Pedley’s Ponderings

Headache over health care

 

     Last week’s conflict in Washington D.C. marked yet another chapter in the embattled saga of Obamacare.

     The U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly last Friday to fund the government only if all spending for President Barack Obama’s signature health care law is eliminated. The move forces an uncomfortable confrontation this week, as the Democratic-held Senate will no doubt deny the House’s measure. The turmoil could lead to a government shutdown on Oct. 1 and force the first-ever default on the federal debt.

     It’s hard to even wrap your head around this mess. I try to keep up with politics and big issues affecting our country, but I got lost on the health care law after the it was passed in 2010. Since then it’s been watered down and dragged through the mud, and I honestly don’t know what to think about it anymore.

     At this point, I guess my mood surrounding the health care bill is complete and utter apathy. I don’t know what side to believe. Republicans claim it will raise taxes, insurance premiums and hinder business. Democrats claim it will provide vital services to the nation’s uninsured.

     Pick your poison, I guess.

     The debate has been an ongoing exercise in futility that has no end in sight. Republicans are taking a calculated risk by threatening a shut down, and the move could prove to be extremely detrimental for the party in the future. The nation is already tired of partisan politics dividing Washington and thwarting progress. A shut down only promises to widen that gap.

     It’s hard to get behind either party on these important issues afflicting the country. Taking a moderate, logical approach to our problems seems to be an impossible option at the federal level, and it’s become a one-way street with two trucks barrelling toward one another. As we stare down a government shut down, it’s important to realize the implications of this constant bickering and finger pointing.

     If the House and Senate fail to reach an agreement on the budget, ripples will be felt throughout the economy both domestically and internationally. Additionally, national parks would close, soldiers wouldn’t get paid and hundreds of thousands of federal workers will be placed on unpaid leave. This health care problem certainly has implications outside of the Washington.

     My apathy surrounding the situation is rooted in the futility that’s consumed our government over the past decade. It’s been a chaotic scene, and our policymakers’ inability to find any middle ground is extremely frustrating. The federal government has been run on a patchwork of Band-Aid fixes and temporary solutions throughout the past three years alone. It seems our legislators are facing the possibility of shut down, mandatory budget cuts and other deadlines every other month. It’s a miracle the governement hasn’t imploded yet.    

     I’ve been unable to ignore all of this health care drama despite my concerted efforts to blow it off. I’ve heard ads on the radio, sat through commercials before videos on YouTube and come across numerous articles on the Internet. I couldn’t tell you how much my eyes have rolled throughout all of it, and I have to admit I sort of feel bad for not caring.

     I think I might be suffering from a lack of perspective. I’ve been extremely fortunate that I’ve never had to worry about health insurance or whether or not I’d receive care during a time of illness. I realize millions of Americans aren’t as lucky as me, so sometimes I feel like I don’t have enough credibility to denounce Obamacare or support it. I think I’d be speaking out of turn if I cast my opinion one way or the other, that way I can’t sound stupid speaking about it either way.

     As we head into the budget showdown, I think my best plan is to keep my eyes shut and my fingers in my ears. My lack of interest may come back to bite me later on, but I’m sure I’ll end up hearing about all the drama regardless. Our legislators may not be good at governing, but they can sure raise a ruckus at the drop of a hat.

    

     Nick Pedley is the regional news editor of the Hampton Chronicle, The Sheffield Press and Pioneer Enterprise.