All You Need to Know About Pelosi's Health Care Bill

I'm working on being more succinct.  I wish Congress would.


So, Con-men, ruin us

To Mr. Jim Guest, CEO, Consumers Union:

Last week I cancelled my subscription to Consumer Reports.

It wasn't because I sprained my eye muscles from rolling them every time I had to wade through the underlying global-warming-eco-religion whackism in every stinking product review. It wasn't because you have abandoned any pretense of objectivity and became a government snitch for the EPA. It wasn't even the condescending email I received from P. Rick Burns, Customer Relations Representative #1326379, which effectively said that my opinions were not sufficiently enlightened enough to appreciate how hard CU has "fought" for me, the lowly, weak and uneducated consumer.

No, what ripped it was your obviously partisan urging to support the Democrat health care plan(s). "Doing nothing about health care is not a solution" and "policymakers need to find a solution this year" ... did you hire James Carville to write this for you? "We don't endorse candidates" my ass.

So I cancelled my subscription. Why would I want to continue to support your statist agenda? Especially since I'll never be able to trust your auto reviews now that your minders and union brethren own the American auto companies!

Interestingly, within 72 hours of cancellation, the volume of spam to my email account quadrupled. I suggest you amend the section of your privacy policy which reads:

If you have an online subscription to one of our sites, purchase and download any of our online reports and services, or enter an online contest or sweepstakes, Consumer Reports will not exchange or rent for promotional purposes any information that specifically identifies you.

In the interest of full disclosure you should probably add in:

But if you cancel your subscription, all bets are off ... we're selling your email address to every spammer we know.

One of the spammers, of course, is Consumers Union itself, and today I received an email from you, Mr. Jim Guest, CEO, asking me to "demand action" on health care reform. Typically fascist of you. Are you so intent on action, action, ACTION that you don't care about why subscribers cancel and you don't think we can take the time to make the right kind of reforms?

Here's a step-by-step response to your insipid email.

Have you dreamed of becoming your own boss, going back to school, moving to a new place, having another child—but then thought, 'what about my health coverage?'

No. But if I did my thought would be, why has the government created such a freaking monstrous regulatory and litigation filled environment which makes my health coverage so expensive?
Most of us worry about paying for health care, even if we have good insurance, and we give up a lot of our dreams for a little health security. We give up dreams of retirement, a different career or better education. Millions who have poor coverage or no insurance at all give up needed check-ups, preventive care and medication.

We don't worry about paying for health care ... we worry about paying for insurance! Riddle me this, Mr. Obama regurgitator ... why do we need insurance coverage for preventative care and check-ups anyway? Do you buy insurance to replace tires or get your oil changed? And if anyone is giving up their "dream" for the sake of "health security" it either isn't a very big dream, or they are such wussies they probably wouldn't succeed anyway.
It's time to give all Americans freedom from the health insurance trap. In the health care reform we envision, you can keep good insurance coverage if you've got it, or choose reliable alternatives that cover what you need at affordable rates. No one is denied for pre-existing conditions; no one goes bankrupt because of illness. With that kind of freedom, you don't have to put aside your dreams.

Freedom from the health insurance trap? Don't you realize that the government CREATED that trap by incentivizing employers to provide insurance and separating the consumer from the purchasing decision? And there you go again repeating Obama's lie that you can keep your insurance (that's right, I said it - he lied!). What makes you think insurance companies will even want to compete in this market? What makes you think employers will not just pay a fine and leave employees swinging, grasping for a 'public option'? And the pre-existing conditions ... do you not understand the concept of risk? How do you expect insurance companies to stay in business if they cannot use their actuaries to design products? And that whole business of no one going bankrupt due to illness ... well, that's about as a likely as a world free of nuclear weapons. How naive. And how you can equate these current congressional health care plans to freedom is beyond me. What about the freedom to opt out? Oh, you can't allow that because some people might not be responsible enough to take care of themselves and then we all have to shoulder the burden, right? Wrong. They roll the dice, they take their chances and besides I don't see dead people stacking up in the streets because they are being denied care, do you?

To get the kind of health security we need, insurance companies should be required to take all applicants, employers should be required to cover their employees or pay into the system, and we need to allow people to buy into something like Medicare.

Do insurance companies get to set the price for "all applicants" or will it be mandated to make it "affordable?" Can you say, 'buh-BYE insurance companies'? Do you not understand that the high cost of employment is already a terrible burden on our economy, especially for small and mid-sized businesses? Yeah, let's make the employers pay ... what do they do for us except provide wages to everyone. Besides, they're all rich, right? And why would you want "something like Medicare."  Are you insane?  MEDICARE IS BANKRUPT! You worry about individuals going bankrupt, but don't care about the entire freaking country? Simply amazing.

If we are going to each shoulder financial responsibility for health care—individuals and employers alike—then the coverage must be affordable. But we also must be smarter about how we spend our health care money. We now spend too much for too little. We don't need to pay for hospital-acquired infections or substandard care. We do need to pay for prevention and the effective management of chronic disease. When we catch illness early, we enjoy a better outcome at a lower cost.

Why is it that when liberals speak of 'shouldering financial responsibility' they forget to mention that this burden is already way out of whack, with 25% of the population paying 85% of the taxes. If you continue to punish the successful at some point, they quit ... and then who totes the note? And why do we spend too much today? Well there is waste, fraud, malpractice insurance, research and development, excessive regulation, over testing, coverage mandates and of course that nasty 3% profit ... a whole host of reasons, but fundamentally it's because the consumer is insulated from the real costs and the actual transaction for goods and services. If there was market pressure, instead of Medicaid payment schedules and government mandates, efficiencies would improve, bad providers would be driven out and prices would go down. And that whole "preventative care reduces costs" *HS drives me crazy. More screening, more visits, more tests will drive costs up and if you don't believe me, how about the New England Journal of Medicine ? If you want to see lower costs, make people write a check for the cost of services ... they'll be wheeling and dealing like Charlie Rangel at an IRS audit and who knows, maybe they won't buy that carton of cigarettes so they can pay for the chest x-rays ... give the consumer some freedom to decide. Sound familiar?

Without reform, what dreams will our children have to give up? Our children will enjoy even less health care security than we have today, and pay more to care for us. We have an opportunity right now to finally overcome the obstacles that have defeated reform for decades, but we all need to work together to make it happen. Do you know anyone else who might join you in action? Forward this e-mail to them so they can send their own message.

OMG. I cannot believe you brought the kids into this. I'll tell you the dream they have to give up ... the dream of ever getting out of DEBT you ignorant TWIT! And health care security? Seriously, is anyone secure in regard to their health care? Ok, maybe PRISONERS! I'll tell you what we have an opportunity to do ... we have an opportunity to avoid yet another government intrusion into our lives, the greatest and likely final one. In the next 40 years, spending on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will double. DOUBLE. And we can't afford it now, genius. How are you going to pay for this? And don't give me that 'budget neutral' crap. If it's budget neutral, why do I have to start paying for it now, but it won't kick in for three more years? It's 'budget neutral' in exactly the same way that Social Security is self funded. What a maroon you are. And what exactly is it that you want to make happen? The destruction of our economy and our country?

Oh, and I'm forwarding this email alright ... I hope you'll be hearing from them.

Sorry I can't give you a 'Best Buy' rating ... although you scored "Excellent" in the sanctimony, arrogance and fascist categories they are not the features in which most consumers are interested.

Consumers Union ... an anagram of So, Con-men, Ruin Us. I should have known better than to subscribe in the first place.


A former subscriber

* Horse


My Brother's Keeper

... for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.

Someone tossed out this New Testament scripture (Matthew 25:35-36) in a discussion about health care reform. They added their own addendum, 'I needed healthcare and you gave me affordable insurance' expecting, of course, for everyone to come to the conclusion that Jesus supports Obama.

In July religious leaders from "a wide spectrum of faith traditions" issued a statement of support for health care reform, proclaiming it an urgent need. In August, President Obama participated in a national call-in and audio webcast to rally support from the religious community for his (or someone's) plan. He took that opportunity to declare providing health care for all an ethical and moral obligation, and even threw in a few King James Version phrases, "bearing false witness" and "brother's keeper". Which do you think is more authentic, Obama quoting scripture, or Karl Rove rapping?

Our pastor wrote in this month's newsletter that "Jesus was a liberal." In this week's Sunday School lesson the author writes "Giving priority to the welfare of persons over profits rouses fear and resentment in many hearts" and makes the argument that many are fearful of Christianity because it is a threat to our Western culture and, presumably, capitalism.

I am wary, and weary, of people who use religion as a weapon in social policy and political debates.

Dad didn't go to church. Somewhere around 1970 an elder from the church Mom took us to told me that I needed to 'work on' getting my father to church, but I wasn't about to talk church with Dad. He once told me that as a kid he was baptized every time a Baptist or Methodist tent preacher came to town, which was at least twice a year, and he was pretty sure he was covered. Anyway, this elder informed me that if Dad didn't come to church, he'd end up in hell. I never mentioned the conversation to Dad; his reply wouldn't be hard to imagine. I've never fully trusted "organized religion" since.

This story is just a little background to illustrate my life-long distaste and distrust of anyone who uses 'faith' or 'religion' or 'GEE-zuss' to justify their actions or promote their agenda. If the elder was truly interested in my father's soul, he should have been talking directly to him, not through a child. Simplifications like 'Jesus was a liberal' and 'capitalism is evil' tell us much more about the author's political opinions than they do about Christ. And does any rational human being, religious or not, believe that bombers, whether the suicide or abortion clinic type, are doing God's work? If God does not work at the political extremes, why would He work in the middle? In my opinion, God is not a politician, and the Bible is not a position paper (or a science book).

Now Cain talked with Abel his brother and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

This Old Testament scripture (Genesis 4:8-9) is the original source of "my brother's keeper." Cain is essentially asking God, sarcastically, if he is 'responsible' for his brother. Most people assume that God's answer is "Yes, of course you are!" Of course you should help your brother ... it's the moral and ethical thing to do, it's what Jesus would do, it's what compassionate Christians should do ... you should always take care of your brothers and sisters.

You can, however, interpret this story in other ways. Animals in zoos have keepers, not the people made in God's image. Would Abel want to be 'kept' by his brother Cain? These are grown men with careers; Abel was described as a 'keeper of sheep.' If Cain had said, 'My brother is not a sheep and I am not his keeper', which seems a fair rephrasing, would President Obama be using this scripture as the moral foundation for his (or someone's) health care plan?

In this Biblical story God did not answer "Yes, you are your brother's keeper." Instead, the first thing God says is, "What have you done?" This is not a lesson about failure and omission, of simply forgetting to 'keep' your brother. This is a lesson about being responsible for your actions. Cain killed his brother. He took his life. Cain didn't forget to be compassionate toward his brother, he used his strength against his brother in a fit of anger and jealousy. The question from this scripture that should be used in the health care debate is not "Am I my brother's keeper?" but rather "What have you done?"

Assume for a moment that the current iteration of Obama's (or someone's) plan passes. How would we answer 'What have you done?' Have we provided affordable health care for all? No, we have not - not practically and not personally. Have we become our brother's keeper? No, we have not. We have instead handed our brother over to be kept, by the government. We have imprisoned him. Have we become more moral and ethical? No, we have not. We will have abdicated those obligations to the government, and to the "rich" and unrepresented future generations, who must pay for it.

I am not my brother's keeper, nor do I want to be. I also don't wish to be 'kept.' I have no need of Presidents defining morality, or of 'religionists' controlling public policy. It is not moral or ethical to give up personal responsibility or to empower bureaucratic keepers. The Democrats like to frame this debate in terms of "doing something" versus "doing nothing," yet it is the Democrat plan (or someone's) that requires us to do nothing. Health care becomes a government problem. Paying for it becomes someone else's debt, and we won't even have to take care of our brother, someone else will be keeping him.


Valid Questions

BackyardConservative: Bill Ayers No Dream

When Barack Obama first made a splash I had not one, not two but three friends give me a copy of "Dreams of My Father". They were all quite goo-goo over him based on his books. I thought they (both books) were pretty much just sentimentalism and self-promotion - something you could watch on Oprah in a 10 minute interview.

When the 'Ayers wrote Dreams' conspiracy(?) theory popped up it seemed plausible to me. It's not like there wasn't a precedent. I'm sure Ayers was yanking this blogger's chain here ( or telling the truth with deniability still intact ), but the question it raises is valid ...

IF it had been proven during the campaign that Obama had a ghostwriter for his autobiography, any ghostwriter, not just Ayers, would he have won the nomination or the election? And IF it's true, would it change your opinion of him now?