A Hollywood Republican

This blog is for an open discussion on politics. My views will be to the right as will be most of the posters. But, we are willing to post alternative viewpoints as lons as they are well thought out. I started this in response to the Obama election and will continue it as long as it feeds a need.

Sep 2, 2009

Why Can’t Conservative Sign onto the Democrat’s Plan?

It is now the dog days of summer and Congress is about to go back to work. The Groundsell by the Democrats during the month of August was a complete failure. President Obama’s approval numbers are on a steady downward slide. And yet, the Democrats insist on passing this Obamanation that is more commonly known as HR 3200.

The President has just announced that he will try a more formal sell to Congress on September 9. Will this work more than the last press conference in which he appeared to have no idea what he was trying to sell? Will it be more successful than his appeal to religious leaders last week? Or, will this be the final death knell in the partisan attempt at Health Care Reform? Only time will tell.

However, the tide has definitely turned against the Democrats. More than 50% of the country on the whole and in some parts of the electorate, way more than 50% are against the current bill and its companion bills both in the House and Senate. Why? Because, Republicans and even moderate Democrats cannot stomach what is contained in them.

My last article was about the need for bipartisanship and debate in Congress. I still feel that way but I do not see it happening. In fact, both sides are digging their heals into the sand and getting ready for the tug of war. At this point, it is not about whose solution is better; it seems to be about which side will win.

HR 3200 and its progeny are disasters. It seems that everyone except the far left agrees on this. I will not get into the death panel issue as it was carefully analyzed by my friend Ira in an earlier column, but I will get into certain other issues that I feel are wrong with the bills and why almost the entire populace is rallying against them.

To begin with, the public option has to go. All moderates and conservatives agree. It is bad public policy and it is bad for America. The minute you put the public option into play, all private insurance companies will be driven out of business and we will have socialized health care which is the goal of the far left anyway. Once we have socialized health care, the parade of horribles begins. This includes rationing of health care, lack of choice and skyrocketing taxes.

However, if you regulate the current insurance industry, you will promote competition in the private sector and drive down prices. This is the whole theory behind the anti-trust laws in the United States. (By the way, regulation, however bad it is for the free market is better than the alternative). The more competitive the private sector becomes, the lower the cost of health insurance will be. Further, if you compel the entire population to become insured either through better tax credits for individuals and/or employers, regular market forces will naturally drive down the cost of insurance.

Secondly, abortion must be specifically excluded from any proposed legislation. The general public must not be forced to fund an elective procedure. Say what you will about your stance on abortion, but it is an elective procedure unless the health of the mother is in jeopardy. Then, it is a medical necessity and it is a whole different ball game.

President Obama, during his appeal to the religious community last week, contacted Catholic Bishops and Leaders. He impressed upon them the need for Health Care Reform. They unilaterally rejected his pleas. Why? Because, of the abortion issue. The entire Catholic community believes that health care for everyone is a basic human right. However, until the abortion issue is addressed, neither the Catholic Church, nor any other conservative religious organization is going to lobby their followers for Obamacare.

Just as an aside, Obama is beginning to show how much of an old fashioned politician he really is. He ran on the basis of change. During the campaign, he argued that America is no longer a Christian nation and that people cling to their religion when they are unhappy about their lives. Now, that he needs religion to help his cause, he goes running to religion. This is not change. He is a hypocrite!

The next issue is very controversial and, unfortunately, it is also a monetary one. Public money in any way, shape or form, must not be used to fund medical care for illegal immigrants. I know people from the far left are going to call me a racist and a heartless bastard. Believe me, I am not. But, if we are going to bankrupt this country with this level of major health care reform, it should only be for legal, taxpaying citizens and those holding valid visas.

I am not saying that someone lying on the street bleeding to death should not receive emergency treatment because they are illegally here. The law already states that everyone with a true emergency must be treated. All I am saying is that basic health care that is not a true emergency should not be afforded to illegal aliens. They are many people in this country that have come here properly. They should be entitled to the benefits of citizens. The rest should not.

Fourth, a plan must be developed that is revenue neutral. We cannot mortgage our children’s future any longer. If no one can come up with a way to pay for this plan without destroying the economy in the process, then there should be no plan at all. Some of the top minds in this country are in Washington right now trying to put a plan together. Let them find a way to fund it without it increasing the debt by over one trillion dollars in the next ten years.

Lastly, there should be no tax penalty for employers who do not want to provide health insurance and individuals who do not want to be insured. If a company provides health insurance, there should be tax benefits for providing it. There should be no penalty for not doing so. If an individual does not want insurance, that is a personal choice. There are many people under 30 who simply do not want to be covered. Likewise, there are many rich people that would rather be self insured and pay the medical bills themselves.

I keep hearing from many sources that the Republicans have no solutions and are just trying to kill health reform to put Obama to shame. That is not true. There are many Republican points on health care that are frankly, just being ignored by the Democrats. Among them are Tort Reform to lower medical malpractice premiums and bring medical costs down; and better tax benefits for health insurance at both the employer and individual level.

Let the Democratic Congress deal with the issues set forth herein and a bipartisan bill will be enacted. If they do not and decide to continue going it alone, the effects of that will be felt by them in 2010. Of course, that might not be all that bad. The Republicans will get control of the House and Senate again!

© 2009 by Frank T. DeMartini. Permission to copy will be granted freely upon request.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Frank!

From the point of view of an Advocate for Change, its very clear that the President has lost the bubble on the debate. And, shockingly, the reason he's lost the bubble is because he's tried quite hard to bring all parties together by not dictating the contents of the bill.

He thought that reasonable people would act resonably. That was his mistake. Politics are not reasonable, nor are the actions of politicians looking for self gain at the expense of others.

Can the President regain the upper ground....I'm not sure he can. But I'm looking forward to seeing him try. Only this time, I hope he calls a spade a spade, and stops trying to make peace with those who would like nothing more than see him humiliated.

So, let's start calling a spade a spade and address your points:

1) The Public Option as bad policy - Frank, get real. The reason for a public option is to force the insurance companies to be more competitive. Without such an option they have will have no reason to change their ways.

I can hear the Insurance Company's response to proposed new regulations (as you propose)...."We can't do away with pre-existing condition clauses, we'd lose money"...."we can't reduce our administrative expenses and insure more people, we'd lose money"...."we need the flexibility to terminate policies as we see fit or we'll lose money"..."we need to limit choice of procedures, otherwise we'd lose money"...DO YOU GET THE PICTURE???????

Frank, remember ECON 101 at SU?
For-profit companies care about one thing, and one thing only, dividends for investors so that they will invest more!!!!!! You cannot, and will not change that behavior. That's the same behavior that allows our drug industry to charge Americans far more than others for drugs.....and they get away with it by screaming the mantra of "....if I can't do this, I'll lose money...."

2) Abortion - I am Catholic. I am personally opposed to abortion. But it is not my place to judge others. This is a personal decision....not a political one....SO LEAVE IT ALONE.....

Frank, all I'm going to say is this. If you want to prohibit Abortion coverage because its an elective procedure, then we should ban all elective procedures...Lasik, forget it....how that? Let's be fair!

3) Coverage for illegals - I am a heartless bastard....I say (or was it Mick Jagger) let em bleed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

4) Revenue Neutrality - Agreed, however this is not as important to me as Universal Coverage. There are other ways to reduce the mortgage on my grandkids, for instance, reducing the 'gifts' we give in foreign aid each year and stopping the resource sucking wars we've been fighting. And while we're at it, let's reign in the Fed and stop them from the creating boom/bust cycles which do nothing but destroy the middle class.

5) No penalties for opt outs - I disagree with this Frank....We need an employer and employee mandate. Here's why....the larger the pool of insured, the more risk is spread. These 20-somethings are required to offset the risk to the insurance companies of folks in their 50's and 60's.

6) Tort reform - This will help about as much as stopping a leaky pipe with a piece of bubble gum. But heck, I'm all for sticking it to the 'blood sucking' lawyers....Come to think of it, Frank, aren't you a lawyer :-) Enough said here.

Everything I've said here, I've said before Frank. I'm looking forward to next week to see if the President makes any of these points while regaining the high ground on this debate.

September 3, 2009 at 3:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of competition, when are the Republicans going to counter HR3200 with a specific plan that addresses tort reform, abortion, and all issues on the table? They've got to run this up the flagpole into the public discourse.

September 3, 2009 at 8:23 AM  
Blogger Frank T. DeMartini said...

George: I will address your points one by one.

1. The reason why the public option is bad is because of exactly what you wrote. Once you take the competition away from the insurance companies, everyone will go to the public option. It will definitely be cheaper because 300 million people will be paying for it.
As they slowly go out of business, the public option will become more and more powerful. It will become a bloated bureaucracy like medicare and the post office. And, it will eventually drain the coffers of the treasury even more than medicare is doing now.
If you regulate the insurance companies regardless of their whining, you may have some chance that market forces will take over and insurance will be cheaper.

2. Abortion - Unfortunately I feel that Lasik should not be covered either. It is elective. Nose jobs are elective, breast augmentation and reduction are elective. They should not be covered. I'm not even looking at this primarily from a religious standpoint. I'm looking at this from a person's right to choose. If it is a choice, I'm not paying for it. If it's a medical necessity, I will gladly allow my tax dollars to pay for it.

3. It seems we are in agreement on this issues of illegals, except that anyone suffering a heart attack should be afforded emergency room care. This is being a human.

4. We are definitely in agreement here. I am not against Universal Coverage. I'm against Socialized Medicine. Let the doctors who go to school for 15 years make as much money as they can. We cannot dictate their salaries.

5. You solution goes hand in hand with my solution for regulation. Force the insurance companies to become more competitive. Allow insurance to cross state lines. (This is a Republican solution that is getting ignored by everyone). The bigger the pool, the lesser the premiums. However, this does not work with the government as stated above.

6. Tort Reform will never happen if the Democrats get their way. They are supported almost entirely by the Trial Lawyers and Labor Unions. These people live on torts. But, it is a solution that will cut medical costs as much as 10-15%. Some doctors pay 25% of their income to malpractice insurance. If you limit that amount one can collect, you will cut those numbers dramatically across the board and prices will come down. (not only because of malpractice rates but because of the elimination of needless tests that doctors do just to cover their butts).

I hope I've addressed most of your key points.

September 3, 2009 at 9:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Franky -

We do agree on much more than we disagree.

My biggest issue is with our insurance companies. They are the today's equivalent of The Evil Empire and need to be made to change, or they need to go. We just cannot, financially or morally, allow them to continue trading people's lives for profit.

You know me pretty well. There is nothing socialistic about me. I've worked very hard for everything I've ever gotten. I believe in the value of hard work and earning your keep.

But over the years I've come to believe that there are instances where we cannot rely solely on the free market. Health insurance is one of those instances. This is an area where we need to set the rules for the insurance companies. Call it regulation, or call it socialized medicine. I call it our moral duty to ensure that quality healthcare is available to all Americans all the time!!!!!

Anyway...let's see what the President says on Wednesday. Take Care!

September 3, 2009 at 2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd love to see your change of heart if you were seriously ill without insurance. Moron.

September 3, 2009 at 2:55 PM  
Blogger Frank T. DeMartini said...

To the intelligent person that called me a moron, I suggest you read my article and read the entire text of HR 3200. Even a large portion of Democrats are against this bill. Read it if you have the ability to and try to understand it if you have the ability to.

There is not one person in this country Democrat or Republican that believes Health Care works. However, there has to be a solution that addresses all concerns. You cannot just haphazardly bankrupt the country. These issues addressed in my blog must be addressed by Congress.

As for calling me a moron, I guess it's the pot calling the kettle black. Thanks for the constructive criticicm.

September 3, 2009 at 3:25 PM  
Blogger commoncents said...

Great post! I really like your blog!!

ps. Link Exchange??

September 7, 2009 at 5:13 AM  
Blogger Frank T. DeMartini said...

To Common Cents. Done. You are on. Please do the same for me.

September 8, 2009 at 7:35 AM  

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