The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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Democrats and health care

We are in the midst of one of the most defining moments in generations, closer now to real, tangible change than any of us have ever been in our lifetimes.

It may be redundant to repeat what’s already been said time and again, but health care reform is one of the most important challenges this country is facing, and it’s been said repeatedly for a reason.

Yet,as often happens, the people that seem to grasp this the most are those who resist this change, a change that threatens the indulgent recipients of a broken and easily-abused health care system, among many other problems that leave the bulk of the American people vulnerable to corporate and political
exploitation.

A week ago, this country witnessed one of the most shameful moments in Democratic Party history unfold when Republican State Senator Scott Brown, a well-camouflaged super-conservative, won in the overwhelmingly Democratic state of Massachusetts, a state that hasn’t voted for a Republican president or senator in more than two decades.

How can such a seemingly obvious idea like
health care reform become a dirty term in a country where almost 50 million citizens lack health insurance? Even more frustrating is that the people aren’t to blame for the last-minute cold feet spreading around much of the country.

Instead, we can thank the deception on the opposing side and incompetence on the side of Democratic leadership, which has failed to defend their bill in the face of an onslaught of uninformed criticism. Rather, Democrats have opted to rely on their assumed Senate majority to pass a historic bill without actually explaining it to the people.

This has proven catastrophic not just for the
Democratic Party, but for those who are actually affected by the decisions politicians make: the aforementioned 50 million people who are still waiting for help, as well as the millions of others who continue to be taken advantage of by an unfair and unjust health care system.

Thanks to misleading information about the bill from opposing interest groups, Republican politicians and others with stakes in private insurance companies, an inescapable backlash is taking place that largely begins and ends with the same bitter question: “Why should I pay for another person’s insurance?”

It’s hard to blame the common citizen-who has
heard nothing but the term “tax increase” in reference to this bill-for being skeptical of health care reform, especially during an economic crisis. The fact is, however, that the common citizen will not be seeing any increase in taxes.

Instead, those earning more than $200,000 a year ($250,000 for joint fi lers) will be the ones seeing the much disputed .5 percent Medicare tax increase, an increase that many people in this bracket will not stand for, even if it means providing almost 50 million of their struggling countrymen and women with health insurance.

Furthermore, what is boggling is how Democrats have been so confi dent in passing this bill that they have refused to take the necessary, yet painfully simple step of reiterating this fact to the American people. Is it so hard to publicly reaffi rm that the vast majority of Americans will not be seeing a tax increase, even if it needs to be said over and over again? It’s one thing if Senate Republicans stand their ground in opposition to this bill, but it’s another when the people of America are beginning to lose confi dence as well.

This confusion is, unfortunately, a sign of complete failure on the part of the Democratic Party; a party that, with Senate elections looming in November, has made the potentially fatal mistake of taking their power for granted. And meanwhile, this disheartening fact remains: millions in this country live without the security of knowing a serious injury or disease doesn’t threaten financial security.Deception and petty politics have reared their ugly heads once again, the latter emitting a negative energy that has permeated the mindset of countless Americans who couldn’t care less that so many of their fellow citizens are deprived of what should be a basic right.

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