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Health Care Reform and History

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California holds the gavel used to pass Medicare reform as she walks across the street and into the U.S. Capitol as the House prepares to vote on health care reform on Sunday, March 21, 2010. Walking with Pelosi, from left, are Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., and Rep. John Larson, D-Conn. (AP)

And so it’s done — in the House. Health care reform, the dream of presidents going back to Harry Truman and beyond, is headed for reconciliation and the desk of President Barack Obama.

Republicans call it a nightmare. Supporters call it history-making — in the tradition of Social Security and Medicare. By any measure, it is a rare moment of large-scale reform.

Social legislation is never a cakewalk in this country. As the gavel echoes today on health care reform, we’ll look at how this push compared to those that came before.

This hour, On Point: we’re taking the long view on reform.


Joining us from Washington is Karen Tumulty, national political correspondent for Time magazine.

With us in our studio is Bruce Schulman, professor of 20th-century U.S. history at Boston University and author of, among other books, “Lyndon B. Johnson and American Liberalism.”

From Jackson, Miss., we’re joined by Robert McElvaine, professor of arts & letters and chair of the history department at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. He’s the author of “The Great Depression: America, 1929-1941.”

And from Hanover, N.H., is Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst and senior editor at The Atlantic.

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  • John

    Perhaps a good place to start is the narrative.

    One of the more frustrating things about Bush and the Republican Party was the extent to which they were allowed to get away with a false narrative. To wit: Saddam Hussein and Iraq were akin to Hitler and Nazi Germany. Therefore, we MUST have war.

    Now, Obama and the Democrats offer up their own version of a false narrative on health care reform. That is to say: It’s akin in history to Social Security, Medicaid and Civil Rights. If this is so, two questions: First, why did those outcomes arrive at overwhelming majorities while this one barely slipped through by seven votes? Second, and more importantly, if this vote was so “courageous,” why did so many members have to be bought off with special deals for their districts? To the best of my knowledge, that did NOT happen on Social Security, Medicaid or Civil Rights.

  • Tyler

    As much as I’d like to say this wasn’t about politics, I think it was. Obama started framing the legislation in terms of his presidency. Was it going to be effective, or lame duck? That’s when the bill started gaining the necessary momentum among the Dems.

    I’m happy to see some “change” come out of Washington and I hope this change doesn’t land us in fiscal straits down the road…The history of our other entitlement programs worries me.

  • Janet

    A sad day in America to see another socalist program become law.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I think that the subsidies, the portion of health care covered for people at decreasing rates as they earn more, would have to be TAX monies paid by the GOVERNMENT to PRIVATE FOR-PROFIT insurance companies.
    I wouldn’t mind being told I have to buy something where there is a non-profit option without the middleman. But I don’t want my money going for profit. Oh, they say the insurance companies won’t be so profitable anymore? Wait till they see the stressors of advancing science and deteriorating environment. The insurers, it seems to me, will go belly-up, and we’ll be looking for government to do a public option.
    I have no idea what the Republicans were talking about yesterday about being required to buy pared-down government insurance. I think paring down is or should be called for. Let me find bare-bones at a bare bones rate, and then let me buy on the unregulated market the specials. I can’t imagine insurers won’t offer bells and whistles for anyone with money.

  • Emily

    I am a 25 year old American student living in London. As a student I am currently covered under the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) just as if I were a British citizen. I am thrilled that the health care reform bill passed in the US, so that when I return to the US I have a much better chance at acquiring health insurance. One point I am not clear about it whether or not I will be able to be covered by my parents’ health insurance; I read some places that the bill allows young people to be covered “until age 26″ while other sources say “through 26.” Which is it? Until my 26th birthday, or until my 27th?

  • Alison

    I hope you’ll talk about the objections to this bill, which are very unclear to me, the political process going forward (reconciliation, other bills that might change this one), the negative aspects of this bill (even to those who supported it overall), and what changes we can expect to see, and when we can expect them. I’m very much looking forward to this show! What would Ted say?

  • Micki Ledden

    How will the exchanges actually control costs for consumers? I foresee all insurers raising their enrollment rates, increasing their deductible amounts, requiring even more extensive pre-treatment authorizations and paperwork for treatments, and at the same time requiring much higher co-payments from patients. Also, would any panelists know how much, on the average, employer covered insured consumers pay for their health insurance and health care costs?

  • cory

    Hopefully this will be a foot in the door for something more meaningful (can anyone say single payer?).

    I also hope that Janet from above will refuse medicare and social security when she becomes eligible (on principle, of course.). These are blatant socialist plots and no good free market capitalist should in good conscience participate.

  • Pat

    Access to health insurance has been a problem for me throughout most of my adult life, due to a health problem that’s been considered a “pre-existing condition” since I graduated from college. It has determined which jobs I’ve taken or not taken.

    I could have just taken my chances and used the free-care pool if I’d been totally bankrupt, but I did the responsible thing and bought insurance, even when my health problem wouldn’t be covered by it.

    I am thrilled that my kids will not face the same restrictions on their lives and career paths that I have, just by trying to stay insured. I am also happy for all other Americans with “pre-existing conditions.” I just wish 2014 were NOW.

  • Ed H.

    They could have done this without a government takeover. They might not even be protecting the unborn.

  • Ellen Dibble

    In one of the speeches — no it was from the news, which apparently is much more reliable than the 10 or 11 hours of Congressional coverage I listened to yesterday, full of distortions, which is very dismaying — how many lobbyists, how many dollars does it take to create such Garbajj? — that in SIX MONTHS, the insurers will have to stop rescisions, cutting people off when they get sick. I have lived in mortal fear of getting sick and getting cut off; haven’t we all? If I at least pretend to be well for 6 months, oh, please.
    I loved all the personalities on display, the rhetorical methods, and the toupees.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Ed, the insurers (private insurers) are remaining INTACT. As is the whole system. What changes is tax money goes to those insurers for those earning middle class type incomes.

  • Marie

    I agree with Cory from above – if you disagree with this health care reform as a ‘socialist measure,’ then you must also disagree with social security and medicare.

  • Ellen Dibble

    It is a bit deceptive to call it a sixth of the economy. For those of us over 50, it can easily be a third or a half of the economy, in terms of our income.

  • Liz

    Well, this is anything but reform. More like the biggest mandate in history.

    I realize the Democrats felt they had to do *something* but the bad is also the enemy of the good.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Anyone in any position of authority will know that the cost of a sick parent, a sick wage-earner is a great social cost, a greater cost than keeping them functional. Have any of you anti-socialists watched the scenario of a family slowly going under? You can only try “denial” for so long. Pretty soon you’ve got jails, 30 different agencies, as well as the ER, all trying to pull in the name of the Value of Human Life.
    Stupak did a glorious wind-up when he prevented the second vote — the one for reconsideration — by saying the real vote for life is this healh care reform.

  • Jason

    Didn’t the Democrats HATE the unfunded mandates that Bush put on the states? This unfunded mandate dwarfs Bush’s unfunded mandates. I personally disagree with both.

    Look forward to the US loosing its AAA bond rating before Obama leaves office… followed by Jimmy Carter like 10%+ interest rates on homes and cars in less than 6 years, and US bankruptsy no more than 4 years after our AAA rating is lost.

  • Janet

    Yes, I don’t like the Medicare and Social Security. I don’t like socialism because it does not work.

  • Steve T

    O.K. they shove this thing down my throat, now I have a broken tooth and a very sore throat and I still can’t afford a doctor! Thanks for nuthin’ I had that already.

  • Fred Estabrook

    The thing that bothers me most is that Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid are used as examples of “successful” government programs in support of the passage of this particular health care reform package… except that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are completely BANKRUPT and are BANKRUPTING our country – does it follow that this government program WON’T DO THE SAME??? This is bad legislation _economically_ for the US!

  • Jason

    History will show this vote as the beginning of the “transformational Change” that Obama promised. He just failed to tell us that his change resulted in the fall of the US economy, 10% unemployment, and great social unrest resulting in the Great Depression of Obama!

  • Ian

    I am very glad to hear that the healthcare bill was passed. I have been following it as much as possible. Maybe now we can move on to some more global issues, like dealing with climate change.

  • Jason

    Fred Estabrook


    We are getting more of the same. which is underestimated Bankrupting government policies that do nothing to control cost and everything to incentivise people to become dependent on the federal government!

  • James Archer

    My wife and I are in our mid-thirties and we currently have no health insurance. Our 5 year old son is covered under a state program that, until this year, was free but now requires a $22 a month premium. I have a steady job at about $14 an hour, no overtime. My wife is a stay-at-home Mom.

    We don’t have the resources to afford health insurance at any price. Any significant monthly premium would mean going into debt with credit cards, something we have managed, barely, to avoid. Please ask your guests what this bill means for me and my family. We are the working poor.

  • Bob

    Ian, Man made climate change is a myth that rich people perpetrated to make money off of blind zombie followers like you. You should really look into the research that was thrown out this year as doctored since it was the foundation of all other claims.

  • Liz

    Congress seems to love overly complicated, counter-intuitive schemes such as this one.
    Let’s see if I have it right: the Government requires an Individual to contract with a private Business (with or without funding from an Employer) which then pays the Doctor (or doesn’t)… I’m getting sick just thinking about it!

    If this is an historic achievement then I’m Sigmund Freud.

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    Janet and Fred: One of the reasons Medicare is in trouble financially is because we’ve just spent 8 years in two unfunded wars.

    No doubt you two were in favor of George Bush’s privatizing of social security and had that become law most people in the country would have lost it all in the various financial downturns that have happened since then.

    By the way, for those thinking this was “rammed down American throats” Bush and the Republicans attempted to ram the privatization of Social Security down our throat as well.

  • Jessica

    FINALLY, congress was able to do something – anything to help reign in Health Insurance companies. While I do not by any means think that this is bill is a solution it is a step in the right direction. It is frankly un-American to allow people to loose everything they have because they got sick. Congratulations to congress on this and please do not stop working until everyone in this country is treated equally in the health care system.

  • Paula

    People who have never been turned down for health insurance don’t realize what a huge advance this bill will be. Just hope you keep your health till 2014!

  • Shaman

    The same three people are posting the angry stuff over and over.

    This tells you a lot about nature of the republican position. They have talked themselves into believing THIS LIE: “The health bill is a socialistic hand out to lazy people on the backs of the ‘hard-working’ tax payer who already is loaded with debt”.

    Pogo put it better – “I have met the enemy, and he is us”

  • Cook Neilson

    I wonder how many of us will remember that the fondest hope of the Republicans at the beginning of all this was that reform would fail, and thus serve as Obama’s Waterloo. I’ve been politically aware since Eisenhower; never have I seen a party so singularly bent on destroying the other side. The “Daddy” party? More like the Goth party.

  • Bob


    You are obviously not very informed about what is going on in our government and its finances so I will help enlighten you a little. The war’s have had no effect on Medicare or Social Security. These are separate government programs that are supposed to be self supporting “in theory” but as they are currently laid out they are bankrupt and will not go back into solvency in any foreseeable future.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Do any of you Democrats have a close sibling living in the district of House Minority Boehner? Proud constituents? I do. So in sort of social self-defense I spent the day yesterday with an atlas putting faces and personalities to all the people representing my many siblings. Some of them I am mighty proud of. Thank you for electing certain wonderful people.

  • Marilyn Bentov

    A democrat, I feared both the passage and the non-passage. Non-passage would have meant no health care bill and all the worst consequences to people and the economy. Passage means that DESPITE THE PRESIDENT’S PROMISE, I LOSE MY MEDICARE ADVANTAGE PLAN AND WILL BE UNABLE TO AFFORD THE RISING HEALTH CARE SUPPLEMENTAL INSURANCE. MOST LOW INCOME SENIOR WOMEN ARE ON THAT PLAN. Obama sacrificed 60% of seniors to pay for a plan whose new insurance covering the uninsured will provide inadequate insurance. And the insurance companies will continue to break America.

    Obama himself squashed any possibility of single payer plan from the start. It wasn’t on the table. Physicians for universal health care who tried to be present at the health care forum last March were arrested, including Marsha Angell, the president of that group. the order to arrest came from the White House.

  • Janet

    Richard – Bush wanted to allow the individual to invest a percentage of their social security and what is wrong with that? Medicare is going broke due to massive fraud, 50-60 billion per year, social security is going broke due to a faulty idea from it’s beginning.

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    “Bush wanted to allow the individual to invest a percentage of their social security and what is wrong with that?”

    What’s wrong with that? Most Americans would have lost it all, that’s what’s wrong with that.

    Medicare is an incredible program and anyone who thinks otherwise is “not very informed about what is going on in our government and its finances.”

    Is Medicare perfect? No, of course not, but ask people who use it and I doubt you’ll find many who want to get rid of it.

    My objection to this bill is that it didn’t go far enough and had Obama figured out early on that not a single Republican would vote for it he could have put his energy into moving us to single payer, Medicare for all.

  • Ellen Dibble

    The epitome of caricature of capitalism: our unreformed health care industry. To wit, if you pay half your income for insurance, ten thousand dollars a year or so for many decades, and then you get sick, and you get thrown to the wolves. Sorry, they can’t afford to “carry” you anymore.
    Adding insult to injury.
    Consumer protection agency anyone?

  • Jessica

    Point to Ponder: Please explain to me how the US spends the most money per person on health care in the world and does NOT have the best outcomes for it’s citizens? Aren’t you supposed to get what you pay for?

    Why is it that people in this country can join together to help countries like Haiti and Chile (one of the most prosperous counties in South America by the way) to the tune of millions of dollars but not see fit to help their own neighbors when they lose everything due to illness?

  • BHA

    I disagree with caller Mark – they DID listen to the people, just not ‘his’ people. There are a LOT of people who think we need health care reform. Is this exactly what we want? No, but it is a start.

    I don’t like the ‘everyone must buy’ concept, some people will not be able to afford admin heavy FOR PROFIT insurance even with subsidies.

    Single payer is what we need. Basic health care for all, easily paid for with less money than we now spend on private insurance. And no, it would not involve the government telling us which doctor we can use. By the way, the insurance companies already do that. I have to choose a doctor that takes my insurance, not all do. They decide how often my kids can get fluoride treatment and it is 1/2 as often as the dentist recommends (no fluoride in our water) so we pay for the 2nd one 100%. I can not go to the local pharmacy, I have to go through the online ‘warehouse’ supplier – Medco.

  • http://stephen-hand.blogspot.com/ Stephen Hand

    Our society is being led to the collectivist, “managed,” Ant Colony by academic “experts,” lawyer-sharks, and Utopians, rather than by referendum. The collectivists who profit by strategically promoting conflict have contempt for the vote, which is real voting is not allowed in the EU. New World Order indeed.

  • Brian

    Republican Waterloo!!!!!!!!!!!

    So says David Frum, oh wait didn’t he work for Bush.

    Highlight – We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.

    Take that DeMint.


  • Janet

    It would be better to start killing off Head Start, Dept. of Education, Dept. of Energy, WIC, Earned Income Credit in order to pay for this new welfare program.

  • Jason S

    Tom, Your guest doesn’t see anything unconstitutional about this bill? Where in the constitution does it give the government the right to mandate that a private person purchase a service from a private company against their will for the only reason of being alive?

  • Ellen Dibble

    Nancy Pelosi emphasized the boost the health care reform legislation gives to careers, to entrepreneurs, that people are no longer locked into benefit-paying jobs for the sake of a health care benefit.
    This could boost the economy, unleash American inventiveness and risk-taking.
    I can testify to that. I have had to start a business, starting out with multiple chemical sensitivities and cancer that had spread. That was in 1992. The cost of insurance has absolutely been a dead weight every year since. Medicine hasn’t been able to address (yet) plenty of medical issues I’ve had during the 20 years, and I’ve learned not to depend on allopathic medicine. But I pay anyway. Do I ever.

  • Paul

    Tom, please correct your callers who are misinformed. To not correct them is to acknowledge their points and help spread disinformation. For instance: no one is going to jail over not buying insurance – the penalty actually written into the bill is merely a tax penalty. Where is your journalistic sense of responsibility?

  • bwp

    Your previous caller Karen was again blathering on with Tea Party propaganda, I am so sick of hearing this stuff. These are the same people that are on Medicare, which I pay for them!

  • BHA

    “What’s wrong with that? Most Americans would have lost it all, that’s what’s wrong with that.”

    ABSOLUTELY. I have some Republican relatives who had the same gripe: they should be able to invest ‘their’ Social Security as they see fit and I had the same response as Richard. What happens when you invest poorly or the market tanks just when you need the money?

    The purpose of SS is to make sure you don’t starve to death on the streets after you retire. It isn’t expected to make retirement life ‘Easy Street’. For that you have to invest wisely on your own. I doubt the ‘average’ person can invest such that the have a guaranteed minimum income, regardless of market conditions, as we have with SS.

  • wavre

    It’s amazing the reactions that some people have to this so “waterdowned” piece of legislation(nothing radical, still reasonably friendly to the insurances companies)!

    It has to be some other reasons.

    Healthcare for all, will help level the playing field for minorities and the poors.

    Obamacare? although the Congress was its main architect?If this society was homogenous(mostly white)like in yester years, we would not have seen this type of protest.

    Some grievances may be legitimate, but Socialism, dictatorship, Armaguedon, Hitler, the end of the country as we know it, we want our country back( when did you loose it?).anticonstitutional ect…

    Come on folks, we have to have the courage to recognize that underneath all this, racism is (not the only reason!)a big contributor to those people’s anger.Most of them are having a hard time explaining why they are so mad.It’s all”line up” talking points and emotions.

    This legislation is a little band-aid, what this country needs is a UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE, or will be falling further and further behind the other industrial countries.

  • Bob

    We are all welfare recipients now!

    When did the politicians remove the shame that should be associated with being on welfare?

    Charity is something for people to give using fee will and not forced by the Federal Government!

  • Beth

    Listen, America: tuberculosis does not care if you are rich, poor, Democrat, Republican, or indifferent; the multi-drug resistant strain cares even less. The same applies to influenza, cholera, malaria, and all of the other virulent, contagious microbes that still cause catastrophic morbidity and mortality all over the world. With airplanes, rapid shipping and transport networks, and high population density, the United States cannot afford to only give medical coverage to some people, because all people are susceptible to disease. When the dude sitting next to me on the train coughs in my face, the last thing I’m thinking about is whether or not my taxes go up to pay for his insurance coverage.

  • Bob

    Wavre, I hope you are ready to pay the universal premium for the universal healthcare that is government run and has more waste than private insurance!

  • Gary Reinbold

    I usually value the balanced perspective this show provides, but your guest “expert” today is not in keeping with that tradition. I can predict his answer to every question you ask him. I’m an independent and recognize the merit of arguments from both sides on this issue — he only seems to recognize the most extreme liberal views. Not very helpful.

  • Steve T

    @ Paul,

    If you don’t pay or can’t pay your taxes where do you go.


  • Mack

    Once again you have a conversation with folks who only have your point of view. I guess I know what you mean by “On Point”. And, please, enough with that shill Jack Beatty (sp?). Until NPR balances it newscasting and programs, I will remain a listener but not a supporter.

  • Bob

    Paul, What happens when you don’t pay your taxes?

    Are you that slow that you don’t realize that failure to pay your taxes results in Jail Time!

  • Tom from Boston

    after 8 years of a do-nothing republican party, we finally have reform! Passage of this bill proves that change can happen, that my vote for Obama actually did matter. The system works! The bill is not perfect, but it provides much needed relief in three areas: a chance to buy affordable heath insurance when you lose your job, when you quit your job to be self-employed, or when you have a medical condition. Future generations will thank us.

  • Chris

    Since so many people object to being required to buy insurance, why not just change the law that requires hospitals to treat all patients. If Providers can require either payment up front (from those who choose not to buy insurance) or proof of coverage (from those who do have insurance) then the insured will no longer be subsidizing the uninsured and this should allow insurance companies to keep premiums affordable given the mandate that they must cover all applicants regardless of health status. Possibly a Govt re-insurance scheme (as once proposed by John Kerry) might protect insurance companies from excess losses caused by a skewed population.

  • Charlie Connecticut

    Jack’s View of the world:

    When the Republicans over reach they are bad people. When the Democrats over reach – the Republicans are playing with fire and continue to be bad people.

    Seriously, where is the balance in this show?

  • Cindy Bechard

    As much as I would love to believe that Tom Ashbrook and On Point remain unbiased in their news reporting, sadly I don’t feel that way. I have a strong sense that Ashbrook, by the way he reports and the content that he reports on, is a proponent of the Republican party, not the unbiased reporter that he claims to be.

    Sadly, I cannot donate money to a news source that is biased in their news reporting as it has become very clear to me Ashbrook is.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I am really worried about the ramifications of “we’re all on welfare now,” as Bob puts it. For decades I’ve watched the ramifications of “affordable housing” legislation that has a similar structure to the health care subsidies. My city is trying to put EVERYONE into affordable housing or condominiums. I think the reason is that with condo purchases, there are realtors and bankers and local contractors who benefit, whereas renters can move to more compatible buildings and areas without the big fees. And the “affordable housing,” like “affordable health care” has a big string attached. You pay in rent 30 percent of your income. It essentially taxes you 30 percent of each added dollar you make — up to about $40,000, after which time you are paying full freight. It doesn’t take a genius to say if you’re saving to buy a house or trying to pay off student loans, or plowing your money into your startup business, you don’t want that affordable housing. You’d rather move to the abandoned housing by the old mill in northern Maine. You want to live in a garret until you get your feet on the ground. So the “affordability” serves to keep a malleable workforce, they say, pliable, and by the way they don’t pay ratable property taxes, the way other rental housing does. The bonus to the builders who would otherwise be putting up “cash cows” for wealthy retirees who want to rent in town — the bonus is that the affordable housing is not taxed — and therefore the renters are not paying ratable property rates to their landlords.
    How does the health care reform apply to that? Very badly. Say I pay 30 percent for housing and 20 percent for insurance. So up until I hit $40,000 (or whatever it is), there is a 50 percent tax on every dollar I earn, spoken for by “affordability,” either by lease restrictions or reduced health subsidy.
    It makes for a big drag on shooting up for good balance. I think if I were setting out on my own, age 28, I would pay the $750 penalty and not let the cost of insurance hold me back. Where I am, it looks like I end up sacrificing about $4,000 in subsidies if I earn more than a certain amount that I really need to try to earn a little more than. Again, either I’m rich or I’m poor. There is a huge leap, given the drag of the subsidies, between paying my own way, keeping my own dollars, or losing 20 percent to health subsidy lost, 30 percent to housing subsidy lost.
    If I am earning about $50,000 a year, I don’t get “taxed” that additional 50 percent on every dollar I earn. Someone might say well, your first 50 percent really needs to be paid for housing and health up until $50,000. I would say, plenty of people earning under that amount would live in a garret and pay their way for health, in order to get a good headstart. For me, it’s going to take me to age 70 to get that good headstart. Maybe this can be improved upon.

  • Todd

    Fools! The insurance industry has been given FOUR YEARS to reposition, restructure, and consolidate itself BEFORE this bill even takes effect. America will be forced to buy health insurance from a virtual monopoly by the time 2014 arrives.

  • Marc

    Special deals for all the groups that were talked about before (e.g. Louisiana), plus additional medicare pay-offs for a number of others, some water deal for California, an agreement to push for comprehensive immigration reform, and a number of others. Given the pressure on congressmen, my guess there are a ton of pay-offs and any member who didn’t demand gifts for his constituency, probably feels like a dope.

    Very limited provisions for cost reductions – tort reform, price controls.

    I was for single-payer, but had no illusions that it would be cheap. I think single-payer would be an expensive government mess, but the current situation was unsustainable. But this bill is just awful. And wait til next year when Congress tries to legalize illegal immigrants. You’ve just added 12 million to the system and additional millions as poor people outside the US see (for a second time) that amnesty will be given.

    Maybe the value of this is to show how government really works. Drug companies, insurers, lawyers, unions, public employees, whoever can pony up campaign contributions can tailor the legislation for themselves.

  • BHA

    Steve T and Bob -
    Do you even listen to the facts or read the bills?? There is nothing in the bill about jail time if you don’t buy insurance. You can say it does as much as you like but doing so does NOT change the FACT that the bill does NOT make any reference to jail time for those who do not buy insurance.

    Perhaps you should look deeper into the sources of your beliefs (not facts) about the bill just passed.

  • Gloria from Ct

    I guess this means for al of the humans who oppose this Health Care Plan they so ferociously object to because of it’s social implications they will refuse payment of Medicare and Social Security if it exceeds the exact dollar amount they themselves have contributed. We have worse things to worry about folks. Stay focused.

  • Liz

    Get ready for millions of “lost” applications for coverage. Insurance companies already “lose” claims or deny them for lack of proper documentation, etc. Does anyone really think enrollments for sick or older people will get priority?

  • evul libtard

    Hey Janet, why don’t you go jump off a bridge.

    Damn, you selfish people are so nasty. “Oh let’s kill off Head Start and WIC”…”Let’s make it so hospitals don’t have to treat everyone.”

    Yeah, let’s go back to Victorian England! Where kids slave in workhouses for gruel, and people die of TB in the streets! But that’s ok with Janet and the TP people because hey, they got theirs right? Bleep society as a whole.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Bob, government-run would be like Veterans health care. Single payer would be what we have now minus the insurance people making all the decisions, taking all the money, more like Medicare.
    Universal care could be single payer without having the government hiring all the doctors and running all the hospitals. I think people will still pass up insurance — people in the decade before retirement where the costs are so high, people who are healthy and wouldn’t get any subsidy. But those who do choose insurance won’t get booted off for preexisting conditions or when they get sick. Too bad we have to wait till 2014. Maybe the insurance industry will collapse before then with the addition of all those previously rejected sick children. We’ll see.

  • Jim in Omaha

    I propose this simple educational experiment:

    All Republican members of Congress will immediately drop their and their family’s government-paid health care benefit, then go replace it on the open market the same way a self-employed individual would have to do, subject to underwriting and rating for pre-existing conditions and lifestyle choices. These costs and their experiences in dealing with health insurers will be publicly disseminated to allow comparison with the government paid group coverage they now have.

    After one year they will have the choice to remain on their new, free market coverage or return to their Congressional group policy. Any bets on how many will choose the private free market as the best way to provide for health insurance coverage? I say NONE of them would put their money or their health where their mouth is.

  • BHA

    Cindy: “strong sense that Ashbrook, by the way he reports and the content that he reports on, is a proponent of the Republican party”

    Curious, I would have guessed Tom is more likely left of center.

  • BHA

    Ellen: “I think people will still pass up insurance — people in the decade before retirement where the costs are so high, people who are healthy and wouldn’t get any subsidy.”

    Interesting thought and probably true. From 55 to 65 you lay low, pay your fine and hope you don’t need medical care. Then, boom, you turn 65 and are eligible for Medicare.

    This whole health care thing reminds me of a comment a friend made related to the job prospects for kids getting out of school with a lot of debt now: “For once I’m glad I’m in my mid 50′s”. Her job is stable (at the moment anyway), she had no kids so she has been able to save for retirement and based on years of service is retirement eligible so even if she loses her job today, she can ‘retire’. I can see myself saying in the future: “For once I’m glad I’m in my mid 60′s and am off the health insurance train wreck”.

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    Cindy and BHA: I’d say your two observations about Tom mean he’s doing a great job of keeping things even.

    I wish Jim in Omaha’s idea could be enacted. Not just with healthcare but with social security and retirement and more. All Republicans who say this is moving us to socialism need to drop their government run health care, their government run retirement, stop visiting their government run national parks, stop driving on the federal highway system, stop flying on airlines that make use of the FAA, refuse to be scanned by TSA (another “government run program”) etc.

  • Todd

    “There is nothing in the bill about jail time if you don’t buy insurance. You can say it does as much as you like but doing so does NOT change the FACT that the bill does NOT make any reference to jail time for those who do not buy insurance.”
    Posted by BHA

    @ BHA:
    Oh really? The bill states that there IS a fine for those who don’t buy health insurance. Just because an express provision for jail time is absent from the bill does NOT mean that the possibility for jail time isn’t implied. What do you think will eventually happen to the people who can’t pay or refuse to pay the fine? People spend time in jail for non-payment of fines all the time. It’s simply false to state that jail time for not buying health insurance isn’t a possibility under this bill.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Jim, it is a big question what the “open market” — the upcoming exchanges — will actually offer, and at what cost. I doubt it is written in stone even if it is in the bill. Here in Massachusetts, we have an “exchange” since mandatory coverage began a few years ago. It simplifies shopping but doesn’t replace independently calling around. My insurer, Blue Cross, offers a better deal independently than under the umbrella of the state connector site. The insurers say this is generally true. That said, the insurance available has increased in price at least as fast AFTER mandatory coverage as before. One cuts back to where the co-pays and deductibles make care prohibitive. Nurses who say look, they treat anybody, stick with the old way, are forgetting, some of us don’t want treatment because it costs us. And if it costs us a lot, we are liable to go bankrupt.
    I do think the banks will be the big beneficiaries of this bill. Someone said there are 8,000 bankruptcies a day over health care costs. I could certainly be mistaken. For that matter, the Democratic congressman who said that could be mistaken. However, it seems likely that under the new bill, the banks won’t be taking huge losses over medical bankruptcies.
    I’d like to know where the doctors are who refuse to take insurance. We saw one such from Minnesota who charged $37 per symptom, no overhead for billing departments. It’s so different from where I live, where the uninsured get whacked with charges that are multiples of what the insured pay (through their insurers). And yet the insureds end up paying for those bills of the uninsured because those who get “whacked” end up bankrupt, and the premium-payers have to help pay the hospitals for their defaults.
    Oh, there is room for improvement.

  • Don Simmons

    A very sad day in what was a great country. The socialists Barry, Harry and Nancy now have what they want, not what America wants.This is just another entitlement program for those that have no intention of being gainfully employed and want to live off of our government(those of us that work or have worked). This 15 month process was truly a “railroad job’ and does not represent the views of most Americans. Yes I am a senior citizen that spent 42 years in the workplace and earned the healthcare provided my my employer, but now will loose my Medicare Advantage Plan. You bet I am mad as hell

  • Jay

    “Wavre, I hope you are ready to pay the universal premium for the universal healthcare that is government run and has more waste than private insurance!”
    Posted by Bob, on March 22nd, 2010 at 10:59 AM

    Government run socialized medicine Medicare has 3% overhead costs as compared to private for-profit 30% overhead costs. That’s right, private insurance is an order of magnitude more expensive that a government run program. It’s why fiscal conservatives like me are disappointed single-payer wasn’t even on the table, much less a government option (excised from the bill because wasteful private insurers feared they couldn’t compete with government efficiency.)

  • Drew

    Red states are the biggest recipients of govt. funded welfare/programs. It makes no sense why they wanted to shoot themselves in the foot on this.

  • Brett

    The Democrats didn’t win the debate, it’s that the Republicans just ran out of talking points and stall tactics! ;-)

  • Sam Wilson

    “Yes, I don’t like the Medicare and Social Security. I don’t like socialism because it does not work.
    Posted by Janet, on March 22nd, 2010 at 10:08 AM”

    Hey Janet,

    Please, please, please share whats your secret for the retirement or at least tell us what do you do for a living?

    I will love to try out anything to have a healthy balance in my pocket for a living which doesn’t include worrying about a sickness or retirement.

    Btw, my guess is that you are atleast a multimillionaire if not a billionaire.

  • Ben

    One of the guests said that this bill won’t cost us anything. Seriously? Here in Massachusetts, health care costs have skyrocketed since Romneycare was put in place.

  • Frank the Underemployed Professional

    Sadly, the Bill didn’t address our nation’s real, fundamental problem with health care–our current system of private insurance is inefficient and very expensive. Perhaps 30 million Americans will be forced into health care or subsidized, but the Bill won’t do anything to slow the growth in the percentage of GDP that we are spending. Will it even address the problem of medical bankruptcies (which are often filed by people who do have insurance)?

    In order for us to really address the cost of health care, we have to eliminate the insurance companies and adopt real socialized medicine, which has proven to work well in other countries and has proven to be much less expensive.

    Frank the Underemployed Professional

  • Jim in Omaha

    I agree with those vehemently opposed to imposing a small money fine on those who have the wherewithal to purchase health insurance but refuse to do so out of their convictions against government mandates. Instead, they and their dependents should simply be denied any health care whatsoever unless they exhibit the immediate ability to pay for it, in full, prior to being treated. No running up huge bills then running for the protection of the government-run bankruptcy system. And no government benefits if you or your dependents’ treatable illness causes disability because you can’t afford health care. If you can’t afford it, you don’t get it. Don’t ask the rest of us to bail you out. I implore all of you to act in a manner consistent with your expressed convictions.

  • Janet

    Hey evul libtard what is the limit of welfare we are expected to pay for? What is more important? Medical Insurance welfare or WIC? Head Start is more important than medical insurance? It’s time to eliminate some welfare programs.

  • http://FlusterCucked.blogspot.com Frank the Underemployed Professional

    Sadly, the Bill didn’t address our nation’s real, fundamental problem with health care–our current system of private insurance is inefficient and very expensive. Perhaps 30 million Americans will be forced into health care or subsidized, but the Bill won’t do anything to slow the growth in the percentage of GDP that we are spending. Will it even address the problem of medical bankruptcies (which are often filed by people who do have insurance)?

    In order for us to really address the cost of health care, we have to eliminate the insurance companies and adopt real socialized medicine, which has proven to work well in other countries and has proven to be much less expensive.

  • Sam Wilson

    “Hey evul libtard what is the limit of welfare we are expected to pay for? What is more important? Medical Insurance welfare or WIC? Head Start is more important than medical insurance? It’s time to eliminate some welfare programs.”


    Could you please refrain from name calling? Its not a civil way to participate in a talk/discussion.

    You can very well put your point without being disagreeable, please show some decency on your post.

    Btw, I’m still looking for an answer from your side, madam.

  • Liz

    Frank you’re totally right. I consider myself a rational, libertarian-flavored centrist — and it’s so obvious that the system we find ourselves with now is an evolutionary dead-end.
    And nobody in Congress even asked the basic question, “Why are we spending SO MUCH on health care?”
    I went to Switzerland this summer and I hardly saw a single overweight person. Why is that?
    These are the questions we need to ask.

  • Kim

    Regarding the claim that health care reform taxes violate freedom:
    A caller today claimed that he was upset about the new taxes that would arise from the health care reform arguing that taking his money and giving it to other people would render him unable to feed himself or his family and pay his bills. He also claimed he would go to jail for his beliefs. If that is the case, I would expect this person is not paying taxes for Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid, as these are situations in which the government essentially takes your money and gives it to someone else.

    To claim that this is unconstitutional and a violation of freedom is contradictory to “provide for the common good, promote the general welfare”. So in fact, the constitution supports this health care reform.

    I understand and agree that tax increases are unattractive and disheartening, but in the long run are usually worth it. Take Denmark for example, the nation with the highest tax rate in the world. They are among the healthiest, happiest, and most educated. A previous program on NPR highlighted the overall acceptance of these high taxes by the majority of the population.

    Jump off the “Obama Sucks” bandwagon, do your own research on these important milestone issues and form an independent opinion. Get your information from legitimate credited resources, not think tanks.

  • twenty-niner

    Great news for the health-insurance companies!!

    iShares Dow Jones US Health Care(ETF):
    53.16 +0.45 (0.85%)
    up nearly 100% from its March 09 lows!

  • KT

    To those who don’t want to pay for programs like WIC, Medicare, Head Start — does it bother you that far more of your tax dollars go to military spending? Why is that ok, but supporting fellow citizens (and yourself and your family, when you encounter hard times) is not, when NOT supporting those citizens contributes to more poverty and violence here on our own turf?

  • twenty-niner

    “To those who don’t want to pay for programs like WIC, Medicare, Head Start — does it bother you that far more of your tax dollars go to military spending?”

    It bothers me to no end, and the current deficit-spending plan should bother everyone. In 2009, the Fed added $1.34 trillion of Treasury and GSE paper to its balance sheet. How did the Fed pay for it? It simply printed the money and added it to the money supply. Inflation has been held in check, because of the drastic drop in M3 (because of the housing bubble pop):


    And don’t be fooled. Foreigners aren’t picking up the tab for the extra deficit:


    Of course, printing money is not a long-term strategy. The question is: what happens as the government gets used to all this free printed money? Will it be able to make the hard choices and drastically cut spending, while raising taxes? It seems Americans have little appetite for either.


  • Alex

    I have two things to say to those who claim the bill is expensive:

    1. The money is going to get spent anyway no matter who’s in power; and

    2. We are going to pay lots of taxes anyway no matter who is in power.

    Let people get some direct benefit from taxes they pay for a change. It’s called “trickle down.” We have just given corporations huge handouts in a form of two wars and enormous bailouts. Now it is trickling down to the people.

  • Alex

    Are these guys for real?


  • Michael

    Not to thrill about the bill and thought they could do more, but far better than sitting on our hands and wishing for something good to happen.

    Not sure if anyone said this but, the Democrat’s in both the House and Senate should thank Scott brown, since he enable them and gave them cover on pulling out some of the sweat heart deals that were made in the senate,and may not have passed if Martha was elected.

    haha the irony


    THANK YOU NANCY PELOSI you just saved 45,000 Americans that will be dying this year.

    For those People that are against the Healthcare reform.

    SHAME ON YOU! Shame the way you treat your fellow Americans who CANNOT AFFORD Health Insurance.

    WE SPENT MORE THAN 1 BILLION DOLLAR A MONTH for Iraq and Afganistan and you telling us that the Healthcare bill is too expensive THAT WILL SAVE Human Lives.

    Even soldiers will benefit from the Healthcare reform,
    better quality of care for every individual soldiers who lost their limbs,feet,ears,eyes,nose,hands,arms etc etc.

    Thank you God

  • Mari

    Wow. Let’s hope that the boiling vitriol over this historic legislation cools down a bit soon.

    The most important thing I have learned about my fellow countrymen and women during this debate has been that the most sensitive places on each American individual varies wildly. Some seem to experience their most intense sensations in their wallets while others feel it in their hearts.

    This legislation was cobbled together with an aim to satisfying both extremes on the sensitivity spectrum, yet is doesn’t appear to be hitting the spot for anybody, yet.

    To me, the wallet-sensitives appear to have the most intractable pre-existing condition of all: heart numbness. Hope they can get that fixed under these newly crafted, government approved, healthcare policies.

  • mark allen

    I don’t know? The majority of the people wanted this health care reform. So as people vote, the people got what they wanted. Majority wins. That’s Democracy, the last time I checked.

  • arlyn weber

    As a fiscal independent conservative, I am appalled by the negativity, deception and untruthfulness the Republican Party’s agenda is. The scare tactics the Republicans are using did not help them to defeat the health care bill. With medical bills accumulating and my savings deteriorating because of the co-pays, astronomical hikes in health insurance premiums and huge price increases in prescription drugs, I would like those individuals who voted against the Health Insurance Bill to get their own health insurance from a private company and see how bad health care really is.

  • cory

    As many of you may already know, I am a lefty. I must say however that Nancy Pelosi carrying that oversized gavel is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen! We’ve just gone through a difficult and controversial legislative battle, so let’s antagonize our opponents with an oversized novelty gavel and an arrogant expression! Man… wise up!

  • Mark S.

    I confess that I am not as big a fan of this bill as I could be. I would much prefer the elegance and simplicity of single-payer, or at least a plan with a strong public option. However, I will say that I am absolutely tickled beyond pink that the vile, mean-spirited, half-educated (“sixth grade was the three best years of muh life!”), retrograde, funny-hat wearin’, snakey-flag wavin’, racist, wingnut, teabaggin’ morons stepped up and voluntarily revealed themselves for what they truly are, as if we didn’t already know. That they seem to be approaching apoplexy gives me a warm feeling all over. Next thing yuh know the gummint is gonna try to get its hands on their Medicare … huh? You can’t buy that kind of entertainment.

  • Mark S.

    By the way, is anybody starting a fund we can contribute to so that we can help fund the ticket purchases of Limbaugh, O’Reilly, Hannity, Beck and the rest of the media superpatriots who will no doubt want to leave the country now that it is a fascist, socialist, communist, Marxist or whatever hellhole? It will have to be to someplace really, really safe, them bein’ chickenhawks and all…

  • http://www.gregleary.com Gregory Leary

    All the people crying out in protest that their freedom is being taken away fail to look at the other side of the coin. By them not having coverage I continue to see my health care costs increase way beyond the rate of inflation due to many people not having insurance. I have been forced for decades to take up the slack for those not paying – talk about no choice! I have had to take a second job to make up the loss of income due to rising insurance withholding and a 200% increase in co-pays for medication. What about my right not to have to pay for those not participating?

  • Mark S.

    By the way, did anyone see the videotape of the bastards berating, belittling and screaming their “luv it ‘er leev it!” crap at the old man with Parkinson’s sitting on the ground in D.C. last week, telling him to quit suckin’ off the system, no doubt threatening their tax cuts? My dad died of Parkinson’s. I wish I had been there in person. But then, it’s probably best I wasn’t, because I would still be trying to make bail and at least one or two people would be in the hospital running up the deficit. The “H” word falls far short of what I feel for those people and the sick, perverted vision of America the purvey.

  • Brett

    The press has erroneously reported that a member of Congress shouted out, “baby killer!” when Bart Stupak was speaking on the floor of the House yesterday. In reality, though, the so-called ugly outburst was made by Rep. Randy Neigebauer, who has been a longtime friend of Bart Stupak and is actually in favor of the bill as it regards moving forward. Also, Mr. Neigebauer’s pet name for Mr. Stupak is “Killer.” And, while Mr. Neigebauer has some reservations about certain aspects of the bill, Mr. Neigebauer recognizes that this is a beginning, that this is the “new-born” stage of the bill…So, what Mr. Neigebauer actually said was, “it’s a baby, Killer!”

  • Mark S.

    That’s “they purvey,” but it’s hard to type when you’re looking through a red fog…

  • Brett

    Also, did anyone see Mr. Boehner vehemently going at it at the podium on the House floor yesterday? Man, I really felt sorry for him; I’ll bet it was hard for him having to go all day and night without a drink. I do applaud him, though, for not succumbing to the boot flask idea!

  • Josh

    I think I figured out what some of the callers meant when they referred to jail time as a result of not paying for their mandated health insurance.

    Since they made very clear that the government taking their money “by fiat” was an affront to their personal freedom, they must not be paying their taxes on moral grounds.

    There’s jail time involved in long-term tax evasion, isn’t there?

  • Brett

    Let’s face it, with all of the falsehoods, spins, fear-mongering and out-and-out lies the Republicans have presented in the past year with respect to this bill, and with all of their might thrown toward defeating this bill…their efforts failed; they lost!

  • Ellen Dibble

    I think there are the equivalent of conscientious objectors among those who don’t pay taxes. They object to defense expenditures and end up camping in someone’s driveway while the government tries to take over their house.
    I am trying to think of the conscientious objector position in re health care. So long as the USA takes care of its citizens in any way, I WANT NO PART OF IT. COUNT ME OUT. Maybe they could have a T-shirt to that effect: COUNT ME OUT.

  • david

    Well the Dems. finally convinced the government educated dumb masses to drag this trojan horse into our life! What will fall out from it’s belly will be the total economic collapse of our system, but that is its purpose. What will happen, the evil insurance companies will be overwhelmed by the cost, the medical system will be overwhelmed by 30 million new patients. Premiums will skyrocket to cover cost, mergers of companies will start in order to survive. The Dems will grant amnesty to the 20 million illegals who will be added to the healthcare system. Cost will get out of control. Enter the total government take over of healthcare. Doctors will leave the system, rationing will be a reality. Long lines and waits will be the norm. Our desire to have a European look will come in the form of the VAT tax added on to all the other taxes that will follow. But!!!!! we will have Obamacare. Another teet on the belly of government.
    Never before in our history has the government forced us to buy a product from the private sector. We escaped the forced rule by the King of England back 200+ years ago only to come full circle to be enslaved by our own government.

  • Brett

    I urge all real Americans to form a coalition in opposition to this bill! Take it to the streets! Take our country back! Please, please organize protests at your insurance companies and demand they deny you coverage for pre-existing conditions! Demand they drop you from their coverage for getting sick! Demand they put stricter caps on your medical claims! And, what’s this about children getting coverage for pre-existing conditions? Nay, I say; if they are going to die, they’d better do so and decrease the excess population!

  • Brett

    According to your ilk, aren’t these supposed to be the end times anyway? Hey, the Bible never said the Rapture would be easy…but just think about when Jesus brings you back to earth! Huh? After His final battle with the anti-Christ, there’ll be no Democrats!

  • Todd

    “We escaped the forced rule by the King of England back 200+ years ago only to come full circle to be enslaved by our own government.”
    Posted by david

    Well said!

  • Brett

    Even if Republicans win every Democratic-held Senate seat that is up for grabs in 2010, and continue to hold the seats they now have, that makes 59 Senators! The Republicans will need 67 votes to repeal the health care bill! This is because Obama will veto Michele Bachmann’s “repeal bill,” then the Republicans will have to override the veto! …I guess your only hope now would be Mitt Romney in 2012…or how ’bout Bob McDonnell? Or how ’bout a Brown-Palin ticket? …

  • Michael

    “Never before in our history has the government forced us to buy a product from the private sector. We escaped the forced rule by the King of England back 200+ years ago only to come full circle to be enslaved by our own government.”

    Haha you must be kidding, yeah our founders fought so hard for freedom from enslavement,oppression,and rights,they went and enslaved Africans,denied rights to women, and people who didn’t hold land.

  • Brett

    The gavel was not some Pelosi joke to rub anybody’s nose in anything! It is not a “novelty gavel” but a ceremonial gavel used in the passing of major bills such as this one. The gavel is the very same one used in passing Medicaire, Civil Rights, Social Security, etc. The photo, albeit unflatteringly spontaneous, was not an intentional display of gloating. It looks as though the photographer caught Lewis, Pelosi and all in a spontaneous moment–they weren’t posing. You’re reading too much into the photo. Nobody’s goading Republicans into retaliation or anything.

  • Oh Yeah

    Well conservatives…

    How’s that hopey changey stuff workin’ out for ya now?

    Ha Ha Ha Ha Hee Ho Haw!

    That’s a dadburn knee-slapper!

    See you pea-brains in November… until then, enjoy Glen Beck!

  • jeffe

    david you seem to know so much about health care reform.
    Can you please site where you get this information from?
    I know people who live in Germany, Great Britain and Canada and not one of them complain about the health services in their countries.

    People in this country wait all the time for doctors appointments, sometimes months. In some cases you can spend a hour or more in a doctors waiting room.
    Then there are all the people who are denied coverage from the insurance companies.

    I just read about a family of 4 in California who pay over 12k a year for insurance and on top of that they have $3000 deductible for each family member plus co-pays! It seems to me that the high deductible is a rip off.

    In my opinion I think our market based system is uncivilized, period.

  • jeffe

    Mark S yes I did see that video of the “luv it ‘er leev it!” crap at the old man with Parkinson’s sitting on the ground in D.C. That was horrible and when the guy threw money at that poor man I just could not believe how nasty these people were.

    There are some very ugly nasty people in the country and we are now seeing these people for whom they really are.

  • jeffe

    Correction the video of the man with Parkinson’s was from Columbus, Ohio.


  • evul libtard

    David knows so much about what HCR will do, but he doesn’t know how to spell “teat”.

    I’m so sick of this worn out welfare queen meme. Are there problems with the system? Yes. But these programs DO help people. There are single mothers who work two jobs and their kids eat two meals a day at school— they need school subsidized meals.

    There are women who can’t take a job offered to them because 1) they have no affordable child care, or 2) the salary makes them un-eligible for aid, but isn’t enough to support the family. So conservatives complain about welfare, but fight a living wage. Do you see the problem with this?

    Why do you stupid, ignorant, selfish, …___ just assume it’s all “those” lazy, good for nothing, poor people who want to milk the system? Why should I pay for them, blah blah blah… There are families of self-employed people: contractors, etc who don’t get “employer sponsored insurance” who have to fork over tens of thousands of dollars to insure their families. Or those who just don’t get insurance, because they’d rather eat and pay their mortgage.

    You already pay for the indigent, and the working poor. That’s why costs have been rising for the last 30 years. Dear Saint Ronnie said everyone should get treated, another GOP mandate that didn’t get budgeted for—-in fact — yeah, let’s CUT TAXES for the rich and eliminate more revenue to the government! Starve that beast baby!

    Hospitals don’t eat the costs of treating people who can’t pay, they raise them. Insurance rates go up for all of us who do pay! The fellow Americans you are subsidizing aren’t lazy, some of them are just arrogant SOB’s like you who don’t think they need insurance. And when Johnny wraps his car around a telephone pole and ends up a paraplegic on Medicaid, guess what! You pay for him for the next 50 years!!! But God forbid we try to process and analyze all this information. It’s much easier to scapegoat the poor, lazy welfare teat-suckers, right Janet and David?

    We spend BILLIONS of dollars inefficiently. But God forbid we try to simplify the system to single payer. We could still spend billions, cover everything and everyone. But that would be…

    SOCIALISM!!!!1!1! OMG OMG OMG God forbid we don’t allow health insurance companies to exist to make money off of health care! America as we know it would cease to exist!!

    Never mind the “freedome” and entrepreneurial spirit that could arise from not having to worry about a job to cover your health insurance. To not have to pay $15K a year for it. Do you really think the tax increases for a national Medicare for all would be higher than what you pay now in health insurance? Oh, but that’s right. God forbid my money go to “those people”.

  • a democrat

    I think Jack is right the Republicans are playing with fire with their rhetoric
    on freedom and fear mongering of a big government take over on health-
    care. I am afraid some people will see themselves and their families as victims
    and this could have tragic consequences if someone doesn’t get out there and
    reassure individuals and families if they can’t afford health coverage they can
    get help…

    In addition, I was watching Glen Beck on the Fox Channel last friday night and I felt he and the Fox News network should be charged with incitment as he was surely playing on peoples’ fear stating “…the democrats must be stopped.”

    Of course, he never highlighted the healthcare and drug companies that are ripping of people daily for billions in profits and bonuses or indeed big Ele-
    phant in the room the defense establishment is costing almost 3.4 of a trillion this year alone in US tax payers monies thus depriving states and ordinary Americans essential local services.

    That’s where the protest should be today not on healthcare nor controls of the financial markets or reduced emissions but the war industry that’s taking from ordinary Americans in the US and mucking up other ordinary peoples’ lives in Afghanistan and Iraq…That’s the other war machine Obama & company must bring to a halt….

  • Michael

    I sure appreciated your show last night and as a third generation Californian and a devout Democrat who recalled Dad and his father discussing politics and what they went through in the 1930s on. Drs. Shulman and McElvaine besides Jack Beatty were very articulate and forthright. Some naysaying callers are so out of it as I have heard some protesting men in their 60s scream about making sure the big old grubby guvment keeps their hands off their ‘Medicare’ and even funnier,”I don’t want them involved in my access to the Veterans Hospital system”[sic]…! What galaxy are these kooks from? WHY IT’S SOCIALIZED MEDICINE…!

  • jeffe

    This bill is a win for the insurance corporations.
    The ban on preexisting conditions is a joke.
    It’s not taking any effect for what 3 years and then it does not stop the insurance corporations from denying the coverage. It only states that it’s illegal. Well you know what you will have to sue them. They will have to pay a paltry $100/day fine if they violate the rule.

    This is not only a joke it’s an insult.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I quote from the White House e-mailing today, the part that outlines consumer protection in health insurance:
    “This year, this bill creates a new, independent appeals process that ensures consumers in new private plans have access to an effective process to appeal decisions made by their insurer.
    “This year, discrimination based on salary will be outlawed. New group health plans will be prohibited from establishing any eligibility rules for health care coverage that discriminate in favor of higher-wage employees.
    “Beginning this fiscal year, this bill provides funding to states to help establish offices of health insurance consumer assistance in order to help individuals in the process of filing complaints or appeals against insurance companies.
    “Starting January 1, 2011, insurers in the individual and small group market will be required to spend 80 percent of their premium dollars on medical services. Insurers in the large group market will be required to spend 85 percent of their premium dollars on medical services. Any insurers who don’t meet those thresholds will be required to provide rebates to their policyholders.
    “Starting in 2011, this bill helps states require insurance companies to submit justification for requested premium increases. Any company with excessive or unjustified premium increases may not be able to participate in the new health insurance exchanges.

    The proof, as they say, will be in the pudding.

  • Rob L

    More burden on young people, more government bureaucrats, more reason for the state to use its overwhelming force against the individual. All so fatsos with diabetes can go on feeding their faces like swine at the public expense. What’s not to like?

  • twenty-niner

    “This bill is a win for the insurance corporations.”

    Exactly! Another huge win for the non-productive economy: banks, insurance companies, and giant paper-shuffling bureaucracies. This is a back-room deal, and the stocks of these health-insurance companies have been up big in anticipation of this bill. Why build anything in this country when we can just make money off of money and high-value services such as processing reams of insurance paperwork?

    The new American economy: one worker digs a whole, and the other fills it up. Every week, they switch so they won’t get bored. They both get paid with newly printed money.

  • m hampton

    I was so appreciative of the fact that they had Bruce Schulman on this program. He is someone who has dedicated his life to understanding our history in thorough as well as newer ways.

  • XC

    United States of America 1776-2010 Rest in Peace.

  • david

    Obama used the example of how a California insurance company raised its rates by 39% to show how evil the insurance companies have become. Nobody ask the question WHY they raised their rates? Probably none of you on this blog even asked, you just took the Pres. words as truth. The only truth was the 39%, but he left out the WHY? No one cares about that little bit of info.
    I misspelled teet on purpose to show to the world what most folks deem important.

  • Jon

    I am sorry. I’m a 40+ white mail who is a registered Republican and I voted for Obama. I agree that the predominance of visceral objection and conflict with White House agenda has been racist. The Tea Party itself has essentially become the Racist Party. Any party that invokes our Founding Fathers to discredit health care reform and and the same time invokes a leader (Palin) that can’t name a single founding father (which happened on Glen Beck’s own damn show) shows that the predominance of objection is only based on anger, meanness and unfortunately, race. Any party that objects to every single platform of the President and will not line up behind the flag on ANY issue has shown it’s true colors.

  • Brett

    so, pray tell, david, why did California’s BCBS raise its rates 39%? As you’ve stated the facts, why on earth would we believe the lying president who has participated in wrongfully maligning those benevolent insurance companies? (BTW, that’s very clever of you to misspell a word to show the world the hierarchy of what’s important and how we have mistakenly prioritized what we value!)

  • Gina

    Wellpoint claimed it raised its rates because of the “death spiral”. Insurance only works if you have healthy people and sick people in the pool. California’s economy being what it is, more people have dropped their plans because they can’t afford them. Unfortunately, the increases will probably cause more people to drop their coverage, leading to more increases… etc.

  • Mark Louis Uhrich

    The people who are screaming about health care reform will be very happy that they have it – when they get old and sick. I myself am very glad.

  • http://www.beccar.wordpress.com Eugenia Renskoff

    There is one thing I don’t understand about the Health Care debate. Why is it unconstitutional for people to be able to go to the doctor when they’re sick? Aren’t we all equal, with equal rights? Eugenia Renskoff

  • Frank Shane

    Gee, I wonder why there are certain people who are exempt from the health care reform? I thought that we were equal. I guess that is what happens when the bill is crafted in the back rooms. Tell me what input the Republicans had. The dems are the worst. November 2010 is coming.


    Capitol Hill Staff Could Avoid Obamacare Rules
    Wednesday, 24 Mar 2010 03:44 PM Article Font Size
    By: Dave Eberhart

    Some top Capitol Hill staffers who work for congressional committees or for party leaders in the House and Senate may be exempt from the newly enacted healthcare bill, the same controversial legislation they helped engineer and foist upon ordinary citizens, according to a Politico report.

    Language in the bill specifically and narrowly defines “congressional staff” – folks who under the new law must buy health insurance from state-run exchanges — as “employees employed by the official office of a member of congress, whether in the district office or in Washington.”

    Special: Do You Back Obama’s Healthcare Plan? Vote Here Now!

    According to the Politico report, the Congressional Research Service has opined that the courts could find that the legislation “would exclude professional committee staff, joint committee staff, some shared staff, as well as potentially those staff employed by leadership offices.” The bottom line: employees of Nancy Pelosi, the congresswoman from California, would be required to join the exchange program, while employees of Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, could legally keep the perk of the tried-and-true government plan.

    It’s a large loophole that has not gone unnoticed. Opponents, however, have been unsuccessful in efforts to shut the gap through amendments to the bill.
    “The American people will be appalled to learn the healthcare bill exempts leadership and committee staff. This special deal for unelected staff underscores everything the public detests about the arrogance of power in Washington, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., said. “I tried to fix this inequity along with senators Grassley, Burr and Vitter, but Majority Leader [Harry] Reid obstructed our effort.”

    Meanwhile, Sen. Harry Reid’s spokesman Jim Manley acknowledged that the bill exempts committee staff, but argued that leadership staff is not excluded.
    In the ongoing reconciliation process, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa put forward an amendment to force all congressional staffers, as well as the president, vice president, cabinet members and top White House staff to purchase coverage through the exchanges.

    “The new health care law creates two double standards. The congressional staff who wrote the new law exempted themselves from the new health care system, while other staff will be in it,” Grassley said. “And, President Obama himself will not live under Obama healthcare. The message to grassroots America is that it’s good enough for you, but not for us.”

  • david

    The reason California insurance company raised its rates to 39%..
    “Let’s just take a quick look at what happened to Anthem .. a health insurance company in California. Recently Anthem hiked its insurance premiums by … what? Something like 38 or 40%. But did anyone try to figure out just why Anthem had to increase premiums? Here’s your explanation. California brought millions of citizens into its own state version of Medicaid. These millions of people started swarming into hospitals and to doctors for their “free” medical care. Trouble is, California also cut back on payments to health care providers at the same time. The health care providers then shifted their costs over to actual paying customers … customers insured by Anthem. There go the premiums.”
    From Deptartment of Public Services, Los Angeles County “ALONE” Annual cost of illegals in this county alone is $400 million in healthcare, $500 million in welfare and food stamps. 24% of county’s welfare and food stamp benefits go directly to children of illegals. ER’s are required to take them so the cost are pasted to those who pay, results, higher premiums.
    The problem is Economics 101, Supply and Demand. When demand is greater than supply, the results is either shortages or higher prices.
    I hope Obamacare has factored all this in.

  • oh yeah








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