US Politics and Health Care

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A nation with a total of fifty states. A Presidential and a federal republic. Dominated by two main parties – the Democrats and the Republicans. And currently presided over by the 44th President, the first African American to rule the country. The United States of America, long been held in high esteem, has had its shares of ups and downs in its political front with the latest blow hitting President Barack Obama this week.

The ruling Democratic Party lost its vacant seat in Massachusetts to a Republican in a highly critical and close election between two candidates, Democrat Martha Coakley, and Republican Scott Brown. This Republican win is a major setback to the Obama government who have always held the Massachusetts seat. Through this loss the tradition of losing seats only during the midterm elections has been broken, leading to a lot of frustration and panic among the liberal Democrats. Party members have already started distancing themselves from the losing candidate, Martha Coakley, who could definitely have done a better job during her campaign. Instead of simply relying on Obama to bail her out, she should have refrained from insulting sports fans by calling the Red Sox star pitcher Curt Schilling as “another Yankee fan.” And secondly, as a political candidate she should have watched her words when questioned about the chances of victory in Afghanistan. Her response being, “They’re gone. They’re not there anymore. They’re in, apparently Yemen, they’re in Pakistan. Let’s focus our efforts on where Al Qaeda is.” This comment blew her chances of winning more support from the citizens of Massachusetts. But how exactly does this win by the Republican party impact their opponents and the citizens of the nation?

In this second year of Obama’s president-ship, all he wants to do is to make true some of the umpteen promises he had made during his Presidential campaign – the most important one in the limelight being the US health care reform policy. The healthcare debate centres on whether or not it is the fundamental right of every US citizen to be provided with the best of health care, and in late 2009, the House of Representatives passed the bill that would extend medical support to every American citizen.

However, now with Scott Brown winning the seat previously held by a Democrat leader, the tables may just be turned, causing not just a political upheaval but changes in the health front too. One major outcome of this election could be that the Republicans would now have 41 votes, which is enough to block the pending health care reform legislation. But unfortunately, if the health reform bill doesn’t pass through, it is the people of US who will be the end sufferers. Health insurance and safety is quintessential and should be a part of every individual’s life, no matter what kind of expenses have to be incurred. And no matter what the differences between the Democrat and the Republicans’ proposals with respect to the reform may be, a common consensus should be arrived at, with the public and the common man being the main focus of attention.

On the other hand, at the political front, the midterm elections are 10 months away, giving the Democrats time to gear up better. But for now, it is just plain victory for the Republicans, shooting down President Obama who had so far, seemed almost unbeatable. And for the Republicans, this is the time to rejoice, because through this victory, certain differences have been left behind and the party has, for now, joined as one. What will happen eventually is all up to how well Barack Obama plays his cards, and if he plays his cards right, he would not only win against the Republicans, but would also be able to garner more support from the country’s people.

Rashmi Krishna Kumar

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