It's a done deal. A new law signed by the president overhauled the health care system. It was passed in the House with partisanship, contention, arm-twisting and backroom deals. The vote was 219-212, and still few have read the entire contents.
No wonder there is confusion about whether this health care reform is good or bad for the nation. If you are a Democrat, it is a trillion-dollar overhaul that will extend coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans within 10 years. Democrats are rejoicing.
If you are a Republican, this bill will eventually raise taxes, cut Medicare benefits and require everyone to buy health insurance. The cost remains an unknown factor. Service may be reduced and some primary care doctors will retire or close their practices. Already 13 attorneys general have sued to overturn the legislation, saying it is not constitutional to force citizens to buy health care coverage. Small businesses say the bill is devastating to them, and they may backlash against it.
Restaurants may add surcharges to your bill to pay for their employees' health care costs.
With a health care bill this complicated and still being debated in the Senate, how can average Americans know what all these sweeping changes will mean to them in the ensuing years?
Thus far, there is much anger on the way this legislation has been handled. Many people feel their views have been ignored and feel Congress looks like a swamp where everything and anything was done to pass this legislation in a great deal of haste. Questions arise like how can 32 million people be added to medical care rolls without costs soaring well beyond first estimates. Why won't this change severely overtax existing health care infrastructure and reduce care for some seniors? After all, this is a really big entitlement program and people feel the government refused to listen to citizens who feel the bank is about to be broken by overwhelming costs. A health care cost crisis may arise. Opinion polls reflect a skeptical public.
There are immediate impacts and they are being spelled out by the president on his road trips. Even so, it is what comes down the road later on that concerns opponents of this bill.
Americans go to the polls in November, and health care reform will probably be foremost in their minds, along with a ballooning budget and jobs. Some Democrats may lose their seats because they voted for this overhaul of the existing system. Republicans may turn out in force to express their objections.
There are hard feelings in America today. We have no crystal ball and cannot predict the future because too many unknown factors cloud our view. We will reap what we have sown.
A rush to judgment about the final outcome of health care reform may be premature. Fear remains and unless dispelled, there can be no victory. It is three wars -- Iraq, Afghanistan and free America versus Obamacare.
Jack Simpson is a former educator, veteran, author and a law enforcement officer. His column appears each Friday.