CommunityVoices

The American people have important health care needs, but their government is too wrapped up in partisan spectacle to address them.

Trump voters side with their demagogue largely because he is seen as a political outsider. Establishment candidates on the left, like Pete Buttigieg and Kamala Harris, attempt to appeal to antiestablishment leftists by claiming to have “new ideas” that offer no fundamental change.

The impeachment investigation floods the news every day, revealing corruption throughout Trump’s administration. And yet, it is headed by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who currently holds a 48% unfavorable rating, nearly tied with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who stands at 47%.

Meanwhile, the main issues affecting the American people are lost behind a constant storm of changing narratives, personal attacks and “breaking” news stories, all related to an impeachment that is likely going to stop at the Senate.

Every. Single. Day.

So it seems that, no, we cannot get along. There is no unity in Washington except to provide political theater in the hopes of damaging the reputation of the other side.

Demarest, Jonathan

Demarest is political science junior and Community Voices columnist for The Shorthorn.

Meanwhile, Americans wonder how they will pay for their insulin, afford an emergency hospital bill or pay off existing medical debt. The health care crisis in America plays second fiddle to partisan smears. Those on the left who offer legitimate plans to solve this crisis often receive the labels “idealist” at best and “extremist” at worst.

But this issue is incredibly important to the American people.

In a RealClear Opinion Research poll of 2,000 registered voters, participants were asked to name the top three issues that they thought were most important to them. 36% listed health care as most important. The poll included an equal number of people who identify as liberal, moderate and conservative. Their top three health care priorities were the cost of care, cost of drugs and access to care.

According to the same poll, 55% said they support a plan that would eliminate private insurance companies and provide a government program instead. A majority of Americans support "Medicare for All," despite a divided political landscape.

So why is presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders’ plan, which provides exactly that, not soaring him to victory?

One reason could be that many people simply don’t understand the plan. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 69% of Americans think that they would still need to pay deductibles and copays when using health care services. 61% thought that they would still need to pay health insurance premiums. Neither of these claims is true under Sanders’ plan.

When cost is a priority, Americans should know that the amount they will be paying in taxes is significantly less than what they are already paying to private insurance companies. Allowing the government to negotiate with big drug companies would also result in lower costs for prescriptions.

The Kaiser Family Foundation found that the average American household spends almost twice as much when compared to nations that have some form of Medicare for All. This isn’t a new problem, and Americans are becoming increasingly aware of how damaging our current system is.

So where is our Medicare for All? We can hardly afford our rising tuition costs, let alone medical bills.

If Washington was more concerned about the needs of its citizens and less concerned with partisan playground antics, we would see that dramatic change.

It becomes hard to discuss policy when McConnell is burying House-supported bills and Pelosi is putting all her efforts into impeachment. Meanwhile, President Trump is continuing to say anything and attack anyone who attempts to go against him.

So, here is a question for D.C. How many of our kidneys do you want us to sell before you focus and do your job?

@JonathanDemare1

opinion-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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