Paul Greenberg

The crucial votes in Congress may be over, but the public debate has just begun. And maybe the blue dogs who went for Obamacare will wind up on the winning side of this debate, too. You can fool a lot of the people a lot of the time. Who knows, Americans may be just dying to have government take over our health care. Stay tuned. Especially come Tuesday night, November 2nd, as the results of the congressional elections begin to pour in.

A lot of funny figures were used to get this bill past the scrutiny of the Congressional Budget Office. How long before they become, to borrow a Nixonian term, inoperative? Is the same Congress that passed this piece of work really going to slash Medicare and reimbursements payments for doctors and hospitals across the country? That'll be the self-defeating day.

This health-care reform could prove even more popular than HIPAA in medical circles. (That's the great reform that keeps you from finding friends and relations once they've entered the recesses of a hospital.) Slowly, more and more is sure to be learned about just what is contained in this health-care bill in a poke. Welcome to the age of deem-and-pass, pronounced Demon Pass.

The nation has a new guiding principle: Vote first, debate later. The words of Speaker Pelosi could serve as the motto of this Congress: "We have to pass the bill, so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of controversy."

Away from the fog of controversy. Beautiful. What a perfect encapsulation of the spirit -- or spiritlessness -- of this whole effort to reform, deform and mainly complicate the country's health-care system. Open, democratic debate now is just a fog to be brushed away. Our betters have decided what is best for is. And we'll all be thankful they did. We citizen-patients are to adopt an air of quiet resignation; it's time to brush away any controversy.

But something about that deep rumbling out in the country says We the People have only begun to controvert. To quote a prominent Republican, "This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it." -- A. Lincoln. The House now has cast its vote. We the People get to cast ours in November.

Paul Greenberg

Pulitzer Prize-winning Paul Greenberg, one of the most respected and honored commentators in America, is the editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.