Greater Krueger National Park

Greater Krueger National Park
An image from a recent trip to South Africa. Clcik on the image for more on this trip.

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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Obamacare - Who's Fault Is It & What Do We Do About It?

I have friends that are all over the map geographically, culturally and politically.  I like all of them, but only agree with each of them on a limited range of subjects.  I find our differences one of the attractions.  Sometimes they live in a different country.  Sometimes they pursue a different lifestyle.  Sometimes they profess a different political point of view.  Our differences sometimes generate lively discussions, but never impair our friendship.  Because of our friendship, I take extra pains to understand where they are coming from when we disagree.  In the process, I sometimes see things differently and sometimes not.  I hope that, on occasion, I might influence the thinking of a friend on a matter I believe to be important.

I have a recommendation - next time you are discussing politics with a neighbor, try really listening to what they are telling you.  Don't just automatically dismiss their heartfelt opinions when they do not fit your political ideology.  Remember that, in a democracy, for better or for worse, decision makers are selected by the majority of the people who vote.  Over time national decisions will reflect the opinions of that majority - as they should.  It is not adequate long term to just win elections.  It is corny to say it, but the most important force in this country really is the voice of the people - all of the people.  The resulting national conversation flows around many subjects like a river.  Sometimes it brings one subject to the fore and sometimes another, but it rarely drops any important subject for very long.

For the past few decades this country has been discussing health care.  We all agree that the quality of health care that is available in this country is superior to that found in any other country in the world, but we also see a few serious problems.  Republican and Democrat politicians have both had an opportunity to deal with the subject, but very little was done to address these problems until Barack Obama managed to gain control of all branches of government in 2008.  He used that opportunity to force implementation of legislation intended to revamp the entire health system.  Because of the divisions in the body politic on the subject, he chose to avoid real debate and unilaterally implemented legislation that literally no one had read before it was signed into law.

That improper course of action has led directly to the current partial government shutdown and is playing a significant part in the argument over the debt ceiling.  Who is in the wrong here?  As a conservative, it is easy for me to point out the multitude of things that are improper in Obamacare.  I don't like the law and ideally would like to see it abandoned or, at least, seriously amended.  At the same time, I understand why some of my neighbors might like various aspects of it and I wholeheartedly agree that we conservatives did not earlier do enough to address the health problems that face many of our fellow Americans.  By ignoring those problems for too long we are partially responsible for the Affordable Health Care Act.

I suggest that we stop insisting on Obamacare's repeal and adopt a policy of intelligent repair when it begins to fail.  Our tactics right now are insane for a whole host of reasons - none of which demonstrate intelligence on the other side of the political aisle, but all of which impair our ability to improve our political position in 2014 and 2016.  I honestly believe that this country needs a course correction and I am sure that the only way that will happen is if more conservatives are elected at all levels of government in the next few years.  That is only going to happen if the national conversation demands it, so get out and talk with your neighbors not at them.  Stop putting all of the blame on Congress.  The real problem is out here in the grass roots in the discussions that we are having with each other.


HenryClemens said...

Makes good sense. I'm not happy with Obamacare, but I don't see it being repealed. And the GOP certainly hasn't got something in hand to replace it with. And, I personally do believe that something is needed to address the serious lacks of the current system. The poor uncovered, and large number of people tied to jobs by health insurance, when they and the economy would benefit if they could switch to work they might be better at. Surely it is possible to design amendments that would improve the law or agree to replace it with something else, but instead of designing something that makes sense (call on a new version of Simpson-Bowles?) we are tied to political gangs whose concern is about them --not us. There are some out there that make good sense to me, the Senator from Oklahoma who in private life is a doctor seems to be thoughtful and independent, but not many.

Cristalen said...

Thank you for your comment, I had not thought about the folks who are tied to jobs that they do not like because of health insurance. Interesting point. I too like Senator Coburn's comments about a whole range of subjects, particularly the importance of attacking fraud.