Something Had to be Done

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The quintessential grab-bag of emotions has erupted.  Obamacare (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) has passed the scrutiny of the Supreme Court and is law. Writing that last sentence still comes as a bit of a shock to me.

Like many of you, I thought the mandate was dead on arrival and it didn’t really bother me if it had died. Just like Obama prior to being President, I thought (and still continue to think) that the mandate is not the best way to go about things. But, alas, it is what we got and it is better than the current situation.

As a supporter of both State’s Rights and Universal Healthcare I am at a bit of a crossroads. Ideally, I would like to see the States solve the healthcare problem themselves, something that Mitt Romney supports.  Unfortunately, Mitt’s state was the only one that adopted Universal Healthcare and many other states, such as Arizona (which took until 1982 to adopt Medicaid) do not really have any motivation to tackle this issue.  Not to mention that Arizona also recently cut Medicaid funding in 2010 (Source).

In the current system a state like Minnesota gives more to the feds then what it receives, because we (for the most part) know how to manage ourselves. Other states, such as Mississippi take in vastly more revenue from the Federal government then what they give out; they do not pay their fair share (sound familiar?).

From the Economist:

“SOME American states receive more in federal spending than they pay in federal taxes; others receive less. Over twenty years these fiscal transfers can add up to a sizeable sum. From 1990 to 2009, the federal government spent $1.44 trillion in Virginia but collected less than $850 billion in taxes, a gap of over $590 billion. But relative to the size of its economy, Virginia derived a smaller benefit from America’s fiscal union than states like New Mexico, Mississippi and West Virginia, where the 20-year transfer exceeded 200% of their annual GDP.”

That doesn’t seem fair, does it? Many people who are Republican claim to be self-made and fully self sufficient, which just makes this seem worse.

Had Minnesota not been forced to prop up failed Republican regimes in some states we would have had an EXTRA $513 billion between 1990 and 2009. That would be more than enough for Minnesota to have universal health care and its own standing army.

I am not arguing for secession or for the dismissal of federalism.  I am pointing out the realities of the situation.  In order to fix our bloated and inefficient healthcare system we needed to do something at a federal level, simply because many states either do not have the funds or the will to do it themselves, with Massachusetts being a wonderful exception (Good job Mitt on enacting pinko-commie healthcare reform!).

During his speech on June, 28th, Mitt Romney chastised the Supreme Court for upholding a bad law and said that we need to repeal Obamacare.

“We have to make sure that people who want to keep their current insurance will be able to do so.” – Mitt Romney

“Got to make sure that those people who have pre-existing conditions know that they will be able to be insured and they will not lose their insurance.” – Mitt Romney

“We also have to assure that we do our very best to help each state in their effort to assure that every American has access to affordable healthcare.” – Mitt Romney

“And something that Obamacare does not do that must be done in real reform is helping lower the cost of healthcare and health insurance.” – Mitt Romney

Although, according to the non-partisan CBO Obamacare will not only lower costs of healthcare but will also decrease the debt, so Obamacare does do this and it creates jobs (30 million more people need healthcare), helping our economy and more. (Source)

Mitt’s alternative to his own Massachusetts plan has not been unveiled, rather he is stating the general objectives of Obamacare., but using distorted facts and scary rhetoric.  He agrees with most premises of Obamacare, but recently is arguing against the mandate, err, tax.

The argument Marco Rubio has outlined is that it is okay for States to do this and enact a mandate, but not the federal government because that is an overstep of powers.  Never before in the history of the US have we seen the federal government get involved in healthcare like this, according to the GOP pundits.

Oh really?

“In 1790, the first Congress, which was packed with framers, required all ship owners to provide medical insurance for seamen; in 1798, Congress also required seamen to buy hospital insurance for themselves. In 1792, Congress enacted a law mandating that all able-bodied citizens obtain a firearm. This history negates any claim that forcing the purchase of insurance or other products is unprecedented or contrary to any possible intention of the framers.” Source.

So we have precedent AND our founding fathers (including George Washington who signed these bills into law) supported mandating the purchase of health insurance. Intriguing.

In case you are wondering the non-partisan truth seekers Politifact have rated this article. It is rated as ‘mostly true’, they argue that the first Congress was not “packed” with framers as it only had 40% of the framers involved or 20% of Congress as a total.

Here is the politifact regarding this professor’s claims.

Essentially, the argument used by the GOP is:

“We want the states to decide this because we know most of them are too broke to do anything to fix healthcare. Even though Obamacare was originally a Heritage foundation idea and championed by Mitt Romney, now that Obama is using it we will be against it. And, because we cannot think of any good ideas of why we should be against this healthcare reform, we will just make up a bunch of crap to confuse and scare people. Things like ‘Obamacare guarantees that men will be FORCED to support women.’ Yea, that sounds good.

At least the GOP is very good at producing fear and confusion.

Romney: Actually, Newt, we got the idea of an individual mandate from you.

Gingrich: That’s not true. You got it from the Heritage Foundation.

Romney: Yeah, we got it from you and the Heritage–you got it from the Heritage Foundation and from you [sic].

Gingrich: Wait a second. What you just said is not true. You did not get that from me. You got it from the Heritage Foundation.

Romney: And you’ve never supported?

Gingrich: I agree with that, but I’m just saying, what you said to this audience just now plain wasn’t true.

Romney: OK. Let me ask, have you supported in the past an individual mandate?

Gingrich: I absolutely did, with the Heritage Foundation, against HillaryCare.

Romney: You did support an individual mandate?

Gingrich: Yes sir.

Romney: Oh, OK. That’s what I’m saying. We got the idea from you and the Heritage Foundation.

Gingrich: OK–little broader.

Romney: OK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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