Tucson Progressive

Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona

The Yin & Yang of Public Policy: Can We Achieve Balance?

Yin and Yang mosaic

The Yin and Yang.

On one hand, the news media often tells us that we are a country divided. Social media fuels this idea with countless stories of political and ideological intransigence despite mounting societal needs.

On the other hand, the news media also often tells us how much the general population agrees on certain topics. For example, although Congressional Republicans have been working for seven years to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA or “Obamacare”) and return to the glory days of market-driven health insurance, polls show an increasing majority of Americans “believe the federal government has a responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage.”

An Associated Press story published today reported that “Americans overwhelmingly want lawmakers of both parties to work out health-care changes, with only 13 percent supporting Republican moves to repeal ‘Obamacare’ absent a replacement.”

“Nearly everyone wants changes to the Obama law, while hardly anyone wants to see it abolished without a substitute in place,” according to the AP. If 80-90% of Americans think Republicans and Democrats should work together on healthcare insurance reform, why not do this? Why the complete disconnect between what the people want, what’s good for the health of the population, and what the Republicans in Congress are doing?

Elysium

An old meme from 2014 refers to the movie Elysium, where Matt Damon and others are doomed to live on Earth with no workplace safety, no health insurance and squalid conditions, while the rich live on a floating space station (Elysium) with luxuries including a machine that heals disease.

Are unbalanced public policies that favor the rich and big corporations over the needs of the public the reason our country is so divided? Think about it. “Think tanks,” special interest groups, and lobbyists control much of the legislation that goes through the Arizona Legislature (and most likely the Congress). In 2017, many of bills that we heard in the House were designed to benefit one corporation OR just handful of them OR to push an ideological agenda against the will of the people. If special interest groups are writing our laws, no wonder so many laws ignore ignore the public good.

When Senate Republicans failed to pass their mean-spirited repeal and replace bill this week, President Trump chided them and ordered them to “just repeal it!” Really? Repeal with no clue? The Republican Party is poised to throw 20-30 million Americans’ lives into chaos by taking away their health care insurance– just to fulfill a campaign promise. Who does this serve? Obviously not the people. No one wants the return of pre-existing conditions, gender-based price discrimination, widespread medical bankruptcy, price disincentives for preventive screening, or health insurance plans that don’t cover much.

Recently, I have been inspired by Unitarian Universalist philosopher Rev. Rosemarie Carnarius‘ book “Envisioning a New World”. In it, she applies the Taoist concept of balancing the yin and yang to public policy.  The Arizona Daily Star recently published my guest opinion on balanced public policy: “In Politics, Individual Liberty Has Been Promoted Over Social Responsibility.” 

Carnarius proposes consciously balancing yin (responsibility) and yang (liberty) in public policy. If you look at school choice, gun control, banking, and the ACA repeal plans through the prism of liberty versus responsibility, it is obvious that individual liberty is being promoted over the social responsibility and the common good. Other policies like abortion restrictions, voter suppression, or jail for minor drug offenses go the other way; individual liberty is subservient.

The Star editorial focused primarily on health insurance reform, but I will be expanding on the balanced public policy theme in two nonpartisan lay sermons on “Balancing Responsibility and Liberty: the Yin and Yang of Public Policy” at Unitarian Universalist churches this month. Here are the Facebook events.

July 23: Mountain Vista Unitarian Universalist Church, which is temporarily meeting at Green Fields Country Day School. Service starts at 10:30.

July 30: Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson on 22nd St. Service starts at 10:30.

If your group would like me to speak on this or other legislative topics, contact me through the Arizona House  or Facebook or send me a Facebook Messenger note.

To stay up-to-date, consider signing up for my mailing list or following my blog here.

Cross-posted from PowersForThePeople.net.

 

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About

The Tucson Progressive: Pamela Powers Hannley

I stand on the side of Love. I believe in kindness to all creatures on Earth and the inherent self-worth of all individuals--not just people who agree with me or look like me.

Widespread economic and social injustice prompted me to become a candidate for the Arizona House, representing Legislative District 9 in the 2016 election. My platform focuses on economic reforms to grow Arizona's economy, establish a state-based public bank, fix our infrastructure, fully fund public education, growlocal small businesses and community banks, and put people back to work at good-paying jobs. I also stand for equal rights, choice, and paycheck fairness for women. I am running as a progressive and running clean.

My day job is managing editor for the American Journal of Medicine, an academic medicine journal with a worldwide circulation. In addition, my husband and I co-direct Arizonans for a New Economy, Arizona's public banking initiative. I am a member of the national board of the Public Banking Institute, and I am co-chair of the Arizona Democratic Progressive Caucus, the largest caucus of the Arizona Democratic Party.

I am a published author, photographer, videographer, clay artist, mother, nana, and wife. I have a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ohio State University and a masters in public health from the University of Arizona. I grew up in Amherst, Ohio, but I have lived in Tucson, Arizona since 1981. I am a proud member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson and the Public Relations Society of America.

My Tucson Progressive blog and Facebook page feature large doses of liberal ideas, local, state, and national politics, and random bits of humor. I also blog at Blog for Arizona and the Huffington Post.

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