The U.S. Senate passed its health care reform bill this morning. How did I learn this? I received e-mail blasts from a variety of sources. They flooded into my BlackBerry as I was getting ready for work.
What’s interesting, I think, is that each of these e-mail reports differed slightly in its take on the news. Here are some examples:
– 4:18 a.m., Los Angeles Times: "Senate Democrats this morning passed a sweeping healthcare overhaul bill, setting the stage for reconciliation early next year with similarly historic legislation passed by the House last month."
– 4:20 a.m., New York Times: "The Senate voted Thursday to reinvent the nation’s health care system, passing a bill to guarantee health insurance for all Americans and rein in health costs as proposed by President Obama."
– 5:44 a.m., Associated Press (via the Las Vegas Review-Journal): "Senate Democrats passed a landmark health care bill in a climactic Christmas Eve vote that could define President Barack Obama’s legacy and usher in near-universal medical coverage for the first time in the country’s history."
Okay, so that was the more or less straight news. Interestingly, the Associated Press opted for the most dramatic lead, suggesting that the vote "could define President Obama’s legacy." That seems just a little much. The New York Times also overreached a little, I think, when it said the Senate voted to "reinvent the nation’s health care system." If only that were true.
I also received a few early-morning e-mails from partisans in the health care reform debate. At 6:35 a.m., Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sent me a letter ("Dear Geoff") that touted the bill’s passage. He wrote:
"After many months of hard work, this morning the Senate passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. I can’t help but think how appropriate it is that we have accomplished this amid the holiday season — a time we join together with our loved ones to celebrate our families, our friends, our children and grandchildren. This bill embodies that spirit — care for one another."
Reid must have opted for the touchy-feely tone because it’s Christmas Eve.
But not everybody was feeling groovy about the bill’s passage. At 4:17 a.m. — a minute before I had received any notice that the bill had passed — I received an e-mail from the National Republican Senatorial Committee that had a harsher tone:
"U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) finally rammed his massive government-run health care bill through the U.S. Senate today, which will lead to higher taxes, taxpayer-funded abortions, massive cuts to Medicare, and higher health care premiums for Nevada families."
Anyway, that’s the way it was on Dec. 24, 2009. Happy Christmas to all and to alll a good night.