Tag Archives: healthcare

Why Do We Take These Polls?


President Obama’s going to lose. It’s all over. I read it right on ABC.com.  They reported that the President is losing to a generic Republican in a recent poll. Specifically, 44 percent said they would vote for the Republican, only 39 percent would vote for the President.

So what does this mean? Well, I suppose we should say, “nothing.” Let’s go over the reasons why this poll is basically useless. First, the election is 18 months away. If we went by a poll like this is 2007 , we’d be talking about President Giuliani today. Secondly, let’s think about the benefits of the generic Republican. He’s the perfect small-government, fiscal conservative. Yes, “he’s” a he, and he has no negative side effects. He didn’t pass a healthcare law similar to the President’s law, he doesn’t support the legalization of drugs,  his entire campaign staff hasn’t resigned, he doesn’t back off of his rhetoric when his opponents are in the room, he isn’t “the pizza guy,” and he isn’t Michele Bachmann. Remember, “he” is a he. Until either party nominates a woman, I won’t change my view on that.

The point is that a generic Republican isn’t representative of anyone who could possibly be the nominee. All the possible candidates have things that make them more or less appealing to conservatives and more or less appealing to moderates and independents. A “generic Republican” a year and a half from the election is useless.

I just don’t understand these polls. They don’t mean anything. A poll about who might be the Republican nominee is useful. We can have polls that track who is winning and losing that race. That’s news, but until we know who the nominee is it isn’t important how a “generic Republican” will do.  For now the President is likely to lag because he has a history and a personality. We know him.  We will see how this race really shapes up when the Republicans have a face, a history, and a personality to represent them. Until then, ABC should quit wasting our  time.

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Be Subject To One Another


“Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.” -Ephesians 5:21, New Revised Standard Edition

In this day in age of 24 hour cable crap devoted to feeding the voyeuristic gluttony of an American public hooked on bad soap opera that passing itself off as important, don’t you think we could find some relevance in verse 21″ – President Josiah Bartlet on “The West Wing”

In this time of natural disaster when communities across the country are ravaged by tornado and flood, wouldn’t it help if we were concerned more with others than ourselves. Tornadoes ripped through the South recently killing hundreds. Just two days ago a huge tornado leveled much of Joplin, MO. In between those two events the Mississippi River overflowed causing damage to hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland. People all over this country have lost their livelihoods. Families have been destroyed. Communities of been splintered. Now, I am not the pinnacle of a devout Christian, but if ever there was a time for us to be subject to others, it is now.

That is why I firmly believe House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) should be run out of Washington. To be fair, I’ve never liked Mr. Cantor. I stand opposed to nearly everything he believes. That would be fine. Disagreements are good. A healthy debate is necessary in this country. Unfortunately, Mr. Cantor is not concerned with what is best for the people of this country. He seems more concerned with winning. Politico reported on Monday that Mr. Cantor said, “if there is support for a supplemental, it would be accompanied by support for having pay-fors to that supplemental.”

In other words if were going to help people whose lives have been destroyed, we have to cut spending in an equal amount. In February, Mr. Cantor voted no to an amendment that eliminated funding to build an extra engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The Defense Department didn’t want the engine, but Mr. Cantor thought the program was a good way to spend 435 million dollars a year. That money could buy a lot of bottled water for people in Joplin, Tuscaloosa and Vicksburg.

I can’t express how angry I am that Republicans are trying to tie everything that happens in this world to spending cuts. It would be one thing if they wanted to balance the budget, but they don’t. They want to reduce the size of the federal government so that they can slash taxes for the rich.

This is about helping people who have lost everything.  In this country when our fellow citizens are lying at rock-bottom we reach out and lift them up. We find the money. It doesn’t matter if  we have to borrow it from China or raise taxes on everything from business to income or property.  We look after our own.

Mr. Cantor should apologize to every American who has lost a family member, or friend in these disasters. It is offensive to suggest that we should be talking about how to make disaster relief deficit neutral less than twenty-four hours after the second deadliest tornado since 1950 is confirmed to have killed 125 people. 700 residents of Joplin are still missing. The death toll is likely to rise significantly, and Mr. Cantor wants to talk about spending cuts.

America is only a great nation if it takes care of its citizens at their greatest time of need. That means when disaster strikes FEMA sweeps in and does all it can do to help. It means we do whatever we need to do, and pay for it however we can. We don’t haggle over deficits, and spending cuts. We do the job of helping people rebuild their lives. That is the most important thing the government can do. Mr. Cantor could learn something about being subject to others. In 2012, I hope he remembers that he is certainly subject to the voters of Virginia’s 7th district. I hope they hold him accountable.

Today’s Breakfast: Healthcare Rehash


So the House decided to repeal the healthcare law. Great use of the people’s time and money, but it happened so let’s talk about it for a minute. My humorous side is real unhappy about this. Mostly because they called it “The Repealing the Job-Killing Healthcare Law Act.” That’s just a ridiculous name. First of all, it’s a little early to call it “Job-Killing.” Second, the Law Act part seems redundant. Third, what do Republican’s hope to possibly gain from this stunt.

As soon as John Boehner said this was going to happen, Democrats got real excited.  The get a second chance to record all the sound bites about wildly popular parts of the bill. Democrats came down with healthcare Tourette’s. Everybody was talking about “no more preexisting conditions, no more dropped coverage.” They even brought out people who are excited because they can keep their kids covered to age 26.

All Republicans did was say it was a government takeover. Obamacare is socialism. Americans like a lot of this bill though. The only thing people really seem to have a problem with in the bill is the mandate to buy insurance. Republicans are challenging that across the U.S. The real problem is that they aren’t opposed to individual mandates. They came up with them. It had broad support from Republicans in the 1993 healthcare law that President Clinton failed to pass, and in the Wyden-Bennet bill in 2008. As Ezra Klein at the Washington Post argues, the problem is purely partisan.

I think that’s where Republicans lose. Sure, they will fire up the base. Sarah Palin, and Michele Bachman will go on a rampage. Sean Hannity’s head might just explode. The real issue is that House Republicans are saying we have to repeal everything. So they want insurance companies to drop people’s coverage when they get sick. They want insurance companies to discriminate against those who already have medical conditions. If Republicans were saying they wanted to repeal the mandate, it would still be hypocritical, but it wouldn’t be such blatant politics. They want the grand showmanship of total repeal, because they don’t care about healthcare. They care about winning, and they think this is the easiest way to do that. They are banking on the idea that Americans won’t do their homework. Rank and file Republicans and Democrats won’t. They will vote with their party because they always do. Those of us who choose to be independent of the parties must do ours. It’s important that people realize that these issues are much more complex than either side wants you to think about.

The individual mandate may seem wrong, but insurance is a tricky business. If they are going to cover everyone who walks through the door, someone has to pay. It takes the monthly premiums of a whole bunch of people to pay the monthly cost of cancer treatment for one person.  If we want insurance coverage when we need it. We have to be willing to pay for it when we don’t.  In other countries it is considered a civic duty to be insured. If Americans felt that way we would all be better off.

As Americans we tend to cling to our freedoms in the most peculiar way.  Opponents of the mandate have said it suppresses their freedom. They should be able to choose to be uninsured.  For virtually everyone that’s just crazy. No one who has any common sense would choose to be uninsured unless they were filthy rich. I must admit that I was uninsured for a long period of time once in my life. I was in my early twenties, and I will readily admit that I had no common sense. As a nation we have to act with some common sense. If we believe that people should be able to afford health insurance then it will take the work of the government and the insurance industry. The American people must also be willing to pitch in.

The biggest hurdle is thwarting the business lobby. The law requires companies to provide insurance or face penalties. Business doesn’t like that.  You would have to be crazy to think that this week’s repeal measure doesn’t have something to do with Republicans shoring up support among Big business. There is a ton of cash in business and they want it when the next election rolls around. With all the money corporations put into our campaigns, it’s fairly amazing that any elected official was willing to vote for the healthcare bill. This is why the right has taken to opposing Obama so passionately.  I’m not even sure how many people who yell about fiscal responsibility realize that Obama’s first budget brought the budget deficit down for the first time in nearly a decade. The healthcare bill is projected to reduce the deficit by another one hundred billion and change over the next ten years. The right-wing business community doesn’t want people to realize. So they have funded Tea Party rallies across the nation pointing the finger at Obama, and stirring the fear. People say the Tea Party is about fiscal responsibility, and the rank and file may be. The people running the show don’t give a damn about fiscal responsibility. They are playing on the fear of white America. They are people from Citizens for a Sound Economy, and Americans for Prosperity. Both groups with ultra right-wing agendas formed by billionaires to protect their own money. If a business friendly president gets elected the Tea Party will disappear, because those who organize them will have gotten their way. That’s why the Tea Party didn’t exist for the 8 years of record-setting deficits under Pres. Bush. That’s why they fought the stimulus but not TARP. The people may feel that they are pushing for fiscal responsibility but the ones with power are using them for their own agenda. We should be scared. They know how to win elections. Pick an issue, this time healthcare, make people afraid of it, and tell them whose to blame for it. That way the healthcare law will be repealed and they aren’t on the hook to give health insurance to their employees.

I know there are people out there who genuinely have paid attention to the issues and oppose healthcare reform. I know there are those at Tea Party rallies who are seriously concerned with the national debt. Those could be valid viewpoints, but it is a stretch to believe that the repeal this week was a genuine attempt to do what’s right. Total repeal doesn’t make sense. There are good parts to the bill. We need to keep those and tweak other things to make them better. As an example, every President takes up education reform. Since Johnson passed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in the 60’s it has been regularly modified and reauthorized. In 2001 it was passed as No Child Left Behind.  A lot of people didn’t like a large part of NCLB, but no one is talking about repealing it. It wasn’t all bad and a total repeal would be of great detriment to our nations schools. We will once again try to fix the problems and enhance the strengths of the bill with the ultimate goal of providing the best possible education to our children.  We need to approach healthcare reform in the same manner. We need genuine discussion and modification to make healthcare in this country better.

We need less political grandstanding