Politics & Healthcare
The political machine triumphs because it is a united minority acting against a divided majority - Will Durant
A presidential election naturally concentrates our country’s attention. For a time, everything seems to depend on the answer to one clear and simple question.
But then what? On rare occasions, the country’s fate really does rest on a discrete set of policy choices embodied by competing candidates.
More often, v also in the isolation and despair that have driven up suicide and opioid-abuse rates, and in a sense of alienation that leaves whole communities feeling excluded from the American story and in turn angrily rejecting it.
Even in a time of bitter partisanship, we know we need more than the right person in power. Each party treats the other as a mortal threat to America’s future, and so persuades its voters that electing the wrong president would make things worse.
But that doesn’t help us see how to make things much better. If you think our country has bigger problems than just the people you disagree with, then you’re likely to find that they aren’t swept away by an election victory.
In fact, these problems now make it difficult for us to have traditional policy arguments. As the intensity of the election subsides, we now need to ask ourselves how to deal with hopelessness and hostility, because they undermine the preconditions for a functional politics.
The answers may be closer than we think. At the heart of our pervasive crisis of alienation are widespread failures of responsibility, deep-seated cultural divisions and a deadly dearth of solidarity. Such challenges can seem impossibly immense when we look at our country from the top down. No president could resolve them, no Congress could address them. But from the bottom up, there are more opportunities to take them on.
That’s not because there is some magic to local action. It’s because what has broken down is fundamentally communal and institutional, so that a recovery of the ethos required for our national politics to function is likely to happen closer to the interpersonal level.
It can begin with a simple question, asked in little moments of decision: “Given my role here, what should I be doing?” As a parent or a neighbor, a pastor or a congregant, an employer or an employee, a teacher or a student, a legislator or a citizen, how should I act in this situation? We ask that question to recover relational responsibility.
A failure to ask that question — and so to accept the obligations that come with whatever positions and privileges we have in our lives — is behind many of the most significant problems we face. It’s why so many of our fellow Americans have been left feeling that our institutions have failed to treat them like human beings.
It has been at the heart of President Trump’s failures, as he has plainly neglected to ask himself how a president should act. But it has also characterized to varying degrees some of his critics, who have forgotten their distinct responsibilities — as journalists or scientists, legislators or law enforcement officials — and have instead become performers in our manic political theater.
But more important, it is at the heart of the way we Americans have failed one another by failing to ask what the roles we each have in particular institutions — familial, communal, religious, educational, professional, civic and political — demand of us in key moments. Often what they demand is restraint and responsibility, doing your job rather than building your brand.
And implausible as it may seem, our country is starving for such straightforward integrity. The hunger for it doesn’t take the forms we might expect. It doesn’t look like earnest appeals to virtue and rectitude.
It might look more like students demanding conformity when what they really seek is morally legitimate authority. It might look like communities angry at generations of mistreatment reaching at first for a vocabulary of resistance and rejection but ultimately yearning for inclusion, equal justice and belonging. Or it might come in the guise of a populism that insists it sees corruption in all directions but is ultimately desperate for an integrity that it can barely name.
We tend to look at forms of breakdown in our society in terms of what they produce: anger, cynicism, a rejection of tradition. But we would be wise to also consider what they implicitly demand and yearn for: responsibility, integrity and, above all, solidarity.
Our national politics needs these, too. But they will come from below — from local and state government, where it’s harder to avoid dealing with concrete problems, and from civil society, where we encounter one another on a personal level. We cannot stand with our arms folded and hope we’ve finally elected the people who will deliver them. They must begin with us, where we are.
They start when we see problems around us as reasons to think creatively about how to act together: to help people who are short of food in this pandemic, to organize schools that will teach our children what our community cherishes most, to help our neighbors feel respected and safe, or to care for our environment or protect and welcome the unborn.
Different Americans will have different priorities. But pursuing them effectively requires understanding those priorities as our responsibilities and approaching our society in the first person plural — speaking less about “them” and more about “us.”
That is only a beginning — not a substitute for better public policy but perhaps a prerequisite for it. Some of the deepest troubles of this moment require us to see our society as the sum of our affinities and obligations to one another, and so to heal what’s broken from the bottom up.
Source: Yuval Levin, Either Trump or Biden Will Win. But Our Deepest Problems Will Remain, The New York Times, November 3, 2020.
U.S. pandemic responses are human endeavors led by governments put in place by the people through political processes.
Health workers are watching bad politics destroy health care, but we can’t solve these problems in exam rooms. We need to solve them at the ballot box.
U.S. pandemic responses are human endeavors led by governments put in place by the people through political processes.
Citizens in a new study blame U.S. politics for stress, depression, lost sleep and other physical and mental problems.
Drawing from President Trump's record on health care and former Vice President Joe Biden's policy proposals, here's a guide to where they stand.
Here's a guide to his policy platforms and promises related to health care. Again, how much he's able to deliver on will in some cases depend on what happens in the Senate.
You might like your health insurance, but you can’t move it here. Sorry, the public option is the only option for hospital and physician care. From time to time people go to court to claim that government-run healthcare violates their individual rights. Fifteen years ago Canada’s Supreme Court ruled that the prohibition of private insurance was indeed a violation. Since then, no one has sold and no one has bought private insurance for the services covered by the government plan. There’s just no market for it. Yes, we’re that weird.
As soon as the government takes on full responsibility for health-care provision, health-care provision becomes political. And given the importance voters quite naturally place on their own health, health-care politics becomes the worst sort: emotionally fraught and inescapable.
Surging infection numbers suggest coronavirus cases will continue to increase in every state until the U.S. election.
The survey asked consumers to rate their happiness across ten different life areas such as health, work and relationships.
While the U.S. Republican Party and President Trump’s pandemic response may not be a guaranteed death knell for their election prospects, their response has been criticized as one of the worst in the world, and the Democratic Party has not missed an opportunity to make that perceived failure the center of its national campaign.
Two-thirds of respondents expected public health, health infrastructure, and pandemic preparedness to take on more prominent roles going forward. Just under half expected a larger focus on inequalities and inequities. Yet, with major reforms unlikely, scholars are generally skeptical about much progress on the issues.
Nobody wants a weak strongman.
When the dust settles on the Covid-19 crisis, the investing public may have to face significant changes in the huge U.S. health-care system.
So why does the US, the only industrialized nation without universal health coverage, also have not only the highest health-care spending in the world—both in absolute terms and as a share of GDP—but also one of the highest levels of government spending on health care per person? And how did it come to be this way?
The answer is that the lack of universal coverage and high costs are intimately linked—both economically and historically.
The lack of universal care has made the U.S. more vulnerable to Trump’s demagogic appeals.
If the political system is broken—a popular notion these days—shouldn't the Americans vote for candidates who fall outside the status quo? Luckily there's someone running for president who can lead us somewhere better.
Los Angeles County voters awarded schools billions of dollars for upgrades and repairs. But half a decade later administrators are supplying students with iPads, even though the backlog for basic repairs runs into the tens of thousands.
The health care industry was unprepared for the presidential victory of Donald J. Trump, and executives at insurance companies and hospital systems are now uncertain what their business is going to look like in the years ahead.
The more aware we are of health issues, the more partisan we grow in our thinking about them.
Does your doctor’s politics affect his or her medical advice?
Although I would like to think not, a recent study by Yale researchers Eitan Hersh and Matthew Goldenberg has shown the opposite.
While the U.S. is a democracy in some respects, when it comes to policy, a recent study shows that politicos do the bidding of the rich and pretty much ignore the rest of us. He who pays the piper calls the tune, right?
Money in politics is making our nation sicker, threatening our national security, and ultimately destroying the very economic prosperity the “money in politics” seeks to achieve.
The only way to lower costs is to make doctors and hospitals charge everyone the same price.
Rather than exclude politics from health, David Hunter argues that we must embrace it if we are to improve our complex health systems.
For most Americans, few issues are as visceral and ubiquitous as health care. Voters tend to focus more on the immediate events in their lives, like hospital bills and treatment plans or affording chemotherapy for our mothers and prescription drugs for our fathers.
Since passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, politics and healthcare have taken center stage in a national discussion. Some have considered the ACA government intrusion; others find it to be necessary reform to achieve better population health. Yet this fusion of politics and healthcare is nothing new. The federal and state governments have been involved in healthcare since the founding of our country.
Lest we think that all that racism stuff is behind us, let’s consider the present. Race rears its head in nearly every nook and cranny of the contemporary health policy landscape. Public opinion on the Affordable Care Act is profoundly racialized, in part because race-based evaluations of President Obama have “spilled over” into the arena of health care.
The need for comprehensive reform is clearly compelling. Many believe that the status quo is no longer sustainable and that business as usual in health policy is not an option. But the resilience of the status quo in U.S. medical care should not be underestimated.
This is further proof that health has little to do with health care and everything to do with the politics of social support and welfare. The politics of this was clearly shown by the American right’s fanatical resistance to “Obamacare”. The ideology behind this opposition is that we are free to choose how we live and therefore that what happens to us is morally deserved and also (the old Cartesian dualism) that mind and matter are separate entities.
A government-run plan would provide competition to private insurers and guarantee coverage was always available to Americans.
As a diagnostic tool for the health of the American political system, Candidate Trump is just what the doctor ordered.
For politics to function, we need to act at the local, personal level.
The sweeping health reform law has been praised by Democrats and demonized by Republicans. It has survived a botched rollout, two challenges in the Supreme Court, and dozens of votes to repeal it in Congress.
The VoteHealth 2020 movement is inspired by our team, advisors, champions, partners and volunteers. Since our start in summer 2020, we’ve led targeted initiatives to get out the vote (GOTV) in innovative ways.
After twenty-five years as a non-profit, bimonthly print journal and six years in online publishing, Health Affairs has entered the blogosphere as a new means of engaging readers in the health policy debate.
We are dedicated to renewing America by continuing the quest to realize our nation's highest ideals, honestly confronting the challenges caused by rapid technological and social change, and seizing the opportunities those changes create.
We are a non-partisan organization to increase voter turnout among registered voters who are unexpectedly hospitalized in the days and weeks prior to the presidential election
RealClearHealth (RCH) curates the most significant news and opinions surrounding the health care debate. Not only does RCH keep readers one step ahead of the debate through curation; it also publishes original content that explores key issues in health policy.
The mission of ITUP is to promote innovative and workable policy solutions that expand health care access and improve the health of Californians.
We are a nonprofit grassroots advocacy organization committed to creating the political will to end hunger and the worst aspects of poverty. RESULTS is committed to individuals exercising their personal and political power by lobbying elected officials.
Synthesis of policies, politics, and proposals focused on Health.