Satire but true political commentary by former Assemblyman Steven Sanders
Dateline Washington D.C. April 15, 2014…
President Obama announces that his administration working with the Center for Disease Control has found a cure and vaccine for the common cold!
The immediate response from Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is that the cure does not go nearly far enough. “Do you know how many other diseases this President has ignored? He should be ashamed of himself,” House Speaker John Boehner added. “This President continues to preside over a nation that spends too much and taxes too much. On this the day that we file income taxes, where is the tax cut in the President’s announcement?” Former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin proclaimed, “What a travesty that this failed President is wasting the time of the American people instead of working 24/7 to stop the onset of the common cold by keeping illegal immigrants out of the country who spread germs and sickness.” And finally Rush Limbaugh declared on his talk radio program, “Let them try to give me or one of my family members a cold shot, the only shots that are protected by the Constitution are those in the second amendment, which come a from a gun.”
Back to reality…It is true enough that the President had a really bad political month. The Affordable Care Act (better known as Obamacare) was computer launched and it promptly crashed. It seems that the tremendous amount of traffic and hits from persons inquiring about how to sign up could not be accommodated. Some people discovered, that contrary to what was said last year, not every single American would be able to keep their prior insurance coverage under Obamacare.
Then there was the agreement struck with Iran. Its purpose was to scale back their efforts to enrich of uranium and the development of an atomic bomb. The agreement was immediately derided as not being trustworthy and not worth the effort to preempt the Iranian nuclear capability.
If one gets the impression that whatever this President does he will be opposed and even vilified, I think that one gets it right. President Obama is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.
Is Obamacare perfect? Certainly not. Will some percentage of Americans find themselves paying more for health insurance? Probably so. Will some even be inconvenienced by the requirements of Obamacare? I imagine so. However, the current cost of health care will bankrupt the country in less than 40 years unless those costs are reined in and shared more equitably.
When over one third of all Americans have no health insurance at all or “junk” policies, who pays for the cost of caring for that uninsured person when they must go to a hospital emergency room because they have no access to any other form of care? We do. And who pays for the treatment of persons who become much sicker and in need of intensive services because they could not afford to go to see a doctor? We do. And what is the toll on a family who cannot get any health insurance and as a result have serious medical problems keeping a parent from working or children from learning in school?
The most expensive form of health care is emergency room visits or hospitalization. That is what happens when persons do not have any health insurance or financial means to be treated and consequently get sicker because of it. That costs this country extra tens of billions of dollars each year. An expense that the American people must pay through higher taxes to underwrite our medical facilities to treat those indigent or uninsured individuals.
No, Obamacare is not perfect, but it is better than doing nothing. Doing nothing is a prescription for more serious illness and the bankruptcy of our health care system as we know it.
And as for Iran, after 35 years of hostility and the further destabilization of the Middle East region, and with the rise of fanatical fringe groups, at least this agreement moves in the direction of reducing the production and availability of weapons of mass destruction. But some would rather just criticize, score political points and take no responsibility in trying to find common ground that could actually ease hostilities or at least lessen their consequences.
As we remembered another president of 50 years ago last month, I am reminded that he too was quite imperfect, made mistakes and at the time was even rebuked and reviled for the stands he took by tackling the large and complicated issues of the day. That President thought big. Whether it was initiating a space program to put a man on the moon, or drawing a line in the sand on segregation, advancing civil rights and challenging the status quo.
I am glad that today’s President also thinks big and tries. Too bad he is surrounded in government by so many mean spirited and petty players. Obama will not always be right and is far from perfect. But he strives towards a better nation and safer world. And in my book that beats standing by the comfortable sidelines and just complaining.
Steven Sanders is a former Assemblyman representing this community from 1978-2005. He is currently the executive director of a statewide organization that provides developmental and educational services to at risk young children.