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Health Care Reform A Clarion Call For November elections

2012 July 7
by Tim Thompson

Politicians like to speak their minds and state their intentions to any voter that will listen.  Especially in an election year.  And, the recent decision by the Supreme Court of The United States (SCOTUS) that upheld the health insurance mandate has made every politician come up with a sound bite regarding their opinion on Health Care Reform and it's future.  These sound bites strive to stir an emotional response in the listener, 

Without fail, each politician has taken a position closely aligned with their political party.  Democrats love the SCOTUS decision and Republicans vow to throw it out.  Which side eventually gets their way could be decided this fall if either party gains a solid majority in the Senate and wins the Presidency.  


East County Magazine

""Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign issued a statement that “What the court did not do…I will do on the first day if elected president of the United States, and that’s to repeal Obamacare.”

Congressman Bob Filner (51st-CA-D), currently a candidate for Mayor of San Diego, said in a news release that “Health insurance bureaucrats can no longer deny a child health care because of a pre-existing condition, millions of young Americans can receive coverage through their family plans until they are 26 and women and minorities are protected from discrimination in health care.

Scott Peters, a Democrat running for the 52nd, Congressional seat against Republican Brian Bilbray, issued the following statement. “"I know we all watched with anticipation as the Supreme Court issued its decision earlier today.  In affirming the President's health care insurance reform initiative, the Court reminded us that the powerful health services industry does not control the administration of health care.  That control rests firmly in the hands of doctors and patients. The President's health care reform initiative is not perfect, but it's a good start.  We still have a lot of work to do to ensure that care is affordable for all consumers and small businesses.  But under the Affordable Care Act, and over time, Americans will benefit from critical patient protections, increased access to the care they need, lower costs, and greater accountability for the insurance and pharmaceutical industries.”

His opponent, Congressman Brian Bilbray, (52-CA-R) denounced the decision.“Simply put, we cannot afford the president’s health care plan. Since its passage, the cost to implement the president’s plan has doubled. The rising cost of health care is making it harder for small business to hire workers.  While the Supreme Court has upheld the Affordable Care Act as constitutional, it does not address the basic factors that drive up the cost of care, namely, excessive litigation by trial lawyers and protectionist policies that do not promote competition in the insurance industry.  These are a few issues we need to tackle if we are going to truly lower the cost of care for all Americans.”

Congressman Darrell Issa (49-CA-R) voiced his views succinctly, retweeting  RT @GOPWhip: #ObamaCareInThreeWords –> Premiums. Will. Rise <– #FullRepeal ."

One thing I think every candidate is overlooking is that America has strong opinions about Health Care Reform, either for it or against it, but that is not what will probably drive their voting decision.  The economic policies of the candidates will end up being more of a concern.  How the politicians can create jobs, improve the infrastructure, enable business growth, and improve the lives of every voter will be the deciding factors, not their stance on the Affordable Care Act.

Obama: European problems could affect US election

USA TODAY (blog)

"While praising European efforts to address its potential economic crisis after this week&#39;s G-20 summit, Obama also said that problems overseas could damage the economy in the U.S. — and threaten his re-election.

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"I think it&#39;s fair to say that any — all — of these issues, economic issues, will potentially have some impact on the election," Obama told reporters after the G-20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico."


My take is that the Health Care Reform position of each candidate will be used to evoke an emotional response in Americans.  Then each side will take the power of that emotion and try to wrap an "emotional fabric" around their economic, immigration, and environment platforms to gain an advantage.  

However, the most skillful use of this health care emotion will probably be to draw out the vote of those party members that are too busy or uncaring to vote this fall.  The last presidential election saw only 64% voter turnout.  

Voter Turnout Increases by 5 Million in 2008 Presidential Election, U.S. Census Bureau Reports

United States Census Bureau

"About 131 million people reported voting in the 2008 U.S. presidential election, an increase of 5 million from 2004, according to a new table package released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. The increase included about 2 million more black voters, 2 million more Hispanic voters and about 600,000 more Asian voters, while the number of non-Hispanic white voters remained statistically unchanged.

Additionally, voters 18 to 24 were the only age group to show a statistically significant increase in turnout, reaching 49 percent in 2008 compared with 47 percent in 2004. Blacks had the highest turnout rate among 18 to 24-year-old voters — 55 percent, an 8 percent increase from 2004. The increased turnout among certain demographic groups was offset by stagnant or decreased turnout among other groups, causing overall 2008 voter turnout to remain statistically unchanged — at 64 percent — from 2004."

The party that can get more of their supporters to vote could be the winner this fall.  The recent polls show the presidential candidates to be within 5% of each other.

So Health Care Reform is the hot button this election cycle, but will not likely be the deciding factor in which candidate wins each race.  The candidate's position on the issues that are more important will determine the winner.  Health Insurance coverage will simply be a clarion call that each side uses to call out the voting troops.

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