Government shutdown… a phrase I am sure we have all been hearing a lot of lately, myself included, even inside the Bucknell Bubble. Unfortunately, I have fallen extreme victim to the Bubble this semester. Because of this and my general lack of knowledge about politics, this is the first time I have explored the causes and effects of the shutdown.
My responses on the Political Typology quiz placed me in the category of Main Street Republican. Because of my lack of knowledge of the subject entirely, I looked at several articles from both the Republican and Democratic viewpoints. The most interesting article I found from the liberal side of the spectrum was a piece by Scott McLarty, Reasons to Lose Sleep over the Shutdown and Obamacare. He focuses on the Affordable Care Act, and although he gave the Republicans a beating, he did not completely agree with the Democrats.
McLarty starts his discussion with “Obamacare is a Republican idea.” I am not an expert on government policies but I have never heard this one before. The Republicans seem to be dead set against Obamacare, and I do not think that they would oppose it only because Obama is the one taking credit if they really believed in its principles. McLarty argues however that Obamacare is based on the individual mandate which originated from conservatives and was supported by Republicans.
McLarty quotes a New York Times article regarding the effects of concessions that have been made in Obamacare to appease Republican requests. “A sweeping national effort to extend health coverage to millions of Americans will leave out two-thirds of the poor blacks and single mothers and more than half of the low-wage workers who do not have insurance, the very kinds of people that the program was intended to help…. Because they live in states largely controlled by Republicans that have declined to participate in a vast expansion of Medicaid, the medical insurance program for the poor, they are among the eight million Americans who are impoverished, uninsured and ineligible for help.” If the Affordable Care Act is not actually helping the people who need it the most, why is it being fought for so much? It seems to me like a better option would be to come up with a compromise that still includes the people who need help. I realize from this how inefficient government can be. If they are just going to compromise so that no one really benefits from something, then what is the point? Yes, compromise is essential in any situation where two sides disagree, but if the people who an act were meant for are cut out completely, then why pass it at all?
McLarty proposes that Medicare for all is the only way to fix our health-care system. Democrats should not claim victory if Republicans agree to end the shutdown because their initial goal, Medicare for all, was not reached. I agree, but I disagree with the idea that they should demand Medicare for all. It did not happen the first time, so it is not likely to happen if they try again. Maybe it is time to start from scratch and find a new solution to the problem of health care. What if Republicans stood up and said what they think the right way to do it is, instead of just destroying Obamacare?