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Alright. For whatever reason, many people have been expecting me to post about the newly signed bill about Health Care Reform (I’ve already written one, here: A Response. This past Tuesday, President Barack Obama signed a revolutionary health care bill into law. This bill would increase coverage to several million people and would force health care providers to adhere to various regulations as set by the 50 different markets that will be developed by this health care reform. Why we are walking backwards into a country that is no longer united, I do not know. Perhaps it is because the federal government is too terrified to make a solid decision on abortion (the Democratic party is united… united so long as no controversial topics come up). Perhaps it is because America is incapable of learning from past mistakes.

Other noteworthy comments about the bill:

  • No Republican voted for the bill (in either House or Congress)
  • The bill passed by 7 votes.
  • People who refuse Health Care or take health care that is not accepted will be fined.
  • Of all the bills that have been introduced to reform health care, this is the hardest one for me to find online. It took me 2 hours to simply find it. What the hell. The name (the actual name of the bill) has changed enough times that keeping track of it is nearly pointless.
  • Hopefully people who have been following the bill(s) now understands how a bill is passed. Perhaps the one good thing about this bill is that it encouraged people to understand how bills are passed into law (although I’m more convinced that people just gave up).

But what I really wanted to talk about was not the health care bill. Today, I want to talk about this ridiculous obsession about the health care reform bill. There are other bills out there that the Houses have to vote on and there is other news out there. Instead, we spent all our time concentrating on this one bill, which well all knew was going to pass whether we liked it or not because the Democrats have an obscene majority in the House and the Senate. Democrats who are touting it off as a new revolutionary bill that is the equivalent to the Social Security Act clearly have not seen how Social Security has been driving our financial standing into the ground and also clearly haven’t taken a serious look at the cost of the bill. (Either that, or they just simply believe every word that the Democratic Party says.) It’s also pretty ridiculous to claim that there have been immediate economic consequences (negative or positive) since it was signed into law on TUESDAY. Any change is simply a result of people’s reactions to the bill, not the bill itself.
Republicans who are too pigheaded to see that we need health care reform are equally ignorant. At least the Democratic party is making efforts to improve our health care situation. The Democratic Party at least made several attempts to include things that the Republican party wanted, while the Republican party has done nothing to try and create reform. The non-bipartisanship of this law is not the whole fault of the Democrats, who have made continual attempts to appease the Republicans.

And it’s this drama that keeps the Health Care Reform bill/law in the news. Rather than concentrating on things we can change and things that are equally important, we default back into Health Care Reform.

Below is a list of bills and laws that are equally important and are greatly ignored by mainstream America.

  • S.773 – Cybersecurity Act of 2009 – Creates a Cybersecurity Advisory Panel and allows the Department of Commerce to act as a Clearinghouse. There also a mention of a scholarship in there for students who are interested in going into cyber security, and ideas for competitions that students can enter.
  • H.R.2847 – Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act (HIRE) – Signed into law on March 18, 2010. Reallocates money into House of Commerce and Transportation agencies. Also creates new incentives for hiring unemployed workers.
  • H.R.4213 – American Workers, State, and Business Relief Act of 2010 – Passed both the House and amended by the Senate (must be re-passed with the new changes by the House). It extends the current deadline to file for certain unemployment benefits. In total, the bill will cost $140 billion dollars, with NO plan to make up the money in any other way (at least the Health Care Bill[s] had various plans, although weak, to make up the lost revenue over a long period of time). [Credits to jmflora for catching my mistake]
  • H.R.3221 – Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009 – Reallocates money from the Stafford loans and from programs that allow for government subsidies to support private company loans to put into the Pell Grant program. Increases money to advertising science, math and technology fields to Hispanics and Blacks (aka: more scholarship money for them).
  • S.1733 – Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (what is it with candidates for President who lost putting out bills on energy reform?) – Introduced by Senator John Kerry. Creates a nation-wide cap-and-trade program that would promote decreased greenhouse gas emissions.
  • H.R.1207 – Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009 – Introduced by Ron Paul (the only Republican who supports this bill, mind you). Overhauls the current relationship between the Federal Reserve and the US Congress/US Treasury. Gives control to the Comptroller General, who will audit the Federal Reserve
  • H.R.226 – Broadcaster Freedom Act of 2009 – Stops the FCC from reintroducing the Fairness Doctrine, which required news broadcasters to present opposing views on controversial issues (the Fairness Doctrine was abolished in 1987).
  • H.R.231 – The Video Game Health Labeling Act of 2009 – Creates new labels warning parents about the dangers of certain video games. The warning would read such (for games with a rating of above T): “WARNING: Excessive exposure to violent video games and other violent media has been linked to aggressive behavior”
  • H.R.414 – Camera Phone Predator Alert Act – Requires that all phones with a camera make a sound (like a click-click camera sound) when taking a picture
  • .

I’m not asking for society to follow all the bills being passed in the US Government. Just please be aware that Health Care Reform is not the only be all end all of topics. It is certainly not the only one that is up for debate in the Houses.

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Apologies for not posting last week. I had final exams, I was going through a week of sleepless nights and food-less days. By the end of it all, it was worth it (although my body seems to think otherwise). I’m pretty sure I passed all my classes, and I’m back to complaining about politics, economics and human society!

This week, I’ve gone back to the health care reform debate to talk about the Senate bill for Health Care reform. It is interesting to note that “A Bill” (yes, that is the name of the bill) is roughly 2,700 pages long, so I don’t expect anyone to read through the whole thing. Admittedly, I did not read the whole thing myself (I no longer have the time to read 2000 page bills that are being thrown around Congress), but I have skimmed several sections on it, and yes, I did read up on it using several sources (both Democrat and Republican -aligned). The bill has gone through several radical changes since it’s movement to the Senate, so note that this is almost a totally different bill than the one that was introduced in the House several weeks ago.

Also, I’ve made a decision to no longer be a redditor. Unfortunate, yes, but I’ve decided that Reddit.com is too unfriendly of a community, and that the users of Reddit are misinformed, ignorant, liberal morons who refuse to acknowledge that other people may be offended by their pretentious and ass-hat behavior. Not every avid internet user is a pig headed atheist who thinks that Obama (or liberal thinking as a whole) is the voice of a generation.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read, and I hope you all have a very pleasant winter vacation! As I will continually remind you, if you’d like to comment, please comment on wordpress (not facebook).

Currently Reading: Nothing, but I anticipate books for Christmas
Currently Drinking: Apple Juice
Currently Eating: Butter Biscuits (which are delicious)
Current Mood: Relaxed

It’s been an interesting week for health care reform, especially since the Senate called their health care reform bill to question (this means forcing a close of debate “on the floor” and making everyone vote) in the early hours of a Monday morning (somewhere between 12-2 AM). Drastically different from the House bill (“The Affordable Health Care for America Act), the Senate bill (“A Bill”) will not include a public health care option, but would increase subsidies to help Americans pay for government-approved health care plans that are in the government-run “marketplace,” otherwise known as The Exchange (The Exchange exists in both the House and the Senate bills). The senate bill also gives more control to the states, who would regulate their own exchange programs and would be able to effectively “ban” health care plans that supported abortion.

Democratically-aligned politicians have urged a passing of this bill. “We need health care reform, and we need it fast,” they urge. As a result, we get this rushed health care reform bill that disregards costs, efficiency and individual rights. So long as it’s a reform, it must be good right? And it’s the government, so we’re sure they have our best interests at heart, right?

Wrong. By forcing the bill to pass, at any cost, before Christmas, the Democratic half (60 of the 100 votes) neglects many problems with the bill, including high cost and poorly designed contracts with private programs. Any problems that they may have essentially gets dumped on the state governments, who have to organize costly marketplace programs, mostly without federal support. And, instead of actually providing reform to our health care system, Congress will opt to pump the market with subsidies so that people have to take poorly designed health care programs. And, if people (or business) don’t want to get health care, they’ll have to pay a fine. They’ll be forced to take government contracted health care plans that they do not want.

And, in total, this bill would cost up to and maybe over 780 billion dollars, even without the organization of a public option. Much of this money would be going into providing subsidies for people under the poverty line (increasing taxes), organizing new health packages (that only cover 50% of all costs), creating 50 different marketplaces, and paying for contracts with private companies. And where will this money come from?

Why, you, of course! Both the House and the Senate bills claim to be self-sustaining bills, but the chances that either plan will receive the money they project from Medicaid/Medicare or any public option are slim, at best. And, as medical costs continue to increase (as more and more people decide to take medical operations that they feel they can afford because “it’s on my health care plan anyway”), taxes will have to increase. Increased taxes on medical supplies, increased taxes on business both large and small, and increased income taxes.

The government may want to pay for health care for 30 million Americans, but money simply does not appear without consequences. And by pushing the bill to be passed before Christmas, the Democratic Senate and President Obama pushes for poorly organized health care reform that will dump us in a worse state than before.

Yes, our health care system needs reform. No, I don’t need to have it before Christmas. If I have to wait another several months for reform that is cheaper, better regulated, and more organized, I’m willing to hold out. This is not a situation where “it’s better than anything else.” This is worse than the health care system we already have in order.

For more information about the comparison between the House bill and the Senate bill, the New York Times has a rather comprehensive compare-and-contrast list between the two. It can be found here. Please remember that the House bill has already been passed, while the Senate bill is going to a vote at 7:00AM on December 24, 2009. Most of you will probably be busy with your friends and families, but it’s important to please keep an ear and eye out for any news! Go! Be informed!

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I know I don’t normally blog on… Sundays. But holy shit, I couldn’t pass this one up.

Heath Care Reform Bill Passes in House of Representatives

After a daylong clash with Republicans over what has been a Democratic goal for decades, lawmakers voted 220 to 215 to approve a plan that would cost $1.1 trillion over 10 years.

My soul, it cries for the destruction of all things good and right about social reform.

1.1 trillion dollars over 10 years. That’s nearly 1/13th of our US Economy (our TOTAL GDP). 1,100,000,000,000 dollars wasted on health care reform which will act more as a burden and a deficit to the US economy than any blessing. 1,100,000,000,000 dollars that will be spent on regulating private health care companies, fueling a wasteful public option and slowly depleting our choices as consumers to decide where our money should go.

During a time where economic stability is nearing the levels of the 1980 recession/stagflation, we really should be spending more of our resources and efforts into FIXING one problem instead of creating more problems with social reform.

And most of the money won’t even go to changing health care! It’ll be spent developing and creating a poorly designed public option (business). It’ll be spent funding and fining other corporations that don’t match the “standards” (it’s inconsequential that the public option will essentially NEVER be regulated, giving it an unfair advantage to any other private option). And how will this type of health care be fueled?

Taxing health care corporations (until they most likely go out of businesses, since they’re competing with a public option that the government wants to succeed). Taxing people who don’t want health care, taking away money from the economy to fuel the poor health care plan. Taxing all US citizens to fuel a health care reform system that is headed by the Health Choices Commissioner, who’s a government official with a natural inclination to the government-organized public option to health care.

Our last memorable social reform, if anyone cares to wonder, was Social Security in 1935 (fueled by a Democratic Congress and a Democratic President during an economically failing time). Now, 5 adults pay for every senior citizen on social security. By the time I get to collect social security, the system would have crashed in on itself, or the age I’ll have to be is something near 120.

I am not saying that health care reform is useless and terrible. I do support some social reform. Well planned, well organized, FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE and free-market-aware reform. Reform that doesn’t turn into disasters 60 years down the road. Reform that doesn’t need to be reformed again. Reform that can be easily understood by the US people, that isn’t riddled with ways for the government to take money (forcing people to pay a fine for not taking health care is ridiculous).

Social reform can be good. But frivolous spending of money we don’t have?

I hope the Senate has a better head on their shoulders than their moronic and idealistic House counterpart.

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Hello everyone! I’m sorry this post has been so delayed. College has been keeping me busy, so I am sticking to the tradition that my post will be as late as ever.

But never fear! I will try to write on Tuesdays as much as possible, and when I become more familiar with my schedule, I will be able to write at a more consistent time. For now, you will have to live with what you get.

This specific post is about the Health Care Reforms that are being enacted under a bill entitled “American’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009.” It is a 1014 page bill that covers health care reforms in America. It is currently being discussed in the Senate and has been the topic of many a debate in the media.

As a disclaimer, my opinion on the matter is that this bill should not be enacted. I am not a supporter of a public health care option (nor am I a supporter of other governmentally funded welfare projects such as social security).

So uh. Read. Enjoy. Hope you learn a little more.

Currently Listening To: Love Story (Taylor Swift)
Currently Drinking: Pepsi Cherry
Currently Eating: M&Ms
Currently Watching: Toradora
Currently Reading: My textbooks
Random Image of the Day

So. Health Care.

Yea. Health Care Bill.

Tonight, President Obama’s speech was all about addressing the concerns of Health Care reform and answering all the questions on the 1000 page bill that is passing through the House of Representatives (that’s right, it hasn’t even gotten to the Senate). It was a very long speech about how the health care reform would not impose itself upon the American public, and how there were many misconceptions (mostly on the Republican side) about how the health care system would be ruined.

So, to get it out of the way, let me explain the bill in a little detail.

It is NOT some Nazi program bent on destroying the world. There are no death panels, and not EVERYONE would HAVE to have public health care.

The bill has two purposes: creating a public health care option and fixing the problems with the current health care system (the exact quote is “enact strong insurance market reforms”). These reforms would include creating a maximum up front payment for the patient, forcing everyone to have health care and, as previously mentioned, creating a public health care option that would be available to all American citizens. This public health care plan would enter the market as a competitor to private companies, to encourage choice and competition.

Also, each health care plan would have to be reviewed by a Health Choice Commissioner, who would regulate which health care plans were legally available. To be available, the plans have to contain essential benefits and protections, and would (obviously) have to be affordable.

In total, the plan would cost 9 Billion (count those zeros with me: 9,000,000,000) dollars over the span of 10 years. Yes, this is cheaper than the Iraq war, but that doesn’t make it any less pricey.

President Obama says the intention of the bill is to reform the health care system by regulating private companies and creating a public option that will allow all citizens to have health care (regardless of health history) and will encourage private companies to keep their health plans low and available to everyone (all health care plans must guarantee availability and renew-ability to ALL citizens).

President Obama also claims that the health care plan is self-sustaining, with revenues being brought in by premiums, other insurance companies (who have to pay fees if their plan is too expensive) and by cutting down on money that is being spent frivolously. How he and the government intends on jump starting the program as a whole is still a mystery to me.

One of my biggest concerns when it comes to cost is that government plans have a habit of costing more than they’ve been predicted to cost. Take Social Security for example, which has been following the “this is going to be a self-sustaining program” concept since 1939. Five (5) adults currently pay for one (1) senior citizen who is on social security. This cannot be sustained for much longer, especially with the baby boomer generation coming into an age where they can start collecting their social security benefits.

Or take the welfare benefits that discourage people from finding jobs because they make more money on welfare than they would finding a job. Don’t forget we are also paying for the Medicaid system, which provides health care to poor and low-income families.

These were all programs that started off with wonderful intentions to provide happiness and comfortability to all the citizens and legal residents of the United States. But these are very expensive, very abused programs which are practically at the brink of failure.

The new Health Care bill is not much different. It is intended to be a program for the American Government to, once again, provide some sort of social welfare for the country. However, I find the bill to be too vague and too expensive. Nine billion dollars is a lot, but I’d venture to say that people will use it as an excuse to spend more money.

Which brings me to my next topic. I first heard this concern from 20/20 (which my mom had fallen asleep watching). In the show, they compare the need for health care with the need for groceries (not a perfect metaphor, but it serves its purpose). If an individual paid a “grocery insurance,” that person would put a certain amount of money down to get a certain amount of grocery products, just as health insurance allows you to obtain health care coverage.

Well, if a person had an option between the steak or the chicken (both of which would be covered by the grocery insurance), the person would obviously choose the steak.

This is true for health insurance, with many people choosing more expensive surgeries because it is “covered under the health insurance: “When we pay for health care with someone else’s money, it creates nasty incentives. It’s good to be covered in case of a medical catastrophe, like a heart attack or cancer, but when patients pay for almost everything from physicals to acupuncture using third-party money, they have no reason to care about cost. Because the buyers don’t care about cost, neither do the health-care providers.”

20/20 uses Lasik as an example. Because Lasik is not covered under any insurance policy, doctors have to compete to encourage patients to buy from them. This competition is what drives the price of Lasik down. Buyers have to “shop around” for prices, just as they do with other products.

This is the same type of competition that President Obama talks about in his Address to Congress about the Health Care Reforms. He claims that having a public option will drive down prices and create competition between health care because the public option will inherently be cheaper BECAUSE there is no behind-the-scenes-money-wasting.

Bullshit! For one, public health care may not always be the cheapest. For two, it is not competition if public health care has clear advantages in the market. While private companies will have to pay a fee for expensive health care plans and will have to go under the scrutiny of a Health Choice Commissioner (who is and will be federally paid), public health care will not go under the same lenses BECAUSE it is a government program. Also, the reforms REQUIRE that every person have health insurance. President Obama says this is because every person “has to do their part, or the system will not work.” However, I feel that it is a person’s choice to want or not want health care, just as it is a person’s right to not get a job, lie under oath and commit suicide. All of these actions have severe consequences (expensive hospital bills, no money, going to jail and death, respectively), but they are still “options,” even if they are not the ones you would chose (I would personally buy some good health care, get a job, not lie under oath, and live).

For example, if a small business owner does not want to provide health care (DOES NOT WANT is very different from cannot), it is his/her right to not provide said health care. Because it doesn’t provide health care while its competitors do, that small company (the one not providing health care) will suffer a labor shortage and will eventually go bankrupt/fade out. It’s a simple matter of “this is a poor business choice,” and I would rather a small business owner want to provide health care than HAVE TO provide health care.

I am all for the goals of reforming health care system (whether it has to do with drug companies, medical malpractice laws or insurance businesses). However, I feel that the plan leaves too many holes open for future abuse of the system, and will end up as a detriment to the US Economy (since it’s going to get ridiculously expensive one day). I’m glad that the Obama Administration is taking steps to improve the health care system in America, but I feel that there should be a separation between reforming the health care system and adding a public health care option. I also feel that Obama should be concentrating on other things, such as improving the economy. Were this bill to be enacted, none of the laws would go into action until 2013 (when President Obama will either be out of office or serving his second term) anyway. I feel there are more pressing matters at hand.

I feel the same way about this bill as I do many of the other government social welfare/insurance programs. Good intentions, bad implementations.

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