Seen recently as a friend's Facebook status: "I still don’t understand why healthcare reform needs to be deficit neutral, while war escalation can have a limitless price tag."
While everyone agrees that something has to be done about healthcare — that is the politically expedient position right now — not everyone agrees WHAT to do or HOW to do it.
There are so many contentious issues involved, from the inclusion of a public option, to malpractice reform, to the price tag, that it’s next to impossible to craft a bill that will satisfy the demands of enough legislators — which vary widely depending on the wills of their respective constituencies — to garner the required number of votes to pass.
The price tag is one of the few aspects of the bill that everyone in office can agree on: it has to be budget neutral, and that requirement exists mainly due to current economic conditions, but also because healthcare reform is still seen by a large portion of the voting public as an essentially philanthropic endeavor to give coverage those who can’t afford it.
Given the paucity of jobs in this country right now, most people are more concerned about how they’re going to deal with their own mounting problems than they’re going to help others deal with theirs.
War funding votes don’t come with the same baggage. As a legislator, you either vote for it, or you’re branded by your opponents as unsupportive of the troops and soft on national security, either one of which is likely to make you easy prey for those same political opponents in the next election.
Every Joe Q. Public in the country can get behind the idea of not having his house blown up by Osama and his coterie whether he’s got a job or not, which makes the decision of how to vote pretty easy for most legislators. Healthcare is not seen with the same urgency by many, which is why President Obama faces such a momentous task in getting a bill passed.
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