Welcome to the Poconos edition of One Take Jake. Join Jake Sandler in a discussion about how toxic partisanship disrupts the U.S. healthcare system.
We define toxic partisanship as valuing political revenge over the well-being of people and valuing your political loyalties over the well-being of all.
Once our country recovers from the COVID-19 crisis, we hope to see vast improvements to our healthcare system. We want to prevent a crisis like this from happening again – and if it does happen again, we want to be prepared to respond more effectively.
How We Got Here
Let’s look back into recent history at Obamacare and remember how toxic partisanship caused that law to be less effective than it could have been.
- The Democrats had control of the House, the Senate, and the White House under Barack Obama.
- Obamacare was the signature legislation at the time. Our leaders ended up voting on strict party lines, meaning all Democrats voted “yes” and all Republicans voted “no” to pass the law.
- This made Republicans feel like they were pushed out of the decision. Therefore, they decided to exact political revenge over the subsequent years.
- Since Obamacare was passed, attempts have been made to overturn it and provisions have been undercut, making it a lot more expensive and making healthcare for everyone worse than it would have been, had Republicans been supportive of it.
- Did you know that a conservative think tank wrote the original policy paper that gave birth to the idea of Obamacare? And it was first enacted under Mitt Romney, who was a Republican governor of Massachusetts? Obamacare had its roots in conservative circles!
- But when Democrats started championing it, we theorize that Republicans became upset simply because the “other team” championed their idea. So, Republicans decided to oppose it.
This is a very simplistic analysis but it gives an important anecdote for how both parties need to work together to pass whatever massive healthcare bill is needed in the aftermath of coronavirus, to improve the well-being of all Americans.
What Needs to Happen Next
We believe that resilient policy is what happens when both parties get to contribute to the ultimate legislative view.
Looking back at history, every time a big piece of legislation has passed with at least 10% of the opposing minority party in support, that legislation stays in place for decades. But when a piece of legislation is passed on party lines, it tends to be overturned or gutted.
Part of post-partisanship and our philosophy of getting away from toxic partisanship is asking the party in power to intentionally include the perspectives of the minority party. This creates a resilient policy.
If we don’t have resilient policy, it’s like taking one step forwards and two steps backward. We need to take four steps forward and (maybe) one step backward! Resilient policy is exceptionally important to the well-being of our country and our democracy.
Stay Sane, Friends!
Consuming too much news right now can be toxic, even for political junkies like us. Remember what is in your control, what is out of your control, and spend time with the people you love.