I finally got my wish. I now have a president who has learned how to lead, finally admitting that no common ground with today's Republicans is possible, and once and for all revealed as the true obstructionists that they are. In spite of all the threats, outright lies, misinformation, and fear mongering (and all the unnecessary and redundant posturing by the "sanctity of life"), it IS a "first step."
True, it will not yet stop the outrageous behaviors of insurance companies. As long as health care is for-profit, insurance companies will continue doing what they please. It is essentially a slap in the face to women, for reasons that go far beyond reproductive rights. It will still leave millions uninsured, and it’s still unclear how millions more will afford the insurance coverage they're now going to be required to buy. But these things can AND WILL be worked out over time.
There are immediate benefits, to name a few:
1) My neighbor's eight year old autistic son will now qualify for his parents' health care plan (apparently being born with autism is a "pre-existing" condition)
2) It will lower seniors' prescription drug prices by beginning to close the "donut hole" (too bad my Mom didn't live long enough to see that one)
3) Requires plans to cover an enrollee's dependent children until age 26
4) Offer tax credits to small businesses to purchase coverage
5) Prohibit dropping people from coverage when they get sick in all individual plans (cancer came back a third time? Sorry, three strikes and you're out!)
Yes, there is much more work to be done and plenty of people, organizations, and corporations will figure out how to exploit it, but it's a start. The income disparity in America has never been greater and it is time the people who have helped tilt the system in their favor start paying for some of America’s problems.
The door is now open, and hopefully, in the coming years, it will morph into something with a public option - or better yet, single payer.
And John McCain vows to keep fighting.