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Friday, June 29, 2012

Healthcare & Election: Fates cut Obama some slack

Supporter outside Supreme Court after ruling (photo from
Like the rest of the country, Plainfield is buzzing over the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision Thursday upholding the constitutionality of President Obama's health care reform on narrow grounds.

Olddoc, who has staked out this turf in earlier posts, promises to put his thoughts into a further post analyzing the decision's impact (check back here for that item).

My interest, as usual, is on the POLITICAL impact of the decision -- specifically on the upcoming presidential election.

I think the fates have given President Obama a boon.

He now has a grand opportunity to explain the benefits of the healthcare act to the American public in a concise and straightforward fashion as he did hours after the ruling came down Thursday.

He can answer Romney attacks by acknowledging the debt he owed to Romney for shaping the proposal in the first place. And he can make sure Romney has no place to hide when trying to twist or misinterpret the facts.

Yes, the question of jobs is important at election time. It has been all along, since Day One of the Obama administration, and the effort expended on health care by Obama while neglecting other issues was greatly frustrating to the President's supporters.

Now Obama can focus on both points in his re-election campaign.

There are many further issues to be resolved, as the pundits are busily pointing out. But those will all take time -- from many months to several years.

But the concept of reforming healthcare is now fully recognized, and the Republicans who want to unwrite the law must face the prospect that they will be portrayed as meaning to take away something from the public, to deprive it of a benefit.

It might be instructive to recall the history of Medicare, where opponents initially painted it as 'socialized medicine' only to have little old GOP ladies protest 'Keep your hands off my Medicare' during the debates leading up to the adoption of the new healthcare reform bill.

'Obamacare', coined by GOP strategists as a derogatory and pejorative term may yet become a badge of honor.

I, for one, am looking forward to the Fall campaign season with more hopefulness and less stress. I think it's now Obama's to lose.

Meanwhile, I am amused at the know-nothing attitudes of some plainly ignorant opponents of the healthcare reform who say they are now planning to move to Canada (see the BuzzFeed story here) because the United States is becoming 'a commie nation'.

Let's hope they enjoy the truly socialized medicine of our friendly northern neighbor!

You can check out an overview of Canadian healthcare here.

President Obama campaigning for reform in 2010.

    -- Dan Damon [follow]

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    Bob said...

    Thanks, Dan. I teach at two schools and neither offers teachers health insurance. This has drastically changed in the past five or six years when if you taught 25 or more hours, you got benefits. I would like to know what Romney would do to help me find affordable health insurance. I pay my bills and am a good citizen, but can't afford over $700 a month for health care. I don't think the Republicans have an answer unless it is to just to die quietly some place and leave them alone. Unfortuately there are tens of millions of hard working Americans in my shoes. I'm glad Justice Roberts went with his consience on this one.

    Bob Bolmer

    Blackdog said...

    Yeah Buddy, cut Obama some slack but drove another nail into this country's coffin!

    Anonymous said...

    Dan -- I have many concerns for the future.

    1 - Affordable health care. What has been put together is not solving the real issues.

    a. health care costs way too much.
    b. insurance companies real mission isn't providing care -- it's about making money
    c. We need tort reform -- doctor's insurance is killing them, so much, many won't deliver babies.
    d. "health care" really is about "sick care" -- and I believe driven by the drug companies. They want us sick, so they can sell us "cures" that we take in perpetuity.
    e. Real health care reform would be about retraining people to live healthier lives, making better choices, taking better care of yourself.
    f. For all of us, if we make a poor health care choice, we must live with the consequences. I think many people do whatever they want, figuring some doctor will fix it -- things like smoking, drinking excessively.

    I'm all for people choosing to do what they want. If you want to ride motorcycles, you accept the fatality risk of that activity. if you choose to smoke, there is documented risk with that activity. If you let yourself get obese -- then you have to accept the consquences.

    I'm not saying that people shouldn't get care. But, having cart blanche "free" or very cheap health care means people won't feel the pain of their poor choices.

    A doctor shouldn't have to told how much they can charge for services. We are supposed to be a free, capalistic system. A poor person can't expect to live in a mansion. They should be able to get safe, workmanlike housing.

    I have a serious issue with the government fining someone because they choose not to get health care.

    We have a huge issue with people not in the system getting free health care. I, and many other people, resent them taking advantage of the system.

    Yet, because of the new system, I was finally after 7 years, able to get health care (I've been denied because of my birth defect). I pay through the nose for it though and most would not consider it "affordable" by any means.


    Anonymous said...

    The other issue is the economy and jobs.

    The Fed has been printing money for years now.

    This has devalued our dollar. The low interest rate -- while good for home-buying, sucks for anyone on a fixed income or looking to save/invest money.

    The low interest rate has killed investing.

    The depreciation of our money is why energy, food -- core things, have gone up.

    So, effectively, we've all paid a "tax" for the "stimulous" in the drop of value of all our asssets and our buying power.

    The stimulous was wasted. We basically have the same unemployment that we had before.

    Companies are making money by squeezing more our of their employees -- who are afraid for their jobs.

    There is no one simple fix. Obama and his team did what they thought would work -- but it's not been successful. I don't know that the Republicans can do any better.

    What no one wants to hear is we are in a down period of a predicable cycle.

    All our politicians are in bed with those with money -- those that can fund their campaigns. More and more, I see the party battles as posturing, neither side will come to the table, make the hard choices, and solve our problems.

    I'm very concerned that all the true costs are being put off to the future -- everyone's kids and grandkids will be paying the price for our poor choices now -- on both sides.

    Solving our problems means people will have to be told no -- we each need to be responsible for ourselves, our lives, our futures and fate. The government should be there for catastrophic things, yes -- but too many people are working the system.

    I very much believe that if people get "assistance" of any kind, that they should be required to do something in exchange for that, to the best of their abilities. If you are getting unemployment, then you should work on a community project -- so that all of us that pay taxes to provide that assistance, see a benefit.

    I frankly don't know who I will vote for. I'm not happy with either candidate at this point.


    Anonymous said...

    So so very tired of people staking a position on bad information and cherry picked or outdated data. Olive - just some food for thought. What if the stimulous wasn't wasted but was actually not enough spending to overcome the recession and just enough to keep it from getting worse? What if the administration wanted to spend more but wasn't able to get enough votes so they had to scale it back? What if i told you that energy costs have been flat or down recently and appear be holding that trend for the near term? What if I said that the Fed printing money didn't seem to be impacting food prices and that over the last year or so they have actually declined slightly? I am very glad you were able to get health insurance due to the Affordable Care Act - one of many reasons I supported Obama in 2008 and will again in 2012. The vast majority of the legislation won't go into effect until 2014 but I would expect your costs to drop as more and more of it is enacted into law. Unless of course Romney wins and then all bets are off on that.

    Anonymous said...

    Obama is supporting the illegals who never pay for their health care. When they do get their green card form him they will then qualify for medicaid or NJ Familg care or chairty care. We the working class of NJ have to pay more than our fair share becouse of this. Obama will never feel the pain that the people in NJ feel. Having to pay the highest cost in he US for health insurance. He will never have to worry for himself or his family for the rest of his life about health care.

    Anonymous said...

    Spending -- Spending

    Unemployment or underemployment is still, I believe, under-reported. The "numbers" reported don't count the people who don't qualify or it's run out.

    When I was unemployed for a year, I was self employed and couldn't get unemployment. I'm sure there are plenty of people with small business, that have been killed by this economy, gobbled up -- and they couldn't get unemployment.

    Who is paying the bill for all this spending?

    I don't know about you -- but I have to live within my budget. I've always had a problem with government spending more than it has, borrowing on all of our futures.

    Nothing is free. There is a cost for everything.

    The Fed prints money, the government spends money, everyone expects services for "free" from the government .. or high-paying government jobs with incredible benefits. We can't afford it.

    Who, in the end, is going to foot the bill for all this spending?

    Your grandchildren?

    I agree, it's hard to know what the truth is. Everyone has a different spin, different version.

    In the end, everything runs in cycles. If you have an incredible high -- you have a deep low. Spending is a band aid. The underlying fundamentals have to adjust.

    That's why I'm on the fence.