Friday, September 11, 2009

Obama Healthcare - Sink or Swim?

It seems that our first black President is going to go down in history as the most controversial President (and I thought that honor would go to Bush?)

From people that have labeled him a “socialist” to those that question the legitimacy of his Hawaiian birth certificate (“Birthers” as they're affectionately know, still contend that Barack Obama's family faked his U.S. birth certificate and that Obama is not a “born and raised” U.S. Citizen - therefore ineligible to hold the office of President), people against this man will do anything to destroy him and any policy he wants to put in place towards his attempts to make America better. Hey, I don't envy the guy at all – Obama inherited a wreck when he got elected and is trying to fix it the best he can.

One of his biggest repair jobs of this country, and what has turned into the most controversial to date, is Healthcare Reform. From the moment Obama first proposed reform to today, he's had to fight tooth-and-nail to get support for reform. He's been met with complete opposition by Republicans and conservatives of all shapes and sizes. Even centrists and some moderate liberals haven't fully supported Obama's plan. The President has crisscrossed the United States, holding “town meetings” along with supporters of his reform, to try and drum up public support in his effort to get healthcare reform passed. Problem is, that with all the slander, spin-doctoring, and the general mistrust in the government, many people in this country - although supportive of reform - are not behind the President's plan. Each time Obama or one of his supporters have tried to explain what will become of the healthcare system after the reforms are put in place, people still ask the same questions or belief the opposite of what they're told – thanks in large part to people like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Sarah Palin filling the minds of those who listen with things such as “socialism”, “senior death panels”, “expanding deficit”, “bureaucratic control over medicine”, “Medicare cuts” and “take your doctors and health insurance away”. All of this has left the populous with a bad taste in their mouths about reform – and closed their minds to what the President and his supporters are saying.

So, as a last ditch effort, President Obama addressed the joint session of Congress on September 9, 2009 to once again explain (on national television) what the reforms will give Americans regarding healthcare, and try to gain support and extend his hand in friendship for cooperation between the ruling parties to come up with a solution to the divide on healthcare reform. And, as it has been from the start, it fell on deaf conservative ears. Other than the one Senator from South Carolina who called out “You lie!!” during Obama's speech regarding not giving public-funded healthcare to illegal immigrants, the gist of the sentiment from conservatives is that the reforms will do exactly the opposite of what President Obama stated they would do during his speech. It seems no matter what this man says, people against his reforms will not waver from their belief that the opposite will happen.

Now, I can't say if the opposition is going from a position of being “anti-black” (most extreme cases) or “anti-liberal/Democrat” or “anti-socialism of ANY form” (same people who oppose Medicare/Medicaid, Welfare, and Social Security), but it seems evident that Obama will only get healthcare reform passed by either 1) relying on 100% support of all the Democrats and thus using their majority to get this legislation passed without Republican support, or 2) will have to make a bill that's mostly conservative-friendly and hope that liberals will get on board anyway even though they don't like the bill. If not, then Obama will be yet another President in a long list of Presidents who could not get healthcare reforms done.

Quite frankly, I'm beginning to get the feeling that this reform bill will wind up being Obama's “Achilles Heel”. With so much controversy, misinformation, and duality of definitions of what's in this bill, Americans can't get a complete grasp on what exactly this bill will offer them and, thusly, don't trust it. If this reform doesn't come off without a single hitch, it will be “fuel for the fire” that Obama and his supporters' opponents will use against them come next elections – the same fate as George Bush, Sr. faced with the infamous “read my lips” quote that made him a one-term president. And it could most likely hinge on one, single statement by the President – the one where he said, “There are also those who claim that our reform efforts would insure illegal immigrants. ... The reforms I'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.”

This seems to be a catch 22 for the President – since earlier in his speech he pointed out the need to insure everyone in America so that nobody walks into a hospital uninsured and, thus, add to the rising cost of healthcare. However, what about the proposed “uninsured illegal aliens” that walk into our public hospitals every day, and fill up the emergency rooms with headaches, nausea, colds & flu, and various infections? If Obama holds fast that the plan will not insure these illegals, then the problem of the rising cost of healthcare because of the uninsured getting care will still be there. If he insures these illegals to help bring down the cost to hospitals, then he's going back on his ardent promise that the healthcare reforms won't pay for them (which will be like ambrosia to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly who will eat it up and spew it out as a “see, we told you Obama was going to use YOUR money to pay for illegal immigrants!!”)

So what would be left? If you don't have insurance you don't get healthcare at all? Every humanitarian and ethnic group would call for Obama's blood if he imposed that. So would he then authorize a nationwide crackdown on illegal immigrants and send them all back to the country of their origin? Again, those who are pro-immigration (legal or otherwise), Latino groups, and every other ethnic group in support of people fleeing poor conditions in their country and seeking a better life in America will want to tar-and-feather him for that.

So I feel that this reform, if passed, will be a lose-lose situation for Obama and the Democratic Party in general. Now, if the intention was to pass healthcare reform regardless of the political ramifications, then it wouldn't matter to him if he needs to “fall on his sword” so to speak – or for Democrats to fall on their collective swords - in order to get healthcare reform passed. Because, as I stated before, this initiative could be what drives Obama, and the Democrats, out of power if it's not 100% perfect and completely accepted by all (except for those on the “fringes” of the left and right). This would also include if even one PENNY is added to the deficit or 0.00001% in higher taxes is levied to pay for this. Again, that would go against what Obama promised and, thus, be the battle cry for the GOP in their bid for the Presidentcy in 2012.

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