America is a nation of war. Only Congress has the power to declare war on an enemy combatant. Yet, America often declares war ideas, situations, and problems. Sometimes these wars are not declared but evidenced through behavior. Some of these wars are welcomed. Some are detested. Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty. In practice, sometimes it seems that America has a war on the poor. The war on drugs turned into a full assault on Black and Latino urban America. This war was in harmony with the war on crime. We also have had the war on terror. The war on terror has been accompanied by wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Muslims have felt the brunt of the war on terror, which was actually declared by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. A current derivative of the war on terror is the war on ISIS.
One of the more insidious wars fought in America has been the war on women’s health. Framed in issues regarding religious freedom, budgetary concerns, and national morality, a certain segment of the population in America has been able to place women’s health in extreme jeopardy. Consequently, one of the major aspects of Obamacare was aimed at ending the war on women’s health. Major aspects of health in general and women’s health in particular deal with prevention. Mammograms, pre-natal care, and various types of screenings are intended to catch complications early and therefore reduce catastrophic costs from severe illness and increase life expectancy. Ironically, this reality was truly revealed this past week during Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare. As negotiations intensified, the Republican Freedom Caucus increased their demands to drop coverage for important women’s health issues. Such an ideological hard line is difficult to comprehend. In the final analysis, what do many Republicans have against people receiving healthcare?
The Affordable Care Act was enacted by the 111th Congress and signed into law by the 44th President of the United States on March 23, 2010. The law literally had little to no Republican support. The signing of this law came one year and three months in President Obama’s first term. This factor alone should have informed Republicans “healthcare is a complicated issue.” Just over sixty days into the Trump Administration and an attempt to replace the Affordable Health Care Act failed. It was a rushed job that had little practical policy applications aside from just replacing anything with President Obama’s name attached to it. No sooner than the law had passed, Republicans started trying to take down the law and end health coverage for Americans. Republicans have taken no less than sixty votes, including this most recent vote, to replace Obamacare. Moreover, the Republicans have no plan to offer Americans on healthcare. The current Administration is bankrupted on sound ideas for governing the United States.
Truman, Johnson, and Clinton all contributed to the narrative on health care. Yet, it was Barack Obama who was to able advance basic coverage to more Americans. A conservative commentator stated that the failure to kill Obamacare reveals the fact that President Obama succeeded solidifying in the American mind that healthcare is a right that should not be taken away. As a consequence, Affordable Care is close to becoming a sacred cow on par with Social Security and Medicare. All the law needs are more time to existing and a government that is willing to tweak the rough edges of the law.
Many conservative pundits belittled the fact that Barack Obama was once a community organizer on the south side of Chicago. A latent aspect of the Obama presidency is the fact that Obama empowered the people. Political observers, including the writer of this article, believed that the best safeguard to the Obama legacy would be a Hillary Clinton victory. If not for Hillary’s regrettable loss, this factor could have continued to go unnoticed. It seems that the people will now become the greatest protector of the Obama legacy. We saw it with the Women’s March the day after the Trump Inaugural. We saw it in the attempts to thwart Trump’s Muslim travel ban. We have also seen it in town hall meetings with the people organizing to thwart Republican plans to repeal and replace Obamacare. As President Obama constantly stated, “We are the ones for whom we have been waiting.”
Anthony Neal earned his Ph.D. in political science from Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University). Dr. Neal is an associate professor at State University College, Buffalo. The author of numerous book reviews and journal articles, he has had his work published in the Western Journal of Black Studies, the Journal of Black Studies, and Black Issues in Higher Education. In 2014 Dr. Neal received the university’s Faculty Appreciation Award, was named Instructor of the Year by the university’s United Student Government, and Professor of the Year by the Student Political Society in the Department of Political Science. In 2015, he published The American Political Narrative which is a succinct yet poignant narrative about the development of the American political system and what is needed to maintain it. In 2016, he will publish a book of poetry entitled “Love Agnostic | from 9/11 to Charleston”