The government, in its complexity, is one of the most sophisticated and effective organizations. Especially with the U.S. government, having the necessary apparatus and organization to manage the country, economy, and population at the scale of one of the largest, most developed, and most powerful nations in the world. This paper will aim to discuss three topics from the course that were the most interesting and then go on to discuss a political problem of healthcare costs.
Civil rights are defined as the protections and guarantees for equal social opportunities regardless of race, gender, religion, and other self-defining characteristics. These include various legally protected rights such as voting, access to healthcare and education, government services, and other freedoms that are protected by law from infringement by either government or private entities (Schmidt 1). Everyone knows the Civil Rights Movement in the aftermath of WWII, where African Americans fought against segregation and eventually made it illegal with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. However, civil rights extend to the modern day, facing both protections and infringements. These rights are the foundation of democracy and a healthy society in which individuals have certain freedoms and ‘inalienable rights that are protected by the Constitution. Civil rights are critical to upholding democracy as a society with respect for human rights, and fundamentals can allow for open civic participation and universal suffrage (Perez).
Executive Branch of Government
The executive branch of the government is one of the three branches of the US government apparatus. It includes the President, cabinet, executives, and various federal agencies, which have the primary responsibilities of carrying out and enforcing laws, guiding policy, and engaging in the day-to-day governance of the country. The US government consists of three branches to ensure separation of power and a system of checks and balances. Despite the extensive executive power given to a US president, they are limited in many ways by structure, and good governance and policy require cooperation with the legislative branch of Congress. One of the most interesting things learned is the executive branch stretches beyond the President and the Cabinet or other officials in the White House. The wide network of agencies is part of the executive branch, existing to regulate and govern various aspects of the nation’s important industries and sectors ranging from healthcare to agriculture to economics, and many more (Hayes). The federal mechanism of the United States is extensively complex and large, but this allows for competent and professional management by professionals in their respective fields.
Federalism is one of the primary foundations of the US government system, where the Constitution establishes a division of power between the federal government and the state governments. While the federal government has a wide range of Constitutional powers, particularly dealing with the nation such as levying taxes or conducting foreign policy, the state governments are given specific powers such as establishing local governments, regulating state commerce, make and enforcing various laws. The concept of federalism in the United States was established at the origin point of the country as the Constitution was being created. Some of the Founding Fathers feared a strong central federal government, believing it might mimic the actions of a monarchy, so states were given a broad range of powers. After an unsuccessful attempt with the Articles of Confederation in 1781, where too much power at the state level resulted in chaos due to a weak centralized system, the Constitution was ratified in 1787, which established a balance between the two (Rosenthal and Joseph). Federalism has been a point of contention throughout history, but federal and state governments managed to govern cohesively. In modern history, the power balance has gradually shifted towards the federal government, which creates the overarching policy, which is then adopted at the state level with some modifications.
One of the leading political problems that worry Americans is the overwhelming pricing of healthcare. The United States is one of the only countries that does not maintain some level of fundamental, accessible, and free healthcare for the population. The whole industry is private, based on a complex system of health insurance, providers, and government subsidies and regulations. While remaining private has allowed the US to achieve some of the best levels of care and innovation in terms of technology, medical research, and drugs – it has also resulted in skyrocketing costs. Therefore, one of the most fundamental services in modern society becomes inaccessible to a significant portion of the population, while placing an unreasonable financial burden on a large range of income groups who can access it. Nearly 1 in 5 US adults, or 18% of the population cannot access or does not have the finances for even basic healthcare, 8.9% are uninsured, while another 43% are underinsured (Gordon).
Healthcare cost is a significant political issue in the United States, with the two-party ideologies having drastically differing perspectives. Democrats are seeking to promote universal healthcare and greater access, while Republicans highly value the current private system of insurers and providers with minimal regulation. However, given the excessive rise in costs, the status quo must be changed. The best solution is creating a dual-level system similar to Australia and other countries, where basic medical services are offered under universal government coverage such as emergency care, chronic disease management, and maternal care. Meanwhile, more complex, specialized, or elective type of care is fulfilled similarly through private insurance or programs the likes of Medicare and Medicaid. This approach, along with establishing reasonable price ceilings for the elective procedures, can ensure the continuing function of a market-based system. At the same time, it also provides the necessary healthcare to the poor and vulnerable populations, even if at slightly lower quality and amenities.
Gordon, Deb. “For Millions of Uninsured Americans, The End of 2022 Open Enrollment Is Here.” Forbes, 2022, Web.
Hayes, Carl A. “The Executive Branch – Much More than the White House.” Indiana Bar Foundation, 2016, Web.
Rosenthal, Lee, and Gregory P. Joseph. “Foundations of U.S. Federalism.” Judicature, vol. 101, no. 1, 2017, Web.
Perez, Tom. “The Enduring Importance of Civil Rights.” CAP, 2011, Web.
Schmidt, Christopher W. Civil Rights in America. Cambridge University Press, 2020.