Example Of Political Conflict Research Paper
Since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, in 2010 (Clement & Craighill, 2014, p. 1), the Americans have been divided in their support or opposition of it. Those who favor it believe that the law would provide Americans with affordable and more comprehensive health insurance (Amadeo, n.d., p. 1). On the other hand, those who oppose it dislike the higher tax rates that the law would impose, as well as the individual mandate that requires every American to purchase coverage (Clement & Craighill, 2014, p. 1). Moreover, not all Americans would need all the benefits included in the universal health coverage, but they would be prohibited from purchasing a private health insurance. In addition, those who refuse to purchase the universal health insurance will have to pay a tax in exchange.
This division in sentiments with regards to the Affordable Care Act is further exacerbated by the fact that the country’s political parties are on opposing sides on the issue. While Democrats support it, Republicans openly oppose it and even propose replacing it with another program. As reported by Clement and Craighill (2014, p. 1), 76 percent of Democrats support Obamacare while only 44 percent of Independents and only 20 percent of Republicans do so (Clement & Craighill, 2014, p. 1).
Aside from the aforementioned causes for the support or opposition of the program, Blodget (2013, p. 1) suggests that another reason that Republicans are opposed to the Obamacare program is that people might like it. This implies that the Republicans might lose voters to the Democrats (Blodget, 2013, p. 1).
Cause of the Conflict
The conflict or disagreement over the Affordable Care Act can be explained by the Relative deprivation theory, which was posited by Box-Steffensmeier and colleagues (Macleans, 2012, p. 149). It asserts that “if people perceive that there is a gap between what they ate currently getting and what they deserve to get, it creates discontentment” (Macleans, 2012, p. 149). It brings about a feeling that the society owes them. In particular, this gap can refer to their value expectations and how they anticipate their capabilities’ value. This gap in turn creates a discrepancy between what people feel they are entitled to from a society and what they believe they will get. This theory emphasizes the degree of the economic inequality in a community.
In the case of the disagreement over the Obamacare program, those who favor it feel that it is a way for economic inequity to be addressed in that it would allow low-income individuals to avail of health coverage. On the other hand, those who oppose it feel that it would be unfair for their taxes to be increased in order to fund the program. There may be a feeling of resentment towards the notion of having to pay for other people’s health coverage. Economic inequity may also be felt in that the program would mandate everyone to avail of a comprehensive health coverage, in turn depriving them of the ability to choose and pay only for the features that they need.
Resolution of the Conflict
A theory that can be applied for the resolution of the conflict over the Affordable Care Act is the Principled Negotiation model by Roger Fisher and William Ury (Dixit, 2004, p. 1). This was developed based on the Cooperative Model by Morton Deutsche, which posits that a cooperative disposition would create an atmosphere of trust , which would eventually lead to settlement options that would be beneficial for both parties.
The first step in Principled Negotiation is to separate the people from the problem. In this step, the conflicting parties should recognize that the conflict is not between the Democrats and the Republicans per se but on whether the program would be of benefit to the people. In this regard, the Republicans should not oppose the program just because it is an initiative of the opposing political party. In the same manner, the Democrats should not completely disregard comments or feedback from the Republicans just because they are the opposition.
The second step is to focus on interest rather than on position. In this case, the interest is to enable all Americans to have access to healthcare. As reported by Blodget (2013, p. 1), although more Americans oppose the Obamacare program, surveys indicate that more Americans are actually in favor of the features and implications of the program. For example, Kaiser’s March 2013 poll showed that 88% are in favor of providing tax credits for small businesses to buy insurance; 84% are in favor of closing the Medicare drug benefit doughnut hole; 76% are in favor of extending dependent coverage to offspring until the age of 26; 71% are in favor of expanding Medicaid; 66% are in favor of including coverage for preexisting conditions; and 57% are in favor of the employer mandate (Blodget, 2013). In this regard, the conflicting parties should focus on these interests of the American people rather than on their own political interests.
The third step is to generate various options before settling on an agreement, and the Furth step is to insist that the agreement be based on objective criteria (Dixit, 2004). Again, this means that the resolution to the conflict should be based on what’s good for the American people and should not involve the ill feelings and personal opinions that the conflicting parties may have against each other.
Amadeo, K. (n.d.). Obamacare pros and cons. Retrieved from
Blodget, H. (2013, October 2). Republicans hate Obamacare because they're afraid people will
like it. Business Insider. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/why-republicans-hate-obamacare-2013-10
Clement, S. & Craighill, P. M. (2014, March 31). Democrats’ support for Obamacare surges. The
Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-
Dixit, M. (2004, October 20). Theories of conflict resolution : An analysis. Retrieved from
Macleans, M. (2012, November). Application of the theories that explain the causes of
civil conflicts in Zimbabwean conflicts. African Journal of Political Science and
International Relations, 6(7), 142-154. doi: 10.5897/AJPSIR11.134.
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