Printed letters, December 8, 2013

Republicans are having such a gleeful time over Obamacare that they and the press seem to be missing a few things.

Certainly the rollout was flubbed terribly. Leave it to a bunch of baby-boomer bureaucrats to mess up technology. President Obama should have handed the task to his campaign people. They can connect everyone with everyone.

What’s most confusing is the “You can keep your plan” debacle. NPR had a report that the “grandfather clause” allowed many of these plans to continue through 2014 and Obama has extended them through 2015. So, why is everyone thinking the plans end this year, 2013?

Maybe insurance companies wanted to scare people. After all, part of the Affordable Care Act directs insurance companies to put more of their earnings into patients rather than CEOs. Many people say control should be returned to patients and their doctors. But patients and doctors haven’t had control of health care since the time when insurance paid everything — around 1970.

Another puzzle is the argument about women’s coverage and contraception. Have people ever looked into what electives their insurer will pay? I didn’t know until a few years ago, before Obamacare, that some companies cover abortions. Not only that — most will cover surgical contraception for both men and women and will probably cover part of contraceptive pills.

Some self-insured companies may not cover these things, at least if they asked not to cover them in the past. I’d be willing to bet most companies never asked, at least before Obamacare.

EILEEN O’TOOLE

Grand Junction

Obama administration may 
be manipulating populace

Standardized testing shows that American students keep falling further behind, especially in mathematics. The Obamacare debacle and the American public’s apparent surprise at its implications illustrate the lack of basic math skills by the bulk of the electorate.

President Barack Obama said we needed Obamacare to cover the 40 million uninsured, yet he now says the target for coverage is 9 million. What about the other 31 million?

Obama sold the program saying premiums would go down by $2,500 per year, yet the program requires additional coverage (pre-existing conditions and children until age 26 to name two). That is mathematically impossible.

He said if you like your plan, you can keep your plan, yet Obamacare requires certain minimum coverage that some existing plans don’t have. Impossible.

Apparently the education system has failed to teach basic civics, as well. When the realities of implementation of the program began to hurt Obama politically, he changed the law by executive fiat, which is unconstitutional. The Affordable Care Act, passed by a dubious maneuver in the Democratic Congress, is the law of the land and cannot be changed by executive proclamation. It must be repaired or replaced through the legislative process.

This administration is either incompetent or purposely manipulating the electorate to seize executive powers it does not have. Hopefully, the American public will realize the dangers of an out-of-control executive branch and restore government by constitutional rule.

DENNIS GORSETT

Grand Junction

 

Republicans once thought 
nuclear option was a fine idea

After reading a letter to the editor about godless Democrats invoking the “nuclear option” to appoint judges who will bring destruction and hellfire on our country, I thought a trip down memory lane would be appropriate.

Below is a small sampling of comments by conservative pundits during George W. Bush’s presidency, when Democrats invoked the filibuster on some of his appointments. Those were the days when conservatives couldn’t wait to invoke the “nuclear option.”

On Dec 24, 2004, Rush Limbaugh stated, “This filibuster, as you know, they’re filibustering these nominations which requires essentially 60 votes for a judge to be confirmed. The Constitution says nothing about this. The Constitution says simple majority, 51 votes.”

During a 2005 edition of Fox News’ “Hannity & Colmes,” Sean Hannity stated, “There are seven specific instances in the Constitution where they call for a supermajority. I believe it’s unconstitutional to filibuster. It is not about advice and consent now to ask for a supermajority on judicial nominations. I believe that is not constitutional.”

The Wall Street Journal wrote an editorial approving the use of the nuclear option in May 2005. Part of the editorial stated, “Barring a surprise last-minute deal, this week Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist will ask for a ruling from the chair — Vice President Dick Cheney presiding — that ending debate on a judicial nominee requires a vote of a simple majority of 51 Senators, not a super-majority of 60. The nuclear option — aka the “constitutional option” — will have been detonated. Judicial filibusters, R.I.P.”

Currently 76 presidential appointments have moved through committees and are awaiting a vote. Seventeen are judges; the rest are ambassadors and high officials from other agencies. Historically that’s a large number the Republicans are obstructing. No wonder the “nuclear option” was invoked.

EUGENE SPINNER

Grand Junction



COMMENTS

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Sure would be a greater AMERICA if all parties worked as a team in order to advance America as opposed to their party. Since we cannot vote for senators and representatives in all states it seems to me that allowing a party that has the most elected officials to have the nuclear option is clearly not in AMERICAS best interests. Currently if that is the case then we should send all representatives and senators from the minority in number home. There really is no need for them to be there. A government or one party having ALL the power of law-making does NOT appear to be a good idea. It is obvious that the parties do NOT work together. America suffers. And we, the people are the idiot sheep that sit by and let it happen. No party is right on every issue nor aspect of every issue. Lobbyists have no part in government. Money corrupts. The rich are getting richer on the backs of the poor and the poor are getting poorer. To say republicans are obstructing is ludicrous as all parties are so into their party that they all are obstructing. The house worked for a mere 126 days this year. Had 239 days off. And are paid $174,000 a year. The “emergency” appropriations bill that TEMPORARILY lifted the government shut down expires soon. One party says they will NOT consider any bill unless it includes another year of unemployment benefits. Another party says no to that option. Stalemate! America is further in the tank. What a government. What a way to live. 600-700 people have all of that power and yet cannot produce anything worthwhile nor on time. Seems that one party was majority in both chambers yet haven’t passed a budget in 5 years. Disgraceful. God, please, Bless America and lead us out of this greed, power and the killing of America.

Two letters – Eileen O’Toole’s “Patients, doctors lost control of health care decades ago” and Dennis Gorsett’s “Obama administration may be manipulating populace” – evince continuing confusion about the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) demand comment.

As Gorsett confirms, the ACA was enacted because some 40+ million Americans lacked affordable access to health care.  The “target” of 9 million refers to those expected to purchase coverage through state or federal “exchanges”; the remainder may be eligible for free coverage under Medicaid expansion.  Because 20 Republican-controlled states refuse to accept federal monies to fund that expansion, millions will remain uninsured.

The Kaiser Family Foundation reported that average premiums on exchanges (coupled with federal premium subsidies) are $2500 less than comparable existing policies—which isn’t “mathematically impossible” if 40% of the expanded “risk pool” includes younger (18-35) insureds (actuarially offsetting those with “pre-existing conditions”).

As Gorsett and O’Toole both note, confusion arose from President Obama’s assurances that “if you like your plan, you can keep it”.

His statement was initially true, because all policies in effect on March 23, 2010 were “grandfathered” by the ACA (some, with minimal “upgrading”), while new policies affording coverage after December 31, 2013, had to comply with the ACA’s minimum standards – including free “preventive care” services for women.

What the ACA’s drafters did not anticipate is that cynical insurers would systematically induce policyholders to exchange “grandfathered” policies for “non-grandfathered” ones and would continue marketing new, cheap, non-compliant (“junk”) policies without ever warning consumers that those policies would have to be cancelled as of January 1, 2014. Consequently, millions of trusting insureds received cancellation letters this year.

The ACA was constitutionally enacted using the same legislative “maneuver” as the Bush Tax Cuts.  Meanwhile, beginning with falsehoods about “death panels” and continuing with fraudulent touting of their non-existent and/or ineffectual “alternative”, Republicans have been “purposely manipulating an ignorant electorate” with misinformation.

Obviously selected to shore up one side. Certainly I DO NOT read any of the shared sites that Bill provides. I am remiss. Bill’s admiration and pride at his and obama’s “similar” superior educations now makes it possible for me to see through the smoke and mirrors. However, Bill, I am concerned for you and your effort to overcome your envy and size problem. :)

Jerry:

Thank you for conceding my original point—that you remain immune to fact-based sources of information (other than FoxNoise).

Once you identify what “smoke and mirrors” you keep referring to and demonstrate an openness to facts, I will be happy to share my educational resume with you—even though it is entirely irrelevant to the issue of whether President Obama’s occasional gaffes justified Coleman’s demeaning his well-beyond-fifth-grade educational accomplishments.

Cheers!

Jerry:

I must apologize—because your resistance to facts seems to be attributable to a memory defect.

Thus, on December 5, you admitted that the polling data I shared with you was accurate (and contradicted your unsubstantiated and “absolutist” statements about Americans’ opinions regarding the Affordable Care Act)—because it was confirmed on Fox Noise. 

That admission implies that you’re inclined to believe that a “fact” is really a “fact” only if Fox Noise confirms it, and that, presumably, if it isn’t reported on Fox Noise, it’s not a “fact”.  This attitude captures what is known as a “bubblehead”.

Touche Mr Bill. However for you to ASSUME that Fox News i my ONLY source of information is incorrect. Unlike you sir I utilize MANY sources of information. This fact substantiates my statement that any person, at any time may find some “source” that substantiates there claim. Fox News happened to be on at the time. I must admit however that I will NOT and do NOT find ANY NBC network reporting anything useful in order to make an “educted” and well informed decision. Thus, unlike you, I will NEVER place “links” in my statements. Just maybe size , superior education as well as my utilization of several sources puts you so far ahead of me. Rather than take my statement out of context why not post the statement in its entirety. I am glad that my only problem is that of “bubblehead.” I much prefer that to “penis envy.” Good day sir. My Lord now deserves my time over you.

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