I have been worried about the survival of the Affordable Care Act and blaming Republican politicians for their seeming determination to trash it now that they have a majority representation in the U.S. Congress.
But maybe I have been too hasty in placing the blame for a federal government that seems to be running around in circles.
In his State of the Union Address last week, President Barack Obama had positive words to say about the ACA.
"More of our people are insured than ever before," he said, while listing the achievements of his administration. "In the past year, 10 million Americans have gained the security of health coverage."
A report by The Commonwealth Fund confirms that, according to a 2014 survey:
·Fewer Americans reported they are missing out on necessary health care because they cannot afford it.
·The number of people who reported having difficulty paying medical bills dropped by 14 percent, This is the first time there was a drop in this reported figure in nine years.
·The percentage of uninsured adults has fallen to its lowest level since 2002.
These numbers, supported by other polls as well, show the ACA is fulfilling its purpose of providing health care to people who, before its enactment, could not pay for it.
Obama commented it would continue to work "as long as politics does not get in the way."
That's exactly why it has angered me to hear Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, voice his opposition to the ACA.
"It is beyond fixing," he has been quoted as saying. "It needs to be pulled out root and branch, and we need to start over."
Remarks like this have been polarizing Congress and the American people on so many issues in recent years, and until now, I have placed all the blame on Republicans.
But while listening to Obama address Congress last week, I realized his administration and the Democrats, who back it up, are also a part of the problem.
During his address, I was surprised to hear our Democratic president call for a long list of "tax and spend" programs as his proposals for the initiatives he hopes to bring to a largely Republican Congress, which will strongly oppose them in his final two years.
Somehow, I had hoped he might offer some indication of a willingness to compromise with a House and Senate heavily weighted with Republicans in an effort to actually accomplish something worthwhile before retiring from office.
Instead, he seemed to be drawing a line in the sand and declaring we can expect more of the same during his final years in office.
Offering government-supported child care and free community college tuition are admirable initiatives, but I think he will have little chance of this Congress approving the funding for these and other costly programs he proposed in his speech.
So now I see clearly a change in attitude needs to come from both sides of the aisle.
Obama told Congress, "My only agenda for the next two years is to do what is best for America."
I hope all of them can find a way of working together to make that happen.