Archive for Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Florida judge strikes down Obama health care overhaul

February 1, 2011


— A federal judge ruled Monday that the Obama administration's health care overhaul is unconstitutional, siding with 26 states that sued to block it.

U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson accepted without trial the states' argument that the new law violates people's rights by forcing them to buy health insurance by 2014 or face penalties.

Attorneys for the administration had argued that the states did not have standing to challenge the law and that the case should be dismissed.

The next stop is likely the U.S. Supreme Court. Two other federal judges have upheld the insurance requirement, but a federal judge in Virginia also ruled the insurance provision violates the Constitution.

In his ruling, Vinson went further than the Virginia judge and declared the entire health care law unconstitutional.

"This is obviously a very difficult task. Regardless of how laudable its attempts may have been to accomplish these goals in passing the Act, Congress must operate within the bounds established by the Constitution," Vinson wrote in his 78-page ruling.

At issue was whether the government is reaching beyond its constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce by requiring citizens to purchase health insurance or face tax penalties.

Attorneys for President Barack Obama's administration had argued that the health care system was part of the interstate commerce system. They said the government can levy a tax penalty on Americans who decide not to purchase health insurance because all Americans are consumers of medical care.

But attorneys for the states said the administration was essentially coercing the states into participating in the overhaul by holding billions of Medicaid dollars hostage. The states also said the federal government is violating the Constitution by forcing a mandate on the states without providing money to pay for it.

Florida's former Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum filed the lawsuit just minutes after Obama signed the 10-year, $938 billion health care bill into law in March. He chose a court in Pensacola, one of Florida's most conservative cities. The nation's most influential small business lobby, the National Federation of Independent Business, also joined.

Other states that joined the suit are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.


Corey Williams 7 years ago

Meanwhile, when it comes to health insurance reform, from the right we hear...nothing.

tunahelper 7 years ago

another progressive leftist who thinks they have the right to tell everybody how to run their lives. what an arrogant fool!

JayhawksandHerd 7 years ago

If a true free market in the health care industry actually existed, I might be somewhat inclined to agree. What we have how inhibits - if not completely eliminates, in some cases - consumer choice. I can't just "shop around" for health coverage or providers in the same way I might for a new car or groceries. Of course, it's also difficult to shop around for the best deal from the back of an ambulance in an emergency situation...

Scott Drummond 7 years ago

Remind us again how great folks had it before Medicare?

Liberty275 7 years ago

They didn't pay 58 years for garbage insurance they might get to use for 10 years. That sounds pretty good.

jmadison 7 years ago

The judge quoted Obama from 2008: “I note that in 2008, then-Senator Obama supported a health care reform proposal that did not include an individual mandate because he was at that time strongly opposed to the idea, stating that, ‘If a mandate was the solution, we can try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody to buy a house.’”

bad_dog 7 years ago

Don't think she's too concerned about becoming a Czar. Last I checked she still has a job-with 6 figure salary and health insurance. You?

notajayhawk 7 years ago

"Remember, the one that stopped the recount because an arbitrary deadline was more important than the will of the american voter and then appointed Bush (their guy) the presidency and then later said the only real way to resolve the election was to recount the votes, but their wasn't enough time to do that."

Always good for a laugh in the a.m., jstthe"facts" [snicker].

Oh my goodness, you mean the Supreme Court actually ruled that the activist judges in Florida couldn't change the rules after the votes were cast, that they had to follow the law in the state of Florida and they couldn't appoin t Gore president?

Oh, wait - turns out that if the votes were recounted exactly as those courts ordered, or exactly as Gore requested, or any other way (that didn't include over-votes), Bush still won. That's a fact that your delusional world always seems to dismiss. But keep on ranting like a good little liberal - i.e., don't let facts get in the way.

notajayhawk 7 years ago

And again, jstthe'facts' [hilarious uproar], what would have happened if the votes had been recounted exactly the way Gore asked in his lawsuit?

Your revisionist history can't get your little head wrapped around that one, can it?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

Fine by me. Scrap Obamacare, and implement Medicare for all.

Liberty275 7 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

jafs 7 years ago

Actually, how the SC rules will be interesting.

It's entirely possible they'll declare the law unconstitutional - we have a small conservative majority on the court, and conservatives tend to favor narrower interpretations of things like the Commerce Clause.

seriouscat 7 years ago

Good. Scrap is and start over. More power and money for the insurance lobby is not the way to go.

Peacemaker452 7 years ago

Seeker, Where do you see the limit on Congress’ interstate commerce powers? You obviously feel strongly about health care but what if this was an issue you did not support?

Using the same rational that Congress is using to say it can make you pay a “tax penalty” for not purchasing health insurance, they could also require you to buy a home security system to help curb law enforcement costs or, horror of horrors, use these twisted interpretations of some very simple words in the Constitution to force all able bodied men who fall into the requirements of the unorganized militia to own a military style firearm to fulfill their militia duties.

Both of these ideas could easily be twisted by some government lawyers to meet the Court’s current “interpretation” of interstate commerce. Where do we stop?

usnsnp 7 years ago

Scrap the whole plan. Then see what the Republicans come up with, at this point they will have to make decisions and not just complain about things. In the mean time continue to let some accountant in a insurance company make medical decisions. Contiue to have administrative cost of 30% that insurance companies have to run their programs.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

That's what I was just thinking. Demagoguery is easy. Creating and implementing good, workable polices is not.

notajayhawk 7 years ago

"Demagoguery is easy. Creating and implementing good, workable polices is not."

I suppose that's why Obama failed to get his plan implemented.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

"What makes you libs think the federal government can run 1/6th of the US economy?"

The more pertinent question is why have conservatives insisted on inflicting so much corruption and incompetence on the American people and their government?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

I agree-- he's governed way too much like a Republican.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

Government is made up of humans, just like the private sector. As such, a certain amount of incompetence can be found in either of those sectors. And given that government workers tend to be better educated and trained than non-government workers, their level of competence is also likely somewhat higher than in the private sector.

But that's probably not the answer you looking for, is it?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

It's pretty simple, really. A large percentage of government jobs require a university degree, and quite often post-graduate degrees.

But I understand that your opinions are based on ideology, not facts.

notajayhawk 7 years ago

"A large percentage of government jobs require a university degree, and quite often post-graduate degrees."

Most of those educational requirements can be substituted for with a number of years of experience at the next lowest level. In other words, you don't have to have the education, you just have to be a career employee (i.e., someone who wasn't able to get a job in the private sector).

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

This may be true for some positions, and if you can learn all you need to know on the job, it's not a bad idea.

But there are many positions in government that are highly technical, and if you don't have a law degree, or a medical degree, or an advanced degree in biochemistry, etc., you won't get the job.

JayhawksandHerd 7 years ago

Speaking as a music teacher, I guess I must be one of those "real-world drop-outs," since my paycheck is provided by the government and all. Of course, I have been compensated by private entities on multiple occasions for performing, publishing some of my writing, and teaching private lessons. I also hold a graduate degree. You're right, though...choosing a career I find rewarding and enriching - as opposed to chaining myself to a cubicle for eight hours a day in order to help some CEO buy another beach house - clearly makes me a failure.

DrRustinMcGillicuddy 7 years ago

Any gov worker I deal with has done their job very, very poorly, because they don't have to worry about getting fired! They have a secure job, they'll shuffle their feet to get things done, but don't expect it to be soon and don't expect it to be 100% correct, because that is asking too much.

gogoplata 7 years ago

A victory for those who love liberty.

jayhawklawrence 7 years ago

It is rather monotonous to see the same type of comments from the same right wing crowd when it comes to the catastrophe facing the US health care system. 47 million uninsured and rising. People choosing between food, shelter or the emergency room. According to federal law, hospitals must take care of these people and the charges are spread out on the bills of the insured. This dramatically increases the premiums that the insured are paying on their health care bills. A better explanation is found at this link.

Unfortunately, the right wing lunatics are not interested in finding an answer and we are going to continue to pay more and more until finally, we are going to join the millions of growing numbers of Americans who cannot afford health insurance. The population is gettting older and there will be an increasing number of visits to the emergency room and we will continue to have to pay to take care of these people until perhaps the Republican Party decides to end the practice and post armed guards at the emergency room doors.

I wonder what their justification will be when they deny you the care that might save your life. Judging from the comments on this blog, I think we can imagine what that will be.

notajayhawk 7 years ago

"It is rather monotonous to see the same type of comments from the same right wing crowd when it comes to the catastrophe facing the US health care system."

It is rather monotonous to see the same type of comments from the same left wing crowd when it comes to the catastrophe facing the US health care system. There, fixed that for ya'.

Hey, jhl - nice rant, as usual. Oh, except you forgot (again, as usual) to include anything about how Obamacare was going to fix any of the problems you mentioned.

jayhawklawrence 7 years ago

The fact of the matter is that we need a government and we need laws. The world is becoming smaller in a sense and resources are becoming more limited. Monopolies have formed which control vast amounts of the worlds key resources. Material prices are skyrocketing as are everything else such as food and medicine. Simply cutting taxes, removing regulations and giving free rein to the people with the most money will not benefit most Americans in the future.

I believe we have to find a balance and we have to work toward what is fair while at the same time working to preserve what has always been the greatest business environment in the world and a hot bed for entrepreneurs and people with creativity and vision to dream and achieve.

The partisanship we see today is a strong indication that we need change in our political leadership at all levels. We have become too selfish and narrow minded. The politics has become dependent on the idea that you can buy or brainwash the electorate and a disfunctional system is profiting a selfish few because the American people let it happen.

I think the tea party is a positive step for the Republican Party because it forced change and it opened up the discussion about how to make government better. The Democrats must do likewise but eventually common sense has to take root and we need to solve some problems in this country.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

"I think the tea party is a positive step for the Republican Party because it forced change and it opened up the discussion about how to make government better."

Except that it was co-opted very early on by folks like Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, who pretty much sucked any chance at intelligent discussion right out of the room.

Olympics 7 years ago

A history lesson from the Tea Party In days of yore, giants strode the earth. We know and worship them them today as the Founding Fathers!

Richard Payton 7 years ago

When's the last time you saw a good witch doctor? DR. WHO!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

I bet you'd just love to be able to find a final solution for all those lazy slackers out there making life hard for the supermen among us.

JayhawksandHerd 7 years ago

How does leaving the for-profit health insurance industry entirely intact constitute a "socialist utopia?"

weeslicket 7 years ago

from the article: U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson accepted without trial the states' argument that the new law violates people's rights by forcing them to buy health insurance by 2014 or face penalties.

note: "without trial"

hhmmmmmm....... do you smell that? anyone else smell that? what's that smell?

weeslicket 7 years ago

yawn while holding nose (very smelly argument) (will someone open the windows, please)

tomatogrower 7 years ago

So now I guess they'll take on the car insurance requirements. Now all you health care moochers don't have to buy health insurance, use the emergency room of hospitals, and make all of us pay for you. Nice job tea party people. Now you can afford that extra game system or more booze. Why should I pay higher health care prices, because you don't want to buy insurance? Are you one of those car insurance creeps too? You know, the ones who buy car insurance to get your tags, then drop it? Also, if I can no longer carry insurance on my son, I think I'll send any medical bills he might have to this judge.

tomatogrower 7 years ago

So right now you are healthy, and I know you want us to believe that you are super wealthy, but guess what, if you get cancer your medical bills will not be $75 or even $140. I'm so glad you have the several thousands of dollars you will need for treatment. And of course you would never accept the treatment anyway, because the research was funded by tax dollars, and everyone knows the government can't do anything right. And if you went to Lawrence Memorial Hospital, which is funded with tax payers money, then, you're welcome.

gudpoynt 7 years ago

haha. Exactly. Good luck on getting out of the ER with another $215 bill.

tomatogrower 7 years ago

I'll assume, LO, that you didn't go to a for profit hospital, or they would have charged you more. So, again, as a taxpayer helping to support a community hospital, you're welcome.

Kyle Reed 7 years ago

Wow...just wow. You really may want to compare and contrast what you're talking about before you start spouting off at the keyboard. It will GREATLY improve your odds of not looking like a complete moron.

notajayhawk 7 years ago

"So now I guess they'll take on the car insurance requirements."

The ignorance of those who keep tossing out that little tidbit is mind boggling.

Okay, one more time:

You are not required to buy car insurancer because you are not required to drive.

You are not required to insure yourself with car insurance (i.e., you don't have to buy comprehensive or 'collision' insurance, just liability), you just have to insure against causing someone else harm. That would be the equivalent of forcing doctors to carry malpractice insurance, not forcing patients to carry insurance to pay the doctors' bills.

Got it yet?

notajayhawk 7 years ago

"Why should I pay higher health care prices, because you don't want to buy insurance?"

Why should I buy insurance to pay YOUR medical bills? I already pay for my own, try paying for yours.

jayhawklawrence 7 years ago

There is no socialist utopia and anything based on a false idea will fail as did Marxism in all of it's forms.

However, from what I see the people who scream the loudest about the constitution and freedom are often the very same who are being used by powerful people.

The greatest tryrannies are formed by the idealistic and the innocent because they are the last to realize they have been deceived.

The recipe that created this country created a masterpiece, no question about it. If there is anything I resent about the left wing it is that many of them refuse to recognize how magical that recipe was and how fortunate we are. But we have to take our country back from the politicians and stop letting them manipulate us into believing things that are simply not true.

Jimo 7 years ago

Stuck at the airport today so I might have time to read this long opinion.

At first glance, a few observations:

A) This opinion is much better reasoned than the ham-fisted twin we got out of Virginia last month(?).

B) This opinion is the opposite of judicial restraint. Judge Vinson is a mere District Court judge but feels free to junk much of existing precedent. That the Commerce Clause cannot be read to be virtually free of any limitation of substance is the position of the minority on the SC. (Obviously, this is an error only for those who believe lower court judges are required to follow precedent.)

C) The States lost what they really wanted: a halt to Medicaid expansion.

D) As it stands, the mandate provision would be upheld by at least 7 SC Justices, perhaps even all 9 . . . if they do not overturn themselves (they just endorsed this provision last year however!).

E) A variety of traditional congressional powers would have to fall if this reasoning were to stand including eminent domain, (legislative) subpoenas, and the military draft. Congress routinely forces people to do what they don't want to even though there is no express power to do so - and has since the beginning (although critics are correct in pointing out that gov't used more restraint in doing so long ago).

F) Procedurally, this ruling is no more important than multiple district court decisions upholding the law. (Not that they're likely to mention this on the GOP Propaganda Channel.)

G) The gov't will proceed with implementing the law regardless.

H) The alternatives -- and there are many -- to the mandate may prove quite a bit worse to wingnut sensitivities. If polling is to believed at all, a stricken mandate provisions would result is a substantially greater number of Americans approving the expansion of gov't in health care over those who wish a limited role. Medicare for All!!

I) Judge Vinson's assertion that the effect of those not purchasing insurance is zero is (economic) ignorance personified. (1) non-participants in any market are critically important to a market's price setting and signaling to providers and consumers, (2) there is no potential plaintiff who could ever state a claim that they will not ever be a participant in the market for heath care (the dead can't ask for a refund).

Jimo 7 years ago

Trying to get to Dallas to connect to my flight to Buenos Aires! Business deals don't always wait for the weather.

Jimo 7 years ago

Sunny and 80 degrees.

Luckily, the Argentines aren't all business so I'm looking forward to a good steak and a fine red before heading to the beach (time permitting).

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

Only insensitive and greedy profiteers would approve of a rip off system!!!!

Look at it this way. Humans are born to need health care ..... not a choice. We are designed that way.

Why should humans be expected to pay anybody $18,210 a year for 24/7 no hassle health care? AND pay this money to a "middle man" insurance industry that which does not provide health care!!!

Only insensitive and greedy profiteers would approve of a rip off system!!!!

Do some homework:

It makes little difference whether the government gives taxpayers (or their employers) a deduction for their health care spending, on the one hand, or collects their taxes then pays for their health care, either directly or via a voucher, on the other.

Moreover, tax dollars also pay for critical elements of the health care system apart from direct care—Medicare funds much of the expensive equipment hospitals use, for instance, along with all medical residencies.

All told, then, tax dollars already pay for at least $1.2 trillion in annual U.S. health care expenses. Since federal, state, and local governments collected approximately $3.5 trillion in taxes of all kinds—income, sales, property, corporate—in 2006, that means that more than one third of the aggregate tax revenues collected in the United States that year went to pay for health care.

Recognizing these hidden costs that U.S. households pay for health care today makes it far easier to see how a universal single-payer system—with all of its obvious advantages—can cost most Americans less than the one we have today.

Medicare must exist in the fragmented world that is American health care—but no matter how creative the opponents of single-payer get, there is no way they can show convincingly how the administrative costs of a single-payer system could come close to the current level.

More on this matter:

National Health Insurance

Health Care In the USA

Doctors for Single Payer

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

Call in the FBI and the Grand Jury!!!

Insurance CEO's and lobbyists are advisors to our elected officials which is a conflict of interest.

Why on earth do elected officials call in the same people who finance their campaigns to inquire how they should write up health care insurance legislation?

A congressional investigation turned up a large bucket of medical insurance fraud on the medical insurance consumers yet went to this same source to determine how to write up medical insurance legislation.

Has anyone received notice of a class action lawsuit?

Is there an FBI investigation under way? A Grand Jury investigation underway?

Why you ask?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Health insurers have forced consumers to pay billions of dollars in medical bills that the insurers themselves should have paid, according to a report released yesterday by the staff of the Senate Commerce Committee.

The report was part of a multi-pronged assault on the credibility of private insurers by Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.). It came at a time when Rockefeller, President Obama and others are seeking to offer a public alternative to private health plans as part of broad health-care reform legislation. Health insurers are doing everything they can to block the public option.

At a committee hearing yesterday, three health-care specialists testified that insurers go to great lengths to avoid responsibility for sick people, use deliberately incomprehensible documents to mislead consumers about their benefits, and sell "junk" policies that do not cover needed care. Rockefeller said he was exploring "why consumers get such a raw deal from their insurance companies."

The star witness at the hearing was a former public relations executive for major health insurers whose testimony boiled down to this: Don't trust the insurers.

"The industry and its backers are using fear tactics, as they did in 1994, to tar a transparent and accountable -- publicly accountable -- health-care option," said Wendell Potter, who until early last year was vice president for corporate communications at the big insurer Cigna.

Potter said he worries "that the industry's charm offensive, which is the most visible part of duplicitous and well-financed PR and lobbying campaigns, may well shape reform in a way that benefits Wall Street far more than average Americans."

Insurers make paperwork confusing because "they realize that people will just simply give up and not pursue it" if they think they have been shortchanged, Potter said.

More on this story:

notajayhawk 7 years ago

Merrill, here, let me help, and save you some time and effort from re-posting your dishonest spam for the hundredth (or thousandth) time:

merrill (anonymous) says…

blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

This may be the most intelligent thing you've ever posted.

notajayhawk 7 years ago

"This may be the most intelligent thing you've ever posted."

Keep trying, boohoohoohoozo, perhaps someday you might do as well.

weeslicket 7 years ago

geez.... how long did it take you to produce that?

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

Employers should not be forced to pick up the cost of medical insurance however that could be an option.

Socialized medical insurance would work. The medical profession is a lot of work therefore would still be paid well.

What would be missing from the socialized medical insurance industry?

  • over paid CEO's and BOD"s
  • stockholders
  • golden parachutes(CIGNA CEO rec’d $73 million retirement bonus in 2009)
  • health care dollars being spent on political campaigns
  • high dollar pharmaceuticals
  • billions in insurance company overcharges aka fraud
  • the Sen Bill Frist family over billing medicare

Total Saved = an estimated $400 billion annually

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

Let's reduce health care costs by getting rid of the medical insurance industry. Why? Because the medical insurance industry does not provide health care. And most consumers do not spend what is paid out annually per policy.

In fact most insured consumers are under insured which could mean bankruptcy.

Considering deductibles,co-pays,dental and premium costs plus employer contribution how much is your coverage?

Improved Medicare Insurance for All would provide real medical insurance reform!

Throwing more our our hard earned tax dollars at the medical insurance industry is nothing more than fraud against consumers and tax dollar waste.

I want IMPROVED Medicare Insurance and I want it paid for with MY tax dollars.

IMPROVED Medicare Insurance for ALL would cover every person for all necessary medical care to include: * prescription drugs • hospital • surgical, • outpatient services • primary and preventive care • emergency services, • dental • mental health • home health
• physical therapy • rehabilitation (including for substance abuse), • vision care, • hearing services including hearing aids • chiropractic • durable medical equipment • palliative care • long term care

A family of four making the median income of $56,200 would pay approximately $2,700 a year in payroll tax for all health care costs. No deductible and No Co-Pays.

Allow IMPROVED Medicare Insurance for ALL to be available now to all taxpaying consumers and let them make the choice. The mechanism is in place as we speak.

Flap Doodle 7 years ago

How many hundreds of times have you copy/pasted this same post here on LJW, merrill? How many different forums have you repeated it on?

tomatogrower 7 years ago

I say put all the insurance companies out of business, and everyone pay a few more taxes, which will be easy, because they won't be paying lots of money to the insurance company's profits, and we expand the veterans hospital system for all citizens to use. They have had problems, but on the whole they aren't too bad. Sure fewer doctors would be millionaires, and fewer face lifts and tummy tucks would be performed, but maybe we'd get doctor's who care more for the patients than their investments. Maybe we could get more community owned hospitals, instead of for profit rip offs.

Paul R Getto 7 years ago

"rockchalk1977 (anonymous) says… Jayhawklawrence. Can you point to the specific language in our constitution that requires productive members of society have to help pay for the unproductive members? No matter how bad you want it to be true, the USA is not and never will be a socialist country." ==== Ummmmmmmm.......taxes in general? Those of us lucky enough to pay income tax help support some of the needs of those less fortunate. This debate over coverage will get very interesting before it's over. I'm not sure the present bill will do the trick, but if people who have no coverage are allowed to get treatment even when they cannot afford it, the problems will continue. As for constitutional language,this comes immediately to mind: " We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." Gonna be a long, hard pull, it is.

gudpoynt 7 years ago

Absolutely. We liberals want to rob everybody with money and spread their wealth among those who who refuse work, especially illegal immigrants.

Yay! Issues are easy when you think like a simpleton.

gudpoynt 7 years ago

simple as that huh? Is that the deepest depth your mind is capable of reaching? I realize that contemplating complex realities is hard, but you could at least try.

tomatogrower 7 years ago

rockchalk, you are actually shallow enough to equate health care with a vacation home? So you just don't have any morals at all. At least we know where you are coming from now.

usnsnp 7 years ago

Find it interesting that it boils down to that the government cant run anything. It is all those lazy government workers fault. So it must be that all government workers must be democrats. Get your head out of the sand, there are probably more republicans with federal, state and local jobs than there are democrats. It is not the workers that screw up everything, it is the politicians with wasting peoples time making laws that are unworkable or just flawed to push their own agenda. All they are intrested in is getting re-elected so they can stay on the government dole, and have better benifits and retirement system than most americans. It is most of them the Republicans, Democrats, Independents etc.

Kontum1972 7 years ago

so how many of "u all" here are or have worked for the us government..either civil service or military or are u all prvt sector,,,or not really career employed for any length of time..or retired?

voevoda 7 years ago

Perhaps the posters on this forum should pay less attention to abstract political theories (Constitutional law, "socialism," etc.) and more attention to the suffering of so many of their fellow-citizens. Too many hard-working Americans can't afford health insurance and can't afford health care. Illness is the number one cause for bankruptcy, and a lot of Americans are just one illness away from indigence. The situation is getting worse, not better; the cost of health insurance has been rising, and the quality of coverage declining. Health care is eating up a significant percentage of our GNP--money that could be better invested in our national infrastructure or be put back into the pockets of taxpayers. Private charities cannot possibly provide for so many people in need; that was demonstrated decades ago. Meanwhile, too many of the people who are still prosperous are more concerned about keeping their money for their own self-indulgence than with sharing it liberally with their fellow-citizens in need. The current situation should deeply disturb the civic-minded and people who ascribe to Judeo-Christian-Islamic ethical principles.
The health care legislation that was passed by Congress (our elected representatives, recall) doesn't resolve most of these problems--and that is what is wrong with it. Instead of trying to find ways to block it, our public officials ought to be looking for ways to build on it, to create a system in which all Americans have affordable access to the health care they need.

gudpoynt 7 years ago

prices of cell phones and HDTVs (electronics of all kinds really) go down according to the cost of production, which goes down with increased capabilities in manufacturing, which goes up as technology advances.

There's a theory called Moore's Law (inappropriately named, I know) that was posited back in the 70s. It said that the number of transistors that you can fit in a given area (on a chip) doubles roughly every 18 months. It's basically assigning numbers to the idea that technological capability increases exponential with respect to time. It get's a lot of discussion because it held true for a very long time after the 70s.

The corollary to that is that the cost of production for electronics is inversely proportional to increases in technological capability.

But overall, the price of electronics is NOT trending down. You have to look at the highest end product that's out there at any given time and compare those prices.

Attributing less regulation to the fact that a first generation iPhone costs much less than it did when it first came out is, well, weak.

The fact that I can now buy a 900MHz AMD desktop for $100, as opposed to the $1600 I paid for it back in 1999 isn't due to an absence of government regulation. Try again.

And before you go into explaining to me how it actually IS due to an absence of regulation, stop for a second and consider all the government regulation that applies to the production line of a cell phone or HDTV. There's quite a bit when you think about it.

Players in the electronics markets, though, have indeed escaped some regulation by moving large sections of their production line overseas. Think minimum wage, OSHA, etc. Lack of gov't regulation in the workplace is a beautiful thing isn't it? We should do that too! Then we could better compete!

And before you peg me as a diehard champion for ALL government regulation, remember that I am decidedly not. I am merely pointing out that regulations have their place, and certainly can be a force for good in society. It's your insistence that ALL regulation is bad with which I take issue.

(btw, you should consider giving up on the word "strawman". It's getting as tacky in these forums as the word "vitriolic")

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

"The current situation should deeply disturb the civic-minded and people who ascribe to Judeo-Christian-Islamic ethical principles. "

Unfortunately, instead of this, many people (well represented here in this forum) cling to the medieval belief that human suffering happens because those who suffer are evil and God is punishing them.

Gregory Newman 7 years ago

None of yaw get it. There's the repugnants who I wouldn't trust to care for my dung because I would be jailed for the smell although they convinced me it was fine to do it in the first place. and then there's the liberators who would care for my dung but wants to control the smell. This is the type of lunacy that goes on in Washington specifically in the White House since 1980.

Carter ignited the flame with the Deregulation of the Depository Institution and Monetary Control. Then Reagan picked up on the stench and then spun-out going down hill screaming free the market and not the people with his repeal of the Garn-St. Germain.

Then lover-boy repealed Glass-Steagall and signed the hey China/India they won't miss-it NAFTA/GATT. Then all of that fell on poor GW who never had a clue so he picked 2 fights that we can't win and didn't have a dime to pay for it so then he had Obama write TARP because nobody else knew how.

Then Obama wants to revenge for his momma on the backs of folks who are like Bennet I ain't in it. Because he knows with the GHW Bush Executive Order 12803 and the EO 13037 by lover-boy and the EO 13286 by GW his Obamacare is literally legal.

Then he says he wants us to have the same care that they have in Washington and penalize me? Why should I be injected with lunacy when I can see it. There are some germs floating around in Washington that doesn't have a cure for lunacy.

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

Is medical insurance fraud against their clients a white collar entitlement?

Is medicare fraud against the government a white collar entitlement?

It's not the government that cannot manage it is the white collars that steal from the government and their clients as well.

Medicare Insurance can operate far more efficiently because it is one entity not 2000 providers paying for CEO's,Shareholders,company planes,golden parachutes and corrupt campaign finance money.

This industry has 6 lobbyists per elected official. Very expensive 24/7 representation.

Kontum1972 7 years ago

"thee best" u do not want the same care a Senator or H. Rep. receives?

so whats your opinion...i am open...

Gregory Newman 7 years ago

i get it anyway i just go to the VA hospital or clinic and pay nothing and all of my medicine is $8 bucks. That is perks for a low income Vet. But its rare that I have to go because I eat right and exercise and I don't have those issues that other 58 yr olds have because of it. I think it ought to be illegal for insurance companys and HMO's to be on wall street period since they are the issue yet we got to find a way to take care of our elderly. The money is there if we stop letting illegal immigrants from receiving social security when they never paid into the system. Plus we need to get the handicap off of SS that needs to come from a different pot. Most of this is just a misappropiation of funds just a better word for stealing.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

Ah, the good ole days (that never were really all that good.)

gudpoynt 7 years ago

what continues to befuddle me, is that over centuries of various socio-economic constructs, you think that Capitalism is the end all be all, best solution for anybody.

Provided that we continue to exist on this planet for centuries more, I really, really doubt that unregulated Capitalism will be deemed by historians and scholars as the best system we've ever created.

Why are you so reluctant to consider complexities of scale? Why are you so reluctant to consider the fact that when accountability is distributed among many within a corporation, then that corporation will not behave according to the same code of ethics as an individual who is solely responsibly for their own actions? Why are you so reluctant to even consider the possible shortcomings of unregulated capitalism?

It's like you're cheering for your home team, refusing to acknowledge any weaknesses. And then when your team gets scored on, or heaven forbid, loses a game, you blame the referees and/or people who made the rules in the first place. But in your mind, your home team remains flawless.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

And there can't possibly be any other explanation for it.

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

Congress' own healthcare benefits: membership has its privileges

Lawmakers can choose among several plans and get special treatment at federal medical facilities. In 2008, taxpayers spent about $15 billion to insure 8.5 million federal workers and their dependents.

August 02, 2009|Mark Z. Barabak and Faye Fiore

Too much, too fast, too expensive. Those are some of the objections lawmakers have voiced against the healthcare overhaul Democrats are attempting on Capitol Hill.

Indeed, a question often surfaces: Why can't everyone enjoy the same benefits as members of Congress? The answer: The country probably couldn't afford it -- not without reforms to bring costs way, way down.

Given their choices, lawmakers can tailor coverage in a way most Americans cannot. If a child has asthma, for instance, a federal employee might opt for coverage that costs a little more but has a bigger doctor network and lower office-visit fees.

The plan most favored by federal workers is Blue Cross Blue Shield, which covers a family for about $1,030 a month. Taxpayers kick in $700, and employees pay the rest. Seeing a doctor costs $20. Generic prescriptions cost $10. Immunizations are free. There is no coverage limit.

But many Americans think Congress is out of touch. How, they wonder, can lawmakers empathize with the underinsured or those lacking insurance when they receive a benefits package -- heavily subsidized by taxpayers -- that most of us can only envy?

Kontum1972 7 years ago

i wonder how many face lifts and tucks we have paid for...for our legislators....LoL!

uncleandyt 7 years ago

Our paid and unpaid deceivers pretend that Obama wrote the bill. I don't think good answers to bad problems can be found by people who aren't willing to recognize the truth. Who wrote the bill?

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

From Mother Jones:

As The New Republic's Jonathan Cohn points out, the score is now even in terms of rulings on the federal law—with two federal judges ruling against it and two other judges ruling in favor of it—"while about a dozen more have dismissed lawsuits without even hearing it."

The final word still lies with the Supreme Court, just as before.

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

The congressional hearings saw a wall of medical insurance industry CEO's sitting in front of our elected officials.

Insurance CEO's and lobbyists are advisors to our elected officials which is a conflict of interest.

Why on earth do elected officials call in the same people who finance their campaigns to inquire how they should write up health care insurance legislation?

A congressional investigation turned up a large bucket of medical insurance fraud on the medical insurance consumers yet went to this same source to determine how to write up medical insurance legislation.

Gregory Newman 7 years ago

just make it illegal for medical insurance to be stock on wall street.

jaywalker 7 years ago

Ummmm, then every insurance company would fail, best. Insurers rely on stock to keep their coffers full to pay claims. Federal law stipulates that a health insurer must possess something like 4x the amount they pay out in an average claim month in order to ensure claims can be paid in event of emergencies, pandemics, etc.

bad_dog 7 years ago

"Stock" insurers rely on invested premiums and sales of their stocks to maintain adequate claim reserves (regulatorily mandated reserve and capitalization levels...). 'Mutual" insurance companies are literally owned by their policy owners rather than shareholders and thus, can experience difficulty raising capital. When that occurs, mutual companies are often tempted to de-mutualize so they may sell stock and raise capital.

jayhawklawrence 7 years ago

I think there is a way to create a system that is much better than we have now without going to a completely government controlled health care system. I think we need to try some kind of hybrid system of both private and government healthcare options. But I have no faith in our politicians to make an honest effort or to have the brains to sit down and do something reasonable.

Will the Democrats admit to allowing some kind of tort reform and protection for comanies who are unfairly sued by their employees? I am not talking about putting a very low ceiling on damage awards, but a reasonable ceiling. It is too easy for a jury to be packed and swayed by skilled lawyers who can become multi-millionaires at the expense of honest people who did nothing wrong.

How about allowing more interstate competition among health care providers? How about international competition among pharmaceutical companies?

Simply mandating a 100% government controlled health care system is a formula for disaster because we all know that politicians will just throw money at it and never allow it to be properly managed. It will be too much of a temptation to politicize it for personal gain.

To do nothing is unacceptable.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

Most people never sue over malpractice, despite that fact that it's responsible for killing 200,000 people a year, and seriously injuring and maiming many thousands more.

The whole malpractice/tort reform BS is in many ways similar to the hysteria over voter fraud. They've created an issue out of thin air in order to avoid dealing with any of the very real issues they should be dealing with, but they're well paid for their corruption.

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

"I think there is a way to create a system that is much better than we have now without going to a completely government controlled health care system"

There is no such animal on the table. The discussion is about insurance.

IMPROVED Medicare Insurance for ALL is a government managed insurance system that is in operation as we speak.

The Health Care industry remains private which has been pointed out many times.

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

Let’s direct OUR tax dollars to fund OUR medical insurance. What’s good for elected officials is good for WE taxpayers!

Expanded and Improved Medicare Insurance for All is one of the solutions.

  • Easy to Implement: Medicare has been in existence since 1966, it provides healthcare to those 65 and older, and satisfaction levels are high. The structure is already in place and can be easily expanded to cover everyone.

  • Simple: One entity – established by the government – would handle billing and payment at a cost significantly lower than private insurance companies. Private insurance companies spend about 31% of every healthcare dollar on administration. Medicare now spends about 3%.

  • Real Choice: An expanded and improved Medicare for All would provide personal choice of doctors and other healthcare providers. While financing would be public, providers would remain private. As with Medicare, you choose your doctor, your hospital, and other healthcare providers.

  • State and Local Tax Relief: Medicare for All would assume the costs of healthcare delivery, thus relieving the states and local governments of the cost of healthcare, including Medicaid, and as a result reduce State and local tax burdens.

  • Expanded coverage: Would cover all medically necessary healthcare services – no more rationing by private insurance companies. There would be no limits on coverage, no co-pays or deductibles, and services would include not only primary and specialized care but also prescription drugs, dental, vision, mental health services, and long-term care.

  • Everyone In, Nobody Out: Everyone would be eligible and covered. No longer would doctors ask what insurance you have before they treat you.

  • No More Overpriced Private Health Insurance: Medicare for All would eliminate the need for private health insurance companies who put profit before healthcare, unfairly limit choice, restrict who gets coverage, and force people into bankruptcy.

  • Lower Costs: Most people will pay significantly less for healthcare. Savings will be achieved in reduced administrative costs and in negotiated prices for prescription drugs.

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

Who said there would not be enough doctors? I believe that nonsense came from the people who receive about $1.4 trillion tax dollars from the USA government among those being the corrupt medical insurance industry. I am guessing most of these people get seen by a variety of sources. Just because people are not insured does not mean they are not going to medical facilities.

Who said 40 million new insured would be spending their time at the doctors office? That is most certainly a wild assumption.

Again who,specifically, said there would not be enough doctors?

jayhawklawrence 7 years ago

Whoever controls the money controls the system.

The insurance is the money.

I don't see any point in arguing about that.

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

As for a shortage of physicians. That means a lot of specialists will become physicians once again. Specialists cost more money and it is argued that many are referred when not necessary.

Not every uninsured person is in immediate need of health care.

There is no hard evidence that there would be shortage of doctors mostly speculation. There are many avenues. RN's can play a bigger part in diagnosing every day illness.

This whole matter of doctor shortage was not a hot news item until single payer and IMPROVED Medicare Insurance for ALL arrived on the scene. I say the industry is using scare tactics to keep it off the table for a longer period of time.

Physicians for a National Health Program are pushing hard for national health insurance. I would think if this was a huge problem they would know. When national health insurance becomes reality doctors and RN's will be able to handle whatever comes their way.

Physicians for a National Health Program is a single issue organization advocating a universal, comprehensive single-payer national health program. PNHP has more than 18,000 members and chapters across the United States.

Since 1987, we've advocated for reform in the U.S. health care system. We educate physicians and other health professionals about the benefits of a single-payer system--including fewer administrative costs and affording health insurance for the 46 million Americans who have none.

Our members and physician activists work toward a single-payer national health program in their communities. PNHP performs ground breaking research on the health crisis and the need for fundamental reform, coordinates speakers and forums, participates in town hall meetings and debates, contributes scholarly articles to peer-reviewed medical journals, and appears regularly on national television and news programs advocating for a single-payer system.

PNHP is the only national physician organization in the United States dedicated exclusively to implementing a single-payer national health program.

Not every uninsured person is in immediate need of health care. Some of the uninsured in Lawrence are Lawrence Memorial Hospital staff members who say insurance is not affordable. Pretending that every uninsured person on the USA planet is suddenly going to show up at the doctors office is nonsense.

weeslicket 7 years ago

Libety 1 says: I don't have health insurance, and when I used the emergency room they charged me for it. They gave me a discounted rate--$75 plus whatever the doctor charged me ($140). How can I get this free care paid for by tomatogrower?

funny. what you are forgetting is that your use of the emergency room, for whatever reasons, while not insured, (and those of your fellow non-insured)

cost: on average: $1000/year/person

so, asks Liberty 1: "How can I get this free care paid for by tomatogrower?" answer: no worries. you already are!! (and tomatogrower, and most people on this forum, are due a "thank you very much")

weeslicket 7 years ago

that's odd. i responded to this response hours ago. perhaps i did not press the magic send button.

ah well. reader's digest version: 1.that you shop wisely for best value for things like: medicines, regular check-ups, seasonal shots, etc. completely in agreement.

  1. you described going to the emergency room, while not insured, and paying (if i read correctly) $140 for one visit to the emergency room (for whatever the reason).

i am saying that your uninsured visit to the ER, in addition to all of the other uninsured visits to the ER by so many other unisured "consumers" of medical treatment;

cost the paying customer (those of us who carry insurance) about $1000/year/person

  1. the main reason i carry insurance is to protect myself against catastrophic medical costs. not really sure how protection against catasrophic events (e.g., auto accident, broken leg whilst skiing out of state (duh), appendectomy, heart attack or stroke, and so on) got all mixed up into regular visits to my doctor, and seasonal shots, and taking prescribed medicines and such. but it has.

  2. i hope you and your family never have an acute medical emergency. because the consequences, most definitely, will be both acute. and also pervasive. and also impossibly expensive. (hope you invested these "saved" medical expenses wisely:
    perhaps in mutual funds, gold, collectibles, property, stocks and bonds??)

if you can't cover unexpected catastrophic loses..... who do you think winds up paying for that?

  1. yep, tomatogrower, and i, and many others on this forum will be forced to cover your/these costs. but also you and your kin, because you will be bankrupt.

anywhoos, you get to sleep happy all the way up until you, or someone in your family, suffers a catastrophic medical event; and then you'll understand what a pickle you've been in all the while.

or, perhaps, you are invincible.

tunahelper 7 years ago

the US Supreme Court will rule that the individual mandate in omabacare IS unconstitutional. oh silly progressives, they hate it when America doesn't agree with them and especially when they are just a tiny minute part of the population. silly leftists.

Stephen Roberts 7 years ago

If the bill is so great, then why

were there two backdoor deals cut ot get enough votes to pass??

does the law not apply to unions?

isn't Congress forced to participate in the plan?

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

Liberty_One is on the right track until IMPROVED Medicare Insurance for ALL is provided as a choice. Liberty_One is very likely saving a ton of money by ignoring the medical insurance industry while at the same increasing the cost of medical insurance for all of those who choose to support the reckless spending medical insurance industry.

The medical insurance industry has a list of priorities that require a ton of money.

Our health should not be a player on Wall Street which is to say the only way to heavily regulate medical insurance is to move all us into IMPROVED Medicare Insurance for All. There is no way to justify spending/wasting health insurance dollars on:

*sales commissions

*Shareholders CERTAINLY increases the cost of insurance. Why are health insurance dollars going to shareholders?

*Health care tax dollars becoming special interest campaign dollars. Why are health insurance dollars being spent on political campaigns?

Truly the only way consumers are going to get ahead is to begin paying out of pocket and investing insurance premium dollars wisely to cover expenses. Why contribute to reckless and corrupt spending that finds its way to golden parachutes,over charges,political campaigns,shareholders and corp jets?

Medical insurance is no bargain. Medicare insurance is a bargain and a wise investment which is why it is the best choice for the future. Of course this avenue does not require reinventing the wheel which saves tons and tons of money.

Make IMPROVED Medicare Insurance for ALL one of our choices.

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

Obamacare was written for the medical insurance industry. So is the high dollar return to status quo that repubs favor.

The USA does not need the medical insurance industry aka the middleman profiteer. How else are YOUR medical insurance dollars spent:

  1. High dollar CEO pay packages
  2. Golden parachutes
  3. shareholders
  4. campaign contributions

  5. this industry has 6 lobbyists per elected official = expensive mouth pieces

  6. maybe a corp jet = high dollar maintenace

  7. misinformation campaigns @ $1.4 million a day (

Let’s say millions cancel their insurance and begin paying out of pocket. Consumers would save tons of money. Cancel your medical insurance today. The industry is simply corrupt.

Healthy humans seldom spend what they pay out to the insurance industry! If millions dropped their policies not only would they save thousands of dollars annually the insurance industry would faint in disbelief that this many people actually are awake and give a damn.

Paying out of pocket will save thousands of dollars a year. Do medical insurance companies provide health care? NO! Invest smart instead of supporting high rollin executives and shareholders.

Set up a health care investment account or annuity in a credit union or with Consumer Reports. An account that makes YOU money instead of wealthy CEO's. Your health care annuity will NOT cancel out on when the poop hits fan.

AGAIN Healthy humans seldom spend what they pay out to the insurance industry!

Why support high rollin executives and shareholders because of your misfortune aka becoming ill or needing surgery?

Most consumers are under-insured = candidate for bankruptcy. Most coverage WILL NOT stick with consumers when the going gets tough = fraud.

What could be done with that high profit middle man money that which DOES NOT provide health care? First off set aside each month what medical insurance premiums cost in a money making account. Applying $5000 - $12,000 a year in a money making account will begin to make money. Some never use the money they pay out to insurance giants because of a $5000 deductible = it’s a scam.

Invest with small local banks or credit unions. Sierra Club and Consumer Reports offer annuity plans. The $4,000 - $12,000 a year going to insurance will grow substantially in an annuity plan. Keep a savings account for doctor visits and prescriptions and let the annuity grow in case more serious situations come up.

ALSO try to work out reduced charges with your medical care givers for paying cash up front = less administrative nonsense with the insurance industry. Shop around.

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

Let's not forget this medical insurance industry priority!

Has anyone received notice of a class action lawsuit?

Is there an FBI investigation under way? A Grand Jury investigation underway?

Why you ask?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Health insurers have forced consumers to pay billions of dollars in medical bills that the insurers themselves should have paid, according to a report released yesterday by the staff of the Senate Commerce Committee.

Insurers make paperwork confusing because "they realize that people will just simply give up and not pursue it" if they think they have been shortchanged, Potter said.

More on this story:

Flap Doodle 7 years ago

Copy/paste, copy/paste, copy/paste. Heard it all before, merrill.

Paul R Getto 7 years ago

jayhawklawrence (anonymous) says… "Whoever controls the money controls the system. The insurance is the money. I don't see any point in arguing about that." ===JHL: BINGO. You win the prize for the discussion....a new snow shovel. Because it's 'all about money' (what isn't?) it took 100 years of debate just to take the first step, one of many. This will sort out someday, but one thing is matter what system ends up in place in 10-20 years, health costs will continue to rise, particularly if we continue our unhealthy lifestyles and pretend some who are employed are getting 'free health care.'

Peacemaker452 7 years ago

Merrill, I am confused by your posts; maybe you can explain something to me in your own words, without the cut and paste.

In one post you advocate dropping health insurance and paying out of pocket. This will supposedly save people big money since they won’t be paying the “middle man” insurance company.

In another post you advocate Medicare, expanding the current system of insurance to cover all. This will supposedly save people big money since the government is supposedly a more efficient insurer than private industry.

Which is it? Can’t have both since you specifically said everyone was “in” your Medicare plan.

Also, neither addresses the issue of health care costs. What are you going to do about that? Here is a hint: One of the significant driving factors of high health care cost is the fact that few if any health care providers are going to charge less than the Medicare Allowable Charge.

Oh, by the way. What are you going to do about Medicare fraud since you seem to be so interested in private insurance fraud? Just watch a couple of commercials from the “Scooter Store” and you will know what I am talking about.

Can’t wait to hear YOUR words on this.

jayhawklawrence 7 years ago

It appears to me that both political parties are out of touch with the real problems facing mainstream America.

Most of us are not rich, don't belong to a union and don't have a team of highly paid lobbyists working on our behalf. We only have these people we voted for working for us and we have to ask ourselves if we really had much control over who the candidates were.

The answer is very little if any at all.

We need to find a way to make our country a more fair and ethical place for everyone where the amount of money you have or your status or how famous you are does not matter as much as your values, your morality and your love for your country.

There are too many radio commentators, columnists and unqualified politicians running off at the mouth because of overambition and arrogance.

The poltiical rhetoric and decision making process must change. We need an America that works for everyone, not just a privileged few. That is what our politicians need to think about. If it becomes anything different, the magic that made this place will be gone.

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