We are certain we are not alone in our frustration with the near hysteria surrounding the health-care legislation signed into law by President Barack Obama. We are hopeful it will improve access to health care, but that remains to be seen.
We are also concerned most of the people who voted for or against the health-care package never read its more than 2,700 pages, including most of the members of Congress representing the New York City area. Correct us if we are wrong. We are likewise concerned that the controversy has split the nation along partisan lines.
In the working-class communities of Queens, there is not a great deal of difference between Republicans and Democrats. That is why a Republican like state Sen. Frank Padavan gets re-elected over and over again in a district where Democrats outnumber Republicans by nearly 3-1.
Queens families want to know they will continue to have access to the best health care even if they change or lose their jobs. After the closing of three hospitals in Queens within four months, there is reason to worry.
Although the conservative Tea Party movement that opposed what it called “Obamacare” has been impressive in other parts of the country, it was unimpressive here. Only a handful of protesters demonstrated outside U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman’s Bayside office.
If Ackerman believes in this legislation, he should have taken the time to speak directly to the protesters. But he did not.
In the aftermath of the vote, the media has been filled with stories about members of Congress being threatened by angry constituents. U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, an outspoken supporter of the health care bill who could cite every page of the proposal, reported that a threatening letter containing a white powder was sent to his Kew Gardens office.
Other legislators are tracking angry calls. It is impossible to know whether the threatening calls and letters are coming from the opposition or people trying to make the opposition look bad.
But the bottom line is the sky is not falling. Queens and the rest of America will have the chance now to see if this legislation improves the nation’s health care.