“With liberty and health care for all.”

The House of Representatives is within minutes of having its members vote on the Health Care bill — H.R. 3962. As could be expected, most Republicans see the bill as a loss of freedom for citizens and too expensive ($1.2 tillion during the next decade, they claim.)

But Most Democrats see the bill as an attempt to right a longtime wrong whereby this, the greatest country in the world, has allowed a system to grow where quality health care is just for those who can afford it. To hell with everyone else.

I think of my neighbor’s 2-year-old grandson who was just diagnosed with cancer. His treatments are costing approximately $10,000 per week. How would you afford his life-saving care? Today 62% of bankruptcies are caused by health care bills.

Michele Bachman just addressed the floor wearing a Hawaiian lei around her neck..swear to God. (She also invoked God during her speech.) Which got me to thinking, which side would Jesus vote with?

We must pass this bill.

It’s the right thing to do.

And we’re going to do it.

Ten minutes and counting…

29 thoughts on ““With liberty and health care for all.”

  1. Mike Kennedy says:

    Well, if this 1,900 page mess gets passed into law now that it has passed the House, only time will tell what voters will think, with 67 percent of people in a recent Real Clear Politics poll already unhappy with Congress and 56 percent not happy with the direction the country is headed.

    Once again, government can’t act in a limited fashion, providing a mechanism to obtain health care for those who can’t afford it and those who have pre-existing conditions. It has to come up with a 450,000 word document that uses the words shall, must and required to more than 3,000 times.

    Whew. All this and it will provide more comprehensive and cost effective coverage than what we have. I’d like to see a poll number on how many American really think that’s true. And people thought supply-side economics was voodoo?

    I, for one, am a small business and if I’m forced to provide health care coverage, it will mean less in wages or fewer positions. Multiply that exponentially and you think unemployment of more than 10 percent will be temporary? Our unemployment rate on average has been less than Western Europe for years for a variety of reasons. We might have seen the end of that trend.

    1. Joe Loveland says:

      Mike, I know you and I disagree about the proper role of government, and that means we’re not going to agree on this bill.

      But I would like to push back a bit about using the complexity of the bill as a central indictment of the bill. At least two things inevitably led to this being a complex, lengthy bill: 1) a supremely complex status quo system and 2) a need to get a 220-vote compromise.

      If you or I were writing a bill for ourselves in isolatin, without the constraints or pressures of the status quo or the need to compromise with different minded colleagues and segments of society, we both could write much simpler solutions. But that’s not reality in a representative democracy. They aren’t operating in a vacuum, and that inevitably leads to complexity.

      Moreover, the simplest congressional actions are not always the best. See the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. And complex solutions are not always the worst. See Social Security.

  2. Newt says:

    There’s a reason Pelosi sneaked in this vote at midnight on a Saturday. The public might have found it.

    1. PM says:

      That is one of the stupidest things you have ever said.

      It was at 11:30 because of the lengthy debate that took place prior to the vote.

      Pelosi is trumpeting this bill. She is proud of it. No one at all is trying to hide it. It is on the front pages of newspapers all over the country. It is on all the talk shows. The public has been aware of this bill and the nature of the discussion and debate for months. It could not have been hidden, nor is there any evidence at all that anyone has tried to do so. This is one of the most public pieces of legislation that has ever passed the House.

      Whatever anyone might think of the bill, no sane person can possibly suggest that Pelosi was trying to hide it. Come on, Newt, get serious! When you say things like this, your credibility immediately goes out the window!

      1. Newt says:

        I wonder how many times in the last 150 years Congress has taken a vote on a Saturday, at midnight?

        What were the impediments to voting on this in daylight, on a weekday?

        None of this passes the straight-face test.

      2. PM says:

        Well, if you wonder that, why don’t you research it, and get some real answers, rather than engaging in pointless speculation?

        But i have to assume that you are conceding the main point, which is that Pelosi is obviously NOT trying to hide this bill (a rather difficult thing to do when you appear on the front page of the New York Times and other newspapers, as well as on television, etc.), given that you have been reduced to casting about for rather weak allusions.

        I also assume you refer, by the straight face test, to the fact that Pelosi was smiling (apparently from pride at the accomplishment) in all of those pictures. Again, she sure didn’t look like she had been caught doing something that she was ashamed of.

        We can debate all we want whether this was a good thing or a bad thing, and there are plenty of legitimate points to be made on both side. We will not, of course, know the answer to that question for quite a few years (the proof of the pudding is in the eating and all of that). But we can all certainly put to rest this silly obsession of yours that this was something that Pelosi was trying to hide. That is, again, simply an absurd assertion on your part that displays nothing but ignorance and ill will. To the extent that you continue in this effort, you will lose any credibility that you have with your readers.

  3. Mike Kennedy says:

    Joe:

    I don’t believe the system has to be that complex. The complexity does not come naturally to the process of providing health care and then paying for it. It is a transaction, much like any transaction. It is government rules and regulations over the years that have made it so complex and added layer upon layer of legalese.

    These lawmakers could have written a bill that provides government insurance to those who can’t afford it and those who have pre-existing conditions without making it 1,900 pages. But they wanted to go further and affect virtually every American.

    By law, I have to provide an investment prospectus to every client on every investment we use. Each is a tome, full of verbiage that no one but the most sophisticated could understand. I have not doubt that exactly 99 percent of them went into the garbage once they got home. The other 1 percent were skimmed then tossed.

  4. Joe Loveland says:

    I throw my perspectuses away too, Mike. I don’t even skim them. Ever. But the fact that the disclosure is happening is a reminder to me that the system is regulated to limit abuse. And the fact that protections exist, imperfect as they are, convinces me that it’s safe to invest more money. If that perception and that trust were gone, my investing would stop.

    Where complexity exists, I want regulators protecting me, because in the age of specialization I can’t know enough to survive in a wholly caveat emptor world. That may make me a Nanny Stater, but it also makes me a Nanny Stater who invests, and that is to the benefit of the private sector.

    The health reform bill can’t pass if at least some doctors, patients, abortion opponents, abortion proponents, Medicare-abused states, Medicare-enriched states, seniors, non-seniors, etc. don’t support it. That leads to compromise, volume and complexity.

    Look, if my conservative friends were dictators they could write a simple bill that says “All current health law and regulations is stricken” and let the free market sort it all out. Similarly, if my liberal friends were dictators they could write a simple bill that says “Private health care and coverage is now illegal” and the government will build a simpler single payer, single provider system from scratch.

    Those approaches would both be simpler than what we have, but neither can pass because we don’t cotton to dictators. So, we have this messy little reality in our midst. Representative democracy. In a representative democracy, we have to find a solution that multiple interests, regions and demographics can support. That’s a messy endeavor.

  5. Mike Kennedy says:

    Joe:

    Your first paragraph is my point. How does forcing this gibberish on people protect them? There is some important stuff in there, but it’s written so turgidly and incomprehensibly that no one takes the time. Fund companies have pushed for years for simplified language — to no avail. Even legislators don’t read much of the bills before voting. Interesting article here.

    http://reason.com/archives/2009/10/30/masterfleece-theater

    I don’t want an entirely “buyer beware” world and neither do I want what we have. I think there is a reasonable middle ground between “it’s every man (sorry ladies) for himself” and the Nanny State you speak of.

    This is one of the root causes of why so many people are unhappy with Congress and the government. They feel it isn’t working for them. The numbers are stunning. I don’t think it’s an issue of conservatives vs. liberals. Republicans and Democrats in governement are both to blame.

  6. Mike Kennedy says:

    PM:

    I think there are some valid points in there. E.J. Dionne is a smart guy and a good writer. A couple of things, though. I think the more local government is, the better it does. And government does do some things well. It’s problem is that it thinks it does all things well. I have to laugh at the public education point in his column. Liberals love to point out the bad parts of our health care system, yet they overlook our miserable public education, yet keep wanting to throw more money at it, as if that’s the answer.

    We are spending more money than ever and getting less for it all the time by virtually every measure available. Is there a magical tipping point of XXX more dollars where it turns around?

    I hate to break it to Mr. Dionne, but government never has nor will it ever prevent market crashes unless it can control human behavior (Oh God forbid I even hint at this). Monopolies? Rockefeller beat out competition to the great benefit of consumers, as did Vanderbilt, Carnegie, Gates……….bet they don’t teach that in my kids’ history class at high school; so I am.

  7. Newt says:

    Remind us: Where is healthcare enumerated in the Bill of Rights? How about hair transplants, sex changes, or removal or port wine stain birthmarks? I must have missed that paragraph.

    1. PM says:

      Did you look in the part that refers to the FBI? Or the part that refers to the FDA? Or the Department of Education? Or the FCC section?

      Sheesh, what kind of a researcher are you?

      But seriously, if you think that this is unconstitutional, then you have a duty to take action. Stop complaining, and bring a case to the Supreme Court to stop this unconstitutional power grab! Do something to end this tyranny! Why are you still sitting around in your underwear, drinking beer and eating stale pizza while reading this blog on your computer instead of taking action to defend your country and your rights?

  8. Newt says:

    PM – we have people in this thread asserting that healthcare is a “right.” Where is enumerated? Tick, tock…..

    1. PM says:

      Newt:

      Not all “rights” are enumerated. The right to privacy is, of course, the classic example. Despite it not being listed or enumerated in the Constitution, it has been upheld as a right by the Supreme Court.

      See:
      http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/rightofprivacy.html

      Now I don’t know if there is a “right” to health care or not. Frankly, that seems to me to be more of a rhetorical flourish than a legal argument (sort of like claiming that Pelosi was trying to “hide” the health care bill). But whether or not there is such a right, the fact that something is not enumerated in the Constitution does not make such a thing unconstitutional (as my point about privacy clearly illustrates). But, if you really believe that this is unconstitutional, then you should certainly challenge it. Or, should no one bother to challenge the constitutionality of this legislation, then I think that you would simply have to assume that no one thinks that they have a solid legal basis on which to do so–in other words, the consensus would be that this legislation is, indeed, constitutional.

      I suppose that what I am saying to you and all the other opponents of this legislation is that if you think it is unconstitutional, put your money where your mouth is. Put up or shut up.

      Me? I’m not a constitutional scholar, not even a lawyer, but then I’m not the one making the claims here, am I?

  9. Newt says:

    I didn’t say Pelosi-care was unsonstitutional. Did I?

    Neither in the Bill of Rights, nor in court holdings is healthcare considered a “right.” Only in the minds of some here is it a “right.”

    Pelosi wasn’t trying to hide the healthcare bill – she hid the legislative action that enabled it.

    Speaking of fabricated rights, don’t I have a “right” to be free from unwarranted attacks from uniformed shallow thinkers?

    1. PM says:

      Now you are being disingenuous. You are asserting that there is no constitutional right to health care, within the context of a debate about the first legislation that has ever been passed that establishes a significant federal role (the “public option”) in health care. To suggest that your question about the constitutionality of a right to health care is not to be seen as pertaining to the Pelosi bill simply beggars the imagination. When you try to wiggle out of things like this you look extremely foolish. You are engaging in sophistry.

      And, again, your quibble about Pelosi trying to hide the legislative action (as opposed to the actual bill itself) is equally lame, She did no such thing. The action was well known. There were press people all over the place at the time this took place. Hell, even Ellen knew about it! Your revised point is just as stupid as your first point.

      And, no, you have no right to be free from “unwarranted attacks”. If you are going to post your words and thoughts here, you should expect people to take issue with them. If you do not have the intellectual rigor to defend what you say (and who could, really?) then you should not say it. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

      That said, don’t go away. I enjoy our discussions, and I enjoy hearing your point of view. I just wish you’d be more substantive as opposed to injecting non-sequiturs and talking points. There are lots of really good criticisms to be made of this legislation as well as the legislative process. You just haven’t made them yet. Both Mikes have made really good points about some of the problems and shortcomings of this legislative effort, and I think I have learned from them.

      1. Dennis Lang says:

        PM–As if this were even possible, you have surpassed yourself! Was it Vidal who challenged Buckley on “Crossfire”? Anyway, both of you keep it up as we say. Entertaining and informative.

      2. Speaking of “Both Mikes,” I address this to Mr. Kennedy: One of us needs to change our name. People have been address comments to you and confusing me.

        You’d think I’d be used to having more Mikes around. Hell, in college, I lived in a house with three Mikes!

  10. Mike Kennedy says:

    Yeah, weren’t our parents creative, coming up with a tag like Mike? Why not John (oh yeah, my middle name, another burst of creativity), or Tom etc. Of course, at least my parents weren’t celebs and stopped short of names like Rumor or Apple. So I better shut my pie hole and quit complaining.

      1. Mike Kennedy says:

        Mike:

        This is spooky. What are the odds? I am mulling over a new tagline for the blog. I’ll come up with something different so we aren’t always confused.

  11. Ellen Mrja says:

    Newt: Did your family assume you had a right to a free public education? And I’m using the word “right” in the colloquial, not the constitutional, sense.

    Mine did, and thank God for it. Free public education has lifted millions of Americans out of poverty and into prosperity for 100 years.

    Why fear the same for health care? Shouldn’t we want the healthiest citizens in our country? I surely do.

  12. PM says:

    Just so happens there have been a couple of interesting posting s about the constitutionality of health care, that i thought I’d share here with those who are interested.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/24/AR2009112402815_pf.html

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/24/AR2009112402815_pf.html

    I just want to point out that there really is no question at all about the constitutionality of the health care legislation that is currently being debated in the Congress, and anyone who is raising this kind of an issue is simply trying to create a controversy where none really exists. That, by definition, is a red herring:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_herring_(idiom)

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