Friday, January 21, 2011

Overplayed, sir...

Oh no, don't tell me that we're back on this Healthcare Debate. I thought we settled all of this last year - literally all of last year. But here it is, a midterm election campain promise brought home to roost. I guess you have to give Republicans at least a modicum of credit for following through on this campaign promise, but I don't think pandering to a radical (and further radicalizing) base is going to save this country. Just a short time ago, it was Republicans that were bashing Democrats for not being focused on the issues that were really affecting Americans, jobs and economy. The Republicans said that the Democrat's focus on healthcare reform showed that they were "out of touch" with the desires of the American people. Well after a year of debate, with Republicans (and blue dog Democrats) picking away at the bill until it was only a shell of its former self, the bill was finally passed in the House and the Senate, and was enacted into law when the president endorsed with his signature.

Is the bill perfect, of course not. But the ironic thing is that the same thing Republicans are now whining about, namely that the bill does not do enough to control costs, is because the Republicans would not allow cost controls to go into the bill as Democrats had wanted. Well, that's politics I guess...

Anyway, I think that Republicans are overplaying their hands with this fight, and that they will end up paying for it in the end. Yes, their base may be solidified in opposition to a "goverment takeover of the healthcare system" (interesting, considering a) the government is not trying to "take over" the healthcare system, but is instead simpy trying to regulate it, and b) that these people would rather have corporations, who operate for profit, to control their lives instead of the government), but I think that it has been shown statistically over and over again, that the vast majority of the American people, while they may be mixed in their opinion of the healthcare bill overall, are supportive of almost all of the provisions held within. Therefore, with a populace that currently supports the bill (at least passively), and a populace that is tired of both the partisan bickering and the year-long struggle to get this bill passed, I think that Republicans are treading in waters that they should not be treading.

They've attempted to tie the bill to the economy with their creative, but not very tactfully titled bill, 'Repealing the Job-Killing Healthcare Law'. But this futile attempt to use this bill to pander to both their base, and independents, by making it an issue affecting jobs and the economy does not stand up to scrutiny. Their claims about the jobs that it will cost this country are flimsy, as it has been shown that the jobs "lost" due to this bill are actually people that are voluntarily getting out of the job market due to the fact that they no longer need to have a job to receive affordable healthcare (one of the main components of the bill in the first place). In addition, the main components of the healthcare bill do not actually go into effect until 2014, and therefore the Republicans are trying to nip this in the bud before the most popular parts of the bill go into effect, and thereby disintegrate any opposition to the bill.

So back to my point about Republicans overplaying their hand; I say let them keep doing what they're doing. We know that this bill has absolutely no shot of even being brought to the floor for debate in the Senate, let alone a vote. And let's say by some miracle it did pass in the Senate, there is not a snowball's chance in hell that the president would not veto a bill whose sole purpose is to repeal one of his presidency's signature pieces of legislation. When the American people realize (which they're already doing) that Republicans are wasting time on legislation that has no shot of passing, has a decidedly partisan slant, and will do nothing to create jobs or stimulate the economy, they will understand that the Republicans do not have their best interests at heart, and that if left unfettered they will go right back to the ways things were done during the dark years (the Bush years) that drove our economy into a pit, which we have as of yet not been able to get out of.

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