Tag Archives: Obamacare

I’m just stopping by . . . to add a little ‘context’

While my Republican brethren bray across the cablesphere about yesterday’s SCOTUS decision upholding Obamacare, I went a’reading to see what the long-time SCOTUS reporters had to say.

Writing about the majority opinion Linda Greenhouse wrote:

The chief justice’s masterful opinion showed that line of argument for the simplistic and agenda-driven construct that it was. Parsing the 1,000-plus-page statute in a succinct 21-page opinion, he deftly wove in quotations from recent Supreme Court opinions.

Who said that we “must do our best, bearing in mind the fundamental canon of statutory construction that the words of a statute must be read in their context and with a view to their place in the overall statutory scheme”? Why, it was Justice Scalia (actually quoting an earlier opinion by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor) in a decision just a year ago.

And who said that “a provision that may seem ambiguous in isolation is often clarified by the remainder of the statutory scheme” because “only one of the permissible meanings produces a substantive effect that is compatible with the rest of the law”? Why, Justice Scalia again.

The Court didn’t rewrite the law. They just read it, as is their job.

Jam it in and keep ’em steaming mad!

This looks exactly right to me. It’s FOX after all. Plus I’m too lazy to go any deeper than reading this post at Andrew Sullivan’s (gay conservative Catholic now disowned by the right for something-or-other) blog, The Dish.

Obamacare

So why? Demonizing Obamacare is not working quite as well anymore as polls show more acceptance among Americans. But Benghazi? Oooooh, a shiny object that will – once again – do just fine for now to fuel the outrage machine until Monica/Hillary crowds it out.

Oh yeah, good times ahead.

Oh honestly Roger . . .

You’re not even pretending anymore or you’ve run out of graphic magic tricks.

Fox graphics intern was told there'd be no math.

Why Medicare works and Obamacare might not

Picked this up at Andrew Sullivan’s site. More at the link.

Mike Konczal blames Obamacare’s technical problems on the law’s design. He contrasts Obamacare’s form of social insurance, which he labels “Category A,” with previous forms of social insurance, such as Medicare and Social Security, which he labels “Category B”

http://sullydish.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/social_insurance_category.png

Sorry Kathleen, your day must come to an end

https://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5c/Kathleen_Sebelius_official_portrait.jpgShe really needs to step down. Soon.

Someone must pay the political price; it’s the distasteful way of the world.

So just get it over with.

Lessons learned? Nah, the righteous don’t need no stinkin’ lessons

From Ezra Klein (Wonkblog) this morning:

Thursday’s Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll hit the Republican Party like a bomb. It found, as Gallup had, the Republican Party (and, separately, the Tea Party) at “all-time lows in the history of the poll.” It found Republicans taking more blame for the shutdown than they had in 1995. It found more Americans believing the shutdown is a serious problem than in 1995.

Even worse for the GOP is what the pollsters called “the Boomerang Effect”: Both President Obama and Obamacare are more popular than they were a month ago. Obamacare in particular gained seven points.

The Boomerang Effect – yup, that’s exactly what happened after the GOP impeached Clinton (instead of doing the nation’s business). His favorability, which had been lackluster before the impeachment, soared.

Lessons never learned I guess.

Repeating myself, but . . .

Interesting that President Barry made this exact point yesterday. I guess he’s reading my Facebook feed cuz I said this on Monday in a comment thread – and in a post here. And I wish he’d said it sooner.

Obamacare is the law, as passed by the Congress, signed by the President, upheld by the US Supreme Court, and reaffirmed by the American people when they re-elected that President. That’s the way the US gov’t is designed to work. Half of those who tell pollsters they disapprove do so because it doesn’t go far enough – they wanted a single payer plan. The demand to defund or delay Obamacare comes from a single branch (and only a small minority of that branch) trying to undo – by holding hostage – a law created in the way designed by the Constitution.

 

So much for polls

Offered without comment:

While the House burns like Atlanta . . .

UPDATED BELOW: From Forbes magazine this morning:

But a new survey of 1,976 registered voters finds that only 33 percent believe that the health law should be repealed, delayed, or defunded. 29 percent believe that “Congress should make changes to improve the law,” 26 percent believe that “Congress should let the law take effect” and see what happens, and 12 percent believe that the law should be expanded. The bottom line? Voters are skeptical that Obamacare will live up to Democrats’ hype. But they also believe that it should be given a chance to succeed.

Universal health care (which Obamacare is most assuredly not – at least not yet) has been a political objective, indeed a platform goal, of the Democratic Party  since Truman (Teddy Roosevelt and Nixon liked it too). So it has been a stated goal of at least half this nation for decades. It is now the law, as passed by the Congress, signed by the President, upheld by the US Supreme Court, and reaffirmed by the American people when they re-elected the President who sponsored it. That’s exactly the way our Federal government was designed to work.

The House GOP is not pursuing the will of the American people, they are pursuing a Party objective. They forget that they are only one of three branches of government (and only half of that branch!). 

Our Founders knew well to build in protections against a tyranny of the minority. UPDATE: commenter Alan Scott points out – correctly – that I am wrong here. Our Founders built in protections against a Tyranny of MAJORITY. My bad.

The minority half of one branch of our government is on the wrong side of this.

The guns, the doctors and the utter nonsense being repeated as fact

Snuggling with #4

Snuggling with #4

As penance for some less than cordial behavior I exhibited over the weekend toward someone who was in the particular instance totally blameless, but had nevertheless been asking for it for a long time . . . as penance, this morning I exposed myself without any protection to a full five minutes of poisonous rant from the morbidly obese, four times married, indicted drug user, college dropout and all around moralist Mr. Rush Limbaugh, that arbiter of all things right and proper.

He had his size XXXXLLLL underwear in a knot – doctors! are! again! required! to! go! after! the! guns!  They must tell Obama. And name names. The ‘authorities’ said so. (the whole silly transcript is here under the headline “Regime deputizes gun-snitch doctors”).

Bet you didn’t know that long, long ago, doctors were required to inquire of their patients about whether there are firearms in the home. And to report. To the authorities. Whoever they are.

Who knew? Not me. Never heard of it. But there it was, hidden from us all until  Obamacare, which has now been revealed to be just a ploy to get our guns. Or something.

(Recently, some brave governors have gotten laws passed to put a stop to this outrage! The courts are slapping down the governors right and left but what else can we expect – they are, after all ‘in on it’.)

Writing about this stuff doesn’t capture the depth of the looney. But I must continue my penance to its logical conclusion and take words of Rush, from the mouth itself, and show them to be nothing but his brand of million-bucks-a-minute tonic for the rubes.

Sayeth the chubby one (after some cautiously phrased qualifiers):

So now doctors are being ordered  . . . to get information from them about gun ownership . . .   Doctors are now, quote, unquote, “permitted,” unquote, to do this. It makes ’em deputies, agents of the state. Look at the position this puts the doctors in  [if they don’t report].  The doctors are now under the thumb of Obamacare.  They had better comply.

And Rush gives us some history:

What’s happening here is this. For the longest time doctors have been required to ask parents and kids about this. I remember when this started, doctors were instructed to ask kids to rat out their parents on guns they had. That’s some years ago.

Total nonsense. The American Association of Pediatrics, as a policy (not a requirement) urges its practitioners to counsel parents of young children about the dangers of firearms in the home. There is no reporting requirement. The government is not involved in any way. The AAP guidelines are here.

On to where the ACLU is per FatBoy:

 Don’t ask me where the ACLU is.  I mean, anything to get rid of guns, the ACLU’s right there. Leftists are leftists, and that comes first with them.

Where the ACLU actually is, per their own website:

For seven decades, the Supreme Court’s 1939 decision in United States v. Miller was widely understood to have endorsed that view [guns are about militia, not about an individual right].

The Supreme Court has now ruled otherwise. In striking down Washington D.C.’s handgun ban by a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision in D.C. v. Heller held for the first time that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to keep and bear arms, whether or not associated with a state militia.

The ACLU disagrees . . . . We do not, however, take a position on gun control itself. In our view, neither the possession of guns nor the regulation of guns raises a civil liberties issue.

This doctor/guns/government nonsense has been circulating via mass emails from the fringe for some time now. (A related history here from Snopes.) I first heard of it a few weeks ago when a family member informed me that this has been going on and that doctors have been helping the guvmint build a database so they can – let’s say it together – get! the! guns!

Meh but I’m tired of this.

As goes Rush . . .

Oh Democrats my Democrats.

Just like that turtle in a slow boil pot of water (is that the right metaphor?), you never noticed when you capitulated. You now use in blithe ignorance words specifically designed to insult you. Words designed by a morbidly obese, four times married, college dropout, indicted drug offender and now iconic standard-bearer of the conservative movement. Words like:

  • LIBERAL MEDIA: In debate coverage, on bleeding MSNBC, I heard liberal pundits automatically refer to the ‘liberal media’. They’ve not only accepted but are now employing the very label assigned them by the morbidly obese, four times married, college dropout and indicted drug offender, a label he invented and employed over decades to discredit, denigrate and insult you. Throughout, if you even bothered to defend, your arguments were weak. “No we’re not” doesn’t do it. (Exception is Eric Alterman’s 2003 meticulously researched book What Liberal Media? – hurry, only two left at Amazon!). So you failed and now a good part of the country assume media to be liberal; they even believe that outlets like the broadcast networks exhibit bias in their vapid little 19 minutes a night of ‘news’.  Well done, Rush; fail, Dems.
  • DEMOCRAT PARTY: Same thing. The morbidly obese, four times married, college dropout and indicted drug criminal began some years ago saying “Democrat Party” instead of “Democratic Party”. Again an insult, meant to strip from the party’s name any suggestion that it stood for a democratic ideal or even process. You’ve no doubt heard it from Rush: Dems now say it too.
  • OBAMACARE: This one only took about five minutes. As soon as the morbidly obese, four times married, college dropout and indicted drug offender invented the name, it was universally adopted because, after all, it’s so much easier to say than Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

3-0. Three-zip. As Mr. Jackson said “wake the f**k up!”

Ezra Klein writes down the details: the 112th Congress is the. worst. ever. Really.

This, from Ezra Klein’s Wonkblog at The Washington Post today:

14 Reasons why this is the worst Congress ever

And he lays them out, clearly, with graphics and – in spite of his blogname – in a non-wonky way, focusing on comparisons between this 112th Congress and previous.

Guess what.

He starts with this week’s 33rd vote in the House to repeal the Affordable Care Act:

Holding that vote once makes sense. Republicans had promised that much during the 2010 campaign. But 33 times? If doing the same thing twice and expecting a different result makes you insane, what does doing the same thing 33 times and expecting a different result make you?

Well, it makes you the 112th Congress.

Notwithstanding Mark Twain’s famous quip, Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress . . . but I repeat myself, these ladies and gentlemen – well,  not so many ladies – are, indeed, The. Worst. Congress. Ever.

Reasons must be found, must be found!

Matt Drudge provides a glimpse of a  possible script. Because excuses must be made, excuses must be made!!

Exactly: “The Roberts Court is born”

And this is why I always thought the Chief Justice would find a way to uphold Obamacare.

 Had Obamacare been voided, it would have inevitably led to charges of aggressive judicial activism.  Roberts peered over the abyss and decided he didn’t want to go there.

Roberts’ decision was consistent with his confirmation hearings pledge to respect the co-equal branches of government, push for consensus, and reach narrow rulings designed to build broad coalitions on the Court. He promised to respect precedent. His jurisprudence, he said, would be marked by “modesty and humility” and protection of the precious institutional legitimacy of the Court.

Today, the institutional legitimacy of the Court was buttressed. President Obama wasn’t the only winner at the Supreme Court today. So was the Supreme Court itself.

So this case was the one where he finally decided to adhere to those oft stated principles, which he’s previously ignored. But he has also expressed the hope that he could loosen the partisan divide on the Court, reduce the number of 5-4  votes, and has said he would like more unanimous decisions.

I don’t think Canada will want you, guys. You might try Somalia. Or Yemen.

Reminds me of when one of my brothers proclaimed he was moving to Ireland during Clinton Administration to escape the  awful tax burden here and all teh socialism. But then he found out, you know . . .

Now this – lots and lots of this. Bye-bye.

 

Anything else you want to ask me?

It’s been an unbloggy week, but I think I managed to say this on Monday:

(I’m staying out on my limb – I think Roberts votes for Obamacare. And if he does, so does Kennedy.)

Yup. That’s what I said. Gotta go. CNN’s calling.

(Whoops. My bad. Kennedy dissented.)

Think of it this way

If the Supremes overturn the ACA, four justices appointed by Republican presidents will have voted in lock step with Congressional Republicans, not one of whom voted for the bill.

(I’m staying out on my limb – I think Roberts votes for Obamacare. And if he does, so does Kennedy.)

Governor Voldemort has a better idea because he knows all about health care.

My Gov don’t like him none of that Muslim-Keynan Obamacare stuff. He’s no fan of Medicare/Medicaid either (even though his criminal abuse of both made him and his co-conspirators millions). Nevertheless, we the people chose him to run things here in Florida, trusting, I assume, that he’d gotten ethically born-again.

He knows – made it clear on Day One – that Obamacare is not for Florida and so has refused to institute any of the legally mandated reforms. He has a better idea. States, he says:

. . . can do a better job . . . we should have 50 laboratories to see which is the best approach.

Yeah, that’ll work.

Here’s a little summary of his earlier career as head of Columbia/HCA (that’s Health Corporation of America):

On March 19, 1997, investigators from the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Health and Human Services served search warrants at Columbia/HCA facilities in El Paso and on dozens of doctors with suspected ties to the company.[21] The Columbia/HCA board of directors pressured Scott to resign as Chairman and CEO following the inquiry.[22]He was paid $9.88 million in a settlement. He also left owning 10 million shares of stock worth over $350 million.[23][24][25] In 1999, Columbia/HCA changed its name back to HCA, Inc.

I always like that getting rewarded with $10million dollars for screwing up your company part. It’s the new American way you know. Also, job creators.

In the settlements,  Columbia/HCA pled guilty and agreed to a $600+ million fine in the largest fraud settlement in US history. They admitted systematically overcharging the government . . . They also admitted fraudulently billing Medicare and other health programs by inflating the seriousness of diagnoses and to giving doctors partnerships in company hospitals as a kickback for the doctors referring patients to HCA. They filed false cost reports, fraudulently billing Medicare . . .  In addition, they gave doctors “loans” never intending to be repaid, free rent, free office furniture, and free drugs from hospital pharmacies.

That ‘overcharging the government’ part? That’s us, that’s taxpayer money he stole.

In late 2002, HCA agreed to pay the U.S. government $631 million, plus interest, and pay $17.5 million to state Medicaid agencies, in addition to $250 million paid up to that point to resolve outstanding Medicare expense claims.[26]In all, civil law suits cost HCA more than $2 billion to settle, by far the largest fraud settlement in US history.[27]

 

Because they’re all out to get us

 

 

 

 

 

UPDATE:
In the comments, David links to this (the defense part). I’m looking to tie dollars to that and to health care. It’s out there. Spending on defense, by country (the top ten by US$billions):

No fat lady yet at SCOTUS. I say Obamacare makes it.

Long busy day, just now getting to my lonely laptop – and only for a moment before I crash – to say:

I think the ACA will be upheld by the Supreme Court, and I think it can be by a stronger majority than usual. I’m guessing 7-2. If Kennedy joins the liberals, I think Roberts might do the same, and encourage the other conservatives to join as well, and make the decision stronger, closer to unanimity, something he’s always desired for major decisions. If the bill is upheld, it’s an historic decision and Roberts will also want to put his name on it.

It wins. 7-2. And Roberts votes with the majority. Holdouts might be Alito and Thomas.

Hey . . . it’s months off. If I’m wrong, nobody will remember.

Supreme Court days

I plan to listen to as much of the oral arguments this week as I have time for. I’ve listened to a few of these before – at the Circuit Court level too – and they’re surprisingly engaging,  even for a non-lawyer. There is, in this country particularly, majesty to the law. Listening to the petitioners make  their cases and then engage with the justices in the finer points of the law and the Constitution gives one an appreciation of how it is we have, no matter our politics, remained ‘a nation of laws’ for two-plus centuries, a nation that’s chosen to be governed by the law

Today’s argument is whether the Court can even hear the case against the mandate yet, since it’s not been enacted. It’s possible they’ll shut it down for now and will return to it after the law goes into effect. Something about you can’t challenge that which does not yet exist in fact.

If, however, they decide that yes, the case can go forward – which I think they will (why else schedule three days for argument) – the meat of the argument starts tomorrow, when they actually take up the matter of the constitutionality of the law.

I think they’ll uphold it. And I think they’ll do it by better than 5-4. It could even be 7-2, with just Alito and Thomas against. Which, of course, will mean the end of freedom.

 

Political genius or just luck? Does it matter?

In a comment thread below, I suggested to TitForTat that Obama intentionally picked a fight over the birth control co-pay, hoping that once the 1st Amendment stuff was settled, the GOP would take up the cry against birth control itself.

And dear Elvis, they seem to be doing it. Can a party be this stupid?

Not satisfied with President Obama’s new religious accommodation, Republicans will move forward with legislation by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) that permits any employer to deny birth control coverage in their health insurance plans, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Sunday.

“If we end up having to try to overcome the President’s opposition by legislation, of course I’d be happy to support it, and intend to support it,” McConnell said. “We’ll be voting on that in the Senate and you can anticipate that that would happen as soon as possible.”

I’m really speechless.

 

Weiner’s a fool but there’s more here than meets the eye

The bigotbasher at The Conservative Lie had a good post this week on the scandal-de-jour as it relates to other interesting events in our national life – he speculates about why Weiner’s predilection for adolescent sexual behavior came out at this time and what that might have to do with Justice Thomas and Obamacare and Citizens’ United and a recent letter Weiner wrote Thomas saying he should recuse himself on the Obamacare and charging him with a financial conflict of interest on Citizens’ United.

Speaking truth to power can have terrible consequences (power of course means the monied interests). For instance, I’ve always believed:

  • Elliot Spitzer’s fascination with prostitutes was known in political and financial circles, but it wasn’t till the old  Sheriff of Wall Street gained some regulatory power as Governor that it all hit the front pages.
  • Julian Assange’s transformation from internet bad boy to international criminal happened after he announced the pending release of damning documents relating to the practices of Bank of America.

Also, while looking for an image  to use here, I came across this story at NEWS ONE: For Black America.

For months, Rep. Weiner has prompted Thomas to disclose the money his wife, Virginia Thomas made working for Liberty Central, a political organization that has openly opposed President Obama’s health care reform agenda. According to Weiner, Mrs. Thomas’ political affiliations put the justice’s impartiality on the bench in question.

Details of Virginia Thomas’ salary and other payments were disclosed Friday night as the press and most Americans prepared for the Memorial Day weekend.

But guess what happened the next day and dominated the news cycle for the next week? Yup. Never really saw that Ginny Thomas story anywhere.

Here’s the letter Weiner wrote Thomas that precipitated the document release by Ginny Thomas.

The Honorable Justice Clarence Thomas
United States Supreme Court Building
1 First Street Northeast
Washington D.C., DC 20543
Dear Justice Thomas:

As an Associate Justice, you are entrusted with the responsibility to exercise the highest degree of discretion and impartiality when deciding a case. As Members Continue reading

For me but not for thee

Instead of crafting legislation to create jobs (remember that?), the Senate Republicans are offering up their first bill of this new Congress, “The State Health Care Choice Act.” It’s a repeal effort of course, and it allows States to opt out of not just the ‘onorous’ parts of the bill but stuff like protections for pre-existing conditions. Allows them to opt out of the whole dangburn thing.

I’ve noticed lately an increasing sentiment among Washington (and State) Republicans that this ‘Union’ thing is becoming a bit bothersome. Secession  language for instance has really escalated, along with respect for the Constitutional principle of             .

From Steve Benen at the excellent Washington Monthly blog Political Animal, a good post on the subject and this – from commenter KurtRex1453:

Remember, memorize and repeat….

Health insurance companies want to pay doctors as little as possible and charge customers as much as possible while providing the minimum health care possible. This adversarial relationship hurts everyone but health co execs and the Republicans who support them. When the Republicans scream death panels, socialism or try to scare you with horror stories of malfeasance in government run health care systems, they are only protecting the Heath Insurance Execs excessive profits, Hermes handbags, and overpriced sports cars.

 

The best reason ever for unconstitutionality of health care reform. Ever.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA), frequently makes himself the story by being controversial. For instance, he’s said that Obama using his middle name when taking the oath of office was “bizarre”. (Where King is concerned, perhaps we can be thankful that – as far as I know –  he’s only ever served on sub-committees, although that may have changed in this new Congress.

TPM brings our attention to an argument King made this very day – about why the new Health Care bill is unconstitutional and doesn’t come under the commerce clause.

“After Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) said that health insurance counts as interstate commerce . . . . King argued that there are people who never even use health care . . . “There have always been and likely will always be, babies that were born, lived and died within the jurisdictions of the individual states,” he said, “who never cross a state line, access no health care and therefore do not impact interstate commerce. “

He offered up babies as an example. When challenged on that, he found some compelling proof; King shot back at Polis with this: “I hate to tell you but they show up in garbage cans around this country, sir.”

Okay.

We have the best health care system in the world dammit

Cute.

Blue Shield of California seeks rate hikes of as much as 59% for individuals

“Another big California health insurer has stunned individual policyholders with huge rate increases — this time it’s Blue Shield of California seeking cumulative hikes of as much as 59% for tens of thousands of customers March 1. Blue Shield’s action comes less than a year after Anthem Blue Cross tried and failed to raise rates as much as 39% for about 700,000 California customers.

San Francisco-based Blue Shield said the increases were the result of fast-rising healthcare costs and other expenses resulting from new healthcare laws.

. . . Nearly 1 in 4 of the affected customers will see cumulative increases of more than 50% over five months. . . Michael Fraser, a Blue Shield policyholder from San Diego, learned recently that his monthly bill would climb 59%, to $431 from $271. “When I tell people, their jaws drop and their eyes bug out,” said Fraser “

Go and git gunnin’ fer granny now!

Since we already have fully-Socialized government-run health care , I’m wondering – where are those death panels? I mean, like,  we have all our old folks already in a herd, so it wouldn’t be so hard you know . . .