Mallory Pernell, Staff Writer
Ideology: Liberal | Writing In: Austin, TX

As usual, the media has over exaggerated another news story. Blue Dog Democrats are trying to kill Obama’s bill! Nobody likes Obama’s bill!

Blue Dog Democrats are still trying to get healthcare reform this year. Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR), the Blue Dog Congressman who is supposedly trying to ruin the bill, said in an interview that he is not completely against the bill, but is trying to slow down the legislative process in order to read the whole thing. This may just be political jargon for “I’m trying to kill the bill”, but what is important about his interview is that he says that he is not against universal healthcbarack_obamaare, as Republicans are trying to say. Blue Dog Democrats are not against reforming healthcare so all Americans can have it, so please, stop saying that. They are trying to slow down the legislative process so they can read the bill and make sure it is fiscally responsible.

Pelosi and Obama want this bill passed quickly because they want healthcare reform to happen before Congress takes a break. Recently though, Obama has said that he will back off on having the deadline for a vote before the summer, and instead he wants a vote by the end of the year. Republican media men are saying that if this bill loses, it’s because the American people don’t want healthcare reform. In reality, if this bill fails, it isn’t because Americans don’t want universal healthcare, it’s because Democrats that could help pass the bill won’t because the think the bill raises too many costs. Healthcare is extremely expensive, and the Blue Dog Democrats are trying to get those costs down by getting the cost of healthcare down. According to Rep. Ross, healthcare prices must be lowered before all Americans can get healthcare.

I agree that healthcare should cost less, and the subcommittees are working to get the costs down. But BD Democrats need to realize that if this bill is killed, it will be even more difficult to get a different version of the bill to pass in the future. People will view Obama’s healthcare plan as a failure, and therefore view universal healthcare as a failure. With this reoccurring problem the healthcare crisis will never be solved (similar to what occurred with HillaryCare in the 1990’s). If Rep. Ross wants universal healthcare “within the year” as he says he wants, he needs to vote with his fellow Democrats to pass this bill while Obama is still riding on what is left of his honeymoon period.  Plus, insurance and pharmaceutical companies have Congress wrapped around their finger; medical costs aren’t going to go down any time soon. All of the BD Democrats that want universal healthcare are going to be waiting around forever if they expect healthcare costs to go down first.

If Blue Dog Democrats want universal healthcare as they say they do, they need to compromise and vote for Obama’s bill before it’s too late. Critics say that Obama is being partisan with his bill, and not compromising. Yes, universal healthcare is a mostly liberal thing, but Obama has met with the non-partisan director of the Congressional Budget Office in order to get an idea of how to lower costs. Also, changes are still being made to the bill that will hopefully appease most of the BD’s and maybe even some Republicans. Obama is being lenient with the voting deadline, and emphasizing exactly what Rep. Ross was saying: if there is going to be universal healthcare, it needs to be done right.

Thanks to Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) saying that this will be Obama’s “Waterloo” if the bill fails, the media is overplaying the idea that if this bill fails, Democrats will lose power with the American people. Due to the media’s influence on everyday Americans, I’m afraid many former Obama supporters are starting to believe that this statement about a “Waterloo” is true. It’s great that BD Democrats are trying to lower costs and make a “perfect” bill, but they must realize that this has become a political power struggle. If they pick the wrong side of the argument and the bill fails, a healthcare bill may never get passed and Democrats will lose the approval that they gained by having a Democrat in the White House. Blue Dog Democrats want what liberal Democrats want: healthcare for all Americans that won’t break the federal budget. It is possible to have such a thing, but BD Democrats need to compromise more and support the best their party can do.