Beyond the Cusp

July 4, 2012

Do We Really Need More Uninvolved Voters?

Many people on both sides of the political spectrum are having misgivings over the recent Supreme Court decision concerning the Affordable Health Care for America Act (Obama Care). Those on the Left end of the spectrum were less than enamored with the Supremes ruling that the States could not be penalized for refusing to expand their Medicaid and Medicare spending in order to cover all provisions included within Obama Care by having their Federal subsidies revoked. This will allow any or all of the States to option not to extend additional funding and coverage thus placing the onus to cover these expenditures with the Federal Government. This may very well prove to be the stumbling block to implementing Obama Care universally throughout the country. That may lead to some states being an active member under Obama Care while other states would not be included in the stipulations in Obama Care unless the Federal Government agreed to provide all the funding. Should this lead to the condition where not all States would have to apply the full mandates in Obama Care then those who optioned to be included might become havens for those seeking such coverage for some personal reasons.

On the right side of the spectrum there were numerous camps with many people having more than one problem with the Supreme Court rulings. The most obvious dispute was that many felt assured Obama Care was completely and utterly against the Constitution. They, for a large part, felt that since Obama Care was presented not as a tax but as a mandate under the Commerce Clause, that under that definition would not allow the government to force people to purchase anything, let alone healthcare insurance. Others were simply in shock when they realized that even Justice Anthony Kennedy was vehemently opposed to deeming Obama Care as Constitutional and even wrote a scathing minority opinion for the Court strongly stating what had been defined as the strict constructionist, conservative opinion. Others were more specific in their objections and simply had difficulty with the personal mandate which placed them in a similar camp as many of those surprised by the Constitutional ruling for the majority of the stipulations challenged in the Court. Then there were those who were most upset with the reasoning by Chief Justice Roberts that it is not the purview of the Supreme Court to protect the people from the decisions of their duly elected representatives. Those in this group argue that it is exactly within the powers of the Supreme Court to decide that the actions or legislations produced by the other two branches of the Government whether done individually or jointly are Constitutional or not. They took umbrage that the Chief Justice opined that the Supreme Court was not so empowered as to dissolve or negate actions by the rest of the government as it was basically a complete disemboweling of the powers of the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Roberts by his opinion has neutered the Supreme Court by negating the power of the Court to overturn legislation under the grounds of its being against the restrictions on the Federal Government contained in the Constitution, a power which was originally established by Marbury v. Madison when he declared parts of the Judiciary act of 1789 unconstitutional in 1803. Instead, this decision removes this power and responsibility from the Supreme Court Justices and lays it at the feet of the people and their elected representatives. Chief Justice Roberts has now placed the power of determining Constitutionality with the other two branches of government in all matters concerning duly passed legislation, probably the most drastic and important affect this decision will have going forward.

The United States will now be forced to answer Chief Justice Robert’s challenge. The hue and cry resultant from this challenge set forth by this decision has mostly rung around a call to action in the upcoming November elections. This may very well result in making the November elections more of a potential recall petition over Obama Care than simply a normal Presidential and Congressional election cycle. The demand has been strongest by conservatives who have made the call for every person who cares about the future of the United States and to its Constitution to make sure they are registered to vote and exercise their right to vote. Whether or not you agree with their seemingly panic mode overreaching excitement makes little difference, this has become their rallying call. Those who support the opinion expressed by Justice Roberts or simply are supportive of the decision on the Constitutionality of Obama Care will need to either answer this call with one of their own which will simply guarantee the election being a referendum over Obama Care. This is where everything gets interesting. It would be one thing if only those who are actually animated by these events were the ones who went to the poles and voted, but with the heightened emotional aspects of this vote will result in likely interesting consequences. One will obviously be the higher likelihood for voter fraud and other shenanigans. This can be fought by both sides being vigilant and having more than usual observers at polling locations making sure all laws and requirements are enforced and everything is performed by the book and aboveboard. The other side effect will be increased occurrence of both sides placing far more emphasis on recruiting and registering people who may not normally bother with voting and persuade them to support their particular views. This might result in many people voting in one way or the other with little or no knowledge as to the why and wherefores of the votes they cast. This is likely to be even worse than usual and may not be the healthiest of efforts as there are sufficient people already simply voting as some influence instructs them to vote without having any honest preference or knowledge on the candidates and choices. There are those who will simply say this is one of the drawbacks of having a democracy. Others will answer back that we are a republic, not a democracy. Neither side will actually address the issue of what can politely be called ignorant voting. I guess that is something that actually is a result of our overriding desire to increase ballot access by any means possible, as long as it gets more people who support what our side wants. We don’t really need more voters as much as we need more informed voters.

Beyond the Cusp

June 30, 2012

Is Romney the Cure for Obama Care?

Many conservatives remain in a state of shock and disbelief after the Supreme Court decision upholding the Constitutionality of the Affordable Health Act, aka Obama Care. As these opponents to Obama Care regain their equilibrium, they begin to approach the actions which may be taken in order to revoke Obama Care and return the country to some semblance of sanity. From many directions the cry has begun to take all measures necessary to both prevent the reelection of President Obama and elect Romney to be the next President. Such a call demands we assess whether or not a Romney Presidency would actually be the cure-all which so many are now claiming. The numbers of conservatives who are new advancing Romney as the cure is surprising, especially when you remember where these people stood during the Republican primaries. Many of these same proponents for a Romney win had likely taken a number of stands through the primaries moving from one challenger to the next as each made their initial move to the head of the pack only to fall short. A change of direction and support of proportions this massive that similar transformations are rare in all of political history are not something the average person can fully grasp and recover from with ease or too quickly. So, let’s answer the question as to whether or not having Mitt Romney be elected in November will be the panacea for the United States and the Constitution that many are claiming he will be.

 

The first hint as to what the problem would be under a Romney Presidency was revealed not so much by the press conference he gave announcing his reactions and views concerning the Supreme Court upholding of Obama Care but was more evident from the sign emblazoned on the podium which read, “Repeal and Replace Obamacare.” This slogan drives one to tend to accept the “repeal” part of the sign on Obama Care while one must demand an explanation what is meant in the “replace” part of the message and also why anything needs to be replacing Obama Care once it has been repealed. There have been some prophetic comments made during his campaign since he tied up the Republican nomination in response to queries concerning Obama Care. On a number of occasions Mitt Romney has proudly proclaimed that he believes that parts of Obama Care are exemplary and deserve to be preserved. He has further commented that he would definitely keep the more popular items such as keeping adult children on their parent’s insurance through age twenty-six, outlawing refusal of insurance coverage or increasing rates for people who have preexisting conditions and that these preconditions must be covered as well as other provisions which he will reveal in time. Now, is this the solution you were seeking? Did you want to have Obama Care Lite, aka Romney Care, or did you wish for overturning the entire package? Many staunch conservatives desire the complete overturn of everything included in the thousand-plus pages of the entirety of the Affordable Care Act so as to include a number of other sundry items within the legislation which had nothing to do with healthcare or health insurance. One example was a different set of laws pertaining to various obligations and requirements in owning gold as well as some additions to the tax codes. We must insist on everything that was included in this nefarious piece of legislation be expunged from the books and hopefully history as well.

 

On a further note, even if a Romney Presidency did actually intend to eliminate every iota of the Affordable Health Act, the question remains of could he manage to push the Congress to pass the necessary legislations overturning everything. The most obvious roadblock to refuting Obama Care is the necessity for attaining the sixty votes in order to pass in the Senate. Even deeper we find that very likely some Republicans may not choose to repeal the entirety of the legislation simply for the fear of setting such a precedent. There is always the hope that an equal or greater number of Democrat Representatives and Senators would cross over and assist in the repeal since the majority of their constituents support them doing this. But the truth must be recognized that a President Mitt Romney will most definitively not repeal all of Obama Care because, as he has stated in various speeches, Romney has strong desires to retain many of the stipulations and regulation within Obama Care which he fully intends to keep or reenact should the entire legislation be overturned. That is not removing Obama Care, it is managing or massaging Obama Care. We must recall one item about Mitt Romney’s personality and style, he is not so much an innovator or inventor, he is a manager who adjusts and reorders ideas and procedures to increase efficiencies and maximize affect. This should make anybody nervous regarding his actions towards Obama Care. Fear and trembling is very much in order no matter which candidate is elected President in November as it is a choice of degree, not direction.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

June 29, 2012

Supreme Court Upholds Obama Care Constitutionality

To the satisfaction of too many and the disappointment of the rest it was as pronounced as it was divisive as the Supreme Court nine Justices split five-to-four to uphold as Constitutional all four points the court was petitioned to review. These four points are:

  1. Whether the “individual” mandate is constitutional.
  2. Whether SCOTUS has the authority to rule on a tax law even though it hasn’t come into effect.
  3. Should the individual mandate be overturned, would it be cut from the rest of the law as a separate entity or will other provisions fall with it.
  4. Whether the law’s Medicaid expansion is constitutional.

There is one item in this vote that has come as a huge surprise, nay, disappointment from today’s Supreme Court decision. Justice Kennedy was seen as likely to be the deciding vote with the rest of the court split evenly at four-to-four. As it has been reported, Justice Kennedy actually ended up writing the minority opinion claiming the side opposed to the Affordable Care Act’s Constitutionality while Chief Justice Roberts joined with Justice Elena Kagan, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice Stephen Breyer, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor who voted in favor of the Affordable Care Act’s Constitutionality. This is the Chief Justice Roberts of whom we were assured by President George W. Bush was a strict constructionist conservative who would dependably uphold a narrow interpretation of the Constitution as ably as any conservative or libertarian. Well, after today’s decision by Chief Justice Roberts, I would like to have my money back as he did not perform up to the standard under which he was presented. This is now all water under the bridge, over the dam, and now flooding the country. The only question now is, “What else will the government be allowed to insist through laws that we must purchase?”

 

Since it has now been set as precedent that the government can require as a mandate that every American citizen must purchase health insurance which must meet criteria and standards as described by the Federal Government, we are now left to anticipate the price of said insurance and what it will require from us in co-pay or other required remittance. As for what exactly this insurance must include is yet to be decided and will be the responsibility of the Secretary of Health and Human Services to decide. This will mean that with every new administration the requirements of healthcare may be changed and or modified by the next Secretary of Health and Human Services. This one fact is extremely likely to turn healthcare insurance and coverage into as significant a boondoggle as the IRS Tax Code. We can be guaranteed that almost every incoming Secretary of Health and Human Services will have their own pet requirements which they will add to the ever expanding list of coverage mandated under the Affordable Care Act. Then there will also be those items which the new President will also push to have included thus within a few decades the health insurance will be as incomprehensible as the income tax code has mutated to.

 

There is one very important and distressing inevitability resultant from today’s ruling by the Supreme Court. One of the restrictions placed on everybody’s health insurance is that it must contain a minimum of required coverage as well as other items which would be considered excessive or overly generous coverage which any insurer providing such are required to pay a penalty for providing coverage deemed as being too good. If this were the idea coming from anywhere other than the Federal Government one would find it incredulous. But wait, it gets worse. While you are allowed to retain your present coverage or whatever coverage you acquire by some set date, if after said date your coverage changes in any number of items such as coverage or inclusions among others, then you will be immediately required to take your insurance from the Federal Government provided health insurance. This begs the question of whether this would include changes to your health insurance coverage resultant from new mandates imposed by the Federal Government. Under such conditions, the rules could force changes every year until they reach a point where virtually everyone, if not everyone, would have necessitated a change in their health insurance terms and coverage. This would be an avenue by which the Federal Government could take a backdoor path forcing full Federal Government Healthcare Insurance. This would have absolutely no difference from socialized healthcare completely under the auspices of the Federal Government. Simply stated, we would then have been forced into a single-payer healthcare system under total control of the Federal Government.

 

We still need to also look deeper into exactly what might become a requirement for each and every American under the laws which will result from the permutations and mutations of the Affordable Care Act. We will eventually have, or may already have, a Secretary of Health and Human Services who believes strongly that preventive measures are absolutely necessary in order to lower the cost of healthcare which will sooner or later be the full responsibility of the Federal Government. Some of the items and stipulations which might come down the pike include forced exercise classes; regulated dietary plans should a government physician deem such was required to improve your health; maximum and minimum caloric intake for every citizen; the complete banning of unhealthy practices such as using tobacco or alcoholic beverages; legal denial of certain activities which could place a person in unnecessary risk of injury such as rock climbing, mountain climbing, riding motorcycles, climbing trees, playing many contact sports; and near countless more which is only limited by one’s imagination.

 

Then there is the last and far most insidious of likely consequences which we have observed in every country where socialized, government provided, health care has been implemented, rationing of healthcare. The reality behind this comes from the simple consequence of supply and demand, thus when the supply is not limited while the price remains constant that always results in uncontrollably high demand. For those who are covered by Government provided health insurance, they will have a set price while they will be presumably covered for all health concerns. We have already witnessed the results from such systems with the spiraling costs resultant from Medicare and Medicaid. Having worked in a major hospital for over a decade, I can relay that at some times healthcare is seriously rationed to the point of actual refusal of any life-saving measures. I have witnessed a DNR code (do not resuscitate) placed on a patient’s chart simply because the insurance coverage has run out and their care was no longer being provided. This was most often applied to elderly patients without any family members or where none were located. A DNR code simply means that no efforts are to be utilized if the patient should code, another word for die. We can fully expect that at some point, very possibly sooner than later, the government will implement some system for determining whether providing health care beyond routine procedures and items should be provided depending on criteria for each patient. Under such a system, those who have permanent ailments such as diabetes, heart problems, or any debilitating or chronic health issues would receive a lower level of overt care. Such patients very likely would be refused extensive or expensive operations or ongoing care and instead simply medicated for “discomfort” and left to nature’s course. President Obama has said as much on a few occasions. In more severe use of such criteria, those who are of advanced age or the very young would not be provided with extensive or expensive operations or ongoing care and similarly left to face a natural progression. These systems prorate the level of care tied directly to your ability to provide and contribute to the good of the society. Thus, retired or disabled citizens no longer contribute to the overall good of the society and have actually become a drain on resources, and thus are more likely to be denied extensive or expensive operations or ongoing care. The same applies to the very young, especially if the necessary treatment would not guarantee they would reach an age or level of ability to enter the workforce or otherwise be of a benefit to the society.

 

The United States of America took a definitive step towards a less caring and less civil society by this decision. What makes it all the worse is that this was enacted and presented as a compassionate and superior method of providing for the healthcare of every American, but it will soon become apparent that it is exactly the opposite. We cannot expect the mainstream media to cover any stories in the near-term which will reveal the dark side of the Affordable Care Act, but many will soon know of somebody or be that somebody with a horrific tale to tell. The Affordable Care Act will not prove to be the panacea that it was promised, instead it will very likely be a death sentence for many should it last more than a few years and most certainly should it last over one decade. Americans are about to receive the most telling and supremely expensive lesson in exactly how crass and course government really can be. One can only hope that this is quickly realized and that once a good many have been brought to their senses via the realities of denial of care which are sure to come and come soon, then they will lead the country back into sanity and the world’s best and most compassionate healthcare. It is sad, truly sad; that we will need to have this lesson taught within the United States and did not simply learn it through observation of the failure of government when given the responsibility and obligation of caring for the people.

 

Beyond the Cusp

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