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'Twas the night before Christmas, the Senate version

Christmas tree at U.S. Capitol 2009

'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the House

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

Pelosi & Hoyer & Boehner & Cantor had long since left D.C.

The better to tell their constituents to be merry.


But the U.S. Senate was a different story.

There early lights blazed in healthcare debate glory.

Reid who had labored so hard and long

At first voted no, then corrected his wrong.


The vice president sat in the big chair

And gaveled the bill to a 60-39 victory there.

The president was jubilant, a historic win.

Now it's off to Hawaii, to hold up his chin.


It was the first vote on Christmas Eve since 1895

And both sides took advantage to come alive.

With Vicki Kennedy looking on, Democrats rallied their base with brave words of praise.

Eager to galvanize Tea Party anger, Republicans urged a rebellion, a 2010 malaise.


As for St. Nick he marveled at the goodies they had left on the tree.

A Medicaid sweetener for Nelson, which some called bribery.

Democrat Schumer said the Christmas tree would only gain in favor.

Republican Steele called it a $2.5-trillion lump of coal, an Obama face saver.


After the vote, they fled to the airport

To be home for the holiday with voters and hold court.

But they called in unison, as they drove out of sight

"Happy Christmas to all and to all a goodnight."

-- Johanna Neuman

Related item:

Lawsuit challenges to the healthcare bill already being drafted

Photo credit: Architect of the Capitol

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Today’s historic Senate vote keeps alive our hope that 31 million more Americans will have access to health care coverage, which can dramatically improve their access to care. Yes, we still need to fundamentally reform the health care system to focus more strongly on primary and preventive care and to squarely confront cost containment and improving the quality of care. We also need to solve the primary care physician shortage so the 30 million newly insured can actually find doctors to treat them. It turns out, however, there just isn’t the political will to solve everything at once. Coming as close as we can to universal insurance is a very good – and humane – first step. Among 19 industrialized countries recently studied, the United States had the highest proportion of deaths that could have been prevented by access to appropriate medical care. Let’s start here.

Thomas C. Bent, MD
President, California Academy of Family Physicians


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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