With the new Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, passed by the Supreme Court, many are saying Barack Obama may be a one-term president, but at least he set us on the path towards free healthcare. Any truth to those statements?
A little bit, which is to say President Obama and Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi are not in the position that President Lyndon B. Johnson was with massive Democratic majorities in the House and the Senate. They are not in the position that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was in, three terms of presidency and massive majorities and a friendly Supreme Court. Obama and Pelosi understood very clearly they had a 5-4 court, a filibustered Senate and to still push the Affordable Care Act through was a courageous, non-political decision. I don’t know if we’re moving toward universal healthcare because the European nations who have it are themselves [are in troubled times]. The austerity measures in Europe have demonstrated how fragile the notion of a social safety net is especially when those societies become more diverse. The European Union is freaking out because there’s all of these non-Western European countries that are a part of it now so it has to manage a much broader notion of what it means to be European. Former imperial nations like Great Britain and France are coping with North African and Asian immigrants, the colonies coming to the home. But I do think that we are within five years of full coverage for American citizens. Now the problem is, America also has millions of people who are not citizens and we’ve passed such a restrictive healthcare mandate that we have not addressed the reality that we must also provide healthcare for non-citizens.
Switching gears, I heard your husband took you to South Africa for a date?
James and I went to Capetown for our fourth date, we [didn’t live in the same city and] had just started dating. The most surprising experience was a conversation with a waiter and his wife while out one night. They lived in a township and were talking about their lives. He was feeling the post-apartheid reality of Capetown which is not as a free spirited as Johannesburg. But when he found out I was from New Orleans, this man who lives in post-apartheid South Africa in a township says to us, ‘I’m sorry your government hates you’ and I was like, ‘Oh shit.’
What are your favorite travel spots?
Barcelona, it is the only place that’s ever made me think I could live outside of New Orleans. I fell in love with Paris, even though we went in the winter and it was extremely cold but the food was ridiculous! In Italy, we spent most of our time in Venice and only spent two days in Rome. I regret that. [When we got to the city] I thought, ‘Why didn’t I know about Rome?’