Introduction and Thesis Statement
The president performs as the main representative of the executive power. The rights and responsibilities of the US president are covered in Article II of the US Constitution.1 While many of his duties embrace the foreign policy and international relationships of the country, there are significant responsibilities for the US president to execute a leader’s role in domestic policy making. With time, the institution of the presidency in the United States of America has evolved and obtained more powers and fewer limitations.2 Such tendencies have been observed for several decades and are still developing in the direction of more freedom given to the president. Overall, being Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, the president acts following the word of Constitution. Moreover, he should work with determination to the well-being of US citizens by making decisions in terms of economic, healthcare, safety, and other domestic policies.
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However, making decisions in the most crucial areas of the state is not an easy task. The necessity of signing executive orders that will impact the country’s future and the lives of millions of people is influenced by the opinions of the members of the administration, the current state of affairs inside the country and many other factors. That is why the president himself does not make decisions but is influenced by the previous historical events and the decisions of his predecessors.3 For example, Donald Trump started his presidency by signing an executive order to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that had been introduced by President Barak Obama.
Such a decision was grounded not only on the drawbacks of the healthcare insurance system of the previous president but also by the fact that it was Trump’s obligation to fulfill the promises of the election campaign. Thus, this paper claims that despite the increased level of powers and freedoms for the president in the contemporary US politics, the role of the main representative of the executive branch is limited and influenced by other people in the administration, the historical and political events, as well as the bureaucratic politics and system. The importance of the subject depends on the observed changes in the contemporary institution of presidency and the shifts in governmental poser in the USA.
The President’s Role in Domestic Policy-Making
Decision-making is the main role the president plays in the political sphere. The responsibilities which the commander-in-chief embraces are multiple: diplomatic relations, legislative initiatives, and corrections, the power of veto. All these roles are derived from the constitutional provisions and might provide the president with the ability to establish domestic policies according to his preferences.4 However, the Senate, Congress, and the opinions of the advisors often impact the personal decisions of the president and require incorporation of multiple influential factors to carry out a decent decision.
In addition, the president of the United States has the power to attribute responsibilities and duties to some individuals in terms of their resolution of some significant questions concerning domestic policy. During the time of his early presidency, Trump used some specific strategies that allowed him to influence domestic policy.5 According to Sollenberg and Rozell, presidents often use this power speculatively and undermine constitutional bases of the institution of the presidency.6 Indeed, often people, whom the authors call czars, are appointed by the president for the roles which predetermine the future of the country. However, the czars do not bear constitutional responsibility for their actions and might obscure the influence of other governmental entities on the policy-making process.
The style of leadership he chooses influences the overall outcomes of the policies but the president executes his decisions based on the support of his advisors and with regard to the urgent needs of the country. Indeed, according to the main document of the state, a president is obligated to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”7 Thus, the responsibility of the president is to ensure that the rights and freedoms of the US citizens are preserved. Since health and well-being are the main priorities of any society, the president’s decisions and policy-making in the field of medicine are of great importance. Donald Trump has repeatedly emphasized the need to reform the healthcare system of the USA during his pre-elections campaign. It was one of his main ideas as opposed to the performance of Barak Obama’s administration. Therefore the repealing and replacement of the Affordable Care Act was a priority for the early presidency of Trump. However, the constitutionality and morality of such a decision need to be discussed in more detail.
Description of the Example of Presidential Leadership
One of the first domestic policy decisions made by the newly elected president Trump in 2017 was eliminating the greatest achievement of his predecessor – the Affordable Care Act. Trump signed the executive order “promoting healthcare choice and competition across the United States” on October 12, 2017.8 Since it was the promise given during the campaign, there was a burden of obligation before the voters to remove the existing system of national insurance and medical system. According to Trump’s words, ACA “has severely limited the choice of healthcare options available to many Americans and has produced large premium increases in many State individual markets for health insurance.”9 Thus, the articulated issue that needed urgent resolution was the limited choice of insurance entities for the citizens.
In essence, it was aimed at facilitating the affordability of insurance for the Americans but placed more emphasis on the benefits of healthcare and insurance organizations not taking care of the economically disadvantaged citizens who much depended on the Affordable Care Act. Trump suggested changing the universal coverage and governmental help to the underprivileged population for a completely different system where private enterprises would have easier access to the sphere, and people would have a choice.10 The main argument the opponents of Obamacare have is that due to the expenses spent on the medical aid to the individuals with low income, it is not financially beneficial for the state to maintain the program.
The initial intention of Trump’s administration was to eliminate ACA completely and substitute it with a more flexible system where private entities would participate more freely. However, significant compromises had to be made because of the difficulty to remove Obama’s healthcare legislation from the US political reality. According to Rice et al., it was impossible to replace the existing medical system due to the legislative restrictions (the role of Senate and Congress in the ultimate decision-making) and the lack of an appropriate alternative to the system enacted by Obama.11 In result, partial changes introduced to ACA complicated the healthcare system in many states and imposed difficulties for those using the insurance according to the former legislation. Such a state of affairs justifies the claim that the president’s decision-making, as well as his role in domestic policy-making, are limited to the choices of actions he can make under the circumstances.
Evaluation of Presidential Leadership
According to the US Constitution, the president makes decisions favorable for the citizens of the United States and ensures the preservation of human rights for all Americans. Indeed, the ACA which provided general healthcare insurance and supported disadvantageous people imposed higher costs for those with higher incomes and limited the choice of insurance policies by the citizens. These drawbacks of Obamacare were broadly articulated in the presidential executive order.12 However, it seems unconstitutional to neglect care for people in need and prioritize finances. As it is stated in the article by Rice et al., “the repeal of the mandate will reduce the number of people purchasing coverage from the exchanges, which in turn will reduce federal outlays.”13 Therefore, it is economically profitable to change ACA, but the decisions made by the administration of the president are incomplete and fail to ensure the rights and freedoms of all the citizens of the state.
From a philosophical point of view, the value of Trump’s decision and leadership within the framework of ACA remaking is in that it provides the freedom of choice for every citizen of the country. The president’s main claim when signing the executive order initiating healthcare choice and competition across the United States was the elimination of the option limitations.14 It is true for both the patients seeking medical insurance or services and private insurance companies and healthcare entities. In theory, the people would obtain an opportunity to receive insurance policy at a non-governmental organization while private sector companies would have a chance to compete in the market and provide high-quality services for the customers.
However, the real situation shows the other side of the problem, where it is impossible to provide equal opportunities for all under the circumstances when there is no choice for the disadvantageous population. Thus, there occurs a controversy between equality and freedom of choice. The lack of economic equality and the disparity in the financial fortune of the US citizens does not allow for equalizing all the people in the question of insurance choice and healthcare protection options.
Another side of the philosophical evaluation of Trump’s decision on ACA repealing is connected with the perception of the image of the president. According to Edwards, Mayer, and Wayne, Donald Trump had demonstrated his leadership qualities before he became the president of the United States because he has always been a popular public figure.15 Due to his reputation as a decisive and strict leader, his actions might be dictated by the need to correspond to the public image. Also, the expectations of the voters whose support might have been based on Trump’s promise to eliminate Obamacare needed to be met for the president to preserve his well-known name and start the presidency with decisive measures. From a philosophical point of view, the actions of the chief decision-maker of the state are grounded on his personal beliefs, ambitions, and economic interests rather than on carrying out the constitutional obligations to guarantee well-being for the citizens.
One of the important biblical ideas is that people should always help those in need. As it is stated in the Bible, “carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). The elimination of the Affordable Care Act and the opportunities for people with no stable income to obtain quality care on governmental expenses does not seem to be biblical. Trump’s decision-making policy is deprived of justice, although the exemplified executive order claims to provide equal opportunity of choice for everyone. As stated in the article by Rice et al., the number of people without insurance increases under the influence of the legislative changes to ACA.16 It means that more people remain unprotected and do not use insurance as a way of affordable access to medical institutions. For those without proper financial means to live, the actions of the president are unjust and do not conform to the biblical ideas.
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In summary, the institution of the presidency in the United States of America is evolving and attributing more powers and freedoms to the commander-in-chief in terms of his responsibilities and influence on both foreign and domestic affairs. According to the US Constitution, as the chief decision-maker of the state, the president carries out legislative recommendations and executive orders according to the priorities of the state. Despite the growing power of the president to appoint staff and delegate responsibilities, as well as influence the legislative procedures by the power of veto, the policy-making process depends not only on the personal attitudes of the president but also on a variety of other factors. These factors include the opinions of the advisors, Congress’ and Senate’s power of influence, as well as influential external forces such as the decisions of prior governors or the general tendencies in the politics.
Therefore, as the analysis of the example of Trump’s executive order shows, presidential decisions might be non-constitutional, controversial from the point of you of the Bible and philosophy of morality. Regarding all the observed characteristics, the best role for the president is the execution of the most relevant issues influencing the life of the country by setting the priority on the interests of the citizens but not the benefits of his image or the profits for czars.
Cash, Jordan T., & Dave Bridge. “Donald Trump and Institutional Change Strategies.” Laws 7, no. 27 (2018): 1-21.
Edwards, George C., Kenneth R. Mayer, and Stephen J. Wayne. Presidential Leadership: Politics and Policy Making. 10th ed. Stamford, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2018. Web.
Rice, Thomas, Unruh, Lynn Y., van Ginneken, Ewout, Rosenau, Pauline, & Andrew J. Barnes. “Universal coverage reforms in the USA: From Obamacare through Trump.” Health Policy 122, no. 7 (July 2018): 698-702.
Sollenberger, Mitchel A., and Mark J. Rozell. The President’s Czars: Undermining Congress and the Constitution. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2012. Web.
White House. “Presidential Executive Order Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition Across the United States,” 2017. Web.
- US Constitution, art. 2.
- Sollenberger, Mitchel A., and Mark J. Rozell, The President’s Czars: Undermining Congress and the Constitution, (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2012), Web.
- Edwards, George C., Kenneth R. Mayer, and Stephen J. Wayne. Presidential Leadership: Politics and Policy Making,10th ed., (Stamford, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2018), Web.
- Cash, Jordan T., & Dave Bridge, “Donald Trump and Institutional Change Strategies.” Laws 7, no. 27 (July 2018): 5.
- Cash, Jordan T., & Dave Bridge, “Donald Trump and Institutional Change Strategies,” Laws 7, no. 27 (July 2018): 1.
- Sollenberg, Mitchel A., and Mark J. Rozell.
- US Constitution, art. 2, sec. 1.
- White House, “Presidential Executive Order Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition Across the United States,” (2017), Web.
- White House, para. 2.
- Rice, Thomas, et al., “Universal coverage reforms in the USA: From Obamacare through Trump,” Health Policy 122, no. 7 (2018): 698.
- Rice, 698.
- White House.
- Rice, 700.
- White House.
- Edwards, Mayer, and Wayne.
- Rice et al., 698.