Tag Archives: Health Care Reform

Health Care in 2011 – Regulate it as a Utility

Health care should be regulated as if it were a public utility.

For some I know that this will be a stretch, but health care access is a public need.

No, the Emergency Room (ER) does not represent acceptable health care access — and using the ER degrades the quality of care that folks receive and only treats the symptoms of those that cannot afford a regular doctor.

Life isn’t fair. Until it becomes so then our society, or any civilized society with any compassion for the less well off or aged without resources, will eventually demand better care and some uniformity in the delivery and cost of medical services.

I have health coverage, very good health coverage. I also know those that do not. They are not lazy, unproductive citizens — none are looking to get by on the public dime. of course, neither do they have many dimes, or dollars.

I am not advocating for free or socialized medicine and medical care. I am saying that no American citizen should ever have to worry about trading off healthcare for food, to pay their electric bill or to give up their home. Means testing is fine with me. Means-tested copays are too.

Whether it is ObamaCare or RyanCare — please look all Americans in the eye and tell us that if we need medical care that it will be available if we cannot afford or some insurer refuses to provide coverage or both.

Taking care of our fellow Americans when in need is neither left nor right, liberal nor conservative. It is just the American thing to do.


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$$ Follow the money – Who voted Yes or No on the Health Care Reform Act

Do $$ influence votes? Maybe. Maybe not.

View all political contributions at http://maplight.org/us-congress/bill/111-hr-3590/423082/contributions-by-vote

Senators voting ‘No’ on the Health Care Reform bill, just voted upon by the House, received an average of $595,820 in political contributions from anti-Obamacare Groups. Senators voting ‘Yes’ received an average of just $156,323 from pro support groups.

Republicans may have lost the health care reform bill vote but Republican senators raked in the cash over Democrats $3:1.

Some key senators voting ‘No’ got an incredible amount of money from groups against Obamacare:  Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) $1,543,267;  Bob Corker (R-TN) $1,358,939;  John Cornyn (R-TX) $1,315,356;  Jim DeMint (R-SC) $1,277,935.

The highest contribution received by any health care reform supporter was $632,550 by  Arlen Spector (D-PA); and next was Max Baucus (D-MT) with $444,539, but average ‘Yes’ vote only got $156,323.

For something to be so publicly unpopular as the health care reform bill , it is very counterintuitive that it was much cheaper $$ to get a ‘Yes’ vote than a ‘No’ $$$$$$ vote.

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A Republican Waterloo – Losing The Health Care Reform Vote May Hurt Republicans More Than Democrats

by Dennis Sanders, RepublicansUnited.us
Commentary by Bill Golden, Bill4DogCatcher.com

David J. Frum is a Canadian American conservative journalist active in both USA and Canadian politics, a former economics speechwriter for President George W. Bush, and founder of FrumForum.com (formerly NewMajority.com), a political group blog.

David Frum lets conservatives and Republicans have it for their intransigence during the health care debate:

At the beginning of this process we made a strategic decision: unlike, say, Democrats in 2001 when President Bush proposed his first tax cut, we would make no deal with the administration. No negotiations, no compromise, nothing. We were going for all the marbles. This would be Obama’s Waterloo – just as healthcare was Clinton’s in 1994.

Only, the hardliners overlooked a few key facts: Obama was elected with 53% of the vote, not Clinton’s 42%. The liberal block within the Democratic congressional caucus is bigger and stronger than it was in 1993-94. And of course the Democrats also remember their history, and also remember the consequences of their 1994 failure.

This time, when we went for all the marbles, we ended with none.

Could a deal have been reached? Who knows? But we do know that the gap between this plan and traditional Republican ideas is not very big. The Obama plan has a broad family resemblance to Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts plan. It builds on ideas developed at the Heritage Foundation in the early 1990s that formed the basis for Republican counter-proposals to Clintoncare in 1993-1994.

Barack Obama badly wanted Republican votes for his plan. Could we have leveraged his desire to align the plan more closely with conservative views? To finance it without redistributive taxes on productive enterprise – without weighing so heavily on small business – without expanding Medicaid? Too late now. They are all the law.

No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed. Even if Republicans scored a 1994 style landslide in November, how many votes could we muster to re-open the “doughnut hole” and charge seniors more for prescription drugs? How many votes to re-allow insurers to rescind policies when they discover a pre-existing condition? How many votes to banish 25 year olds from their parents’ insurance coverage? And even if the votes were there – would President Obama sign such a repeal?

by Dennis Sanders, RepublicansUnited.us

I totally agree. GOP leadership can huff and puff all they like, but they aren’t going muster any votes to take away something that has been given to them. It’s a nice issue to stir up the passions of the base for the next few years, but let’s face it: this legislation is here to stay.

Sure, conservatives and Republicans might have their revenge in November and pick up a few seats-something that will make the hardliners feel good- but in the end, this is victory for the Democrats. We will end up with a bill that will be in effect long after the leading GOP leaders have left Washington.

Ross Douthat has made fun of moderate Republicans in the past for basically becoming the accountants of the welfare state- allowing Democrats to have their big government programs, but making sure these plans were fiscally sound. What would have happened had the party allowed Olympia Snowe to help work out a deal that would have made health care reform more fiscally sustainable? What if an Orrin Hatch (who is not a moderate) or Bob Bennett had been able to force a tax on so-called “Cadillac Plans” that would help fund the deal and also lead to some meaningful reform on costs?

We will never know because the leadership made damn sure no Republican cooperated. I think in the long run, this will be the GOP’s Waterloo, a big spectacular loss. We can’t see it now, but give it five or ten years.

We lost this one, big time.

Bill4DogCatcher.com sez: Tactics may win battles but poor strategy loses or wins wars. The Republican strategy had no tactics except delay and obstruction, and their strategy was to hope that the TEA Party rallied enough support to scare the bejesus out of lawmakers. A war lost due to squandered opportunities to capture the conversation and to work for the American people.

Here is the Election 2010 scenario as I see it: there will be a constitutional challenge to the passage of the Health Care Reform. However, there is a degree to which that really doesn’t matter. Timing will reward the Democrats.

The Supreme Court will not hurriedly accept appeals to overturn the new Health Care Reform Act. Sometime in 2011 may be the earliest that they accept a challenge, late 2010 at the earliest. This is bad news for Republicans.

Between now and late spring 2010 there are no major political issues for Republicans to champion. They have put all of their hopes into a single issue and failed miserably. Their closest allies, the TEA Party in particular, already consider the GOP largely impotent and this just proves it. Republicans can expect to face challenges across the nation in their primaries and in the general election from third party and independent conservatives.

Between now and late summer 2010 the economy will make improvements. These improvements will be sufficient enough to make President Obama and the Democrats look like they are doing good things — although I do predict an economic downturn in late 2010: see 2010 Dog Catcher Predictions – Economics, from January 3, 2010.

The Democrats, despite their historic ability to grab defeat from the jaws of victory, will do well enough in November 2010 to maintain control of one or both houses of Congress. The Republicans — between now and November 2010 — will descend into self-pity, playing pin the tail on the donkey, anger and will remain without a strategy.

There are issues that Republicans can win on in November but they will need to listen to cooler heads — and I think that there are some smart folks in the TEA party that actually have the basis for a winning plan, although TEA must work to overcome their negative imagery: one part deserved and one part the natural way politics works when there is strong disagreement and your opponent wants to paint you as being on the edge … about to fall off.

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Victory defeated. Is health-care reform constitutional?

Is health-care reform constitutional?

From the Washington Post of March 21st, 2010:

With the House set to vote on health-care legislation, the congressional debate on the issue seems to be nearing its conclusion. But if the bill does become law, the battle over federal control of health care will inevitably shift to the courts. Virginia’s attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli II, has said he will file a legal challenge to the bill, arguing in a column this month that reform legislation “violate[s] the plain text of both the Ninth and Tenth Amendments.” On Friday, South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster and Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum announced that they will file a federal lawsuit if health-care reform legislation passes.” (Randy E. Barnett, Sunday, March 21, 2010
Washington Post – Read the article)

Bill4DogCatcher sez: If I were a Supreme Court member I would probably strike down the senate version of the health care bill should it become law as unconstitutional. The ‘why’ has nothing to do with health care reform — we need it desperately. But focusing on ‘we need’ health care reform does not make the bill acceptable constitutionally. That creates only an emotional response but not logic.

Part of the problem in creating a national health care plan is that the U.S. Constitution just makes it hard to do; power resides in the states for all authority not explicitly given to the federal government. I do believe that the preamable of the Constitution gives some leeway in its statement of “… promote the general Welfare …” but the SCOTUS will ultimately require that a specific section of the constitution be referenced to either defend or to attack the constitutionality of the health care reform bill should it become law.

Article 1 – The Legislative Branch
Section 8 – Powers of Congress

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.

B4DC Comment: From here we get the Interstate Commerce Clause (ICC) regarding commerce among states. SCOTUS has repeatedly determined that Congress can regulate (health care, etc.) where there is interstate commercial activity. A challenge is that there is very little interstate transaction in the provision of health care in reality; insurance companies are almost always set up as subsidiaries at the state level — which is the real reason why we can’t buy health care across state lines.

Article 1 – The Legislative Branch
Section 9 – Limits on Congress

No capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.

B4DC Comment: You can’t exempt a portion of the population like union members, or an entire state for 10 years, from paying their fair share.

No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.

B4DC Comment: Every school child learns about this. Commerce, whether shoes – agriculture – health care, is regulated internal to a state. Only those industries that conduct interstate commerce can be regulated under the Interstate Commerce Clause – almost all health care is carefully conducted within states. If you have a national regulation it must be uniformly applied.

Amendment 9 – Construction of Constitution

The enumeration  in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

B4DC Comment: This is a food fight clause.

One interpretation of what this amendment means is that “The 9th Amendment is simply a statement that other rights aside from those listed may exist, and just because they are not listed doesn’t mean they can be violated.” A practical interpretation as regards the health care form bill: will some Americans lose their freedom to make decisions? Freedoms that they had prior? Yes.

Amendment 10 – Powers of the States and People

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

B4DC Comment: Very simple words to understand. Where does it give Congress the ability to create a service (health care) and then penalize people if they do not participate?

Good intentions are not enough. Overwhelming support for something to be done is not enough. Focus on trying to create a single solution at the national level may well be self-defeating regardless of whether Congress were even to vote for health care reform 535:0.

Bill4DogCatcher sez: As much as I believe health care reform is needed, and needed now, the senate version of health care reform is both unconstitutional and overreaching. If the senate bill should be passed by the House then it will be more of chimeral victory that will be defeated in the SCOTUS due to its many flawed provisions, rather than the total sum value of its intent.

The real shame in all of this is that real health care reform will fall by the wayside for perhaps a generation. Those professional politicians that accepted hundreds of millions of dollars throughout the 2000s to defeat health care reform will continue to collect beaucoup $$ and … we shall just have to see.

Bill Golden is an independent observer of economics, politics and human resource management issues. Politically conservative but considers himself to be both Coffee & Tea. Solutions come from dealing with reality, not emotional responses.


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Coffee Or Tea? They Have Lots In Common!

Watch CBS Interview of Coffee and TEA Party Representatives Online

The Coffee Party may have started as a reaction to the Tea Party, but the two movements share common goals, representatives of both groups said today on “Washington Unplugged.” They can even agree that a little shouting every now and then is tolerable.

TEA Party co-chairs Mark Meckler and Jenny Beth Martin plus Coffee Party spokesperson Alan Alborn met with CBS moderator John Dickerson for a joint interview and exchange of ideas on March 17th, 2010.

Alan Alborn, a spokesperson for the Coffee Party, said that his movement similarly feels “we’re not being heard, we’re under-represented, and we don’t have an outlet to share our issues.” And while the Coffee Party may seem like a “liberal” version of the Tea Party, “the fact is, everybody’s welcome,” said Alborn, who identifies as a fiscally conservative independent.

“We’re focused on obeying the law and being nonviolent,” added Tea Party co-chair Jenny Beth Martin. “Loud voices don’t necessarily mean anything but ‘listen to me.'”

Watch the full exchange below, as well as a preview of CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson’s CBS Evening News report on the so-called “Slaughter rule”.

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Schoolhouse Rock- How a Bill Becomes a Law

Back in the day (1970s) when we were trying to reestablish faith and trust in how the U.S. government ran and worked, a series of public service commercials would run during Saturday morning cartoons. It could never happen now because whoever did it would be accused of political indoctrination. Conversations are so hard to come by these days.

Other topics were covered, too. Things like grammar. Ok, so that last sentence would not parse correctly – apologies to my 8th grade English teacher who made us diagram every sentence. (Hell on earth, but thanks Mr. Moss, Southside Junior High, JAX Florida for trying).

Anyway, I strongly recommend this Schoolhouse Rock lesson on how a bill constitutionally becomes a law. Enough of taking shortcuts — both parties seem focused on sliding into homeplate rather than just hitting the ball out of the park. So I recommend this to all.

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