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Thread: Obamacare Is Unconstitutional?

  1. #1
    SiriuslyLong is offline
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    Obamacare Is Unconstitutional?

    Whilst Havakasha has a ball bashing Sarah Palin, I'd be interested in hearing Atypical's opinion on the constitutionality of "Obamacare". While the intention of providing healthcare to all is noble, what seems clear to me is that the Federal Government is setting a new precident for their power. I would think there would be some concern - not only are they increasing their power over everyone, but what is next? When there is power, there is abuse of power, correct? Here are a couple interesting links.

    21 States so far have joined to challange the constitutionality of the legislation. 4 more and we have half the nation. Something doesn't seem right.

  2. #2
    Atypical is offline

    GOP Freaks Out Over Health Care's Economic Impact, Private Insurers Remain Calm

    The consequences of the flip to Republican governorships during the midterms is starting to rear its head. As of yesterday, the GOP governors of 25 states vowed to join the Florida lawsuit against the Obama Administration seeking to block the healthcare bill. Some of their argument lies in the false notion that administering an expanded Medicare program will break the backs of the states... even though private insurers are developing contracts with individual states to do the dirty work.

    The Republican's distortion of the truth about the Affordable Care Act continues, but their theories just keep being deunked. For instance: after the ridiculous scare tactics that giving “grandma” more medical benefits will somehow magically kill her, one of the big Republican arguments against the healthcare bill it was that it would erase 1.6 million jobs and dust the budget. The Congressional Budget Office has reported those fears are simply untrue -- the workforce could diminish by 0.5% because people have the means to retire earlier, not because jobs are lost -- but still, the GOP continues to spread lies about the healthcare bill's potential impact. Daily Finance reports that an independent analysis by FactCheck dispels the notion that "The House Republican leadership. . . badly misrepresents what the Congressional Budget Office has said about the law. In fact, CBO is among those saying the effect 'will probably be small.'"

    A new report on Politico underscores that point. Investors and existing private health care companies are much more relaxed than hysterical lawmakers looking to distort the bill, with several insurers saying the regulations have helped increase stability. Even huge companies like Aetna are seeing the benefits in keeping the bill intact:

    Health insurers spent barely anytime discussing Republicans’ repeal efforts. Aetna’s Zubretsky touched on the subject briefly only to say that Republicans understand that a rifle shot approach to tearing out specific health reform provisions, particularly the individual mandate, would not bode well for their business.

    “The unintended consequence of repealing and replacing part of the legislation is the biggest risk here,” he said. “If guaranteed issue stays but the enforceable mandate disappears, you need another mechanism to make the costs in the risk pool work.”
    This is not the last word on this subject - just a point. But a point that shows that repukes are lying again for political gain. As I have stated before the companies wrote most of this legislation and agreed to the rest. The 'mandate' pays them well for their acquiescence.

    See this link for other links to more relevant information.
    Last edited by Atypical; 01-13-2011 at 05:03 PM.

  3. #3
    Havakasha is offline
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    The article:
    PolitiFact's Lie of the Year: 'A government takeover of health care'
    By Bill Adair, Angie Drobnic Holan
    Published on Thursday, December 16th, 2010 at 11:30 p.m.

    The claim that the Democratic health care law is a "government takeover of health care" is our 2010 Lie of the Year.

    In the spring of 2009, a Republican strategist settled on a brilliant and powerful attack line for President Barack Obama's ambitious plan to overhaul America's health insurance system. Frank Luntz, a consultant famous for his phraseology, urged GOP leaders to call it a "government takeover."

    "Takeovers are like coups," Luntz wrote in a 28-page memo. "They both lead to dictators and a loss of freedom."

    The line stuck. By the time the health care bill was headed toward passage in early 2010, Obama and congressional Democrats had sanded down their program, dropping the "public option" concept that was derided as too much government intrusion. The law passed in March, with new regulations, but no government-run plan.

    But as Republicans smelled serious opportunity in the midterm elections, they didn't let facts get in the way of a great punchline. And few in the press challenged their frequent assertion that under Obama, the government was going to take over the health care industry.

    PolitiFact editors and reporters have chosen "government takeover of health care" as the 2010 Lie of the Year. Uttered by dozens of politicians and pundits, it played an important role in shaping public opinion about the health care plan and was a significant factor in the Democrats' shellacking in the November elections.

    Readers of PolitiFact, the St. Petersburg Times' independent fact-checking website, also chose it as the year's most significant falsehood by an overwhelming margin. (Their second-place choice was Rep. Michele Bachmann's claim that Obama was going to spend $200 million a day on a trip to India, a falsity that still sprouts.)

    By selecting "government takeover' as Lie of the Year, PolitiFact is not making a judgment on whether the health care law is good policy.

    The phrase is simply not true.

    Said Jonathan Oberlander, a professor of health policy at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill: "The label 'government takeover" has no basis in reality, but instead reflects a political dynamic where conservatives label any increase in government authority in health care as a 'takeover.' "

    An inaccurate claim

    "Government takeover" conjures a European approach where the government owns the hospitals and the doctors are public employees. But the law Congress passed, parts of which have already gone into effect, relies largely on the free market:

    • Employers will continue to provide health insurance to the majority of Americans through private insurance companies.

    • Contrary to the claim, more people will get private health coverage. The law sets up "exchanges" where private insurers will compete to provide coverage to people who don't have it.

    • The government will not seize control of hospitals or nationalize doctors.

    • The law does not include the public option, a government-run insurance plan that would have competed with private insurers.

    • The law gives tax credits to people who have difficulty affording insurance, so they can buy their coverage from private providers on the exchange. But here too, the approach relies on a free market with regulations, not socialized medicine.

    PolitiFact reporters have studied the 906-page bill and interviewed independent health care experts. We have concluded it is inaccurate to call the plan a government takeover because it relies largely on the existing system of health coverage provided by employers.

    It's true that the law does significantly increase government regulation of health insurers. But it is, at its heart, a system that relies on private companies and the free market.

    Republicans who maintain the Democratic plan is a government takeover say that characterization is justified because the plan increases federal regulation and will require Americans to buy health insurance.

    But while those provisions are real, the majority of Americans will continue to get coverage from private insurers. And it will bring new business for the insurance industry: People who don"t currently have coverage will get it, for the most part, from private insurance companies.

    Consider some analogies about strict government regulation. The Federal Aviation Administration imposes detailed rules on airlines. State laws require drivers to have car insurance. Regulators tell electric utilities what they can charge. Yet that heavy regulation is not described as a government takeover.

    This year, PolitiFact analyzed five claims of a "government takeover of health care." Three were rated Pants on Fire, two were rated False.

  4. #4
    Havakasha is offline
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    'Can't do it in four words'

    Other news organizations have also said the claim is false.

    Slate said "the proposed health care reform does not take over the system in any sense.' In a New York Times economics blog, Princeton University professor Uwe Reinhardt, an expert in health care economics, said, "Yes, there would be a substantial government-mandated reorganization of this relatively small corner of the private health insurance market (that serves people who have been buying individual policies). But that hardly constitutes a government takeover of American health care.", an independent fact-checking group run by the University of Pennsylvania, has debunked it several times, calling it one of the "whoppers" about health care and saying the reform plan is neither "government-run" nor a "government takeover."

    We asked incoming House Speaker John Boehner's office why Republican leaders repeat the phrase when it has repeatedly been shown to be incorrect. Michael Steel, Boehner's spokesman, replied, "We believe that the job-killing ObamaCare law will result in a government takeover of health care. That's why we have pledged to repeal it, and replace it with common-sense reforms that actually lower costs.”

    Analysts say health care reform is such a complicated topic that it often cannot be summarized in snappy talking points.

    "If you're going to tell the truth about something as complicated as health care and health care reform, you probably need at least four sentences," said Maggie Mahar, author of Money-Driven Medicine: The Real Reason Health Care Costs So Much. "You can"t do it in four words."

    Mahar said the GOP simplification distorted the truth about the plan. "Doctors will not be working for the government. Hospitals will not be owned by the government," she said. "That's what a government takeover of health care would mean, and that's not at all what we"re doing."

    How the line was used

    If you followed the health care debate or the midterm election – even casually – it's likely you heard "government takeover" many times.

    PolitiFact sought to count how often the phrase was used in 2010 but found an accurate tally was unfeasible because it had been repeated so frequently in so many places. It was used hundreds of times during the debate over the bill and then revived during the fall campaign. A few numbers:

    • The phrase appears more than 90 times on Boehner's website,

    • It was mentioned eight times in the 48-page Republican campaign platform "A Pledge to America" as part of their plan to "repeal and replace the government takeover of health care."

    • The Republican National Committee's website mentions a government takeover of health care more than 200 times.

    Conservative groups and tea party organizations joined the chorus. It was used by FreedomWorks, the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute.

    The phrase proliferated in the media even after Democrats dropped the public option. In 2010 alone, "government takeover” was mentioned 28 times in the Washington Post, 77 times in Politico and 79 times on CNN. A review of TV transcripts showed "government takeover" was primarily used as a catchy sound bite, not for discussions of policy details.

    In most transcripts we examined, Republican leaders used the phrase without being challenged by interviewers. For example, during Boehner's Jan. 31 appearance on Meet the Press, Boehner said it five times. But not once was he challenged about it.

    In rare cases when the point was questioned, the GOP leader would recite various regulations found in the bill and insist that they constituted a takeover. But such followups were rare.

    An effective phrase

    Politicians and officials in the health care industry have been warning about a "government takeover" for decades.

    The phrase became widely used in the early 1990s when President Bill Clinton was trying to pass health care legislation. Then, as today, Democrats tried to debunk the popular Republican refrain.

    When Obama proposed his health plan in the spring of 2009, Luntz, a Republican strategist famous for his research on effective phrases, met with focus groups to determine which messages would work best for the Republicans. He did not respond to calls and e-mails from PolitiFact asking him to discuss the phrase.

    The 28-page memo he wrote after those sessions, "The Language of Healthcare 2009," provides a rare glimpse into the art of finding words and phrases that strike a responsive chord with voters.

    The memo begins with "The 10 Rules for Stopping the 'Washington Takeover' of Healthcare.” Rule No. 4 says people "are deathly afraid that a government takeover will lower their quality of care – so they are extremely receptive to the anti-Washington approach. It's not an economic issue. It's a bureaucratic issue."

    The memo is about salesmanship, not substance. It doesn't address whether the lines are accurate. It just says they are effective and that Republicans should use them. Indeed, facing a Democratic plan that actually relied on the free market to try to bring down costs, Luntz recommended sidestepping that inconvenient fact:

    "The arguments against the Democrats' healthcare plan must center around politicians, bureaucrats and Washington ... not the free market, tax incentives or competition."

    Democrats tried to combat the barrage of charges about a government takeover. The White House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi repeatedly put out statements, but they were drowned out by a disciplined GOP that used the phrase over and over.

    Democrats could never agree on their own phrases and were all over the map in their responses, said Howard Dean, former head of the Democratic National Committee.

    "It was uncoordinated. Everyone had their own idea," Dean said in an interview with PolitiFact.

    "The Democrats are atrocious at messaging," he said. "They've gotten worse since I left, not better. It's just appalling. First of all, you don"t play defense when you"re doing messaging, you play offense. The Republicans have learned this well."

    Dean grudgingly admires the Republican wordsmith. "Frank Luntz has it right, he just works for the wrong side. You give very simple catch phrases that encapsulate the philosophy of the bill."

  5. #5
    Havakasha is offline
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    A responsive chord

    By March of this year, when Obama signed the bill into law, 53 percent of respondents in a Bloomberg poll said they agreed that "the current proposal to overhaul health care amounts to a government takeover.”

    Exit polls showed the economy was the top issue for voters in the November election, but analysts said the drumbeat about the "government takeover" during the campaign helped cement the advantage for the Republicans.

    Rep. Earl Blumenauer, an Oregon Democrat whose provision for Medicare end-of-life care was distorted into the charge of "death panels" (last year's Lie of the Year), said the Republicans' success with the phrase was a matter of repetition.

    "There was a uniformity of Republican messaging that was disconnected from facts," Blumenauer said. "The sheer discipline . . . was breathtaking."

  6. #6
    Havakasha is offline
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    Lie of the Year: Interview with Howard Dean
    By Angie Drobnic Holan
    Published on Thursday, December 16th, 2010 at 11:28 p.m.

    PolitiFact interviewed Howard Dean, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, for our story on the Lie of the Year. We included some of his comments in our story; here are additional excerpts.

    On PolitiFact's choice of "Lie of the Year," that the health care law is a "government takeover" of the health care system:

    "That's a great one because it's a big one. It's not just a small one, some jackass politician saying something. It permeated the debate. ... There was a lot of what I would call willful ignorance on the part of the (Republicans), to put it charitably -- otherwise it was outright propaganda. 'Keep the government's hands off my Medicare,' tipped it off as to how the debate was going to go.

    "Of course this isn't a government takeover. It's what (former Massachusetts Gov.) Mitt Romney signed (in 2006). It's entirely a private sector bill. The only thing that was a government improvement, and it wasn't a takeover, is the expansion of existing programs such as Medicaid. Which is actually how we did universal health care for kids in Vermont, is expansion of Medicaid, and believe me, no middle-class person in Vermont resents the idea that we expanded Medicaid."

    On whether the attack was effective:

    "Yes and no, yes and no. It was a base builder. The people that believed it was a government takeover of health care were never going to vote for the Democrats in the first place. But it probably did hurt (Democrats in the 2010 elections) like Chet Edwards. (Editor's note: Edwards, a House member from Texas, was first elected in 1990 and lost this year.) I'm going to make a guess here, maybe of the 60 seats (Republicans) picked up, I'm going to guess at least 25 and maybe 40 were Republican-leaning districts that Democrats like Chet Edwards had held for many, many years. Since many of his constituents were conservatives and even Republicans, it's possible that some of them who resented Obama voted against Chet because they might've believed it was a government takeover."

    On the Democratic response to the attack:

    "The Democrats are atrocious at messaging. They've gotten worse since I left, not better. It's just appalling. First of all, you don't play defense when you're doing messaging, you play offense. The Republicans have learned this well. We did a lot of great things when I was at the (Democratic National Committee) in terms of infrastructure but we never could get people to actually message better. You always play offense when you're messaging, and the Republicans do it and we don't. You don't defend (against a charge that it's) a government takeover, you just say, 'Well, that's ridiculous.'

    "The way I would respond is this, I'd say, we have a socialized system of medicine in this country, 25 million people are in it, and it's the highest rated system by its patients. It's called the Veterans Administration. Then, we already have a single payer in this country, with roughly twice as many people as are on the single payer in Canada. It's called Medicare. So all we think is that it's reasonable to give people a choice. This bill is even more conservative than that: All they do is expand what you already have."

    On the bill that passed not having a public option, which Dean supported:

    "It was not reform. The reason I eventually supported it is that I looked at what was going on in Massachusetts, and I think that will ultimately lead to reform. But the people who will reform it will be the medical industry and the private sector, because the costs are going to force reform. In Massachusetts, they're talking about real reforms now. But there's no serious reform in the (federal) health care bill. Now I'm not saying the health care bill isn't worth anything -- they're going to cover 30 million people who had no coverage. The biggest thing that Romney and Obama recognized when they did these bills is that until you get everyone in the system, you can't change the system. It's like squeezing a balloon, you're always going to have place where the water is going to pop out. To include everybody in the system -- they both chose to do that.

    "This is the Republican solution, that's the irony of all this. Poor old Romney is getting hammered by his own people in the Republican primary for doing it. It's a Republican solution. It's a private enterprise solution. So the idea of saying it's a government takeover is just a plain lie. ... The Republicans are now pushing themselves further to the right, but they're going to keep marching in that direction until the electorate finally says no."

    On whether Democrats as a group are capable of advocating a unified message the way Republicans do:

    "It's just appalling. It was uncoordinated. Everyone had their own idea. They need some coaching on messaging. It's not like there are no good people on the Democratic side who'll do it, it's that they just don't listen. ... First of all, you don't play defense. Second of all you don't explain every detail in the bill. Frank Luntz has it right, he just works for the wrong side. You give very simple catch-phrases that encapsulate the philosophy of the bill. They were able to spin their message out, most of which is a lie. It's not a government takeover, there were no death panels. But these are effective things.

    "We get beat every time on this stuff, and I can't figure it out, what the hell is wrong with the DNA of the Democratic Party that we can't be much tougher. It was incredibly frustrating getting beat on messaging, especially because they were wrong."

  7. #7
    Havakasha is offline
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    On whether health care is too complicated for voters to understand:

    "The details of almost everything that goes on are too complicated, that's why we have a representative government. They're not going to understand the details of health care anymore than a brain surgeon is going to understand how to fix his car. What we all do is very complicated. When we go to the auto mechanic, we're going to have a certain amount of trust in the auto mechanic, because we're certainly not going to learn how to do it ourselves. If you think of it that way, it's not that politicians are any smarter than anybody else, it's just that they spend a lot of time in committee learning the details, which is a good thing, that's what they're supposed to learn. Financial reform is just as complicated. The key on these things is to message it in a few short ways. This tax debate we're having right now is driving me nuts. It's very simple: Do you cut people on unemployment and then give tax breaks to people who make $1 million a year? I think the vast majority of the American people think no, you don't do that. Why aren't we talking about that? Why isn't that the message? So it's very frustrating. We got our butts beat on lousy messaging."

    On the future of the health law:

    "A lot of the bill, frankly, depends on the implementation and what happens over the next couple of years. In our favor is that I frankly think (Health and Human Services Sec. Kathleen) Sebelius is terrific. She is exactly the right person to do the implementation, and she's in the right agency and she has the experience. She knows the insurance industry cold because she's a former insurance commissioner. She was a governor, so she gets administration. And, she's pretty good at messaging, although the messaging has to come from the White House, because when you're the party in power, the president is completely in charge. So that's in our favor.

    "The other thing that is in our favor is we can see in the future because of Massachusetts, they're four years ahead of us. They really are now having some serious discussions about how to bring costs under control, which there was very little serious discussion of in either the Massachusetts bill or the federal bill. So I think there's hope. This could lead to real reform. It's just going to take some time and it's going to be a lot more painful than it needs to be."

  8. #8
    SiriuslyLong is offline
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    Thanks for all the interesting articles, but none really addressed what I was going for and that is the increase in authority of the federal government over ordinary citizens. Did you read the links? What will be "mandated" next? Is it right for the federal government to "make" you buy a product / service (provided you can afford it, but that's another issue)?

    I'd copy the Portland Examiner article, but my browser won't let access the site, and I can't figure it out. It appeared to be full of "common sense and logic" lol.

  9. #9
    SiriuslyLong is offline
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    A case for reform

    From Ann Arbor dot com (what used to be known as the Ann Arbor News).

  10. #10
    Atypical is offline

    Read This Book To Learn From The One That Helped Con Everyone

    From Deadly Spin by Wendell Potter; subtitled, An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out On How Corporate PR Is Killing Health Care And Deceiving Americans.

    Page 2

    For example, if you are among those who believe that the United States has “the best health care system in the world” despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, it’s because my fellow spinmeisters and I succeeded brilliantly at what we were paid very well to do with your premium dollars. In fact, the United States ranks 47th in life expectancy at birth, behind Bosnia, and 54th behind Bangladesh in “fairness”, a measure of the extent to which the best care is available equally throughout a country.

    And if you were persuaded that the health care reform bill President Barack Obama signed into law in March 2010 was “a government takeover of the health care system”, my former colleagues and I earned every penny of our handsome salaries. Not to mention our bonuses.

    Page 7

    But in many other significant ways, the industry’s spin worked as intended. The new law does not include the public option the president once said was essential “to keep insurance companies honest” – and it does include a provision that candidate Obama was adamantly opposed to: a mandate that all Americans not eligible for an existing public program buy coverage from a private insurer. Candidate Obama said during the campaign that he did not think people should be forced to buy insurance they could not afford. The insurance industry and many members of Congress persuaded President Obama to change his mind. As a result, insurers will get billions of dollars in new revenues from people required by law to buy their products and billions more from the government to subsidize premiums for people who can’t afford them. Because of the way the legislation came together on Capitol Hill, the complex bill that reached the president’s desk would not really work without the so-called individual mandate.
    Last edited by Atypical; 01-16-2011 at 07:12 PM.

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