Community reflects on President Obama’s first year

Despite differing perspectives on campus and around the community, there is a consensus that President Barack Obama had a complicated first year. However, community members will not as easily agree on his approach to health care.

Steve Maxwell, a Fort Worth attorney and chairman of the Tarrant County Democratic Party, said Obama’s first year has been a roller coaster filled with wars, economic crises and bipartisan discord.

“To take that on, just in and of itself, to be able to process it all, is an accomplishment all by itself,” Maxwell said.

Hannah Goble, an assistant professor of political science at the university, said she believes the Obama administration tried to learn a lesson from the Clinton administration on how to undertake health care reform. Goble said the Clinton administration drafted a health care bill in the White House, leaving Congress out of the plan.

“The Obama administration does the opposite task, where they say, ‘We want to have these broad policy goals, and then you in Congress can actually work out the details yourself,'” Goble said.

Carolyn Cagle, an assistant professor for the Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences, said there are a lot of good ideas out there regarding a national health care system.

“I like the idea, and I hope it will stay in legislation about covering pre-existing conditions and looking at community programs that focus on groups of people to promote health,” Cagle said.

Michael Bennett, a senior political science and religion major, said he has reservations about a national health care system.

“I have a problem with the government having more say in people’s everyday lives; (that’s) kind of my main problem with it,” said Bennett, who serves as president of TCU College Republicans. “And we’re looking at how the government handled other things, and that hasn’t been very good. Look at Medicare and Medicaid.”

Maxwell said he is concerned not only about how the proposed health care system would work, but also how it is going to be paid for. He said he believes a comprehensive and far-reaching health care bill will be passed, but it will be expanded or contracted depending on the support the bill receives.

Goble also said she believes a health care bill will be passed.

“I think there is some basic agreement on policy points that I think they can get through both the House and the Senate,” Goble said. “But it will not be, I would suspect, the comprehensive reform that Obama was hoping for.”

Cagle said she believes parts of the bill will be passed, but some alterations will be done, such as testing out some additional access for certain parts of the population or changing available services.

“I think the health care reform will try to cover younger generations, and some of that will be by mandating private insurers, health care insurers, and allow younger generations to stay under parental policies,” Cagle said.

If college students were given the option to buy health insurance, many would choose not to because they do not consider themselves to be in need of health care services, Goble said.

Bennett said he believes many students would not want the additional financial obligation like health insurance.

“You wouldn’t want extra fees on top of, you know, paying tuition or student loans and rent and everything else and have to pay an extra, however much they decide is the right amount, just because you need to buy into their health care option,” Bennett said.

Maxwell said Social Security received much resistance in the 1930s, but when it went into effect, many Americans realized it was vital to their well-being at the time.

“Whenever major, radical change takes place on the scope of a social security program or a Medicaid/Medicare program, or now, a national health care system, it’s extraordinary, unprecedented and occurs only at unique times in our nation’s history,” Maxwell said. “This may not be the time for that national health care system.”

For a detailed look at the health care bills, take a look at this infographic here or on our Flickr page.