Healthcare has been front and center since “Obamacare” was passed in 2010 based strictly upon party lines with only Democrats and no Republicans supporting it. The law has been extremely controversial and has been challenged on legal fronts over and over, with some portions of the law being declared unconstitutionalwhile other parts have been upheld. The repeal of the the law has been a primary goal of the Republican party and was a major part of Pres. Trump’s campaign platform and of the early part of his presidency. It does not appear as if certain groups have the ability to fully repeal the law based upon the several failed attempts to repeal and replace. There does appear to be a degree of hypocrisy by politicians in Washington D.C. as Democrats have chastised Republicans for attempting to repeal the law without taking a bipartisan approach and working with Democrats on the issue which has led to some Republicans reminding the Democrats that they passed “Obamacare” without seeking out bipartisan support of the Republicans back in 2010.
The law has been under increased scrutiny as costshave skyrocketed for coverage and droves of people opt out of participating in thehealthcareexchanges, many of which have already failed or are failing currently. Much has been made of the millions of people who have been covered by the law since being passed in 2010 and who now have access to affordable healthcare. Numerous states, including Texas, have sued the federal government over the constitutionality of the law, especially since states such as Texas bear a much higher cost for covering lower income citizens healthcare costs due to the larger numbers of people who are lower income in a state with the second largest population in the nation as compared to smaller and more affluent states in the north for example. Others who are in support of the law and who have benefited from “Obamacare” believe that access to affordable care should no be optional but rather they believe it is a fundamental human right that should not be denied based upon a person’s socio-economic status. Perhaps the most vocal and ardent of political supporters of government run healthcare as a human right have been Bernie Sanders and now Elizabeth Warren, both of whom point to European nations as the benchmark for the U.S. to emulate, though other Democrats have balked at the massive multi-trillion dollar price-tag such a program would cost, as well as how exactly they plan to pay for it.
Your assignment is to attempt to briefly analyze this very complex issue based upon the questions asked above and below. First and foremost, is healthcare a basic human right that should be guaranteed by the government, or is access to such care an option? If you believe that it is a human right to be provided by the government, then who is responsible for paying for it? Obamacare relies heavily upon forcing younger, healthier, and more wealthy Americans to pay much higher rates for their insurance in order to help subsidize lower-income Americans or pay a penalty at the end of the tax year. Should some people be forced by the government to cover those individuals rather than do so out of a sense of their own sense of morality and charity? Finally, has the COVID-19 pandemic altered your opinion of how healthcare should be handled? Do you now believe that the government should be more involved in this system, or has the almost total failure of governments around the world to adequately address the pandemic which scientists and doctors have been warning would surely come for many years now proof that government can’t handle the responsibilities it currently has, much less the additional ones which they would undertake in a single-payer government run healthcare system? Clearly there is no easy answer because if there was then I would assume our government could figure this issue out. Please attempt to address the questions posed and remember to use and cite at least one source to craft a solution to this issue.
The issue of gun violence continues to persist within the United States with mass shootings, while still statistically low in occurrence, seemingly becoming more commonplace. The nation has recently experienced several major mass shootings in the past year (Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs, TX, Parkland, FL, Santa Fe, TX, & El Paso to name a few), with several which rank amongst the deadliest having occurred in Texas, a state which is often synonymous with gun rights. Obviously all are terribly tragic due to the number of innocent people who lost their lives, but these shootings have stirred the national debate on guns and how to prevent mass shootings once again. I want you to explore these shootings and determine what, if anything, can realistically be done to prevent such shootings in the future? Some politicians have renewed calls for extended gun control measures such as universal background checks, closing the gun show loophole, and outright bans on “assault” style weapons and in some cases, bans on all guns in general. Others have pointed out that no amount of additional background checks would have prevented most of these shootings given that the Vegas shooter had no issues in his past to prevent him from owning guns, and that shooter in Sutherland Springs had extensive legal issues that should have prevented him from owning a gun, but the laws that are already on the books did not work because they were not enforced properly to begin with, and the one which just occurred in California had signs that were troublesome but nothing blatantly illegal or worthy enough to commit the shooter to a mental facility against his will.
Also, don’t forget about the 2nd Amendment in general (what does it say and are there any restrictions that can be assumed from reading it), and don’t forget that in the case of the Sutherland Springs shooting, it was only a “good guy” with a gun who prevented the massacre from becoming even worse when he used his own “assault” rifle to engage and shoot the murderer. What do we do about the mental illness aspect of most mass shootings? If the mental illness issue is not addressed, then can any amount of gun control prevent sick individuals from harming innocent people?
Finally, as with the healthcare discussion board, has the COVID-19 pandemic altered your idea about the 2nd Amendment and what types of weapons citizens should have access to? The pandemic has seen a massive surge in gun sales and ammo purchases as people fear the worst and attempt to prepare for it by purchasing firearms with which to protect themselves. With shortages on many basic necessities and supply chains hanging in the balance, the risk of general societal breakdown exists as people attempt to procure items for themselves, including via force. What once sounded like something out of a dystopian Mad Max movie is almost too close to mirroring reality for comfort. As such, should people be able to access AR-15 style rifles capable or holding a high-capacity of rounds in order to protect their property or loved ones? Please think deeply on this question and answer accordingly as these tragedies could have easily occurred at a time and place where you have all been. I look forward to reading your responses to this question.
Immigration is always a hot topic in our nation and especially here in Texas given that the state shares a border with Mexico. As Texas is a border state, we have a unique perspective on the issue, so I want to know what you think about current US immigration policy. Is it broken? If so, how do we fix it? Is it too lax? If so, how do we strengthen it so that immigration laws are enforced? What should be done about the immigrant caravans? Pres. Trump has taken a hard stance on this issue, even going so far as to send troops to the border and alluding to the possibility that they may be allowed to engage anyone attempting to cross the border illegally with force, including possibly deadly force should the troops be attacked with rocks, etc. The ultimate question I want you to examine is: Is it possible to somehow accomplish the simultaneous goals of border security while encouraging immigration into the US legally? Is it possible to have stronger border security while creating a system in this nation that is welcoming and easier to navigate? Is it the responsibility of the U.S. to solve or be responsible for the economic and political woes of the nations where immigrants are leaving from and should issues like poverty or gang violence qualify for asylum in the same way the people escaping war-torn nations like Syria do? Finally, where/how does President Trump’s proposed border wall fit into the equation, if at all? Most politicians seem to think that it is either one or the other, but not both. Can you correct their lack of vision? Finally, in keeping with the COVID-19 theme, our interconnected world is what made the mass spread of the virus around the world possible. As nations have struggled to contain the virus, many have instituted travel bans in and out of their borders. Should use the US use the pandemic as an excuse to maintain the harsh travel/immigrations standards to some degree even after the pandemic has subsided? Would this protect the US from viral threat in the future, or would doing so run against the traditions of the country and risk altering the nation in ways which we simply cannot fathom or predict without actually making us any more secure? As always, remember to cite at least once source and reply to one classmate’s post in a thoughtful way.