Thursday’s Supreme Court decision upholding President Obama’s Affordable Care Act extends health insurance to over 30 million Americans, but also presents new financial obstacles. The monumental ruling will have far-reaching effects on this year’s Presidential race and is already beginning to influence the rhetoric used by Governor Romney and President Obama. Their speeches following the announcement presented a stark contrast. Romney emphasized the political and economic ramifications of the Affordable Care Act, whereas the President pursued a different route altogether: He relied heavily on the human implications of the bill (as Jodi Kantor correctly predicted he would on Thursday’s NOW). During his speech, the President referenced a framed letter in his office from a cancer survivor who lost her insurance because of increasing rates. He cited the anecdote and the well-being of all Americans as his motivation for supporting the controversial bill, not political strategy.
In the ongoing campaign season, it’s easy to forget that politicians are expected to protect the rights and address the needs of the people. This year, the partisan divide begs the question: Should politics attempt to foster a strong economic core through supporting businesses – large or small – or through a more grassroots approach that directly addresses the constituents? The speeches by President Obama and Governor Romney exemplify this fundamental divide.