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The Senate just voted 60-39 to pass their version of healthcare reform. As Jon Chait says, it is the greatest social achievement of our time. Is it perfect? No, and that is a silly question. Legislation that affects  nearly a fifth of the US GDP is never going to be perfect. We have a legislative system that produces compromise. And this process has, that is for sure. Does it cover everyone? No. Is it Medicare for all? No. And we will never give up the fight until universal, affordable, quality healthcare is the birthright of every American. That is not going to come in one step. But this is one huge step towards that goal.

I'm not going to rehash every policy detail. But after the vote today it is now certain that the Congress will pass into law a bill that will provide health insurance for more than 30 million more of our citizens, that will cause hundreds of thousands less to die, that will ease the burden of healthcare costs.

The process of reconciling the Senate bill with the House bill is only going to lead to an improved bill. We should work hard to ensure we get the best bill possible. And when this passes we cannot give up the fight. Progressive politics requires a lifetime commitment. That is the only way we will someday reach that goal. That someday healthcare will be a basic human right in America. That day is not here yet but we just made a giant leap towards it. Let us savor that, at least for one day.

Thank you to all who engaged passionately on this issue, on both sides of our progressive family.

Thank you to the thousands who organized in their communities to educate and organize their neighbors in favor of healthcare reform. Your tireless work made a difference.

Thank you to those who donated, voted for and organized for Senators Franken, Merkley, Tester and so many others who won election narrowly. Every vote was needed. Your work made a difference today.

Today the United States Senate passed the largest expansion in the social welfare state since the Great Society with 60 percent voting in favor. That includes Senators representing states where Barack Obama's vote percentage in 2008 was in the thirties. That is a great accomplishment. Today was a great day.

Somewhere, Ted Kennedy is smiling this morning.

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For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die. - Edward Moore Kennedy

Originally posted to Populista on Thu Dec 24, 2009 at 04:48 AM PST.

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