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Archive for Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Obama signs landmark health care reform legislation

March 23, 2010

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— It was a day of history for the nation — and sweet vindication for President Barack Obama. His grin seemed wider than any in recent memory.

After more than a year of arguing, struggling and dealing, Obama signed into law a nearly $1 trillion health care overhaul that ranks among the biggest changes ever devised by Washington and will reshape the way virtually every American receives and pays for treatment. It will rework fully one-sixth of the U.S. economy and for the first time cement insurance coverage as the right of every U.S. citizen.

At the White House, jubilation was in the air on Tuesday. Democratic lawmakers and advocates, crowded into the East Room for the signing ceremony, hooted and hollered at nearly every Obama sentence. They snapped photos of the president — and themselves. Vice President Joe Biden was caught whispering a profanity as he exclaimed to the president what a big deal it was.

It seemed more like a campaign rally than a bill signing. No one seemed quite able to contain themselves.

It will be months before the November elections render a verdict on whether the public approves of the bill the Democrats pushed through Congress without a single Republican vote. But after more than a year of hyperpartisan struggle — and numerous near-death moments for the measure — they sealed a victory denied to a line of presidents and Congresses stretching back more than a half-century.

Not everyone was cheering. Republicans said those Democratic lawmakers would pay dearly in this November’s elections. Opinion polls show the public remains skeptical, too, and Obama will fly to Iowa on Thursday for the first of a number of appearances that will be more like a continuing sales job than a victory lap.

Aside from the huge, real-life changes in store for many Americans, the White House hopes the victory — even as a companion Senate “fix-it” bill moves through the Senate — will revitalize an Obama presidency that has been all but preoccupied with health care for his first year and two months in office.

Republicans characterize the measure as a costly, wrongheaded government power grab. Obama and the Democrats portray it as literally a lifesaver for countless Americans.

The core of the massive law is the extension of health care coverage to 32 million who now lack it, a goal to be achieved through a complex cocktail of new mandates for individuals and employers, subsidies for people who can’t afford to buy coverage on their own, consumer-friendly rules clamped on insurers, tax breaks, and marketplaces to shop for health plans.

Comments

sizzleplate 4 years, 4 months ago

Wow, I hope people are ready for even more layoffs because this is going to drive up costs for employers. 16,500 IRS agents are being hired as we speak. Off shore banks and insurance companies are smiling from ear to ear... Thanks Obama.

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Sue McDaniel 4 years, 4 months ago

Do you suppose we could now turn to real issues like jobs, the economy, and our natonal debt since the Dems rammed their way through on their pet project to the exclusion of all else? This is a horrible bill, and the way it was rammed down everyone's throats is un-American. Fall cannot get here fast enough when the people will VOTE their opinions instead of having the Dem's TELL them what is good for them.

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ENGWOOD 4 years, 4 months ago

This is a REAL issue and we ALL will pay dearly and we will REMEMBER COME NOVEMBER!!!!!!!!!!

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Richard Payton 4 years, 4 months ago

How does a country in debt that prints money pay for this? I understand that this kills medicare and possibly social security. I have no insurance because I can't afford it and now I'll be required to buy it or face a fine or imprisonment. I make to much to have medicare. Blue collar workers like myself now face another bill.

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Larry McGlinn 4 years, 4 months ago

Today, another date that will live in infamy!

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beatrice 4 years, 4 months ago

Maybe the new health insurance provisions can help find a cure for Republicans and their crocodile tears.

Probably not.

This party of "no" platform they run on will indeed be remembered in November. So will their stand against the benefits of this bill. Imagine, campaigning on the stand of allowing insurance companies to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions. Oh yeah, that is a winning strategy.

Expect even larger Republican tears in November.

Way to go Mr. President!

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promitida 4 years, 4 months ago

Although I'm sure my effort will prove to be futile; I cannot let the statement of the healthcare reform being merely a "pet project" go without comment. Health insurance and the lack thereof is a huge problem for our country. I don't understand those who cannot see that. This isn't about any party, it's about the way that Americans are being bulldozed by insurance companies and forced into bankruptcy left and right due to the astronomical costs of maintaining one's health.

My friend fought cancer for many years and unfortunately succumbed to the illness but not before her insurance company dropped her coverage due to the lifetime limit. A cruelty which will no longer be legal thanks to HCR. Her family is left with the grief of her death, and the enormous debt from the treatments that couldn’t save her life. This isn't right, and never should be allowed to happen again.

No one should benefit from the illness or death of another. No company should be looking for a way to save a buck at the expense of human beings. I'll be the first to admit it's not a perfect plan, but at least it's something and it's headed in the right direction and it’s progress.

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Bruce Bertsch 4 years, 4 months ago

For RTPayton...you will recieve tax credits to help you pay for the coverage. In addition, once the pools are set up, you will have cost leverage. Perhaps you should stop listening to talk radio and watching Fox news. As far as the cost, it REDUCES projected deficits by $1 Trillion. It also saves Medicare and does nothing to Social Security.

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georgiahawk 4 years, 4 months ago

Ha ha, health care passed! So far this morning, the world has not fallen apart, much to the disappointment of the right! rtpayton, you are blue collar and you vote republican? Wow, you need to think for yourself sometime. These are the people that trample on you every day, and their only regret is that the law prevents them from doing more. You are a sheep on the way to slaughter, smile and dance like your master wants!

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Richard Payton 4 years, 4 months ago

How will the Supreme Court vote? Any backroom deals? Kansas didn't get paid to build a new hospital or get any money for voting for the HC bill. I agree with dealthpenaltyliberal that Reagan and Bush ran up huge deficits but so is Obama. Madness in D.C and no concern for the people. Remember the Constitution says WE THE PEOPLE and its our duty to make our concerns know. Part of the HC bill is good which allows pre-existing conditions to be covered but I believe this bill puts America's workers in danger of losing more jobs. Anybody ask how does someone out of work pay for this? If you don't pay you face a fine even if out of work?

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BigPrune 4 years, 4 months ago

A LETTER FROM A PROCTER AND GAMBLE EXECUTIVE TO THE PRESIDENT

THE LAST SENTENCE IS THE MOST CHILLING

Dear President Obama:

You are the thirteenth President under whom I have lived and unlike any of the others, you truly scare me.

You scare me because after months of exposure, I know nothing about you.

You scare me because I do not know how you paid for your expensive Ivy League education and your upscale lifestyle and housing with no visible signs of support.

You scare me because you did not spend the formative years of youth growing up in America and culturally you are not an American.

You scare me because you have never run a company or met a payroll.

You scare me because you have never had military experience, thus don't understand it at its core.

You scare me because you lack humility and 'class', always blaming others.

You scare me because for over half your life you have aligned yourself with radical extremists who hate America and you refuse to publicly denounce these radicals who wish to see America fail..

You scare me because you are a cheerleader for the 'blame America ' crowd and deliver this message abroad.

You scare me because you want to change America to a European style country where the government sector dominates instead of the private sector.

You scare me because you want to replace our health care system with a government controlled one.

You scare me because you prefer 'wind mills' to responsibly capitalizing on our own vast oil, coal and shale reserves.

You scare me because you want to kill the American capitalist goose that lays the golden egg which provides the highest standard of living in the world.

You scare me because you have begun to use 'extortion' tactics against certain banks and corporations.

You scare me because your own political party shrinks from challenging you on your wild and irresponsible spending proposals.

You scare me because you will not openly listen to or even consider opposing points of view from intelligent people.

You scare me because you falsely believe that you are both omnipotent and omniscient.

You scare me because the media gives you a free pass on everything you do.

You scare me because you demonize and want to silence the Limbaugh's, Hannitys, O'Reillys and Becks who offer opposing, conservative points of view.

You scare me because you prefer controlling over governing.

Finally, you scare me because if you serve a second term I will probably not feel safe in writing a similar letter in 8 years.

Lou Pritchett

This letter was sent to the NY Times but they never acknowledged it.

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David Albertson 4 years, 4 months ago

All this Doom and Gloom from the GOPers. If this was going to bankrupt our economy, the stock market would be crashing right now. But, that's not the case. Investors are confident, the Dow is rallying. Recovery is underway and the Stimulus is playing a big part of it. This health insurance reform will contribute to our return to greatness. Thank you Obama, we couldn't do it without your leadership. Thank god the BUSH era is over.

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Flap Doodle 4 years, 4 months ago

“The Next Move I understand that the next piece of legislation the 'Democrats' are going to pass will force car companies to sell Porsche Boxsters (or the equivalent) to all Americans for $2000 (with an exemption for GM and Chrysler). After this, they will take on the profiteers in the citizen-enslaving food industry by requiring Safeway and all other supermarket chains to charge no more than $10 per bag of groceries (hemp bags only, and all food will be organic). Can you imagine how awesome this will be? We'll stick it to The Man and all drive bitchin' roadsters, and have cheap, abundant, healthy food! After this, they intend to pass a law making it illegal to age past 35. We shall become a nation of young citizens!! We'll all live forever, driving roadsters full of cheap groceries!!! Anything, anything is possible when legislators care for us!!” http://cartagodelenda.blogspot.com/2010/03/next-move.html

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Ricky_Vaughn 4 years, 4 months ago

There's a bridge in north Lawrence for the Repubs that feel like they just can't go on anymore...

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Ricky_Vaughn 4 years, 4 months ago

Poor Tea Party Beckpublicans...

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Liberty275 4 years, 4 months ago

"President Obama won this victory"

Insurance corporations won this victory by getting the government to force them to stuff the coffers of insurance companies. Americans lost. Democrats will pay the price in November for selling the American people (literally) to corporations.

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Ricky_Vaughn 4 years, 4 months ago

Even if the thing from P & G is real...it's an opinion from one of the largest corporations in this country...I wonder why he sounds like a Teabaglican...

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milehighhawk 4 years, 4 months ago

Lou -

The NYTimes didn't run your letter because it was idiotic.

Try blogging and stop polluting public spaces.

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BigPrune 4 years, 4 months ago

The "Letter" is legit. I looked it up on snopes before I posted it.

What I think all you naive liberals do NOT understand is ---companies will be laying off more people because they cannot afford the premiums. The government gets to use money for free. Forcing people to buy something in the United States of America? This bill will kill small businesses, guaranteed. I wonder what the unemployment rate will be in 6 months? I bet money it will be higher than it is today.

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David Albertson 4 years, 4 months ago

All of the GOP lies and non-sense will evaporate soon. The truth will prevail. This is CHANGE. Finally.

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David Albertson 4 years, 4 months ago

Prune, why would these companies be laying people off? The stock market is back to pre-crash levels. Corporations are looking to expand. When are you people going to accept reality? The DOW has been climbing all day. It's been climbing since November. This bill will strengthen our economy, it is as we speak. Your GOP representitives have mislead you. Get it through your head. The GOP is interested in money and power, that's it. They don't give a rats ass about the common man. They have proven it time and time again. Open your eyes. If you insist on supporting a GOP candidate, look at Ron Paul. He's the only one that gives a crap about the middle class.

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yoyogirl 4 years, 4 months ago

I have been in the medical field for 30 years. If you think that Obama's mom had a hard time fighting with insurance companies (which I would actually like to hear that whole story...was it experiential or what????) .......wait till you have to fight with the government to pay something. We used to call Medicaid and wait on the phone for hours. They wanted you to hang up so that they didn't have to pay. It will only get worse. The quality of doctors will go down and so will all health care. Be prepared to wait for appts, prescriptions, and surgeries. I did NOT want this healthcare reform.......but I got it CRAMMED down my throat. So much for working hard and trying to keep your head above water. I totally miss W!!!!!

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David Albertson 4 years, 4 months ago

yoyogirl misses W? The president that had the lowest approval rating in US History? Wow, you really are brainwashed. Keep in mind that when W came in to office we had the bigest budget surplus in US history. When he left us we were in the middle of the biggest economic collapse since the 1930's and a 4 trillion dollar deficit. Do you really miss that man? You have got to be kidding me, or you weren't paying attention.

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David Albertson 4 years, 4 months ago

Oh, and I forgot to mention the 4000 US troops that have given their lives for his Wars. Oh and I seem to remember W telling us that the Iraq war would be paid for by oil revenue. How much oil revenue have we received? $0.

Some of you people are waaaaaaay out there.

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sizzleplate 4 years, 4 months ago

why do people automatically assume that just because one disagrees with this bill means they are a right-winger? Wake up people and come out of your narrow mindedness for a sec. The left-right paradigm is such a joke and its sad to see so many thinking there someone HAS to be one or the other. We are in a deep deep mess and no republican or democrat is going to fix this.

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sizzleplate 4 years, 4 months ago

Bartstop- you are sadly misinformed. I don't think I saw anyone praising Bush, so I'm not sure where that rant is coming from. How is that even relevant to this discussion? And as far as your disbelief for more corporate layoffs in the future, do you not realize that taxes will be going up? Why the hell wouldn't that cause layoffs? How else do you expect companies to pay for this?

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beatrice 4 years, 4 months ago

In each state, political ads will run that show actual people who will by then be covered by insurance who were not before. They will be able to look into the cameras and say "If the Republicans had had their way with the health care bill, I would be dead right now." Sad thing is, it won't be hyperbole. Good luck running against that, Republicans.

yoyo: "The quality of doctors will go down and so will all health care."

How will this happen exactly? How will the quality of the doctor you see now "go down" because of this bill?

Also, what you call "cramming down our throats," the rest of us call the legislative process. Our legislators voted and approved the passage of this legislation. Not exactly cramming, now is it.

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David Albertson 4 years, 4 months ago

Taxes? Small businesses get tax breaks with this bill. Individuals got tax breaks with the stimulus bill. If you ask me, they should tax the hell out of the big banks. They caused this mess they should have to pay for it. I think almost everyone would agree with that.

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Ricky_Vaughn 4 years, 4 months ago

bartstop (anonymous) says… All of the GOP lies and non-sense will evaporate soon. The truth will prevail. This is change. Finally. ==================================== Yeah, shouldn't the headline be "Yes he did!"

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dizzy_from_your_spin 4 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, this legislation is soooo good that Obama has to now go back on the campaign trail to convince the 70% of America that didn't want it just how gooooood it really is.

Besides, canned teleprompter speeches are sooooo much easier than turning the economy around or stopping our troops from dying in Afghanistan or stop his illegal war in Pakistan or dealing with Israel or Iran or China or terrorists or illegal immigration...or even looking for that birth certificate or those medical records or those school records.

Miss Bush? Heck, I even miss Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. At least half of what Carter did was competent and half of what Clinton said was truthful.

What Kool-Aid flavor is Obama GIVING away today, Ricky and bart? It certainly appears you like your government handouts.

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sizzleplate 4 years, 4 months ago

NO TAXES? WHAT!!?

Here are just a few...

Excise Tax on Uninsured Individuals – Individuals who fail to maintain minimum essential coverage will be subject to a penalty equal to $750. The fee for an uninsured individual under age 18 is one-half of the adult fee.

Excise Tax on High-Cost Employer Plans – The federal government would impose a 40% tax on the value of employer-sponsored health coverage exceeding certain thresholds. Those levels are projected to be $8,500 for self only and $23,000 for any other level by the year 2013. This excise was announced with fanfare by the White House and labor unions in January and remains in the final bill.

The Reconciliation Act also legislates for the following surcharges: 1% surcharge on individuals making more than $350,000, 1.5% surcharge on individuals making more than $500,000, 5.4% surcharge on individuals making more than $1 million.

Taxes On Employers – If you are a large employer (defined as at least 101 employees) and you do not want to provide health insurance to your employee, then you will pay a $750 fine per employee (It could be $2,000 to $3,000 under the reconciliation changes) (Section 1513).

Taxes on Pharmaceutical Companies – The government will extract a fee of $2.3 billion annually from the pharmaceutical industry (Section 9008 (b)).

Taxes on medical device manufacturers – The government will extract a fee of $2 billion annually from medical device makers (Section 1405).

Fees on Health Plans – A fee applied to all health insurance providers based upon net premiums and any third party fees associated with the administration of those programs. The fees will total $6.7 billion annually. This figure begins at $8 billion in the Reconciliation Act and rises to $14.3 billion by 2018.

Tax on Indoor Tanning Services – The act imposes a 10% tax on amounts paid for indoor tanning services. Like a sales tax, the tax will be collected from the person tanning when payment for the tanning services is made.

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ecogirl20 4 years, 4 months ago

While I understand how frustrating dealing with insurance companies can be, and I agree that everyone should have access to cheaper health care, I completely, 100% DISAGREE with the fact that it will be MANDATORY to have health care! In some cases, it will be cheaper for some people (myself, for example) to save the money it will cost to pay the fine rather than pay for health care, unless it becomes amazingly cheaper. Right now, it is cheaper for me to pay out of pocket to go to a doctor, which I do maybe 2X a year, than it will to be on my husband's insurance, which will cost us $400/mo!! So... how will this bill help us? Seems to me that it will help the very very poor, and the people in the middle will be even WORSE off than we are now. I am proud to say that I did NOT vote for Obama. This demonstrates why.

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clockworkowl 4 years, 4 months ago

Make no mistake, the house of cards that this "recovery" is built upon will collapse soon enough. The fools in Washington live in a fantasy land if they think that there won't be hell to pay when the bill comes due for their illegal wars, Wall Street bailouts and ponzi scheme giveaways. The printing press this country is running on doesn't create any real value.

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manONmoon 4 years, 4 months ago

How come nobody ever has any factual statements to say about anything government related. I would like to have an opinion but it's tough when nobody has anything sensible to say.

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BorderRuffian 4 years, 4 months ago

Oak (anonymous) wrote… "Well, I have a big smile on my face! President Obama won this victory by putting a human face on this bill. He spoke of his mother who died of cancer while still arguing with insurance companies. Of the young boy who lost his mother because someone let her die because she was poor."

You are so wrong!! Beloved Leader won because he so severely strong-armed the dems in congress that literally, if they did NOT vote for the Health Care Deform, their political careers were through.

So many of you Demolibs preen and croon over this supposed victory. The problem is, even with Obama's strong-arm tactics, the vote was nearly 50-50. That is HARDLY a mandate. The fact is, most of America (except for a few Demolib strongholds like Larryville) feels the Health Care Deform was CRAMMED down our throats.

Face it - it is all about power. Nothing else. Power! The fallacies and hidden small print of the new Health Care Deform will astonish even the most limp-wristed Demolibs to the point where they even will be wishing for a good conservative to pull their fat out of the fire.

Anyone for Palin? (BTW - she's HOT)

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impska 4 years, 4 months ago

Does anyone here even understand what got passed this week?

There is a law that requires us to buy insurance from private insurance companies. There is no public option. There is no true universal health care. Insurance companies still have full control over establishing your rates and your plans. You no longer have the right simply not to buy.

There will be cheap plans that cover very little that healthy people will buy. There will be expensive plans that cover more that unhealthy people will buy. Have a pre-existing condition? The company can't charge you more than anyone else, but it can offer you a range of plans, of which only the most expensive will cover your condition.

Find it frustrating to deal with your insurance company? Guess what, you still will. Think it sucks when they find a loop hole and some kid's mom dies of cancer. Guess what, that will still happen. Think it's awful when people get driven to bankruptcy because of medical bills? You guessed it... it will still be awful.

They also tacked an entire bill of student loan reform to the end of the health care bill. Who needs to debate important stuff like that when you can just slip it through on some other bill?

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Carol Bowen 4 years, 4 months ago

Why is it so hard to find the articles on health care reform in this newspaper and website?

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Carol Bowen 4 years, 4 months ago

impska. Did you know that the federal government(our tax dollars) guarantee student loans from Sallie Mae, etc.? Or, that the CEO's of these companies make exorbitant salaries, 2+ million per year while we subsidize them with tax dollars?

"Despite losing $213 million in 2008, Sallie Mae’s CEO Albert L. Lord got a multimillion dollar raise as his reward. He received $4.7 million in total compensation for 2008, a raise of $3 million over his 2007 compensation. "

By absorbing student loans within the government system, fedgov guarantees the losses but also make some profit. This helps pay for the healthcare overhaul, and the students' costs will be less.

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