Did Republicans Sabotage Obamacare System?

Back during the late Bush and early Clinton Administrations I owned a Government consulting company which develop specialized software for a variety of systems and computer platforms. we developed systems either directly for Government Agencies or for Prime Contractors who had contracts with the Government.

Every President comes to Washington with a list of things to do. Many of those things can be implemented within the vast Federal Systems he directly controls without Congress’ approval through the passage of laws. Things like improving the system which take care of veterans, or the procedures to assist home buyers. In some cases improving how these programs work involves upgrading the computer systems which make them go.

when President Clinton came to town, Republicans had controlled the Federal apparatus for 12 years. The vast majority of the positions which are politically appointed were held by Republicans. There is a level under the appointed officeholders called the Senior Executive Service, which is not supposed to be political. It is made up of Senior professional managers who are the folks who really make things function in the Federal Government. They work under whoever is President and typically make careers out of Federal Service. Some of these people are promoted from careers within the Government. With the pay for these position tied to the commercial market, many come from the commercial industry side to work for the Government.

Historically, while the selection process for these jobs is blind, when Republicans hold power they try and recruit fellow Republicans to make the jump. Ditto for the Democrats. which during the GW Bush Administration opened the door to outright politicization of these jobs through manipulating, and outright breaking the system. This assured that many of those jobs were taken by Bush sycophants…

During the Clinton Administration I witnessed many of the Bush/Raygun holdovers working to throw a monkey wrench in many of Clinton’s signature programs.

Obama, trying to appear magnanimous refused to flugh he Bushit filled toilet when he gained office.

Anyone who has worked with computers knows that the technology is exacting. It really doesn’t take much to make a million lines of code useless. A program can fail because of one single line of code being in error. Google spent many years and millions of dollars to make their search engine be able to handle common misspellings. The engines before Google were literal. If you searched for cheeese, you got only those results with the same typo.

Suggesting the reason the Obamacare programs failed so badly…

Was an inside job.

It would be nice if our computer whizzes at the NSA took a look at that instead of spending all their time snooping on everyone’s telephone.

The Obamacare sabotage campaign

To the undisputed reasons for Obamacare’s rocky rollout — a balky website, muddied White House messaging and sudden sticker shock for individuals forced to buy more expensive health insurance — add a less acknowledged cause: calculated sabotage by Republicans at every step.

That may sound like a left-wing conspiracy theory — and the Obama administration itself is so busy defending the indefensible early failings of its signature program that it has barely tried to make this case. But there is a strong factual basis for such a charge.

From the moment the bill was introduced, Republican leaders in both houses of Congress announced their intention to kill it. Republican troops pressed this cause all the way to the Supreme Court — which upheld the law, but weakened a key part of it by giving states the option to reject an expansion of Medicaid. The GOP faithful then kept up their crusade past the president’s reelection, in a pattern of “massive resistance” not seen since the Southern states’ defiance of the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954.

The opposition was strategic from the start: Derail President Barack Obama’s biggest ambition, and derail Obama himself. Party leaders enforced discipline, withholding any support for the new law — which passed with only Democratic votes, thus undermining its acceptance. Partisan divisions also meant that Democrats could not pass legislation smoothing out some rough language in the draft bill that passed the Senate. That left the administration forced to fill far more gaps through regulation than it otherwise would have had to do, because attempts — usually routine — to re-open the bill for small changes could have led to wholesale debate in the Senate all over again.

But the bitter fight over passage was only the beginning of the war to stop Obamacare. Most Republican governors declined to create their own state insurance exchanges — an option inserted in the bill in the Senate to appeal to the classic conservative preference for local control — forcing the federal government to take at least partial responsibility for creating marketplaces serving 36 states — far more than ever intended.

Then congressional Republicans refused repeatedly to appropriate dedicated funds to do all that extra work, leaving the Health and Human Services Department and other agencies to cobble together HealthCare.gov by redirecting funds from existing programs. On top of that, nearly half of the states declined to expand their Medicaid programs using federal funds, as the law envisioned.

Then, in the months leading up to the program’s debut, some states refused to do anything at all to educate the public about the law. And congressional Republicans sent so many burdensome queries to local hospitals and nonprofits gearing up to help consumers navigate the new system face-to-face that at least two such groups returned their federal grants and gave up the effort. When the White House let it be known last summer that it was in talks with the National Football League to enlist star athletes to help promote the law, the Senate’s top two Republicans sent the league an ominous letter wondering why it would “risk damaging its inclusive and apolitical brand.” The NFL backed off.

The drama culminated on the eve of the open enrollment date of Oct. 1. Congressional Republicans shut down the government, disrupting last-minute planning and limiting the administration’s political ability to prepare the public for the likelihood of potential problems, because it was in a last-ditch fight to defend the president’s biggest legislative accomplishment.

“I think my Republican colleagues forget that a lot of people are enrolling through state exchanges, rather than the federal exchange,” Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) noted last week. “And if it wasn’t for the fact that many Republican governors, including my own,” failed to set up state exchanges, “then we wouldn’t be putting so much burden on the federal system.”

In fact, putting an excessive burden on the federal government was the explicit aim of the law’s opponents. “Congress authorized no funds for federal ‘fallback’ exchanges,” the Tea Party Patriots website noted as long ago as last December. “So Washington may not be able to impose exchanges on states at all.” The group went on to suggest that since Washington was not equipped to handle so many state exchanges, “both financially and otherwise — this means the entire law could implode on itself.” …more

Uncle Ben Carson – “Obamacare Worse Than Slavery”

Emboldened by first Sen Paul Ryan, and then sen Ted Cruz committing political Hari Kari – Ben Carson is warming up that buckdance and Jockey Suit for a potential political run in 2016 a la Herman Cain.

Obamacare is “worse than slavery”?

An American black man really said that shit?

Was it worse than being a Jewish person in Auschwitz, Uncle Ben?

Methinks Uncle Ben has a “racial displacement” issue…

Now where did I put that damn “Lawn Jockey of the Year Award”?

Van Jones Destroys Tea Party Ted Cruz

Oh My!

This is a whuppin’.

Why Obamacare Is Here to Stay

It is really very simple. The essence of which is captured by the following three images…

The post-Raygun destruction of the American Middle Class not only means a loss in ages. Faced with ballooning medical costs driven by private insurers, companies have shifted payment of health coverage off the “benefits” list and onto the shoulders of the employee. Now, even your average college grad is only one illness away from poverty.

 

And then – there is Mom…

The biggest non-criminal racket in the world is care for the elderly in the US. Conservatives would have you believe it is “Death Taxes”, which is a crock designed to fool the stupid into believing that the $10,000 a month it will cost you to put Mom or Dad in a senior center is irrelevant. For most of the middle class anymore, there quite simply isn’t any intergenerational wealth being passed on because of this.

Let’s be very clear. There is going to be a war in America on this come next election cycle. It is going to get ugly, when folks wake up and see these images with their mother, their kids, or brother or sister…

Even Tea Bagger hog calls to racism against the black President doesn’t trump mom dying.

Supreme Court Finds Obamacare Constitutional

In a huge win for the American People the Supreme Court today decided that the ACA, called Obamacare by Republicans is Constitutional. This decision puts a major torpedo in the Conservative right wing scow, and has major implications in the Presidential race.

Sunrise over the Supreme Court. I doubt it is the dawn of a new era – but it is a small ray of hope.

Supreme Court Upholds ObamaCare

The Supreme Court upheld President Obama’s health care law today in a splintered, complex opinion that gives Obama a major election-year victory.

Basically, the justices said that the individual mandate — the requirement that most Americans buy health insurance or pay a fine — is constitutional as a tax.

Chief Justice John Roberts — a conservative appointed by President George W. Bush — provided the key vote to preserve the landmark health care law, which figures to be a major issue in Obama’s re-election bid against Republican opponent Mitt Romney.

Obama is expected to comment on the decision within the next two hours.

The government had argued that Congress had the authority to pass the individual mandate as part of its power to regulate interstate commerce; the court disagreed with that analysis, but preserved the mandate because the fine amounts to a tax that is within Congress’ constitutional taxing powers.

The announcement will have a major impact on the nation’s health care system, the actions of both federal and state governments, and the course of the November presidential and congressional elections.

As lawyers examined the details of the various opinions, political analysts quickly predicted at least a short-term political boost for Obama.

Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said “you can hear the sigh of relief at the White House” over a big plus for Obama.

“It allows the president’s signature achievement to stand,” Brown said. “Since politics is the ultimate zero-sum game, what’s good for Obama is bad for Gov. Mitt Romney.”

Brown also noted that the ruling allows the Republican “to continue campaigning against the law and promising to repeal it.”

History Shows Conservative Objections to Obamacare… Have no Clothes.

This is an absolutely brutal puncturing of the Republican/conservative balloon about Obamacare being un-Constitutional …

What this points out is that the conservative objection to Obamacare isn’t really about the Constitution. The 5 thugs in robes could give a damn about the “Original Intent” of the founders – and are on a path to force the country into a quasi-fascism.

A number of the FOunders, and signatories to the Constitution supported mandates... Including George Washington

Originalist Sin

The five conservative justices on the Supreme Court—Thomas, Alito, Scalia, Roberts and Kennedy—cloak themselves in the myth that they are somehow channeling the wisdom and understanding of the Founding Fathers, the original intent that guided the drafting of the Constitution.  I believe the premise of their argument is itself suspect: It is not clear to me how much weight should be given  to non-textually based intent that is practically impossible to discern more than 200 years later. Most of the issues over which there is constitutional dispute today could not even have been envisioned when the document was drafted.

Even so, it would be an even better response to the conservative wing’s claim of perceived understanding of original intent to be able to refute their claims by showing them to be historically and indisputably wrong.  So once again let’s venture into the world of the health care debate.   The consensus view is that existing Commerce Clause doctrine clearly authorizes the type of mandate passed in the act—see in particular the affirmance of the statute by ultraconservative Judge Silberman of the D.C. Circuit Court.

Nonetheless, those opposing the bill insist that an individual mandate has never been done and the framers would simply not permit such an encroachment on liberty and freedom.

Some spectacular historical reporting by Professor Einer Elhauge of Harvard Law School in the New Republic thoroughly rebut the argument. He has found three mandate equivalents passed into law by the early Congresses—in which a significant number of founders served—and reports that these bills were signed into law by none other than Presidents George Washington and John Adams. As Founders go, one might consider them pretty senior in the hierarchy.  Their acts can probably be relied upon to give us a reasonable idea what the Founders intended to be the scope of congressional and governmental power.

Amazingly, the examples of individual mandates passed by the founders are so directly applicable that the claim that original intent precludes affirming the heath care act should become almost laughable:

  • In 1790, a Congress including 20 Founders passed a law requiring that ship owners buy medical insurance for their seamen. Washington signed it into law.
  • In 1792, another law signed by Washington required that all able-bodied men buy a firearm. (So much for the argument that Congress can’t force us to participate in commerce.)
  • And in 1798, a Congress with five framers passed a law requiring that all seamen buy hospital insurance for themselves. Adams signed this legislation.

In aggregate, these laws show that the Founders and the Congress of the time were willing to force all of us to participate in a particular act of commence and were comfortable requiring both the owner of a business and the individual employee to buy insurance in order to assure that health costs would be covered at a societal level.  That is a pretty complete rebuttal to all the claims being made by the originalists as they relate to the health care act.

But what is so powerful about these historical finds is not just that they rebut the specific argument about original intent as applied to the health care act. This history lays bare the ahistorical nature of the justices’ claims at another and deeper level. For the types of bill passed in 1790, 1792, and 1798 show the Founders to have been doing exactly what congress did especially well in the era of FDR—–experimenting with solutions and approaches to resolving social issues in ways that made government part of creative problem solving.

These examples show the fallacy and the false rigidity that the originalists seek to impose on our government. In their effort to cabin and restrain the government—their ideology of the moment—they seek to have the benefit of the claim that the founders shared such a limited approach to governing.  In fact, the approach to governing that these acts demonstrate is more nuanced and thoughtful.  As with so many of the claims of the originalists, a slight understanding of the true history shows that the originalists’ view is mere ideology being imposed on a false understanding of history.

I’m categorizing this post under “The New Jim Crow”, because the lack of health care results in the deaths of tens of thousands of black babies due to lack of pre-natal or post-natal care in the first year of life…

Every year in the United States.

Put in any other terms – the lack of Health Care i the US is genocide.

Anti-Obamacare Litigant Goes Bankrupt – Owing Medical Bills

“Ain’t nobody going to force me to get no healthcare insurance!”

Ain’t nobody going to bail your dumb ass out from going bankrupt either.

I just spent several weeks in 2 Hospitals. The bill for the first one, in which I stayed 3 days was $61,000. That is a formidable bill to have to cover out of pocket.

These dumb arsed Republicans let their racism get in the way of common sense.Indeed they want to screw the whole damn country because Obama is President.

Plaintiff challenging healthcare law went bankrupt – with unpaid medical bills

Mary Brown, a 56-year-old Florida woman who owned a small auto repair shop but had no health insurance, became the lead plaintiff challengingPresident Obama‘s healthcare law because she was passionate about the issue.

Brown “doesn’t have insurance. She doesn’t want to pay for it. And she doesn’t want the government to tell her she has to have it,” said Karen Harned, a lawyer for the National Federation of Independent Business. Brown is a plaintiff in the federation’s case, which the Supreme Court plans to hear later this month.

But court records reveal that Brown and her husband filed for bankruptcy last fall with $4,500 in unpaid medical bills. Those bills could change Brown from a symbol of proud independence into an example of exactly the problem the healthcare law was intended to address.

The central issue before the Supreme Court is whether the government can require people to buy health insurance. Under the law, those who fail to buy insurance after 2014 could face a fine of up to $700.

The business federation, along with other critics of the law, calls the insurance mandate a “threat to individual liberty” that violates the Constitution.

Obama administration lawyers argue that the requirement is justified because everyone, sooner or later, needs healthcare. Those who fail to have insurance are at high risk of running up bills they cannot pay, sticking the rest of society with the cost, they argue. Brown’s situation, they say, is a perfect example of exactly that kind of “uncompensated care that will ultimately be paid by others.”

“This is so ironic,” Jane Perkins, a health law expert in North Carolina, said of Brown’s situation. “It just shows that all Americans inevitably have a need for healthcare. Somebody has paid for her healthcare costs. And she is now among the 62% whose personal bankruptcy was attributable in part to medical bills.”…(more)

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