The Health-Care Debate And The Coming U.S. Presidential Election

The Health-Care Debate And The Coming U.S. Presidential Election

Manila : Philippines | Jul 15, 2012 at 3:26 PM PDT
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Mitt Romney, Obama's Republican challenger, has made it clear he will run against Obamacare. Some few ours after the supreme court's ruling, the former governor of Massachusetts persuaded voters to expel Obama out of office in order to get rid of the law, which he has promised to repeal and replace if he wins the US presidential election in November. Though many Republicans claimed Romney's campaign had dramatically raised $4.6m in the 24 hours after the Supreme Court's decision, there is no solid evidence to support their theory that the ruling had actually influenced the said increase of funds for Romney’s presidential run.

Yes, the Reuters/Ipsos poll showed little change in the solid support for that and most of the other major provisions of the bill, including requiring firms with more than 50 employees to provide insurance for their employees and allowing children to stay on their parents' insurance until the age of 26. But such fact wouldn’t mean that all those who aren’t in favor of most or all of the provisions in the said bill will now decide to vote for Romney. There are still 3 months left for Romney and Obama to convince voters that one of them deserves to win the coming US presidential election. Other issues like foreign policy, immigration, environmental protection, job-creation programs, and taxes are very important to voters and have to be tackled seriously by both Romney and Obama. Besides, Democrats and Republicans still have a lot of time to figure out a way to overhaul the said bill that would benefit the underprivileged folks in America.

Romney’s images of being an aristocrat and a corporate raider

It’s true that most Americans are still against the requirement that US residents own health insurance, in which the Supreme Court found as truly- constitutional under the government's right to impose and collect taxes. Since America is a democracy, all bills or laws that have been passed by the US legislature are subject to review, amendment, and even repeal. It’s really up to the American people to mobilize themselves if they feel that a bill is unfair to all citizens. But there’s no clear indication yet that most Americans who are up-in-arms against the Obamacare will really vote for Romney come November. For one, there are other issues in America right now that have to be seriously-tackled, The controversial bill, which was dubbed as the Obamacare, do have critics and supporters. The important thing to remember here is that there are still so many issues out there that can be debated upon by Romney and Obama.

Romney himself has a big problem about having public images of being a ‘corporate raider’ and an ‘over-privileged aristocrat’ who doesn’t understand the problems of the common man. The Obama Team can also argue that Romney is someone who flip-flops on the very principles that he espouses in order to advance his political ambitions. The supporters of Obama can highlight the fact that Mitt once created a blueprint for a health-care system and advocated it thoroughly. Such ‘health-care program’ later became the inspiration and model for the Obama administration’s own health-care program. But now that Romney is running for president, he suddenly makes a huge flip-flop and announced to the world that he’s completely against the “Obamacare”. He did say that he wants to retain some provisions of the said bill, but the fact that he flip-flops often means that there’s a big chance for him to just delete out the bill altogether once he gets into the White House. Mitt is being criticized today for not living up to the very principles that he advocates and believes in. He once staged and joined several rallies supporting American intervention in Vietnam and urging young Americans to fight for freedom in the Vietnam War during his college years. He was an ardent supporter of American military intervention in Vietnam during the 1960s and, yet, ran away from the military draft when he was called upon to serve in the Vietnam War. He’s doing the same today about Obama’s health-care program. Romney can be asked by Obama’s supporters about not being consistent with the principles that he believes in.

Obama’s reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision

Obama is ecstatic with the said ruling and points out that the decision upholds the basic principle that in the richest nation on earth, no one should be ruined financially by an illness or accident. He called such decision by the Supreme Court as “a victory for people all over America whose lives will be more secure because of this law.”

Yes, Obama did achieve some sort of a “psychological victory” after the Supreme Court made a ruling about the constitutionality of his administration’s health-care program. But such “psychological victory” won’t assure him of one-hundred percent success in the coming presidential election. Many parts of the law have proven popular. But the insurance mandate is widely disliked. The Supreme Court’s decision doesn’t make much impact on Obama’s re-election bid. What it did, however, is clearly electrify those who don’t like the reforms to come out in the open and campaign in support of Mitt Romney’s promise to overturn them on his first day in office. The Obama Team can magnify the administration’s dedication to promote social justice in America. The fact that Romney doesn’t say much about “social justice” means that Obama can still make his point that his administration is sincere in ensuring that all Americans deserve decency, equality before the law, and a greater degree of economic egalitarianism. Obama can also add that “his administration want to see that all members of the society would have equal opportunities and privileges in their respective quests to gain full life, decency, liberty, property and happiness.” With that, the Obama Team can effectively argue against those who want to put Romney in office just because the latter promised a repeal of the Obamacare.

My conclusion

There are still many days left to campaign and both camps have their own respective strategies and tactics to win the election. The impact of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the respective presidential campaigns of Romney and Obama may not be that crucial. Other important and key social issues, like immigration and economic recovery programs, have yet to be discussed thoroughly by the two presidential candidates. Obama will major on his victories in foreign policy and international cooperation. Romney will point at weaknesses in the administration’s job-creation programs and a lack of viable economic policies brought to the table in the President’s first term. Obama’s supporters will call Romney an elitist businessman, destroyer of American jobs, and a corporate raider. It’s truly-difficult to predict and say at this stage which of the two campaign strategies will stick in the public mindset.

There are still more than 100 days to go to campaign for the presidency. Many events will still unfold and televised debates will also make an impact on voters. Obama is still leading by some few points against Romney in the latest surveys. Obama is resolute in winning the labor sector and the middle class to his side as shown in his latest efforts of imposing bigger taxes to the wealthy class. The competition for the White House is so close that much will depend on the ability, dedication and practicality of the respective campaigns to accomplish election-strategies most effectively and, certainly, to stimulate and inspire their core support. The presidential candidate who has the edge in promoting and selling himself effectively to voters will win the coming US presidential election,

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RummelPinera is based in Manila, National Capital Region, Philippines, and is a Stringer on Allvoices.
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