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Healthcare - Essay Example

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Healthcare is, undoubtedly, one of the more important domestic political issues in the United States. Its importance only grows with the rising cost of medical care and the increasing numbers of the uninsured. Accordingly, within the context of political campaigns one often finds that healthcare, alongside education and the economy, plays a dominant role…
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Healthcare is, undoubtedly, one of the more important domestic political issues in the United s. Its importance only grows with the rising costof medical care and the increasing numbers of the uninsured. Accordingly, within the context of political campaigns one often finds that healthcare, alongside education and the economy, plays a dominant role. A candidate or incumbent's healthcare program and proposals for healthcare reform are, to say the least, critical electoral issues. However, while both candidates and incumbents often propose reforms which figure as promising solutions to the problems affecting the system, they are hardly, if ever implemented. The reasons for the stated, as a reading of Hamill's (2007) article indicates, lay in the country's highly competitive two-party system, budget constraints and the complex nature of legislature.
Although Pennsylvania has one of the highest healthcare insurance percentages in the country, its Democratic governor, Edward G. Rendell is determined to expand coverage to include all uninsured adults and cut down on healthcare costs. As Hamill (2007) reports, governor Rendell is currently proposing that the state adopt a number of measures intended to reduce the cost of healthcare and, thus, extend healthcare to the state's 760,000 uninsured adults. Prior to the current proposal, Governor Rendell had declared his intent to sign a bill establishing a single-payer system, effectively making the state the insurer for the uninsured. The estimated cost of the aforementioned, however, forced him to reconsider this route (Hamill, 2007).
Healthcare insurance is a problem but as one may infer from the article, one of the primary obstacles to the implementation of solutions lies, not in the inordinately complex nature of the problem itself but, in the nation's two-party system. As Hamill (2007) reports, the fact that Governor Randall is a Democratic while the State Senate is dominated by Republicans, complicates the passage of bills into legislature. As Wodele (2006) observes, the nation's highly competitive two-party system has often determined the death of healthcare reform proposals, irrespective of their underlying merit. Quite simply stated, the adversarial nature of the two party system has often functioned as a virtually insurmountable obstacle to the passage of legislature (Wodele, 2006). The implication here is that if the governor/president is from one party but the house is controlled by another, partisanship enters into the equation and becomes a primary determinant of the success of defeat of a bill.
While partisanship may be a determinant of the eventual fate of Governor Randall's healthcare reform proposal, cost is another significant factor. Heil (2005) insinuates that solutions to the nation's healthcare insurance problems exist but, more often than not, the cost of these solutions is simply untenable and unsustainable. State and federal budget concerns and constraints often emerge as the primary determinant of the fate of healthcare reform proposal packages (Heil, 2005). Given the ever-increasing cost of medical care, and the various demands on any state's budget, the single-payer system is effectively rendered unrealistic. Indeed, as Governor Randall eventually realized, budget concerns posed as a challenge to his proposal.
Hamill's (2007) article, although a simple and short news piece, effectively exposes the nature of the nation's bipartisan political culture and articulates the challenges which confront lawmakers. As in the case of the problem of Pennsylvania's uninsured, solutions abound. These solutions, however, are ultimately rejected, either because of bipartisanship or budget concerns.
Bibliography
Hamilll, S.D. (2007, Jan.) Pennsylvania governor pushes health plan.' New York Times. Retrieved 20th January, 2007 from http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/20/us/20penn.html_r=1&oref=slogin
Heil, E. (2005, July) Medicare fee boost collide with House budget austerity.' CongressDaily. Retrieved 20th January, 2007 from Ebscohost.
Wodele, G. (2006, Dec.) Health week or bust.' CongresDaily, Retrieved 20th January, 2007 from Ebscohost. Read More
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