Obama talks up health care rebates, lower premiums

Disputing Republican criticism of his health care plan, President Barack Obama said Thursday the law is working and cutting costs for consumers with insurance company rebates and the promise of lower premiums.
AP Wire
Jul 18, 2013


At a White House event, Obama drew attention to $500 million in rebates going to nearly 9 million people under a provision of the law he said is holding insurance companies more accountable to their customers.

Insurers must spend at least 80 cents of every dollar on medical care or quality improvement, or refund the difference. That's the $500 million consumers are getting in rebates averaging about $100. For Americans who get insurance through their work, the rebates go to their employers to be refunded or used to lower premiums.

"If they're not spending your premium dollars on health care, they have to give you some money back," said the president, appearing with a group of health care consumers in the East Room. Obama also noted that some states, ahead of the law's requirement that most Americans obtain health insurance, are anticipating lower premiums because of health insurance marketplaces that are being set up under the law so consumers can comparison shop for the coverage.

Among those states are California, Oregon, Washington and New York.

Obama made his pitch a day after the Republican-controlled House voted for the 38th time to eliminate, cut funding or scale back the 3-year-old law since the GOP took control of the House in January 2011.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday the free money sounds great but won't remove the sting of new health care taxes that will begin costing consumers next year.

"Jacking up our constituents' health care costs is bad enough, but to try to then convince them the opposite is happening - that they've actually won some Publishers Clearinghouse sweepstakes, well, it's just as absurd as it sounds," the Kentucky senator said on the floor of the Senate.

Obama dismissed the Republican criticism and the efforts in the House to roll back the law, saying he's willing to consider Republican ideas but that he hasn't heard any.

"What I've heard is the same old song and dance," he said. "We're just going to blow through that stuff and just keep on doing the right thing for the American people."

Republicans say the law is unworkable and must be repealed, arguing it will hurt the economy and force employers to cut much-needed jobs. They say proof that the law is unworkable lies in the administration's recent, unexpected decision to delay for one year, until after the 2014 elections, a requirement that businesses with 50 or more employees provide them with health care coverage or pay a penalty.

The GOP-controlled House on Wednesday passed, mostly along party lines, two bills to amend the law.

The House voted 264-161 to affirm the administration's decision to delay what's known as the employer mandate, the requirement that businesses of a specific size offer health care coverage to their workers. It also voted 251-174 to extend a similar delay to individuals who will be required to obtain health care coverage starting Jan. 1, or face fines.

The votes were held to score political points. The House measures have no chance of clearing the Democratic-controlled Senate and the White House has said Obama would veto both if they were to reach his desk.

The goal of the health care law is to provide coverage to nearly 50 million uninsured people and lower skyrocketing costs, but the public remains skeptical about how their coverage may be affected. The administration's decision to delay the employer mandate only served to fuel more doubts.




what a joke...like any of that is really trackable. LIAR


Hey Vlad - posting in reply to truthhurts to catch your attention:

What do you think of Ted Cruz's proposal this week in Iowa to a group of pastors, of all things unholy, that conservatives should not fund any government unless health care reform is defunded? I know he is a favorite of yours, what with his credentials and qualifications.

Some of your colleagues don't agree...Jennifer Rubin, the right-wing commentator for the Washington Post, wrote on her blog yesterday that the House GOP has to come up with ideas of its own, starting with doing more than trying to delay or repeal “the noxious provisions” of the Affordable Care act:

“Without a GOP alternative to Obamacare, their complaints are empty and their votes unlikely to be taken seriously by voters. It is long, long past the point at which Republicans should have begun crafting and selling their alternative. To be frank, other than the budgets, when it comes to complex legislation (the details of tax reform, health care, education) this House has been weak. Where is the tax plan? Where is the market-based health-care plan? And of course we know they’ve been sitting on the sidelines in the immigration debate.”


Historically, conservatives fought hard to just say no to Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, now the ACA. I read the reasons they give, but it still begs the question - why?


Verify code: RATRU. Question answered?


I have erred in understating the degree of dysfunction and hostage-taking of the Federal government by the Republican Tea Party House. My question has been answered.

Far worse than I thought, we are facing anarchy, war, sabotage. #38 repeals of the ACA is but a little warm-up. Now I understand the silence.


Mystic Michael

If anything, the Affordable Care Act could have been much more visionary, much more ambitious - right out of the gate...instead of the President's first move being to approach the insurance industry, to see what they were willing to accept, or not accept.

That said, before much longer insurers will no longer be allowed to exclude customers from coverage on the basis of a pre-existing medical condition. Before much longer, they will no longer be allowed to cancel the policy of a customer who becomes sick or injured - just as that customer is most in need of its benefits.

If the pure free-market system we had just prior to the ACA was such a huge success, how is it that it never succeeded in ridding us of such predatory practices and such abusive treatment of customers by the insurance industry?


Yes, the Unaffordable Lesscare Act could have been more ambitious - the single payer socialist wet dream statists long for. Too bad we live in a republic instead of a monarchy or dictatorship, were visionary and ambitious policies take a simple edict.

What your comment proves is that you have no clue about the meaning of insurance. Strangely, Wikipedia has a relatively accurate and understandable definition:

"Insurance is the equitable transfer of the risk of a loss, from one entity to another in exchange for payment. It is a form of risk management primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent, uncertain loss."

Costs associated with treating a pre-existing medical condition are not contingent, uncertain losses - they will happen - the only issue is when. I'm sure one could get a hugely expensive policy with such conditions with the parties betting on when, rather than if, the loss will occur. What you describe is simply another form of state sponsored welfare - taking risk out of the equation. Fine, but why not admit it? Answer - it's not because you are too ignorant to understand the difference, it's that you don't want to have to label Obamacare as a socialistic redistribution of income. Predatory, abusive big government, if you will. Honesty would suit you better than the veil of ignorance you have donned.

Under Obamacare, you can have a pre-existing condition and get covered, you can get sick and then pay for coverage - that's not risk based insurance, which would drive insurers out of business (no applause please) - it is a policy grounded by the only entity that can print money without immediate consequences.

Mystic Michael

I understand the concept of insurance perfectly fine, notwithstanding your condescending put-down.

I understand that when insurance corporations are allowed to behave as though they are not actually playing with people's lives, i.e. by refusing to honor their legally-binding contracts with their customers (aka "policies"), then threatening to tie those customers up in litigation for the next 10-15 years in order to avoid & evade their moral & legal responsibilities, that it makes for a much more lucrative bottom line for them. Greed & avarice pays. That's why they do it.

Policyholders, however, can rarely afford to wait 10-15 years in order to start receiving the medical treatment they need in order to stay alive. The insurance companies know this all too well. They know they have a powerful, built-in form of leverage. And the record shows that they're rarely afraid to use it.

The ACA is designed to outlaw all that. If you want to get into the medical insurance business, just as if you want to become a healthcare professional - or join any other occupation that holds the lives of other people in its hands, as a core part of its basic business model - then there is a special sort of social contract that we as a society must make with you: You have a right to compete in the market for your services, and you have a right to enjoy a healthy profit; perhaps even very lucrative profits. In return, you must be willing to accept a certain degree of reasonable public oversight & regulation. By so doing, you implicitly acknowledge that you are not just selling vacuum cleaners & air conditioners. You are involved in an industry that deals in life & death - and you must hold to high standards of moral, ethical, and legal conduct in order to be permitted to continue.

All I'm saying is that when people buy an insurance policy in good faith, and they keep up their end(s) of the bargain by continuing to pay their premiums, that they should not be cast off in their time of greatest need - just because the insurance company doesn't feel like paying up. Are you seriously prepared to argue that they shouldn't have to honor their agreements to their policyholders?


As per usual, you don't respond to the substance of a comment. If insurers breach their contract with their insureds in ways you noted, the insureds have the ability to pursue their issues through the state insurance administrators (and insurance is one of the most regulated industries in the country), or through a more time consuming lawsuit.

What you ignored is the basis of insurance and how it has been bastardized and made unprofitable by Obamacare - but once again, Obama co-opted the industry by promising them huge profits through the captive audience Obamacare gives them.

Come on, we disagree but you're smarter than this. You and Obama believe single payer is the best way to provide health care. Single payer wouldn't pass the people's representatives. Obamacare works to kill the private insurance industry as a means to single payer. It has nothing to do with "insurance."

Mystic Michael

And YOU still haven't replied to my original question, as follows:

"If the pure free-market system we had just prior to the ACA was such a huge success, how is it that it never succeeded in ridding us of such predatory practices and such abusive treatment of customers by the insurance industry?"

If appeals to state insurance regulators and the use of private lawsuits are/were supposed to be an effective means of holding the industry accountable, clearly they weren't working - because insurance companies have continued to screw their policyholders with impunity. Got a practical, real-world answer for that one, Wise Man?

Do I care about the health & welfare of people more than I care about the profits of the insurance industry? You're damn right I do.

As for having "co-opted" the insurance industry by promising them huge profits via a captive market, they should be so "co-opted". They're loving every minute of it. Windfall profits - and they hardly have to even work for it. All they have to do is play fair - for a change. Such a stretch.

Compelling insurers to cover people with pre-existing medical conditions may not fit the definition of "insurance" strictly speaking. But I don't care. Because I don't care what you call it. If it gives you a thrill up your leg to label it as "socialism", then go for it. Knock yourself out. I'm interested in real results for real people - not some crusty, brittle Ayn Rand-inspired fairy tale.

The bottom line is that if the insurance industry consistently had been playing fair with its own customers right from the get-go, and if a 100% free market approach had ever been genuinely successful in accomplishing its ostensible core mission - facilitating the delivery of health care services to those who need it - then no changes to the system would ever have been needed in the first place. And you and I wouldn't even be having this debate.


As with so much statist/liberal rhetoric, you start from a false premise, that insurance companies were "screwing" all of their insureds, and then proceed to "fix" the problem with bigger government. If the insurance industry is one of the most government regulated industries, and it is, what makes anyone think that more government regulation, particularly by the federal government, would be a reasonable fix? If federal regulation is such a huge success, how is it that it never succeeded in ridding us of such predatory practices and such abusive treatment of customers by the IRS, EPA, Veterans Authority, Social Security, Department of Agriculture, Department of Education, et al.?"

So glad you recognize that just as it was passed with bribes, Obamacare bribed the insurers to support it, but they are now charging more because they are selling guaranteed welfare instead of insurance.

Of course you don't care if it's not really insurance, you got most of what you wanted through the lies and underhanded dealings of the President and the democrats in Congress. And of course you don't care that it is called Socialism, because that is a badge of honor for socialists.

And please don't confuse me with one of your heroes, Chris "Tingles" Mathews - he gets the thrill running down his leg. What's running down my leg is what's been streamed on it by statists who try to convince me that it's raining.


So much wetness - dreams, legs, and behind your ears. Your defense of the health insurance industry, and critique of Obamacare, while in the comfort of your(well-earned) scholastic bubble, could be convincing, until facts drench the argument. Such as:

* The US spends more on health care than any other country in the world by a wide margin; the US spent more on health care in 2009 than the entire GDP of Great Britain.

* Over the past decade, health insurance premiums have risen 3 x faster than wages.

* Top executives at the 5 largest for-profit health insurance companies combined received $200 million in compensation - in 2009, in the depths of the Great Recession.

* In 2009, in the depths of the Great Recession, those same 5 health insurance companies increased profits by 56%.

* In 2009, in the depths of the Great Recession, those same 5 biggest health insurance companies made a combined profit of $12.2 BILLION.

You can argue against Obama's attempt to provide balanced, integrated health insurance options to rein in the US health care system, which if it was a country, would have the 6th LARGEST ECONOMY in the WORLD, until the well runs dry, but arguing in defense of the health insurance industry is a very slippery slope. The realities of the real world, where people who might be sick, in pain, on drugs, perhaps dying, and having to duke it out with this industry, makes your argument indefensible.

You can rain on the parade of your "liberal statists", and although they and Obamacare are far from perfect and towards whom many criticisms could legitimately be directed, at the very least they represent a groundswell of movement to contain the health care industry, including Big Pharma (Medicare Part D - BUSH handout), and the medical field, all of which has become a cesspool of runaway profits, costs, ethically-challenged protocols and procedures.

Bottom line: The US health industry is unsustainable in it's present form, and I applaud Obama for the guts and foresight to wade in and save us from drowning.

Mystic Michael

It's worth noting that Mr. Wendell Potter - former Vice President at CIGNA, one of the largest health insurance companies in the country, and current industry whistleblower - has been speaking out for years against some of the most repugnant & abhorrent practices prevalent in the industry today:


One of the most prevalent of those is the industry's policy of arbitrarily & randomly denying the claims of a certain percentage of its policyholders each year - secure in the knowledge that many, if not most of them will never fight back. This behavior isn't based upon any case-specific facts, or even any abstract actuarial data. It's simply a cynical attempt to pad the company's bottom line to the utmost degree, by squeezing cost savings out of the pool of monies otherwise dedicated to paying off claims.

It's not some kind of marginal, isolated incident either. It's a standard, garden-variety industry practice - baked right into the business model!

Do I consider Wendell Potter to be a more knowledgeable, authoritative & trusted source of information about the inner workings of the health insurance industry than Vlad the Imp? You betcha!


Very interesting. Let's hope Mr Potter doesn't encounter a "medical emergency" one of these days for his invaluable but surely aggravating whistleblowing!

Corporate corruption is growing in leaps and bounds, thanks to the deregulation efforts by conservatives in government. Always there, of course, but quickly flourishes during the right conditions. Look at Big Pharma. Long-time rules governing Direct-To-Consumer pharmaceutical were relaxed in 1997, with the total spent on drug ads in 1995 at $340 million to explode to $4.5 Billion in 2009. Like so many other governmental agencies, the FDA is underfunded and understaffed, with 59 full-timers hobbling about trying to keep up with 71,759 industry submission (prior to sequester), and so has difficulty enforcing regulations (ruh-roh).

Just maybe one of the greatest benefits of Obamacare will be renewed and revived conditions requiring real competition, and a need to redefine the industrys' mission statement.


Drat, comment showed up in wrong place. Between MM's synergy of government and private industry and your noting efficiency of government, one would think National Socialism would be an excellent form of government, as it excelled in both, apart from its other issues. In fact, given GE, GM, Green Industries and now Health Care, we're well on the way.


O.K. - you have your liberal talking points and statistics down pat regarding the evil insurance industry, which you use to support Obama's takeover of healthcare; lets apply a similar look at the cost of education, and student loans, which Obama took over in the amended Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare). Doubt it? Check out the Reconciliation Act of 2010, March 25, 2010.

According to the College Board, average tuition and fees for in-state residents at a sample of public colleges have soared by 25 percent since the depths of the Great Recession, 2008–09.

Over the last 30 years, tuition has increased 1,120 percent; by comparison, even the "skyrocketing" cost of health care only rose 600 percent, and housing costs have gone up a paltry 375 percent. 24% increase since the depths of the Great Recession in 2008.

The highest paid president, with $3,047,703 in total compensation, was Bob Kerrey ; Shirley Ann Jackson of R.P.I. at $2,340,441.; From 2004, when five presidents surpassed the million-dollar mark, until 2010, the group earning more than $1 million grew every year — and the number earning more than $500,000 more than tripled, to 157 from 50.

As part of the healthcare law, Congress stopped allowing private banks to provide student loans. All student loans are now federal loans, which has led to higher rates.

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, total student debt (which includes private loans and federal loans) climbed to more than $1 trillion.

The U.S. government projects to make more money off student loans this fiscal year than ExxonMobil, Apple, J.P. Morgan Chase or Fannie Mae made on their respective businesses last year, a new analysis shows. According to the Congressional Budget Office’s latest projections, the federal government projects a record $50-billion profit on student loans this year. ExxonMobil made $44.9 billion in 2012, according to published reports, making it the most profitable company in the country. And if Congress doesn’t stop rates on some loans from doubling on July 1, that profit will rise more, up to an additional $21 billion, a recent report found… (dwarfing the 5 biggest health insurance companies combined profit of $12.2 BILLION.

Regarding our healthcare prior to the Obama takeover, There is no doubt that the United States spends far more on health care than any other country, whether measured as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) or by expenditure per capita. However, we get a lot for that expenditure. A World Health Organization Report ranks the United States number one in the world in responsiveness to patients’ needs in choice of provider, dignity, autonomy, timely care, and confidentiality. When you compare the outcomes for specific diseases, the United States clearly out performs the rest of the world. Whether the dis-ease is cancer, pneumonia, heart disease, AIDS, the chances of a patient surviving are far higher in the United States than in other countries. For example, according to a study published in the British medical journal The Lancet, the United States is at the top of the charts when it comes to surviving cancer. Among men, roughly 62.9 percent of those diagnosed with cancer survive for at least five years. The news is even better for women: the five year-survival rate is 66.3 percent, or two-thirds. Most countries with national health care fare far worse. For example, in Italy,59.7 percent of men and 49.8 percent of women survive five years. In Spain, just 59 per-cent of men and 49.5 percent of women do. And in Great Britain, a dismal 44.8 percent of men and only a slightly better 52.7 percent of women live for five years after diagnosis.

So, we'll see if the vast majority of the public is right about Obamacare, or whether that distinguished physician, Barack Hussein Obama is right, and whether our healthcare deteriorates to the point of other National Health Care countries, with costs contained like the renowned educator, Barack Hussein Obama has contained the costs of student loans and higher education. Maybe at least he'll grow the government by making a profit even higher than our largest corporations over the bodies of our citizens and physicians.

Mystic Michael

I honestly can't understand why the administration has allowed the Department of Education to reap such huge profits from the student loan program. Particularly since it has, under this president's direction, accomplished so many genuinely constructive, progressive reforms that are truly in the public interest. For the same reason that I can't understand why the President continues to drag his feet on killing the Keystone XL pipeline project once and for all. The man really is, at times, an enigma to me.

That said, lest we continue to allow Vlad to hijack this thread by indulging his apparently insatiable appetite for Obama-bashing (That's right, V. I'm taking away your shiny new toy. You can't have it back until you promise to play nicely and stop abusing it.), I propose that we hearken back to the last period in our history when the federal student loan program worked really well - namely the mid-to-late 70s, shortly before the Reagan administration came into office. Benefits were generous, costs were relatively low, and no one was making windfall profits by exploiting students. It was only when Reagan and his cohorts came into office that the student loan program began to take on something of a "punitive" tone (it seems that conservatives deeply resent the idea of anyone getting ahead who isn't already a part of the prevailing power "elite").

One more thing. Before we move along, let's take a moment to deconstruct just this one little gem of Vladian sophistry, shall we?

"As part of the healthcare law, Congress stopped allowing private banks to provide student loans. All student loans are now federal loans, which has led to higher rates."

By juxtaposing these two sentences together as he has, Vlad would have us conclude that the recent exclusion of the banks from the student loan business was the reason for the current higher costs (as in cause & effect) - though there is no evidence to support such a conclusion. The actual reason why the President authorized this action is because the banks had created for themselves a very cushy "middle man" position - routinely siphoning off many millions of dollars for themselves in unnecessary overhead from students (i.e. "fees"), while providing practically no value in return. The savings realized by kicking the banks out of the system have already been substantial - with no loss of efficiency or effectiveness.

As for health care (oh yeah...that), the American system does indeed excel in a number of areas. But generally those areas are defined as cutting-edge, high-end medicine - generally requiring highly-trained specialists and obscenely expensive new technology - in which cost is typically no object. No problem if you happen to be independently wealthy, or if you can afford an insurance policy that will actually cover those procedures. And if not, well you're just out of luck. So fat lot of good it does then.

Our system does far less well at garden-variety, everyday primary care medicine - including & especially preventative medicine. Just another salient - and highly-relevant fact - that Vlad has conveniently "neglected" to mention.

[We now return you to your regularly-scheduled right-wing rant...]



While you provide, yet again, a sane, well-reasoned, fact-filled and articulate argument to Vlad's comment, I would like to come to Vlad's defense. Vlad is not employing sophistry in the traditional sense, nor is he ranting. He has always been very honest and transparent in his intent, sharing many times over with readers his deeply-felt philosophy of both politics and life, which are symbiotic to him.

Vlad is very simply a symbol and a voice of the new political landscape.
A political landscape where an insurgent, outlier wing of the Republican party - the Tea Party - has created a platform of dangerous acrimony, hyperpartisanship, and obstruction to the political process. It is a philosophy of obstruction versus problem-solving; of refusing to allow anything that might help Democrats politically, or the country, no matter the cost.

It is a minority of political minds that has no agenda or ideas relevant to the average citizen, is based on destruction and reduction, not responsibility, and whose mission statement is to block regular order in Congress, no matter what. It is fueled by nativism, negativity, and polarization.

Vlad is totally upfront when he bashes the ACA, or when he claims he is opposed to Obama, not due to his race, but his policies. He, and others who think as he does, are truly appalled by not only the ACA, but everything else about government in the 21st century. When it comes to the ACA, they will kill their own deal. When it comes to the federal deficit, they will promote the Ryan plan, which raises the deficit. The irresponsibility is staggering, but it makes perfect sense if the goal is to defund America, reduce government to the bare bones - defense, foreign affairs, and a few other areas provided for in the Constitution, and convert all the rest to the States, so the US becomes a land mass of individual mini-governments, willy-nilly, usurping and essentially seceding from federal government. E pluribus unum, be damned.

Ted Cruz, freshman Tea Party Senator from Texas, is traveling about promoting a total defunding of the entire government until the ACA is repealed. He's making this proposal publicly, with total honesty and openness. He does not appear to expect a backlash from his audience or fear any sort of consequence or repercussions from this pronouncement, stunning as it is in its treasonous undertones. He is nothing more than a well-educated schoolyard bully who believes he is entitled and empowered by the silent acquiescence of his audience.

Meanwhile, Congress is deadlocked, governing has come to a near-standstill, has approval ratings at all-time lows, any semblance of regular order - compromise, integration, balance, majority versus minority rule, status quo - is considered treasonous. The ACA is nothing but a supreme excuse, a grand reason, golden opportunity, and the mother of all motivations to further their cause.


Thank you, I think, although the editorializing about the philosophy I and others here expound mischaracterizes it to a similar degree that Obama and Holder mischaracterize the circumstances leading to the Zimmerman verdict. Oh well, cats will be cats and you can't have everything.

My point was to demonstrate the double standard, or hypocrisy, of leftists' treatment of different industries. Big Pharma, Big Oil, Big Banking, Big Insurance are demonized to a degree that makes them caricatures. The huge profits of Big Education, Big Government, Big Labor, and Big Legal, at the expense of the poor and middle classes, are not only ignored, they are glorified.

MM can opine as much as he wants about the pureness of the objectives of the democrats taking over student loans from Big Banks, but he can't get around the fact that not only has the government now taken the profits that once went to Big Banks, at the same time it has loosened credit standards for such loans which in turn permitted Big Education to increase its costs (and profits) exponentially while making student borrowers the equivalent of indentured servants, it has made it virtually impossible for the students to discharge their loans through bankruptcy http://www.salon.com/2013/06/05/... . So cities and business can get relief from bankruptcy, but not students (and splain to me, Lucy, how Detroit's problems are the fault of the Republicans who have run the city for these many decades).

Is there a common thread running through this disparate treatment of institutions? Thought you would never ask! (1) Those that are demonized and attacked earn their profits based on market forces and capitalism (except for Obamamotors (GM), GE, the Green Industries, and the outlier, Wall Street - more on that later). Big Education relies on student loans and Pell grants, Big Government on taxing certain citizens while buying the votes of those untaxed, Big Labor through mandatory dues assessments wherever it can get politicians to kill choice in the job market, and Big Legal relying on politicians to pass more and more laws they can enforce against the citizenry while fighting reasonable and legitimate reforms (Tort Reform comes to mind); (2) The second thread is support of statist and leftist politicians. All favored big institutions not only follow the statist philosophy, they rely on it for their continued existence, and they provide huge amounts of financial support to statist and leftist (read democrat) politicians. Until the Bush/Obama bailouts, Wall Street may not have strictly believed in the statist philosophy, but it has provided huge financial support to Obama (it may have provided more to Romney in the last election, but Wall Street has supported Obama in an unprecedented fashion.

So please spare us the faux analysis of our positions, and come out and admit that you don't agree with the limitations on government contained in the Constitution; that you don't agree with the republican form of government - shared power between the states and the central government, upon which our great nation was founded; that you don't support the 10th amendment (The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.). Whether you admit it or not, your support of a statist/leftist philosophy necessarily results in a diminution of the authorities of the states, and the individual rights of the citizens. That is the true difference between us.


The two above post by Lan and Vlad articulating position and understanding are probably two of the best post I have read on these pages ever!

Differing opinions are what perfect our union. Conservatives are learning late that going with a compromise everytime a Dem or their closest aligned party proposes it is not working. The bitter partisain gridlock is what the Dems want to pin on Repubs and more importantly, the Tea party because they can see it stands in their way toward a more socialist union.

Get used to it, our system is design to kick in and work during times like these.

When the constitution is attack as it is now, that is why you see conservatives speak up and respond. When the left and die hard libs cannot push their agenda unopposed or at least covertly without being called out, they freak. That used to work just fine until they got what they wanted, a split right/Republican party. Now it is not so easy to move the Republican establishment because of threat of becoming irrelevant!

So we suffer these times from both sides of the political spectrum.

Thanks for the great post Lan and Vlad. Now get out and enjoy this great summer weekend.


Working on your last suggestion, but have to note that since I was trying to make nice with Lanivan I ignored the gut buster that claimed the Tea Party's mission is to block "regular order" in the Congress - in the same comment lauding Obamacare! Priceless. Maybe everyone will enjoy another lecture on regular order from the Gray Lady herself http://online.wsj.com/article/SB...

Hope everyone has a great weekend!


You might consider it a gut buster, but the far-right extremists' motto of "there's more than one way to skin a cat" has taken regular order in the Senate and used filibuster to continue their scorched earth policy of obstruct and delay, shifting from traditional advise and consent. In 1920-1970, filibuster averaged ONE a year. 2009-2010 = 132 cloture motions were filed.

Just lovely. The current session of the Senate has had the lowest output of enactment of laws of any Congress since WWII. The current Senate passed a record low of 2.8% of bills introduced, a 66% decrease from 2005-2006 (90% decrease from the high in 1955-56). How patriotic of the Senate minority to manipulate long-standing rules to become tools for legislative paralysis, derailing both bills and nominees.

"It wasn't supposed to be this way. The founding fathers, who needed a supermajority to approve any action under the Articles of Confederation, saw firsthand how such a requirement renders a government powerless to act. In response, they specifically limited supermajority requirements in the Constitution to treaties, impeachment, veto overrides, constitutional amendments, and expulsion of members. In their view, protecting the minority meant protecting the right to be heard, to offer amendments, and to cast votes that count. For most of the Senate's history, senators have acted in accordance with that vision. It is only in more recent times, as bipartisanship has broken down and the use of the filibuster has increased drastically, that the Senate has changed course. It is time to end this destructive practice and return the Senate to a functioning body. http://www.citizensforethics.org...


And than there's this from your hero, Antonin Scalia.....http://www.huffingtonpost.com/20...

Gotta love this post: "If the Constitution was intended to be just a legal document and not a "living" document, I wonder why the framers of it included such explicit instructions on how to amend and modify it"?


Ah, to make it very clear it should be done sparingly Lan. Here is a helpful link that you may find interesting to read on constitutional questions. http://www.heritage.org/initiati...


Ah, to make it very clear it should be done sparingly Lan. Here is a helpful link that you may find interesting to read on constitutional questions. http://www.heritage.org/initiati...


I will assume you intended to repeat your comment, so I will ask - why?


Nope....just hit back button on phone and this magically duplicated post one day later!


Lol - better be careful...this might not work to your advantage some day!


I concur with the view expressed in the New York Times editorial of 2005.


Thanks for the vote of confidence Wing! Vlad - let's stretch our arms around and pat ourselves on the back. One of the reasons I indulge myself spending time in this forum is because I learn so much from you both, and others, and get to have fun at the same time.

And now, Vlad - Thank you for your remarks, although I note not word one on Ted Cruz and the Tea Party desire to defund America in order to get what they want. Again, I would appreciate it if you addressed this show of extreme partisanship. Again, I fail to understand how you could believe that the opposing, obstruction, discrediting, and nullifying of every important initiative that has come down the pike the last few years years is a necessary and legitimate way to govern.

Again, I would like you to address how the decline of genuine deliberation, the weakening of checks and balances, the scorched earth policies of ideologically extreme positioning, contemptuousness for social and economic policy, and the dismissing of the legitimacy of the opposition is related to the "limitations on government contained in the Constitution", or, especially, the spirit in which the Constitution was written.

Your thoughts are so very well-articulated and thought-provoking (not faux at all!), but they are lacking the most basic of requirements - an explanation that truly addresses the glaring juxtaposition of political reality and lofty sentiments.

When you read the Salon article (btw, thanx for something other than the usual sources - :0 ) you immediately draw from it reasons that support your theory that Big Government is very, very bad, and needs a major timeout, and I read it and think this is a worthwhile federal program that needs some major tweaking to make it better. The ideological philosopher versus the pragmatic problem-solver.

That is the true difference between us, and also this: I respect you for your ideology and believe it to be a necessary and important ingredient of democratic diversity, but you can not say the same for mine.


MM - Being a New Yorker, any thoughts on this editorial?




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