A yes on health care …

Cheers to the Senate for passing health care reform today …

In listening to the Republicans’ rhetoric about how this will destroy the republic, I am at a loss to find any specifics. I mean, do the critics oppose stopping insurance companies from denying coverage to people because of pre-existing conditions? Do they oppose stopping insurance companies from dropping people if they get “too sick?”

And, I would love to hear someone try to explain why it is a bad thing for more people to be covered by health insurance.

For years, conservatives have been complaining about waste in government programs… and now, here is a plan to cut hundreds of billions of waste from Medicare. And now they complain about that.
How disingenuous can my friends on the right be?


About fsnowflack
Fred Snowflack was editorial page editor and a political columnist for the Daily Record of Morristown for almost 12 years. He has won numerous awards for editorial and column writing from the New Jersey Press Association and has written a blog on county and state politics for the last three years. He lives in Ledgewood in Morris County.

16 Responses to A yes on health care …

  1. Patsy from 23rd Street says:

    hey P, you really rub me the wrong way. In Fred’s last post dated 12-19, (health care moves along) you chose this public forum to correct Fred about a typo that you stated he posted. The correct way of letting him know would be to send him a private e mail for his eyes only. FYI , your assumption that he used the wrong word is incorrect, milestone is the correct word. A millstone is a tool that is used in grinding….Merry Christmas my friend.

  2. SolomonDrek says:

    “In listening to the Republicans’ rhetoric about how this will destroy the republic, I am at a loss to find any specifics.”

    It’s just pandering to the likes of that guy in Virginia who reportedly was mad at the government for raisng his taxes and taking away his guns.

    The problem is that the pbaggers tend to vote in primaries unlike most normal people who have better things to do with their time. That’s how Steve Lonegan managed to get 140,000 votes which in reality only represented fewer than 20% of registered GOP voters. Christie’s lucky it didn’t rain on primary day last June or he might have lost.

  3. P says:

    Patsy – Re:Rubbing you the wrong way – Mission Accomplished. Politics Ain’t Bean Bag Baby.

    Second, re:Milestone/Millstone – Even a first grader would have recognized that as a play on words and sarcasm. And if you don’t get the reference, Google Millstone and Neck.

    And a Happy New Year to you, my “friend.”

  4. P says:

    Fred, speaking of specifics, can anyone explain what “waste” they plan to cut from Medicare, and why couldn’t they do that in a standalone bill? The answer is in this post on the CBO’s director’s blog – http://cboblog.cbo.gov/?p=448

    As far as you false choice question – “And, I would love to hear someone try to explain why it is a bad thing for more people to be covered by health insurance.” The choice isn’t between this health care reform and nothing, as the Dems would like you to believe is the Republican’s position. The Dems are the ones who made it “our way or the highway.” Many people offered better solutions that could have received overwhelming support, but they didn’t capture the fancy of the Liberal Leadership that now runs both bodies. Too bad.

  5. Ed Ramirez says:


    If there are billions to be saved in Medicare than why have they waited so long to do this changes, the answer is there is no savings and these cut will reduce the number of doctors that care for the Medicare and Medicaid members. Poor will be less able to get timely care and seniors will die due to end of life calculations that deretmine the value of provide expensive care to seniors with not much more time top live.

  6. Ed Ramirez says:

    Oh Fred if this plan is so great why have both versions excluded the members of congress from participation.

  7. Hi Ed:
    The bottom line is Congess already is covered by health care, Your argument is illogical … It’s like saying to a man who votes to implement a “Food Stamp” program that he is not getting food stamps himself. Well, that is because he does not need them…
    The idea is to extend coverage to those who do NOT have it … And yes, it will take a few years to implement, but once that is done, it will be there forevermore ..
    I am still waiting for critics to explain why it is a bad idea to prevent insurance companies from dropping people when they get too sick or to deny coverag for pre-existing conditions

  8. SolomonDrek says:

    “I am still waiting for critics to explain why it is a bad idea to prevent insurance companies from dropping people when they get too sick or to deny coverag for pre-existing conditions”

    Without subsidies it would be a bad idea since insurance companies would have to raise premiums on everyone else. And denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions means that deadbeats who can afford insurance but don’t want to pay for it until they need it will be subsidised by healthy people who do carry insurance.

    I understand the current plan does provide subsidies to insurance companies and penalizes those deadbeats who won’t pay for insurance until it’s too late.

  9. Henry Stock says:

    As usual Fred, your argument obscures and obfuscates the real arguments about what the Senate and the House have done regarding health care.

    Point one, this bill does not and will not solve the health care crisis in this country. Even its supporters admit that millions people will remain without coverage more than a decade into its implementation.

    Point two, this bill is not about improving competition or lowering costs or improving quality. It is about government control and about government controlled cost shifting.

    The proponents of this bill claim they are going to save money by cutting out waste and fraud. Name one program run by the government that has ever done a good job at eliminating waste and fraud. The chances of the government eliminating waste and fraud are about as good as that of a snowball in hell.

    The proponents of this bill claim that the government will achieve cost savings by lowering administrative overhead. I guess they will do that about as well as they have done that with other government run health programs like Medicaid and Medicare.

    The vast majority of government programs have ended up costing the U.S. taxpayer orders of magnitude more money than the programs were predicted to cost. That historical fact Fred! Have you put that into your calculations? Several sources are predicting that this program will cost as much as five trillion dollars, not the 980 billion the Senate mentioned.

    Please don’t even think about arguing that the Congressional Budget Office has given its blessing to the bill. The Congressional Budget Office is constrained by the data that they are given and the assumptions they are permitted by the legislators to make. How many times in history has it turned out that the Congressional Budget Office under estimated the true costs?

    You say that detractors to this bill have not provided any specifics about what is wrong with bill. Well I would think that the cost issues provided above would be one category of specifics that you conveniently dismiss. You were honest about wanting specifics you would check out the Heritage Foundation web site and you would report on them. But I don’t think that you are willing to do that.

    Let me ask you Fred, what specifics do you have that tell us how this health care bill is going to work out to the benefit of all? Please pay particular attention to how all this will be paid for and how it will improve the overall quality of healthcare. You say the bill is going to cut costs. We would appreciate a detailed explanation of the facts in this instance. Given the government’s history in this regard I do not believe it. I just don’t see how you cut costs while simultaneously add another 20 to 40 million people to the health care rolls. You must believe in magic Fred! Please tell us how having the government dictate to insurance companies and to us what will be covered and what won’t be covered will help us?

    The problem with this bill, Fred, is that the government is sticking its big fat nose where it does not belong. It is also sticking its greedy fingers into our pockets and relieving us of even more of our hard earned money.
    If the Democrats really wanted to lower costs, Fred, they would have included tort reform in any measure. I believe that I read that tort reform alone reduced overall health care costs in Mississippi by over 20%. The Democrats ignored tort reform.

    If the Senators really want to improve competition, they would have used their constitutionally valid power over interstate commerce to prevent the States from locking out health insurance competitors from the States. That also would have significantly lowered costs through real increased competition.

    Another thing that would have increased competition would be removing the health insurance antitrust exemptions. But the Democrats didn’t do that either.

    I mentioned constitutionally valid powers for a reason Fred. It is perhaps the most important point, because whether what Congress did was good or whether it is an idiotic mistakes makes no difference it they were not authorized to do it.

    I do not believe that Congress has the constitutional authority to stick its nose in healthcare Fred. It is not there. Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution delineates the powers of Congress. The Tenth Amendment says that all powers not explicated delegated to the Federal Government nor prohibited by it to the states shall remain with the states and with the people. Some senators have argued that the commerce clause gives them the authority to do this. Some others have argued for the general welfare clause. But based on the founding documents, you would have to twist the constitution into an unrecognizable knot in order to justify what they did. Please go read Federalist paper No. 45 Fred.

    Maybe you don’t care about the Constitution and the limits it puts on the Federal government, but I sure as hell do. The Federal Government has been moving farther and farther away from its constitutional boundaries since the early 1900’s and what we see happening is a diminution of our civil rights under that Constitution. If you think that what is happening is good Fred then you are crazy.

    The only way to keep our freedom sound is to limit the scope of government. There are obvious trade-offs in this. But I maintain that it would be far better for this country to accept those trade-offs then to let a central government take more and more power as they have been doing with increasing speed over the past couple of years.

  10. Ed Ramirez says:


    In the simplistic view you would be correct, but why would anyone come up with a bill that will affect hundreds of millions of people when by their own account only 32 Million more people will be covered.

  11. P says:

    Fred – You are comparing apples and oranges. Congress moving itself to a health care exchange is not akin to “getting food stamps.”

    And before we answer more of your questions, how about answering ours?? Why doesn’t Congress fix Medicare first if they know how to eliminate “waste?”

    Also, you continue to make false arguments. Who has suggested that ending the HC clauses for pre-existing conditions was an issue for conservatives? Do note that it will increase the cost of health care in general because any change in the profile of the insured changes the cost of the insurance, public or private.

    As far a “forevermore”, please explain that to Ted. He told us this wasn’t an entitlement program. “Forevermore” is the epitome of an entitlement.

  12. chubbypaul says:

    Fred is stumped right now.

  13. Henry Stock says:

    Fred, I wanted to address your comment about pre-existing conditions more thoroughly. First of all, that comment is a complete Red Herring. That is what I meant by saying that you were obfuscating the issues.

    You cannot name one Republican that has said that people should be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions. Nobody thinks that and nobody wants to see anyone unable to get proper health care when they really need it.

    But at the same time there is recognition that health care is also an economic good, and like all economic goods, there is a limit to supply. The question then becomes how to best allocate that limited supply. And history has shown that the very best way to handle the problem of limited supply is through market mechanisms. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be problems, but market forces adjust more rapidly and more effectively to the supply demand equation than does any other system.

    The proper role of government is to make sure that there is a level playing field and that all players are playing by the same rules. That is it. When government goes beyond that point, then it is sticking its big fat nose where it does not belong.

    It is fine to say that insurance companies can’t deny coverage for pre-existing conditions, but the government can’t simultaneously dictate to them what their insurance premiums will be because the government has no idea about what the costs will be.

    What the government can legitimately do is to adjust the rules that generate the excessive costs. Tort reform is a legitimate role for the government. Opening competition to a national scale or even an international scale is a legitimate role for government. Preventing monopolistic behavior is a legitimate role for government. Even adjusting patent laws in such a way as to accelerate the dispersion of knowledge in the economy is a legitimate way to help address those factors that drive costs.

    When the government gets involved in dictating to insurance companies what kind of policies they may and may not offer it does not help the system. By doing so the government is artificially limiting the range of products that are available and the range of services. It is preventing people from buying what they want to buy. That raises costs! It has been government interference with the market that has largely distorted the healthcare economy. More government involvement is not going to fix it!

  14. chubbypaul says:

    This conversation/debate is over Fred’s head. He doesn’t respond now because he has no clue or understanding of the whole picture here.
    Fred, remember somebody is paying you to do this blog! Try to keep up

  15. Patsy from 23rd Street says:

    hey fatso paul, back off. no need to put him down. we are all civil here

  16. P says:

    And while everyone is cheering for HCR, and the wondrous effect it will have on the deficit, remember that in addition to pushing costs onto employers (unfunded mandates), it’s also doing the same to the states – http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/10/opinion/10sun1.html?hp=&pagewanted=all

    When all is said and done, the extra $1 – 2T in taxes that will need to be collected (and that’s just in the first decade) will NOT cover all the costs and reduce the deficit. And it will retard employment and it will overburden states with already shaky finances.

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