They Were For It Before They Were Against It

During the early 1990s, when President Bill Clinton tasked First Lady Hillary Clinton to lead the effort to overhaul the nation's health care system, Republicans proposed an alternate idea to Hillary's proposal, which envisioned a larger role for government in health care than what President Obama signed into law last March. That Republican proposal was a health insurance mandate that would require all Americans to have coverage, precisely the same obligation that Republicans have vehemently lambasted in the recent health care reform bill. Polled individually, all of the major elements of Obama's health care overhaul are very popular with the notable exception of the health insurance mandate. You'll be hard-pressed to find a politician or citizen anywhere who thinks it is a bad idea that parents can keep their children covered under their insurance plan until age 26, or that insurance companies can no longer deny children with pre-existing conditions coverage, or that insurance companies cannot cancel someone's plan when they become ill.

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Morality and the Health Care Crisis in America

I've been meaning to do a post about health care ever since the health care reform bill was debated and passed last year. I'll approach health care in two posts, first by discussing American health care (pre-reform) and the immorality of the status quo. In my next post, I'll compare the varying types of universal health care systems and examine the recent health care reform bill.

Health care reform is not just a political issue for me- it's also a moral issue. There is nothing more fundamental to one's well-being than their health. One's ability to obtain an education, to acquire and hold a job, and to sustain a family is entirely dependent on their physical and mental health. If we, as the world's most wealthy country, were happy with the pre-reform status quo, with leaving millions of lower and middle working class Americans either under-insured or uninsured, and were content with a system that bankrupts people when they become sick and lose their jobs as a result, then we've had a significant moral lapse. As I pointed out in a previous post about a "culture of life," can one truly claim to be "pro-life" when they are content to let people become sick and die for lack of treatment in the wealthiest, most powerful country the world has ever known? I've actually had some conservative friends argue as a counterpoint that anyone can be seen in an E.R. (at taxpayer expense), thus there is no need for reform. E.R. access as the sole point of access to health care is woefully inadequate. So, say someone has cancer, do you think they can go to the E.R. for chemotherapy? It doesn't take a health care professional to explain that the E.R. can handle only emergencies, not medium and long-term care for the seriously and chronically ill, not to mention cost-saving and life-enhancing preventative medicine.

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The Church Supports Common Sense Principles of Immigration Reform

Unfortunately, I'm still mired in a ridiculous amount of school work, so this will be a short post. I wanted to highlight the following press release from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which demonstrates the Church's support for principles of reasonable immigration reform in the "Utah Compact." As you will notice, the Church's position is clearly divergent from the knee-jerk "deport them all" and "place landmines on the border" viewpoints of too many of our extremely conservative fellow citizens (ironically including many Latter-Day Saints). To me, the content of the Utah Compact is an adherence to the LDS principle of "moderation in all things." Extreme positions on immigration from both the far left and far right are unacceptable. One of the very few policy positions of our former president, George W. Bush, that I actually supported was his failed attempt at reforming our country's immigration system, which would have balanced the need for better enforcement while recognizing the reality on the ground, which is that millions of illegal or undocumented immigrants have truly assimilated into our society and are productive and valuable members thereof. Without further pontification on my part, here is the Church's press release and here is the official text of the Utah Compact.

Go Cougars!

According to a recent Wall Street Journal post, BYU ranked 11th in the eyes of recruiters, even ahead of prestigious schools like Cornell, MIT, and UCLA. (Harvard and Yale were not even on the top 25!) I've always felt that BYU was underrated in the U.S. News and World Report rankings, in part because of a higher drop out rate (due to a lot of women getting married, having babies, and quitting school). Go Cougars! BYU was also rated as America's most popular university, with popular being defined as the percentage of accepted students who actually enroll.

The September 23rd Health Care Milestone

September 23rd marked six months since President Barack Obama signed the new health care reform bill into law. The new law contains a plethora of measures that aim to reform and improve the overall quality and availability of health care in America. However, most of the law's measures did not go into effect immediately upon the bill's passage. The first major milestone occurred yesterday, on September 23rd, when several key measures were implemented, some affecting almost everyone, others only initially affecting those with new and heavily revised insurance plans (with similar changes affecting all plans a little further in the future). Here are some of the ones I believe are most important:

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Seven Percent of Republicans Are Not Completely Out of Their Minds

A recent nationwide survey found that a majority of Republicans believe that Obama "sympathizes with the goals of Islamic fundamentalists who want to impose Islamic law around the world."

According to the poll, 14 percent of Republicans said that from what they knew of Obama, they thought such allegations were "definitely true"; 38 percent thought the allegations were "probably true." Meanwhile, 33 percent of Republicans thought they were "probably not true" and 7 percent thought they were "definitely not true."

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An Act with a Vision for the Future

Even prior to its enactment, there has been much heated opposition to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, a.k.a. President Obama's economic stimulus plan. Opponents have tried to smear it as a bill laden with earmarks (which is not true) that wasted money on pointless projects. Opponents have also (correctly) pointed out that it is mostly paid with borrowed money (I'll come to that later). However, the Recovery Act has gone further than any prior piece of legislation in the past half century in revolutionizing antiquated areas of our economy. And it truly has kept the economy from the brink of depression.

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"Ground Zero" Mosque

The Eleventh Article of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints states, "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may." [emphasis added]

It is frankly shocking and disappointing that about 70 percent of Americans apparently oppose the building of an Islamic center that will include a mosque in Lower Manhattan, according to a new poll. This opposition is rooted in bigotry and in ignorance. First a few facts - the proposed Islamic center is to be built on private property located a few blocks away from the World Trade Center site. It is not going to be built on the World Trade Center site. There are two other mosques located in Lower Manhattan very close to the WTC site. They have been there for decades and have not caused any controversy.

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Climate Change is Happening

Last February, I experienced "snowmageddon" on the East Coast. I recall during that time reading a news article about some conservative politicians' gleeful mocking of former Vice President Al Gore and the concept of global warming; they claimed that the blizzards and record snowfalls were evidence that global warming does not exist. Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma and his family built an igloo on the Washington Mall and placed in front of it a cardboard sign that read, "Al Gore's new home," and "honk if you [heart] global warming." Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina tweeted that day, "it's going to keep snowing in DC until Al Gore cries 'uncle.'" However, ignorance must truly be bliss for these senators. As Think Progress pointed out, "scientists have been warning for decades that global warming would increase the severity of winter storms." These Republican senators' actions further demonstrate their myopia in their focus on a single weather event (or 2 weather events) and slightly colder than normal temperatures over a short period for a very small geographic area (compared to the entire planet).

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Illegals Offer Their Jobs Back to Real Americans

I'm sure we've all heard conservatives lament about how illegal immigrants are stealing American jobs. Well here is an incredible opportunity for real Americans to take back the jobs illegals have taken from us. According to United Farm Workers, a labor union for agricultural laborers, over 50% of farm laborers in the US are undocumented (a.k.a. illegal) immigrants. The UFA has created a website devoted to helping legal Americans find work in the agriculture sector as laborers. So please tell all of your unemployed family members and friends to visit this website so they can take back an American job from an illegal immigrant.

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