In January 2009, Mitt Romney penned some advice to incoming President Barack Obama regarding health care reform in a USA Today op-ed piece. Romney suggested Obama look to “the lessons we learned in Massachusetts,” in contemplating federal-level reform, noting specifically:
First, we established incentives for those who were uninsured to buy insurance. Using tax penalties, as we did, or tax credits, as others have proposed, encourages ‘free riders’ to take responsibility for themselves rather than pass their medical costs on to others. The Massachusetts reform aimed at getting virtually all our citizens insured. In that, it worked: 98 percent of our citizens are insured, 440,000 previously uninsured are covered and almost half of those purchased insurance on their own, with no subsidy.
In a January 2008 GOP Presidential Primary debate, Romney underscored his belief that the insurance mandate should be applied at a national level. When the moderator noted, “Romney’s system has mandates in Massachusetts, although you backed away from mandates on a national basis,” Romney interjected, “No, no, I like mandates. The mandates work.” I previously posted a video clip, which showed Romney giving his support to the notion of applying ‘Romneycare’ at a national level.Read more
Did I even spell that right? The Supreme Court of the United States of America heard oral arguments about the Affordable Care Act today - specifically the individual insurance mandate. And the questions came hard and fast from the conservative justices on the Court. In fact, somebody even posed the age-old question: if we allow the federal government to require individuals to require people to purchase health insurance, "what else can it not do?" Can it not then require people to buy broccoli? (And of course this was Scalia with this inquiry - although some people might have guessed Clarence Thomas; but alas, he has a policy not to ask any questions during oral arguments. And I can sympathize. When I am around people talking and sounding real smart, sometimes I don't like to say anything either.) But Scalia's broccoli question puzzles me somewhat, considering that the same question has been asked for the past two years and was even posed on Fox News a few days back. What I mean is this: at the very least, couldn't Scalia have been original and used a different example, like carrots? Seriously, is broccoli the only healthy vegetable out there? Or does Scalia have stock in Green Giant? Maybe he was hoping for an Etch-a-Sketch-style surge on Wall Street.
What is also interesting is that the Obama administration's lawyer had to answer the question straightforwardly: "No, that's quite different. That's quite different," Donald Verrilli said. "The food market, while it shares that trait that everybody's in it, it is not a market in which your participation is often unpredictable and often involuntary. It is not a market in which you often don't know before you go in what you need, and it is not a market in which, if you go in and -- and seek to obtain a product or service, you will get it even if you can't pay for it."
But all joking aside, I am following this story more than what my health insurance plan allows. We have come too far and fought too hard for this victory to have it taken away by some conservative judges. Checks and balances haven't seemed this fair since the Supreme Court voted Bush into the oval office in 2000.
Here are two links about today's proceedings:
What an exciting moment in the history of our country. Look at the reaction moment photo. Obama's face captures it all, with others cheering in the background. It looks like Teddy Roosevelt's horse is also excited.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="531"] Barack Obama reacts to the House agreeing to the Senate's ammendment to the ACA[/caption]
Today the NPR health blog posted a great article about where we are in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Has it met it's goals?
The article simply summarizes in table format each of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, the 2010 cost and impact, what has been done, and whether or not it is "on track". The table really impressed me as an excellent, well-referenced resource that I wanted to refer our readers to. It divides the provisions into expanding coverage, senior benefits, and consumer protections. Below are some highlights.
EXPANDING COVERAGE - 7 provisions
3/7 - Met goal
3/7 - Has not met goal
1/7 - Too soon to tell
An estimated 54 million people received at least one free preventive health benefit in 2011 (goal was 41 million).
48,879 people covered through 2011; Cost: $618 million through 2011 (goal was 200,000-400,000 covered).
SENIOR BENEFITS - 3 provisions
3/3 - Met goal
Prescription drug benefit included 3.8 million beneficiaries who saved $2.3 billion in 2011. Old people should love Obama.
CONSUMER PROTECTIONS - 5 provisions
2/5 - Met goal
3/5 - Too soon to tell
Insurers can no longer impose lifetime limits.
I'm impressed, are you?
By Doctor LauraClubFancy, your health care correspondent.
The topic of gas prices has taken center stage recently in our political discourse. Gas prices, as we are all painfully aware of, are have been climbing steadily, effecting us not only at the pump, but everywhere else where higher fuel costs are passed down the line to consumers, like at the grocery store.
So why does Obama let this happen? Why does he refuse to lift a finger to bring gas prices down to $2.50 a gallon, as Newt Gingrich promises to do if he is elected? Well, if you read the comments on the FoxNews web site from readers weighing in on the topic, you would learn that it is because: “the only thing he cares about is implementing his socialist/Marxist agenda”; and that “The progressive left have completed their agenda to weaken America so they can now bring in the wolves to finish her off.” I am not making this stuff up. These people really exist.
The insanity isn’t just coming from the right-wing blogosphere, either. Senator John Barrasso, a Wyoming Republican, said a few weeks ago that Mr. Obama should be held “fully responsible for what the American public is paying for gasoline.” Other politicians with close ties to the oil and gas industries (i.e., mostly Republicans), are also getting into the mix. This has become a huge political issue, but its implications go far beyond just politics.
If the Republicans can convince Americans that today’s high gas prices are a result of Obama’s overregulation and antipathy for the hydrocarbon industry, then they can successfully distract voters from the real issue of what dependence on fossil fuels means for our country and for the world, politically, economically and environmentally, and at the same time score political points in an important election year.
The facts are that under Obama domestic production is way up from what it was at any time under Bush II (see NY Times graph). Is this because of Obama’s supposed onerous regulation, I wonder? It is also a fact that any expansion of drilling permits, or approval of the Keystone XL pipeline (a project originally opposed by Nebraska’s republican governor) would not have an impact on oil prices for years, especially since most of that oil would go to foreign markets anyway.
Oil is a global commodity, and producers will sell to whoever will pay the most. With the continued growth of countries like China, India Brazil and South Africa, global demand is only increasing. This is reflected in the rising gas prices all around the world, not just in the US. The US now exports more oil than it imports, but oil drilled here doesn’t necessarily stay here.
The fact that OPEC controls huge international oil supplies, and has the power to drive up prices through reducing production whenever it wants needs to also be acknowledged by Obama-hating Republicans. Middle East instability, lack of refinery capacity, corporate profits and global commodity speculators (which even the hyper-conservative Lou Dobbs admits is a big reason for current gas prices) all play a role as well. None of this, of course, is immediately under Obama’s control, or acknowledged by Republicans engaged in their anti-Obama rhetoric.
But common sense and facts have never given Republicans pause before, so why start now? That is why their only response to the situation is to “drill baby drill”, and make sure that high-earning oil companies continue to get billions of dollars in tax subsidies each year, while at the same time decrying efforts to subsidize green-energy firms, a move which, apparently, is only appropriate for fossil fuel companies. (These subsidies, curiously enough, don’t seem to be an issue for GOP deficit hawks. I guess deficit concerns just apply to NPR or Health Care.)
And what about reducing demand for fossil fuels through less consumption, increased fuel efficiency and alternative fuels? Poppycock! That is just liberals trying to destroy America through their environmental scare tactics! Somehow Republicans missed that day in econ. class when their professors explained how there are two ways to bring down costs in a market, one being increasing supply and the other being to reduce demand.
At the end of the day oil is a non-renewable resource, and it will only get more expensive as the economies of highly populated countries around the word continue to grow, and as long as western nations continue in their oil addiction. The only way to deal with it is to start figuring out how to use less. Period. But until the Right pulls its head out of the sand (and pulls its hands out of big-oil’s pockets), I’m afraid the prospects for making progress on this front are not promising. And like gas prices, that is also not something Obama has personal control over.
"Not now. I have to be honest with you; it's not about your faith, even if the church itself in its structure is perfect, the people in it are not. That's not to say he's not a good person, don't get me wrong. But I would not vote for him just because he is Mormon. I want to know what he is going to do for the people. I want to see the compassion. I want to talk about something else besides the money. I know how hard it is to send two kids to college when you ain't got nothing. I know people may not think of me in that way, but this business gives you ups and downs. ... I am a Barack Obama fan, from head-to-toe, always have been. He's not perfect; nobody is going to be that way. Until you sit in that office, at that desk, don't tell me what you're going to do because you are going to come in and have some of the same problems as he did."
Thanks to John for posting this on the Mormons for Obama facebook group
Once again, thanks for the support!