OBAMA MUST THINK STRAIGHT
It is neither a delusion nor a hyperbole to suppose that the GOP would be at the forefront advocating spending on a war – any unnecessary war – had Obama held a war summit. But to the Republican leadership’s dismay, last Thursday’s summit was not held to debate whether the government should spend billions of dollars to kill innocent people somewhere in the third world; on the contrary, it discussed how millions of Americans without adequate health insurance can be protected under the umbrella of the government.
In 2003, the Republican leadership was guilty of instilling unwarranted fear among the American people propagating that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction in order to lead our nation into a war which caused us dire fiscal problems domestically. Today, the same GOP is inculcating panic among voters by propagating that the new health care proposal by the Democrats leads to ‘big government’ takeover as the Obama administration and the Democrats work to ameliorate the health insurance situation.
It has become the norm of market fundamentalists to shamelessly squander financial and human resources in imperialist expeditions and wars with countries whose ideologies they deem unacceptable. Ironically, the same Republican warmongers try to conceal behind the veneer of fiscal conservatism when it comes to saving lives of their own citizens.
If the Republicans were in power today, they almost certainly would have orchestrated and waged another war by now – most likely against Iran – leading us further into national budget deficit and a far worse economic catastrophe than the one we experience today. The plight of millions of ailing uninsured Americans at home would be nothing more than an inconvenient clamour for them.
It might also be naive to assume that the Democrats – who are threatening to pass health care legislation with or without the Republican support, even at the risk of losing the upcoming midterm elections – are pushing for this reform bill purely for the sake of accommodating the plight of millions of uninsured citizens. Since it is an anomaly in the world of politics to deliberately risk losing an election, the Democrats are playing tough either to simply defy the GOP or to make history in decades’ long health care debate. But at the end of the day, whether this health care legislation turns out to be ‘big government’ or a genuine social service, it is still a win-win situation for the insurance companies who have the monopoly in the market.
Nonetheless, despite the motives of the Democratic leadership and financial gains of the insurance industry, it is imperative to acknowledge that just because the health care legislation is unpopular among many voters today does not mean it will prove to be a failure in the future. The results of major political decisions do not always unfold as calculated; for example, the Iraq war was disseminated by the Republicans as legitimate and of great national security concern, but today the whole nation is living an economic nightmare as a result of that same ‘popular’ war.
It might not be so bad to try a radical health care reform when the situation of millions of average Americans is as desperate as it currently is.
Mehreen Saeed is an American research scholar. She writes on national and global issues.