It is no secret that the major American political parties (Democratic and Republican) have drastically different views on major health policy issues. These days, it is very rare to see a legislator cross party lines in terms of their opinions on hot button issues. For example, in the debate on abortion, the Democratic Party strongly supports a woman’s right to choose while the Republican Party (often referred to as the Grand Old Party, or the GOP) is strongly anti-abortion. As we discussed last week, Democrats strongly support gun control legislation while the GOP is firmly focused on protecting the rights of gun owners. Republicans strongly support a locally-run health care system that prioritizes individual choice and responsibility in payment while Democrats advocate for a nationalized, publicly funded health care system. (Read more about the GOP platform here (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. and the Democratic Party platform here (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..) The list goes on and on of health and related issues on which Democrats and Republicans staunchly disagree. And as we see during nearly every election season, there are intensely heated debates on these topics. The lingering question, though, is why there is such vehement disagreement. What is influencing these diametrically opposed points of view? How do the parties develop their political platforms? What influences people, and specifically politicians/legislators, to align with their political party’s platform so closely? And, perhaps more importantly, why can’t the parties reach any kind of consensus?

The modules in this course are one week in length. Time goes quickly, so remember to post early! Get in the habit of checking the discussions as often as you can to see what others have posted and to respond. The earlier in the week that you begin posting, the deeper the conversation and learning will be.

The first question in this discussion is opinion and/or experience-based, so jump right into the discussion immediately. For subsequent questions please meaningfully integrate your readings including the text, articles, and module notes into your posts.

In this discussion, share your thoughts on why you believe the major political parties have such drastically varying views about health policy issues. Use the following questions to help shape your initial response:

  • What health policy issues significantly divide the political parties?
  • Where do the differences in opinion originate from?
  • Why are the parties so diametrically opposed on many health policy issues?
  • Why do legislators rarely vote “across party lines” on controversial health policy issues?
  • What could be done, if anything, to help find common ground and consensus on hot button policy issues?

Then, respond to your classmates. How did your thoughts differ from your classmate’s? What important points did your classmate raise that you could expand on? What examples could you share that would highlight the difference in thinking between you and your classmate? How does your lens (your personal experiences, background, learning, etc.) affect your thinking on this subject, and how does your lens differ from that of your classmate?

Consult the Discussion Posting Guide for information about writing your discussion posts. It is recommended that you write your post in a document first. Check your work and correct any spelling or grammatical errors. When you are ready to make your initial post, click on “Reply.” Then copy/paste the text into the message field, and click “Post Reply.”

To respond to a peer, click “Reply” beneath her or his post and continue as with an initial post.


This discussion will be graded using a rubric. Please review this rubric prior to beginning the discussion. You can view the rubric on the Course Rubrics page within the Start Here module. All discussions combined are worth 25% of your final course grade.

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