It's always interesting to delve into the meaning of slogans. "Country First" was the slogan that was used by Arizona Senator John McCain during his 2008 presidential campaign. It is a good sounding slogan. Country First, on its face, should mean what is best for the nation as a whole. As we approach a government shutdown just after midnight on Tuesday, October 1st, many of those that are trying to hold the nation hostage over the implementation of Obamacare would do well to think about Country First.
Most analysts predict that a government shutdown would affect more than 800,000 federal workers who are classified as nonessential and could be furloughed, including many D.C. local government workers. Many more would face various other consequences. Those affected also tend to be those who are most vulnerable to delayed paychecks. That is, Americans who really can't afford to be without their pay for even short periods of time. A government shutdown would likewise affect citizens who may have need to access those government services deemed to be nonessential.
October 1st is also the date that the Obamacare health insurance marketplaces go into effect. It is well established that close to 50 million Americans are without health insurance and could not afford it prior to the Affordable Care Act becoming the law of the land. These millions of Americans, many who work every day, but still can't afford medical care, will now have the opportunity to obtain care at rates which will be affordable to them. Ironically, the so-called individual mandate that is going into effect under Obamacare was an idea that Republicans first introduced. It would be good for the nation, so they argued. Now, because it has become the signature act of President Barrack Obama, Country First, has less meaning. Indeed, those that are opposed to Obamacare would rather see the Country fail, than to be first. The Marketplace going into effect on October 1st will allow those millions of Americans who use to worry about getting sick or even getting a check-up to avoid getting sick will now have access to find quality health insurance. There is nothing about the Affordable Care act that is un-American or not in the nation's best interests.
Less than a week ago, Texas Senator Ted Cruz launched into a 21-hour statement in the Senate opposing Obamacare. In light of the urgent need for millions of Americans to have access to affordable health care, the need for the government to operate efficiently, and most important the demand by so many citizens that Washington get its act together, all Republican Senator Cruz could offer was Green Eggs and Ham. Country First, please.
Michael A. Hardy, Esq. is General Counsel and Executive Vice-President to National Action Network (NAN). He has been involved in many of this nation's highest profiled cases involving violations of civil or human rights. He continues to supervise National Action Network's crisis unit and hosts a monthly free legal clinic at NAN New York City's House of Justice.