Tag Archives: health care

The Great Health Insurance Lie

The ongoing debate about about health care continues. Is the ACA better than Trumpcare? Is Trumpcare better because it includes more free market choices? Is Obamacare better because it covers 24,000,000 more people? What about the deficit.

And so forth.

But there is one fact, one truth, one absolute “know” that all sides of the debate seem to accept at face value. If you can disabuse yourself of this “truth” the health care issue can be solved.  There is one “given” that no one  from Sanders to Clinton to Trump to Cruz or any of their associates seems to challenge. That given is the following fallacy

Companies provide health insurance to employees. The government supplies health insurance to employees. Health insurance costs “job creators” billions of dollars a year.

False. Absolutely false.

There is not now, never has been and never will be any company or school district or government that provides health insurance to the employee.  Every employee from the highest to the lowest paid. In every industry. In every business. In every time period. Every employee has always paid and will always pay their own health insurance costs. Period.

Health insurance costs are not taken out of profits. They are not taken out of investors’ dividends. They are taken out of the employee’s salary. Every time.

Anyone who has ever been involved in negotiating contracts should understand this. As should anyone who has an understanding of basic economic theory. Every employer , whether public or private, has  an amount  of money that it sets aside for the “cost of labor”. Part of that “cost of labor” is benefits. One of those costly benefits is health insurance.

Does anyone think, really, that health insurance is some “gift” from an employer? Really? Never. The cost of health insurance is simply deducted from the employee’s salary as part of the “cost of labor”. The employee takes a lower salary and pays for his own insurance.

Does anyone really think that a business negotiates  a contract and then, out of the goodness of its heart, just adds on health insurance? Really?

Once you understand that you, as an employee pay for your own insurance you realize how vile the CEOs of companies like Hobby Lobby truly are. Hobby Lobby employees pay for their own insurance, yet the Supreme Court has decreed that the CEO of Hobby Lobby can dictate the kind of coverage the employee has paid for. Ludicrous.

So, next time someone tells you that their employer is “providing health insurance” and so the employer should be able to dictate what coverage they can have. Set them straight. Tell them they pay for their own insurance. And will continue to do so. Even though their boss may dictate what kind of coverage they get.

Your employer “gives” you health insurance. The big fat heath insurance lie. And another reason why we should have a single payer option. After all, the workers are paying for health insurance, shouldn’t they decide what option they want?

 

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Filed under ACA, Congress, Cruz, economics, Economy, government, healthcare, Hobby Lobby, logic, Obamacare, Politics, Society, unions, United States, workers

Good News is No News

It seems as though the news emphasizes almost nothing but catastrophe and encourages negativity. This is not new, but it seems to be overwhelming sometimes. And it leaves the impression that we live in a constant state of terror, unhappiness, fear and anger. Things are getting worse and worse. Danger around every corner. The end is near! That is the narrative.

Good news does not sell papers or drive “clicks”. Good news is boring.

Some good news.

In 2015, a total of 322,761,000 Americans were NOT killed by the police.

.https://www.rt.com/usa/326724-police-killings-usa-report/

The murder rate in Chicago is 1/2 of what it was in 1990. The murder rate in Washington DC is 1/4 of what it was in 1990.

https://www.brennancenter.org/sites/default/files/analysis/Crime_in_2015_A_Final_Analysis.pdf

Since the ACA (Obamacare) was enacted uninsured rates fell in every state in the union.Now only about 10%-12%  of the population remains uninsured.

http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/blog/2015/sept/us-census-data-shows-uninsured-americans-drop

At long last all US citizens, including homosexuals, can  marry and serve openly in the military.

Gays in the U.S. Military Are Now Protected Against ‘Witch Hunts’

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/06/26/417717613/supreme-court-rules-all-states-must-allow-same-sex-marriages

The US is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time since the 1990s.

http://www.eia.gov/petroleum/weekly/archive/2011/110525/twipprint.html

Americans demonstrated their generosity by giving more money to charity than ever before. , over $358 billion dollars in 2014.

Giving USA: Americans Donated an Estimated $358.38 Billion to Charity in 2014; Highest Total in Report’s 60-year History

US teen pregnancy rates are 50% LESS than they were in 1991, and have been falling.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/02/health/teen-birth-rates/

In July of 2009 the rate of inflation was 5.6%. In July of 2016 the rate of inflation was 0.8%. The trend has been steady.

Historical Inflation Rates: 1914-2016

The unemployment rate in January, 2016, is down to 4.9% from a high of 9.8 % in January of 2010.

http://www.multpl.com/unemployment/table

Since 9/11 you are 15 times more likely to be killed by a deer, than by a foreign terrorist. And your chance of being killed by a deer are less than 1 in 15,000,000.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deer%E2%80%93vehicle_collisions

http://www.vox.com/2015/11/23/9765718/domestic-terrorism-threat

And, the biggest good news surprise of all time. The Chicago Cubs, currently in 1st place, were predicted to win the World Series by the gambling establishment. (I wouldn’t bet on that one)

http://www.csnchicago.com/chicago-cubs/big-surprise-cubs-favorite-win-2016-world-series

So. Good news will not make headlines. Not as exciting as disasters. But cheer up. Things are not nearly as bad as some would like us to believe.

 

 

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Filed under ACA, crime, economics, Economy, Environment, gay marriage, gay rights, gays, government, healthcare, homosexual, Immigration, jobs, liberals, Obamacare, police, Politics, POTUS, Society, Terror, United States, US, violence

Planned Parenthood Shooting Responses

News Item: 3 are dead in Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado.

At this point I do not know HOW the GOP candidates will respond to this latest act of violence. Imagine if these were the responses of the GOP candidates for president.

Trump: We must go after these domestic terrorists with everything we have. I will not tolerate it. A Trump president would go in with guns blazing.  Take them out. Let  these old white guys know that as Americans we do not tolerate terrorism. I would  register all adult white Christians and keep very close tabs on them.

Carson: I am saddened by the loss of life. We should never allow violence to rule our lives. I reject violence in all its forms. Just as we welcome newborns into the world, so should we welcome refugees to our shore. All life is sacred.

Huckabee: God bless the police officer and civilians who were killed by this outrageous act. True Christians do not commit murder. This man was not a true Christian.  True Christians believe in love and brotherhood. Let us all condemn this violence against these women who are simply seeking health care. And condemn the use of violence as Jesus would.

Gowdy: We will investigate this. Congress needs to investigate where these domestic killers are getting their weapons . Then we need to stop the easy access to these weapons. I pledge to work across the aisle with the Democrats to  finally put an end to these senseless killings by introducing effective gun control.

Rubio: I condemn these murders. We must be a nation of laws,  not a nation of violence. We need to stop pandering to the worst in people and to hate. Let us work together to make sure all women have access to good health care so so day we will not need Planned Parenthood.  Until then, we must protect women who are exercising their Constitutional rights.

Christie: Perhaps we need to stop yelling at each other and discuss issues  like adults. Let us have an honest conversation and not try to bully each other over these issues. Let’s stop blaming Obama for every problem we have in this country. Most of all, let’s  respect each other as equals and fight domestic terrorism together. Let’s stop the blustering and try to solve problems.

Bush: Every American has the right to health care. The US Constitution must be respected. Let us join in a national day of mourning and support for a woman’s right to choose. Let us condemn violence against women and show our support for the Constitution. When you take the law into your own hands you destroy the idea of law itself.

Wouldn’t those responses be something?

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Filed under abortion, Ben Carson, Christianity, Christie, Conservatives, Constitution, Elections, GOP, gun control, healthcare, huckabee, jeb bush, Politics, POTUS, Republicans, right to life, Rubio, Terror, violence

Movie Review: The Three Faces of Reed

(Reblogged from Siskil and Egbert’s Movie Reviews.)

A review of “The Three Faces of Reed”, (a remake of “The Three Faces of Eve”) newly released in the NY 23rd Congressional District.

Starring Jason Alexander (George Costanza of the Seinfeld TV series) as the inimitable, playful and sometimes a little off-center Congressman of NY’s 23 Congressional District, Tom Reed.

This film is set almost entirely in the psychiatric offices of an anonymous shrink in the Southern Tier of New York state. The shrink takes the Congressman back in time through hypnosis (since he cannot otherwise remember what he said or to whom he said it). It is a fascinating study of multiple personality disorder, otherwise know as PAU complex (Politics As Usual).  Jason Alexander does a wonderful job  (an Academy Award nomination is in the works,  I do believe) of portraying a politician who is able to assume different personalities almost at will. A man, who is short, balding and stubby but sees himself as tall, rugged and tough.

There is the (in his mind) tall, rugged, no nonsense, strong-jawed Congressman who is wined and dined by ALEC, the Hydrofracking industry and the NRA. He makes it clear to these lobbyists that he is at their beck and call. For example, a scene in which a widow  sits outside his office waiting for an appointment to see him about his vote to destroy the ACA.

(Scene:) Widow sitting quietly as secretary gazes into a computer screen. Muffled noises from the inner office slowly become louder and more distinct.

“Yes sir. …..Yes , sir…..Yes , sir……. Whatever you say , sir……. Of course, sir……. Just leave the bill on my desk and I will sponsor it…Yes, sir….Yes,  sir….Yes, sir…Oh, no need for that….Well,  if you insist…Thank  you so much , sir….Yes, sir… ”

Three middle aged men,  wearing Armani suits, emerge from the office, glance and sneer at the widow and give each other high fives. “He belongs to us, no doubt about it”. (End of scene)

Then there is the Constitutional scholar whose career as a mortgage broker has made him an expert on the Constitution, foreign affairs and women’s physiology. Another scene from the movie illustrates this Tea Party personality.

(Scene): The Congressman is standing in front of a group of carefully selected “constituents” and delivering one of his most profound and thoughtful speeches. Reed sees himself as 6 foot 5 inches tall and wearing an American flag draped over his shoulder as he peers, steely-eyed, into the carefully selected crowd.

“Founding fathers. 2nd amendment. Safe Act unconstitutional, I don’t care what the courts say. (applause) Obamacare BAD, unconstitutional.(thunderous applause) I  don’t care what the courts say. Heroes. We need to do more for our heroes. Our Veterans. (applause and standing ovation) We need to give them better care. We need to stop spending tax dollars on health care.(applause) We need to give our heroes better health care. Stop spending tax dollars on pork. I brought millions of dollars of federal aid to NY. We need to eliminate pork.

I support health care for our females. Stop Planned Parenthood. (standing ovation, thunderous applause, Star Spangled Banner playing in background) No more funding for abortions.  Not on my watch. Stop funding services for women. We need better health care for our women. Stop Obamacare. Keep government out of our lives. Make abortion illegal.   No more welfare. (applause) Love the unborn. End welfare for children. End birth control. 2nd amendment. No deal with Iran. No nukes for Iran. Nuke Iran. (thunderous applause along with a few “Heehaws”)Founding fathers. OK. Gotta go now”. (End of scene)

Then there is the third personality. The moderate. The sensible Mr Reed who only wants to do what is best for all of us.

(Scene): The Congressman appears at a photo op at the opening of a new gas station.

” I support small business. I love small business. I love America. I support women’s rights. I support sensible government. I support the flag and America. I think we can do better. We need to do better. I support those who support doing better. We can do better if we can only strive to do better. Liberty for all.  Let’s do better together. Together we can do better. Is that better? Don’t be scared. I really mean it (wink)” (end of scene).

So, who emerges at the end of the movie when all the personalities are finally joined? Will it be the “you wash my back and I’ll  wash yours” politician in the pocket of the fossil  fuel industry and the NRA? Will it be the Tea Party crazy who can’t decide if he wants to destroy health care for the poor, scuttle the arms deal  with Iran  and take away a woman’s right to choose or all of the above? Or will it be the smooth talking, say nothing,  do nothing , just get re-elected politician who has no real values or ethics?

We won’t tell you the ending. In the original film it was said that Eve and her personalities were finally joined. But a few years later she again disintegrated back into the multiple state. (Now called DID “Dissociative Identity Disorder”).So, she was never “cured” of her affliction.

What will happen to the Congressman in the end? Will his true personality ever emerge? Stay tuned. This reviewer suspects that there is a very lucrative lobbying career on the horizon at the end of the Hyrdofracking Rainbow for one of those personalities….

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Filed under ACA, Foreign policy, GOP, government, healthcare, Iran, Iran agreement, Neoconservative, nuclear weapons, Obamacare, Politics, right to life, SCOTUS, Supreme Court, tea party

Contestant #2: Dr. Rand Paul’s Prescription: Take A Vague and See Me in the Morning

(This is the second in a series of biased reports about the potential candidates for the presidency. As these giants among men proclaim their desires to be the most powerful human being on the planet I will attempt to file a short report on each).

Rand Paul, son of former Texas congressman Ron Paul, announced today that he was willing to serve as president of the US. A major surprise to all Buddhist monks still alive in Tibet. To anyone else, not so much.

As with all candidates the best thing to do is to start with their own websites. On his website Dr. Paul stresses the fact that he is a doctor. A doctor of ophthalmology and that he does good works. That is very noble. And humbling. But for some reason in his bio he fails to mention his board certification. Dr Paul was certified once to practice his “doctoring” by the ABO (American Board of Ophthalmology). But something happened. And he let that certification lapse. So, he was then certified by the NBO (National Board of Ophthalmology), a group NOT recognized by the (ABMS) American Board of Medical Specialties, the national group that certifies the legitimacy of boards. Why not? It was just a board made up by some doctors. UH. Actually, Rand Paul was the president of the group that certified Rand Paul, with Kelly Ashby Paul (Rand’s wife) as vice-president of the group and Rand Paul’s father-in-law as secretary. But, he WAS certified to practice, at least by his kinfolk. (For some reason that NBO was dissolved in 2011).

So, what would a Rand Paul Presidency look like?

Rand Paul’s’ website (www.randpaul.com) has about 16 issues. I will focus on only 4. You can read the rest. Good luck.

Sanctity of Life. Rand believes in the sanctity of life. Well. That is good news! He defines “life” as existing at conception. He says that American women have murdered over 50,000,000 CHILDREN since Roe v Wade. (Did I forget to mention that he is doctor, yet he thinks an embryo is a child?). He opposes all abortions. Period. He thinks states should be able to make any laws they want in this regard . So, I guess you might say that Rand is not a real fan of the US Constitution. A Dr. Rand Paul presidency would not enforce Roe v Wade. I think. He is vague on that point.

Health Care. Dr. Paul wants to repeal Obamcare. And replace it with…. what we had before Obamacare…only better. A market driven system. He knows that a market driven system works because…uh…it left 40,000,000 Americans (real people this time, not embryos) without health insurance. He is rather vague on details. But a Dr. Rand Paul presidency would put the patient first, by eliminating the ACA.

Taxes. President Dr Paul hates taxes. He will institute a 17% tax rate for all businesses and people. His plan is called the EZ Plan. It is EZ to understand because he has no other details. It is EZ Vague. Would current tax breaks for corporations remain? Would breaks for agribusiness remain? Personal deductions? Long on vague, short on details. But, the plan does call for the elimination of Social Security taxes for the middle and lower classes (Not sure where the income levels fall on middle class. That part is…uh…vague). So, no more payments would be going into Social Security from younger workers. So, depending on his exemption plan, a Dr Rand Paul presidency would see a significant decrease in taxes for the super rich. Not so much for the poor.

Which leads us to….
Social Security.
Dr President Leader Rand Paul has a plan for Social Security.

He wants to fix Social Security by increasing the retirement age and means testing. OK. I’ll bite the means testing. I agree that millionaires like John McCain should not be dipping into the pot. Postponing retirement? Doesn’t that just prevent younger workers from getting started? This would apply only to younger workers, so us old fogeys would still get our benefits. …But…wait…In Dr President Excellency Paul’s TAXES plan (see above) he called for eliminating billions of dollars in payments to Social Security. How does that work? Billions less coming in but more going out? Does Mr Dr His Holiness Paul know how Social Security even works? Does he know that payments made today go to today’s retirees? By what magic will SS take in billions less and pay out more? THIS is how he “fixes” Social Security? With magic?

Dr Paul’s lack of real solutions comes through loud and clear. He attacks the “Washington Insiders”, of which he is a part, but offers no real alternatives. Lots of “plans” and ideas and slogans.

All in all, Dr Mr Rand seems to have the same “prescription” for America as other GOPers. Not all that different. Gives homage to the religious right. Wants freedom from paying taxes but not freedom for women to control their own bodies. Has magical thinking when it comes to Social Security financing. A man who will keep it vague in hopes of not exposing the shallowness of his thought processes. Or, who has a real agenda he refuses to share.

Once, in order to be “certified” to practice medicine Rand Paul simply created his own certification board. I suspect the only way the doctor will ever be POTUS is if he “creates” his own country. Then his wife could be vice president again.

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Contestant #1: President Ted Cruz and Liberty

(This is the first in a series of articles about the contestants for the presidency in 2016. As they throw their hats (or toupees) in the ring I will be attempting to figure out what kind of president each would be. Keep in mind, of course, that many of these candidates are actually auditioning for jobs on Fox News and are not really serious about the presidency).

Ted Cruz announced that he is, by the grace of god, going to become president of the USA. And the key word in Cruz’s philosophy has been LIBERTY.

He wants liberty for himself. Liberty for those who follow his fundamentalist religious beliefs. It is all about freedom and god.

For starters, he made his announcement at Liberty University in Virginia. What could be more appropriate than to announce a Liberty campaign at a Liberty University? And the entire 10,000 member student body showed up to hear him. Well, actually they were forced to see him. You see, at Liberty University students are not free not to attend campaign speeches. Any student who failed to show up was going to be fined $10 and given official reprimands (demerits?) on their record. I guess you might say that where Liberty University is concerned “Freedom Isn’t Free” !

Cruz’s web site (www.tedcruz.org) has four major areas. First, he supports the US Constitution. That is certainly commendable. Second, he supports a strong America. So far he has my vote. He believes that life and families are good things. And finally he wants people to have jobs. With those ideas he should win by a landslide!

The devil, always, is in the details. So, based on his actions and the details of his website these are the kinds of things President Cruz would be in favor of.

1. Eliminate the ACA. And replace it with nothing at the federal level. While he opposes the ACA his only response to the chaos that would cause is to make all health care insurance the responsibility of the individual states. The bill he sponsors (you can find it on his Senate website) provides no guarantees for consumers. None. It is, in fact, nothing more than a repeal the ACA along with some vague idea of maybe giving people some vouchers. Under a Cruz presidency we go back to having massive numbers of uninsured. With no consumer protection.
2. Stop gay marriage rights. Cruz, the defender of liberty, would take away the freedom of a significant number of Americans to marry. Because it offends some people. He is very clear that only states have the right to decide who can marry. Based on his view of liberty a state could institute laws preventing blacks and whites from marrying. Or Jews from marrying non-Jews. It all depends on what the current state government decides. Liberty to take away liberty.
3. End the constitutional right to an abortion. A woman would no longer have the right, (guaranteed under the Constitution) to have a medical procedure if the state was opposed to it. Again, the king of liberty would take way the liberty of others. This man devoted to the Constitution would allow individual states to void decisions of the Supreme Court. President Cruz, not the SCOTUS, would decide what the Constitution says. Liberty.
4. Allow anyone to defy any law if that person had a “religious” objection to the law. Once again, while Cruz talks the talk of supporting the Constitution, he walks the walk of destroying the Constitution. Liberty.If I don’t like Jews I don’t have to serve them in my restaurant. If I don’t think homosexuals deserve to eat I can refuse to sell them food in my grocery store. Of course, the SCOTUS long ago established the Constitutional principle that if you are a commercial enterprise you must be open to all citizens. Not Ted. Not Mr Constitution.
5. Finally. What if President Cruz does not get his way? TANTRUM TIME! As a Senator he has abused his power to try to shut down the government because the rest of the Senate would not go along with is ideas. What would a President Cruz do? Would he simply abolish Congress? After all, he does have a pipeline (pun intended) to god.

A president Cruz, the defender of “liberty” would take away liberty from all except a fundamentalist few. He would throw folks off of health care, tell state governments that they can decide who can marry (marriage is not a federal right), tell pregnant women that big government will control their health care decisions, and allow people to use their personal beliefs to avoid following the law in any area they deemed “religious”.

Orwell would be smiling.

Or, as an American hero once said, “Give me liberty or give me Cruz.”

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Filed under ACA, blacks, Christianity, Conservatives, Elections, gay rights, GOP, healthcare, homosexual, Neoconservative, neoconservatives, Politics, Religion, Republicans, Senate, tea party

Time To Repeal Obamacare

Really. It’s time.
The GOP won the House and the Senate. Let them have their way.
Take away health insurance from millions of Americans.
No coverage for preventative services.
If you are over 21 and under 26. Sorry. Find your own policy . Can’t stay on Mom’s or Dad’s. Get a job, loser. Walmart is always hiring.
End Medicaid payments to states. Get those poor people off the dole. Why do you think they are called “Emergency rooms”? Use them.
Allow health insurance companies to throw anyone off the policy at any time. Free enterprise, baby.
And stop prescription drug coverage with MY TAX DOLLARS!. (Except for essentials like Viagra and Cialis).
If rates go up…live with it. Or don’t.

Time for the Dems in Congress to call their bluff. Capitulate. Time for Obama to give in. End Obamacare.

Let’s go back and start over. The ACA was a series of compromises with the health insurance industry and the old GOP/Heritage Foundation plan for the 1990s.
Obama did the wrong thing. He should have demanded a national single payer system instead of trying to save the health insurance industry. An industry, by the way, that adds NO VALUE to your health care. He compromised with the GOP . Look where it got him.

The fastest way to a national system is to end the ACA. Let the GOP come up with an alternative. Call their bluff. Of course, their only plan is to just say no. Sometimes a system has to collapse completely before it can be replaced. In this case, replaced with a Medicare for all system.

Just one more thing. Like my Tea Party friends say. Get rid of Obamacare. But keep the government out of my Medicare and Social Security !

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Corporate Rights #2: The Hobby Lobby Religion

Central to the Hobby Lobby case before the Supreme Court is whether a corporation can exercise the right to religious freedom. And thereby excuse itself from laws it finds religiously offensive.

We have a long history of allowing religious institutions and sometime even individuals exemptions from the law. Or parts of the law. For example, the Affordable Care Act exempts religious employers from paying for health insurance costs related to some areas of contraception and abortion. The principle, not really tested yet in court in the case of the ACA, being that legitimate religious beliefs trump this part of the law. While I personally do not agree that any institution or individual is above the law, the Congress disagrees. Perhaps the lobbying power and financial clout of non-tax paying religious organizations may be part of the reason for this exemption. At any rate, it is there. It exists. It is legal.

But other times the courts have ruled that certain practices of religious groups are not above the law. Polygamy, for example, was considered essential for the leaders of the Church of Latter Day saints. But the government ruled otherwise. Even though it was, at the time, a central doctrine of the faith. The Mormons believed in it. The US government said “No”.

And no one would argue that child marriage, slavery, human sacrifice  or actions which obviously harm individuals should be protected, no matter how sincere the beliefs of the religious group that holds them. So, the courts have ruled that religious freedom has  limits, as does  any right.

Individuals who may object to joining the military can apply for conscientious objector status, which precludes them from taking part in combat. But even in this case, it does  not exempt them from military service. They are given other jobs to do. So,  in that sense, they are not exempt.

What about Hobby Lobby? It is not a religion. It is not a church. It is a junk store. It does business in the United States as a multi-million (perhaps billion dollar) corporate entity. Not a mom and pop operation. Not your local Jewish deli. It is a corporate chain, like a MacDonalds or a Dollar Store. What is it’s claim to a religious exemption?

The family that owns Hobby Lobby has sincere religious beliefs. As do the owners of thousands of businesses. And the CEO  of Exxon  or GE or Boeing.  But Hobby Lobby is claiming that the beliefs of a few people, because they are owners of a business enterprise,  somehow allow them to impose their terms on a secular labor contract. While the law says that any business must provide certain things…overtime pay, safe working conditions, minimum wages and now minimum health care benefits, Hobby Lobby is claiming that it does  not have to  abide by those laws. While it uses a religious argument, the actual substance of the case is about money. After all, no one is forcing the Green family to pay for anything out of their own pockets. They have the legal protections of a corporation, but do not want to fulfill the responsibilities of a corporation under the ACA.

The workers earn benefits. Can a corporation limit or reduce or deny benefits based on some new and radical idea of “corporate religion”? If so,  any reasonable person can follow the thread and see where it leads. Any corporate lawyer worth his salary will be codifying “religious beliefs” for Wendy’s and GM before the ink dries on a favorable court decision.

Of course a corporation cannot claim religious freedom to avoid labor laws. A corporation is an artificial , man-made legal construct.  Can anyone claim with a straight face that the original intent of the Bill of Rights was to shield business entities from the powers given Congress in Article 1 ?

Perhaps. After all, some members of this court have already turned the Constitution and themselves  into a logical pretzel with the Bush v Gore decision and the Citizens United decision. While both were obviously politically motivated the majority managed to mangle the interpretation to mean “whatever I say it means”.

So, while an honest interpretation of the law (which already exempts religious groups) and the Constitution would seem to indicate a 9-0 decision against Hobby Lobby, there is no telling how far some members will go in their homage to corporate power. We shall see. Just as Citizens United has turned our elections into a livestock auction,  (“twenty dollar, eighty dollar, five thousand dollar, two million dollar…SOLD, to the two brothers in the back of the room slinking in the corner”) this court decision could eviscerate any worker protection and undercut Article 1 of the Constitution. Believe it.

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Corporate Rights#1:The Sexual Deviants at Hobby Lobby

Quick background. The company  called Hobby Lobby,  owned by a family called the Greens,  does not want to pay for part of the health care for some of it’s workers. This is basic preventative health care covered , by law,  under the ACA. They don’t like some of the forms of birth control, which they claim are abortions. While the medical and scientific evidence refutes that claim, that is not the point.

The point is that the Greens want to exempt themselves from the law based on their personal  religious beliefs . This raises a number of issues, only one of which I will touch on today. There are other issues to be examined at a later date. But today the issue is the Green support for “sexual  deviance”.

Are the owners of Hobby Lobby trying to force deviant sexual practices on their employees? And should a company be able to encourage their employees to engage in sexually deviant behavior, directly or indirectly?

Let me explain.  The Greens oppose the idea of abortion. They also oppose having to pay for any contraceptive that they consider to be abortion inducing .  They reserve the right to define the drug and then refuse to  pay insurance costs associated with their findings. It should be noted that at least some of the contraceptives they find to be abortion inducing are not . But the court did  not delve into the scientific validity of their claims, only their genuinely held beliefs. So be it.  Some folks believe that dinosaurs walked with man. So be it.

So,  what the Greens are saying is that if their employees participate in sexual activity that could lead to pregnancy, the Greens oppose providing the means to  prevent or abort that pregnancy. Keep following this. So, if an employee of Hobby Lobby and her husband have sexual relations in which the husband carefully (or not so carefully) inserts his penis into the employee’s vagina, then the Greens get upset. They will not pay for certain contraceptives that might lead to the sexual act NOT producing a bouncing bundle of joy. So, the Greens are telling their employees that every personal sex act between a husband and wife is now the business of the Green family, because they employ one of the parties at their store. OK.

Oddly, however, the Greens are actually using an economic incentive to encourage couples to engage in non-copulatory sexual behavior. Oral sex will not lead to pregnancy. The Greens are encouraging it. Anal sex will not lead to pregnancy. The Greens are saying  to their employees. Go For It. Homosexual activity will not result  in pregnancy. To the  Greens,  that is A-OKAY in their book. I must suppose that bestiality must be number one in the “Hobby Lobby Guide to Employee Sex Practices”. After all,  the ACA does not cover vet bills.

So, we must ask ourselves. Are the Greens,  under the guise of  religious “freedom” actually encouraging their employees to engage in all kinds of sexual activity. Do they get a vicarious thrill from the thought of their workers going home and engaging in a variety of sexual practices, many of which were illegal only a few decades ago ? Does it excite their corporate religious fervor ? We cannot know and I am only asking. I am not sure where this will lead, but I suspect in the end it will unravel as a communist plot to ensure deviant sexual practices are mandated in America. Obama’s fault. I can feel it coming.

Next up, another essay on the corporate rights.

 

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Filed under ACA, healthcare, homosexual, neoconservatives, Obamacare, Religion, Supreme Court

Thank You , Georgia,I’m Sorry

Having returned from a short trip to the south, including a visit to Savannah,  Georgia, I have to thank these southerners for their hospitality. We had a nice time in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. So, thanks. But today I saw a news article that causes me to thank Georgia politicians even more and tell the people of Georgia that I am sorry.

It seems as though Georgia’s legislature has decided to pass two laws regarding access to health care in the state. While I thank them for one of these laws, I am not sure about the second one.

First, a law which refuses to accept billions of federal  dollars to fund Medicaid for Georgia’s poor, especially the working poor. While the feds are giving states 100% of the costs of Medicaid this year and 90 % in the future, the politicians of Georgia have generously decided not to accept that windfall. And I thank them. Why ?

Well,  since the people of Georgia are paying taxes into the Medicare/Medicaid system they are helping support people in other states, like New York,  and getting nothing in return. This means that over the long haul more money will be available for participating states, at the expense of Georgia’s citizens. Thank you, once again. Very generous of you.

A second law is a bit more curious. Georgia, after all, prides itself on embracing  those freedoms we all hold so dear. Free  press. Freedom of religion. Free speech. Freedom of association. Which makes the next law a bit curious. This law prevents Georgia citizens from helping other Georgia citizens. It prevents them from helping others enroll in the ACA.

In other words, if a Georgia citizen FREELY desires to enroll in the ACA it is illegal for others to assist him or her.It is illegal for others to try to make that enrollment process easier. To give them needed assistance. It is the ultimate “anti-Samaritan” law. Seems kind of odd in a state where the word “freedom” is thrown around like a frisbee on a college campus. And belief in god is spouted even more often. But, so be it.

What are the ramifications of these laws ? Well, for one, the people of Georgia will miss out on billions of federal dollars in aid. The estimated 70,000 plus jobs based on the increase in health care availability (most in the private sector ) will not be created. Those Georgians without health insurance will continue to either get sick and not go to school or work, hurting the economy, or seek treatment at Emergency Rooms in hospitals. The most expensive treatment. Costing Georgia’s citizens even more money with increased health insurance premiums.

And , quite likely, the better health care professionals will seek employment in states with a more supportive attitude towards the medical needs of people.

All of this because a handful of elected officials hate Mr Obama. There is an old saying which applies: Cutting off your nose to spite your face.

So,  thank you Georgia for your hospitality and for helping pay for my state’s Medicaid coverage. And, I am sorry Georgians.  Sorry that you have to live in a state run by people with such hatred towards Mr Obama that they will allow you and your children to suffer. It is quite a dichotomy. Such nice folks. Such nasty politicians.

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Scalia and the Broccoli Conundrum

 

According to the transcript of the Affordable Care Act debate before the Supreme Court, Justice Antonin Scalia used broccoli in one of his analogies. Specifically, if the government can force a person to buy health insurance, couldn’t the government force a person to eat broccoli. I think this will go down in the annals of Supreme Court history as the “Broccoli Conundrum”.
I will be the first to admit that I have not read the entire transcript of the arguments, so I may be taking his statement out of context. But that is acceptable. I simply follow Mr. Scalia who has admitted he has not read the law he will be rendering judgment on. So, following his lead, I will limit my comments and analysis to the broccoli.
His analogy was a simple one. Worthy of any 9th grade social studies student. Clear. Uncomplicated. Unfounded. And missing the point entirely. Let us examine.
He compares a requirement to pay a fee or tax to the force feeding of a specific food. Shoving something down someone’s throat is hardly analogous to charging a fee. Yet, giving Antonin the benefit of the doubt, let’s examine this idea. He has drawn the conclusion that if the government can force one to pay a fee for insurance, it can then force any behavior. As I said, not bad for a 9th grader. Not good for someone who fancies himself a legal scholar.
One weak point in the analogy is obvious. While the government mandates that an individual purchase insurance, there is no mandate to actually use the insurance. There is no physical coercion. No penalty for not seeing a doctor. No one is forced to have an operation. It is simply a financial burden.
The government is replete with similar financial burdens. For example, I am forced to pay taxes or fees for the interstate highway system, parks, dams, bridges and other government enterprises. The government does not force me to use the highways. I may never directly benefit from or use these, but I am required to pay my fair share. I am also required to pay Medicare and Medicaid taxes, though I am not a recipient of those services.
I am forced to subsidize the oil and other energy industries, the military, churches and other non-profits and a host of others who receive tax breaks. I make up the difference. And receive no direct benefit.
I am not complaining. I fully understand (as our imaginary 9th grader has yet to comprehend) that as a member of society we all need to pull our weight. All of us. And each of us pays fees or taxes for things which we do not approve.
Back to broccoli. Can the government force me to eat broccoli? In a sense, yes. The government can force feed individuals, against their will. And if I fail to provide food for my children, the government can force me to do so, or take away the kids. In fact, should I choose to die by starvation , the government will not allow it. It will demand that I be force fed against my will. So, in that sense, the government does have a right to force me to eat my broccoli.
Today we have governments that are forcing women to undergo vaginal probes. Forcing employees to give blood for drug testing. Forcing men and women to take alcohol tests. Even force men and women to go overseas to fight and die. The list is pretty long. And I have yet to hear Antonin utter complaints about those intrusions.
So, Justice Scalia’s simplistic analogy falls flat. The answer, Antonin, is “Yes”. We live in a society. We share the fruits, we share the burdens. The government has , for many years, forced us to do things far more personal and more intimate than another tax.
So, Tony, remember what your mother said. “Eat your broccoli, it’s good for you”. And pay your taxes.

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Filed under Education, Politics, Supreme Court, Uncategorized