A TALE OF TWO CIRCUITS: OBAMACARE IS EITHER ON LIFE SUPPORT OR IN ROBUST HEALTH

230px-CPR_training-04190px-Falk,_Benjamin_J._(1853-1925)_-_Eugen_Sandow_(1867-1925)Below is my column today in the Chicago Tribune on the rivaling rulings in the D.C. Circuit and the Fourth Circuit over a critical provision under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). As an academic interesting in statutory interpretation and legisprudence, the opinions are fascinating and capture two different but well-argued views of the role of both courts and agencies in dealing with legislative language.

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Call it the “Tale of Two Circuits.” It was either the best of times or the worst of times yesterday for Obamacare.

Within hours of each other yesterday, two federal appellate courts looked at the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) on the same issue involving the same provision and came to diametrically opposite conclusions.

In Halbig v. Burwell, the D.C. Circuit ruled that the Obama Administration changed the meaning of the ACA and wrongly extended billions of tax credits to citizens without congressional authority. It was a stunning loss for the Administration. However, a couple hours later, the neighboring Fourth Circuit across the river ruled in King v. Burwell. That three-judge panel ruled that the Administration was perfectly within its rights to interpret the law in this fashion. Depending on which bank of the Potomac you stand on, Obamacare is either in robust health or on life support.

While the decisions have caused a whirlwind of political controversy, neither really turn on the question of national health care. Indeed, these two cases represent well reasoned but conflicting views of the role of court in statutory interpretation. The conclusion of these rivaling approaches hold the very viability of the ACA in the balance. That answer may have to wait for another appeal to the full courts of these respective circuits and ultimately an appeal to the United States Supreme Court.

In Halbig, Judge Thomas B. Griffith ruled that the statute is clearly worded on a key point of the law. At issue is the very thumping heart of the Obamacare: the system of state and federal “exchanges” through which citizens are required to purchase insurance. The law links the availability of tax credits to those states with exchanges “established by the state.” However, the Administration was caught by surprise when some 36 states opted not to create state exchanges. That represented a major threat to Obamacare. Without the credits, insurance would be “unaffordable” for millions of citizens who can then claim an exemption from the ACA. It would allow a mass exodus from the law – precisely what many citizens and critics have wanted.

To avoid that threat, the Obama Administration released a new interpretation that effectively read out “state” from the language – announcing that tax credits would be available to even states with only a federal exchange.
The D.C. Circuit ruled that the “interpretation” was really a re-writing of the federal law and that President Obama had over-reached his authority in violation of congressional power.

The Fourth Circuit came to the opposite conclusion. The court believed that the IRS was entitled to deference by the courts in what these laws mean in cases of ambiguity. The panel considered the law to be unclear and found that it was reasonable for the IRS to adopt an interpretation that guaranteed tax credits to all citizens.

At the heart of the conflict is a fundamentally different view of the role not just of federal courts but also of federal agencies. I have long been a critic of the rise of a type of fourth branch within our system. The Framers created a tripartite system based on three equal branches. The interrelation of the branches guarantees that no branch could govern alone and protects individual liberty by from the concentration of power in any one branch.

We now have a massive system of 15 departments, 69 agencies and 383 nonmilitary sub-agencies with almost three million employees. Citizens today are ten times more likely to be the subject of an agency court ruling than a federal court ruling. The vast majority of “laws” in this country are actually regulations promulgated by agencies, which tend to be practically insulated and removed from most citizens.

The Supreme Court ruled in 1984 in Chevron that agencies are entitled to heavy deference in their interpretations of laws. That decision has helped fuel the growth of the power of federal agencies in this fourth branch. The court went even further recently in Arlington v. FCC in giving deference to agencies even in defining their own jurisdiction. In dissent, Chief Justice John Roberts warned: “It would be a bit much to describe the result as ‘the very definition of tyranny,’ but the danger posed by the growing power of the administrative state cannot be dismissed.”

Regardless of the merits of the statutory debate over the ACA, the question comes down to who should make such decisions. For my part, I agree with the change but I disagree with the unilateral means that the President used to secure it. President Obama has pledged to “go it alone” in circumventing opposition in Congress. The Fourth Circuit decision will certainly help him fulfill that pledge. The result is that our model of governance is changing not by any vote of the public but by these insular acts of institutional acquiescence.

The court may call this merely deferring to an agency but it represents something far greater and, in my view, far more dangerous. It is the ascendance of a fourth branch in a constitutional system designed for only three.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law and has testified before Congress on the constitutional implications of the health care cases.

275 thoughts on “A TALE OF TWO CIRCUITS: OBAMACARE IS EITHER ON LIFE SUPPORT OR IN ROBUST HEALTH

  1. I have a major disagreement with the fourth circuit arguing that federal agencies deserve such deference in setting policy. The question to me isn’t just one of legislative intent, but fiscal law as well. I’ll admit that I don’t know all the details of the federal exchange. Someone who is more knowledgeable of the ACA is welcome to correct me, but my understanding is that HHS is using funds appropriated for the state (as in the 50) operation of their exchanges. If HHS is using these funds, it would be worthwhile to go back to the funding language and see what the appropriation language says. HHS might be in violation of the anti-deficiency act. On the other hand if funding is available for state and federal operations of exchanges and subsidies, then the administration’s case is bolstered. Again this is just my opinion. I don’t know enough about the ACA to say one way or the other. But if the cases turn on the meaning of the word “state” it would be useful to help clear up the meaning by looking not just at the law but the funding as well.

    That said, the IRS and HHS being able to interpret the law through administrative regulation is dangerous. It’s very similar to the recent Hobby Lobby case in the sense that it isn’t the law that is in question, but regulations. If enforced birth control coverage had been included in the ACA, a valid argument could have been made that Congress had the intent to carve out birth control as not being part of the religious exemptions. Instead it was enforced through a passage in the federal register. In the case of Halbig, the administration is using regulation to do what the law seemingly is silent on. Given the court’s recent adherence to strict construction when interpreting Congressional intent, I don’t see how this case will end any differently than all the recent others where the executive branch finds a new right or power.

    I’m curious to see if I’m off base with this analysis.

  2. Bailers,

    Where the rubber meets the road on the 4th Cir. and DC Cir. decisions is statutory interpretation.

    Specifically, the rubber meets the road at the place of determining what an ambiguity is.

    Once a court holds that there is an ambiguity in a statute, then differing follow-up techniques are utilized to determine what to do about it.

    When federal courts are deciding a case that involves a federal agency they give deference to that agency.

    The basic premise is that a federal agency is specifically created to be an expert in a certain field.

    They typically employ Phd. experts in that field.

    Thus, the courts give them leeway in their particular field, which they would not a layperson.

  3. One of the key dynamics of statutory interpretation when it comes to determining whether or not there is an ambiguity in a statute comes into interesting play here.

    That dynamic is asking and answering “whether reasonable people could interpret it differently.”

    One would have to say that both courts are “reasonable people” or are composed of reasonable people.

    Reasonable people who came to different interpretations and conclusions.

    There is, then, a valid ambiguity eh?

  4. Actually I don’t see any danger at all since we still have the courts, and Congress itself can make changes to the laws if they feel an agency regulation is bad. A good case in point is how the age limit for pilots was changed. The law specifies that the FAA could only make changes in the regs if it could be demonstrated that such changes would increase safety. So it was necessary for Congress to pass a law raising the age limit.

    Indeed the initial regulation making the age limit 60 was the product of a corrupt bargain under the Eisenhower administration between the first head of the FAA, Pete Quesada, and American Airlines CEO, Smith. The courts refused to take any action against this corrupt regulation even when it was demonstrated to be corrupt and had no basis in medical science. So the conservatives had NO PROBLEM granting such latitude to the FAA, and it took an act of Congress to change it. The only thing that has been demonstrated is that the courts are acting in a political manner, rather than with sole concern of legalities. So as long as there are avenues to change things, I think that the danger is overblown. If we get rid of those, THEN I will be concerned.

  5. Maybe the 4th Circuit ‘ s approach could be called The NFL Instant Replay Analysis since it worked the same way as the football thingy. That is, if there is a big mess, you don ‘t overturn the ruling but defer to the original official ‘s call..

    The problem here is that the “original official ” is actually some guy in the stands wearing a cheese head with mustard and beer spilt all over his shirt who doesn ‘t have the right to negate the plain language of the rules, ambiguity or not.

    Does that make any sense??? Because I haven’t had any coffee yet.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  6. Reblogged this on Centinel2012 and commented:
    An excellant analysis of the law but one must step back and look at the core issue as Turley and Robers both seems to agree on — have we created a 4th branch of government with no checks and balances on it — that is the very definition of tyranny! In my opinion that trumps and other cause no matter what the merits of it, for if this process continues much only we will lose the Republic just as the Romans did.

  7. Squeeky Fromm, Girl Reporter

    … the plain language of the rules, ambiguity or not.

    Does that make any sense??? Because I haven’t had any coffee yet.
    ===============================
    I will defer to the agency that handles inquiries by people who get up before coffee and breakfast.

    That is way too early for me.

    Plus, that is a contradiction (plain language ≠ ambiguous).

  8. An excellent analysis of the law but one must step back and look at the core issue as Turley and Robers both seems to agree on — have we created a 4th branch of government with no checks and balances on it — that is the very definition of tyranny! In my opinion that trumps and other cause no matter what the merits of it, for if this process continues much only we will lose the Republic just as the Romans did.

  9. Centinel2012

    … that is the very definition of tyranny!
    ======================
    The first federal agencies were created well before the Civil War:

    The House of Representatives and Senate approved legislation to establish a Department of Foreign Affairs on July 21, 1789, and President Washington signed it into law on July 27, making the Department of Foreign Affairs the first federal agency to be created under the new Constitution.[4] This legislation remains the basic law of the Department of State. In September 1789, additional legislation changed the name of the agency to the Department of State and assigned to it a variety of domestic duties.

    (Wikipedia, Dept. of State).

    The Civil War initiated by southern tyranny is a better source for examples of tyranny IMO.

  10. If “state” and “federal” were meant to be equivalents and interchangeable, why would the congress have created a carrot (subsidies) for one (states) and not for the other (federal) in the first place? Wouldn’t they have just said “exchanges” receive subsidies? It was a fully intentioned ploy, devised by the elite academics that dreamed this behemoth up in the first place. And like most academic theories…it didn’t work in the real world. Progressive thinkers are experts at rationalizing any means to reach the glorious ends…observe progressive thinking judges assume pretzel like postures to avoid looking the failure of the glorious crown jewel in the eye.

  11. The overturning of the ACA is what the red states who have decided party is more important then their people wanted, and want, to happen by refusing the Medicaid funds.

  12. Jane L,

    If “state” and “federal” were meant to be equivalents and interchangeable … Progressive thinkers are experts at rationalizing any means to reach the glorious ends … observe progressive thinking judges assume pretzel like postures to avoid looking the failure of the glorious crown jewel in the eye.
    ============================
    Before you dig yourself into a deeper hole by doubling down, research where the 4th Circuit is, and who the judge who wrote the opinion is.

    Then tell us that “Department of State“, the first federal agency created in 1789 by Congress, is a state institution.

  13. I find myself reminded of the Icelandic story of the Saga of Burnt Njal.

    When there were only four courts, it was found necessary to create a fifth court (in the manner of a court to resolve differences among the four {north, west, south, east?} courts?).

    The three “constitutional” branches of government may be modeled, so I guess, as forming a triangle. Triangles, in structural engineering, have a particular property; they are “just-rigid” plane structures. Regardless of whether the ends of the sides of a plane triangle are pin-connected or rigid-connected, a triangle is a just-rigid structure.

    Plane triangles are flat; they have no volume, and so have nothing within them.

    However, a tetrahedrons, made of four plane triangles are no less just-rigid than are plane triangles, yet they do have volume and do, therefore, have the capacity for having something within them.

    A triangle may contain an unlimited number of dimensionless points, none of which contain anything. That is one way of indicating my personal and professional difficulty with philosophical (hence also legal-philosophical) arguments made of points made. I find arguments made of points to be empty arguments, because all points are empty, and an unlimited number of empty points, added together, remain empty.

    What is missing in the ‘three branches” model of checks-and-balances government is there being no way to mediate disputes among the branches, a predicament that surely is clamoring for some useful attention?

    I propose that the fourth branch of government may usefully be rigorously truthful honesty, if honesty is of subjective, social consensus-ethical reality, and if truthfulness is of objective, scientifically-verifiable reality.

    Human social evolution may be making obsolete the social construction of reality;

    What if human society is actually a construction of objective reality in the manner of creative evolution or evolving creativity?

  14. Professor Turley is correct to be concerned about the expansion of Chevron deference of which the 4th Circuit decision is an example. I don’t see it as a “Fourth Branch” of government issue, however, as the agency involved is within the Treasury Department, i.e. an executive branch agency not an independent agency.

    Another serious level of concern is the analysis in today’s Washington Post (p.A6, col.1) that attributes the difference in the two decisions, as well as the expected results of further litigation on the politics of the President appointing the judge: “The three-judge panel of the D.C. court include one Democratic appointee and two Republican appointees, who reached the conclusions you might expect….The 4th Circuit in Virginia featured a three-member panel of Democratic appointees, who all sided with the Obama administration.”

    Either journalists today have no understanding of the presumption that judges should decide cases on the law and the facts, or have some reason to conclude that supposedly legal analysis is simply a charade designed to clock entirely political decisions. Either way we have a problem.

  15. David Cosson

    … “The three-judge panel of the D.C. court include one Democratic appointee and two Republican appointees, who reached the conclusions you might expect….The 4th Circuit in Virginia featured a three-member panel of Democratic appointees, who all sided with the Obama administration.”

    ============================
    Actually, one of the 4th Cir. judges, the one who wrote the opinion, was finally appointed by George W. Bush.

  16. No one has brought up the issue of Congressional intent. I believe that when the ACA was passed, the intent was that all citizens in all states would be included. Doesn’t that count for anything?

  17. “At issue is the very thumping heart of the Obamacare: the system of state and federal “exchanges” through which citizens are required to purchase insurance. The law links the availability of tax credits to those states with exchanges “established by the state.” However, the Administration was caught by surprise when some 36 states opted not to create state exchanges. That represented a major threat to Obamacare.”

    ********************

    It’s not quite as simple as the ACA simply mandating only “state” exchanges as Judge Gregory notes. Also, I’m not sure if “the Administration” was caught by surprise but the drafters of the legislation don’t appear to have been. The law allows for reluctant states who fail to set up exchanges and authorizes HHS to set it up for them under a national scheme:

    Of course, § 1311’s directive that each State establish an
    Exchange cannot be understood literally in light of § 1321,
    which provides that a state may “elect” to do so. Section
    1321(c) provides that if a state fails to establish an Exchange
    by January 1, 2014, the Secretary “shall . . . establish and
    operate such Exchange within the State and the Secretary shall
    take such actions as are necessary to implement such other
    requirements.” (emphasis added). The defendants’ position is
    that the term “such Exchange” refers to a state Exchange that is
    set up and operated by HHS. In other words, the statute
    mandates the existence of state Exchanges, but directs HHS to
    establish such Exchanges when the states fail to do so
    themselves. In the absence of state action, the federal
    government is required to step in and create, by definition, “an
    American Health Benefit Exchange established under [§] 1311” on
    behalf of the state.
    (Opinion at p. 19).

  18. If they do remove the subsidies, and people realize how much Obamacare ACTUALLY costs to those, like me, in the middle class, who don’t receive subsidies, maybe there can be some honest discussion about this law’s catastrophic failings.

  19. Single Payer is the answer. Yes paying for a product sold by private insurance companies is a very bad idea. It will always be too expensive. My premiums on my private health insurance were going up every year since the 70’s. In the 80’s, they went up more, in the 90’s my premiums went up yet more and covered far LESS. Why do we want to pay the middle man for a bad product?

  20. Annie:

    Single payer has always been the answer but is regarded as a threat to profits by the health care corporate oligarchy that runs things.

    ““The five largest health insurance companies – WellPoint, United Health, Aetna, Humana, and Cigna – … earned over $3.3 billion in profits [between April and June 2011].” Shah goes on to contend that “Profit in the health insurance industry is the single greatest barrier to building an efficient, sustainable system of healthcare in this country.”

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterubel/2014/02/12/is-the-profit-motive-ruining-american-healthcare/

    Non-healthcare business leaders are finally catching on.

  21. Annie & Mespo,

    Now, in addition to dumping private insurers, if you could just get the entire health care industry itself to provide its services on a non-profit basis I think you’d be all set.

  22. CH

    Now, in addition to dumping private insurers, if you could just get the entire health care industry itself to provide its services on a non-profit basis I think you’d be all set.
    ——————————————————-

    Non-profit hospitals are the rule around me. But the doctors, nurses and staff are for their own profit. As are the equipment suppliers and manufacturers.

    You’d be better off providing a central purchasing system, like the Federal Government has with their GSA Schedules, to hospitals to help drive down costs on equipment and supplies. Then look at the insurance market for malpractice and the costs it is imposing on doctors and medical groups.

  23. “Single Payer is the answer.” Because the VA is doing such a great job. And isn’t it wonderful how the VA doctors and surgeons, government employees, do 1/8 the work load of private practice? What a GREAT model to inflict on the rest of us! The vast majority of Americans vote against single payor ever single solitary time it comes up . . . but I know! We can just LIE to get it passed, like what happened with Obamacare – where they lied about the premiums, deductibles, doctor choice, and the ability to keep your doctor and insurance. The President lied to the American people, and he got away with it. Nothing happened. No consequences.

  24. Because doesn’t the government know exactly how to run programs cost efficiently, with high quality? Oh wait. Our procurement system ensures we over pay while they under deliver. Just like the Obamacare federal website.

    So let’s see . . . what system exists in the entire world where suppliers match customers’ needs on a mutually agreed upon price? Oh, I know! Capitalism! What system creates a system or product that customers do not want and does not fit their needs, reducing their choices, and then fines them if they don’t buy it? The government!

    There will be a pop quiz tomorrow.

  25. This column lays out the issues well.

    I also fear the 4th branch, really the deep state at work for its own good. USGinc. is full of contractors who write, interpret and “enforce” regulations as they please. We as citizens do not know who these people are. They are not accountable to the people and are allowed a degree of secrecy in their actions, unheard of in our history.

    The rise of the corporate state is showing its hand in the regulatory agencies. This is anti-democratic to its very core. Thus we have the dismemberment of the rule of law taking place on several fronts. These are scary times.

  26. And how is single payer working in Canada and Europe, which experiences much less immigration pressures on the system? They are running out of money. Even those who are afraid to lose the system, because no one every wants to get rid of “free stuff”, come to the US when they can’t afford to wait for single payer service.

    So, when we have a health care system that attracts patients from single payer systems, what do we do? We clamor to make it single payer!

  27. Karen, The president did not lie about keeping your own doctor, It isno different then HMO’s PPV if you choose those you will get the docs they want you to have, has nothing to do with ACA, it was the insurance companies who chose to sell sub par policies that they knew were not compliant. The pres had no way to know they would go out of their way to force cancellations, that is ot on the president. bbut keep up the fox, and teight lies, exaggerations and distortions. Because you say your premiums went up that is not the overall case.

  28. Leej, so true. When my employer changed insurance plans, I had to change doctors several times over the years.

  29. Unbridled, predatory capitalism resulting in 25,000 deaths* a year. -mespo

    Yes.

    * And I’m guessing that 25,000 is a low number.

  30. but the right never bothers to mention the truth of the doctors charge they make, that it is again the plan you choose because that might take the air out of one of their lies about the ACA

  31. Karen S. I am hearing your feelings about Obamacare loud and clear. Do you have any thoughts about the issues JT raises in this column?

  32. Annie-
    I’ve had the same doctor for decades, being paid for by two different insurance companies (before retirement) and now a Medicare Advantage plan after retirement. Where do you live such that you have so little choice in doctors?

  33. Karen S
    Our procurement system ensures we over pay while they under deliver. Just like the Obamacare federal website.
    ________________________________

    Its the same problem with military, political appointee and generals are the same. Meddling in things they don’t understand to introduce mission creep and new requirements that weren’t part of the original design/plan.

    Let the professional procurement and project managers run things and you’ll have a much better chance of success. Keep the politicals out of it. And don’t forget projects fail in the private sector too.

  34. Jay, a couple of times were in the 80’s and 90’s when my employer changed from one insurance company to another. Another time was when my clinic dropped Prime Care entirely. I live in SE Wisconsin and my choice in doctors isn’t small at all actually.

  35. I’m all for the proles getting the single payer medicine they want and deserve. All that will do is drive quality medicine either into a second, upper tier or onto the black market. Either way, there’ll be more for me and my family.

    Either way you’ll have a capitalist delivery system: a state crony capitalist single payer delivery system for the proles, where just about every bit of information reported out of it has been falsified to protect the incomes of those inside doing the reporting, and a free market capitalist delivery system floating on top of it for those who won’t settle.

    Take away malpractice litigation and iatrogenic deaths will simply become accepted as a statistical norm, like 19th Century infant mortality. Replace multiple competing private insurance companies with only one which you can never leave and, really, you deserve what you get.

  36. CH:

    All you need to do is extend Medicare eligibility to persons aged 45 and above — the highest risk group. Others could purchase private health insurance or get it through their insurers until single payer is phased in. Medicare operates on a 3% overhead rate. It’s not an insurmountable problem unless you want it to be.

  37. Lee:

    “Karen, The president did not lie about keeping your own doctor.”

    “If you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”

    Well, that wasn’t true. That was a deliberate lie, because he knew at the time it wasn’t true. Obamcare policies pay doctors around $24 for a doctor visit, at least here in CA. So 75% of doctors cannot afford to accept those policies (and I have to wonder about the quality of the doctors who DO.) And to reign in those premiums that spiraled out of control with the addition of all that “free stuff”, insurance companies also restricted networks. Thanks to Obamacare, the hated HMO model is returning. And I loved my health plan, but it was taken away from me because it was not ACA compliant. My husband’s plan was grandfathered in, but the premiums are skyrocketing. They are making those plans unaffordable to get everyone on ACA.

    I liked my plan. I lost my plan BECAUSE it was non-ACA-compliant. I loved my doctors. I lost my doctors because they did not accept the pitiful pay of an Obamacare plan. Hence, the facts are that Obamacare caused me to lose my plan, lose my doctors, and increased my premiums and deductibles MORE than they EVER DID before. I pay more and get less.

    This is what ALWAYS comes of government meddling in private industry.

  38. Mespo:

    Once you “extend” Medicare – originally a small group funded by the whole group – into any significant size you’re simply taking money out of your right pocket and putting it back into into your left while passing it through a health care dollar removing filter. Add in the cost inflation simply from doing so – does no one here have a clue what 3rd party funding price inflation has done by now to higher education in addition to medicine? – and you’ve simply medicalized your GDP.

    I guess it really hasn’t sunk in yet that, except for a few outliers and rebels practicing concierge medicine, Obama and the Democrats have effectively purchased the health care industry and its financing arm as a dependent political constituency with the passage of Obamacare.

    Congratulations, you’ve just added a new federal medical industrial complex to whatever federal military industrial complex is still going strong from Eisenhower’s day.

  39. Lee:

    “lies about the ACA”

    You called me a liar. That is untrue. I have evidence of the increase in my premiums and deductibles, and I have a copy of one of the signs at my doctors office that 75% of doctors cannot afford to accept Obamacare.

    When people are ill equipped to debate the facts, they revert to foolish ad hominem attacks.

    Obamacare is devastating to the unsubsidized middle class on the individual insurance market. And just wait until this hits the employer market.

    Own it. Deal with it. Face the facts of what Liberals have done to the American people.

  40. But wait. If I changed health insurance plans, ever in my lifetime, I might have had to change doctors.

    Does that compare with 75% OF DOCTORS DO NOT ACCEPT OBAMACARE POLICIES? I liked my plan, with its extensive network of doctors spanning the entire state. I was promised I could keep my plan. That was a lie. I didn’t have to get a new doctor here and there because I CHOSE to change insurance policies. My policy was taken away from me, and EVERY SINGLE DOCTOR I had does not accept it. Every qualified doctor I was referred to does not accept it. Every time I go to the doctor, and mention my Obamacare policy, nurses, doctors, and patients pour into the waiting room where we have a heated discussion about which level of hell Obamacare belongs in.

  41. The ACA may be better than what we have had or not, but its not what we should be upset about Obama for. Impeach BO for the NDA Act, not for an attempt to put in a health care system.

  42. No Karen, you have it bass ackward. That’s what comes of private industries meddling in government services because inexpensive government services cost them money. It’s why FedEx and UPS would really like to see the USPS go away. It’s why CCA would like to see all publicly operated prisons close. It’s why the private psychiatric hospital and mental health industry wanted to close State Hospitals.

    Single payer could do it cheaper. That is one reason the entire US health care system is second rate when compared with others systems around the world.

  43. Do not defend the indefensible.

    If Republicans did this to millions of people, there would be riots in the street about the “war on women,” and the “war on the middle class”, and the “war on small family businesses.”

    Where are your morals now?

  44. Sure Chuck. It was private industries that caused this devastation. It was a complete coincidence that Obamacare even came out. My insurance company must have lied that my policy was non-ACA compliant. And those internal memos and the ACA Act itself must have been lying when it predicted that most private insurance holders would lose their policies.

    It must be really freeing to be able to cause whatever carnage you want and then just blame someone else and walk away whistling.

  45. Can people just not add? In what alternate universe do people defend increasing premiums by double and deductibles by 1100% and reducing doctor choice by 75% and reducing formularies and making off-formulary purchases not count towards max caps?

    I would laugh at the contortions people are going through to defend the indefensible if it wasn’t actually hurting my own family and many others I know. I would just love to see these supporters look a cancer patient in the eye and explain how it’s “better for her” that her Obamacare plan doesn’t cover the best cancer hospital anymore. Oh well. So sorry you won’t get to achieve remission and live to be a grandmother. But I just CARE more about people than you do, so you have to die so I can feel good about my vote.

  46. Intent doesn’t really enter into it. It is not up to the court to be a mind reader. Their job is to interpret what the law actually says, and the language of the statute seems clear to me. If the statute doesn’t say what Congress intended, or if Congress changes its mind about the issue, it is up to Congress to fix it–not the Executive Branch.

    The President could have, at any time, asked Congress to amend the law. But he was so afraid they would not give him what he wanted, or that they might make other changes that he didn’t approve of, that he chose to fundamentally change the law by calling it an “interpretation.”

    Personally, I think everyone should agree to bypass any en banc hearings and go straight to the Supreme Court to get a ruling on this issue one way or the other. Whatever the ruling, the sooner this issue is resolved, the better for the country.

  47. The VA is government run healthcare. I say those who want single payer be allowed to receive medical care through the government, and those who want GOOD healthcare get to keep what they have EARNED AND WANT. Choice. “There is no freedom w/o choice.” I just brought my wife home from surgery. We have SUPERB medical care. We went to the hospital @ 6:30am, she’s home snoring on the sofa w/ pain meds in her body. We got home @ 12:45pm. The service was professional, no waiting. She was diagnosed and scheduled surgery in the span of 4 weeks. So, all you “SINGLE PAYER, SINGLE PAYER” songbirds. We expand VA and it is ALL YOURS!

  48. John, Liberals do not understand the most BASIC concept of incentive. They don’t understand that the competition in private healthcare is exponentially better than the service provided by the VA. That’s why I’m hoping we get that choice, private or govt. I’ll ALWAYS go w/ incentive, for profit, competition, over bureaucrats. But, if liberals want a bureaucrat doc, God bless them. Let them have it.

  49. CH:

    Once you “extend” Medicare – originally a small group funded by the whole group – into any significant size you’re simply taking money out of your right pocket and putting it back into into your left while passing it through a health care dollar removing filter.

    *******************

    But the Medicare “filter” is taking substantially less than the private sector.Medicare operates cheaper and more efficiently than the private sector thus premiums go down not up. As for the resulting bureaucracy, it’s already in place and will be so as long as we have Medicare which polls show is overwhelmingly favored by the American people. If the administrative cost factor remains at 3% compared to the private sector’s 17% the savings will result in lower costs not higher ones.

  50. John Oliver,

    What is the incentive for the administrators in a single-payer health system to provide high quality, low-cost healthcare?
    =========================
    The common good, altruism, not being a dick Cheney head.

    Not everything is based on lust for filthy lucre.

  51. “The common good, altruism, not being a dick Cheney head.”
    =================================================
    That’s what I thought. Now would be an appropriate time to discuss the hazards of the progressive, public education system.

  52. Tribe just said the ACA has an “unintentional gap” as he is accused of “coaching” the SCOTUS.

    This is obviously defective legislation that must be RECALLED for necessary repairs. If GM was compelled to RECALL defective cars, the legislative branch should be compelled to RECALL defective legislation.

    INTENT is not the purview of the judicial branch.

    The INTENT of the entire judicial branch will become the question if this legislation is not sent back to the Congress for modification and clarification. Is it the intent of the judicial branch to rule through dictatorship? How many times has the judicial branch overturned the votes of the people and words of the legislative branch.

    For the judicial branch to “legislate from the bench” because it cannot understand the wording of a law is criminal. The judicial branch shall return any and all incomprehensible legislation back for modification by the legislative branch.

    It is as egregious for the judicial branch to usurp the power of the legislative branch, as it is for the executive branch to do so. Perhaps, Professor Turley believes the nation has reached another “tipping point.” How many “tips” before the fall?

    P.S. If Tribe is an example of an intellect and a legal scholar, there never was any hope for the true American thesis, logic, rationality or objectivity. He can’t even coherently make it through a sentence before lunch. Seriously?

    I apologize and I hope that was polite.

  53. “Not everything is based on lust for filthy lucre.”
    ===============================================
    Not everything Dredd, unless you have an “unlimited” budget. Does anyone with the ability to reason believe once this government gets it’s hands on a single-payer system that operating expenses will mean absolutely nothing? This will be the mother of all monopolies since no other option will be available,

    Quality healthcare? Well that will be the privilege of the privileged. Congratulations!

  54. Mespo:

    You are pathologically uninformed. Medicare is already going bankrupt in the near term, without increasing aging of its existing population, without the increasing population of the 65+ Baby Boomer bolus, and without adding everyone else you’d like to add as well.

    You are rocking back and forth and singing thinly to yourself in a graveyard of your own design.

  55. John, We see what the government concept of “incentives” is in the VA. Offer incentives to bureaucrats and they lie, cheat and steal. They allow Veterans to die waiting for an appt. but cook the books so they get their 75k incentive. But, if that’s what “single payer” lemmings want, let them have it. Just let me keep what I earned.

  56. The GAO just revealed they have been doing undercover work testing Obamacare. They sent out 12 undercover investigators w/ fake SS#’s DOB’s, etc. Only one was detected. The other 11 were enrolled, no problem, and got subsidies!!

  57. Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837 (1984)

    or

    Whitman v. American Trucking Associations, Inc., 531 U.S. 457 (2001)

    Which one did the most damage?

  58. So John, why should your “facts” hold more weight that the docs’ facts? Sorry, but you don’t exhibit some ‘enhanced’ credibility of any sort. I believe their facts far more than yours .

  59. I don’t claim any enhanced credibility Annie. The use of reason, logic and common sense doesn’t require advanced degrees. I’ve asked reasonable questions that require one acknowledge human nature is predictable; especially with regards to those entrusted to public service.

  60. JO,

    CORRECTION *********************

    There is no such thing as a “public education system.”

    That is simply an additional layer of complexity of the welfare state for purposes of obfuscation and a tool for redistribution of wealth to artificially “poor” people and arrogant, lazy, striking union teachers. Public school/college exists to compel the taxpayer to pay the tuition for families that chose not to pay for the education of their children, and to redistribute absurd, above-market wages and benefit packages to union teachers.

    Every person is capable of obtaining gainful employment and paying for what he desires as family budgets and affordability vary widely, understandably so. People determine the number of children they have and are responsible for them. Eliminating the financial burden of education removes incentives related to behavior regarding birth control. The education subsidy is unfair and unequal as families with more children derive a larger benefit from “public school/college” than families with fewer. People pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for a house and scores of thousands for a car – they can pay for their own education.

    Waste and inefficiency are enormous in “public school/college” with the first example being unnecessary administrators making $250K or $500K+, and it only gets worse going down from there.

    The education industry and all industries were intended to be private as market rationality and efficiencies exist there, the first of which is competition. Education is not general welfare, infrastructure or a utility. Unlike water or electricity, consumption of education is vastly different by person based on interests, capacity, motivation, etc. Private schools must vary the “menu” to address those differences.

    The elimination of regulation and taxation for redistribution as part of the overall privatization of the education industry will open opportunities for business creation and employment.

    People will spend their own money wisely and efficiently. Money must be allowed to go where it is attracted. That is nature.

    It is not wise to fool mother nature.

  61. CH,

    You know whereof you speak.

    As China and Russia helped void the petrodollar with their gas deal, the BRICS recently circumvented the IMF and World Bank which will devolve negatively to American if not Western finance/economy entirely.

    Argentina is on the verge of default, again.

    $20 Trillion is unpayable U.S. debt by 2016.

    Detroit, San Bernardino and Stockton are precursors.

    Do Medicare and the rest of the redistributed welfare state stand a chance of survival?

    Who will remain solvent to pay for the largess of redistribution?

  62. I liked my plan, with its extensive network of doctors spanning the entire state. I was promised I could keep my plan. That was a lie. I didn’t have to get a new doctor here and there because I CHOSE to change insurance policies. My policy was taken away from me, and EVERY SINGLE DOCTOR I had does not accept it. Every qualified doctor I was referred to does not accept it. Every time I go to the doctor, and mention my Obamacare policy, nurses, doctors, and patients pour into the waiting room where we have a heated discussion about which level of hell Obamacare belongs in. -Karen S

    From another spoiled, pampered American who needs to grow up and get over it.

  63. Karen, When someone calls you “spoiled,” odds are 10-1 they’re a taker, not a producer. Because you are expected to produce and not have the benefits of your hard work. Others are lazy..err less fortunate. There are indeed less fortunate, but they don’t lecture about “spoiled” producers. That’s mostly the takers in our culture.

  64. Full government healthcare for anonymous. He gets VA benefits on the dole. Now, leave us producers alone!

  65. Sally Jarvis

    “Intent doesn’t really enter into it. It is not up to the court to be a mind reader. Their job is to interpret what the law actually says, and the language of the statute seems clear to me.”

    Is “interpret” the correct word? It was my impression that the legislative branch wrote the law and the judicial determined if

    ACTIONS COMPORT WITH LAW AS WRITTEN.

    The legislative tells us what to do.

    The judicial finds out if we’re doing what the legislative told us to do.

    ********************************************************************

    The executive and judicial branches do not tell us what to do.

    The executive and judicial branches need a spanking.

    I hope that was polite.

  66. JO

    Where is reason?

    Wasn’t the American concept a representative republic through the restricted vote granted by meeting reasonable criteria.

    Does the military self-promote qualified leadership without the vote of every private?

    Do all the employees of Microsoft vote for the CEO?

    Do the inmates vote at the asylum?

    The inmates have taken over the asylum.

  67. Karen I never called you a liar.”Because you say your premiums went up that is not the overall case.” is the exact quote form my post Repeating the lies of the right doesn’t make your case. It also doesn’t necessarily make you a liar unless you knowingly parrot what you know are lies.
    My doctor had a sign in his office that the ACA might cause him to stop taking medicare patients. That was not the case, he continues to take them and removed the sign. Because you have a copy of a sign from your doctor’s means one thing, that is the position your doctor has taken Does he have legitimate citations for the information that he has on the sign?
    You seem to think that anecdote is proof of a system being flawed because you personally don’t like the system. Anecdote is your experience. Period.

  68. I’d be curious if someone knowledgeable in constitutional law could compare the ability of federal agencies to make regulations with the force of law versus the line-item veto power which failed to pass muster. It seems to me that both involve Congress delegating legislative power to the executive.

  69. “leejcaroll
    The overturning of the ACA is what the red states who have decided party is more important then their people wanted, and want, to happen by refusing the Medicaid funds.”

    Lee,

    There were better ways to provide health care to the poor. Just because we’re against the method in Obamacare does not mean we’re against the idea.

  70. “Jay S
    No one has brought up the issue of Congressional intent. I believe that when the ACA was passed, the intent was that all citizens in all states would be included. Doesn’t that count for anything?”

    That only counts when there is ambiguity. Read the statute and you’ll see there’s no ambiguity.

    Section 1311 creates the state exchanges
    Section 1321 creates the federal exchange
    Section 1401 creates the subsidies offered on exchanges created in section 1311.

    It does not mention section 1321 exchanges anywhere in the part about subsidies, only section 1311.

  71. Karen Republicans did do it. It is called Romneycare and they liked it until it became known as “Obamacare”
    BTW Karen I keep my insurance because it is a grandfathered plan for over 10 + years and I do not want to change to a plan where the temrs can be changed. Were I to get insurance under the ACA I could get a plan, same benefits for 1/5th of what I now pay monthly. 250$ vs 50$ That is my anecdote but I don’t then say so everyone, or almost everyone will see the exact same numbers that I did.
    (In addition until the ACA when I looked into other plans I was turned down because I had a ‘pre existing condition”. They can’t deny me anymore as a result. Terrible thing to be able to get insurance even if you have a medical condition.

  72. leej, This is simply not a red/blue state issue. 36 states refused to set up Obamacare exchanges. Two more states[38] and you have enough to ratify a Constitutional amendment.

  73. “Annie
    Single Payer is the answer.”

    How would you like a bureaucrat deciding how much you get paid for the work you do? Well, doctors don’t want that either.

    The reason your premiums rose and offered less was because the government forced insurers, through regulation, to cover things insurance should not cover, like wellness exams and office visits when you have a sniffle.

    This set the insurance companies up as a third party payer. When someone else is paying, you don’t care about the price. Doctors upped their fees since it would not hurt their business.

    The best solution is to get government out of the mix and return insurance companies to insuring against the unexpected.

    A monopsony controls cost because the single payer sets the price. It does nothing to actually control the cost. That is why those systems are marked by poor service and long waits.

    Return health care to a truly free market and you’ll see those costs plummet.

  74. “leejcaroll
    Karen Republicans did do it. It is called Romneycare and they liked it until it became known as “Obamacare””

    Wrong. Romneycare was passed by the Massachusetts legislature. I doubt Republicans had anything to do with that.

    One guy at the Heritage foundation wrote a paper describing something like Obamacare. No Republican ever proposed that as legislation on the federal level.

  75. “Nick Spinelli
    No takers for the single payer VA healthcare system??”

    Of course not. The little trolls scurry away like cockroaches when the truth is brought out.

  76. The D.C. court’s ruling, if it became settled law, would deprive as many as 4.7 million Americans of the assistance that makes their insurance affordable.

    A large proportion of these Americans live in the same mostly Southern and Republican-controlled states that have also refused to expand Medicaid to provide health coverage to the poorest of their poor. Residents of those same states also have, on average, the poorest health profiles and poorest access to health insurance in the country. Those are also the states where the increase in costs imposed on residents by the ruling would be the sharpest. (See the accompanying map for the details.)

    http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-damage-reports-20140723-column.html#page=1 The latest Obamacare rulings: A roundup of the damage reports

    The red states governors do not care about their people, party does trump their health and lives.

  77. Oddyseus. Romney was a repub governor. It was (is) his plan, his name, The issue is not Romneycare was not federal. It is the structure of the ACA which was based on Romneycare

  78. John,
    Reason I believe, went the way of teaching basic logic and critical-thinking skills. Looking for a “qualified” opinion is the depth of reason in today’s culture.

    What’s even more fascinating is how childlike faith has evolved in today’s culture to be a reflection of our trust in government and not our Creator.

  79. CH:

    “You are pathologically uninformed. Medicare is already going bankrupt in the near term, without increasing aging of its existing population, without the increasing population of the 65+ Baby Boomer bolus, and without adding everyone else you’d like to add as well.”

    ********************************

    Well let’s just say one of us is uniformed:

    “The annual report of the Social Security and Medicare trustees concluded that the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, which pays Medicare’s hospital costs, will become insolvent in 2026, instead of the 2024 insolvency projected last year.”

    Wow we only have 12 years to get this straight. How does one possibly handle too little money? No humans have ever faced that challenge before. What will we do Chicken Little?

  80. Gee, everyone’s fighting over medical care that is grossly over-priced. There is no health care in this country.

    Someone I know was on a very bad (but typical) diet. He had a heart attack and need multiple bypass surgery. He had no insurance. The prospective bill: was tens of thousands of dollars. He went to Thailand for the surgery. They treated him extremely well. The cost, including airfare, was less than 1/10 the projected cost of here. They also gave him a new regimen for health. He has lost substantial weight and feels great.

  81. leejcaroll

    “The D.C. court’s ruling, if it became settled law, would deprive as many as 4.7 million Americans of the assistance that makes their insurance affordable.”

    Waaaaaaaaa!!!! What did humans do for the previous 200,000 years?

    If they can’t afford a policy, it means a policy is not economically viable. In your political philosophy, is there such a thing as “free stuff?” Who pays for it? Oops. You don’t care about who pays, huh? What are you on welfare, because money, apparently, comes inordinately easily to you. Are you a bank robber? No, they work hard robbing a bank successfully, huh. You must just get free money so you don’t care about giving other people’s money away, right? You have a right to other people’s money; just order it up. Let other people work their a—- off for a lifetime so it can be confiscated for use by parasites. Have you ever read Witness by Whittaker Chambers?

    I don’t get it. You act as if America was established to give out free money to the sick, lame and lazy.

    If that’s the case, why didn’t the Constitution simply say “take all the money from the people who work and give to the people who don’t work whenever they demand it?” Or give all the money to striking teachers and give “comparable pay” to the rest of the governmental workers. They’re all on assistance, huh?

    Medicaid for the “poor?” Why don’t the f—— “poor” go buy their own coverage?

    Ass istance. Here’s some assistance, go get an f—— job.

    Oh, I get it. Bottom line; the poor don’t have to get a job because they have the vote. That’s brilliant. Who thought of that? Was it Alexis de Tocqueville?

    “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.”
    ― Alexis de Tocqueville

    Can everything, including Medicare, be free in perpetuity? $20 Trillion in debt and cities, retirement funds and government programs facing insolvency and you want to pile on more and more free stuff for the takers from the makers?

    “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

    Seriously? What planet are you from that everything in life is free, “womb to the tomb?”

    The football games you go to, do they give trophies to the losers?

    Charity is honorable.

    Creation of wealth is imperative.

  82. Before you snark you need to consider what you write. In fact I am disabled and had to be on assistance while I waited to be able to get disability.
    Who pays for it? When I did not realize I had private insurance (turned out my father had held it on me but had not told me)
    You all paid for it, the people of my state. Had I not had private insurance the costs of my 12 brain surgeries would have been borne by the taxpayer. In the country where I live, we don’t say you don’t have money then you don’t deserve health care.And btw it costs all of more when we deny coverage. The poor wait until they are sicker to seek care, you cannot be turned away from an ER, so they cost all of us more because they require more care and treatment. Those with illnesses that such as TB who don’t get treated are a danger to us all since without treatment they can ninfect hordes of folk.
    No the poor are often poor because they have no skills, because they are children, because they are disabled, because they are seniors. I guess you are very lucky because you have never fallen into any of those categories.
    I never said everything should be free but when you have no compassion or ability to understand that not everyone is “able” that as a society we have an obligation to those in need, you will then slam anyone who says we need to take care of others (and for people like yourself) addendum: because it is ultimately selfish to do so so the streets are not clogged with homeless, hungery/ill costing us all more at the end of the day.
    (Oh by the way I grew up middle upper class and am a college graduate. I never expected that in the span of a second, literally, I would go from being able to being unable. The needy could be any one of us, including…you))

  83. I see there are no takers for govt. healthcare. LOL! And, no comments about 11 of 12 GAO undercover agents getting Obamacare and SUBSIDIES using fake credentials, including SS#’s and citizenship papers. For you baseball fans, that means Obamacare batted .0833 in uncovering fraud. Damn, all they needed to do was run the SS#, they’re the freakin’ govt!!!.Good enough for govt. work.

    This President has failed. Obamacare has failed. Dems are know blasting Obama and running from him. Jimmy Carter is smiling.

  84. I was looking for the article. I had seen it earlier
    Nonetheless, GAO audits and investigations chief Seto Bagdoyan told the House Ways and Means Committee that the agency has not drawn any sweeping conclusions from what he called its “preliminary” findings. A full assessment will take several months.

    In the real world, it may be difficult for fraud artists to profit from the nation’s newest social program, since government health care subsidies are paid directly to insurance companies.

    so no conclusions drawn. I daresay any program, public orprivate will have instances of fraud. It is not an issue of a small population being found but is this more widespread

    The right can keep saying the president has failed, the construct hoped for a lie repeated often enough becomes the truth. I don’t see dems blasting Obama or running away from him wholesale. I see dems, unlike repubs, not falling into line one way or the other but speaking up and out for or gainst, or in the middle based on their opinions and feelings rather then party line over all else.

  85. When is the decision on this defective ACA law expected?

    I can see the headline now –

    THE POOR GET MORE

    JUDICIAL BRANCH EXECUTES COUP DE ETAT IN AMERICA

    Film at 11.

    P.S. This will be an open invitation to illegal aliens. They’re always looking for more. They’re good communists. They take as much of other people’s money as they can. Why not? They’re the “poor,” they deserve wealth. What???

  86. Throw this in for good measure…………5 Surprising Things Not Covered by Health Insurance (June 2014)

    1. Your health insurance might not pay for healthcare costs you racked up doing something illegal. Known as an illegal-act exclusion, if your health insurance policy has one,
    it means you won’t be covered for healthcare costs caused by your participation in an illegal act.

    2. Getting shots before your exotic foreign vacation? Your health insurance might not pay for your travel vaccinations.

    3. Do you think getting prior authorization from your health insurance company for an expensive MRI, CT scan, or procedure, means the insurance company has agreed to foot the bill? Think again.

    4. Incorrect Hospital Admission Status: Observation Status vs. Inpatient Status. Your health insurance might not pay for your hospital stay if you were admitted as an inpatient but your
    insurance company thinks you should have been in observation status.

    5. Think your health insurance or Medicare will pay for nursing home care when you’re unable to care for yourself? Think again.

  87. Why is Romneycare different than Obamacare?

    1. Mitt Romney did it on a state level, rather than a federal level. Each state has different levels of immigration, unemployment, and level of uninsured. What works for Mass might not work for CA.
    2. The reason was purely conservative: there were too many who COULD afford health insurance who did not have it, and let the taxpayer pick up the tab when they were injured or ill. It was designed to stop the free ride for those who could afford it.
    3. Mitt enlisted the help of the conservative organization The Heritage Foundation to draft it. He got unanimous support from Republicans, Democrats, and Libertarians. There were no back door deals. No “we have to pass it to know what’s in it.” It was a conservative idea crafted with the help of all parties.
    4. He didn’t add a bunch of “free benefits” that drives the cost of premiums and deductibles up for everyone. Because nothing is free.
    5. The level of uninsured was lower in Massachusetts than it was nationally. So they had less drain on the system.
    6. Mitt did not fundamentally change health care – he did not mandate free stuff, reduce choice, nationalize health insurance, or require 20 forms of “free” birth control. All he did was address the uninsured – subsidizing the poor while requiring those who could afford it to do so or pay out of pocket for health care They were not taxed for not buying it. They just were not going to get free health care anymore.

    I hope this explains the difference between a conservative approach, which basically ended entitlements for those who could afford it, and Liberal Obamacare, which was crafted behind closed doors and sold on lies. Its premise is “lots of free stuff” which makes it completely unaffordable. And it reduced choice.

    The conservative approach was tailored for a particular state, a humane solution to the poor and uninsured, and reduced the entitlements for those who could really afford it.

  88. Two words: DISABILITY INSURANCE.

    Third word: CHARITY

    Idea: Why don’t you get a job writing? You’re prolific.

  89. “Instances of fraud” is not 11 out of 12 frauds going undetected, leej. That is runaway, rampant, out of control, fraud. Feinstein blasted Obama today on his being AWOL on Putin. It was during an appearance on MSNBC. Steny Hoyer did the same, just a little more kiss assy. A Congressman in Virginia recently skipped an appearance where he was expected to appear w/ Obama. Senator Udall in Colorado shipped his own fundraiser where Obama flew to help out! Off the record Dems are angry w/ Obama. They call him disengaged. They say Valerie Jarrett and Michelle have put him in a “mommy cocoon” making it impossible for people to have access and give him the slap upside the head he has needed so desperately for several years. leej, the Fall elections will speak loudly. Will you hear it then. The President has many enablers. That is always a recipe for failure. Remember, I voted for him in 2008. I was taught to “NEVER make the same mistake twice.

  90. I do write a column 2 -3 times a month I don’t work doing that because just answering this and you can see I don’t write a lot, It is rare when I reply more then once or twice. but your reply angered me, truly because doing so causes severe pain. To answer you requiresme to take narcotic medication in order to write even these few responses. (And I will not defend myselfanymore to you. You think apparently that being poor or in need is a choice formany people it is not

  91. Lee:

    “In the country where I live, we don’t say you don’t have money then you don’t deserve health care.” Right. Hence the need for a humane solution to health care access for the poor. Medical and Medicaid are for the poor. They both have a lot of problems and are in need of reform. Unfortunately, Obamacare slashes them further. I’ve taken care of someone who passed away on Medicaid. It was shameful what it wouldn’t pay for, and that was years before Obamacare hit.

    If your house has termites, you don’t burn it down and declare, “Well, I had to do SOMETHING!”

    “I guess you are very lucky because you have never fallen into any of those categories.” Actually, Lee, I have been poor and struggling. I rarely eat Mac ‘N Cheese and NEVER eat Ramin because I pretty much filled my quota of surviving off those. I’ve been in debt. I’ve had to put groceries back in the checkout line. I’ve had to figure out how I’m going to pay the light bill. I worked long hours when I was in college. I never took public assistance. I just kept working on my goals.

    It’s sad when people just assume that fiscal conservatives have never experienced struggle or want. Or that a call for reform means we don’t care about the poor. I’m in the middle class now, and the biggest threat to my financial security now is the economy and Obamacare.

    Me: “I disagree with 20 free contraceptives required on all plans. Middle class and rich women should have a copay for contraceptives, just like any other medication, to help bring premiums down for all.”

    Liberals: “You must not care about the poor!”

  92. Karen, again I was not referring to you I was responding specifically to John and that was to whom the sentence was directed. obviously he had not fallen into any of the categories , given his post.

  93. FWIW, single payer and gov ‘t healthcare are not the same thing. I was in a facility that had several different kinds of payers. The medicare people got to stay for 100 days and then had to make other arrangements, which for the poor was Medicaid. Some rich people paid their own $4000 plus per month, while others had private insurance. But, we all got treated the same and ate the same food. I did feel sorry for the medicaid people because they only got $38 a month to spend on fun stuff and certain necessities.

    My understanding of single payer is that most would be on a medicare like system but the providers would still be their own bosses or work for various companies. They can obviously make a good living off what the gov’t pays because most patients were medicare/ medicaid and still the staff all seemed to have nice cars and took vacays.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  94. Lee:

    In my mind there are 2 groups of poor:

    Group 1) Those who have had the piano of fate fall on their heads. They’ve aged out of foster care and are struggling. They’re disabled, seniors, ill. They’ve lost a spouse. Lost a job. Through no fault of their own, they are on hard times and need our help to make it through.
    Group 2) This group is the instrument of their own demise. They join gangs or engage in criminal activity, which ruins their future. They succumb to peer pressure and start families as teenagers or young adults with no stable relationship. They do drugs. They float from one low paying job to another, never digging in and trying. They drop out of high school. Or they don’t go to college or any trade school and just float by. Most of us know some people who fit in this category. You know the type – 26 year old man living in his parents’ basement, playing video games and refusing to get a job, demanding his retired parents pay his car payment.

    Reasonable people object to that group 2. We all tell those parents – make your son get a job already! Stop enabling him!

    But that is NOT a criticism in any way of Group 1. If you are in Group 1, you should realize this criticism does not apply to you in any way. I see those in Group 2 siphoning away support funds that were intended for those in Group 1. And it makes me mad. Because there are truly needy people who are going without while that money is wasted.

  95. leej and I disagree on many topics. We do so w/ respect. You see, she and I share the bond of chronic pain. Hers is much worse than mine. I always keep that in mind every time I exchange w/ leej, be it disagreements or just chats about something lighthearted like food. Additionally, I have gotten to know leej via email. She is a wonderful person. When you’re an independent like myself, you have friends from all political spheres. I’m right of center, leej has her back against the left field wall. You can see our political differences in this thread. It’s just politics!! leej is a wonderful person who travels this journey of life in pain. She does not use it as a crutch, it is merely her reality. She makes this journey w/ dignity and courage. All need to respect that journey she travels bravely and thank God they don’t have that burden.

  96. Squeeky – the VA is single payer. Services are free to the patients – they do not have to pay anything. Only the government pays. And they are restricted to the VA network. Which is why they wait 9 months for care.

  97. I never was very passionate about politics before Obamacare. I was a fiscal conservative for a while, and would gripe at government waste. But my attitude about political parties was “you like peas; I like carrots.” It wasn’t until Obamacare cost my family many thousands of dollars more a year, and took away my doctors, that I became frustrated and outraged. The president has earned a rebuke and a backlash for hitting middle class families so hard in a recession. I do not believe the economy is recovered yet. How can it be with some demographics having 26% unemployment? What kind of madman hits the middle class with thousands of dollars in higher health insurance costs at a time like this? Shameful.

  98. betty – abandoning the typical American diet can do wonders for overall health. I wish we took more of a whole body approach to health care in this country – addressing everything from nutrition, exercise, stress, and sleep, as well as the symptoms of illness.

  99. Repealing Obamacare will indeed get rid of the subsidies that some people recently signed up for. But that does not mean that we cannot find another way to specifically address health care for the poor. Because what good is Obamacare if 75% of doctors don’t accept it? How is that excellent healthcare for the poor? It’s a shiny new insurance card with a false promise of health care.

  100. Like Nick pointed out,

    Guess where the Commander and Chief is today, July 23? Connect the dots!

    President Barack Obama is in the SF Bay Area for another fundraising visit.
    Some are questioning the timing of the president’s trip and the message it might be sending in light of the current international crisis and problems at home.

    Other dignitaries expected at the noon event, which had tickets ranging from $10,000 to $32,400 per couple, include House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto.

    Hillary Clinton is also in the Bay Area Wednesday to help launch a reading program in Oakland.

  101. Karen: In order to have an honest discussion, you must first be honest. The VA is overwhelmed by the number of traumatically injured vets who survived as a result of improved battlefield medical care. Those vets were sent into battle as a result of the biggest lie ever told while at the same time the Bush administration was hacking the VA’s budget to help pay for tax cuts needed to save the wealthy from oblivion (which you apparently don’t think went far enough.)

    Health insurance under capitalism resulted in people having their policies terminated once they became sick in the guise of preexisting conditions after paying high premiums for years. Either that or they were relegated to ineffective yet cost- efficient treatments rather than newer, more expensive treatments that were deemed “experimental”.

    Or the best is when insurance companies simply denied coverage for conditions clearly covered by policies, and then dragged out the case in court until the the policy holder died because the cost to litigate was cheaper than paying for treatment.

    I recall a case in Texas where the father of a 14 year old cancer patient took his case all the way to the Texas Supreme Court. The father, a man named Carr, had purchased health insurance for his family; his son became seriously ill and needed treatment; the insurance co. claimed the boy wasn’t covered under the father’s policy. The father had money and took the company to court. The judge took a look at the policy and found that it plainly covered the man’s son. The company appealed. The appellate judge shrugged apologetically and said Sorry, but it appears that the policy plainly covers the boy. The company appealed to the Texas Supreme Court, all the while the boy is becoming progressively ill. The justices were not unsympathetic – to the insurance company. Faced with an uncomfortable choice of either ignoring the language in the policy or requiring the company to pay for the boys treatment, they hit upon the idea of deciding in favor of the father, but sitting on the decision for a protracted length of time. The opinion was given Patricia Mullen, a true sociopath, who held the opinion for over a year before handing it down. The insurance company said it wouldn’t pay for treatment until it had an opportunity to study it. mullen handed down the court’s decision something like two weeks after the kid died. That’s healthcare in a capitalistic society.

    Healthcare in Canada and Europe isn’t in trouble, just like it’s not in trouble in Japan.

    Like I say, if you want to have an honest discussion, first you need to be honest. You fail that first simple test.

  102. Karen sed: “the VA is single payer. Services are free to the patients – they do not have to pay anything”

    Actually Karen, many of them had to pay with their limbs or their senses, like sight. All of them had to risk their lives.

    Typical conservative: deceive a nation into going to war, then begrudge the wounded healthcare when they come back from the fight. Looks like somebody got their degree from the Dick Cheney School of Government

  103. Here’s what it means to have courts in deference to the executive and his agencies: “The Obama administration has quietly approved a substantial expansion of the terrorist watchlist system, authorizing a secret process that requires neither “concrete facts” nor “irrefutable evidence” to designate an American or foreigner as a terrorist, according to a key government document obtained by The Intercept.

    The “March 2013 Watchlisting Guidance,” a 166-page document issued last year by the National Counterterrorism Center, spells out the government’s secret rules for putting individuals on its main terrorist database, as well as the no fly list and the selectee list, which triggers enhanced screening at airports and border crossings. The new guidelines allow individuals to be designated as representatives of terror organizations without any evidence they are actually connected to such organizations, and it gives a single White House official the unilateral authority to place “entire categories” of people the government is tracking onto the no fly and selectee lists. It broadens the authority of government officials to “nominate” people to the watchlists based on what is vaguely described as “fragmentary information.” It also allows for dead people to be watchlisted.”

    From Jeremy Scahill at the Intercept

  104. Jill:

    I don’t know anything about the details in these decisions, but I do think it’s wrong for Obama to be making these changes in law unilaterally.

    One good thing that might come of his pushing executive power to the limits is that it may finally spur the Congress to assert it power in a meaningful, and lasting, way. Maybe that’s his real agenda

  105. Darren, I can’t even get my comment to go through. Would you please see if it’s in any filter. Thanks!

  106. Darren,

    I’m trying this again: Here’s what it means to have courts in deference to the executive and his agencies: “The Obama administration has quietly approved a substantial expansion of the terrorist watchlist system, authorizing a secret process that requires neither “concrete facts” nor “irrefutable evidence” to designate an American or foreigner as a terrorist, according to a key government document obtained by The Intercept.

    The “March 2013 Watchlisting Guidance,” a 166-page document issued last year by the National Counterterrorism Center, spells out the government’s secret rules for putting individuals on its main terrorist database, as well as the no fly list and the selectee list, which triggers enhanced screening at airports and border crossings. The new guidelines allow individuals to be designated as representatives of terror organizations without any evidence they are actually connected to such organizations, and it gives a single White House official the unilateral authority to place “entire categories” of people the government is tracking onto the no fly and selectee lists. It broadens the authority of government officials to “nominate” people to the watchlists based on what is vaguely described as “fragmentary information.” It also allows for dead people to be watchlisted.”

  107. Darren, I just tried my original post again. It does not go through at all as far as I can see. My two comments to RTC went through. This one was right before and right after those two comments.

  108. @karens

    The VA is single payer and single provider. Most of the employees are gov ‘t employees. But, they have the ability to send patients out. They are a great example of why we should fear gov ‘t health care aka “single provider”

    But medicare is more of a single payer and people there can go to any provider who takes medicare.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  109. Leej, what is that saying, there but for the grace of God go I. I love how some folks invoke God, yet are so unchristian. Yes all those disabled folks should get off their butts and find a sedentary job. They are SO plentiful.

  110. Darren, Thanks for checking. Evidently they went through. I see the first at 7:29 and the second at 7:36. Go figure!

  111. Squeeky Fromm, Girl Reporter

    The VA is single payer and single provider. Most of the employees are gov ‘t employees. But, they have the ability to send patients out. They are a great example of why we should fear gov ‘t health care aka “single provider”
    ================================================

    why, because of the rush to ramp up for war there was no rush to ramp up for the corresponding increase in casualties.

    the v a can not increase their own budget.

    btw when was the last time you were at the v a?

  112. “That would be the Constitution. In nature there are no “unalienable rights.”

    Mespo, that’s an understandable belief and quite incorrect. The second paragraph in the Declaration of Independence is where you’ll find the correct answer:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident,
    1.) that all men are created equal,
    2) that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—
    3) That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, —
    4) That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

    The 1st and 2nd truths are a reflection of who we are as human beings merely by our existence in the state of nature or within the social contract. The 3rd truth identifies the fundamental purpose for government. The constitution is the result of the 3rd truth and with great thanks to the anti-federalists, we get the first ten amendments. Those amendments Do Not Give us rights; they identify in more detail what the 2nd truth represents. The 4th truth makes protection of the 2nd amendment significantly more important. If government is ever the last entity standing with the ability to defend itself then we as citizens will have effectively eliminated our ability to execute the 4th truth.

  113. I’ll try it in smaller posts.

    “That would be the Constitution. In nature there are no “unalienable rights.”

    Mespo, that’s an understandable belief and quite incorrect. The second paragraph in the Declaration of Independence is where you’ll find the correct answer:

  114. We hold these truths to be self-evident,
    1.) that all men are created equal,
    2) that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—
    3) That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, —
    4) That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

  115. It won’t take the 2nd paragraph here.

    The 1st and 2nd truths are a reflection of who we are as human beings merely by our existence in the state of nature or within the social contract. The 3rd truth identifies the fundamental purpose for government. The constitution is the result of the 3rd truth and with great thanks to the anti-federalists, we get the first ten amendments. Those amendments do not “give” us rights; they identify in more detail what the 2nd truth represents. The 4th truth makes protection of the 2nd amendment significantly more important. If government is ever the last entity standing with the ability to defend itself then we as citizens will have effectively eliminated our ability to execute the 4th truth.

  116. RTC:

    “Karen: In order to have an honest discussion, you must first be honest. The VA is overwhelmed by the number of traumatically injured vets who survived as a result of improved battlefield medical care.”

    Stop calling me a liar.

    And there is zero excuse on this Earth for the VA scandal.

    1. The VA was created to handle vets in times of peace and in times of war. And we tend to be at war at least every 10 years. 1 in 10 Americans was a vet after WWII, and yet they received care in the precursor to the VA.
    2. The Budget for the VA has INCREASED every year for the past decade.
    3. I don’t care how busy you are, you don’t use that as an excuse to purge patient records and document patient visits that never occurred, for political reasons, to meet a goal and give its employees bonuses.
    4. Under Bush, an IG investigated from 2005 to 2007. He discovered, among other things, that the VA was lying about wait times. By the time Obama took office, Bush still had not implemented all of the IG’s recommendations. That is on Bush. Documents show that Obama was made aware that the VA was lying about wait times. Congressmen wrote him letters about it. There were meetings. But Obama lied (yet again) and claimed he’d just heard about the VA scandal, was really mad, but wouldn’t discuss it until yet ANOTHER IG report was done (after he’d left office.) That’s on Obama.
    5. Now let’s discuss those long wait times. As usual, government bureaucracies are inefficient and impenetrable. It was discovered that 8 government cardiologists with the VA handled the caseload of a SINGLE private practice cardiologist. Because when the cardiologist owns his own business, he works harder, grows, etc. But how do many government employees work? Slowly. Very slowly.

    Any attempts to blame the VA lying about patient wait times, destroying patient records to look good, and documenting fraudulent visits that never happened, on a war is a spurious argument. The VA has a mandate to care for vets in times of war. And their budget increases every year.

    How about Obama starts owning his messes instead of pathetically blaming Bush every single solitary time?

  117. Oh, look. Social Security blew $300 million on a new computer system 6 years ago that still isn’t working. Guess the Obamacare website isn’t an anomaly. But, of course, anyone with the most rudimentary knowledge of our procurement system knows this.

    In a private company, that kind of mismanagement and waste just drives them out of business. An incompetent business does not survie long. Not so with government.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/07/23/social-security-spent-300m-on-it-boondoggle/?intcmp=latestnews

  118. A fiscal conservative, like me, objects to government spending $300 million on a new computer system that is still not working, with no launch date in sight, 6 years later. We hate waste and mismanagement.

  119. Squeeky:

    “But medicare is more of a single payer and people there can go to any provider who takes medicare.”

    Medicare is not a single payer. That means that only one entity pays, usually the government. There is one network. One payer. Medicare has premiums and copays paid by policy holders. And Medicare alone pays zero for hospital stays longer than a set number of days. No long term nursing. There are private gap insurance policies that make Medicare doable.

    A certain element loudly criticizes the private gap policies, but without them no one could afford to depend on only Medicare.

  120. I just had an opportunity to read this thread. It certainly didn’t take long for the conversation to go off the rails. That’s a shame because the issues are both important and interesting. Mespo and a few others attempted to tackle the topic; Bob, Esq. fruitlessly attempted later on to redirect the thread back to the topic. But people apparently prefer to rant about wholly unrelated issues.

    After reading the DC Circuit and 4th Circuit opinions, I think I’ve changed my mind. I’m not even convinced that the Chevron rule needs to come into play. I believe the 4th Circuit conclusion is correct, but I think it can be supported under traditional rules of statutory construction. If anyone would like to pursue that line of debate, I’m all ears (or eyes, I guess).

  121. Mike,

    I thought you might find the following article interesting reading:

    Bad Readers
    The judges who ruled against Obamacare are following Scalia down a terrible path of interpretation.
    By Richard L. Hasen
    7/23/14
    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2014/07/d_c_circuit_and_4th_circuit_obamacare_rulings_the_perils_of_following_scalia.html

    Excerpt:
    Unless you are a lawyer or a glutton for punishment, you probably want to avoid reading the new D.C. Circuit and 4th Circuit opinions reaching conflicting results on the legality of key provisions of the Affordable Care Act—the parts that provide subsidies for Americans who sign up for health insurance through the exchanges the law created. The opinions are full of jargon parsing the intricacies of the mammoth health care law. But well within the weeds of these lawyerly discussions is a more fundamental question: Is it the courts’ job to make laws work for the people, or to treat laws as arid linguistic puzzles?

    At the heart of the 2­–1 D.C. Circuit ruling striking down subsidies for anyone getting their insurance from a federally run rather than state-run health care exchange is a theory for interpreting statutes called “textualism.” Modern textualists view the job of courts’ interpreting statutes as puzzle solving, using dictionaries and grammatical rules known as “canons of construction” such as the “last antecedent rule.” Strict textualists generally won’t look at legislative history—records of what members of Congress said on the floor or what is contained in House or Senate committee reports, for example—to figure out what Congress intended. Just the text.

    Justice Antonin Scalia of the Supreme Court is the leading proponent of textualism, an approach he justifies as required by the Constitution and better than the alternative of using legislative history. He thinks judges unreliably cherry-pick legislative history, quoting the late Judge Harold Leventhal’s quip that it’s “the equivalent of entering a crowded cocktail party and looking over the heads of the guests for one’s friends.” Before Scalia, textualism was one tool among many for interpreting statutes. But now, thanks to his relentless campaigning for the textualist approach, for many strongly conservative judges, the text is the beginning and the end of the analysis when it comes to the meaning of a statute.

  122. Mike Appleton


    After reading the DC Circuit and 4th Circuit opinions, I think I’ve changed my mind. I’m not even convinced that the Chevron rule needs to come into play. I believe the 4th Circuit conclusion is correct, but I think it can be supported under traditional rules of statutory construction. If anyone would like to pursue that line of debate, I’m all ears (or eyes, I guess).
    =======================
    You changed to the position I had from the onset after reading the DC Cir. opinion, which was the position of the dissent (Edwards, J.).

    His analysis considered the purpose of the entire Act, and then giving that purpose precedent in determining if the clause the tow textualist judges focused on (and got mired down in) was contrary to the purpose of the ACA.

    In his opinion, since Congress unambiguously directed that there be exchanges, whether set up by one of the Fifty States, or if not, then by the Federal State.

    Further, Congress directed that either credits or tax penalties would be issued by IRS, depending on a taxpayer’s compliance, or not, by securing health care insurance from their exchange.

    The myopic interpretation by the 2 judges on the DC Circuit would result in the whole act being gutted because they interpreted the word “state” in a minor clause (10 or so words out of thousands) in a manner that compels the notion that Congress wanted that clause to destroy the entire body of text.

    That is an absurd conclusion, which violates the rule of interpretation that any interpretation which is absurd is not a proper interpretation.

    If Congress had intended that states could gut the act by refraining from establishing an exchange, they would not have mandated that the federal agency (HHS) set one up if a state did not set one up.

    Thus, the purpose of having everyone insured flows from exchanges within all 50 states and DC, no matter who sets up those exchanges.

    The reward or penalty language (tax credits or tax penalties) based on compliance by taxpayers is determined by whether they get insurance from the exchange within their state boundaries or not.

    That reward or penalty, administered by IRS, does not depend on who set the exchange up.

    But, from the beginning I saw it the same as the dissent in the DC Cir. saw it.

    I saw it the same as all the judges on the 4th. Cir panel saw it.

    The result so far is 4-2 counting all six judges in the two panels (4 saying states can not gut the ACA, 2 saying states can gut the ACA).

  123. Don’t worry, the ruling against heath care subsidies is going to be reversed.
    By Emily Bazelon
    7/22/14
    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2014/07/obamacare_rulings_two_courts_differ_on_heath_insurance_subsidies_but_the.html

    Excerpt:
    Today’s twin cases, Halbig v. Burwell and King v. Burwell, pretty much hinge on one section of the ACA: 36B. In that section, Congress wrote that tax credits go to people who buy health insurance in exchanges “established by the State under section 1311.” OK, so let’s go to 1311. What does it say? Section 1311 provides that “each State shall” set up an exchange by the beginning of 2014. If not, we move to Section 1321, which says that the federal government will set up an exchange in the state’s stead. Does that mean Congress intended the same subsidies to go to people who sign up through federally run exchanges as through state-run ones? Yes, say a cadre of experts who know much more about this than I do. To quote one of them, Samuel Bagenstos: “Because Section 1321 provides that a federally-operated exchange will stand in the shoes of a state-operated exchange created by Section 1311, there is no basis for denying participants in federally-operated exchanges the same tax credits obtained by participants in state-operated exchanges.”

    This is not the only possible meaning of 36B, because on its face it does say “established by the State.” As Judge Gregory acknowledges, writing for the Fourth Circuit, “the statute is ambiguous and subject to at least two different interpretations.” Why so confusing? Here’s what’s really to blame, as Yale law professor Abbe Gluck writes:

    “The ACA is a very badly drafted statute. And it’s badly drafted for a simple reason that turns out to be important to understanding how the pending litigation should be resolved: Because Senator Ted Kennedy died in the middle of the legislative process and was replaced by Republican Scott Brown, the statute never went through the usual legislative process, including the usual legislative clean-up process. Instead, because the Democrats lost their 60th filibuster-preventing vote, the version that had passed the Senate before Brown took office, which everyone initially had thought would be a mere first salvo, had to effectively serve as the final version, unchangeable by the House, because nothing else could get through the Senate.”

  124. John:

    While you share Mr. Jefferson’s view of unalienable rights, I do not. I’m more Hobbesian.

    “during the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called warre; and such a warre as is of every man against every man”. In this state every person has a natural right or liberty to do anything one thinks necessary for preserving one’s own life. It is a state of ” … continual fear and danger of violent death, and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. (Leviathan, Chapters XIII–XIV).

    You need only look to modern day Syria, Iraq, Egypt, the Balkans of the 90s and countless other examples for proof of Hobbes’ beliefs.

  125. Mespo,
    “In this state every person has a natural right or liberty to do anything one thinks necessary for preserving one’s own life.”

    Then we can at least agree your natural (unalienable) rights do not come to you by any means other than your existence; however you believe that existence came to be; that those rights exist in a state of war (nature), which precedes civil society or the social contract.

    Jefferson takes this further respecting Locke’s view on the security of rights within a civil society:

    “Where-ever therefore any number of men are so united into one society, as to quit every one his executive power of the law of nature, and to resign it to the public, there and there only is a political, or civil society. And this is done, where-ever any number of men, in the state of nature, enter into society to make one people, one body politic, under one supreme government; or else when any one joins himself to, and incorporates with any government already made: for hereby he authorizes the society, or which is all one, the legislative thereof, to make laws for him, as the public good of the society shall require; to the execution whereof, his own assistance (as to his own decrees) is due.” Two Treatises of Government; John Locke

  126. Karen, Unfortunately some in group 2 are not merely ne’er do wells but fall into the wrong groups and their lives go on the wrong path because of their own screwed up upbringings. If they are lucky they can get out ot it (I had a friend, parents hard working folk, both kids had “self-esteem’ issues and dropped out of school, did drugs, stole the whole thing. What turned it around for the one was Job Corps, a government program that turned her around, as well as judges for both, that said next time you appear before me you go to jail There are folks who are leeches, no argument there but sometimes it takes the government in the form of programs, and the justice system to help get people pointed towards the right direction.
    lot of folks on welfare for instance are single mothers. Where is the system, and people, getting the fathers to step up to the plate with financial support (may be asking way to much for social and emotional support as well)?
    (Kind of goes to the popsters who say well if women have sex they have to pay the price. It is not the women who pay the most rice it is the children who then fall by the wayside.

  127. Elaine, LOL! Rationalization is self destructive behavior, and those who abide it are enablers. I wonder how Obamacare would have played out if the Lion of the Senate died @ Cappaquidick. I always call him the Fredo of the Kennedy brothers.

  128. Oh Nick. Thank you and yes Nick and I are a good example of ‘we can disagree completely and yet retain and show respect for one another’.

  129. I will try to accommodate the sensitivity of Mike’s attention span. For the record Elaine, I’m NOT claiming in special qualifications in my following analysis.

    The ACA section 1311 states the following:

    “(ii) STATE MUST ASSUME COST.—A State shall make payments to or on behalf of an individual eligible for the premium tax credit under section 36B of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and any cost-sharing reduction under section 1402 to defray the cost to the individual of any additional benefits described in clause (i) which are not eligible for such credit or reduction under section 36B(b)(3)(D) of such Code and section 1402(c)(4).”

    The ACA section 1321 states the following:

    “(c) FAILURE TO ESTABLISH EXCHANGE OR IMPLEMENT REQUIREMENTS.—
    25 (1) IN GENERAL.—If—(A) a State is not an electing State under subsection (b); or (B) the Secretary determines, on or before January 1, 2013, that an electing State— (i) will not have any required Exchange operational by January 1, 2014; or (ii) has not taken the actions the Secretary determines necessary to implement— (I) the other requirements set forth in the standards under subsection (a); or (II) the requirements set forth in subtitles A and C and the amendments made by such subtitles; the Secretary shall (directly or through agreement with a not-for-profit entity) establish and operate such Exchange within the State and the Secretary shall take such actions as are necessary to implement such other requirements.

    The IRS Section 36B(b)(3)(D) of the IRS code only references the ACA section 1311 and not the above paragraph from 1321.

    What is clear to me is that the ACA provides:
    – State established exchanges
    – States provide IRS 36B tax credits (subsidies)
    – IRS 36B ONLY references 1311 and the State provided tax credits
    – Federally established exchange for qualified residents of those States opting out
    – Nothing authorizing the Federal to replace the State in providing tax credits and it would appear the IRS believed that was the intent as well

    So a major question for me so far is:
    Would the ACA have become law if it was written that ALL taxpayers would pay for tax credits (subsidies) regardless of whether their own State opted in or not?

  130. John Oliver,

    ….

    The ACA section 1311 states the following:

    ===============================
    Yawn Ollie.

    You make the same anal mistake that the 2 judges out of 6 made.

    Describing a novel by one sentence in one chapter.

    The ACA is like a book of 25 chapters with a thousand sentences.

    It takes a grown up hermeneutics (or book review) to get it.

    Don’t be so anal retentive sir.

  131. Thank you Dredd; I had no aspirations to be in such learned company.

    By the way, it probably stems from my 20 year Navy career and the focus on attention to detail. It would serve the citizens well to apply a bit more “anal retentive” skepticism towards government policy as opposed to being some gaping repository for whatever they ambiguously conjure up.

    Speaking of reckless, “inattention” to detail; your suggestion reminds me of this moment in the movie, The Bedford Incident:

    “Commodore Schrepke: This is insane!
    Captain Finlander: Now don’t worry, Commodore. The Bedford’ll never fire first. But if he fires one, I’ll fire one.
    Ensign Ralston: (launching the rocket) Fire One!”

  132. “I just had an opportunity to read this thread. It certainly didn’t take long for the conversation to go off the rails. That’s a shame because the issues are both important and interesting. Mespo and a few others attempted to tackle the topic; Bob, Esq. fruitlessly attempted later on to redirect the thread back to the topic.”
    ==================================================
    Mike Appleton,
    I gave it a go “because the issues are both important and interesting”. I was moments away from agreeing with the 4th Circuit until IRS 36B only recognized the State’s exchange authority under 1311 and not the Federal’s exchange authority under 1321. The following paragraph from Bernadette Fernandez for Congressional Resource Service would also seem to support the subsidies are not eligible if the insurance wasn’t acquired through a State exchange. http://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R41137.pdf

    “Enrolled in an Individual Exchange
    Premium credits are available only to individuals and families enrolled in a plan offered through an individual exchange; premium credits are not available through the small business (“SHOP”) exchanges. Individuals may enroll in a plan through their state’s exchange if they are (1) residing in a state in which an exchange was established; (2) not incarcerated, except individuals in custody pending the disposition of charges; and (3) “lawfully present” residents.”

    So now, can we dispense with the faux intellectualism and just admit what your ilk really means by “off the rails”; it’s that it wasn’t on “your enlightened” rail.

    And given the fact I’m not “credentialed” enough for some in this thread, I’ll keep open the opportunity to learn something new.

  133. Well Mike: As a layman, these are not opinions that I’m ever going to read; I get my take from the different views that are expressed here and elsewhere.

    My view is that the ACA is an egregiously drafted law. Maybe. I believe that this issue will come before the Supreme Court, whether the full D.C. circuit court panel upholds the three-judge decision or not. I gotta believe that there will be a circuit court somewhere that will rule against the tax credit.

    I think the Supreme Court will rule against the tax credit. And I think that might be a good thing. The voters in those 36 states very well may decide that Obamacare is something worth having and vote out the recalcitrant party that’s preventing them from having access to affordable health insurance that cannot be denied for any reason, resulting in the Democratic Party gaining ascendancy in those states .

    That’s why I’m not sure if the ACA was poorly drafted and it’s just a stroke of dumb luck or if there was some shrewd thinking behind it.

  134. RTC, That’s the first time ACA and shrewd thinking has ever been used in the same sentence. Congrats. Regarding the 36 states, doesn’t that number, almost enough to ratify a Constitutional amendment, say anything to you? “Recalcitrant” usually implies a rebellious minority.

  135. “The voters in those 36 states very well may decide that Obamacare is something worth having and vote out the recalcitrant party that’s preventing them from having access to affordable health insurance that cannot be denied for any reason, resulting in the Democratic Party gaining ascendancy in those states.”
    ===================================================

    OR RTC, the other 14 states may very well decide they ARE governed by the recalcitrant party, resulting in the Republican Party “gaining ascendancy in those states.” I wouldn’t put any money on the former given the nearly 60% unpopularity of the *ahem*, Affordable Care Act.

  136. Karen: “In a private company, that kind of mismanagement and waste just drives them out of business. An incompetent business does not survie long.”

    This is the kind of BS that free marketeers have been pushing for over thirty years. I can still the expression on Alan Greenspan’s phlegmatic face as he insisted that any company that defrauded its customers or treated them unfairly would gain a reputation among consumers, and that they would stop doing business with that company and it would simply go out of business. Yet, Goldman Sachs, AIG, Bank of America, and Morgan Stanley are still going strong.

    So is Haliburton, which had a hand in a little mishap down in the Gulf of Mexico several years ago.

    So is Bechtel, which wired a barracks in Iraq so that a soldier was electrocuted while taking a shower. Just to be clear, water and electricity don’t mix. But Bechtel’s still knocking down gubmint contracts.

    Incidentally, that insurance company down in Texas kept denying its legal obligation to pay for the Carr boys treatment – still in business.

    Typical fiscal conservative; don’t acknowledge the facts when they get in the way of your point.

    BTW, nice cite to Fox news. Now wipe your mouth off, you’ve got Kool-Aid stains on your lips.

  137. I cant find the click but just today read article the states that did not sign u p for the enchanges have the least insured and the worst health

  138. Nick: Recalcitrant refers to an attitude or behavior without regard to number, majority or minority status.

    The Equal Rights Amendment was ratified by 35 states and where is that right now. The people of Kentucky love their Obamacare so much that there’s a real chance that McConnell might get dumped, so don’t count on that state votoing to repeal. Perhaps the voters in Texas will decide that they’ve had enough nonsense from the corporate clowns that manage their state.

  139. RTC, Millions of companies go out of business. How many govt. agencies have been cut for inefficiency? Hell, how many worthless govt. employees are fired? You simply can’t win that argument by naming a few huge “too big to fail” companied. Well, maybe w/ an MSNBC crowd, but not w/ normal folk.

  140. Actually Oliver, the ACA is picking up support, particularly among younger people, and is beginning to work as intended. See my comment to Nick regarding Kentucky.

    *Sigh* I miss the woman who could confirm it for us clear. She’d slice and dice you, Oliver. Believe it.

  141. Nick: Millions of companies do not go out of business unless you include restaurants. Excluding restaurants and bars, more healthy businesses have been liquidated by vulture capitalists looking to sell off parts for profit than have gone under due to incompetence.

    You’re not the only one who can play ipsa dixit

  142. RTC, I know the definition of recalcitrant. I have called my son that on occasion. My point it for someone to call an overwhelming number of states acting in their own self interest, “recalcitrant,” is pretty arrogant in a democracy, don’t you think?

  143. Ollie: If you want to call it crystal balling, so be it. I don’t gamble, or play fantasy league sports, but I do like to see how well I can predict social outcomes like election results, political moves, and court outcomes. Sometimes I nail it, sometimes I’m flatout wrong.

    For instance, I predicted that Obama would support cuts to social security – he did – and that Republicans would vote to shutdown govt over the debt limit early this year – they didn’t.

    My self-esteem doesn’t hinge on my success with these predictions.

  144. RTC ???. The SBA has on average ~400k businesses closing annually. During the recent recession the #’s were much higher. Yes, restaurants and bars have some of the highest failure rates, but I will now say in the last 50 years HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of businesses have closed. I’m still waiting on the number of govt. agencies being closed down.

  145. I amend that to 100 million businesses closing in the last century. My math can be off in the evening! Govt. has grown exponentially in those 100 years and virtually no agencies have closed.

  146. LOL! I know you’ll pounce on my Negroni influenced math, RTC. 50 million business closures in the last century. That’s my final answer.

  147. Nick: You’re the one who said that recalcitrant usually implies a rebellious minority, I merely provided clarification. I have no doubt that of your command of any number of ten dollar words.

    Those states are not acting in their own self interest, they’re acting out of purely political reasons at the expense of their citizens. There are more uninsured people in Texas than in any other, and they pay more for healthcare than the people of any other. Many people in Texas are simply too poor to afford healthcare. Normally, you would think that elected representatives in Texas would want to do whatever they could to improve the lot of their citizens, but they are refusing to for purely petty political reasons, which are underpinned by a believe that government has business helping its citizens, which itself is founded on the idea that government is something wholly apart from the people.

    I’m hoping that the Supreme Court comes down like the D.C. circuit did in Halbig, and voters make it clear what they want, which I think will be in favor of Obamacare. If that’s the case, I look for a change in party control of gubernatorial seats in Texas…and in Wisconsin. Or maybe you cheeseheads will chalk up the change to a scandal-plagued nincompoop.

  148. “Sometimes I nail it, sometimes I’m flatout wrong.”
    ==================================================
    RTC,
    And a broken clock is correct twice a day. When you live in a culture without moral absolutes; when you have a dependent electorate; and when you elect representatives to secure your wants and not your natural rights, then it’s a good thing your self-esteem doesn’t hinge on your success with those predictions.

  149. Professor Turley: I hope the term “Cheesehead” will not be viewed as an uncivil term. Nick and I banter in this fashion. I cheerfully bear the term “FIB”, I think Nick actually wears a Packers Cheesehead hat while posting here.

  150. Nick: If you want go back 50 – 100 years in time, and include resaurants and bars, sure it’s probably in the millions. The point Karen was making was no business can be incompetent and stay in business. Not all of yer millions went under due to incompetence. Many were poorly capitalized, or had bad models, or were the victims of a changing economy, customer base, or demographics. Thousands were poorly marketed (not the type of incompetence that Karen was referring to).

    The mistake you’re both making is equating government with business. Government does not, cannot, and should not operate like a business. Only a pinhead would think that it should.

    Incidentally, the size of government has shrunk under Obama. There are fewer government workers, as retiree and resignees have gone unreplaced.

    Agencies don’t go away for the simple reason that they are formed to perform a function for We the People, like the SEC. Under Reagan, we were given deregulated banking and fewer examiners. In my view, if you want to bring the Wild West to Wall St. then you need to have more sheriffs on hand to keep an eye on the saloons.

  151. After horrible failures the govt. often goes to private business CEO’s to end utter incompetence. The VA is the most recent example. The Obama Administration has the lowest # of private sector people and it certainly shows.

  152. RTC,
    It’s not that I don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s that you don’t know what I’m talking about. What’s worse is that you won’t make an effort to figure it out.

    If you believe I’m wrong then explain where and explain why. I’m willing to learn new things, are you?

  153. It’s difficult for an incompetent biz to remain viable. Government is incompetent and there are no consequences.

  154. RTC, I use the term “flatlander.” It goes back to having kids. I didn’t want to have to translate the FIB acronym so I went w/ the G rated ball bust.

  155. What do you call an organization that takes money in exchange for a product or service? More importantly, what do you call one that takes the money and fails to provide the product or service? In the private sector, gone; if politically connected, subsidized; and if in the public sector, under-staffed and under-funded.

    Okay, this pinhead is heading back to the sandbox.

  156. Nick: I’ve seen you use the term “FIB”. I don’t care. I have a lot close relations in Wisconsin; it’s all good, buddy.

    But there are a lot of businesses that remain in viable despite glaring incompetence. Bechtel is a glaring example. Being from Wisconsin, you oughta know that the power plant designed and built for WE Energies in Oak Creek by Bechtel hasn’t operated at more than thirty – forty per cent capacity after nearly eight years.

    When govt doesn’t perform its job, politicians are voted out of office. The recent phenomena taking over is to make govt look incompetent so that citizens don’t get the idea that its something to count on. That was the operating model after Katrina, the motive was to destroy the peoples confidence in govt.

    To get back on topic, the people are going to want Obamacare and it will become a campaign issue in 2016

  157. Oliver: Whenever someone starts yammering on about natural rights and moral absolutes, they’re usually full of –it. So far, all I’ve seen from you are quotes that you paste that don’t fit the context.

    There’s someone else who likes to lean on the wisdom of others with no real understanding of what his role models are actually saying.

    What I notice about the people who really understand the concepts you purport to is that when they use a quote, it’s as a launching point to expound on an idea. You use quotes as the last word. I’m sure they mean something to you and you found them terribly enlightening, but you clearly haven’t absorbed them enough to be in full possession of their ultimate meaning, let alone to render the concepts usable in any practical form.

  158. Politicians are voted out of office RTC, but incompetent govt. employees are rarely fired. Time will tell RTC, but Dems are running away from Obama and Obamacare currently. 2014 comes before 2016[that’s a profound prediction] and I see Dems taking it on the chin. But, 2 years is a lifetime in politics.

  159. Nick: A Republican candidate in W. Va is claiming he actually supported Obamacare in TV ads.

    Oliver: If Turley or any of the others who actually understood natural rights, brought them up in a discussion on healthcare, then they would add context.

    Rousseau understood that natural rights are best protected and insured within a collaborating society. You think natural right means govt has no business telling you what to do, as long as you know what’s good and moral. Problem is that too many of you “natural righters” think that it’s good and moral to shoot someone for being in the wrong place (castle and stand-yer-ground laws), or preventing disease and starvation among the poor and indigent is morally reprehensible, or restricting industry from spoiling the water or fouling the air is an infringement on “natural rights”.

    Natural rights was used as justification to wipeout the Native Americans and decimate the natural resources of this nation, natural rights were cited as the rationalization behind slavery, and natural rights is the reason so many cement-headed Americans want the govt to go away.

    You must not have been here back when a story was featured about the New Jersey man who beat his wife to death for failing to cook his goat properly, claiming it was his “natural right” as a husband.

    Your ideas are not your own, Oliver, they merely confirm your bias.

  160. CTR,
    “Rousseau understood that natural rights are best protected and insured within a collaborating society.”

    It doesn’t require an advanced degree to understand there’s safety in numbers. As Mespo mentioned regarding the Hobbesian view on the security of life and property while in the state of war and my comment regarding Locke’s view on the social contract; the framer’s understood quite clearly the natural right to life, liberty and property were best secured within a civil society. The unknown was what form of government would provide the best balance between security and liberty.

    “You think natural right means govt has no business telling you what to do, as long as you know what’s good and moral.”

    That would be an understandable conclusion and completely incorrect. At the risk of being redundant (previously posted in this thread), if one believes as I do that Jefferson had it correct in the Declaration regarding self-evident truths, then it follows government is necessary and government does have “business” (interesting choice of words given your previous comment about government and business) consistent with the powers the People provided in the constitution.

    “Problem is that too many of you “natural righters” think that it’s good and moral to shoot someone for being in the wrong place (castle and stand-yer-ground laws), or preventing disease and starvation among the poor and indigent is morally reprehensible, or restricting industry from spoiling the water or fouling the air is an infringement on “natural rights”.”

    Your ad hominem comments really weakens what is probably a valid, passionate assessment regarding many that will use the law (or lack of law) to infringe the rights of others. What’s ridiculous is needing a law to provide citizens a natural right of self-defense. Much of what passes for law today is a result of allowing government to infringe the rights of a certain class of citizens in favor of another class. Who the negatively affected class is depends largely on which political party is making the law. Frederic Bastiat captures this perfectly:

    “Men naturally rebel against the injustice of which they are victims. Thus, when plunder is organized by law for the profit of those who make the law, all the plundered classes try somehow to enter — by peaceful or revolutionary means — into the making of laws. According to their degree of enlightenment, these plundered classes may propose one of two entirely different purposes when they attempt to attain political power: Either they may wish to stop lawful plunder, or they may wish to share in it.

    Woe to the nation when this latter purpose prevails among the mass victims of lawful plunder when they, in turn, seize the power to make laws! Until that happens, the few practice lawful plunder upon the many, a common practice where the right to participate in the making of law is limited to a few persons. But then, participation in the making of law becomes universal. And then, men seek to balance their conflicting interests by universal plunder. Instead of rooting out the injustices found in society, they make these injustices general. As soon as the plundered classes gain political power, they establish a system of reprisals against other classes. They do not abolish legal plunder. (This objective would demand more enlightenment than they possess.) Instead, they emulate their evil predecessors by participating in this legal plunder, even though it is against their own interests.”

    My defense of natural rights is in opposition to any party/government that will use the backdrop of constitutional authority to redistribute property from one class to another; to enact social justice on one generation for the evils of another; and to secure their own political existence by subjugating the citizens to a system of education wholly inadequate for good citizenship.

    Before you believe that pigeon-holes me to one particular party, it does not. I’m registered Independent and don’t vote based on party. I vote in opposition to legal plunder.

  161. RTC,
    “Rousseau understood that natural rights are best protected and insured within a collaborating society.”
    It doesn’t require an advanced degree to understand there’s safety in numbers. As Mespo mentioned regarding the Hobbesian view on the security of life and property while in the state of war and my comment regarding Locke’s view on the social contract; the framer’s understood quite clearly the natural right to life, liberty and property were best secured within a civil society. The unknown was what form of government would provide the best balance between security and liberty.

    “You think natural right means govt has no business telling you what to do, as long as you know what’s good and moral.”

    That would be an understandable conclusion and completely incorrect. At the risk of being redundant (previously posted in this thread), if one believes as I do that Jefferson had it correct in the Declaration regarding self-evident truths, then it follows government is necessary and government does have “business” (interesting choice of words given your previous comment about government and business) consistent with the powers the People provided in the constitution.

  162. RTC,
    “Problem is that too many of you “natural righters” think that it’s good and moral to shoot someone for being in the wrong place (castle and stand-yer-ground laws), or preventing disease and starvation among the poor and indigent is morally reprehensible, or restricting industry from spoiling the water or fouling the air is an infringement on “natural rights”.”

    Your ad hominem comments really weakens what is probably a valid, passionate assessment regarding many that will use the law (or lack of law) to infringe the rights of others. What’s ridiculous is needing a law to provide citizens a natural right of self-defense. Much of what passes for law today is a result of allowing government to infringe the rights of a certain class of citizens in favor of another class.

  163. RTC,
    Who the negatively affected class is depends largely on which political party is making the law. Frederic Bastiat captures this perfectly:

    “Men naturally rebel against the injustice of which they are victims. Thus, when plunder is organized by law for the profit of those who make the law, all the plundered classes try somehow to enter — by peaceful or revolutionary means — into the making of laws. According to their degree of enlightenment, these plundered classes may propose one of two entirely different purposes when they attempt to attain political power: Either they may wish to stop lawful plunder, or they may wish to share in it.

    Woe to the nation when this latter purpose prevails among the mass victims of lawful plunder when they, in turn, seize the power to make laws! Until that happens, the few practice lawful plunder upon the many, a common practice where the right to participate in the making of law is limited to a few persons. But then, participation in the making of law becomes universal. And then, men seek to balance their conflicting interests by universal plunder. Instead of rooting out the injustices found in society, they make these injustices general. As soon as the plundered classes gain political power, they establish a system of reprisals against other classes. They do not abolish legal plunder. (This objective would demand more enlightenment than they possess.) Instead, they emulate their evil predecessors by participating in this legal plunder, even though it is against their own interests.” The Law

  164. RTC,
    Who the negatively affected class is depends largely on which political party is making the law. Frederic Bastiat captures this perfectly: http://bastiat.org/en/the_law.html#SECTION_G016

    My defense of natural rights is in opposition to any party/government that will use the backdrop of constitutional authority to redistribute property from one class to another; to enact social justice on one generation for the evils of another; and to secure their own political existence by subjugating the citizens to a system of education wholly inadequate for good citizenship.

    Before you believe that pigeon-holes me to one particular party, it does not. I’m registered Independent and don’t vote based on party. I vote in opposition to legal plunder.

  165. leej, Thanks for the link. Patric has not been here for a while. I didn’t know he had a blog.

  166. Before you begin debating natural rights, it would be wise to define the topic with a bit more clarity. There are a variety of theories of natural rights. Simply tossing out the phrase in the course of a discussion is pointless.

  167. (Nick, you’re right. I forgot this where I “met” him. He has had it for a while. Kind of surprising to see how many docs engage in criminal activity (and thankfully get caught)”

  168. leej, I worked on med malpractice cases defending docs that made me sick. But, if you’re a professional you do you your job. I also worked cases where the docs were being wrongfully accused. I see both sides. But, like so many professions, they protect their own, even the horrible ones. You know all too well. But, to get screwed by your attorney is even worse, IMO.

  169. MA,
    I’m not debating the natural, unalienable rights that are the basis of our constitutional republic. That “variety” is not in question unless one is trying to invalidate our form of government.

    Your assertion that the mere mention of natural rights is pointless, in a discussion about law no less, is in and of itself, a significant point.

  170. J. Oliver: “I vote in opposition to legal plunder.”

    And you define legal plunder as how…? The way Grover Norquist defines it, or the way Elizabeth Warren defines it. Because the way I see it wealth has been distributed up the food chain to the Banksters and the charlatans of Wall St.

    There has never, ever been any “wealth” distributed to the neediest in America.

    Thirty years of tax cuts and deregulation designed to produce “trickle down” economics resulted in “siphon up” thievery.

    And what Mike A. said.

  171. Been there done that, “screwed by my attorney) Wonder where the attorneys on both sides of these cases stand in their personal beliefs and concerns.

  172. RTC,
    Legal plunder is the use of the law that results in the infringement of natural, unalienable rights. Wealth is not for government to distribute; to ANYONE. Wealth is for people to earn and the role of government is to provide the best environment for that earning to take place.

    The Preamble to the Constitution is a good start when defining what government should do to provide that environment. While everyone focuses on the constitutionality of things, it’s proven to be a weak barrier to the unscrupulous designs of lawmakers; on BOTH sides of the aisle. Ultimately, what should define good government for Norquist, Warren, Conservative, Liberal, Republican, Democrat and any other “special interest”, is how well does it secure those natural rights; for EVERYONE. Unfortunately, (as has been pointed out here), unalienable rights no longer have meaning because their security is no longer understood to be the fundamental purpose for government.

    If you really are interested in the needy then take the time to look beyond the constitutionality of things and ask yourself if the law enables plunder.

  173. Seriously Oliver: “Legal plunder is the use of the law that results in the infringement of natural, unalienable rights.”

    Could you be a little more vague? You might as well be saying that you salute the American flag and all it stands for. If you want any respect around here, as opposed to cheerleaders and supporters who deal in the same type of generalities, you need to specifically define these natural, inalienable rights you’re talking about.

    You do realize that lawyers from both sides of the political divide can see through you gauzy terms, don’t you?

  174. on 1, July 25, 2014 at 8:34 pmRTC
    J. Oliver: “I vote in opposition to legal plunder.”

    And you define legal plunder as how…? The way Grover Norquist defines it, or the way Elizabeth Warren defines it. Because the way I see it wealth has been distributed up the food chain to the Banksters and the charlatans of Wall St.

    There has never, ever been any “wealth” distributed to the neediest in America.

    Thirty years of tax cuts and deregulation designed to produce “trickle down” economics resulted in “siphon up” thievery.

    ********************************
    Precisely. And shills like Oliver do their public relations in the guise of Constitutionalism. Don’t they realize they’re being used? The rich man getting richer hasn’t helped form a robust middle class, it’s destroying it. After all who is it that spends more money buying goods, which strengthens the economy? Five percent of the population, or the other 95 %?

  175. Oliver: Since you’re having trouble with the your definitions, I thought I’d help you along. After all, that’s only fair. If you’re going to use vague generalities, then anyone can simply supply their own meaning.

    “Legal plunder is the use of the law that results in the infringement of natural, unalienable rights.”

    “If you really are interested in the needy then take the time to look beyond the constitutionality of things and ask yourself if the law enables plunder.

    Legal plunder= what is that, what, to you is plunder. All I get from that term is “Wah,wah,wah”.

    Infringement = How exactly?

    Natural, unalienable rights. = Big hurdle, I know, but try to define these as you see them.

    These two clauses indicate to me that you’re closer to Norquist’s philosophy anything dealing with justice. If you think the food stamp program was “plunder”, then I urge you to seek counseling.

    “Wealth is not for government to distribute; to ANYONE.”

    You know who would disagree with you? Milton Friedman, the patron saint of pain and suffering. When the Great Depression hit, he thought you government should have released its reserves and printed more money. He also was a proponent of the idea that everyone in America should receive a guaranteed income, regardless of whether they worked or not.

    You probably thought Friedman got his Nobel Prize in economics for finding a way to cause more suffering throughout the world than the Civil War, WWII, and the great Depression combined, but instead it was for defining the velocity of money. Turns out, the more money that is spent, the more wealth is created; it’s almost magical the way it happens. That’s why taking the miniscule portion of revenues the govt takes in and giving it to the truly needy (<emtruly needy), not only is the problem of malnutrition ameliorated, farmers are guaranteed a market for their surpluses, which supports prices.

    BTW, Jefferson thought that everyone’s wealth should, upon death, return to the government, “from whence it came”.

    “Wealth is for people to earn and the role of government is to provide the best environment for that earning to take place.”

    Do you mean the kind of environment it provided to industrialists like Pullman, and the mining companies at the turn of the last century, or by regulating safety in the workplace, because I gotta tell ya, there’s a world of difference. If you want to treat this as a rhetorical question, that’s OK. I expect you to remain as vague as ever on this one.

    “The Preamble to the Constitution is a good start when defining what government should do to provide that environment.”

    You can find a lot of legal scholars who’ll tell you that providing for the general welfare would allow the govt to provide food, housing, education, and healthcare, not to mention regulating the economy, among other things.

    “Unfortunately, (as has been pointed out here), unalienable rights no longer have meaning because their security is no longer understood to be the fundamental purpose for government.”

    Pointed out where? By you? I don’t think so.

    If “unalienable” rights no longer have meaning, then why don’t you remind us of what they are, specifically, so that we may examine them and decide if we agree – or if you know what you’re talking about.

    One of the inalienable rights that has been lost is the right for the people to determine for themselves what the fundamental purposes of govt is. I believe that govt has a purpose to protect citizens from consumer fraud and unethical financial dealings; to regulate markets where citizens lack expertise and sophistication to make knowledgeable decisions. To keep lead paint out of the toy store, and melamine out of our dog food. To ensure safe food and drug production and handling. To prevent the tyranny of monopolistic businesses from abusing workers and consumers alike. To ensure that industries behave responsibly by not polluting natural resources and depriving the people of their use. And yes, to provide a measure of relief to those who suffer misfortune.

    Because a starving people will trade freedom for slavery.

  176. “The rich man getting richer hasn’t helped form a robust middle class, it’s destroying it.”

    Precisely Annie: That’s why i call it Siphon Up Economics rather than Trickle Down.

  177. RTC, Class envy is not becoming. You’re better than that. I grew up in a blue collar, ethnic family. We did not revere nor despise people better off than us. We were taught to be educated, work hard, and you will do well. My parents were absolutely correct. Envy is one of the Seven Deadly Sins.

  178. Envy has nothing to do it with it, Nick. It’s about realizing how the system has been rigged and who has rigged it. It’s no longer true that working hard is any guarantee of success or financial security.

    Vulture capitalists buy up perfectly sound companies and layoff productive workers in order to reap short term gains in the stock market and reward their cronies with CEO salaries and executive bonuses. They then rehire the same workers at reduced wages and no benefits.

    Millions of workers were thrown out of due to no fault of their own when the financial sector decided to pull the pin on the economy.

    Companies are shedding their pension obligations because after years of not adequately funding them, they’ve decided they can’t afford them, so they liquidate funds and leave workers who toiled their lives away under the impression they had something to retire on with nothing but Social Security. And the banksters are trying to get their hands on that too.

    The middle class is getting squeezed. The one thing I admired about Reagan was that he understood the principle of fundamental fairness that should be applied to the tax code. When the effort to roll back the capital gains tax mounted, he came out squarely against saying, That there was no reason a bus driver should pay higher taxes than a trustfund baby who did nothing more to earn a check than sit by the poolside

  179. “You do realize that lawyers from both sides of the political divide can see through you gauzy terms, don’t you?”

    And I’m okay with that RTC. Everything I’ve said here is not new (maybe to you it is) and neither is your response to it, new to me. What always amazes me about your ilk is your feigned ignorance of natural rights. It would be comical if it weren’t so pathetic that in your attempt to denounce the self-evident truth of them you can somehow make them simultaneously alienable and unalienable. And that is what makes your progressive regime workable, isn’t it?

    “You can find a lot of legal scholars who’ll tell you that providing for the general welfare would allow the govt to provide food, housing, education, and healthcare, not to mention regulating the economy, among other things.”

    And that’s supposed to be a revelation? You can find a lot of legal scholars who’ll argue just the opposite. The only thing this proves is if you have an agenda; if you want to rig they system in your favor; then find a lawyer willing to “legalize” it.

  180. Oliver: All you’ve done is mouth platitudes: Truth, Justice, and The American Way. Which leads me to believe you don’t know what you’re talking about. All you’ve done is underline a series of phrases from great thinkers that strike you as meaningful; meaningful because they support your bias. The reason you can’t go into these concepts with any specificity is that you haven’t gone to the trouble of internalizing them.

    You consistently insist on engaging in the Appeal to Authority fallacy. Moreover, you appeal to long-gone authorities, as though they were the last word on democracy.

    If you want to be a parrot rather than a thinker, then please keep nattering away about natural rights and freedom. And we’ll understand why you can’t define your terms.

  181. RTC – It is clear that you are jealous of those who have more than you do. And your ad hominem attacks are a regular as the sunrise.

  182. RTC – Obama and his administration have done more to gut the middle class than anyone before them. We are going to be like Mexico with only an upper class and a lower class.

  183. Oliver: I called you on your use of “you(r) gauzy terms”, and you said,”…your response (is not) new to me.”

    So in other words, you get a lot of people asking you what the hell you’re talking about. The way you’re using these patriotic, freedom-loving phrases is exactly the same kind of fuzzy sloganeering the Tea Baggers use to inveigle the nonthinking who flock to their kiosks.

    Bah-bah black sheep, ready to get fleeced?

  184. Schulte: Clinton and Bush did far more damage to the middle class than Obama. And the only thing regular here is your complete misunderstanding of an ad hominem.

    This was the strategy your contractors told you and Karen to use whenever someone pointed out the fallacy in your arguments. It’s interesting that you two started bleating ad hominem around the same time.

    The real irony is that whenever the topic of climate change comes up, your sole retort is to bleat about Dr. Mann, Dr. Mann as though that refutes anything concerning the global climate change crisis that’s taking place.

    And let’s go back and clear something up:

    1) I was never suspended for anything I ever said to you.

    2) I was able to convince Prof. Turley to rescind my suspension by arguing my case based on the merits. For me, as a layman, to sway the opinion of a great legal scholar is a feather in my cap.

    3) I’ve grown as much as anybody on this site, and I’ve treated you with more class and dignity than you deserve. I’ve conceded when someone has made a valid point, and gone back and examined my position on certain subjects. You remain locked into an inimical mindset which doesn’t allow you to examine viewpoints, only attack them with the intention of defending your preconceived, and bought and paid for notions.

    4) I’ve also changed my personal habits. Based on research I’ve seen, I’ve been logging off earlier and getting more sleep, and because sitting is the new smoking, I’ve been getting up and away from my computer more. But by all means, you make yourself comfortable.

  185. “For me, as a layman, to sway the opinion of a great legal scholar is a feather in my cap.” “I’ve grown as much as anybody on this site,”

    Congratulations RTC, you must be so proud. This would be a good time to recommend the book “Humility” by David Bobb.

  186. It’s not jealousy that drives my views, not class envy, it’s concern for the less fortunate.

    I wrote earlier of having lost a number of people in my life last year. One of the people was a man I’ll call Larry. I grew up on the same block in Chicago as Larry did. Larry was born, the last of five children, with a severe case of Down’s Syndrome. The moment his father got a look at what he had to deal with, he left the delivery room, went home and packed up his things, and walked out on his family forever. This was back in the early sixties, before computers tracked everything, when moving from the North side of Chicago to the Southside was as good as leaving the country.

    Larry’s mom struggled to raise her kids by herself. All of the families on our block were close and the parents did what we could to help. That’s where DavidM would coo about how wonderful that is, but we had mortgages and mouth of our own to feed; there was only so much any of us could do and none of it was ever really enough and the truth is that it was embarrassing for Larry’s family. Even in subsequent years, as welfare programs became available, they lived in abject poverty. Eventually, as the other families began to grow up and move on, welfare was pretty much all they had. Larry’s mom did whatever kind of work she could get on the side, but it was always a problem finding someone to watch Larry. And here’s where DavidM would condemn the woman as a welfare cheat. However, the only reason they were able to make it was due to welfare.

    Bob Dole understood the govt assistance. His family received welfare during the Dust Bowl and were grateful for it. There has always been and always will be people less fortunate, less gifted, and saddled with conditions that prevent them from providing for themselves. There are times when people need assistance to help them through economic hardships. As the regulations that once steadied the economy have been undone, those economic hardships will become commonplace. Again.

    When Larry was about eleven or twelve, his mother was stricken by cancer. Her sole concern before she died was arranging for Larry’s care. As a devout catholic, she tried to get him into Misericordia but Larry was turned down. Her appeals went on for months as she neared death. She was in a state of panic at the thought of dieing before arrangements could be made for Larry and she refused to die until something could be done. Finally, my wife’s aunt, a force of nature, as well as a force in the Catholic Church, called Cardinal Bernadin and was able to get Larry accepted into Misericordia. Larry’s mother died within hours of hearing the news.

    Misericordia can’t take in every handicapped child. Not every family has access to anything similar. Private charity can only do so much with the resources it has. Plus, private charity will often only help those who capitulate to a particular belief system. Given the miniscule amount that government spends on helping the needy, it’s a moral imperative to help the least among us.

    Not everyone is as bad off as Larry was. And yes, there are those who cheat the system. Fraud is fraud, and no one is defending fraud; it’s wrong and should be prosecuted whenever and wherever it occurs. But the amount of cheating is nearly nonexistent – about three per cent. That’s not not enough to justify giving into the urges of sociopaths. Not when all the evidence points to a distribution of wealth to a class that for all intents and purposes are superseding the bonds of nationality.

  187. Oliver: Take the afternoon and see if you can come up with something that shows you know what you’re talking about. But nobody’s going to be holding their breath

  188. RTC, Working hard was never a guarantee for success. Hell man, you know there are NO guarantees in life. But working hard is part of the Puritan work ethic that built this country. I think I know you well enough to say you get that you know the self esteem you get from working hard. That carries over to all aspects of your life. I was a Vista volunteer. I believe in helping people. But, there is a huge difference between helping and enabling. That is something that is often not understood by politicians to parents. Let’s be frank, there are a couple generations in the inner cities of this country that have little or no work ethic. There is a problem that many dare not speak about. Hispanics have quickly surpassed blacks in inner cities. There is resentment that is increasing annually. I see it in Chicago.

    You are correct about large corporations in many respects. My old man worked for Pratt & Whitney as a jet engine mechanic for 35 years. He had a good defined benefit pension. Those days are over. The reality is, you need to have a little pity party but then move on and adapt. We adapt or perish. There are incredible opportunities still out there for people w/ entrepreneurial drive. I see it in the Mexican immigrants here. The NYT reports today there has been a 36% decrease in the net worth of US families the past 10 years. That is unacceptable. My daughter graduated in 2010 w/ a degree in communications. She is working as a nanny. But, there are some things that never change. My parents also taught their 4 kids to find something they love and that love will propel them to success. In my case they were correct.

  189. RTC, Thanks for talking about Larry. You have a good heart. I had a friend who had an older brother w/ Downs. Mike was in the upper realm of functionality. What fulfilled Mike’s life was Boy Scouts. The Scouts made adjustments for Mike and he was a Scout until he died @ age 48.

  190. Oliver: Apparently your reading comprehension is little better than your grasp of natural rights. I said “grown as much as anyone”. Not sure where you get the most out of that, but it’s an indication of your interpretative skills.

    I don’t pretend to speak for anyone but myself, but I did note that Mike A. asked what you meant by natural rights. You have not come anywhere near answering that question.

    Simple question. Natural rights, what does it mean to you, J. Oliver.

  191. Nick: Thanks for the kind words. Larry, as I call him (not his real name) did a lot to bring together the neighbors on our block, as we rallied around his family as best we could. He obviously needed assistance because of his condition, but so did his mother, who was as strong and sharp as anyone you’d ever want to meet; she just caught a tough break. She needed assistance and the State is in the best situation to provide it, in my opinion. I tell his story as way to give some perspective on where I’m coming from.

    Don’t get me wrong. I don’t need assistance, never have; your daughter doesn’t need assistance, hopefully never will; many, many people across the country will never and should never need it. However, there have always been and will always be people who for one reason or another are incapable of providing for themselves. Welfare does not and has never provided much in the way of luxuries for those who need it.

    I personally feel contempt for able-bodied young men and women who fail to do anything to improve their lot in life. But many of them aren’t receiving assistance, so where is the incentive to do nothing?

    Obviously,Oliver has a problem with more than welfare, he opposes Obamacare, possibly social security and unemployment as well. In my view, such a pinched, parsimonious view lacks compassion and is not moral.

  192. And I’ll bet the Scouts that accommodated your friend’s brother, Mike, don’t begrudge govt assistance to people with needs.

  193. RTC,
    Don’t forget the elderly, infirmed, children, anyone of color, LGBT and oh yeah, women. Did we leave anyone out?

    That should about cover all the supposed groups us conservatives hate. This way I will have saved you from some inglorious rant later on.

    By the way your welcome, for my service. It was my honor! Or was that Mespo. I keep getting all of you confused.

  194. Oliver: Interesting link, but a better explanation of your view of natural rights would have been an explanation of your view of natural rights, not someone else’s.

    If there’s anything to thank you for, it would be for confirming my suspicions.

  195. RTC,
    Nope, Mr. Ford was quite eloquent in his explanation. It would be rather arrogant of me to believe I could do better. If you and M.A. still aren’t clear then I suggest you collaborate on some questions and I’ll attempt to answer them.

    And your welcome.

  196. Oliver: The question wasn’t whether you can improve on anybody’s explanation, it’s whether you can provide an explanation in your own words.

    Such an answer might show that you’ve thought critically about the subject. That’s why PhD candidates aren’t allowed to merely shove textbooks across the table as way to answer questions during examination.

    For someone who purported to hold so much promise to challenge my thinking, you’ve proven all you’ve done is scour the web for a source or sources that confirm your preconceived bias.

    You may return to your sandbox

  197. RTC – I realize that you think highly of your own opinions, but you have to realize that there are many on here who think you are just using the Obama administration crip sheets.

  198. RTC – if you want an example of how good the assistance of the government is, look into the history of the sculpting of Mount Rushmore.

  199. Schulte: I might, if Mt. Rushmore had anything to do with what I’m referring to, which is assistance to parents struggling to feed and house their handicapped children, and yes, old people.

    Besides, I view Mt. Rushmore as a desecration of a natural geological formation in an area sacred to Native Americans, so I wouldn’t support public funding for such a project.

  200. Annie, while costs of insurance go up, so does quality and options of care. An example, MRI’s were very costly and had long waiting periods in the 70’s. Now they are available within 24-hours (depending on your insurance). Cheaper insurance requires pre-approval, which increases waiting period and probably costs. Medicaid, which is paid by taxpayers, performs with no waiting period. Sound unfair? Absolutely!

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