The continued debate over President Obama’s health care reforms is taking another legal step, within the backdrop of the 2012 presidential election.
The hearing of a new challenge takes place at the US Supreme Court very soon, but what is interesting about the new situation is that a ruling will not be issued till June of 2012. Some have argued that this is politically motivated and designed to create more consternation, as the public decide who to vote for, 4 or 5 months later.
The debate over healthcare in the USA has become one of the hottest topics, with Republicans in particular fighting tooth and nail to scupper the plans. The latter don’t become fully operational until 2014, but a Republican win in next year’s presidential race could spell the end of the Obama reforms.
Some journalists in the US have already likened this issue with other social issues that brought Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency into conflict during the 1930s. His famous New Deal, which he hoped would begin a new social change agenda in the country, never really came to fruition, as he died without many of its proposals being implemented.
The question, however, with the Obama healthcare reforms, is whether the federal government has the constitutional right to force all American citizens to have healthcare insurance. While many on the left of the political spectrum would like a similar system to that in Britain or Europe, the private healthcare lobby is much stronger in the US than this side of the pond.
Seemingly, President Obama decided his reforms are a better step towards universal healthcare, as they force insurance companies to allow people with pre-existing conditions to get insurance cover for their illnesses. It also allows federal subsidies to be paid to those citizens who cannot afford medical health insurance. In short better Medicaid.
Those on the right of the political spectrum however – in particular the Republican Party – believe that the Obama reforms are an infringement of individual liberty. Presumably those taking legal action over this are using the fact that individual liberty is enshrined in the US constitution, whereas the federal healthcare reforms are a form of collectivism, something not recognised as legal in the federal constitution.
Without doubt both sides of the healthcare debate are playing for high stakes, which in theory could affect the outcome of the presidential election.