Health Reform Passes, but Virginia Prepares to Fight

us-capital1After a year of contentious debate and partisan wrangling, House Democrats have their coveted prize which now goes to President Obama’s desk to be signed into law.

In late night drama, House Minority Leader, John Boehner, argued that Democrats were pushing ahead a bill that the public does not want, “We have failed to listen to America and we have failed to reflect the will of our constituents.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi closed debate with a final impassioned pitch for reform stating, “It’s time to complete the great unfinished business of our society,” adding that health care, “is a right and not a privilege.”

When the votes were tallied the bill passed 219-212. All 178 Republicans opposed it, as well as 34 Democrats.

In a televised message after the vote President Obama said, “This is what change looks like,” referring to the vote he further stated, “this is not a victory for any one party. … It’s a victory for the American people and it’s a victory for common sense.”

Immediate effects of the bill will be minimal with several constraints on insurance companies going in to effect in three months time. The real point of contention, mandatory health care coverage, will not go into effect   until 2014. This provision sets Virginia on a collision course with the federal government. Earlier this month Virginia legislature passed a bill which:

“Provides that a resident of the Commonwealth shall not be required to obtain or maintain a policy of individual insurance coverage except as required by a court or the Department of Social Services where the individual is named a party in a judicial or administrative proceeding. ”

This sets the stage for a renewed battle of state’s rights vs. federal rights. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has indicated Virginia will file a legal challenge to the constitutionality of the Democratic health-care reform bill.

Interestingly, the bill has been sitting on the Governor’s desk unsigned for weeks. With all of the hot rhetoric and up to the minute coverage of the health care proceedings, the Governor is living up to the Virginia motto by “biding” his time.   Speculation abounds that this critical law in Virginia may be a segue into a VP bid in the next presidential election. The Governor may be waiting to see how the American citizens react to Health Care Reform before moving forward with the law.

So what do the citizens of Clarke County think of this historic reform?

Give us your comments on this important issue.

Comments

  1. Repeatedly during the debate, we heard many Democrats say that health care is a right, not a priveledge. Name me any other right that you are REQUIRED to purchase, lest you suffer a tax penalty?

    You can’t because rights aren’t goods sold to you by a private company. Rights are given to you by God, not the 111th Congress.

    The Bill of Rights limits what government can do to you. It is NOT the other way around. It is not an exclusive list of the people’s rights that government grants you and can only be added to by writ of the federal government. That distinction is in essence the 9th Amendment. Virginia can challenge this bill due to this and violiations of the 10th Amendment. The 10th Amendment says: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Since the power to mandate health care as mandatory isn’t listed, it is unconstitutional for the federal government to decree such laws.

    Just apply the standards of your daily life to this mandate. This is like making you buy car insurance when you turn 16 just because you have the ability to drive a car; regardless of whether you actually choose to drive or not. Unless you are mentally ill, you won’t choose to not live, so you are forced to buy insurance or be taxed for living yet not paying into the system.

    If you want to buy health insurance, fine…but how can any freedom-loving people even begin to think that government has the right to tell you how to spend your money? This isn’t a tax, this is a mandate of purchase enforced with the threat of further punitive taxes.

    If you can now be forced to purchase your ‘rights’, what is next? This is the first step down a slippery slope of tyranny and Virginia is absolutely right and justified to lead the charge resisting it.

    Barry Goldwater said it best: “Government big enough to give you everything you ever wanted is also big enough to take away everything you have.”

    Sic Semper Tyrannis

    – G.S.

    • I could not agree more with G.S.

      I am dumbfounded to see the morning papers plastered with images of politicians congratulating themselves and talk of historic events. The only historic event unfolding is that the general ignorance and excitability of the mob has arrived in the highest levels of our government.

      We have sunk to new depths when half of the legislature will race to score points with public perception as if some sort of shot clock were ticking.

      Thank God there are still leaders in state office who have cultivated some understanding of our consitutional form of government. The mandatory purchase of commercial contracts as mark of free citizenship is not what our fathers (and mothers) fought for.

      I would more gladly accept euthenasia from our government than pay ransom for my life to the insurance companies that now hold it hostage.

  2. Tony Parrott says:

    This bill will do nothing to improve Health Care, reduce cost or lower deficits. I just don’t see it.
    I thought 2010 was the year the President focused on JOBS!
    I assume he was talking about Republican job creation; come on November!

  3. Doug Landry says:

    Ummm…we are required to either obtain car insurance OR pay a steep “noninsured driver fee” to the DMV for the privilege (or right) to drive a vehicle.

    The federal government requires those “of age” to register with the Selective Service; requires vehicles to have certain safety features, which increase their costs; requires us to inspect our vehicles, or we can’t drive them.

    Obama was elected by a significant majority in this country, knowing full well that this type of legislation was on his agenda. Seems to me that this country DID know what it was looking for. Will it work? Only time will tell. I hoep it does, because the alternatives are just wrong – dropped for pre-existing conditions; jacked-up premiums; needless tests; etc.

    • Right Winger says:

      I wouldn’t call 53% of the vote a significant majority.

      Folks knew he wanted healthcare reform, it’s just that now nobody understands what’s in this bill because of all the back-room arm-twisting and non-existent transparency that Obama also PROMISED in the campaign.

      I wonder how much of your “significant majority” would cast their ballot the same way now?

  4. Doug,
    You’re absolutely right about car insurance. But, you are not REQUIRED to drive a car if you don’t want. If you don’t drive, you don’t need insurance. Unless you are mentally ill, you don’t have a choice in being alive or not.

    You are also right that the federal government requires a lot of things that are not enumerated in The Constitution. A strict constitutionalist would say that all of those measures are illegal. I personally don’t go that far because I see the value in having safety features in cars. I also believe that it isn’t a personal intrusion of our liberties to require safety glass. The twist there is that companies like Volvo build their reputation on safety and go far beyond what the government requires. They create their own market and give a subset of consumers something that they actually want without any cajoling from the government. It is a whole other story though when you are told that you have to buy a volvo for its safety features. Not having a choice is a lack of freedom.

    I also COMPLETELY agree with you that Obama is simply making good on the promises that he made in the campaign. I heard them, understood what they meant, didn’t like them, and hence I didn’t vote for him. Many, many people though, got caught up in the hype of his historic election because of the color of his skin and did vote for him. His ‘change’ message was more than just a comparison to President Bush’s policies, but a fundamental change in how much government involvement is in your life and in free markets.

    My opinion is that this grand experiment will not work. Much of this legislation, both in health care, bailouts, and other bills have discouraged the most productive sectors of our society and rewarded bad behavior and hand-out seekers. There is no reason that we can’t get to the heart of the health care issue – which is overly expensive care. Why does a 5 cent aspirin cost $5 in the hospital? Is it right or efficient for doctors to perform extra tests just so they won’t be sued? By answering questions like these, the government and the health care industry can fix the system. Once we address that, we can simultaneously afford to mandate no one is dropped for pre-existing conditions because premiums lower and the extra waste and expense of needless tests go by the wayside.

    Look to capitalism and the free market and it will set you free! Less government intrusion, less bureaucracy, minimal, common-sense, and enforcable regulation. Those are the keys to fixing health care. Unfortunately, the Democrats in DC are pushing for the exact opposite.

    -G.S.

    • Doug Landry says:

      GS,

      Yep…and look where capitalism has gotten us: jobs taken off-shore for cheaper labor; insurance companies who drop sick patients, or homeowners with no home due to some natural disaster; Wall Street executives and fat-cat CEOs getting fatter while businesses are shuttered; and so on and so forth.

      As for the Constitution, could one argue that this health insurance reform bill falls under the “promote the general welfare” clause in the Preamble? How can Congress promote the “general welfare” of the populace if many of the citizens are denied coverage, dropped from coverage, or cannot afford medicine?

      Are there those who might abuse this setup? Sure, just as there are those who abuse the welfare system, the farm subsidy setups, etc. Trifling people can be foudn in any corner of this country.

      No, we’re not required to drive a car, but it makes providing for one’s family far easier to have transportation than not. Likewise health care access makes it easier to live a life to its fullest. Those who don’t have access to care or insurance bounce from ER to ER to wherever they can get treatment; being good capitalists, the hospitals and doctors pass those costs along to the rest of us. Is that fair to you and me?

      • Tony Parrott says:

        “Promote the general welfare”
        James Madison stated that the “general welfare” clause was not intended to give Congress an open hand “to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the common defense or general welfare.
        It is NOT the government’s business (constitutionally) to “help” individuals in financial difficulty or without health care.
        The Founding Fathers said in the preamble that one reason for establishing the Constitution was to “promote the general welfare.” What they meant was that the Constitution and powers granted to the federal government were not to favor special interest groups or particular classes of people. There were to be no privileged individuals or groups in society. Neither minorities nor the majority was to be favored. Rather, the Constitution would promote the “general welfare” by ensuring a free society where free, self-responsible individuals – rich and poor, bankers and shopkeepers, employers and employees, farmers and blacksmiths – would enjoy “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” rights expressed in the Declaration of Independence.

        Promote the general welfare; nice try.

        • Doug Landry says:

          I agree that the original intent was to not have any privileged groups. In practice, though, it took over 100 years for equality to reach to women and finally to minorities.

          Even now, when you look at the various subsidies given to groups – farmers, the oil industry, tax cuts for the wealthy or other groups, etc., all sorts of groups get special treatmenet.

          Is this a perfect bill? No, as there is no such thing. I don’t like the thought of government intrusion anymore than you, sir, but it’s clear that piecemeal tweaks wouldn’t be sufficient. Tort reform in and of itself won’t work; there is no silver bullet here. But, much like NCLB has focused a bright light on educational disparities, perhaps this bill can do the same for the health care issues that plague this country.

        • Bond, James Bond says:

          “Promote the general welfare” is a great ideal. Did the Founding Fathers follow that ideal-no. In fact, several of them were slave owners themselves. While the objectives of the Founding Fathers were noble, their work product, the Constitution, is a work in progress as exemplified by the subsequent amendments to it. To channel the intent of those founders to say that “powers granted to the federal government were not to favor special interest groups etc…” does a disservice to their efforts. The history of our country shows a continuing move toward their original intent.

          Does anyone remember the contributions of the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II? Those brave airmen, in their P-51s, protected B-17 bombers over Germany during the waning days of the war. No airman in the bomber formations asked the fighter cover what their race was. Yet, when the fighter pilots returned home, they could not sit at the same restaurant counter as the airmen that they had saved. Please explain the “Neither minorities nor the majority was to be favored…” comment.

          • Tony Parrott says:

            I believe you are misinterpreting “minorities” modern day meaning vs. the time of the founding fathers. Minority is simply not a majority, it is not always people of color. Now looking back to when the republic was still young the conflict between large and small states disappeared. More lasting was the division between free and slave states. The convention’s worked hard to avoid using words like “slavery” in the articles granting recognition. This basically hid or ignored the regional divisions that would remain unresolved under the terms of the union agreed to in 1787. Can you imagine a civil war breaking out right after the revolution? Our young county would have failed.

            Was the Constitution “perfect” when it was created? No, but the founding fathers designed a FEDERAL system of government that provided only for the “GENERAL” (meaning- non-specific) WELFARE of the people by confining its services to things like “national defense” and “interstate commerce”. It leaves to the states the issues of HOW or WHEN other services are provided to specific sub-groups. See: Tenth Amendment

            And yes, amendments are a way of continuously improving on “our more perfect union”. See: Fifteenth Amendment (Right to Vote); Nineteenth Amendment (Women’s Suffrage).
            Should I assume you would amend the Constitution to guarantee HEALTH CARE?

          • Doug Landry says:

            No,, there doesn’t need to be an amendment for it. In Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, it lays out the powers of Congress, including:
            “To lay and collect taxes…to promote the general Welfare of the United States,” and
            “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”
            http://www.usconstitution.net/xconst_A1Sec8.html

            It looks like Congress can pass such legislation, as eyebrow-raising as that sounds. It also seems that the definition of “general Welfare” is open to personal interpretation.

            Personally, I think the lawsuit brought by Kuccinelli et al. is silly, but perhaps some interesting ideas will come from it.

          • Tony Parrott says:

            Thanks for the link to the Constitution but I have my own copy.
            You are correct, 8.1 The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
            What I don’t see is “Congress will have the power to FORCE people to purchase a product”; you will buy something or you will be fined. We can debate the merits, morality, consumer protections, cost of this bill all day but the federal government is not grated the power to force people to purchase a product, that is wrong and to me unconstitutional.

            This bill is not going to be the BIG FIX everyone is hoping for. Ask yourself; why is the President campaigning for a bill he already signed? Lipstick on a pig comes to mind.

          • Doug Landry says:

            What this boils down to is a paradigm shift on what is a “right” and what is merely a “product” to be purchased. You define insurance and access to care as a product; others see access to care as more of a right, and thus insurance becomes the means to access that care. Personally, I’m in the middle – I am unsure it will work, but think it’s a decent attempt at trying to close some of the gaps. It’s clear that the “free market” doesn’t give a rat’s patootie about those less fortunate; if it did, you wouldn’t see folks denied coverage, have coverage dropped for asinine reasons, etc.

            He’s campaigning because there are skeptics out there, and there are some angry folks who have threatened members of Congress, cut gas lines, threatened their families, and the like. When those, predominantly on the right, stoke nothing but fear to ramp up a mob mentality about it, what does that accomplish?

          • Tony Parrott says:

            You are correct; we have a difference of opinion. You obviously feel health care or access to, is a right and I do not.
            Car insurance it is required but only if you want to own a car. Is car ownership a right? Is owning a home a right? NO, but people need to travel to work, have a place to live. So if these are not RIGHTS what are they? Personal responsibility or choice?
            The President is telling people how “we just stuck it to the evil insurance companies”; can you tell me how? Are there reforms that that lead to more competition? Or maybe it’s the mandates from the government like preexisting conditions, children on your plan till 26, no lifetime limits. All good things but how is that sticking it to them because in the end the insurance companies will be sticking it to us with higher premiums and the government with higher taxes.
            I’m all for fixing problems but let’s actually fix them.

            PS Anyone who threatens the life or causes damage to the property of a congressmen or anyone else for that matter should face the full extent of the law. I don’t care if they are an R-D-I or a NUT; prosecute them, period!

          • Lonnie Bishop says:

            Dude, you missed the point didn’t you? By requiring more of those who aren’t ill to become part of the system, the risk is spread across a larger section of the population. Thereby reducing risks, and – ultimately – costs. Healthy people will pay into their policies longer, and insurance companies will have more willingness (in theory) to help those less fortunate.

            The free market has had decades to figure out a better way of doing business, and we ALL have seen where that’s gotten us. It’s the same with car insurance: If I refuse to buy car insurance, then (A) I can’t get the newest and safest vehicles because proof of insurance is required; (B) I am forced – as a condition of registering my vehicle – to pay an “uninsured motorist fee” of several hundred dollars; and (C) if I wreck someone and damage his/her car (or worse), then I am obligated to pay the costs out of pocket. If I cannot pay, then it falls to the victim’s insurance company to come up with the money, which causes premiums for others to go up. HOw is that fair to those whose premiums go up with no fault from themselves?

            Hospitals regularly treat uninsured people all the time, and who absorbs those costs? Those of us who have the ability to pay. Is there need for reform? Yeah, man, there is. I don’t see anybody offering up any legitimate alternatives. Heck, Mitt Romney is now slamming a federal plan that is rather similar to what he signed into law just 4 years ago in Massachusetts. Funny, that.

  5. I stay fit and take care of myself. I have no chronic health problems and rarely catch colds. I also make well under $20,000 a year and making me buy health insurance will seriously hurt my ability to eat and pay required bills like food shelter and transpotation to and from work. I will not be able to eat fruits veggies and other good for you foods that keep me healty if i have to pay 250 to 400 dollars a month for health insurance. In fact im wondering if i will eat at all. Im not black. But im now wondering how the millions of poor blacks in this country will pay for his mandatory health insurance. Will they regret the fact they voted for him? After americans realize what is being done to them it will be long after he is out of office and the damage is already done. The riots will start and revolution for change if we are lucky.
    J.D
    Living under Tyrants in America

    • Doug Landry says:

      Wow…did you REALLY need to go play the “race” card on this one? I dare say that, if you drive but 6 hours south and a mite west of us into Appalachia, you’ll find plenty of folks who are also struggling, and they’re as white as the screen around these words we’re typing.

      You imply that you don’t have insurance now. How do you afford checkups, or do you go at all? Do you pay full price for dental work? Eye exams?

      • You are very right Doug. I didnt think i was playing the race card, im as white as this screen also. I dont have insurance of any kind. I lost my job last year it went off shore.I live in the midwest and was only pointing out the fact that low income just above poverty level as i am now will struggle with paying for insurance they may not need. For those that do need it and have little or no money its probably a good thing. I have always paid what medical bills i create, and if i dont need isurance its wrong that im forced to pay for something i dont want or need. This is called Socialism. Forcing the will of government on its people. It should be optional and affordable. Not Mandatory…..

  6. S. Church says:

    As someone who has been entirely unable to afford health insurance or health care of any sort for the past several years, and who now has a bunch of pre-existing conditions (at the ripe old age of 24), I hope with all of my heart that if Governor McConnell intends to fight this, that he has an alternative plan ready to present. For all of the numbers, rumors, and half-truths that have been thrown around in the debates and publicity surrounding health care legislation, this is a matter that desperately needs to be addressed.

  7. Prudence says:

    This legislation needs to be hung up and restrained until the constitutionality is tested. At the same time, it is only right to roll out in the states proper healthcare reform for it’s “at-risk” populations. This combination would go a long way quickly to addressing some of the issues of healthcare and proving that the states have the ability and integrity to get the job done for citizens.

  8. ann alderman says:

    I say keep the plan, except eliminate the requirement to purchase insurance and make those without insurance pay for services at the time they go to the doctor or hospital. Currently if you go to the hospital without insurance they have to take you even if you can’t pay. Someone is paying for that. If we can provide affordable options for everyone than those who choose not to take one should be able to be turned away if they can’t pay.

    It is a joke to think that this governor will come up with a plan to take care of those in need on his own. We have seen that rest stops, which not only don’t generate $$$ for Virginia but take potential income away from private highway businesses, are a priority over programs that take care of children in need.

    Emergency rooms are constantly clogged with uninsured people who should be in a doctors office instead but have no way to pay. Something has to be done.

    • Bond, James Bond says:

      “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life(AS LONG AS YOU DON’T GET SICK), Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

  9. Dick Thomas says:

    This health care law shall bring us lower quality health care at higher prices. It must and will be repealed.