By Jess Scanlon
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — these are things that Americans are constitutionally entitled to. If the government interference in health care continues, this may become a lofty goal.
The American health-care system is among the world’s best. Applicants from all over the world apply to Johns Hopkins and Harvard Medical schools, learning the art and the science that is medicine from the best doctors in the world. When foreign heads of state need medical attention, they come to the United States for treatment.
The House of Representatives passed the health care reform bill in March by the narrowest of margins, a 219-to-212 vote. No Republican voted for this bill and neither did many Democrats. The reasons each member voted against it vary — from the fact that the reform has the potential to harm small businesses, the vital institutions that do much of our country’s hiring, to concerns that the “reform” covered the wrong areas, ignoring where reform is vitally needed.
A popular campaign promise throughout the country is to repeal President Barack Obama’s health-care agenda, a promise that encourages Republican, Independent and even some Democratic voters, both establishment and Tea Party-affiliated. The president’s unpopularity has only increased as he and his fellow Democrats continue to go forward with an unpopular agenda that the American people simply do not want.
For example, many people see the health-care mandate as a violation of their individual rights. Although an exception has been put into the bill for religious groups such as the Amish, it forces others to purchase a level of insurance that they simply may not want when it goes into effect in January 2014.
A healthy 30-something-year-old working for a local business may not receive benefits from an employer and money may be tight between paying back student loans from college and other living expenses. Assuming he or she lives above the poverty level, there will be no choice but to purchase health-care insurance that may be considered unnecessary and have to pay a fine via the IRS. Additionally, their employer would be punished in the form of additional taxes for their financial inability to cover their employees.
There were several roads to a bipartisan reform. Tort reform, the changing of malpractice laws that force doctors to have an excessive level of malpractice insurance in some states, could have been easily done with the support of both parties. Instead, the Democrats chose to pass a version of reform that alienated the moderates of their own party and ignored the will of the American people when they did not support this legislation. A recent poll by Muhlenberg College shows that the majority of ordinary citizens still do not support this bill.
This fall, the entire House and a third of the Senate is up for election. The Democrats are expected to lose seats and their majority. Maybe if they listened to the American people on the issues, their chances of maintaining power would be better.