartisan effort," said Dodd. "There were numerous contributions made, not just technical amendments, that our Republican friends were able to add to the bill. And they made it a better bill. That's the way it's supposed to be and I regret they didn't feel it was significant enough to support our effort this time around."
So, without Republican support, a health care bill advances on.

The bill would call for increased tax revenue derived from the ultra-rich. Families that earn more than $350,000 per year would see a tax increase, with a one percent increase starting there reaching a 5.4 percent increase for those earning $1 million or more.

That may seem like a lot, but it won't change much for these "ultra-rich" families, argues Michael Sean Winters of "America," a national Catholic weekly.
If you are making more than $350,000 a year, losing a bit of extra money to the tax man will not change your lifestyle. Maybe you would have to put off buying that bigger boat for a month, or doing the repairs on the Condo in the mountains, but you will still be able to afford the boat and the repairs. In turn, you will be helping the least advantaged in our society finally achieve what the Church has called a basic human right, access to good, affordable health care.
Winters is dead-on; while we do not, by any means, want to tax the rich to the poorhouse, the modest tax increase will do more good for people who can't afford insurance than it is doing for people looking to make improvements on their personal luxury items.

It's very interesting how such reform can bring together both proponents from the left (who have crusaded for such a plan for years) as well as allies from the social conservative right. Working together, this bill may just have a shot.

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