Senator Kay Hagan Just Does Not Get It

Saturday, August 21, AD 2010

Miss Kay Hagan is doing a poor job of defending the “merits” of ObamaCare to a mother who has sick children.  In addition to her sick children, her and her husbands benefits have been cut down or eliminated in order to comply with ObamaCare.

Yet Miss Hagan insists on pushing for more European style socialism.

(Hat Tip:  Culture War Notes)

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2 Responses to Senator Kay Hagan Just Does Not Get It

  • She had to pass the bill so we could see what was in it.

    Remember in November.

  • I have just returned from a week’s vacation, staying with long-time friends in Switzerland.

    Here is what I know about their healthcare system: (My friends are, BTW, very happy with their health care).

    First-of-all, health insurance in Switzerland is absolutely mandatory! Virtually no exceptions!

    And, no, it’s not “Socialized Medicine”.

    You buy health insurance from private insurance companies and you go to your own private physician/health care provider. Your monthly premium can vary based on deductibles which you choose.

    Insurance companies cannot by law make a profit on the basic coverage which they must offer to all. And applicants cannot be rejected based on prior medical conditions.

    Where insurers can make a profit is on supplementary coverage, such as
    private rooms, etc.

    And, yes, there are co-pays.

    In Switzerland there is no Medicare.

    My friends are both in their late sixties and they participate in the mandatory insurance to the tune of what we here in the USA pay, about $13K per year. This includes their daughter who lives in Africa, three people.

    For the most part employers do not provide tax-favored medical insurance coverage to employees unlike here in the USA.

    One more thing: There is a government subsidy to those people whose insurance costs more than 8% of their income.

    Would this work in the USA?

Who's Gonna Grab the Third Rail?

Tuesday, August 10, AD 2010

That’s a line from a brief but astounding post by Kevin Williamson of NRO, which I’m reproducing in full here:

A little perspective from the debt commission:

“The commission leaders said that, at present, federal revenue is fully consumed by three programs: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. ‘The rest of the federal government, including fighting two wars, homeland security, education, art, culture, you name it, veterans — the whole rest of the discretionary budget is being financed by China and other countries,’ [Alan] Simpson said.”

Three programs — Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid — consume 100 percent of federal revenue, and everything else is paid for with borrowed money.  This is why we cannot balance the budget by cutting military spending, foreign aid, food stamps, etc. There is not going to be a serious project to address our deficit/debt problem without deep, painful entitlement reform, and the longer we wait to admit that fact and get going on it, the worse it is going to be.

So, who’s gonna grab that third rail? George W. Bush tried and got hammered — an example that few if any in Washington are eager to follow.

Indeed. I think if this is going to happen, it’s going to have to come from the people (tea parties, perhaps?), because it seems suicidal for any politician to take it on without considerable popular support.

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3 Responses to Who's Gonna Grab the Third Rail?

  • Really? So FICA and Medicare withholding represent the entire federal revenue stream? Whatever happened to the federal income tax and other revenue sources?

    The reality is that we are being set up. The federal government is looking for ways to default on what it owes and it will be far easier to default on what it owes its own people through social security than what it owes foreign banks. Defaulting on foreign loans will affect its credit rating and ability to further borrow while leaving retirees high and dry will just hurt retirees.

  • Finaly someone has outlined the major problem of our deficit spending..Without borrowed money in the term of t notes, we would be bankrupted in regards to income. IT IS TIME for means testing and benefits of those who really do not need SS survie. A cap on those with a certain substainable income need to be removed from SS and Medicare needs to have a schedule of benefits and of premium cost similar to the income tax tables based on 1040 results of income each year to determine premiums and benefits. There will be the normal hue and cry, but our representatives need the backbone to make it happen.

  • They will never solve anything.

    Nearly that entire first paragraph is incorrect. SS and Medicare are (even today) fully funded out of specific FICA and Medicare taxes, not out of general (personal and corporate income taxes, excise taxes, etc.) tax revenues. In fact, the SS surpluses are spent in vote-buying gov programs, and the SS trust fund gets in return nonpublic US debt instruments that can only be repaid from new taxes. The fit hits the shan when the SS taxes paid in are insufficient to pay SS (30,000,000 baby boomer) benefits and the guv needs to tax we the people to repay worthless debt to pay SS beneficiaries.

    I’m too depressed to continue.

Value Added Tax Will Not Solve Budgetary Woes

Tuesday, April 20, AD 2010

There has been a fair amount of useless discussion among pundits and Obama administration officials about a Value Added Tax, a National Sales Tax, the mainstay of the crumbling welfare states in Europe.  I say this discussion is useless, because Congress would never pass it, as the 85-13 vote in the Senate on an anti-Value Added Tax non-binding resolution indicates.

Today in the Washington Post Robert Samuelson explains why a VAT wouldn’t solve our budgetary woes:

The basic budget problem is simple. For decades, the expansion of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — programs mostly for the elderly — was financed mainly by shrinking defense spending. In 1970, defense accounted for 42 percent of the federal budget; Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid were 20 percent. By 2008, the shares were reversed: defense, 21 percent; the big retirement programs, 43 percent. But defense stopped falling after Sept. 11, 2001, while aging baby boomers and uncontrolled health costs keep retirement spending rising.

Left alone, government would grow larger. From 1970 to 2009, federal spending averaged 20.7 percent of the economy (gross domestic product). By 2020, it could reach 25.2 percent of GDP and would still be expanding, reckons the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of President Obama’s budgets. In 2020, the deficit (assuming a healthy economy with 5 percent unemployment) would be 5.6 percent of GDP. To cover that, taxes would have to rise almost 30 percent.

A VAT could not painlessly fill this void. Applied to all consumption spending — about 70 percent of GDP — the required VAT rate would equal about 8 percent. But the actual increase might be closer to 16 percent because there would be huge pressures to exempt groceries, rent and housing, health care, education and charitable groups. Together, they account for nearly half of $10 trillion of consumer spending. There would also be other upward (and more technical) pressures on the VAT rate.

Does anyone believe that Americans wouldn’t notice 16 percent price increases for cars, televisions, airfares, gasoline — and much more — even if phased in? As for a VAT’s claimed benefits (simplicity, promotion of investment), these depend mainly on a VAT replacing the present complex income tax that discriminates against investment. That’s unlikely because it would require implausibly steep VAT rates. Chances are we’d pay both the income tax and the VAT, making the overall tax system more complicated.

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6 Responses to Value Added Tax Will Not Solve Budgetary Woes

  • As for a VAT’s claimed benefits (simplicity, promotion of investment), these depend mainly on a VAT replacing the present complex income tax that discriminates against investment

    And there’s the rub. I would have no objection to the VAT if it replaced income tax. But it never has – both the income tax and VAT have grown ever larger in European countries. The VAT simply allows a government addicted to spending to expand even further, like a junkie obtaining a new supplier.

  • A VAT wouldn’t replace the income tax, but it would replace income tax increases, which is the only other plausible source of the extra revenue we need.

  • If a political climate existed to pass a VAT BA, and if the Democrats can’t do it with the majorities they command now I find it difficult to imagine such a political climate, I guarantee you that the VAT taxes would ever increase, that the politicians would spend every cent raised in new spending and that reckless borrowing would continue. At least that has been the experience in Europe:

    “One trait of European VATs is that while their rates often start low, they rarely stay that way. Of the 10 major OECD nations with VATs or national sales taxes, only Canada has lowered its rate. Denmark has gone to 25% from 9%, Germany to 19% from 10%, and Italy to 20% from 12%. The nonpartisan Tax Foundation recently calculated that to balance the U.S. federal budget with a VAT would require a rate of at least 18%.

    Proponents also argue that a VAT would result in less federal government borrowing. But that, too, has rarely been true in Europe. From the 1980s through 2005, deficits were by and large higher in Europe than in the U.S. By 2005, debt averaged 50% of GDP in Europe, according to OECD data, compared to under 40% in the U.S.

    Thanks to the recession and the stimulus, U.S. federal debt held by the public has now reached about 63% of GDP and is headed higher, but the OECD forecasts that the 30 wealthiest nations will see debt burdens “exceed 100% of gross domestic product in 2011.” Debt levels in France, Germany, Spain and Italy are expected to have increased by 30 percentage points of GDP from 2008 to 2011. Greece has a VAT rate of 21%, but its debt as a share of GDP is 113%.

    The very efficiency of the VAT means that it throws off huge amounts of revenue that politicians eagerly spend. The VAT thus becomes an engine of even greater public spending. In Europe, average government spending was about 30.2% of GDP when VATs began to spread in the late 1960s. Today, those governments are more than 50% larger, with spending of 47.1% of GDP on average. By contrast, U.S. government spending (federal and state) rose to 35.3% from 28.3% as a share of GDP in the same period.”

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304198004575172190620528592.html

  • I don’t think it’s likely but a VAT along with an income tax cut might be political feasible. You can probably massage the numbers and sell it as a net tax cut.

    I’d love to replace all or part of the income tax with a VAT but I have no faith in the government getting it right. I’ve become convinced that ever-increasing bureaucracy is what will bring America down.

  • If a political climate existed to pass a VAT BA . . . I guarantee you that the VAT taxes would ever increase, that the politicians would spend every cent raised in new spending and that reckless borrowing would continue. At least that has been the experience in Europe.

    Actually this *hasn’t* been the experience in Europe. It’s true that VAT rates has tended to go up after its introduced; however, this increase in revenue has been at least partially offset by reductions in taxes elsewhere. Thatcher, for example, raised the VAT to offset decreases in the income tax while simultaneously cutting spending. The same thing happened in New Zealand in the 1980s, Canada in the 1990s, and (to a lesser extent) Australia in the 2000s.

  • The very efficiency of the VAT means that it throws off huge amounts of revenue that politicians eagerly spend.

    This argument would apply equally to any kind of tax simplification, including the Flat Tax, the Fair Tax, the Reagan tax cuts, etc. It would also apply to income tax cuts to the extent that they are justified on supply side grounds.

Stupak Deal with Obama, The End of the Pro Life Democrat?

Sunday, March 21, AD 2010
    US Catholic Bishops: Executive Order Deal A Non-Starter:

    We’ve consulted with legal experts on the specific idea of resolving the abortion funding problems in the Senate bill through executive order. We know Members have been looking into this in good faith, in the hope of limiting the damage done by abortion provisions in the bill. We believe, however, that it would not be fair to withhold what our conclusion was, as it may help members in assessing the options before them:

    “One proposal to address the serious problem in the Senate health care bill on abortion funding, specifically the direct appropriating of new funds that bypass the Hyde amendment, is to have the President issue an executive order against using these funds for abortion. Unfortunately, this proposal does not begin to address the problem, which arises from decades of federal appellate rulings that apply the principles of Roe v. Wade to federal health legislation. According to these rulings, such health legislation creates a statutory requirement for abortion funding, unless Congress clearly forbids such funding. That is why the Hyde amendment was needed in 1976, to stop Medicaid from funding 300,000 abortions a year. The statutory mandate construed by the courts would override any executive order or regulation. This is the unanimous view of our legal advisors and of the experts we have consulted on abortion jurisprudence. Only a change in the law enacted by Congress, not an executive order, can begin to address this very serious problem in the legislation.”

    Richard Doerflinger
    U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

  • In deal with Stupak, White House announces executive order on abortion (Washington Post):

    Resolving an impasse with anti-abortion Democrats over the health-care reform legislation, President Obama announced Sunday that he will be issuing an executive order after the bill is passed “that will reaffirm its consistency with longstanding restrictions on the use of federal funds for abortion,” according to a statement from the White House.

    “I’m pleased to announce we have an agreement,” Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) said at a news conference announcing the deal.

  • “I think we’re witnessing Bart Stupak write the obit for the concept of the “pro-life Democrat” – Kathryn Jean Lopez (National Review).

Further analysis of the text of the order:

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56 Responses to Stupak Deal with Obama, The End of the Pro Life Democrat?

  • Lopez is correct.

  • Stupak is either an idiot which I doubt or completely mendacious which I suspect is closer to the case. In any event, he has destroyed his credibility as a pro-lifer.

  • It’s all so tragic I can only laugh.

    Something big in this country is on the horizon, and its not going to be good for anyone with a ‘D’ or an ‘R’ next to their name. There is a horrendous reality that this country will be drastically and negatively different by 2020.

  • What a disappointment he turned out to be. I really admired his courage and conviction.

    That he would trade away his convictions for this handful of magic beans is really just depressing.

    Time to get started on nullification.

  • The Susan B. Anthony List on this fake deal:

    “An executive order on abortion funding would do nothing to fix the problems presented by the current health care reform legislation that the House is considering today. The very idea is a slap in the face to the pro-life movement and should be offensive to all pro-life Members of Congress. An executive order can be rescinded at any time at the President’s whim. The courts could and have a history of trumping executive orders.

    “If this was a sincere attempt to meet pro-life concerns then you would hear the cry of pro-choice Members and groups. Rather Rep. Diana Degette, co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus told The Huffington Post on Saturday that ‘If there was an executive order saying they weren’t going to use federal funds in the bill to pay for abortions that would be fine with me, because we’ve stipulated to that even though we don’t like it, That’s the compromise we came to way back in July.’

    “In the end, no pro-life Member of Congress could, in good conscience, play politics with the lives of hundreds of unborn children. If they do, there will be a quick downhill slide to defeat on Election Day.”

  • Linda Goldthorpe is Stupak’s likely opponent in the Fall. Assuming she wins the primary I’ll be sending her a hundred bucks.

    http://www.lindaforcongress.com/issues/right-to-life

  • I agree with Donald, the concept/idea of a pro-life Democrat is gone. Finished.

    Stupak got his bag of silver.

  • Tito,
    Just figuring that out now, huh?

  • Stupak said the bill had enough votes without the Stupak 7. If that’s the case, this is the best deal pro-lifers could’ve gotten.

  • Daledog,

    Someone as dense as I am figure things out eventually.

    I am still much a like a child, I believe a man’s word at face value.

    I’d make a terrible politician.

  • RR,

    For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?

    –Holy Gospel of Saint Matthew 16:26

  • “If that’s the case, this is the best deal pro-lifers could’ve gotten.”

    Nothing is rarely a good deal for the recipient restrainedradical and the is what Stupak got. An Executive Order cannot contradict a law passed by Congress. If Stupak believes that he got anything from this charade other than the lasting enmity of the vast majority of all pro-lifers, than he is an utter fool, which I doubt.

  • To be fair — elected officials are hardly ever as strident, passionate, and committed to any issue as are those fighting in the trenches. That said, there is very few members of Congress who are as pro-life as non-elected pro-life Americans. Given the fact that someone fails to live up to their own principles and standards, that is a moral failing, but that hardly negates the validity of their political philosophy.

    In fact, for the number of pro-life Democrats in this country and the two I’ve talked to in the last hour troubled by the latest news hardly means in my view that being a pro-life Democrat is now an oxymoron. If it is, then I am an oxymoron and I am a counter-cultural warrior — to hell with the status quo.

  • K-Lo says:
    “I think we’re witnessing Bart Stupak write the obit for the concept of the “pro-life Democrat”

    There seems to be a never-ending shortage of dopey Catholics who will fall for the next pro-life democrat. Republicans are icky and mean, you see.

  • Seriously, there are still pro-life Democrats voting against the legislation and are not convinced of the current strategy that Stupak and a few other Democrats have co-signed themselves onto.

    I think they deserve to not catch the heat.

  • Christopher, let us look at the discussion on executive decisions a bit:

    Unfortunately, this proposal does not begin to address the problem, which arises from decades of federal appellate rulings that apply the principles of Roe v. Wade to federal health legislation. According to these rulings, such health legislation creates a statutory requirement for abortion funding, unless Congress clearly forbids such funding. That is why the Hyde amendment was needed in 1976, to stop Medicaid from funding 300,000 abortions a year.

    So, let’s see, Hyde was seen as good enough in a previous time, when the question of “Hyde could be over-ruled and rejected in the future” remained. In other words, we see here an argument can be built upon acceptance of Hyde itself — it has been used to justify all kinds of things under Bush’s rule, for example. Hyde was protecting everything, so Bush’s budgets didn’t get such a serious questioning — even when he gave an increase of funding to groups like Planned Parenthood. So, it seems that Hyde was good enough for many of the voices now speaking out against it’s application now. Seems clear that something is wrong here.

    Now, let us look further. We will begin to see it is an issue of advice given to the bishops. There is no charism given to bishops in selecting the best advisers nor any given to the advisers as to what is best (look to the child abuse scandal for proof of this). The fact that we are being told they reject such a move is from advisers indicates the kind of authority by which this decision is made: it is one which is open to debate and question and disagreement. Hence we read:

    The statutory mandate construed by the courts would override any executive order or regulation. This is the unanimous view of our legal advisors and of the experts we have consulted on abortion jurisprudence.

    So it is not a top-down proof that executive decisions are not appropriate. Indeed, without giving full details about who all these advisers are and what they all have said and why they said what they said, we are going on a very low level of teaching authority based upon an interpretation of matters outside of competence of bishops.

    —-

    “When the hierarchy is faced by a conflict of opinions in the church, it does not always succeed in achieving a perfectly adequate response. Broadly speaking, two kinds of mistake are possible – excessive permissiveness and excessive rigidity. It is hard to know which of the two errors has done more harm.”

    “We must recognize, therefore, that there can be such a thing in the church as mutable or reformable teaching. The element of mutability comes from the fact that such teaching seeks to mediate between the abiding truth of the gospel and the socio-cultural situation at a given time and place.”

    “Did Vatican II teach the legitimacy of dissent from non-infallible teaching? It did so implicitly by its action, we may say, but not explicitly by its words. The theological commission responsible for paragraph 25 of the Constitution of the Church refused to make any statement, one way or the other, about dissent.”

    “A step beyond the council was taken by the German bishops in a pastoral letter of September 22, 1967, which has been quoted on several occasions by Karl Rahner. This letter recognized that in its effort to apply the gospel to the changing situations of life, the church is obliged to give instructions that have a certain provisionality about them. These instructions, though binding to a certain degree, are subject to error. According to the bishops, dissent may be legitimate provided that three conditions are observed. (1) One must have striven seriously to attach positive value to the teaching in question and to appropriate it personally. (2) One must seriously ponder whether one has the theological expertise to disagree responsibly with ecclesiastical authority. (3) One must examine one’s conscience for possible conceit, presumptuousness, or selfishness. Similar principles for conscientious dissent had already been laid down by John Henry Newman in the splendid chapter on Conscience in his Letter to the Duke of Norfolk (1874).”

    “There is always a temptation for church authorities to try to use their power to stamp out dissent. The effort is rarely successful, because dissent simply seeks another forum, where it may become even more virulent. To the extent that the suppression is successful, it may also do harm. It inhibits good theology from performing its critical task, and it is detrimental to the atmosphere of freedom in the church. The acceptance of true doctrine should not be a matter of blind conformity, as though truth could be imposed by decree. The church, as a society that respects the freedom of the human conscience, must avoid procedures that savor of intellectual tyranny.

    Where dissent is kept within the bounds I have indicated, it is not fatal to the church as a community of faith and witness. If it does occur, it will be limited, reluctant, and respectful.”

    Avery Dulles http://www.vatican2voice.org/8conscience/dulles.htm

  • K-Lo talking about being pro-life: hilarious.

  • Karlson taking about being pro-life: barf worthy.

  • If the bill had enough votes without the Stupak 7, the executive order saves pro-lifers some face.

  • “If the bill had enough votes without the Stupak 7, the executive order saves pro-lifers some face.”

    Appearing to be an utter fool restrainedradical saves no any face. By definition any one trusting in this exectutive order from the most pro-abort president in our nation’s history is an utter fool.

  • Seems to me that if the bill had enough votes w/out the Stupak 7, then no executive order would have been proffered.

  • I think they deserve to not catch the heat.

    They can catch the heat for what they did not do to repair the financial system while they were needlessly chuffering about medical insurance and what they did do to make our public finances resemble those of Greece.

  • I wonder if the U.S. bishops should be held partially responsible for the passage of this bill? They did lobby VERY hard to get it to this point, not knowing if they would get the wording they wanted.

  • Tito,
    They ought to be held responsible. These fools have been playing footsie with liberal politics for much too long. One day is too long as far as I am concerned. It seems to me that their plate is full with their own problems.

  • No Tito, the bishops lobbied for something to address the medical needs of those who can ill afford proper care. That is a legitimate concern and there are many ways to work toward it. The problem is that what the current congress and president offers as a solution. A solution that many believe will cause more harm than good, plus has all the unpleasantness of what that party stands for like considering the killing of the unborn to be health care. It’s not really within the competence of the bishops to speak to whether any given policy is unworkable or will bust the nation economically, but they’re well within their competence to discuss the morality of certain policies – to define what they are lobbying for when they say appropriate health care for all (they’re including the unborn, the elderly, and the infirm).

  • Yes, lobbying for the poor should not go unpunished.

  • Oh stop hiding behind the poor.

    This monstrous bill will ensure that many thousands of poor children would would have otherwise been born because their mother’s can’t afford abortions will now be sliced and diced in the womb. It’s poor children that suffer the most from government funded abortion.

  • Restrained,
    How silly. You care about the poor, huh? Give more. Work extra hours so that you can give more. Encourage others to give more. No need to lobby Caesar. Gifts from Caesar always have strings attached. Do you feel better about yourself when you can force others to give more?

  • I think the bishops should be held somewhat responsible.

    Let’s see if they work equally as hard to get this “law” revoked.

    I doubt that resolve will be as diligent.

  • Here’s the bottom line: you can’t be Democrat and a legitimate orthodox Catholic – period. You maybe can be a Republican. It’s bets however to be a member of the Constitution Part because their platform is closest to the teaching of Holy Mother Church though they won’t be USCCB approved because they don’t believe in all this social justice, common good nonsense and free health care for illegal immigrants. Personal responsibility goes with person liberty and that’s a lesson lost on most Catholics for the past 50 years. Pelosi, Biden, Leahy and all the rest of the Catholic apostates will continue to receive Holy Communion and nothing the USCCB says or does means a damn.

    Every single liberal politician has got to be publicly excommunicated and the false gospel of social justice and peace at any price has got to be jettisoned. Until that happens, the Church in America is a worthless collection of dirty old gay men at 3211 4th Street, N.E., Washington DC 20017-1194 playing at religion.

  • You guys simply don’t like the truth. Moderate away. God will have to sweep the liberals aside in His wrath. That’s the only way you’ll learn. The only way.

  • The Executive Order is already null and void:

    1. As an executive order, it is secondary in power to any law of the land as interpreted by the courts — unless the legislative and judicial branches have just ceded its power to the executive, and we are in a dictatorship.

    2. As an executive order, it is binding only on the activity of the executive branch, not on the private providers who would provide abortions.

    3. Roe v. Wade obliges any legislation offering medical benefits to cover abortion unless some section in that legislation, such as the Hyde amendment, specifically excludes abortion. This legislation lacks the Hyde exclusion; therefore, this legislation falls under the Roe requirement. The Executive Order, even if it were not null and void, is written not to match the Hyde Amendment language, but rather to match the Senate legislation language which, as we all know, falls short of Hyde.

    As such, the order offers no prevention of federally funded abortion even if it bore any authority.

    4. And of course, Obama will deep-six the executive order whenever he might find it convenient. If somehow it is not a nullity, he will do so: He has never claimed to be pro-life. And if it is not a nullity, he will not need to vacate it, for it will have accomplished its intended goal without costing him the support of NARAL.

    Of course, if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned, none of this would be a problem.

    But we all know, don’t we, that it’s foolish for pro-lifers to harp so much on the need to overturn that decision.

    It’s counterproductive. It uses up resources that could be more profitably spent courting centrist Democrats and exploring our common ground.

    We know that, this late in the day, it is no longer time for concern about Supreme Court justices and the presidents who select them; it is time to focus on new tactics involving engagement with pro-life Democrats.

    That’s the lesson we learned, back during the 2008 election cycle.

    Everyone remember that?

    Let’s also keep in mind another lesson we learned that year: “Signing statements” are a tyrannical overreach of executive power in which George W. Bush altered the meaning of Congressional legislation at signing, a risky proposition and bad precedent which clearly indicated the need to switch parties in the White House for awhile, lest the occupant of the People’s House start to think his authority trumped that of the legislative branch.

    Must remember that. That was one of those timeless truths for the ages.

    I’ll lay aside my trowel, now: Whatever Babylonian tower we’re building in this country is already in danger of collapse from the sheer weight of the irony.

  • Good post R.C.

    We do need to overturn Roe and we do need to reject signing statements. If I didn’t understand it before, I sure as heck understand it now.

    I think the next step is nullification at the state level.

  • “Here’s the bottom line: you can’t be Democrat and a legitimate orthodox Catholic – period.”

    I beg to differ.

  • We need you in Congress, Eric. =)

  • Paul,

    You will only be moderated if your comment violates our rules for comments.

  • Do you feel better about yourself when you can force others to give more?

    Yes.

  • Yes, lobbying for the poor should not go unpunished.

    Yeah, the poor will do real well after a sovereign default.

  • He never planned on fighting. Rep. Bart Stupak speaking in Cheboygan, MI

  • The bishops must take a large amount of blame for this monstrous piece of legislation for several reasons:

    1. Failure to excommunicate pro-abortion politicians and force them to choose between their pro-abortion positions and their desire to receive the sacraments. (This has been going on for four decades)

    2. The Bishops’ push for “universal health care.”

    The big question is: why did the bishops stay on board with this legislation as long as they did?

    The only answer that makes sense is that the bishops favor socialism… big government programs as solutions to their “social justice” aims.

    If this means invasive government intrusion into our lives, so be it. If it means massive tax increases, so be it. If it means wealth redistribution, so be it.

    When it was obvious to many of us that the bill was unacceptable on so many fronts, one could only wonder why the bishops continued to push for it so hard, as long as they got their three concessions (abortion, conscience, immigrants).

    I am saddened, disgusted, and disheartened by the bishops’ push for socialized medicine. How can I have respect for them? Happily, my faith is firmly in Jesus Christ, no matter what the American church’s hierarchy says or does.

  • Restrained,
    I fear people like you.

  • Restrained,
    I fear people like you.

    Indeed. Restrained reveals his/her petty little totalitarian heart, mistaking the desire to rule and coerce others for “compassion.” If a majority of people in this country think in those terms, democracy is doomed. But I don’t think they do (thank God) and I don’t believe we are doomed yet. There will be a reckoning in November. Those of us who attended tea parties, called our Congressmen, and donated to those who opposed this monstrosity of a bill are not going away and we will not forget the open contempt the Democratic Party has shown toward us. I have sometimes voted Democrat in local elections – never again.

  • Obama has now done something I didn’t think would ever be possible: make me more ashamed to be an Illinois resident than Governor Hairdo ever did. (Speaking of The Hair, did Trump fire him from “Celebrity Apprentice” yet?) If it hadn’t been for our crooked Chicago machine and pathetic, desperate joke of a GOP organization, he might never have been elected Senator and none of this would have happened.

  • Well, Mr. R. Radical was merely telling the truth: he does not believe in the commandment “thou shalt not steal,” because that is exactly what forcing others to be virtuous inevitably involves. In a bizarre way that puts him in a better place than the G.O.P. who are still somehow convinced that their thefts are not as terrible because they simply love America more, or some nonsense.

    For anyone who is appalled at what is happening right now: Don’t worry. Economics will win. We should just pray that people aren’t hurt when that terrible day comes.

  • Donald: Stupak’s likely GOP opponent in the November is a conservative pro-life physician named Dan Benishek. His Facebook page is growing by the minute.
    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=wall&ref=share&gid=287806148754

    His site has an address. I never heard of the man until about 20 minutes ago. I’m writing him a check tonight.

    As for Stupak, well, he got his 30 pieces of silver:

    “U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) announced three airports in northern Michigan have received grants totaling $726,409 for airport maintenance and improvements. The funding was provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration.”

    Betraying your conscience for Wales is one thing, but for three airports in the UP? Now there’s a cheap date.

  • Democrats for Death is more apropos.

    It’s “Game On” for me and the bishops.

    The USCCB is in for some heavy fire coming my way.

    The deaths of many innocent unborn children will be on their hands.

  • Tito, why would you want to pit yourself against the vicars of Christ? It doesn’t seem like a terribly wise idea. Besides, they did not vote for this legislation, nor did they support it. They were one of the few voices saying it was unacceptable, and reminding people that while trying to ensure everyone gets medical care whether they can afford it or not is a a good, that it can’t come at the expense of the most vulnerable.

    The behavior of Catholics who put the Democratic agenda above concerns for life is upsetting, but that wasn’t the bishops – the bishops took a pounding from them!

  • RL,

    I agree with what you are saying.

    Though too many times is seems that the USCCB is just another wing of the Democratic Party rather than vicars of Christ.

    With Democratic Pro-Abort operatives infesting the USCCB along with atheists that endorse anti-Catholic films, and our donations going to abortion facilities and gay marriage advocates (do I need to continue?, there’s more…)

  • I’m not blind to some of the dysfunction within the organization. But let’s be clear, those issues are usually caused by the bureaucrats within. Yeah, some aspects of the USCCB need to be looked at and overhauled, but the bishops themselves got involved in this one – and in real time – and offered solid and informed guidance, holding principles of justice and moderation above their own desires to see some sort of reform. We can and should be very proud of the prophetic witness they gave throughout this process. This ain’t the 1975 NCCB anymore!

  • RL & CB,

    Unlike abortion, we can disagree with our bishops on universal health care.

    They are violating the principle of subsidiarity.

    If they would be this adamant about ending abortion in America, I could agree with their aggressive nature towards universal health coverage, but they don’t.

    The USCCB is not the magisterium, not a teaching authority, and are an invention by Democratic leaning bishops.

    It needs to be absolved. If not, then completely overhauled.

    Until that happens, I will expose them for what they are, a wing of the Democratic party and participants in promoting the Culture of Death.

  • Ever hear of the phrase “throw out the baby with the bathwater”?

  • The road to Hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.

    – Saint John Chrysostom.

    CB,

    In all seriousness I know what you’re getting at so an overhaul is reasonable since my idea of eliminating the USCCB won’t fly… yet.

  • Pingback: November 2009, Stupak Never Intended to Vote No on ObamaCare « The American Catholic
  • Restrained,
    I fear people like you.

    Restrained reveals his/her petty little totalitarian heart, mistaking the desire to rule and coerce others for “compassion.”

    Mr. R. Radical was merely telling the truth: he does not believe in the commandment “thou shalt not steal,” because that is exactly what forcing others to be virtuous inevitably involves.

    I don’t think God disapproves of taxation.

Bought

Monday, December 21, AD 2009

It seems like one thing that nearly anyone on any side of the political spectrum should be able to agree on is that Senator Nelson extracting a provision for the federal government to foot the entire unfunded liability for Medicaid in the state of Nebraska (and for no other state) in perpetuity as the cost of his agreeing to support the current Senate health care bill compromise is reprehensible in the extreme.

One would like to think that such decisions would be made, in a Republic, based on a senator’s understanding of whether a bill was actually good for the country as a whole — not based on bribery. Senator Nelson should be ashamed of himself, and so should the Senate leadership which agreed to provide such a buy-off.

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17 Responses to Bought

  • Senator Nelson has no shame. He will sleep like a baby tonight. As has Fr. Jenkins since last spring.

    Have we finally learned that there is no such thing as a moderate Democrat?

  • While I have respect for almost all of the writers and most of the commenters on this site, DarwinCatholic tends to be the most measured and least hyperbolic.

    That is why this post is a damning indictment of the corrupted manifest in Congress, with a particular regard to the so-called health care reform bill.

  • A few clarifications regarding this “deal” :

    It pays for MedicAID, not MediCARE. It apparently provides 100 percent federal funding for all people CURRENTLY covered by Medicaid in Nebraska (those earning less than 133 percent of the federal poverty level for their household size) for the next 10 years or so. This includes not only low-income children and families, but also a large number of elderly people in nursing homes who go on Medicaid after they have exhausted their life savings to pay for their care. The 133 percent ceiling is a federal rule that has been in place for a long time so I don’t think this really qualifies as an “expansion” of Medicaid.

    Normally, the feds only provide 50 percent of the funding for Medicaid; the state ponies up the rest. Under the federal stimulus bill some states (Illinois is one of them) are getting up to 62 percent federal match through 2010. I don’t know if Nebraska is one of them; it depends on factors such as high unemployment, etc.

    All that being said, it’s still a blatant sellout and hopefully Nebraskans opposed to this will not forget when Sen. Nelson comes up for reelection.

  • Thanks for the correction, Elaine — my fault for writing a post in the evening based on a news story I’d read in the morning without pulling the newspaper out of the recycle pile in order to get the details right. I’ve corrected the post, so as not to spread mis-information.

  • One would like to think that such decisions would be made, in a Republic, based on a senator’s understanding of whether a bill was actually good for the country as a whole

    That’s not how our system is set up. As a geographically segregated republic, we elect our senators to look out for the interests of our individual states.

    Politics is bribery. Sen. Nelson is hardly the first, the last, nor the most notorious. This stuff goes on every day. Blame the system.

  • I’m shocked, shocked! to hear that there are earmarks in this bill. Oh, wait. “earmarks” was last year’s five minute hate. Didn’t Mary Landrieu get $300,000,000 for Louisiana as her bribe to vote yes?

  • Politics is bribery. Sen. Nelson is hardly the first, the last, nor the most notorious. This stuff goes on every day. Blame the system.

    Don’t hate the playa. Hate the game.

  • I recognize this is a very common way to get support for a bill, but I don’t think its commonality makes it any more excusable. And in that regard, I fully support attempting to shame those who play the game as an attack on the game as a whole.

    Especially when such a major change (to the extent that this debacle even remains a major change at this point) is government policy is being contemplated, I’d like to see it handled on the merits.

  • One of the complaints characters like Eleanor Smeal had against sundry politicians was that they were unwilling to wheel and deal for her pet cause (the ‘Equal Rights Amendment’). I think it was the Governor of Illinois who replied that for the opposition it was a matter of conscience too, and ‘you don’t trade a constitutional amendment for a job or a bridge’. Maybe now you do.

  • It’s kinda like attacking designated hitters as an attack on the DH rule.

  • I figured it was more like attacking someone for holding the record in stealing base the most times…

  • I have to say, while I think RR has a point in general, Senator Nelson’s actions do seem to go above and beyond even what is typical for this sort of political bribery.

  • You might describe it as the difference between a guy who cheats on his wife and a guy who brings his mistress to Thanksgiving dinner.

  • But he only brought his mistress because his wife said he could.

    If anything, the conduct of the other 59 senators should be more objectionable. Nelson did his job. He was just looking out for his constituents. The others are supposed to keep him in check. They didn’t look out for their own constituents.

  • If anything, the conduct of the other 59 senators should be more objectionable. Nelson did his job. He was just looking out for his constituents. The others are supposed to keep him in check. They didn’t look out for their own constituents.

    I agree in part. Thing is, the whole reason Nelson mattered in this was that he had been an advocate for both the unborn and much of Obamacare. If he was convinced that the Senate abortion provision was genuine and effective, he would have no need to be bribed. It is said that every man has his price, but I don’t believe it’s true in the least. Unfortunately, it seems to hold true for anyone with political ambition.

    Worse yet, and I know this isn’t technically fair, now I find myself seriously doubting the efforts made by Stupak and company. How do we know that they’re just not holding out for largess from the public trough? Put less cynically, how do we know that they’re principled stand can’t succumb to the Democratic party’s carrots?

    Also, this highlights why many of us avoid voting for Democrats at any level above dog-catcher. There is such a thing as party politics and they play a big part on what individual members do. It seems there’s a better chance of getting a pro-abort Republican to vote for life than there is getting a pro-life Democrat to. Both have room to vote their convictions as long as their vote is of no consequence to the party. However, when it’s a tight vote and the whips start cracking, the Dems usually turn coat and vote their party’s inhuman line.

  • The difference between a famous golfer’s…um…friends and Senator Nelson is that the golfer’s friends would be insulted to be compared to Senator Nelson.

  • Art Deco — which “governor of Illinois” are you referring to?

    If this had to do with the ERA issue then the governor in question would probably have been James R. Thompson, a Republican, elected four times and in office from 1977 to 1991.

    Thompson was not above wheeling, dealing, and arm twisting to get what he wanted — one of his most famous stunts was literally stopping the clock in the General Assembly chambers at just before midnight on the day they were supposed to adjourn, to insure that a critical vote to fund a new Chicago White Sox stadium (and keep them from moving to Florida) passed “on time”.

    If Thompson really did say that, then it would indicate that even he recognized there were limits to political horse trading, which unfortunately some of his successors have failed to recognize. Or maybe it was somebody else who said that after all.

60-40: The Party of Jackson Creates A Jacksonian Moment

Monday, December 21, AD 2009

By a vote of 60-40 early this morning in the Senate, the Democrats, with not a Republican vote, voted to cede power to the Republicans in 2010.  The Democrats thought they were voting to invoke cloture on the ObamaCare bill, but the consequences of the passage of this bill, assuming that it passes the House, will likely be to transform a bad year for the Democrats next year into an epoch shaping defeat.  As Jay Cost brilliantly notes here at RealClearPolitics:

“Make no mistake. This bill is so unpopular because it has all the characteristics that most Americans find so noxious about Washington.

It stinks of politics. Why is there such a rush to pass this bill now? It’s because the President of the United States recognizes that it is hurting his numbers, and he wants it off the agenda. It might not be ready to be passed. In fact, it’s obviously not ready! Yet that doesn’t matter. The President wants this out of the way by his State of the Union Address. This is nakedly self-interested political calculation by the President – nothing more and nothing less.

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26 Responses to 60-40: The Party of Jackson Creates A Jacksonian Moment

  • Possibly.

    The president did campaign heavily on insurance reform. I can see his impatience to get something done. Continuing the delay would do little more than look like defeat. And since the GOP never had any alternatives, keeping the status quo would, in fact, also be painted as defeat.

    So we move ahead, as it were, and as you say, corporate America is well-positioned to benefit in some way from all this. Surely they weren’t going to stand to be put out of business with government insurance.

    As for the 2010 elections, they are still a long way off. If we had a solid third or fourth party option, I’d join you to say the Dems should be tweaked. But voting for do-nothing, sit-on-their-hands Republicans? Please. They’ve shelved themselves even in the pro-life side of this debate. It’s been Stupak and Nelson leading the charge. The GOP is standing pat with their hand as dealt. Let’s see how that plays out before handing the election to them eleven months ahead of the fact.

  • “They’ve shelved themselves even in the pro-life side of this debate. It’s been Stupak and Nelson leading the charge.”

    Todd, the Stupak Amendment only passed because every Republican in the House but one voted for it. The Democrats in the House as well as in the Senate are overwhelmingly pro-abortion as the forthcoming battle over the Stupak Amendment in the House will reveal.

    As for Republican alternatives, they have had several including this one.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124277551107536875.html

    What the Democrats are about to do is massively unpopular with the American people, as has been so much of what they have enacted this year. Rarely has a political party so quickly stepped off into a political abyss as the Democrats have been in the process of doing throughout this year.

  • And since the GOP never had any alternatives,

    I guess if you repeat a false assertion it eventually becomes truth.

  • “They’ve shelved themselves even in the pro-life side of this debate. It’s been Stupak and Nelson leading the charge. ”

    Uh What about Cao?

    That being said no one is going to pay attention to what GOP Prolifers say. We (as a party) are pretty much poiwerless right now. That is why the action is the Democrat party and it segments

  • Todd,

    Apparently you didn’t follow the House. There was a GOP Alternative that the CBO scored as cheaper and more efficient at reducing the deficit. The GOP Alternative included an actual exchange allowing for the purchase of health care policies across state lines (thus creating greater competition), enacted tough Medical Liability Reform (TORT) that would reduce inefficiencies in the practice of medicine caused by defensive medicine, and it would increase some of the privatization of Medicare seen in the popular Medicare Advantage Program (a program that now only will exist in 3 counties in Florida).

    The fact you declare there was no GOP alternative indicates in fact that you are just taking your talking points from the DNC.

  • The president did campaign heavily on insurance reform. I can see his impatience to get something done.

    Start that truck and drive it into the ditch. You’ll be getting something done!

  • Will Todd and all – Obama-worshipping imbeciles – also blame Bush for tens of thousands of small businesses that go bust because of this requirement and the excess taxes they will impose?

    “The Democrats’ government takeover of health care will increase premiums for families and small businesses, raise taxes during a recession, cut seniors’ Medicare benefits, add to our skyrocketing debt, and put bureaucrats in charge of decisions that should be made by patients and doctors. The bill also authorizes government-funded abortions, violating long-standing policies prohibiting federal funding of abortion. That’s not reform. My message to the American people is now is not the time to give up. Now is the time to fight harder. When the American people are engaged, Washington listens. Now is the time to speak out, more loudly and clearly than ever, against this monstrosity.”
    John Boehner (R-OH) 21 Dec 2009

  • In true Jacksonian fashion, the country fired the Republicans in 2006 and 2008 because they bungled the war in Iraq and allowed the economy to sink into recession. They might soon have another Jacksonian moment, and fire these equally useless Democrats for hampering the recovery, exploding the deficit, and playing politics with health care.

    The big difference is that Americans saw the death toll mounting in Iraq and the economy going down the toilet. Americans won’t see the effects of ObamaCare in 2010. In fact, a not-yet-implemented ObamaCare should be an electoral asset. “You get health care! You get health care! Everybody gets health care!” The GOP may see gains in 2010, but it won’t be because of ObamaCare.

  • With only 34% of the people saying that passing ObamaCare is better than doing nothing restrainedradical, I think this bill is an anchor which will take Democrat electoral prospects straight to the bottom next year.

    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/healthcare/december_2009/just_34_say_passing_health_care_bill_is_better_than_passing_nothing

  • “Will Todd and all – Obama-worshipping imbeciles …”

    With insightful analysis like this, I feel confirmed that conservative Catholics have as much of a sense of a pulse on the nation as they do when they feel a coconut. When you can’t distinguish between voting while holding nose or political worship (we sure had a lot of that with Bush II) we might as well turn to tea leaves than attend carefully to your analysis. Not everybody thinks like you guys do, comprende?

    The president invested a lot–and some might rightly say too much–in health insurance reform. One might even say he backed himself into a corner on this. By your account, Mr Obama was a loser any way he tried to put a face on this. Alternate proposals aside, he had no incentive whatsoever to caucus with the GOP on this. None.

    As for congressional elections next year, get serious. The House is ensconced in the land of incumbentia. And the Senate is reliving the 2004 election. I can’t see the GOP taking back the Senate, especially if the economy recovers in any way, and the Afghan surge remains a non-disaster.

    2012 is another story, but the GOP has yet top surface a viable national candidate.

    Interesting that you picked Jackson as your theme. Wasn’t that when the Whigs ascended to major party status? They had to wait till 2016–I mean 1840, right?

  • “The House is ensconced in the land of incumbentia. And the Senate is reliving the 2004 election.”

    Wrong on both counts Todd.

    The Democrats are defending quite a few vulnerable seats in the House which McCain carried last year, and many more which Bush carried in 2000 and 2004. Traditionally Republican districts will be swinging back to the GOP next year. Incumbency after the fiasco this year I doubt can be regarded as a positive in competitive districts. The Democrats are also beginning to be plagued by retirements from Congress, a sure sign of a party in trouble in the next election cycle.

    In the Senate I see the Republicans taking Senate seats in Arkansas, Connecticut, Colorado, Nevada, New York (Gillabrand’s seat), North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Delaware and either Washington or Wisconsin. I see them holding all their seats and Lieberman caucusing with the GOP in 2011. If Linda Lingle, popular Republican governor of Hawaii, gets into the Senate race she might topple 85 year old Inouye who has served in the Senate since I was 5 years old in 1962. It is hard to imagine Evan Bayh losing in Indiana, but if the political winds are gale force against the Democrats I think there is a small chance he might.

    The Whigs Todd first gained control of Congress in the election of 1834, the year after it was formed. The Whigs were formed as a reaction to the policies of Old Hickory.

  • I don’t know about the Senate, but it would be surprising to see the GOP pick up less than 20 seats in the House. That doesn’t net them a majority, but that’s a worst case scenario. It’s folly to make a firm prediction, but at the current course I think many of the Blue Dogs better start looking for alternative employment. As for the “incumbentia,” that’s funny in light of the recent spate of Democrat retirements. Perhaps they lack Mr. Flowerday’s acute political acumen, but I suspect that might have a better sense of where the country is heading.

    I don’t see a ten-seat pickup for the Senate. There are a couple of very shaky GOP-held seats at the moment, and even considering the possible voter backlash against the Dems, I wouldn’t bet the house on the Republicans holding on to them.

  • I see three Republican seats as offering the Dems possibilities for a switch: the open seats in Missouri and Ohio and Burr in North Carolina. I think 2010 is going to be a strong GOP year in Ohio. Ohio went strongly for the Dems in the last two election cycles and buyer’s remorse has set in. I’ll be shocked if the GOP doesn’t hold the seat. Burr is a weak incumbent, but I think the GOP will have a great election night next year throughout the South. Missouri will be a battle, as open seat elections in that state tend to be. I think the GOP will hold on, but I think that is their shakiest current seat.

  • Don’t know about the comment on politiucal acumen–aside from local politics, I try to stay as apolitical as possible. I wouldn’t say that eleven months with a volatile economy, and who-knows-what on the international front makes for an easy prediction of what is to come.

    The Dems still have eleven months to make a case to stay in power. If some third party in Iowa wants to make a case for my congressional seats, I’m willing to listen. I’m not inclined, like some other progressives, to stay home to make my point next Election Day. I’ll continue to hold my nose and pull the blue lever, but not because I think they’re generating the best ideas.

  • Must correct Mr. McClarey.

    The Republican Party in New York has suffered a secular decline in the calibre of the people they run for about thirty years now. It has left Upstate, conventionally a Republican preserve, represented in Congress almost entirely by Democrats. One exception is a fellow from Buffalo who is a man of genuine accomplishment in private life. (By what accounts have appeared in print, the Republican State Chairman, Stephen Minarik, was partial to him as a candidate because he could ‘self-finance’. The late Mr. Minarik always had his priorities).

    I will offer better than even odds the Republican sachems will arrange for the nomination of some seedy lush who has been making cruddy little deals in Albany for 25 years, because that is who they know and that is their idea of a normal person. Kristin Gillibrand will then eat him for breakfast.

  • I always hesitate to disagree with you Art, but I think that next year it will be anything but politics as usual. As the uprising in New York 23 indicates, there are plenty of Republican voters fed up with precisely the type of machinations you describe.

  • Evidently former Governor Pataki seems poised to make a run at Gillebrand. Yeah, good luck with that. Had Rudy run, he probably would have won that seat, but evidently the Senate was too low a prize for the guy who still seems to have some delusion that he will be president one day. Pataki might be viable, but that would be a race where I would weep few tears if the Republican lost.

    I can see the GOP holding onto the aforementioned seats if it’s a real good year, but it will be tough. They have to hold serve, then win pretty much every toss-up state currently held by the Dems. That’s a tall order, though that’s basically what the Democrats did in 2008.

  • If Pataki’s on the ballot, I’m writing-in the name of my insurance agent’s dog.

    Giuliani ought to retire from political life and attend to mending fences with his children. Putatively, he has told intimates that positions in legislative bodies look unattractive after you have sat in the mayor’s chair producing actual ‘output’. The thing is, as Mayor of New York, he has been among the most accomplished political figures of the post-war period. Most of the presidents we have had over the last sixty years are men of lesser significance. He is 65 years old now and should quit while he is ahead.

  • “If Pataki’s on the ballot, I’m writing-in the name of my insurance agent’s dog.”

    I am certain the dog would do less harm than either Pataki or the incumbent, and would probably have more charisma.

  • That is one cute canine!

  • Parker Griffith, Democrat Congressman from Alabama, is switching to the GOP. He is the first Blue Dog to do so this Congress; he will not be the last.

    http://hotair.com/archives/2009/12/22/breaking-blue-dog-flips-to-gop/

    Some Democrats can clearly see the electoral ice berg their party is careening towards.

    Merry Christmas Speaker Pelosi!

  • That’s fairly major news. These retirements/party switches are usually a good indicator of significant electoral upheaval – they certainly were in 1994, 2006, and 2008.

  • I don’t think Arlen Specter’s switch indicates an upheaval.

  • It indicated that Specter knew that Toomey would clobber him in the primary. Now Toomey will clobber him in the general.

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Obamas Speech: Dem Health Care Bill Now, With Or Without GOP

Wednesday, September 9, AD 2009

[Updates at the bottom of this posting as of 3:03am CDT on AD 9-10-2009]

President Obama’s speech covered many topics, lets first layout our President’s plan:

I. Keep the health insurance you have now.

1.  Pre-existing symptoms or disabilities no longer will disqualify anyone from coverage.

2.  No spending caps set by insurance companies.

3.  No drop in coverage in the middle of an illness.

4.  Limit on out of pocket expense.

5.  Minimal requirements of coverage.

II. Public Option & Exchange

1.  When losing your job you have the Public Option if you can’t afford insurance.

2.  Insurance exchange markets will be required for insurance companies to participate in.

3.  Tax credits for small businesses.

4.  In theory this will not lead to a government take over.

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39 Responses to Obamas Speech: Dem Health Care Bill Now, With Or Without GOP

  • For me the oddest statement in the President’s speech was the claim that “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits – either now or in the future. Period.” I’m not sure this can even by classified as a lie, as lying requires an intent to deceive, and I can’t imagine Obama thought anyone would believe him when he said this (so then why did he say it?)

  • I think President Obama actually believes that statement he said about not a single dime towards our deficits.

    So I’m not sure if he can be accused of saying a lie. But if it does happen, does it qualify as a lie after the fact?

  • This proposal doesn’t come off as “reform.” Rather, it comes off as more of what we currently have: tons of regulations that introduce more cost and curb competition.

  • It’s not clear that Obama could even hold true to his promise for the length of his speech. Nine paragraphs after making his “not one dime . . . Period” pledge, he says that his plan would cost $900 billion, and that “most” of this would be offset by cuts in existing health care programs. Perhaps by most he means $899,999,999,999.91? Or maybe he means his pledge literally. He won’t sign a bill if it adds exactly a dime to the deficit, but if it adds billions that’s okay.

  • For full disclosure, I am not an expert on how the Health Care industry works.

    With that said I do like the first portion of his speech that says pre-existing symptoms or disabilities no longer will disqualify anyone from coverage, no spending caps set by insurance companies will be allowed, coverage won’t be dropped in the middle of an illness, there will be a limit on out of pocket expense, and there will be minimal standards required in basic coverage.

    I’m not sure if this will make insurance costs go up, drive companies out of business, and eventually result in a single payer system over a period of time.

    But if this is possible without any of the above scenarios, I like it!

  • Tito, on another thread I was calling you out, takin it back now.
    Really! If we could fix the pre-existing condition and employer control thing in healthcare, who could argue?

  • Master C,

    I was busy typing up this posting when you left that message.

    I like the portion I outlined, but without the public option.

    If some regulations could be set up for the insurance industry without the public option then that would be ideal!

  • We need this change…YESTERDAY!

    Millions of Americans presently have no health care, others who do, when faced with an illness go bankrupt, and others find out that suddenly they don’t have any healthcare at all and still others are covered but face high costs.

    I’m 52 years old..and my job was outsourced 4 years ago.
    Thankfully I have family but I pay $450.67 per month and my Asthma inhaler costs…$211.00 OUT OF POCKET.

    Others are in worse shape.

    Any Catholic that cannot see the good in this isn’t Catholic!

  • P. Edward Murray,

    I certainly sympathize with the problems that you are facing.

    Though I have to say that just because some of us oppose certain points of President Obama’s speech doesn’t make us not Catholic.

    If you could explain why then we have a starting point, but just simply saying this doesn’t make it so.

    Also you can’t force others to pay for something they don’t want to pay for nor are required to pay for.

  • “Primary school taunting”?

    No, he just told the truth. Would that Palin and FOX NEWS would do the same.

  • Mr. Murray,

    I have no health care. I pray that my health does does fail. I haven’t had a full-time job in nearly a year. I do fear bankruptcy if I experience any health programs.

    That said, anyone who tries to get me health care on the backs of dead babies is not doing me any favors. I’d rather face financial ruin than see one more baby slaughtered.

    In Christ,
    Steve

  • Heather,

    Denying that there are End-of-Life-Decision panels, aka, Death Panels?

  • Steve,

    First, I know quite well where you are..I’ve been out of a job for 4 years…

    I thought I had finally found a good company to work for and was promoted a Team Leader at our Panasonic National Diagnostic Center. So I was part of the management team lowest level.

    One day I came in and learned that my entire office was to be sold. We were. And we were led to believe that we would just move to another location.

    That didn’t happen.

    At one point, we had 75 people working at our facility.

    All the remaining jobs were outsourced to Manila.

    I blame GWB and all Republicans..they didn’t give a care.
    To all of them…outsourcing is just another way of making more profit.

    And that is why I will never vote for another Republican as long as I live.

    The lie and cheat period. They only care about themselves and other rich …very rich people.

    As far as abortion is concerned you needn’t worry because this is what the president said…

    “And one more misunderstanding I want to clear up – under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.”

    And to anyone else reading…

    We are living in a Depression…currently I have a brother & sister-in-law out of work. I have an Aunt & Uncle..both in their sixties…out of work and they are trying to start business.

    Millions of Americans are in the same boat as Steve and I and if you aren’t yout of work you should be counting your blessings because it isn’t over yet.

    Being unemployed for a long time is very hard but I’m also

  • I’m also caring for my 74 year old mother who has cancer and is still working and is partially disabled with a bad back so I must take her to work and back in a wheelchair.

    This is what George W Bush did.

    I know this is where Jesus wants me to be..to take care of my mother…something that many middle aged Americans face..caring for their elderly parents.

    We need this change and we need the jobs to come back.

    If this doesn’t happen then God help us because there is going to be a heck of a revolution!

    Say the Chaplet of Divine Mercy!

  • Tito…

    Have you ever heard of

    “A living will”?

    Please don’t tell lies.

  • P. Edwards Murray,

    There will be abortion funding in the bill. You know better that the public option will offer coverage for abortion.

    This is your first warning. If you’re unable to keep your emotions in check and call me a lier one more time then you will be banned.

    You know there are End-of-Life Panels, aka, Death Panels, in one of the two congressional bills.

    I can tell you my sob story as well, but I’m not here to score cheap political points.

    If you really believe a revolution will occur if this bill doesn’t pass then you are beyond logic and reason.

    If this bill does go through, one thing is for certain, we’ll have an entirely new executive and legislative branch come 2012. That is change that I can believe in.

  • Personally having witnessed the outrageous statements at my former Parish…St. Ignatius of Antioch Yardley PA..statements made just after the election…that voting

    “The Economy” was wrong and that “Jesus would have something to say to me” I left that Parish in disgust.

    Picking up my mother from her weekly Adoration, I noticed some flyers saying that this health care would include abortion….

    Which it didn’t then and won’t now.

    I’m of the opinion that The American Catholic Church is really split…many proclaim themselves to be Catholic and are more Republican than really Catholic.

    And some are really Catholic.

    I don’t know about you, but I was brought up to believe that being a Christian was more than abortion…

    Did not Jesus say “Feed my Sheep”? Did he not say that if a man has no “cloak” to give him yours? Did he not say to give your money to the poor?

    Do we not sing a song “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me”?

    Yes we sing that song and Pope John Paul II talked about
    “A Consistent Ethic of Life”?

    So remember…

    Your vote is an action and actions speak louder than words.

    Is it better to vote for one who says they are pro life but clearly discounts everything else that Jesus has said?

    For the record, I believe in a “Consistent Ethic of Life” and I am a practicing Catholic and a Democrat.

    One final note…

    When I left St. Ignatius I could hardly believe that any priest or deacon could have said such a thing. Clearly sometimes priests forget that they live by charity.

    The Deacon in question…his other job..is a

  • Tito,

    I will not remain here and will never bother you again.

    Say a Chaplet of Divine Mercy

  • P. Edward Murray,

    You are more than welcome to say your peace, but please say it in charity.

    It seems you are the one struggling with your Catholic identity vs. being a Democrat.

    As for me I am not a Republican nor do I vote a clean GOP ticket.

    I’ve donated all of my money to the local democratic party and have voted for many democrats, yet I vote as a Catholic, not as a republican nor democrat.

    The life of a human being, especially an innocent child, is the utmost important issue.

    If you feel that getting a free bottle of aspirin forcibly paid by someone else is more important than the life of an innocent child, then that is between you and God.

    I’ll put you and your family in my evening prayers.

  • Catholic Anarchist,

    Your disrespectful comments and vicious attack on the writers of this website will not be tolerated.

    It is comments like yours that the American people are fed up with the way you and your ilk demonize those that protest President Obama’s health care bill.

  • “He chastised those that would dare say the Public Option would eventually take over the Health Insurance Industry.”

    A Kool-Aid stand was set up in the lobby for those who have yet to see the light. Name ONE government program that has ever gotten smaller.

    Buehler…BUEHLER…ANYBODY ?

  • “Any Catholic that cannot see the good in [ObamaCare] isn’t Catholic!”

    “I’m of the opinion that The American Catholic Church is really split…many proclaim themselves to be Catholic and are more Republican than really Catholic.”

    “For the record, I believe in a “Consistent Ethic of Life” and I am a practicing Catholic and a Democrat.”

    Taken at face value, these comments add up to saying, essentially, that one must be a Democrat in order to be a “real” Catholic (never mind the Democrat-sponsored legalized murder of all those dead babies).

    “Any Catholic that cannot see the good in [ObamaCare] isn’t Catholic!”

    So, then, unless you support this particular version of health care reform, prepare yourself to be denied the Catholic funeral that that paragon of Catholic virtue Teddy Kennedy received.

    “I’m of the opinion that The American Catholic Church is really split…many proclaim themselves to be Catholic and are more Republican than really Catholic.”

    Mightn’t there be an even greater number that proclaim themselves to be Catholic that are more Democrat than really Catholic? There’s a whole generation of Catholic Democrat politicians, for example, that ignore Church teaching on fundamental issues such as abortion, euthanasia, and marriage. It’s funny: I see very few pro-life Catholics who proclaim themselves members of the Republican Party as readily as this gentleman proclaims himself a Democrat. Tito’s not a Republican. I’m not a Republican. And even those who are self-proclaimed Republicans tend to be willing to vote against the party when it comes to a “pro-choice” candidate (witness Catholics Against Rudy). Sad that we don’t see that same commitment from Catholic Democrats.

    “I don’t know about you, but I was brought up to believe that being a Christian was more than abortion… Did not Jesus say “Feed my Sheep”? Did he not say that if a man has no “cloak” to give him yours? Did he not say to give your money to the poor? … Do we not sing a song “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me”? … For the record, I believe in a “Consistent Ethic of Life” and I am a practicing Catholic and a Democrat.”

    It’s ironic that whevever someone proclaims themselves to have a “consistent ethic of life”, it is almost ALWAYS the unborn who get short shrift, whose right to life is given a lower priority than whatever other policy issues happen to more closely coincide with that person’s own preferences. They proclaim a concern about “the least of these our brothers” without a hint of irony that they’re leaving out of the equation (or at least minimizing) the least of the least of these – the unborn.

    I agree that we should all have a consistent ethic of life. That universal access to health care – in whatever form it is delivered – is part of that consistent ethic. But as long as our culture accepts a legal regime that fails to recognize the inherent humanity in the least of the least of these our brothers, such a consistent ethic of life is impossible. And, quite frankly, a government that provides legal cover for the murder of the innocent is unfit to run anything remotely resembling health care.

    And besides, how dare anyone believe that their other policy priorities somehow take precedence over the very right to experience life that is endowed by the Creator upon the unborn? With apologies to Charles Dickens, it may be, that in the sight of Heaven, the millions of poor children in the womb have a higher priority in seeing the light of day than does someone in having the government pay for their “free” health care. So, yes, let’s have a consistent ethic of life, but let’s get our priorities straight about what that means, and stop using it as a tool for ignoring abortion in favor of a particular party’s big government agenda.

  • “It is comments like yours that the American people are fed up with the way you and your ilk demonize those that protest President Obama’s health care bill.”

    Tito. I know. You’re going to start thinking I’m singling you out. But…the reverse happens just as frequently and just as viciously. And at least on this blog, the latter tends to be quite tolerated.

    Jay,

    I agree. Catholic Democrats really do not live up to their vocation as Catholics. Many are cowards. Many use the “seamless garment” as cover for voting for pro-choice candidates without even resisting pro-abortion legislation while performing some sort of intellectual gymnastics to distract attention from such a reality. But really, we are told that they are really pro-life because they are reducing the number of abortions by expanding access and/or funding to it.

    But…I think concerns that “other issues” — and I’m not talking about everything else on the “progressive” agenda — are unfortunately neglected, or voting for pro-life Republican candidates, which some Catholics imply is mandatory (even you choose to try to opt to not vote for anyone at all over voting for a Democrat), might strike your conscience as endorsing a number of policies that you simply do not agree with and do not believe is good for our country.

    In a sense, there is a sentiment that I don’t totally endorse — but I am very sympathetic to — is that many left-leaning Catholics feel boxed in. It is practically non-negotiable that you support a party that you fundamentally do not agree with and whom we tend to be suspicious about in regard to their commitment to actually stopping the evil of abortion — and I’m not saying the Democrats are the solution. I’m not trying to draw failure of one side to excuse the other. I am merely saying, these concerns — valid or not — usually are dismissed or there is a legitimate sentiment that right-leaning Catholics either totally reject such considerations or really don’t care. Whether that’s true or not is one thing, but it can seem that way. I repeat: it can seem that way. I’m not sure.

    But to the plight of an orthodox pro-life Catholic Democrat, I am very sympathetic. Obviously, I am one. I did not vote for Obama, but if he were pro-life, I probably would have campaigned for him.

  • If Obama were pro-life (and I mean TRULY pro-life, not Harry Reid “pro-life”), I would probably vote for him, just to reward the Democrats for nominating a pro-lifer.

    If the Democrats ever wised up to the fact that being pro-life was actually a political benefit to them, then we could really do something to end abortion in this country, and Democrats would likely become a permanent majority.

  • Eric,

    I know you personally so don’t worry, your intentions are pure and I need someone like you (I have many) to help keep me on the straight and narrow.

    Your comments and critiques of me are appreciated and spiritually humbling.

    🙂

    …and yes, it does go both ways, though for the moment, in my humble opinion, the GOP, conservatives, independents, and moderates are getting more of it than the liberals and democrats.

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,

    Tito

  • Obama spent a rather long time last night composing what I believe will be remembered as the epitaph for ObamaCare. I have never seen a more inept performance by a President addressing a joint session of Congress. He is approaching lame duck status in his first year in office with his party in overwhelming control in both chambers of Congress. In the teeth of an economic and fiscal crisis of vast proportions there is effectively no one directing the ship of state. God help us.

  • Picking up my mother from her weekly Adoration, I noticed some flyers saying that this health care would include abortion….

    Which it didn’t then and won’t now.

    With respect, Mr. Murray, that’s simply not true. It did, and it does, as Michigan Representative (and Democrat) Bart Stupak recognizes.

    http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,1918261,00.html

    But you are absolutely right that health care is a human right, and you should have coverage. I just wish the pro-abortion pols would stop jeopardizing the possibility of health care reform with their games.

  • I think there are flaws in Obama’s proposal, I would prefer that any public option only be state- or region-level co-ops, and I’m sceptical of its ability to control healthcare costs as long as most healthcare is fee-for-service. But overall, I think it has a lot of good in it. I wish some pro-life Republicans like Chris Smith would tell Obama that they’d vote for it if it includes the Stupak amendment. With around 20 pro-life Republicans in the house supporting it and the 20 Dems who wrote the letter on abortion and healthcare, that would be enough to pass it and give it some bipartisan credentials, which Obama wants, and it would protect life.

  • You’re right about that, Zak. If the Dem leadership would be willing to maintain the status quo of no federal funding for abortion by including the Stupak amendment, then health care reform would pass with bipartisan support and the blessing of the USCCB.

    I think it telling, however, that the administration that promised to find “common ground” on abortion is not even willing to maintain the Hyde Amendment status quo, despite its being the overwhelming majority view of the American people that tax dollars should not pay for abortions.

  • I think Zak is in the ballpark with the co-ops, but as a Catholic I would rather forget the state/regional level (implies government run) and take it a step further and suggest the the Catholic Church take the lead and reclaim the moral high ground by establish CATHOLIC Co-ops at the diocesan/parish level.

    There are the beginnings of such a move in the diocese of San Antonio TX by the Catholic Medical Association – see:

    http://www.cathmed.org/issues_resources/blog/new_guild_in_san_antonio_forming/

    Imagine a network of Catholic medical clinics around the country (and world) like the Tepeyac Family Center

    http://www.tepeyacfamilycenter.com/

    and Divine Mercy Pharmacy

    http://www.dmcpharm.com/

    Also – Catholic hospitals (like many colleges) need to reclaim their Catholic identity.

  • JB, I like that idea.

  • What these folks who keep talking about a consistent ethic of life don’t seem to get is this very simple concept:

    A consistent ethic of life begins with life.

  • Jb,

    a step further and suggest the the Catholic Church take the lead and reclaim the moral high ground by establish CATHOLIC Co-ops at the diocesan/parish level.

    A fantastic idea. Unfortunately the current regulatory environment (ie. massive government intrusion) makes such an idea very difficult to implement.

  • Matt,
    I don’t know if it would be hard for a diocese to set up a healthcare coop that Catholics could buy into except for government demands to cover certain things. The trouble I see is when the co-op refusedto pay for contraception and gets in trouble with the government like Belmont Abbey College. One fears the government might also eventually mandate that insurance plans participating in its exchanges cover abortion too.

  • Zak,

    agreed, but there’s a lot of other issues in the state level regulations as well regarding non-discrimination and covered procedures, etc.

  • Matt – what came to me as I read your response is to reaffirm what I said about reclaiming the high ground.

    The battle cry of the feminist movement all these years has essentially been “this is MY body” – (sounds vaguely familiar), The regulations (and health care “reform”) have been a steady march towards telling people of faith that “your body has to follow our rules” regarding contraception and abortion – especially when we’re paying the bills.

    Their “solutions” to every problem is always more and more of the same thing that got us into the problem in the first place, and things continue to get worse. It’s like a person that beats their head against the wall every day because it feels so good when they stop.

    I believe that places like the Teyeyac Family Clinic and DM Pharmacy were raised up by God to say to the world “we’re getting off this merry go round”, and the result speak for themselves.

    Many of the Dr’s across the nation that have stopped prescribing contraceptives and referring / performing for abortion have initially seen their practices suffer – only to come roaring back stronger than before.

    To me – the logical place to put these kinds of places is where the people are – in the diocese. That’s how the non-profit Catholic Hospitals got their start – we need to get back to our roots.

    God will do the work if he can just find a “few good men (and women)” to enlist. Now is the time to be bold – not timid. Remember the walls of Jericho !

  • Jay,

    I’m not sure if the absence of abortion would win the bill any new votes. As far as I can tell, people object for various other reasons. But you might be quite right.

    In regard to insurance, I’ve always thought the Knights of Columbus should offer health insurance. I think Catholics would buy it in swarms.

  • In regard to insurance, I’ve always thought the Knights of Columbus should offer health insurance. I think Catholics would buy it in swarms.

    Amen, brother knight.

    Though at this point they are probably effectively barred from it by the fact that you can’t offer health insurance across state lines. If that were removed, and voluntary associations could form pools in the same way as employers, I would think we could see a huge amount of positive change right there.

  • Eric, Darwin… I agree, the KofC seems like an excellent means of offering health insurance. As Darwin aptly noted, they are prevented from doing so by the regulations preventing insurance across state lines. Additionally, removing health insurance coverage as an employment benefit would serve to assist in this endeavor. Voluntary associations with interstate portability… sounds like a winner to me.

Government Health Care Means Rationed Health Care

Monday, August 17, AD 2009

Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air for the above video which was produced by the Independence Institute.  As Barabara Wagner learned, the Oregon Health Plan would pay for her to kill herself but will not pay for Tarceva to fight her lung cancer.  But that’s just Oregon, maybe ObamaCare wouldn’t ration health care?

Continue reading...

17 Responses to Government Health Care Means Rationed Health Care

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  • While I admire Dr. Pollard for providing the necessary antibiotics out of pocket, this is a purely anecdotal example of the inefficiency of Medicaid. These same horror stories exist for private insurers, and many equally moving success stories for Medicaid also exist, yet somehow you conclude that a reformed health care system would result in more rationing of care. The story is touching, but it doesn’t support your conclusion in the slightest.

  • There’s a troublesome topic that hasn’t been discussed much which is that part of the bill that would give the government access to a person’s bank account. Consider this scenario: If a person, be he elderly or otherwise, goes to the ER for a life-threatening event and is subsequently denied coverage, would there exist the possibility that all assets of that person could be confiscated by the government in order to reimburse the health care providers for care rendered? There is a particularly evil man, George Soros, who contributes mightily to several humanitarian foundations that Zeke Emanuel also happens to author health care articles. A real stretch on my part perhaps, but I am reminded that Soros had no qualms with confiscating property belonging to those being led off to the death camps.

  • “The story is touching, but it doesn’t support your conclusion in the slightest.”

    Wrong on both counts. I find Dr. Pollard’s statements alarming rather than touching. His statements also indicate a clear intention to deny treatment by medicaid. If such attempts are made by a private insurer to do this, a consumer always has recourse to the courts and to not give their business to insurers with a poor track record of paying for treatment. When the government is the insurer, no such options are available for ill treated consumers.

  • Having legal recourse after an insurance company has denied coverage is virtually no recourse at all unless your emergency medical condition is courteous enough to wait up to several years while you pursue a (hopefully) favorable verdict. Private insurers are also largely immune to having their customers vote with their wallets, since most people can only feasibly afford the insurance their employer has chosen to offer. There seems to be some implication that the scenario encountered by Dr. Pollard can’t or doesn’t happen when private insurers are involved despite the fact that it can and does all the time.

  • djr,

    a reformed health care system would result in more rationing of care.

    Not a reformed health care system – a GOVERNMENT health care system.

    The difference with private insurers is that the coverage limits are written into the policy agreement, if the insurer does not abide by them, you have recourse to the government. If you’re on a government health care program, your recourse is “the hospice chute”.

  • djr,

    can you provide an example where a health insurance company has offered to kill it’s customer?

    Problems with enforcement in the current system do not get solved by throwing “the baby out with the bathwater”. The current system works for the overwhelming majority, the problems need to be fixed but that doesn’t mean it’s flawed in general.

    since most people can only feasibly afford the insurance their employer has chosen to offer.

    There’s a “change” we can all believe in right? Allow individuals to economically purchase a state approved plan for themselves? Wait…. the Republicans proposed this plan several times and the big “O” and all his cronies voted against it.

    ps. I’m unaware of any euthansia promotors at the top levels of private insurance companies…apparently you are, or you would see the difference.

  • “Having legal recourse after an insurance company has denied coverage is virtually no recourse at all unless your emergency medical condition is courteous enough to wait up to several years while you pursue a (hopefully) favorable verdict.”

    Actually verdicts in wrongful denial of coverage suits are frequently astronomical and many insurance companies will authorize treatment soon after receiving a letter from an attorney threatening such a suit. Having written several such letters that has been my experience.

    “Private insurers are also largely immune to having their customers vote with their wallets, since most people can only feasibly afford the insurance their employer has chosen to offer.”

    A consumer in moderate to good health can usually get an insurance policy for rather low rates, especially if he is willing to take on a high deductible for non-emergency care. I pay for my family’s insurance out of my own pocket and have done so for the past 23 years and have been able to get good rates with various insurers through careful shopping.

    “There seems to be some implication that the scenario encountered by Dr. Pollard can’t or doesn’t happen when private insurers are involved despite the fact that it can and does all the time.”

    No such implication was made by me. My point is that when the Government runs health care the consumer has no options to rationing and frequently shabby service.

  • Matt,

    Again, legal recourse is not particularly meaningful when (as in the ten day example given in the original article) you require treatment immediately. Granted, if your insurer is simply and blatantly in breech of the terms of your policy, you (or maybe your estate) will probably trounce them in a courtroom one day. But your insurer may also have conditions associated with your coverage that prevent you from getting the treatment you actually need within the timeframe you actually need it. Perhaps before agreeing to antibiotic treatment for your eye infection, you’re required to undergo some less expensive treatment that takes 10.1 days and fails. This is rationing of care, and it happens today in a perfectly legal manner without any help from the government.

    Regarding euthanasia, I’m not entirely sure where that is coming from or where it is going. I suppose I don’t know of any private insurance companies that offer to kill you (although there are many who would be happy to let you die), but I don’t think it has anything to do with whether or not health care is rationed to any greater or lesser extent under any of the proposed plans.

    Donald,

    I’ll defer to your expertise on the topic of wrongful denial of coverage, since it sounds like you have some experience there, but I think ‘wrongful’ is the operative word. Care doesn’t necessarily have to be wrongfully denied to be effectively rationed, it simply has to be limited to the point that it isn’t of any use to you at the time you need it. I can attest personally (anecdotally, I admit) to the hurdles and hoops private insurance will ask you to jump through before agreeing to a procedure or settling a claim. Given the right circumstances, that is every bit as much rationing as the situation described by Dr. Pollard.

    I’ve also had personal experience trying to secure affordable insurance without the help of an employer, and I’m honestly amazed to hear how successful you’ve been. The numbers I was quoted for a fairly modest plan (including eye care and dental, admittedly) were outrageously high, even in my mid-20s and with no pre-existing conditions. Maybe with enough time and agreeing to a high enough deductible, I could have found something acceptable, but there is just no comparison to the plan and pricing I’m able to get through my employer. I would have to be extremely angry and willing to sacrifice a huge amount of money to stick it to my current provider, and in the end, I don’t think they would miss me enough to really reflect on why they lost me as a customer. I think my situation is fairly common, and it effectively prevents me from taking my business elsewhere to any great effect.

    It may be true that government-run health care will lead to greater rationing and shabbier service, but I don’t think the article supports that argument at all. It just tells a story where adequate care wasn’t provided, and Medicaid happened to be the insurer involved. You could find a story just like this in any hospital in America where the insurer is a private company.

  • The prime problem drj with giving government a monopoly over health care, which is what the proposed House legislation would do, is just that. In a monopoly situation there is no incentive for the holder of the monopoly to provide good service. Dr. Pollard’s experience attests to what happens now in regard to Medicaid, a service provided to the poor who have no other alternative due to lack of funds. ObamaCare would put us all in that leaky boat.

  • I don’t disagree that a monopoly is terrible for consumers, and I would hate to see a government monopoly over health care. I’m not thoroughly convinced that any mechanism by which the government provides insurance necessarily leads to a government monopoly, either. But in either case, Dr. Pollard really only successfully makes the case that people without any options have no options, something that is true whether your health care comes from the government or from a private insurer. The rationing argument he makes doesn’t hold because it is in no way unique to Medicaid. Private insurance rations very clearly already and often in the exact same way, so it isn’t fair to assert that Medicaid is a leaky boat (in regard to rationing of care) and that private insurance is something different.

  • When private insurers are driven out of business drj, and that would clearly be the ultimate result of the House bill, only the government would be left as a monopoly. A multiplicity of private insurers today prevents such a monopoly. A single payer system is merely another way of saying government monopoly.

  • My folks have private insurance, have my entire life– it’s expensive, but ranches don’t offer insurance.

    Mom’s had breast cancer, two orthoscope knee operations, a knee replacement, some sort of operation on the joints of her thumb…. all with the pre-existing wear and tear of a high school track star.

    Dad has a lot of skin problems, an incorrectly healed wrist since he was in high school and a pretty solid history of stuff-spiked-through-his-foot.

    Both in their fifties, both with family histories of rather expensive medical problems.

    Private insurance hasn’t been *perfect,* but it’s been pretty dang good.

    It’s also telling that mom is the only one that we know in the valley who has had any of those surgeries and paid for them herself, and that dad’s medical massage therapist had to raise her rates (she previously had a “monthly member” style discount club for valley residents with medical problems) or she would have to stop seeing Medicaid/Medicare customers.

    From where I stand, it sure looks like the idiots who are proud and honorable enough to pay for their own dang insurance need some protection from the folks that won’t, and they sure don’t need something that a politician is promising will be as good as the Post Office!

  • djr,

    First of all, you haven’t responded to the objections about the character of government which clearly is an important element of this.

    I’m not thoroughly convinced that any mechanism by which the government provides insurance necessarily leads to a government monopoly

    we don’t need to convince you that it will absolutely happen. You support a massive expansion of government power, it is your side that must prove that it will absolutely not happen in order to justify it.

    people without any options have no options, something that is true whether your health care comes from the government or from a private insurer. The rationing argument he makes doesn’t hold because it is in no way unique to Medicaid. Private insurance rations very clearly already and often in the exact same way, so it isn’t fair to assert that Medicaid is a leaky boat (in regard to rationing of care) and that private insurance is something different.

    The problem you’re having is the “insufficient options” fallacy. The only options are not to leave the health insurance system as it is, or a “government option”. The fact is that numerous improvements to the current system do not involve the great risk that we’re concerned about but the democrats oppose them… tort reform, separating insurance from the employer, cross-state line competition… these things would solve the problem of rationing by giving people options. Appropriate oversight to ensure people get the procedures they need is important, and if it’s not happening then EACH STATE should work to resolve this as quickly as possible, there’s no need for federal infringement on this state level authority.

  • Matt,

    I guess I don’t fully understand what you mean by the ‘character of government’. Is this on the topic of euthanasia? If so, I honestly don’t give much credence to the argument that the government wants to euthanize old people, and I’m amazed and disappointed that the idea has gotten any traction. Compared to the ethics and character of private enterprise, which I think we can all admit is only interested in your health care to the extent that they can wrangle a profit from you as you try to afford it, I think it’s a wash at best.

    I don’t feel like I need to defend a massive government expansion because I’m not a proponent of government-run health care – that’s just something you’ve assumed because you see the entire issue as Us vs. Them and because my initial post was about how the content of this article doesn’t support its headline in any reasonable way. Still, it does seem clear to me that the government could be involved in health care to many different degrees, most of which don’t require the takeover that you assume would result. This should be evident by the fact that the government already is involved heavily with health care and has not thus far managed to take over the entire system.

    As for the insufficient options fallacy, you’re again assuming that I’m only interested in a government-provided solution. The argument I’m making is not for a government option, it’s against drawing bad conclusions from anecdotal accounts in an effort to convince people of something you hope they’ll believe without being offered any real evidence.

    As far as the other options you mentioned are concerned, I don’t disagree with any of them. I’m not a democrat or a republican, so I don’t find myself at odds with any political ideology for thinking that they’re good ideas. But they’re not incompatible with government intervention either, so I don’t consider it an either/or proposition. One thing the government can bring to the table that private industry can’t is a service driven by and focused on something other than quarterly profits, and I recognize that there might be a place for that somewhere in the health care industry.

    I don’t want to wander too far from the point, though. I haven’t seen any credible evidence that government care means rationing above and beyond the level we see today (especially if you treat being unable to afford or obtain insurance at all as rationing, which I think you can legitimately do), and you can’t simply tell a bad story about Medicaid, conclude that Medicaid is bad, and call that a meaningful argument.

  • Is this on the topic of euthanasia? If so, I honestly don’t give much credence to the argument that the government wants to euthanize old people, and I’m amazed and disappointed that the idea has gotten any traction.

    Well, when we have multiple examples of Gov’t healthcare doing exactly that, in this country…. What else are we supposed to think? “It can’t happen to me”?