Obama's Conundrum

By Jordan Heide

President Barack Obama’s campaign cannot be discussed without mention of his ubiquitous pledge to political reform in the resonant manner of “Change we can believe in” through the better part of 2008.

Not since President Andrew Jackson has the American public been so enthused about a candidate who seems to understand the strife of the common man; Obama’s ability to related to citizens in a humble yet inspiring fashion motivates the voting public to believe in the change Obama promised to provide.

The assumption upon casting a ballot for Obama was that radical reconstruction would occur moments after inauguration. American citizens believed Obama would revolutionize socio-economic structure and truly represent the ideas of the public, as opposed to vying for reelection through corrupt political schemes that would ultimately leave social, economic, and political climates stagnant. Needless to say, Obama captures the American people’s vote through his idealistic insight in to the nature of contemporary politics.

Nine months into Obama’s presidency, the Unites States has yet to see insurgent progression. Obama has spent most of his time in the oval office attempting to satisfy the demands of both the Democratic and Republican parties regarding health care reform. Ironically, Obama perpetually states his intent to transcend partisan lines as a means to attain the most substantive change throughout his candidacy.

Drastic alteration of the American political system has taken the back burner to the implementation of acceptable health coverage, as defined by Democrats and Republicans alike.

Democrats demand a universal healthcare system that provides the highest quality care to the greatest number of people at the lowest expense to taxpayers. This request implies a desire for a public health coverage option, in which a citizen who is unable to purchase insurance through the private sector – or is ineligible for private insurance – is covered through government subsidies. According to these criteria, the Democratic proposition for health coverage is ideal.

Republicans balk at the appeal by Democrats for a nationalized healthcare, asserting that government-sponsored health coverage would destroy the private sector and exacerbate the already undesirable economic conditions. Republicans question the classification of healthcare as a right and strongly oppose further governmental intervention in citizen functionality.

Obama’s solution to partisan discrepancy is to create a market in which private insurers compete under a highly regulated format in which costs remain minimal and standard for coverage, such as age or preexisting illness, are extremely lenient.

Obama’s proposed compromise hardly seems to fulfill the respective desires of either party; instead of transcending the constrictive party boundaries, Obama appears to be caught in the incessant conflict of distinct political parties, directly opposing any acceleration towards change. Obama’s campaign boldness has forced him to eat his words.

Obama has simplified his goals for healthcare reform to three basic principles: 1) reduce costs, 2) guarantee choice, and 3) ensure all Americans have quality, affordable healthcare. Given that Democrats retain a 58 percent majority in Congress, Obama has intrinsically complicated his pursuit of accessible healthcare for the 47 million uninsured Americans and the 260 million citizens who are currently hemorrhaging money for health coverage.

In his attempts to blue partisan lines, Obama has lost a significant amount of support from Congress. Democrats have abandoned their patronage due to the increasing dissimilarity between their notions of universal healthcare and Obama’s attempts to legitimize his increasingly moderate proposal of nationalized health coverage.

Republicans also remain unsatisfied with the current proposition. Obama’s vow to shatter bipartisanship with his avant-garde political perspective has proven inconclusive and unsatisfactory.

Obama’s actions regarding healthcare reform have perpetuation citizen discontent while cementing an old adage often attributed to politicians’ unremitting tendency to disregard previous assertions of commitment: “Don’t make promises you can’t keep.”

*Originally Published in "The Bucknellian," August 2009