cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
Peggy Noonan has penned a blog that makes for an excellent read, in my opinion at least. She deals with ObamaCare and President Obama.
Our two Supreme Courts, one in Madison and one in Washington,D.C., are showing how important this third branch of government truly can be.
The U.S. Supreme Court enters its second day of hearings concerning PPACA (a/k/a ObamaCare) and will decide the various questions that have been raised. There are, as is usual in matters of this nature, many nuances that are often difficult to fathom. Among the issues is whether or not we can be compelled to take an action, buy health insurance coverage, and whether or not the fine for not doing so would be a tax or a penalty, and so on. Underlying much of this is the fact that the government intentionally eliminated the "severability clause" which is present in most contracts. That clause basically says that even if part of the contract is struck down, the rest survives.
We hear much about the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the prospect of one Justice or another recusing himself or herself...BUT...
Uncertainty is at the root of much of the disruption we face today in the various markets that exist in our economy. When that is coupled with energy costs, we have the makings of a tough summer and fall right when we will elect or re-elect a president.
There is little secret that this White House wants to control virtually everything about our lives. Health care, of course, has been the big target since PPACA (a/k/a ObamaCare) was passed in the dead of night.
I know it is probably a strange thing to do, but I read the obituaries every morning. In today's morning Journal Sentinel, I saw the obituary for William Lamers, Jr. who died at the age of 80 in his home in Malibu. The obituary stated that he was surrounded by family and friends.
The Federal agencies involved have just released the final regulations that govern how the simplified Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) for PPACA must be written and displayed. This is a small part of the PPACA bill (aka ObamaCare) that covered some 2,100 pages without really saying anything in detail about that program. All the detail is now being formulated by the agencies, all of which are unelected and therefore beyond the public's reach so far as expressing displeasure.
President Obama announced this morning that he is backing away from the controversial birth control mandate for Catholic organizations. He is trying to make this go away and claims this isn't an accommodation. The practice of insurance companies eliminating contraception coverage for Catholic entities has been here for a long time. This isn't a new directive from the President much as he'd like us to think that is the case.
As I read the morning Journal Sentinel today, I was struck by the political inferences across the main section even though this publication claims to be unbiased. (1) Dan Bice continues on the 'expose Walker' bent that he has made standard fare of late. His "sources say" that charges will be issued in the coming days and that they likely will involve Walker operatives. He mentions that "at least eight" of Walker's "former aides and associates have hired criminal defense lawyers". "Insiders" have told Bice that the "next phase is focusing on the role of some of Walker's closest associates". (2) There is now an 'issue' over whether or not Wisconsin is in a deficit or not in a deficit. The gap of some $3.6 Billion that Walker encountered when he took office was closed by the Walker government but that was on a cash basis. So now we are exposed to the fact that under GAAP accounting there is still a deficit and that this fact was used recently in a petition to the federal government to gain its permission to cut some 50,000+ people from a state health plan if necessary. I don't recall the continuing series of articles during the former government's time in office that traced the ever-increasing budget deficit or that condemned the use of various 'funds' (transportation and patient compensation, for example) to make possible increased state spending. (3) A story on the national 'health care overhaul' from the Associated Press states that Wisconsin is among the states "lagging" in implementation of the wonderful new PPACA legislation that has yet to withstand U.S. Supreme Court scrutiny. This story mentions some 500,000 Wisconsinites who have no health insurance but does not indicate that this state is among those with the lowest uninsured population in the nation. Nor does it bother to mention that each of these 500,000 people have access to health care under federal laws that have been in force for years. Maybe this was simply accidental story selection. Maybe not.
Rick Perry left the field of Republican candidates this morning. He asked his supporters to back Newt Gingrich. Given Perry's showing, his tossing his support to Gingrich will do very little to help Gingrich. One of Newt's former wives, Marianne, will speak tonight on national television, and that won't help Newt either.
You may've read or heard reports of a shortage of drugs that has gotten worse this past year. This has largely been created through unintended consequences, I hope, of government's actions.
The "Washington Scramble" is in full bloom. Our politicians have had a dose of reality and the scramble is on.
The lack of information on the Senate and House health care reform bills that has been provided to citizens is likely happening that way for a purpose. When I visit with generally well-informed people, there seems a void of knowledge and, thus, a lack of consternation about what our health care system will look like after the passage and the President's signature.
An interesting thing is happening in the world of public opinion; there is a decided ObamaCare backlash being identified by the polls.
Two approaches to the future health care system exist and need to be made one before "reform" can be finalized and we can all begin the migration to our "new" health care system. It seems that the Senate's version will hold sway when the process has finished since that is the body which needed the greatest amount of "compromise" in order to deliver the necessary sixty votes (forget the payoffs that were part and parcel, for now). If the sixty votes were to unravel, the entire bill would be placed in significant jeopardy. That is, unfortunately, too much for which to hope. We need a 'do over' and it isn't going to happen.
That is what the U.S. Senate has been called, more often than not by senators who are full of themselves...the world's greatest deliberative body.
Where were our senators when the health care vote 'goodies' were being handed out?
As bits of the substance of the Senate health care reform effort continue to leak to the public, public support continues to drop. We're closing in on a two-thirds oppose, one-third favor position and that spells real problems for the Democrats.
I have written several times about the opinions of Robert Laszewski who publishes a blog called Health Care Policy and Marketplace. He has just issued his opinion that the Medicare buy-In proposed by Sen. Reid as the tool to get around the promise of a "public option" is dead. That is a strong commentary from a knowledgeable and well-connected insider.
You would be safe to assume that I spend a lot of time watching the goings on in our nations capitol. Many of you probably do so as well. The passing of one Administration and the beginnings of a new Administration provide much of interest. There are always those who scream for retribution by the new against the old. That seldom happens, although there are exceptions.
The health care reform bills (really health insurance or health care financing reform bills) in Congress at the moment have been carefully crafted to gain the desired response from the Congressional Budget Office. The response desired was the confirmation that each bill would "bend the curve down" when, in fact, neither bill will do that. Classic government 'smoke and mirrors' if ever there was.
If you recall your history lessons, the Louisiana Purchase was made by Thomas Jefferson in December, 1803. That covered some 800,000 square miles of territory that is now the mid-section of our country from north to south. It cost $15 Million dollars at the time.
What am I doing blogging about such a subject? It impacts all of us whether or not we understand that at the moment.
That memorable phrase could aptly be used to describe what happened in the U.S. House of Representatives late Saturday evening. Commander Pelosi essentially forced the Democrats to forget about the potential damage they would do to both the country as well as to themselves, and she ultimately got the outcome she desired.
Her Highness, Nancy Pelosi, feels that she has sufficient votes to get the House wrangled together on Saturday for the final vote on her health bill. This vote is scheduled for Saturday for several reasons. Among those is the lesser scrutiny that she expects from the press, the fact that the members would've otherwise been home and are anxious to leave town, and the fact that she buys a bit more time, can make a few more promises and hoodwink/threaten the last one or two into a yes vote.
The coming vote on the health care reform bills of both the House and the Senate continue to cause a lot of "ink" to be spent; and rightfully so. This issue carries with it significant issues that will exacerbate our problems rather than resolve our problems with health care and health care financing.
Those of you who are regular readers will remember that I think highly of the opinion of Robert Laszewski and his blogs.
Nancy Pelosi spoke glowingly of being humble and simultaneously proud of the complete House health care bill. All four reams of it. A ream, if you're unfamiliar, holds 500 sheets of paper. The usual copier-quality paper reams measure two inches think per ream. So, we have a new House bill that measures nearly eight inches thick. Do you really think that our elected representatives will read that before they vote?
The health care deal working its way through Congress has so many moving parts that it is questionable if anything substantive will pass both the House and the Senate.
Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of HHS proclaims that there will be more than enough doses of H1N1 vaccine in time to thwart the "Swine Flu" threat. She goes further to say that the U.S. will share its vaccine with other countries.
Our debate over health care and how it ought to be reformed has devolved to the point where the kettle is calling the pot black.
For the moment at least, it all comes down to this: will there be a Republican vote today in favor of the Senate Finance Committee bill on health insurance reform? Note that we have come from health CARE reform to health INSURANCE reform. Note that "bipartisan" is now defined as one Republican vote. If that vote is cast, it will almost certainly have come from Olympia Snow (R-ME) who has been a fence-sitter ever since coming to the Senate.
The seemingly 'age old' debate about health care continues with politicians and electors refusing to learn from past mistakes. There are ample opportunities for our elected officials to learn what happens when various things are decree