AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE HAS ALREADY BEEN DECIDED. IS THIS FAIR?
As nearly everyone in the world now surely knows, the government of the United States has been shut down by the U.S. Congress after its House of Representatives and Senate failed to come to an agreement on a budget that would have kept it open for business.
Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives have said they will not approve an annual budget for the government unless and until the controversial Affordable Care Act (known more widely in some circles as Obamacare) is completely defunded, or its implementation is delayed for a year.
Democrats have said that, as U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren put it: “It’s time to end the debate about whether the Affordable Care Act should exist and whether it should be funded. Congress voted for this law. President Obama signed this law. The Supreme Court upheld this law. The President ran for reelection on this law. His opponent said he would repeal it — and his opponent lost by five million votes.”
Given the above, many Americans are left wondering, Is this fair? The law was passed, the Supreme Court approved, the American people voted against the candidate who said he would repeal it on his first day in office — what more is needed to end this debate?
Having lost in the previous Obamacare debate when the health law was originally passed by Congress, having lost before the Supreme Court where it unsuccessfully challenged the law’s constitutionality, and having lost at the polls in the last presidential election, the far right wing of the GOP has now decided to stop the entire government from operating if the Tea Party and its followers don’t get what they want anyway and see the new health law, which took affect today, repealed or delayed for a another year.
For their part, Democrats have said there will be no repeal of Obamacare and no delay in its implementation — but that they would be ready and willing to negotiate improvements in the law, including some of the ideas suggested by the GOP regarding certain taxes that are slated to be instituted to fund it. Yet Democrats have insisted that they will not negotiate “with a gun to our heads.” They have called the GOP’s forced government shutdown not negotiation, but “extortion.”
The spiritual opportunity here is for both sides in this debate to move toward the highest good for all people (it is questionable that shutting down the government would be that), and for both sides to see their particular approach as not the only way, but simply another way to resolve the Obamacare disagreement.
Then they might take a pure, clean, and honest look to see if they can find a method of resolution that is distinctly different from the ones both sides are now employing as they position themselves around the health care issue. Yet the larger question remains: Is it fair for a minority of those both in Congress and in the United States at large to push their country into fiscal chaos in order to advance their agenda even though they’ve lost the argument three times already in every other forum available?