The Legislative wing of the US government is charged with the responsibility of making laws and having oversight over the Executive arm of government. This means that any effort by the Executive to institute major reforms in the country has to go through the Legislature since most reforms must be instituted through statutes.
This doesn’t always happen since both arms of government don’t always see eye to eye and the losers are mainly the US citizens. The health sector is one of the most fundamental areas of the American society and laws regulating the sector have dire consequences for the lives of all American people.
It is therefore important that the Legislature works closely with the Executive to ensure that necessary laws meant to make health accessible to all are passed and assented to by the president.
The American Legislature is unique on several grounds in its mandate of making laws and having oversight over other arms of government. The Legislature has two houses: the House of Representatives and the Senate. Laws therefore have to pass both houses before they can make their way to the president’s desk for assent (The White House, 2011).
This might sound straight forward and simple but it’s a complicated process and the possibility of any bill to complete the process is slim. The underlying principle is to ensure that only bills which are comprehensive, worthy and suitable for our society make it through the two houses and become law. In reality, this means that most bills regarding health issues die during the long process bills undergo before they become laws.
Times topics (2011) have also shown that even bills which pass congress can be contested in a court of law by those officials who feel that the laws passed unfairly. To understand the factors that dictate the life of any health related bill, it is necessary to understand the various factors which promote or hinder the success of such a bill.
The health sector is unique and diverse and the number of players in this field makes the process of making laws for this sector complicated. The health sector consists of health professionals and the facilities which they manage and operate. These include hospitals both public and private, nursing homes, therapy centres among others. Professionals in these institutions include doctors, nurses, technicians and many others.
Medical companies are also considered to be stakeholders in the health sector since their products, drugs and equipments, are the vital components which doctors and other practitioners use to treat patients. These corporations are huge and have enormous influence over the way congress approach the issue of health.
This sector cannot be reformed without evaluating the role of insurance companies especially those in the business of providing health cover to Americans. America is the only major power without universal health coverage and private insurance companies play a major role in the sector since a majority of the American people depend on insurance to pay their medical bills.
Armed with the above information, it is therefore possible to appreciate the kind of hurdles any health bill would have to jump before it can see the light of day in its intended form. Any bill brought before Congress not only depends on the will of the elected officials but requires input from the people and all the relevant stakeholders.
This means that stakeholders like big insurance companies and medical companies have the resources and influence to affect the legislative process to ensure that bills that favor them pass and those detrimental to them dies.
Needless to say the president still holds veto power over bills and can refuse to assent to bills he deems biased or unfavorable to the country. Both houses would need a two thirds majority if they are to override a presidential veto, a fact which shows how interdependent the legislative process is with the other arms of government.
The White House. (2011).The Legislative Branch. Retrieved from https://www.whitehouse.gov/about-the-white-house/the-legislative-branch/
Times Topics. (2011, December 6). Health Care Reform. New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/topic/subject/health-care-reform