In a speech given in Iowa City prior to the mid-term elections, President Obama attempted to persuade the American people that the health care reform act was doing good things for the country. Assuaging doubts about the effectiveness and cost of the act seeded by the opposition, he attempted to make it clear that the reform was not financial “Armageddon,” nor would it have a detrimental impact on patient care or the industry. Confident he could win the people’s support for ObamaCare, he even dared Republicans to run on a platform of repealing the bill. “Now that we’ve passed it,” he japed, “they’re already promising to repeal it. They’re actually going to run on a platform of repeal in November. And my attitude is, go for it.”

Unfortunately for the president, the Republican campaign against health care reform proved popular enough to precipitate the largest party turnover in 70 years, granting the Republicans firm control of the House and further weakening the Democrats’ majority in the Senate. A bill repealing health care reform quickly passed in the House only to be just as quickly rejected by the Senate, all votes made along strict party lines.

While the attempt to derail health care reform was defeated, it can’t but leave a bitter taste in the mouth of its supporters. The sudden turn in the nation’s opinion can only be credited to the truly monolithic level of propaganda levied against the bill in the months approaching the election. Accusations that the act would make it harder for health care providers to give people the services they need, and that the bill was rushed through without revision made it seem less the work of progressive visionaries, but more the work of haste-stricken madmen out to ruin the citizenry. That these claims were neither wholly true, nor representative of the majority of the bill’s objectives received comparatively limited coverage by less fiery demagogues. As those with online health care degrees will tell you, if you look at this issue with blinders on, you’re going to end up running right where they lead you.

Regrettably, the accusations have been lent credence by some of the act’s failings. Several of the short-term goals of the act have not yet been achieved, most noticeably those related to providing health care to high-risk individuals with chronic illness who would otherwise be unable to get health insurance. Where the Department of Health and Human Services was supposed to set up accounts from which these people could draw for their uninsured expenses, the deadline has come and gone. Further, recent inquiries have found that such a program will require between five and ten billion dollars more than what they were initially allocated.

While adequate funding could solve most of the problems with ObamaCare, it is the clearly stated goal of the Republican Party to prevent this from happening. The president and other Democrat leaders remain publicly hopeful that a budget compromise can be reached that will maintain healthcare reform and other entitlement programs. However, all Republican proposals on the table involve either slashing the budget of the program to a jokingly low sum, or major reductions in spending coupled with revoking the program’s discretionary spending. In either case, underfunding the program would cause it to fail, increasing Republican prestige by allowing them to point and say, “I told you so.”

The deadlock in Congress and looming threat of government shutdown is the direct result of Republican’s unwillingness to compromise on the elimination of entitlement programs. Hard-liners on the Right are forcing Democrats to make a decision between a complete failure of government, or shutting down the services that make the government worth having. In either case the Republicans win, because either the entitlement programs are cut off, or a Democrat president and Senate were in power when a government shutdown occurred.

In order to try and persuade lawmakers into taking action, on April 1, 2011 President Obama chastised them saying it would be “the height of irresponsibility” to force a government shutdown because they can’t cooperate, “We know that a compromise is within reach,” he said but he warned that if they did not reach an agreement soon, “it could shut down the government and jeopardize our economic recovery.” The problem with this statement is that jeopardizing our economic recovery, when it is being carried out by Democrats, is exactly the goal of the Republican Party. Irresponsibility is nothing compared to the next election, and they know that the Democrats have to fail hard and fast if they have a ghost of a chance at winning the presidency in 2012.

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