Las Vegas Sun

January 31, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

Health care act has helped millions

In his letter to the editor, “Health care act will ruin America,” Richard McCord says the new health care bill would ruin America. He opined the insurance mandate would violate the Fifth Amendment. Wrong and wrong.

All of us with cars must have automobile insurance. None can opt out. So much for the spurious amendment argument.

Ruin America? Socialism? Do we have our doctors as government employees? Nope. Do the feds own every hospital? I don’t think so.

In the two years since its passage:

• 2.5 million more adults under age 26 are included in their parents’ health plan.

• Insurance companies must spend at least 80 percent of premiums on health care and not on officers’ salaries.

• Premiums cannot be raised by more than 10 percent without documentation.

• Coverage for children cannot be denied because of pre-existing conditions.

• The “doughnut hole” is beginning to close, making drugs for seniors more affordable.

Not fully implemented, the law has made a difference for millions of Americans. Eventually it will ensure that millions more will have quality health care that Americans deserve.

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  1. Much like the requirement to purchase auto liablity insurance, the healthcare mandate is about personal responsibility.

    I was shocked that a Justice of the Supreme Court would compare it with a mandate to buy broccoli. A persons refusal to buy broccoli does not make the vegetable more expensive for the rest of us. A person's refusal to buy health insurance does.

    With freedom comes responsibility!

  2. Reffy doesn't understand that there is no such thing as "inactivity" when it comes to health care. You either have preventative measures or treatment after the fact. EVERYONE uses the system but Reffy thinks free riders are OK.

  3. One of the biggest let downs for former President Harry S. Truman during his presidency was not getting a universal health care bill signed into law back then. He said this when being interviewed back in 1948.That was 64 years ago and today we have the same type of arguments pro and con.This will never stop,just as social security has been argued since it's inception 78 years ago.With 48 million, or more Americans without coverage one would think lets get this done and move on to other issues.

  4. Comment removed by moderator. Personal Attack

  5. There is one thing that is a fact in this whole debate.

    America MUST HAVE a better health care system than the one we have now.

    I just pray that the Democrats don't throw up their hands and give up in frustration at the obstacles put in their way all the time.

    Likewise, I also pray the Tea/Republican Party comes to their senses and collectively does something other than obstruct, block and/or vote down anything related to achieving this. I just hope someday they grasp reality and sit down at the bargaining table (like they were elected to do) and figure out how to make it happen.

    But the likelihood of any of this happening, at this time, seems as remote as frogs sprouting wings.

    So they don't have to suffer slamming their butts on the ground every time they leap....

  6. @SgtRock -

    For clarification's sake, you are correct that the PP&ACA is a federal law that must adhere to the US Constitution. You are also correct that each state's auto insurance mandates are state laws that must adhere to that state's constitution.

    However, you seem to be under the extraordinarily erroneous belief that state laws don't have to adhere to the US Constitution. In fact, they very much have to.

    There are innumerable examples of state laws being struck down by federal courts because the state law didn't pass must under the US Constitution. Roe v. Wade and Lawrence v. Texas are two of the better known cases.

    I don't know whether a state's auto insurance mandate has ever been challenged as unconstitutional. I can almost assure you, however, that if the PP&ACA's mandate is struck down as unconstitutional, every state law mandating auto insurance will be challenged and struck down for the very same reasons.

    So much for progress in this country.

  7. We cannot continue to allow 44 million Americans to be without health care insurance in a private system when many of them go to emergency rooms and then don't pay.

    We also cannot approve this hybrid plan (Affordable Care Act) that is part private and part government, has an unconstitutional mandate in it and doesn't control costs.

    We need to start over and either go to a single payer government controlled system or find a way to cut costs in the private sector health and insurance areas so more people can afford insurance and health care.

    As usual, our worthless Congress has taken a real world critical issue and made an absolute mess of it.


  8. The biggest thing the letter writer is mistaken on is his claim that "All of us with cars must have automobile insurance. None can opt out."

    Both statements are untrue.

    1. Automobile insurance is only a requirement if you want to operate a motor vehicle on public roadways. It is not a universal requirement since people without motor vehicles are unaffected as are people with motor vehicles who operate them on private land only (most common example is farm vehicles)

    2. Anyone who wants to CAN opt out of buying automobile insurance. Every state in the US allows operators to "self insure" rather than buying insurance from a third party. If you choose to accept personal liablility and can show that they have the financial resources at their disposal to meet minimum liability requirements can opt out of the requirement to carry automobile insurance.

    3. There is no legislated monetary penalty for not buying car insurance. You simply are not allowed to register your car or operate it on public roads.

    So sorry, but auto insurance is not an apt comparison to the ACA at all.

  9. Oh and lets not overlook:

    4. State mandated minimum coverage for auto insurance is to make sure you can cover damage you do to OTHER PEOPLE'S bodies and property and are liable for...not your own. You can choose to not have any coverage whatsoever for your own death, injury, or property.

    The ACA isn't about protecting others from injury you might inflict on them, so it would best be compared to whether or not you have to carry coverage for your own injury or property while driving.....which you don't.

  10. Dennis,

    I don't think you can see it given the world view you hold, but both R's and D's (with a few exceptions) supported the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan until is was safe politically not to.

    When SS and Medicare are heading toward going bust; Congress can't find its way to a decent reform of the health care and insurance industries that really does control rising costs; when we have no coherent energy policy, etc, I find it very difficult to find a bright side.

    And yes, I know the R's and former President Bush did not do a bang up job, but I find little to cheer when we go from a guy and a party that bat 125 to one that bats 145.

    We're in deep do do and spin it however you like, we need alot better performance than we are seeing.


  11. Bradley,

    You propose an interesting discussion.

    I've mentioned this before, that John Locke, who can in many ways be considered the spiritual god-father of our Declaration of Independence, often included "health" with "life, liberty and property" as basic human rights.

    If we consider the police, fire protection, military and public schools to be legitimate services to be provided by the government, then it is not a stretch to view health care delivery the same way. Keep in mind that Benjamin Franklin started the first public hospital.

    The rub comes from what level of service to provide. Just as it would be unrealistic to expect the government to provide a police officer at your house 24/7 there has to be limits to what health care services government could provide.

    I can think of two particular examples that are problematic in giving emergency treatment.

    Fist, would be kidney dialysis. The first one might be considered an emergency life-saving procedure, but when it continues on a routine basis two or three times a week it becomes a different matter.

    The second is a blocked artery requiring a stent. That is basically a one-time thing. Yes, there is usually some kind of follow up with a doctor for prescriptions, etc., but you don't expect to need to go back to the hospital for more work.

    But both of those procedures are very expensive today. And neither can be seen in the same light as something that save a life that was in danger due to an accident, such as being shot or stabbed.

    I can see an argument that says it is legitimate for the government to provide true emergency care for victims of accidents, but matters arising from general illness should be dealt with by the private sector.

    Before anyone starts to blast on this, I recognize that this is a very tentative formulation of a vague idea at this point. My main thought is to draw the distinction between accidents and other conditions that require emergency care.

    Look at the other services provided by the government. You get a certain "basic" level. If you want more, you can always go to the private sector for it.

  12. It's a cluster especially the part that treats young adults like indentured servants but thats what happens when you let conservatives infect something.Republicans don't even treat their own children well!

  13. And throwing out the unconstitutional action will benefit 50 million TAXPAYERS.

  14. The States and individuals have all the rights not enumerated (specifically given) for the federal government. Individuals could take action against State requirements for auto insurance or health care. Might even win some of the "requirements."

  15. "However, you seem to be under the extraordinarily erroneous belief that state laws don't have to adhere to the US Constitution. In fact, they very much have to."

    Yes they do have to comply with the US Constitution but there is really nothing in the US Constitution that limits the power of the states in reqard to states mandating health insurance for its residents.

    The bulk of the US Constitution is to list the explict powers of the Federal government and to restrict the power of the Federal government.

    So ObamaCare is being challenged for grabing too much power that is not listed in the US Constitution.

    I don't think that one would take a state mandate for health insurance to a Federal court. It would be a state court matter.

  16. Bradley,

    Thanks for the kind words. I've posted this link before, but on the off-chance you didn't see it before here it is again:

    I got a lot of inspiration from that essay (especially the final paragraph.)

    Like you, I do not favor socialism. But it can not be denied that there are some elements of socialism involved when one looks at the legitimate functions of government. When viewed in that light, along with the historical and philosophical foundation of our country, then universal health care takes on new dimensions in my opinion.

    My goal is to determine if there is a rational basis for viewing health care delivery as a legitimate function of government. If that can be done, then the next step is to determine just what that delivery should be. (Paying for it is just a relatively minor detail in deciding what method of taxation is best. Yes, that can be a great discussion all by itself.)

    I should mention that I tend to view full-blown socialism as government controlled charity. I think charity should be strictly a private matter and therefore disagree with true socialism. I also see socialism as almost the exact opposite of the Enlightenment (Classical Liberalism) which placed great emphasis on the individual being allowed to reach their full potential without interference from Church or State.

    So far as I can tell, no one, not one single politician or blogger (with rare exception) or user here, has addressed the philosophical basis for government providing health care delivery on the same level as other "normal" services.

  17. I must confess that I don't usually pay too much attention to SgtRock, but this time he has a very good point.

    Without consideration for the other elements of the ACA (Obamacare) he is correct that it is the implementation of the individual mandate that has so many people upset.

    Simply put, it was based on the wrong principle, the Commerce Clause.

    Wickard v Filburn was a horrible decision to begin with, and it was the basis for allowing the feds to say states could not legalize medicinal marijuana. Now President Obama and Harry Reid would like to see it used to compel us to buy what they deem is in our best interests.

    Given that almost all activity today can be seen as interstate commerce in some way thanks to earlier decisions and the Internet are there any limits to Congressional power if the individual mandate is allowed to stand?


    Any true reform must be based on proving that universal health care is a legitimate function of government and must be based on Constitutional grounds that DO NOT go beyond that single issue.

    The Constitution established a government that should be big enough to do the job, but no bigger! The individual mandate in the ACA removes *all* restrictions and must be rejected not only by the Court, but by any American who understands what this country stands for.

  18. limited government leaves a vacuum in which the rich prey on the poor. What we have right now is "socialism" for the rich because the govenment acts in the wealthy peoples behalf. The bank bail outs , the oil, gas and mining subsidies, the no bid contracts.The captured markets in health care.In fact the only people playing the capitalism farce are the poor and unemployed. The only part of the constitution you right wingers seem to protect is the one the gives handguns to children.

  19. I'm confused by your posts teamster.....are you saying that unconstitutional laws are OK with you as long as they benefit some people?

    .....or that you're OK with unconstitutional laws because you think that people pointing out that little "constitutionality" issue are just a bunch of big old meanies?

    Either way the appropriate thing would be to address the constitutionality issue or start working towards a different law that accomplishes the same ends without violating the Constitution. Name calling doesn't really elevate your argument.

  20. And teamster, just because you say it isn't unconstitional doesn'take it so either.

    As as for revisionist history, the US Supreme Court did not declare anyone the winner of the presidential election. Go READ the ruling. What they said was that neither the US Supreme Court or the State Supreme Court had any legal standing to bypass what was written and enacted in state law - unless that state law was declared unconstitutional. Further, that a partial recount of just certain counties would be an unconstitutional violation of the equal protection clause. Since the state supreme court had ordered additional full recounts that would not be finished before the deadline required in state law - but didn't declare the deadline law unconstitutional, just that they wanted to ignore it in this case and set their own deadline - the US Supreme Court ruled that the state supreme court had overstepped their authority and that the count AS OF THE DATE OF THE DFEADLINE had to stand as the official total.

    Kind of a tenuous grasp on reality you have there. My guess would be that you've never actually read the supreme court opinion on the matter, but instead have relied on "news sources" to break it down into palatable sound bites for you. Try actually reading it and see what it REALLY says, not what a set of talking heads with an agenda told you to believe.