Monday, March 15, 2010

Federal politics of health care are as much of a mess as the health care issue itself

I find it absurd these days to read or hear the continued Republican rhetoric on the issue of health care when GOP officials claim that President Barack Obama is bringing doom to his Democratic Party colleagues by continuing to push for the issue.

What is so absurd about that issue is not the fact that Republican officials will design rhetoric for this year’s campaign’s meant to damn Obama and his allies, but the idea that they really believe that they’re somehow going to gain a moral victory from this issue.

NOW I DON’T know if the issue is coming up for a vote on Monday, or later this week, or suddenly at a future moment once enough arms have been twisted by the Obama Administration to get them to vote “yes.”

What I see from the various polls is that about half of the people of this nation still approve of Obama’s performance, and that the percentage of people who approve of the measure now pending before Congress to offer health care reform is about the same as Obama’s approval rating.

In short, the people who have a problem with this passing and say they will “take it out” on Obama would have been opposed to the president and his allies regardless and will find some other issue with which to vote against him come the Nov. 2 elections if they can not use health care.

There’s also the fact that those same polls usually show Obama with slightly more people approving of him than disapproving, but Congress usually has approval ratings that resemble something swirling around the political toilet bowl (George W. Bush at his lowest was better liked than Congress is these days).

WHAT IS DISGUSTING to the American people about this issue is not so much that Obama has tried to do something about the current situation in this country where roughly 47 million people who live here do not have any kind of health insurance.

Which means if they get sick, they either do not get treated or they wind up pushing off the expense for their health care upon government-run public hospitals. Which means the taxpayer gets hit with the bill.

So much for the idea that Obama has devised a plan so expensive that the taxpayer will get hit with the bill. We’re going to get hit with a big bill either way. It’s just a difference whether it will be the federal government helping out, or will the county government (that runs the public hospital) have to deal with this all by themselves?

What bothers us is the partisan maneuvering, and on both sides.

WE HAVE A serious problem that for the first time in 16 years, a president is trying to show the initiative to address. Yet on the Democratic side of the Senate and House of Representatives, we have elected officials who behave as though they wish they wore the “R” after their names (for Republican) and are all too quick to make compromises so as to minimize the extent to which health care reform would truly “reform” anything.

And on the Republican side, we get too many partisan pols who just don’t want to touch the issue until a time when they can take credit for it while also protecting the financial interests of the insurance industry officials who are among their biggest financial supporters.

A Gallup Organization poll last week found 48 percent of people disapproving of the current health care reform measure, while only 45 percent liked it.

Considering all the partisan games that have been played with the legislation by Congress, it’s a wonder that the disapproval rating isn’t higher.

YET I THINK it is foolish to think that this somehow reflects poorly upon the president, who currently has 49 percent of the electorate approving of his performance on the job (compared to 44 percent disapproving).

That same Gallup Organization currently gives Congress a 16 percent approval rating overall, with 24 percent approving of Democratic congressmembers and only 14 percent approving of the GOP members.

Anyone who claims the disgust level is aimed solely at Democratic congressmen is lying to you. Part of my intent in writing this commentary is to un-spin that little lie we’re going to hear repeatedly in coming months.

We’re tired of the fact that some people wanted to take health care reform and use it to make statements related to the immigration and abortion debates currently taking place in this country. We hate the fact that the only way this issue has a chance to get through Congress is through political maneuvers so arcane and questionable that some wonder if they comply with the U.S. Constitution.

WE DESPISE THE fact that we are not going to get a straight “up or down” vote on this issue, and that coming up with a way to cover the health care costs of as many people as possible has become bogged down in the muck.

When some people say that Obama should have focused on unemployment and economic issues in general during his first year as president, I wonder how many of those people are making the mistaken assumption that putting people back to work will get them a health insurance plan as a job perk?

For I can’t help but notice the number of jobs that don’t offer any such insurance, or where companies are trying to cut the perks they offer in an attempt to bolster their profitability (although in all fairness, there are cases where it is a matter of turning any kind of profit at all).

Thirty-one percent of people polled may have told Gallup recently they consider “unemployment” to be the most important issue (“healthcare” was third with 20 percent), but health care is an issue that is going to have to be resolved or else it’s lack in certain segments of our society will be the key factor that drags us all down in future years.


EDITOR’S NOTES: Several polls by the Gallup Organization say much about our society these days, but this ( one about people being more concerned with unemployment and the economy makes me wonder how much people understand how the issues are intertwined.

I wonder how many Chicago-style political tactics are being applied this weekend to remind those so-called moderate Democrats ( in Congress that they do bear the “D” after their names and ought to vote accordingly.

Even if a favorable health care reform vote is taken this week, Barack Obama is going to have to immediately cope with those people who think immigration reform must now become the priority issue ( for this administration.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Friday shows that Forty-four percent (44%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -21. The poll shows that only 23% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. I don’t know were you learned your math but 23% is no where near half of the population. It is evident your just giving your opinion and are not an investigative reporter who believes there should be truth in reporting.