Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is to be congratulated for gaining a provision in the Senate Health Care bill providing for $10 billion to be spent on a national system of Community Health Centers!
The Republican opposition and conservative talk show hosts are condemning this and other special provisions set up in the bill, which helped to gain support of Democratic senators to cut off the filibuster.
But one must understand that every member of Congress is expected to support and promote programs and benefits that will be positive for their states and districts, what are called “earmarks” by critics.
You would think that Republicans have never asked for “earmarks” with their holier than thou attitude. This thought, that they are Puritans, is totally ridiculous.
In my mind, what matters is whether the “earmark” is a positive development, rather than just a waste of money, such as the “bridge to nowhere” promoted by former Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska.
Certainly, what Sanders has gained for the country and its poorer citizens is not just a benefit to Vermonters, but to millions of people who cannot afford a doctor. Since it is unlikely there will be a choice of a public option, or expansion of Medicare, or a single payer system in the final bill, all of which Sanders really favored over what he gained, this is a “consolation prize” that will benefit many needy people.