Domestic Policy Challenges in America

1002 words | 4 page(s)

The leaders of our country face many problems. The ones that happen here at home are called domestic policy. Three of those domestic policies are healthcare, illegal immigration, and energy production and its impact on the environment.

Health care in America is very expensive. According to Dan Magnan of CNBC, nearly 1.7 million people filed for bankruptcy in 2013 as the result of medical bills they couldn’t pay. The government has tried to deal with this problem through what is called redistributive policy (Schmidt 297). This led to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Schmidt 298). However, this only happened after the healthcare problem became part of the government’s agenda.

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Before this law was passed, the government was already involved in health care. There is Medicare, a program for people over the age of 65, and Medicaid, which helps low-income people get medical care. Both of these programs are very expensive. They will only get worse as more people become eligible (Schmidt 299). When the number of uninsured Americans is added, as well as the fact that healthcare keeps getting more expensive, the problem seems overwhelming (Schmidt 299-300).

After health care became part of the agenda, lawmakers started doing policy formulation, trying to solve the problem. Some came out in favor of universal health care, but others were concerned that the cost would be too high. But in 2008, Barack Obama became President. He had enough fellow Democrats to help him make a new healthcare law (Schmidt 300).

The third part of this process is policy adoption. This is what happened in 2010 when the Affordable Care Act became law. But no one got exactly what they wanted. While some people will be able to buy insurance, there won’t be universal healthcare for all. And there will be new taxes to pay for the program. Public support has gone up and down as the bill was argued and passed (Schmidt 300-301). Now that the bill has become law, there are still many people who don’t like it. Many state governments are also opposed, and their lawyers have challenged the Affordable Care Act in court (D’Agnostino and Rich National Law Review.com). They claim it is unconstitutional. Right now, though, the law is still in place (Schmidt 302).

Illegal immigration is another problem that must go through getting on the agenda, getting a policy formulated, and getting a policy adopted. Many people who are in the United States illegally want to stay. Sometimes they are married to someone who is a citizen, and sometimes they have children who have been born here. Being born in the United States makes you a citizen, so if the government sends some illegal immigrants back to their home countries, their children would have to go with them or stay behind and be alone (Schmidt 304).

Some people think that all these extra people are a good thing. After all, our birthrates keep dropping, and someone has to do all those jobs. But many people think that illegal immigration is wrong and harms American workers by taking jobs away. There are many laws against illegal immigrants, but sometimes the states can’t even enforce them (Brzycki UPI.com).

Illegal immigration is also a political issue. Many immigrants vote for Democrats, and sometimes the Republicans seem like they don’t care about families who are trying to stay in America (Schmidt 305). Some people think that part of the problem is that white men don’t want to become powerless. Until now, they have been able to vote in their candidates. Now there are many non-whites who may change that. People who write laws have to try to keep the border secure and still not make the mass of immigrants angry.

Energy independence is an important issue, too. We get a lot of our oil from countries in the Middle East, and those areas aren’t always friendly. We get oil from Canada and Mexico, too, but we still have to pay other countries for oil. Many people think it’s a good idea for us to get our own oil right here (Schmidt 305). There is a lot of oil in the United States, but it’s not always in oil wells. Sometimes workers have to use water and chemicals, pumped into the rock. This is called fracking (Schmidt 306). It works, but a lot of people are worried about the environment. What if our water supply gets those chemicals in it? What if there are other problems like oil spills?

Most Republicans and Democrats don’t agree about this issue, either. The Democrats want more alternative energy. These are things like wind and solar power. The Republicans want to let people do fracking and make money while giving us oil (Schmidt 306).

Finally, there is something called global warming or climate change. Many scientists think that pollution is causing Earth to warm up, and that will lead to storms and many other problems. Some Democrats believe we have to act now to stop this. But many people who vote Republican think the idea of climate change is mostly a hoax (Schuster State News.com). They don’t want to make any new laws about it if it will cost lots of money. So the President and Congress have to keep working on climate change and other policies. They are trying to find answers that will make most of the people happy. But with so many people and so much pressure from all sides, is there any way to find good policy?

  • Brzycki, Catherine. “Opponents of immigration reform sticking to their guns.” United Press International, 15 October 2013. http://www.upi.com
  • D’Agnostino, Lauren and J. Peter Rich. “Court Challenges Threaten ACA (Affordable Care Act.)” National Law Review, 2 January 2014. http://www.natlawreview.com
  • Magnan, Dan. “Medical Bills are the Biggest Cause of US Bankruptcies: Study.” CNBC.com, 25 June, 2013. http://www.cnbc.com
  • Schmidt, Steffen. American Government and Politics Today. Cengage Learning, 2013.
  • Schuster, Simon. “Climate change opponents, supporters gather for debates.” State News.com, 7 April 2013. http://statenews.com

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