Yesterday, the signature legislative achievement of the Obama Administration – the Healthcare Reform (also called Obamacare) was upheld by the Supreme Court in a 5-4 vote. Among other things, it prevents insurance companies from dropping people from insurance who have a pre-existing condition. It keeps children on their parents’ healthcare plan until they are twenty-six. It basically fundamentally changes the way healthcare has been provided in the United States – a success that has eluded many presidents for many years.
I spied a few newspaper headlines today to see how the people on the ground relate to the ruling. I was only in Iowa, so my perspective is limited to a swing midwestern state. The USA today as well as an Iowa newspaper were basically optimistic, cautiously celebratory while advising that rather than repeal it as Republicans and other conservative groups have sworn, they should work to improve on the parts of the law that they find objectionable. Returning to the chatter on cable news tonight, what I find is that this is going to be an uphill task.
I’m only a foreigner anyway, with just a little knowledge of the country’s history spanning a few generations. I know however that the divisiveness and polarization of the nation’s politics is as old as Lincoln and as young as Monica Lewinsky. What is most stunning however is that this much of a fight is going to be waged over the right of people to have access to affordable and patient-oriented healthcare like the rest of other developed countries. In a hundred years from now, no matter who wins the final battle to be waged on election day in November, those alive in the world would be able to look back and see how – like the time of slavery – a group of privileged people were willing to stake the future of the country for a chance to get their way and keep the status quo.
On the one hand, I’m now confident of the historical place for the president for his fortitude and perseverance, on the other hand, I fear for a country in which this kind of fight becomes elevated to national attention. America, you fascinate me.