Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Four years ago, this happened

On March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law. For over 60 years, Democrats had been trying to pass a law that finally and firmly declared that health care was a right and not a privilege.

This historic piece of legislation was possible because we had Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress and a Democratic president.

It is why Elections Matter … and why all the rest is noise.

On Behalf of My Mother:

Today, I’m signing this reform bill into law on behalf of my mother, who argued with insurance companies even as she battled cancer in her final days.

I’m signing it for Ryan Smith, who’s here today.  He runs a small business with five employees.  He’s trying to do the right thing, paying half the cost of coverage for his workers.  This bill will help him afford that coverage.

I’m signing it for 11-year-old Marcelas Owens, who’s also here.  (Applause.)  Marcelas lost his mom to an illness.  And she didn’t have insurance and couldn’t afford the care that she needed.  So in her memory he has told her story across America so that no other children have to go through what his family has experienced.  (Applause.)

I’m signing it for Natoma Canfield.  Natoma had to give up her health coverage after her rates were jacked up by more than 40 percent.  She was terrified that an illness would mean she’d lose the house that her parents built, so she gave up her insurance.  Now she’s lying in a hospital bed, as we speak, faced with just such an illness, praying that she can somehow afford to get well without insurance.  Natoma’s family is here today because Natoma can’t be.  And her sister Connie is here.  Connie, stand up.  (Applause.)

I’m signing this bill for all the leaders who took up this cause through the generations — from Teddy Roosevelt to Franklin Roosevelt, from Harry Truman, to Lyndon Johnson, from Bill and Hillary Clinton, to one of the deans who’s been fighting this so long, John Dingell.  (Applause.)  To Senator Ted Kennedy.  (Applause.)  And it’s fitting that Ted’s widow, Vicki, is here — it’s fitting that Teddy’s widow, Vicki, is here; and his niece Caroline; his son Patrick, whose vote helped make this reform a reality.  (Applause.)

I remember seeing Ted walk through that door in a summit in this room a year ago — one of his last public appearances.  And it was hard for him to make it.  But he was confident that we would do the right thing.

Our presence here today is remarkable and improbable.  With all the punditry, all of the lobbying, all of the game-playing that passes for governing in Washington, it’s been easy at times to doubt our ability to do such a big thing, such a complicated thing; to wonder if there are limits to what we, as a people, can still achieve.  It’s easy to succumb to the sense of cynicism about what’s possible in this country.

But today, we are affirming that essential truth — a truth every generation is called to rediscover for itself — that we are not a nation that scales back its aspirations.  (Applause.)  We are not a nation that falls prey to doubt or mistrust.  We don’t fall prey to fear.  We are not a nation that does what’s easy.  That’s not who we are.  That’s not how we got here.

And we have now just enshrined, as soon as I sign this bill, the core principle that everybody should have some basic security when it comes to their health care.  (Applause.)  And it is an extraordinary achievement that has happened because of all of you and all the advocates all across the country


That bill was passed by Democrats. Not “perfect Democrats”. Democrats. A group of men and women, many of whom put their jobs on the line (and lost them in 2010) because they believed in the core principles of the Democratic party.

Let’s give President Obama Democratic majorities in the 114th Congress to advance the rest of his (and our) agenda in 2015.

When we vote, we win. And when we win, this becomes possible:

That looks pretty nice alongside these other reminders of why Elections Matter:

Republicans would like to repeal these, too.


  1. DeniseVelez

    and thank you Jan.

    As a person who lives with a preexisting condition I get really pissed off when people poo-poo the importance of ACA.

    Can we make it better? – Sure (if we take over the House and add to our margins in the Senate)

  2. princesspat

    Westneat: Why does Tri-Cities hate its government jobs?

    Ten years ago one of the big questions in politics was: “What’s the matter with Kansas?”

    Today it could be rephrased as: “What’s the matter with Kennewick?”


    The congressman, Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Pasco, spent the five years since the stimulus passed decrying it as both useless and dangerous. He voted against it and almost immediately declared it a “colossal failure.”

    “It’s clear that the reckless spending coming from Washington, D.C., must stop,” he said in one of many news releases on the matter, titled “Trillion Dollar Stimulus is Failing.”

    He wrote in another: “Central Washingtonians know that the way to grow the economy is not to grow the federal government.”

    Do they? Because of the top 10 employers in the Tri-Cities, six are the federal government, while the other four rely heavily on federal grants or subsidies. The stimulus meant more than 3,000 jobs at the Hanford nuclear reservation alone and, during the darkest days of 2009, propped up the economy there. When the Tri-Cities finally took a hit from the recession, it was because the stimulus ended.

    Hastings’ district is basically a company town – with that company being Uncle Sam.

    Yet it chooses to represent it someone who rails against its essential nature (though not so vigorously that the river of money ever seems to slow). Why? Why not elect someone who isn’t constantly philosophically attacking the lifeblood of the community?

    Protecting the programs that make our lives better should motivate voters. Why Eastern Wa State votes for the R’s has always puzzled me, and with the ACA in place it will be interesting to see if the votes will be there in support.

  3. But like most of their plans, they are long on rhetoric and short on specifics. And when you dig deeper, you realize that they want to keep the worst aspects of the old health insurance industry: the ability to cherry-pick their customers leaving those with pre-existing conditions or advanced age or women to pay more or go without coverage. The only way the Affordable Care Act works is for all the moving parts to stay in place. Insurance companies are reporting record profits from new enrollees and they are willing participants mainly because the sick and the healthy are in the same risk pool.

    The question that everyone has to ask Republicans is not the easy one: “do you want to force insurance companies to provide coverage for children up to age 26” but this one: “should insurance companies be forced to cover people with pre-existing conditions”. Their answer is a big huge no. And that should be on the top of any campaign ad this election cycle.

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