GOOD NEWS: HEALTH-CARE REFORM; BAD NEWS: THE GOVERNMENT DID IT

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I’m confused.

I cannot figure out if this health-care issue is a good thing or a bad thing. I know that if you asked anybody two years ago, most people would have told you they were not happy with their health-care coverage. But as soon as President Obama started making this his personal mission, all of a sudden the average person was more than happy with his or her coverage and didn’t want the government interfering.

Republicans have spent the past 14 months trying to convince anybody who would listen that the Democrats are bad people who want to do bad things to you. Democrats are trying to convince anybody who will listen that Republicans are evil and do not want you to receive the health care.

Only one thing is really certain in all of this; my premiums will cost more, my co-pays will cost more, my prescription medication will cost more and my deductible will be higher. Why? Because it has been proven over and over again that the government cannot fix anything. When is the last time it made something better?

And now we have this vote that just took place last weekend. I got the impression that nobody actually knew what they were voting for. Nobody had answers. Nobody could tell us what was in the bill. But they went ahead and approved it anyway. And by the slimmest of margins. Seven votes — 219-212.

You would think that something of this magnitude would require a general consensus that this is a good thing for the country. It seems to me that there should be more agreement. But the country is still divided. Now there are lawyers across the country who are mounting court fights, saying it is unconstitutional to require every woman, child and man to have health insurance of some kind.

The $940 billion — with a “B” — bill extends health coverage to 32 million Americans who currently have no insurance. Even if they don’t want health insurance, they’re going to get it. After the bill passed on Sunday evening, President Obama said, “This is what change looks like.” Nice sound bite.

Republicans last Sunday night sang in unison that by passing the bill, Congress blatantly ignored the will of the people. When is that news? It happens all the time right here in Massachusetts. We’re used to that. Democrats have been saying all along that opponents of the bill were supplying misinformation to the American public. Again, when is that news?

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius said the victory was “a great step forward for the American people.” How do you figure? President Obama pulled off his best Wilford Brimley, saying that passing the reform bill was “the right thing to do.”

Democrats were comparing the historic vote to the passage of Medicare and Social Security. Yikes. Do you really want to make that comparison?

A quick glance at some of the provisions of the bill leave me with mixed feelings. I have a bad feeling that my paycheck will get smaller as I will be contributing more to Medicare. People who can’t get health insurance because of a pre-existing condition will now be eligible for federal money to buy special insurance. But perhaps the best piece of news is that my 20-year-old daughter will be covered by my insurance until she is 26. She is presently out of work and not attending college, so if what I’m reading is correct, that’s good news.

Still, I’m worried that I am going to somehow wind up in the “wealthy American” category and see a spike in my overall costs. I’m waiting for someone to tell me I’m wrong.

The real fallout will come at the ballot box during the midterm election in November. If the January election of U.S. Sen. Scott Brown showed us anything, it is that when the electorate is galvanized, anything can happen.

It just may be that the voters may be in the mood to send a message to President Obama, saying, “This is what change looks like.”

Have a comment? E-mail dshaughnessey@lowellsun.com.