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Letters to the Editor

Critics off base

August 21, 2012

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To the editor:

Dr. Bud Gollier wrote on Aug. 17 to raise skepticism about Obamacare, relying on an Aug. 6 Wall Street Journal piece criticizing Massachusetts’s RomneyCare. But the Wall Street Journal article is factually misleading and illogical.

The WSJ fails to even mention the purpose of Romneycare – to increase the number of people with health insurance. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 16 percent of the U.S. population is uninsured compared to only 5 percent in Massachusetts. Under Romneycare, 3 percent of children are uninsured compared to 10 percent nationally. So Romneycare worked.

The WSJ article insinuates that Romneycare is to blame for Massachusetts’ growing health care costs for Medicaid, etc., by comparing state expenditures from 2001 to 2012. But Romneycare did not become law until June 2006. And the WSJ article offered nothing to show that these rising costs were in any way related to Romneycare. Clear thinking leads to the opposite conclusion: The more people with health insurance, the less a state will pay in Medicaid and similar programs.

Dr. Gollier’s letter also echoes WSJ’s smug claim that, “Sure enough, 79 percent of the newly insured are on public programs.” Does the WSJ think the pre-Romneycare uninsured were among the better off classes?

Enough about the WSJ’s anti-Obamacare propaganda. What about Kansas? Thirteen percent of us have no health insurance, with 8 percent of our children uninsured. We would be fortunate indeed if Obamacare does for Kansas what Romneycare did for Massachusetts.

Comments

Armstrong 1 year, 7 months ago

Barry, pandering to his base 4 years and counting

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George Lippencott 1 year, 7 months ago

Aah but we can argue it forever without dealing with affordability

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tbaker 1 year, 7 months ago

Medicare, Medicade, SS, fill-in-the-blank etitlement program, etc are "constitutional."

That doesn't make them good ideas in their present form.

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George Lippencott 1 year, 7 months ago

  1. If you believe that they are. I ducked that issue.

  2. Strict intrepretation vs what? I used flexible. Strict means in my world as written

  3. Yep but we still have most of the program (can't make people join) so we still have to pay - only more since the cohort lost were low cost juniors who can now wait until they are high cost to join.

  4. No I meant birds vs fish. Got tired of the fish comparison

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George Lippencott 1 year, 7 months ago

JAFS, I duck the argument on strict vs. flexible interpretation of the constitution. My personal opinion is that the founders were strict interpreters based on their fear of the crown. If it were to be read as flexible then why bother with a mechanism to amend it.

LO In our system I have elected a representative who acting on my behalf establishes programs such as social security to support the common good (the old definition where that included a majority of the citizens). In your system that would not happen. A very substantive difference worth a true argument.

AGNO In IMHO that government when we use it to establish programs that affect all of us develops a responsibility on all our behalf to administer that program fairly. If you create a government run necessity (like health care) we all become responsible for insuring that program is not precipitously changed to the detriment of those we have placed in it by law or administrative restrictions and who no longer have means to respond quickly to changes. That is the dangers of government programs – they create very long lasting legacies. Do we understand and are we prepared to live with the legacies of the ACA?

I do not attack the ACA based on constitutionality. I do question how far the commerce clause can be bent. Does it support federal creation of commerce as opposed to oversight??? I do question the affordability of the entitlement portion of ACA (supplement income to certain insurance policy holders based on income). Can we afford an honest reflection of the costs given all our other obligations? IMHO that is the appropriate debate. If we really want to do it then we can raise the revenue through the income tax system or by adding another element to the payroll tax process (if you don’t provide your employees with insurance you get to pay a very hefty payroll tax (in addition to a personal payroll tax).

I do not attack the federal income tax as unconstitutional on its face. I do challenge whether it is treating people unequally before the law. If we believe that a progressive system is legal then how do we justify a steeply progressive component, a flat component and a non existent component as treating people equally? Hence I argue for a uniformly progressive system with few if any deductions/adjustments. If something is worth supporting then by all means do so through the appropriations process.

Too many Red Herons!!

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jafs 1 year, 7 months ago

tbaker,

Article 1, Section 9 refers to "direct" taxation.

Since income taxes are technically, and actually, "indirect" taxation, they wouldn't be covered by the exclusion there, so the government has the right to tax individual income.

Pollock was about the question of income derived from property rental, and the SC agreed that sort of income tax would be "direct" taxation, and thus subject to Section 9. Thus the 16th Amendment, of which the important clause seems to be "from whatever source derived".

It's interesting actually, seems to be a rather early attempt by wealthy landowners and landlords to avoid paying the taxes that wage earners pay - I guess nothing's new under the sun.

This question of direct vs. indirect taxation is new to me, and I'm not sure exactly what they were getting at, but it seems to me that they didn't want the government to tax people unless they were engaged in an activity in which money exchanges hands.

So, interestingly, the ACA's new "tax" on the failure to purchase health insurance might qualify as a "direct" tax - I wonder if that argument was made to the SC.

Working is obviously an activity in which money exchanges hands, just as buying something in a store is, or renting an apartment to a tenant is, so all of those seem to be indirect to me. I'd say that the SC in Pollock was wrong in their determination, at least based on the research I've done so far.

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Agnostick 1 year, 7 months ago

Moderate states:

"If there were no Medicare or just a Medicaid version there would be commercial alternatives and we would be there. Now all the commercial alternatives are second payer to Medcare."


I started working when I was @ 16 years and 8 months old. Since then, I've only been unemployed a sum total of five months. I was unemployed for one month in my 20s, when I moved from one college to another. Later, towards the end of our first year of married life, we moved to another city so my wife could take a job opportunity. It took me four months to find work; towards the end of that period, I broke down and filed for state unemployment payments, and received one, maybe two checks. I have never filed for, and have never received, food stamps or welfare assistance.

My plan is to work until I'm at least 70 years old--maybe a bit longer. Let's do a bit of rounding, and say that if I work until my 72nd birthday, that will be 56 years. Take off 12 months for the unemployment and "late start," and that will be 55 years of employment.

That will also be 55 years of:

*income tax payments

*Payments into Social Security

*Payments into the Medicare/Medicaid program

What am I entitled to? I've paid into these things--some might even say I've invested in them. Should I expect a return on my investment?

Suppose, on my 67th or 68th or 73rd birthday, I win $20 million in the lottery! Should I still get something from my investment--even if I don't really need it anymore?

What are we entitled to?

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 7 months ago

Romney, Ryan, and The Devil’s Budget: Will America Keep Its Soul? by George Lakoff and Glenn Smith

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/08/23-0

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George Lippencott 1 year, 7 months ago

Here we go again. If you challenge any government program you oppose fire and police services. Poppycock.

In arguing Medicare and ACA we could think of the argument in another way.

Medicare is the ACA of my generation. We decided to force all seniors (albeit not a few rich or powerful (unions)) into it at 65 under the guise of a good deal for the poor. We did that and millions of seniors with the means to provide their own care were thrust into the program.

Part A at least made sense with a trust fund. Part B was never properly sourced for funding although it is means tested – you have to join and you have to pay more. Now when the costs come due we want to hammer the people we forced into the program

Once side wants to cut services or charge seniors more for less after they can no longer do much about it. Theses are the sucessors of those who created the program. The other side wants to end it all and calls those forced into the program "moochers”.

Tell me again why the ACA will not follow the same pattern. Even at its birth we are taking services from those already promised them to give them to a new vocal group while lying about the tru costs. The advocates seem oblivious to the fact that they, too, will lose those services – or are they so rapacious and self serving that they believe they can restore them in the future after devastating current seniors??

That is the problem with government programs. They are oversold, underfunded and in the end leave innocent people in the lurch.

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tbaker 1 year, 7 months ago

The constitution was not designed to proect someone's "right" to live at the expense of someone else.

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George Lippencott 1 year, 7 months ago

Ah, but would it not require a constitutional amendment to allow the federal government to do that??

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jafs 1 year, 7 months ago

It is true that the Constitution doesn't specifically offer the guarantee of health care for all.

But, it's also true that it says the enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shouldn't be taken to mean that other non-enumerated rights don't exist as well.

Since those aren't spelled out, it makes it complicated and difficult to decide whether or not health care is a right of American citizens.

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headdoctor 1 year, 7 months ago

The only thing I can get from this thread is that sometime after 8am August 21, 2012 Liberty_One was self elevated to the status of "legend in his own mind".

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Abdu Omar 1 year, 7 months ago

Most of you republicans that are complaining about the ACA must remember that your party had a chance to do their own health care plan while GW Bush was in office and GHW Bush was in office and when Reagan was in office, etc. So why didn't you? Because those who were uninsured were of no consequence to you, right? So now Obama got a plan passed, no republican plan, no attempt at discussion and negotiation, just say "no".

Now we have the plan and it will not be perfect nor even close, but what other choice do we citizens of this great country have? No Health care? Health care dictated by the insurance companies where everyone with a little murmur in their heart is declined coverage? Is that good insurance? No one in this county has perfect health. Everyone will get sick and some will die. So what is the other choice, Repubs? You don't have a solution, you just have a complain yourselves and you cry and stamp your feet, but have no idea of your own.

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don1157 1 year, 7 months ago

For the person who wanted to know where in the constitution it says we are guaranteed healthcare...Here you go: LIFE, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Or do you just wish to recognize the LIberty part?

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uggadyboogadyboo 1 year, 7 months ago

i got it i got it i got it, .......joe pesci Lethal Weapon

We'll do it like McDonalds. When I pull up and order food I pay for it. I make sure I have payment because if not, I don't get the food. I have to plan ahead. If I don't leave McDonalds, they call the sheriff and I go to jail. In jail, I got it all. They even teach me to plan ahead. I know what your thinking, "but uggady, what about the ER and those sick." Just as soon as the announcement is made that the hospitals operate like every other entity in the U.S. (McDonalds, Walmart, the IRS etc..) people will plan ahead. This makes each person their on death panel.
You don't start out for L.A. with a empty gas tank. Well.....commies do. Remember the Grasshopper and the ant............NEXT

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tange 1 year, 7 months ago

Why address human priorities, when we can argue about money, instead?

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roadrunner 1 year, 7 months ago

Doctors will always be available for the job creators to pay cash for services rendered... Doctors will not suffer anymore than they already do... Insurance companies have been dictating how they practice medicine for a very long time. And I hope tbaker doesn't ever need any government services, like police and fire or roads to drive on because he clearly doesn't want any government involvement in his life!!!

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tbaker 1 year, 7 months ago

The people who insist that healthcare is some kind of right must therefore believe the government has a duty to force the providers of health care to work. Only a slave has no choice in the work he does. If health care is considered a right, then someone must provide it, willing or not. If too few people choose the profession of health care to provide for everyone’s “rights,” how will the need be met? Will doctors be jailed for the “crime” of leaving medicine? Will students be drafted into medical schools? If so, what kind of doctors will result?

Why is it morally right to regard some individuals as servants to those in need, rather than as independent human beings with their own lives and goals? What is noble about a morality that turns men into beggars and victims – those taking government hand-outs, and those forced to work in order to pay for them, the bailed-out and the bailers?

What happened to the American ideal of fierce self-reliance which held the right of the individual to exist for his own sake. The founders knew that this is the only possible basis for a free country. Today, it’s freedom or service - the pursuit of happiness or of the "public good", the Declaration of Independence or the endless crises of the welfare state where "you didn't build that" and lets "spread the wealth around."

Mr. Rockwell is a begger. He expects others to provide what he should be providing for himself. If he can't, then he needs to ask what government can do to clear the path for him to take care of himself instead of asking the government to force the rest of us to take of him.

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George Lippencott 1 year, 7 months ago

Perhaps because some of us have been around a while.???

The panel has been quiet. If it works on FW and Abuse more power to it. If it feels compelled to cut payments - remember we have a rule like that in effect now. Each year we are supposed to cut and each year congress overrules the cuts. Right now they are at about 20% of the cost of services if implemented – and the next deadline -= you guessed it Jan 1.

Do you really think we can cut 20% and not impact the quality of service? Do you really think the new panel will not face the same problem? Of course I might note that the availability of service is not part of the new law. So seniors get only the doctors willing to accept lower payments or too poor a doctor to compete in the rest of the market. Gee thanks!!

I don’t think I like that and apparently many many seniors don’t like it either!!!

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Windemere 1 year, 7 months ago

"Death panels" is too easy to mock. But the point about rationing is significant. As said above, the health care act will have repercussions and long waits and rationing are not in the least far-fetched. When pressed, the people who support it, when they are honest, have acknowledged this. They'll use different words. Like, the "system is full of waste" and there are now "unnecessary procedures that waste money." All true, but the remedy that is the ACA could mean huge changes that most Americans do not want (and would loudly object to if they paid attention to the issue sufficiently). There is waste (aka too much money being paid to those in the medical profession, drug companies, medical device mfrs, etc) but there are other ways to reduce the waste.

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cowboy 1 year, 7 months ago

"The Independent Payment Advisory Board, or IPAB, is a fifteen-member United States Government agency created in 2010 by sections 3403 and 10320 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which has the explicit task of achieving specified savings in Medicare without affecting coverage or quality.[1] Under previous and current law, changes to Medicare payment rates and program rules are recommended by MedPAC but require an act of Congress to take effect. The new system grants IPAB the authority to make changes to the Medicare program with the Congress being given the power to overrule the agency's decisions through supermajority vote."

How you take the above and twist it up then flush it out of rockchalks brain into death panels is pretty bizarre.

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rockchalk1977 1 year, 7 months ago

Obamacare nationalizes one sixth of the US economy but Democrats call Romney-Ryan's medicare changes "extreme". Obamacare empowers IPAB an unelected, unaccountable panel of bureaucrats to make decisions that will cause people to lose access to health care. Who says so? Robert Gibbs, Obama’s former press secretary admitted it last Sunday. Looks like Palin was right about the death panels, and Pelosi was right when she said we wouldn’t know what was in Obamacare until was passed. We know now that Obama’s people have stopped lying. Hopeless change.

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George Lippencott 1 year, 7 months ago

Two points for consideration.

The $700 billion cut in Medicare is directed at providers. Providers are in the system by choice. If we cut to much they will leave or ration care. Nice to have insurance that you cannot use.

Massachusetts is consideri9ng a form of rationing on their Romney Care. Seems the costs are exceeding what was planned – for whatever reason. Sounds very much like what the critics said then and say now about Obama care. Market Econ 101. If you limit prices you will get less product.

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Cant_have_it_both_ways 1 year, 7 months ago

We have a lot of ideas on the consumers side, we might need a little discussion from the providers side.

I wonder how I would feel if I hocked my house and started a business called an insurance company, then the feds came in and told me who my customers are supposed to be, and how I was to do business with these customers. The feds already tell you who you can hire, what color they should be, and what happens to them when you terminate them. The tell you how much you have to pay as in a minimum wage.

Everyone should have access to health care. I do have a problem when they give a transplant to a thug in prison instead of someone who has worked all their lives, paid into the system, and needs the same transplant. Which brings me to my largest concern about Obamacare... rationing. If the governments eyes, producers and non producers are equal. I'd be damned if a procedure I needed was given to a non producer when I have worked and paid taxes all my life ... just to support some moocher or 400 lb Walmart breeder.

It looks like a couple in here feel the same as I do, just on the other side of the argument.

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Cai 1 year, 7 months ago

I will say this much - a change needed to be made. I, personally, would love to have health insurance. But I'm a student, so no employment provided insurance. That's fine - I'm 27, healthy. Shouldn't have a problem.

But my father had cancer 23 years ago. He's fine now, but suddenly I'm in a high risk pool, and pre-Obamacare, it would have cost me $200/month to have health insurance that only covers ER visits in which I'm admitted to the hospital.

Now I'm over 26 (so can't be on mom's employer provided insurance anymore), but the cost of insurance is still ridiculous. I look forward to 2014 when there are some options out there for me that will be useful without costing 1/4 of my total monthly salary. (yes, still a student. Take home pay? 780/month, give or take 20.)

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Liberty_One 1 year, 7 months ago

"We would be fortunate indeed if Obamacare does for Kansas what Romneycare did for Massachusetts."

You assume quite a few things to get to this statement. I have a doubt.


If the topic of your post is "Liberty_One" then you've lost the argument.

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cowboy 1 year, 7 months ago

Rtwngr , your use of the word "choose" illustrates your bias on the matter. Much of the insurance reform effort is focused on getting affordable coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. While you may think these follks are all terminal patients or lazy neer do wells they aren't. Most , upper 70 % receive coverage thru their employers , lose a job , self employed , change jobs and you too can have a lapse in coverage that will put you at the mercy of the underwriter.

I did not choose to have a heartbeat issue. However the insurance companies think I'll drop dead tomorrow and "choose" not to cover me. I chose to get a simple prescription to control it. I chose to spend a small amount each month on prescriptions , annual testing , and am a healthy hard working fella and would bet that most of you could not keep up with me.

Now i could get in the worthless Kansas high risk pool for a grand a month , 12 k a year , or I can pay my own expenses , about 2k per year , but i can't get covered until 2014 when the act kicks in. I would wager that i spend a lot less than most weekend warrior athletes do on health care.

The problem and the reason for the health care act is to prevent insurance companies from constantly redefining the risk pool to drive profits. My doc laughed at my rejection letters from BCBS , Coventry , listing allergies among other things for pre-existing conditions.

I dont think many are looking for free care , but affordable care.

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rtwngr 1 year, 7 months ago

Your letter fails to examine how many of the 13 percent that you cite choose to have no health insurance. I don't disagree that those who want it should have some kind of access to it but I disagree that those who don't should be forced to take it or be fined. Additionally, when we talk about the cost of healthcare, there are a lot of other things that could be done to reduce costs. The options are far too numerous to list here but I have real problems with the federal government, that has a terrible track record of management, controlling that large of a portion of our personal freedoms and money.

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