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Archive for the ‘Healthcare Reform’ Category

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By- Mike Sacks

Posted: 06/28/2012 10:10 am Updated: 06/28/2012 11:16 am

WASHINGTON — The individual health insurance mandate is constitutional, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday, upholding the central provision of President Barack Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act.

The controlling opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, upheld the mandate as a tax, although concluded it was not valid as an exercise of Congress’ commerce clause power. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined in the outcome.

The decision in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius comes as something of a surprise after the generally hostile reception the law received during the six hours of oral arguments held over three days in March. But by siding with the court’s four Democratic appointees, Chief Justice Roberts avoided the delegitimizing taint of politics that surrounds a party-line vote while passing Obamacare’s fate back to the elected branches. GOP candidates and incumbents will surely spend the rest of the 2012 campaign season running against the Supreme Court and for repeal of the law.

Five justices concluded that the mandate, which requires virtually all Americans to obtain minimum health insurance coverage or pay a penalty, falls within Congress’ power under the Constitution to “lay and collect taxes.”

“The individual mandate cannot be upheld as an exercise of Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause,” Roberts wrote. “That Clause authorizes Congress to regulate interstate commerce, not to order individuals to engage in it. In this case, however, it is reasonable to construe what Congress has done as increasing taxes on those who have a certain amount of income, but choose to go without health insurance. Such legislation is within Congress’s power to tax.”

Ginsburg, writing separately for the four liberals, said they would have upheld the mandate under the commerce clause too. “Unlike the market for almost any other product or service, the market for medical care is one in which all individuals inevitably participate,” she wrote. “Virtually every person residing in the United States, sooner or later, will visit a doctor or other health care professional.”

Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito joined in a dissent.

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CNN Politics
Political Ticker
June 11th, 2012
08:55 PM ET

(CNN) – Mitt Romney on Monday said he hopes the Supreme Court does the “right thing” and overturns President Barack Obama’s sweeping health care reform.

“Gosh I hope they do the right thing and turn this thing down,” Romney told donors in Atlanta, according to pool reports. “And say it’s unconstitutional because it is.” – Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

– Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.

This month, the high court is expected to announce its decision on the legality of the Affordable Care Act, a measure passed by Congressional Democrats and signed into law by Obama in 2010.

While Romney has not recently made comments about the decision, he has long maintained he would overturn the law through an executive order in his first day in office.

“This piece of legislation is bad policy, it’s bad for our health care, and I can tell you if I’m president I’m going to stop it in its tracks on day one,” he said Monday.

Democrats have frequently targeted Romney over the health care issue by pointing to a similar plan he signed into law as governor of Massachusetts in 2006. In his defense, Romney says the plan was tailor-made for Massachusetts residents and he would oppose a federal mandate.

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Question for the tea party and everyone who voted for tea party Republicans in November: Did you enjoy your purely cosmetic vote to repeal the health care reform law? Personally, I would feel pandered to, and not particularly satisfied with all of that fiscally expensive congressional time being wasted on a vote that meant absolutely nothing. But that’s me.

I mean, you and your peers are obsessively focused on budget deficits and the national debt. Perhaps all of that federal money, all of that federal time and all of those federal resources would have been more effectively spent on something that had a chance of actually happening. Instead, you mandated that your Republican members of the House spend countless dollars on a symbolic exercise in, well, hooey. Nonsense. The political equivalent of pissing into the wind.

Considering that many of us on the progressive side of the political divide supported the health care law in part because it actually reduces the deficit, and considering that many of us on the progressive side of the political divide supported the stimulus and, within it, the largest middle class tax cut in American history, I’m getting a strong idea as to who is more interested in fiscal discipline and who isn’t.

With this meaningless vote, not only have the Republicans proved themselves to be entirely disinterested in reducing the deficit, but they’ve also reinforced their obsession with bumper sticker slogans, self-contradictions and utterly nonsensical political gestures.

Here are two more fantastic examples of how Republicans seriously dislike health care reform, socialized medicine and “government-run” healthcare — that is, until they actually need it.

You may or may not recall a study conducted before the health care reform law was passed by the office of Rep. Anthony Weiner. At the time, 55 Republican members of Congress were enrolled in Medicare, including Senators McCain, McConnell, Kyl, Shelby, Lugar, Inhofe and Grassley. All of whom were opposed to the public option and health care reform.

On the House side, Rep. Weiner’s list includes Peter King, Phil Gingrey, wingnut Virginia Foxx and the godfather of the tea party movement Ron Paul. Seriously, Ron Paul! All 55 members are accepting a form of the public option. Government-run health care. Socialized medicine. I wonder what Ayn Rand would say about Ron Paul accepting Medicare? A program that, more than anything else, will help to bump the national debt from 15 percent of GDP to 35 percent of GDP by 2082. And they claim to be worried about the debt? That’s rich.

Where are the tea party budget hawks — the tri-corned hat reenactors with their misspelled signs and racist voodoo portraits of the president — screeching for Ron Paul to give up his share in American socialism?

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Many Americans assume the new health care reform act will benefit mostly the poor and uninsured and hurt everyone else, according to polls. As Matt Yglesias wrote, “Basically, people see this as a bill that will take resources from people who have health insurance and give it to people who don’t have health insurance.” Those who still oppose the reform say that people ought to pay for their own health care.

We all believe in the virtues of hard work and self-reliance, but these days it’s a fantasy to think that anyone but the mega-wealthy will not, sooner or later, depend on help from others to pay medical bills. And that’s true no matter how hard you work, how much you love America, or how diligently you take care of yourself. The cost of medical care has so skyrocketed that breaking an arm or leg could cost as much as a new car. And if you get cancer or heart disease — which can happen even to people who live healthy lifestyles — forget about it. The disease will not only clean you out; it will leave a whopping debt for your survivors to pay.

And the truth is, we all pay for other peoples’ health care whether we know it or not. When people can’t pay their medical bills, the cost of their health care gets added to everyone else’s bills and insurance premiums. When poor people use emergency rooms as a doctor of last resort, their care is not “free.” You pay for it.

Another common fantasy about medical care is that the “free market” provides incentives for medical companies to develop innovative new drugs and treatments for disease without government subsidy. It’s true that private enterprise is very good at developing profitable health care products. But not all medical care can be made profitable.

For years, the U.S. government has been funding medical research that the big private companies don’t want to do because there is too much cost for the potential profit. This is especially true for diseases that are rare and expensive to treat. An example of a recent advance made possible by government grants include new guidelines for malignant pleural mesothelioma treatment developed by MD Anderson Cancer Center researchers. Another is a blood screening test for mesothelioma developed by thoracic surgeon Dr. Robert Taub. The health reform act provides for more dollars for such research, from which even many of the tea party protesters will benefit.

The biggest fantasy of all was that people who had insurance didn’t have to worry about health care costs. But the fact is that in recent years millions of Americans have been bankrupted by medical costs, and three-quarters of the medically bankrupt had health insurance. And yes, insurance companies even dumped hard-working, law-abiding patriots. But the health care reform act will put an end to that, and now America’s hard-working, law-abiding patriots are more financially secure, whether they like it or not.

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The Rage Is Not About Health Care

The New York Times- Opinion

Published: March 27, 2010
THERE were times when last Sunday’s great G.O.P. health care implosion threatened to bring the thrill back to reality television. On ABC’s “This Week,” a frothing and filibustering Karl Rove all but lost it in a debate with the Obama strategist David Plouffe. A few hours later, the perennially copper-faced Republican leader John Boehner revved up his “Hell no, you can’t!” incantation in the House chamber — instant fodder for a new viral video remixing his rap with will.i.am’s “Yes, we can!” classic from the campaign. Boehner, having previously likened the health care bill to Armageddon, was now so apoplectic you had to wonder if he had just discovered one of its more obscure revenue-generating provisions, a tax on indoor tanning salons.

But the laughs evaporated soon enough. There’s nothing entertaining about watching goons hurl venomous slurs at congressmen like the civil rights hero John Lewis and the openly gay Barney Frank. And as the week dragged on, and reports of death threats and vandalism stretched from Arizona to Kansas to upstate New York, the F.B.I. and the local police had to get into the act to protect members of Congress and their families.

How curious that a mob fond of likening President Obama to Hitler knows so little about history that it doesn’t recognize its own small-scale mimicry of Kristallnacht. The weapon of choice for vigilante violence at Congressional offices has been a brick hurled through a window. So far.

No less curious is how disproportionate this red-hot anger is to its proximate cause. The historic Obama-Pelosi health care victory is a big deal, all right, so much so it doesn’t need Joe Biden’s adjective to hype it. But the bill does not erect a huge New Deal-Great Society-style government program. In lieu of a public option, it delivers 32 million newly insured Americans to private insurers. As no less a conservative authority than The Wall Street Journal editorial page observed last week, the bill’s prototype is the health care legislation Mitt Romney signed into law in Massachusetts. It contains what used to be considered Republican ideas.

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Los Angeles Times- By Kathleen Hennessey and Ashley Powers

March 28, 2010

Reporting from Searchlight, Nev. – Gathered amid the dust and sagebrush of the Nevada desert, thousands of conservative “tea party” protesters responded Saturday to their critics with what might be called the young protest movement’s unofficial motto.

Don’t tread on me.

Dozens of yellow flags bearing that defiant message, along with the image of a coiled snake poised to strike, whipped in the wind above the crowds rallying in the tiny highway hometown of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Along with repeating familiar tea party themes — government is too big, the healthcare overhaul is socialist — the protesters pointedly answered critics who say the group’s rhetoric has fueled violence and threats against Democratic lawmakers in an increasingly poisonous political climate after the passage of healthcare legislation.

“Don’t ever let anybody tell you to sit down and shut up, Americans!” said former Alaska governor and GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. A hearty crowd huddled in a dirt lot for the “Showdown in Searchlight” cheered.

The rally was originally intended to stir up opposition to Reid’s bid for reelection this fall.

But the parade of speakers seemed equally focused on defending the young protest movement from its detractors, an acknowledgment that any association with the vandalism, threats and slurs reported by Democrats could harm tea party aims and drive away allies.

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Screeching Dingbat Delights Group of Teabaggers

WONKETTE– 9:56 PM on Sat March 27 2010
By Ken Layne

Oh well, here she is, Miss Also America, proving once again why nobody would give her a job as a local-teevee-news announcer because GAH nails on chalkboard, etc. Your editor almost drove out to the southern Nevada mining town of Searchlight to witness this public-speaking abortion. But, honestly, being in the same town as Sarah Palin once was more than enough.

As Frank Rich writes in tomorrow’s NYT: “At least four of the House members hit with death threats or vandalism are among the 20 political targets Palin marks with rifle crosshairs on a map on her Facebook page.” So, the Wasilla Grifter is doing about as well with this as she did with winning the vice presidency, or sticking with her job as Alaska’s governor.

Let her pack up her bags of money and tacky leather dresses and go back to Alaska, forever. Fucking idiot crook. [Los Angeles Times]

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