The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


October 4, 2013

More pressing issues

Under the guise of appearing nonpartisan, the media represent the current shut down of the federal government as the result of both sides being unwilling to compromise about the Affordable Care Act. The problem is that this misrepresents the facts.

Shortly after President Obama was inaugurated, he asked Congress to draft legislation addressing what is inarguably a crisis in our ability to provide quality health care in an affordable way to everyone in our nation.

Republicans offered nothing. They did not and have not ever come up with a plan to vote on. Even candidate Romney had nothing concrete to offer.

So, Democrats ultimately landed on what came to be the Affordable Care Act, in no small measure because it should have been appealing to Republicans.

Although most Democrats strongly preferred a single-payer plan, they knew that Republicans felt a universal Medicare was too European and "socialist."

So, Democrats landed on a model that had been developed by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, and implemented by a Republican governor, Mitt Romney. This free market approach to health care sure represented a compromise to the majority of the electorate who put President Obama in office in 2008 and again in 2012, in part on his promise to fix our health care crisis. Still, they recognized that compromise is part of life in a democracy and that the ACA was still good law.

Now, this law, which was signed by a president elected by a clear majority both before and after its codification, passed by a democratically-elected Congress, and upheld by a Supreme Court with more justices who had been appointed by Republican presidents than Democrat presidents, has gone into effect. The compromises have been made and incorporated into the legislation and the parts of the law that have been implemented are already proving successful. Thus, it is time to follow normal, democratic procedure and move on to debate other pressing issues. We cannot live in a country where, if one party is unable to muster a majority of votes to codify or repeal a law they turn to extortionary tactics like government shutdowns (or, Heaven forbid, failure to raise the debt ceiling) to enact their will.

Shari Jacobson,


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