As Congress convenes today to pass long-awaited health insurance reform, I'm reminded of one of the last times we voted on a Sunday: March 20, 2005, when Republicans forced an extraordinary vote to intervene in the case of Terri Schiavo.
To know what a real government takeover looks like, one should revisit that resolution. That midnight vote was a grotesque legislative travesty. For 215 years it had been a solid principle of this country that Congress not get involved in life-and-death issues like the tragic case of Ms. Schiavo. Yet, on that Sunday -- Palm Sunday -- Congress broke with tradition and inserted its own judgment. On that Sunday, the Republican Congress sent the message that it knew better than families, doctors, and hospital chaplains.
To my friends on the other side of the aisle who repeatedly claim that Congress is passing a "government takeover" -- I kindly remind them that's their work, not ours. Our work expands private insurance while increasing choice and competition and protecting consumers from the worst abuses of the insurance industry and leaving medical decisions in the hands of doctors and their patients. We intend that patients, families, and doctors -- not the government, not insurance companies -- have control over health decisions.