Friday, March 9, 2012

Democracy in Action: Supreme Court Prayer Vigils

Just one day after the White House announced the creation of its brand new ethical transparency website*, it is flatly refusing to divulge information about the scores of faith-based and other special interest groups it managed to corral yesterday. The Administration is coordinating a massive propaganda campaign to gin up public support for its embattled Affordable Care Act. Without naming names, Team Obama has coyly admitted that it will be "facilitating" a prayer vigil outside the Supreme Court as the justices mull over the ACA's constitutionality later this month.

Robert Pear of The New York Times reveals the White House propaganda push with typical government doublespeak: 
The advocates and officials mapped out a strategy to call attention to tangible benefits of the law, like increased insurance coverage for young adults. Sensitive to the idea that they were encouraging demonstrations, White House officials denied that they were trying to gin up support by encouraging rallies outside the Supreme Court, just a stone’s throw from Congress on Capitol Hill. They said a main purpose of this week’s meeting, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House, was to give the various groups a chance to learn of the plans.
Translation: Speaking from both sides of its blow-hole, the WH is not encouraging the rallies, but rather instructing the veal pen when, how and where to partake in them.

The part of this "strategy" that really creeps me out is that a branch of our government is encouraging a totally illegal display of religious magical thinking on public land in order to promote a policy agenda. We are coming to expect, and accept, the daily whittling away of that increasingly arbitrary document known as the Constitution. Here is the comment I wrote in response to the Times article this morning:
It will be hard for the administration to defend a health care law that doesn't even kick in for another two years. The rationale for postponing full benefits -- to appease the deficit hawks -- amounts to sheer malpractice when you factor in the increasing ranks of the uninsured (50 million-plus), largely left unprotected because of job losses after the financial meltdown. And while people are on tenterhooks waiting for 2014, the private insurance leeches are raking in record profits as they inflict ever higher premiums and co-pays to guarantee they stay profitable. They should have been put out of business two years ago. The president should have kept his campaign promise and backed at least a public option. Instead, he sold out to the corporations. He and Congress did not follow the wishes of the electorate.
And now the White House has to rely on a massive public relations campaign to convince people there will be a better tomorrow, tomorrow. And frankly, the government helping to coordinate a prayer vigil outside the Supreme Court to ask for God's help in forcing us to keep the insurance parasites in business just reeks of medievalism and desperation.
Instead of praying to the guy in the sky, let's resume a national campaign to demand Medicare for All. Let's join the rest of the civilized world.
It appears that the Obama Administration got wind of planned astroturf Tea Party rallies and tent revivals and Supreme Court lawn parties sponsored by the likes of the Koch Brothers to protest the insurance company giveaway law. Once burned by the infamous 2009 Town Halls, they have decided to fight prayer with prayer, misinformation with pep rally glitz, the Lord's Prayer with a Hail Mary. They were also likely taken aback by a recent Gallup poll which shows that a majority of people, including Democrats, are not entranced with ObamaCare. Even those believing that it has its positive points also think that mandating Americans to buy private insurance is unconstitutional.

Whatever. Praise the Lord, and donate generously when the political collection plate is passed your way.

* See previous post for link.


Amy said...

Amen, sister! :)

The only thing Obamacare has done for me is to make it impossible to use my FSA to buy OTC drugs and save a little bit of money.

Thanks for nothin'!

Denis Neville said...

Team Obama will be facilitating a prayer vigil outside the Supreme Court

“I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: 'O, Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.' And God granted it." – Voltaire, Letter to M. Damilaville, May 16, 1767

Kat said...

Thanks for the link to the Gallup poll. Interesting results. Who woulda thunk that even Democrats don't like the individual mandate?
It seemed like such a winning idea.

Denis Neville said...

“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane” - Martin Luther King Jr.

As Karen pointed out, Obama and Congress did not follow the wishes of the electorate.

The Affordable Care Act will not ensure affordable care for everyone.

Mainstream media's attention is focused on implementation of the Affordable Care Act and its challenge in the Supreme Court rather than on fundamental healthcare reform that actually would bring affordable healthcare to everyone. The public needs to understand the flaws in the ACA. The public needs to know that health care costs can be controlled while making health care accessible and affordable for everyone. There is, as Karen says, a far better way to finance health care – a single payer national health program: an improved Medicare for all.

Unfortunately, what we need to know to make democracy work for all Americans is compromised by media institutions deeply embedded in the power structures of the plutocracy. What will become of democracy in a world in which we can no longer depend on news media to help us to learn, however imperfectly, what we need to know?

Bill Moyers, in a keynote address at the National Conference for Media Reform:

“As conglomerates swallow up newspapers, magazines, publishing houses and broadcast outlets, news organizations are folded into entertainment divisions. The “news hole” in the print media shrinks to make room for ads, celebrities, nonsense and propaganda, and the news we need to know slips from sight. Media consolidation has been a corrosive social force. It robs us of our voice in public affairs, pollutes the political culture and turns the debate over profound issues into a shouting match of polarized views promulgated by partisan apologists who trivialize democracy while refusing to speak the truth about how our country is being plundered. Our dominant media are ultimately accountable only to corporate boards whose mission is not life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for the whole body of our republic, but the aggrandizement of corporate executives and shareholders; organizations whose self-styled mandate is not holding public and private power accountable so that there is an equilibrium in society, but aggregating their interlocking interests; organizations whose reward comes not from helping fulfill the social compact embodied in the notion of “We, the people,” but from the manufacturing of news and information as profitable consumer telecommunications industries have been able to use their vast resources to shape the public agenda. And as a result, their operations have been almost totally deregulated. They’ve been given substantial public assets at no cost and with few obligations to their licenses. And they’ve been allowed to integrate vertically and to consolidate ownership across radio, television and newspapers. Against that mighty armada of power and influence, public broadcasting has had little to work with.

“Democracy without honest information creates the illusion of popular consent while enhancing the power of the state and the privileged interests protected by it. Democracy without accountability creates the illusion of popular control while offering ordinary Americans only cheap tickets to the balcony, too far away to see that the public stage has become just a reality TV set. Nothing more characterizes corporate media today, mainstream and partisan, than disdain toward the fragile nature of modern life and indifference toward the complex social debate required of a free and self-governing people.”

James F Traynor said...

I think to really understand 'class' in America is to listen to a guy named Gaddis talk about the life and times of George Kennan of whom he's written a biography. These people are really dangerous to the rest of us.

Valerie said...

Went looking for your comment on the Times to tick the recommend box and couldn't find the article - too late coming to the party, I guess. Your comment was outstanding, Karen.

From what I can tell, ObamaCare helps a very small subset of people (those who would have been refused insurance from a pre-existing condition) in exchange for giving the insurance industry some huge amount of new customers who will be paying whatever the insurance companies want to charge them!

Seriously, does anyone know the number of new "clients" the insurance industry will gain with ObamaCare?

Jay - Ottawa said...

Ah, Democracy. Democracy always arrives with its own death kit, which historian Tony Judt points out in these two paragraphs from his latest (and last) book, "Thinking the Twentieth Century."

"The Churchillian dictum that democracy is the worst possible system except for all the others has some—but limited—truth. Democracy has been the best short-term defense against undemocratic alternatives, but it is not a defense against its own genetic shortcomings. The Greeks knew that democracy is not likely to fall to the charms of totalitarianism, authoritarianism, or oligarchy; it’s much more likely to fall to a corrupted version of itself.

"Democracies corrode quite fast; they corrode linguistically, or rhetorically, if you like—that’s the Orwellian point about language. They corrode because most people don’t care very much about them. Notice that the European Union, whose first parliamentary elections were held in 1979 and had an average turnout of over 62 percent, is now looking to a turnout of less than 30 percent, even though the European Parliament matters more now and has more power. The difficulty of sustaining voluntary interest in the business of choosing the people who will rule over you is well attested. And the reason why we need intellectuals, as well as all the good journalists we can find, is to fill the space that grows between the two parts of democracy: the governed and the governors."

Alert me when we reach that stage about the "corrupted version of itself" preceded by citizen neglect that allows a democracy to morph into something else -- something else that actively encourages broad civic passivity and conformity.

Denis Neville said...

@ Valerie – number of new "clients" the insurance industry will gain with ObamaCare?

The Affordable Care Act extends health insurance to more than 30 million people, primarily by expanding Medicaid and providing federal subsidies to help lower and middle income citizens buy private insurance. It will create insurance exchanges for those buying individual policies and prohibit insurers from denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing conditions.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that 22 million individuals will be buying coverage through the exchanges by 2016, and that 18 million of them will be receiving federal tax credits to help them pay for their premiums. This leaves a substantial market for non-group and small-group coverage outside of the exchanges. CBO projects that about 9 million people would continue to buy coverage on their own, and not through the exchanges. Also, CBO expects that few small businesses will buy insurance through the exchanges, covering about 2.9 million workers out of a total small group market of about 25 million people because the premium tax credits for small businesses available through exchanges are temporary and targeted towards the smallest businesses with low wages. Looking at the non-group and small-group markets combined, more people will likely be getting coverage outside of the exchanges (about 31 million) than inside (about 25 million).

The individual mandate is the provision of the ACA that requires Americans to purchase health insurance from private insurance companies if they do not otherwise have coverage.

According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the ACA will cost about $938 billion over 10 years, and it will reduce the federal deficit by $138 billion over a decade.

The financial burden of medical bills will not go away after the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented. More than 20 million people will remain uninsured. More than a third will be under-insured because of the low actuarial value health insurance plans that will be offered in the insurance exchanges and the increasing high-deductibles in employer-sponsored plans.

Under Medicare for All Act, health care benefits would cover all medically necessary services. There would be no deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, or other cost-sharing. Other developed nations provide all of their people comprehensive care with no out-of-pocket expenses, at an average cost of only half of what we are spending on health care.

There are those who say we can’t afford this, but we can’t afford not to do it. ACA's high-risk pools are spending twice as much per beneficiary as originally projected. The White House has quietly increased its budget for the law's insurance subsidies by $111 billion from 2014 to 2021

Why? As Uwe Reinhardt explains that "much of the pricing decision process has remained under control of the private insurance industry – classed as ‘free-market determination’ in that the government has had little input in influencing these prices. The opaque, price-discriminatory and administratively unwieldy – and hence very expensive – payment system of individual (private insurer) negotiations over fees has not served Americans well during in the last few decades.”

Denis Neville said...

@ Jay

We have already morphed into something else. Witness the trashing of Dennis Kucinich, who is vilified as crazy and wacky for opposing our militarized and corporatized state and the cowardly political and media class that enable it.

Glenn Greenwald recaps the state of mental health of Washington’s political and media class. “The President who claims (and exercises) the power to target American citizens for execution-by-CIA in total secrecy and with no charges — as well as those who dutifully follow him — are sane, sober and Serious, meriting great respect. By contrast, one of the very few members of Congress who stands up and vehemently objects to this most radical power — “The idea that the United States has the ability to summarily execute a US citizen ought to send chills racing up and down the spines of every person of conscience” — is a total wackjob, meriting patronizing mockery.”

Another interesting contrast by Tony Judt: “The welfare states of western Europe were not politically divisive. They were socially re-distributive in general intent (some more than others) but not at all revolutionary—they did not ‘soak the rich’. On the contrary: although the greatest immediate advantage was felt by the poor, the real long-term beneficiaries were the professional and commercial middle class. In many cases they had not previously been eligible for work-related health, unemployment or retirement benefits and had been obliged, before the war, to purchase such services and benefits from the private sector. Now they had full access to them, either free or at low cost. Taken with the state provision of free or subsidized secondary and higher education for their children, this left the salaried professional and white-collar classes with both a better quality of life and more disposable income. Far from dividing the social classes against each other, the European welfare state bound them closer together than ever before, with a common interest in its preservation and defense.”

Denis Neville said...

Obama's New Propaganda Film [to be released March 15]:

Remember how far we’ve come.

From the Academy Award® winning director* of An Inconvenient Truth:

The Road we’ve Traveled

Sign up to be the first to see the full film:

*Davis Guggeinheim hails Obama’s greatness and his many historic and profound accomplishments. The "real story" of America's experience with President Obama is told by those who saw it happen first hand, i.e., David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel, etc., the president's own key advisers and administration.

Who better to explain "the road we've traveled"! ROTFLMAO!!!

Tom Hanks narrates the film and asks, "How do we understand this president and his time in office? Do we look at the day's headlines or do we remember what we, as a country, have been through?"

Guggenheim, in an interview by CNN’s Piers Morgan, said that “nothing critical can or should be said of our President other than the fact that he is so Great that his Greatness cannot be sufficiently conveyed in a single film.”

The Authoritarian Mind

Shades of Leni Riefenstahl’s "Triumph of the Will," another famous propaganda film.

Zee said...

I admit it...

I'm one of those people who believe that ObamaCare's individual mandate is unconstitutional, a hugely intrusive over-extension of the Commerce Clause right into the private life of each and every citizen. I'm looking forward to the Supreme Court overturning the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

And, according to the Gallup poll for which Ms. Garcia provided the link, my view is that of the majority, by a margin of 72% to 20%.

However, though it may seem paradoxical to some of you out there, I don't find a single-payer health care system to be unconstitutional, and, indeed, endorse a single-payer system for the U.S.

Such a system should be constitutional as long as the government does not become the sole provider of health care, and that citizens can still access private providers and private insurance to cover treatments not covered under “single payer,” or to access needed treatments in a timely manner.

These are, I think, the same reasons that Medicare is constitutional. Under Medicare, we can: (1) pick our own providers, at least as long as there are sufficient physicians who will accept Medicare; (2) still contract with physicians to treat us outside of Medicare; and (3) we have access to supplementary insurance that can cover expenses not covered by Medicare.

While I would like to see private insurers offer policies to people of Medicare age that are more comprehensive than current Medigap coverage, private insurers seem unified in their refusal to do so. This is probably because most people are happy with Medicare, so there is no market for policies that might be only marginally better.

Jay - Ottawa said...

@ Denis

Good heads-up about Greenwald's essay of today on who is and who is not certifiably "wacko" in Washington. Taking it a step further, are the people who support Republican and Democratic political wackos with their votes also wacko?

Evil is much more predictable than insanity and, perhaps, to be preferred when you're backed into a corner. Instead of framing the Dilemma of Novemba as a choice between the lesser of two evils, it should be seen for what it is: a choice between the lesser of two insanities. Responsible adults who have no desire to become collaborators can only say 'No!' to both camps of the insane, Republican or Democratic, while searching for a sane solution. Better a small lifeboat than a sinking ocean liner.

Reserving mockery for the Republicans alone is only half the story. Yellow Dogs, tell me about pragmatism when all the people in the control room are unpredictably irresponsible. Who could have predicted in 2008 where this Administration would take us by 2012? Who can predict where the same Administration will take us by 2016? Obama says he doesn't like drama and surprises. That's all we've had from him for the past four years.

Here's more by Greenwald on the long string of irrational acts by those our democracy has placed in charge -- and threatens to leave in charge unless we pull back the power we mistakenly put in their hands.

"The current President not only has seized the power to assassinate American citizens with no charges, but also to imprison people indefinitely with no charges, to bomb six different countries where no war is declared and where civilians are routinely killed, to invoke extreme, self-parodying levels of secrecy to hide what he does, and to prosecute wars even after Congress votes against their authorization. His cabinet is filled with people who, while in public life, advocated an aggressive attack on another country on the basis of weapons that did not exist, including his Vice President and Secretary of State. His financial team is filled with the very same people who implemented the Wall-Street-subservient policies that led to the 2008 financial crisis. Despite all that, it would be unhealthy in the extreme to hold your breath waiting for the Prospect or the Post to mock any of them as crazy or “wacky,” because what they advocate — as crazy as it is — fits comfortably within the approved orthodoxies of establishment Washington.

"Meanwhile, the crazy wacko, Dennis Kucinich, has been an outspoken opponent of all of that. In a rational world, that would make him sane and those he opposed crazy. But in the world of Washington’s political and media class, it’s Kucinich who is the crazy one and those who did all of that are sane and Serious."

Anne Lavoie said...

Just imagine if the Supreme Court determines that the individual mandate is constitutional under the Commerce Clause. That means that Congress, which is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the Chamber of Commerce, will have the power to dictate that we buy anything that they decide.

If you think this doesn't have the potential to eventually drive us into some form of indentured servitude or slavery, please watch the disturbingly POWERFUL special on PBS titled 'Slavery By Any Other Name:The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans From the Civil War to WWII'. The way the system was rigged by government for the benefit of corporations is chilling.

The mindset of the corporate elite is no different than it's ever been. If you don't think it can happen again, and to all of us, watch this and think about it. If the individual mandate is upheld and our thoroughly corrupt Corporate Government gets this power set in stone, it will be the nail in the coffin of our freedom and our country as we know it. We're not far off anyway - we've already lost our electoral system, our so-called representatives, and our President to corporate power and influence.

As Glenn Greenwald points out, Obama has shredded the Constitution to within an inch of its life, so what's to stop our being sold to corporations in other ways and forms? We have already discovered WE DON'T MATTER anymore. They don't even pander for our votes. The only pander for money.

If the mandate is upheld, imagine the irony that our first Black President would be the one to deliver us essentially to corporate ownership. Don't tell me it won't be expanded upon - the lobbyists probably already have some ideas lined up for their puppets.

I'm praying like Hell that the individual mandate is struck down!

Zee said...

@Anne Lavoie--

We have had our disagreements in the past, but is this--the individual mandate--something on which we actually AGREE? Please clarify!

I DO want to provide my fellow human beings with access to essential health care services, but I also believe that there is, realistically, a limit to what the state can and should do.

Have we found one of those areas-- that I have suggested actually exist--for which [real] Conservatives and Progressives can have a genuine dialogue as to what the relative roles of the state and the private sector can and should have regarding health care?

I really want to discuss this further!

Valerie said...

Thanks for the info on ObamaCare, Denis. Excellent summary, BTW!

Also, thanks for the link to the Obama movie. Does the propaganda machine out of the Obama camp know no bounds? We truly are entering 1984 territory!

As I was listening to the "trailer" my husband commented, "That guy is ALL talk." (He also commented that Oprah - who seems to see herself as a kingmaker - was probably behind the making of the film.) My favourite irony is that they would choose the economic team including Geithner and Emanuel - the same economic team that has given the bankers a free pass to keep on doing what train-wrecked the economy in ‘08 - to represent success by the Obama Administration! And to use wonderful Elizabeth Warren! Clearly a ploy at associating squeaky clean Liz - someone with integrity - a REAL advocate for main street - with the questionable Obama. I guess we are supposed to forget that HE left her out on a limb with the CFPB.

You know what really bugs me? It is how many people will be influenced by this movie! What has happened to us that we, as a public, have become SO DUMBED down! Personally, I blame No Child Left Behind for putting such a high focus on math and skills like business writing and completely throwing history and literature under the bus.

My husband commented that it looked like Romney will be the Republican nominee – no big surprise. I guess all that yellow dog press spent on getting worked up about the perils of Bachman, Cain and Santorum could have been better used to alert the public to the perils of the NDAA, the Keystone XL Pipeline and the fact that the bankers and the MIC continue to suck our economy dry - All with the blessing and participation of the Obama Administration.

Val said...

Excellent point, Anne! I hadn't looked at it that way but you are absolutely right! Isn't it amazing how Obama can take a thing that almost all Americans want in some form or another - universal health care - and turn it into another attack on the Constitution. And I thought it was just to get more corporate welfare for the health care industry. How naive can I be?

This guy is diabolical! My entire life my fundamentalist parents have talked about the Anti-Christ being someone in public office - somewhere in the world at the "End of Days." Up until recently I gave that (tongue in cheek) honour to Dick Cheney. But I am now wondering if it isn't Obama. (Again, tongue in cheek - sort of)

Denis Neville said...

@ Zee

What happens if the individual mandate is unconstitutional? Will the rest of the ACA stand?

I am betting that the Supreme Court will find it unconstitutional by a 5-4 decision.

Without the individual mandate,
there will be nothing to ensure that the risk pool contains enough people in good health, and nothing to stop anyone from waiting until they’re sick or injured to demand healthcare. The result will be huge increases in health insurance premium rates. This, in turn, will lead to further decreased enrollment, leading to even more premium increases, as all but those who are ill abandon the insurance market, which is the classic adverse selection-fueled death spiral. "Obamacare" therefore will die.

I can’t see Congress repealing ACA and passing real healthcare reform, much less single pay.

Our two tier healthcare system will continue and the divide between the haves and the have-nots will grow wider.

If mandatory auto insurance is constitutional, why wouldn’t mandatory health insurance also be constitutional? Just curious.

Zee, you say that you would like to see private insurers offer policies to people of Medicare age that are more comprehensive than current Medigap coverage, private insurers seem unified in their refusal to do so. Are you referring to the multitude of plans (A through L, or whatever it is)? Plan F covers what Medicare doesn’t, but I suspect many can’t afford the premiums.

Karen Garcia said...

Hi y'all,
Another Saturday night with nuthin to do but write comments for the NYT. Here is one in response to Ross Douthat on the 'publicans:

Ross is not kidding when he writes that “Republican voters have acquitted themselves about as sensibly, responsibly and even patriotically as anyone could reasonably expect”. And that is because only 11% of them have bothered showing up so far to pretend there even is a viable choice! Nine out of ten sane people are staying the heck home.

Republican America, to the extent that it even still exists, is either bored out of its skull or disgusted to the point of refusing to be a part of the travesty that is GOP Primary Season 2012. Voter turnout, according to Bloomberg News, has been the lowest in years in the 13 primaries held so far.

It gets even more exciting. A recent Gallup poll reveals that only 20% of Republicans are “strongly” in favor of Mitt Romney. How much would you care to bet that this Fabulous Fifth had just drunk a fifth of something strong (and one percentish-ly pricey) when the pollster telephoned?

Dull and Duller might as well be running against Dumb and Dumber. The real extremist crazoids in the mix are Big Money and Big Media, engaged in a mutual feeding frenzy in this corrupt age of Citizens United. Regular people seem to be doing their best to ignore the whole fiasco.

The only sane, sensible and patriotic solution is to support the Occupy movement. Recovering Republicans are always welcome.
Earlier today I wrote this one on Danny Hakim's piece about the horrible fiscal state of my state...New Yawk:

It always flows downhill, doesn't it? The powers that be are in a frenzy of blaming public employees and pensioners for their municipal woes, glossing over the inconvenient truth that a Wall Street criminal conspiracy of epic proportions is the culprit in this crisis. The banksters remain unpunished and continue to reap undeserved rewards in a still-unregulated "free" market, while thousands of teachers face lay-offs, street lights go dark, fire and police stations suddenly become part-time enterprises, and schools crumble.

Gov. Cuomo performed some political sleight of hand late last year when he raised taxes on the wealthy just before the "Millionaires' Tax" was set to expire. Had this tax, really a surcharge on those earning more than $250,000, not been allowed to expire, the state of New York would have continued taking in an extra $4 billion a year. The new tax "increase" will only garner $1.9 in annual revenue. See this:

More smoke and mirrors, more heads they win and tails we lose. Meanwhile, the Cuomo lobby known as the Committee to Save New York (made up of banking and real estate moguls) has more than enough money to burn, spending millions on propagandizing TV ads to thank the governor and proclaim victory for the One Percent.
Also commented on Maureen Dowd's piece about men wanting to be as glam as women. Not enough character space left here to include it. But trust me, it is really tasteless and snarky, in the spirit of Dowdism.

Anne Lavoie said...


I've been against the ACA since that lying liar Obama dumped the public option and pushed through a 3000 page convoluted, lobbyist written bill to deliver us all into the hands of the insurance thieves. It was Obama himself who said he was for the public option 'to keep them (insurance companies) HONEST', as if he or the insurance industry was even vaguely familiar with honesty.


The most dangerous people are the charming ones. They really know how to pull off big lies and big schemes. Obama is a master of deceit. I'm wavering on how to describe him. Hmmm, is he diabolical, evil, or sinister?


You don't have to buy car insurance unless you want to register a car you have purchased. No one (so far) is required to buy a car, or to register a car they have bought unless they want to drive it on public roads. You can take public transportation, a cab, walk, skateboard, bike, ride a horse, a Segway, rideshare/carpool and you will not have to buy car insurance. You can drive your vehicle on your own property, if you own a lot of land like Ted Turner does, and not have to buy insurance.

Come to think of it though, making everyone pay car insurance whether they own a car or not might be the next big thing coming down the pike if the individual mandate stands. It would expand the pool, lower costs, raise profits, and make people feel pressured to buy a car as long as they have to pay for insurance anyway - sort of a backdoor car promotion and gift to the insurance industry! Sounds like something Congress might like to do for their friends.

My take is the individual mandate is to ensure the insurance companies make a profit, a concern that would not exist if we had Medicare For All. It was either public option or individual mandate, and Obama chose to help his corporate buddies instead of helping the public. Big surprise.

ChuckCairns said...

I just found this blog, having linked from Karen Garcia's comment to today's Maureen Dowd's column. What a great resource! Trenchant commentary with wit and humor.

Anne Lavoie said...

Speaking of prayer and health care, has anyone noticed how many huge religious health care systems (Peace Health, Dignity Health, etc.) are buying up medical practices and hospitals? It's been happening ever since the ACA was passed. The properties are being taken off the tax rolls and our choices of medical systems are being increasingly diminished to those religious giants.

We are essentially being corralled into religious systems whether we want to be or not, thanks to the ACA and the powerful Catholic Church. No wonder all the religious clerics feel so vested in our health care. They're also INvested.

They're not getting up on their high horse over a moral concern about abortion or birth control. It's the money! Non-profit does not mean no money is made - it just means it stays inside the system/church (or goes to the Pope) instead of to shareholders.

Take a look at your own hospitals, clinics, and private practices locally and see if there hasn't been a change of ownership or partnerships lately. In Bellingham, Washington, Peace Health (Catholic) owns virtually the entire city's health care system as of late.

Zee said...


I think @Anne Lavoie thoroughly covered the constitutional differences between requiring those who choose to drive to have auto insurance, and requiring all U.S. citizens to have health care insurance.

Driving an automobile on public thoroughfares is a privilege, and there are many alternative transportation modes for those who cannot or will not buy auto insurance.

The only alternatives to forced purchase of health care insurance for a native-born U.S. citizen are either to renounce one's citizenship--a constitutional right by birth--and leave the country, or to have never been born in the first place. Not much of a choice.

I agree with you that finding the health care insurance mandate unconstitutional will be the end of PPACA, and will leave millions of people once again uninsured. But the alternative is to cede to the government enormous control over our daily lives. I find that utterly unacceptable.

So yes, I’m willing to wait until health care costs become yet more unbearable, forcing our country to adopt a single-payer system. This should finally reduce medical costs by virtue of the government’s ability to negotiate volume discounts from providers.

Regarding the types of insurance one can buy to supplement--or replace--Medicare, I confess that I may not have researched this issue thoroughly enough and so I probably spoke out of turn. I’m not yet 65, so I’m still covered by my former employer’s very good health care insurance. At 65, the company will offer me the choice of several Medicare Advantage plans, or a monthly cash allowance to purchase the Medigap insurance plan of my choice.

Based on things you mentioned in your earlier comment about a multitude of plans being available, I did some more Internet research. There may indeed be Medigap plans that cover much more than I previously thought, and which I may be able to afford. I will investigate further.

Kat said...

excellent comment on one of two offensive NYT articles on the atrocities in Afghanistan, Karen.

Karen Garcia said...

Thanks Kat, I expanded upon it in a new post. This story gets uglier by the minute, doesn't it?