As the political divide heats up even more between Democrats and Republicans on just about any issue, I struggled this week to find anything that was positive for both sides. The current mantra for one side is “resist and delay.” On the other side, it’s “keep on keeping on.” Others may see it as “bullying ahead.” I guess it all depends on which camp you want to hate and harass more. Are you as exhausted as I am seeing this happen toward both sides for so many years? Time to work it out some more, right?
Since I can’t help but stay hopeful, maybe there is something out there to agree on, at least in part, right? I did find a few possible flickers of light. According to Molly Ball of The Atlantic publication (www.theatlantic.com, Jun 12, 2014), The 3 Things Republicans and Democrats Agree On, it seems Republicans and Democrats in 2014 were both largely on the same side when it came to immigration, national & cyber security, and gay rights. Yet, those areas are a little shaky right now.
How that will all play out is anyone’s guess, particularly with recent upheavals about Trump’s travel ban and ICE arrests. Then add Michael Flynn’s resignation as national security advisor that raised questions about whether he was freelancing on foreign policy while President Obama was still in office, and whether he misled Trump officials about the conversations with Putin’s ambassador, Sergey Kislyak. During the Obama administration, Flynn was fired as Defense Intelligence Agency basically for not following guidance from superiors. Looks like both administrations had problems with Flynn being part of the team.
Ok. Now back to another glimmer that hopefully won’t crash and burn. According to Kristen Bialik and Abigail Geiger, Republicans, Democrats find common ground on many provisions of health care law (Pew Research Center, www.pewresearch.org, Dec 8, 2016), Americans are evenly divided in their views of Obamacare (48% approve; 47% disapprove). Yet, a Kaiser Family Foundation survey (November 2016) showed “. . . Americans are supportive of several specific provisions of the law, despite their broader ambivalence.”
Finally, is this something that may bridge the divide where we, as Americans, can show both sides how to actually work together? Although all political parties feel repeal and replace may be inevitable, Americans show they are in favor of retaining a number of ACA provisions. It also seems our representatives are beginning to listen.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation survey, here is a list of those favored by Republicans, Democrats, and Independents (% represents total; although there is some, not large percentage variation between political parties):
- Allows young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance plans until age 26 (85%)
- Eliminates out-of-pocket costs for many preventive services (83%)
- Closes the Medicare prescription drug “doughnut hole” so people on Medicare will no longer be required to pay the full cost of their medications (81%)
- Creates health insurance exchanges where small businesses and people can shop for insurance and compare prices and benefits (80%)
- Provides financial help to low- and moderate-income Americans who don’t get insurance through their jobs to help them purchase coverage (80%)
- Gives states the option of expanding their existing Medicaid program to cover more low-income, uninsured adults (80%)
- Prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage because of a person’s medical history (69%)
- Increases the Medicare payroll tax on earnings for upper-income Americans (69%)
For two others, requiring employers with 50 or more employees to pay a fine if they don’t offer health insurance (60% total, Democrat 83%, Independent 60%, Republican 45%) and require nearly all Americans to have health insurance or else pay a fine (35% total, Democrat 57%, Independent 30%, Republican 21%), the favorable numbers definitely go down for Republicans, Independents, and a few Democrats.
I will then leave you in this somewhat positive place, as we see how our nation fairs in the time ahead, finding ways to do more than agreeing to disagree. Until next week, keep working it out together.