The Future of Obamacare

Well to some extent it has, regardless of how small a step, it was a step to greater equality in the United States. I am not necessarily the firmest believer in government intervention in regards to healthcare, but equally the position American citizens are put in due to the corporate greed and lobbying power of pharmaceutical and insurance companies is an equal evil.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care act did not go as far as Obama had wanted it to go. However, it has allowed millions of American cover that they otherwise would not have. One would hope that in the worlds super power economy, people do not have to make a tough decision between putting food on the table for the family or having health insurance.

Moreover, it did not lead to the fears of its opposition, as the cost of healthcare in real terms has not increased. The fear now however is that any foundation laid by the act will be undone by the future policy of the Obama administration, in that the specific protection for the Pharmaceutical lobby.

Stiglitz has pointed out the case of how India was forced to take up patent law in 2005, due to the competition Indian pharmaceutical companies were bringing to drug production, and in that the western pharmaceutical lobby’s fears that competition from the generic market. In the 1970s India abolished pharmaceutical patents, and this lead to an industry, which would be capable of providing some degree of healthcare in the developing world.

The Obama administration is seeking a bi-lateral trade deal with India that will ultimately secure the position of the pharmaceutical companies. Critically, along with Obamacare, it is clear that there needs to be an overriding framework that ensures that care and medicine is affordable. Stiglitz argues that this is not an unintentional outcome of the trade deal, but rather an explicit element of US trade policy. Thus, we come back sadly to a trade off between the US and its desire to keep domestic jobs, and protect a well-lobbied industry.

The argument that the rigorous American patent system is ensuring profits for innovation and development is becoming worn out. Stiglitz gives the example of Hepatitis-C treatment, which in India goes for $1,000 per treatment with profitability, but in the U.S. for $84,000. This chasm in prices shows the degree of monopoly power that the U.S. government grants in the healthcare industry, and this bi-lateral trade agreement will only reinforce this if India strengthens its patent laws.

So it is increasingly clear that healthcare in the United States can be approached from a more critical angle, rather than still trying to force an act through that lobbyists call communist, but your rational person would call equitable.

The Next Four Years

Obama has been given another opportunity to fulfil the promises he made back in 2008, it will be interesting to see how the next four years play out as The House of Representatives still has a Republican majority whereas the Senate has a Democrat majority. The economic situation is currently the biggest issue on the presidential agenda; Obama will have to reshuffle his policies and attempt to create a dynamic and stable economy for growth.

I believe that Mitt Romney had only started showing his true potential of being a good candidate for presidency towards the end of the campaign. Even though I supported him from the beginning of his candidacy, it was apparent that he would fail to gain any of Obamas voters. If given the chance I think that Romney would have been a strong president in the sense that he would put growth and prosperity of the economy at the top of his agenda. He would not have suffered from the expectation to provide more welfare for the people as is Obama’s situation.

As January begins we will begin to get a picture of how Obama intends to handle the economy, and whether or not these next four years will be prosperous ones or a fight for survival. Until then, I wish the best of luck to President Barack Obama as in the end of the day he must serve the interest of the people of the United States.

Obama Vs. Romney (Economic Policy)

 

 

In January either Romney or Obama will begin to form their economic policy for the next four years. Both candidates have different views on how to run the economy, with different aims as a result of their policy.

Since being initially elected Obama has stressed the importance of creating greater financial equality amongst the citizens of the United States. Alongside this there is the development of welfare within the country. Obama has attempted to implement social welfare and the redistribution of wealth by introducing what the Democrats consider fair taxes (middle-class tax cuts, upper class increase). Beyond that, he favoured the increase of federal minimum wage as to establish a method of efficiently redistributing wealth. It is true that Obama was handed the economy during a time of crisis, but the question always was whether it was Obama’s policy that ensured recovery or a natural occurrence. Moreover, during a time of recovery he attempted to implement a national health service.

Romney has always stressed strong links between the financial sectors in the United States, and his economic policy. To some extent Romney can be seen as a business man rather than a political leader. Following a capitalistic approach there is the avoidance of nationalising companies or subsidising them, in favour of keeping business private. There is also the use of contractionary policies in an attempt to reduce deficit. As a method of sustaining economic growth, Romney proposes to expand the military and invest in private security firms such as Halliburton. A major controversial aspect of his economic policy is the interest of reducing the top bracket of income tax. There is also the forethought that Romney wants a U.S. with less reliance on foreign imports for its consumption. This is important in regard to the manner in which Romney would handle trade deficit, and what kind of trade relationships can be expected now.

Both politicians have valid policies backed by theory. Neither of them have the ultimate solution to develop an economy that will grow, while cutting unemployment, as well as improving the quality of people’s lives. Now all we can do is what and see who will be elected, and who will recant possible false promises on what can be done to improve the economy.