Tag Archives: Affordable Care Act

The Republican’s Health Care Bill

30 Jun

The Republicans have been criticizing The Affordable Care Act for the last 7 years.  They have been promising to repeal and replace it since it became law.  They have had that chance for the last several months, and they haven’t been able to.  Protests around the country have mostly prevented that from happening.  The most puzzling thing to me is that they have had years to come up with an alternative plan, and they didn’t have one ready to go when they had the chance.

The House barely passed a version of the Republican’s Health Care law.  The Senate is having trouble passing their version of Health Care.  The underlying problem in all of this is that Republicans have almost always been against social programs.  At the time the Affordable Care Act was being debated, many Republicans denied there was even a problem with Health Care.

We have had problems with our health care system for some time.  I personally think we need to move away from private insurance.  Health insurance companies have been abusing the system.  Before the Affordable Care Act insurance companies could deny people treatment or coverage for no reason.  No one’s life should be determined by whether or not the insurance company wants to pay for your treatment.

I hesitate to call either of the Republicans bills, “Health Care Reform.”  It uses the money it cuts from Medicaid to help wealthy Americans in the form of a tax cut.  This isn’t a health care bill, it’s the Republicans finding another way to give a massive tax cut for the wealthy.  Seven years ago the Republicans complained that the Affordable Care Act was done in secret and was rushed to a vote.  The Republicans in Congress wrote this bill behind closed doors and were trying to rush it through before the 4th of July.

If the Republicans are truly genuine about fixing the problems with our broken health care system, they would include Democrats in the writing of a new health care bill.  There are problems with the Affordable Care Act, but I am not confident the Republicans want to do anything to fix it.  The biggest problem with the Affordable Care Act is that it is improving a broken system, but doesn’t change it to where it needs to be.

Ever since Liberals introduced social programs, Republicans have been skeptical or opposed them.  FDR’s New Deal Programs were opposed by Republicans.  Republicans have either tried to oppose or weaken Medicare and Medicaid.  No Republicans voted for the final version of the Affordable Care Act.  Liberals have almost always supported social programs that benefit society.  If the Republicans have almost always been against social programs, why should we trust them to fix the problems on their own?

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Supreme Court’s Historic Decisions

30 Jun

In the past week the Supreme Court has made landmark decisions.  They decided cases involving Gay Marriage, the Fair Housing Act, Affordable Care Act, and redistricting among other cases.  There have long been disagreements with decisions the court has made from both sides.  I have been disappointed with several decisions the court has made but I would never deny that they have a place in our democracy.

The Supreme Court had little power up until the case Marbury vs. Madison in 1803.  There are few that remember who the first Supreme Court Justice was, but there are many who can name the person who made it as powerful as it is today.  Justice John Marshall was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court by President Thomas Jefferson.  It is thought that one of the reasons Jefferson appointed John Marshal was to get him out of the way by giving him a weak job.  If that was Jefferson’s plan it backfired because Justice Marshall made the court as powerful as it is today.

William Marbury was appointed Justice of Peace by outgoing President John Adams. * Marbury was one of the appointees who was not confirmed by congress.  The new Secretary of State James Madison refused to appoint Marbury to the position he was promised.  Marbury sued, trying to force the new Administration to appoint him.  Chief Justice John Marshal ruled that although the new administration was wrong not to appoint Marbury a position he was promised, the Supreme Court could not force the new administration to appoint him.  This case created legal precedent for Judicial Review.

In recent years, in particular, the Supreme Court has been used as a political punching bag.  The term judicial activist has been thrown out to describe a decision that someone disagrees with.  I don’t agree with everything the court has done but I don’t deny that it is an important part of our government.  The Supreme Court has made many important decisions on Civil Rights, rights for accused, and redistricting rules to name a few.

The Republicans have made some stupid comments after the court ruled to uphold the Affordable Care Act and expand gay marriage in all 50 states. I think that the reactions from the GOP over last week’s Supreme Court decisions are absurd.  Some have suggested that we defund or simply ignore the Supreme Court.  Obviously that can not be done. The makeup of the Supreme Court changes only when one of the current members resigns or dies. At that time, the President nominates someone to take that place and the senate must approve or disapprove of the nomination. The new nominee is then sworn in and takes a seat on the court. Decisions made by the court are made by all nine of the members. Their ruling becomes the law of the land until it is challenged by a lawsuit.  The Court has reversed itself on several decisions over the years in this manner.

The court’s decision had been building for some time.  (They allow gay marriage in states that already had it.)  Progress for gay rights have been slow over the years.  Ten years ago things were completely different.  One state recognized same-sex marriage, and almost every state that held a referendum voted to ban gay marriage.  I worked to fight the 2006 amendment to ban gay marriage in Wisconsin.  While the Democrats gained control of the state senate and congress, the amendment still passed.  I didn’t think that things would change so quickly in less than 10 years.

The other Supreme Court decision that made headlines this week was that they again upheld the Affordable Care Act, specifically the subsidies.  This was important because of how many people already have health care through the subsidies.  I was surprised by the decision because the court in recent years has voted mostly among party lines (when they were appointed.)  With this decision it means that it is unlikely that the Supreme Court will strike down the law if another case comes to them in the future.  I hope that this settles the matter of the Health Care Law once and for all.

* David F. Forte, Marbury’s Travail: Federalist Politics and William Marbury’s Appointment as Justice of the Peace, Catholic University Law Review, p. 402 Vol 45:349

Cruz’s Gamble

30 Sep

As many of you know we are facing a government shutdown and a possible default on our debt.  We are facing a budget stalemate mainly because of one senator, U.S. senator from Texas, Ted Cruz.  While the House of Representatives has already tried and failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Senator Ted Cruz has taken it one step further.  He is threatening to shut down the government unless President Obama and the Democrats delay or defund the Affordable Care Act.  This is an extreme political threat, even by today’s political standards.  The Democrats never issued a serious threat to default on our debt when Bush was president.  The Democrats never demanded President Bush pull out all of the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan or push the country to a default.

Ted Cruz and the Tea Party are threatening to damage the economy unless they get their way.   There really isn’t  a different way to describe this other than a temper tantrum by the Tea Party.  There is no way President Obama or the Democrats will go along with this.  I don’t believe Ted Cruz cares about his party or about the U.S. economy.  I think he is doing this because he wants to solidify his status as the new Tea Party senator and use it to run for president.  If he thinks that this gamble will benefit him in the long run he is sorely mistaken.

If we default on our debt, our economy will take a huge toll as will the Republican Party.  Many mainstream Republicans know the risk Cruz is taking.  There are moderate Republicans that want to do something but are afraid of being primary challenged.  Senator Cruz knows what he is doing is dangerous but he doesn’t care.  He cares about his own ambitions and doesn’t care if the country he claims to love takes an economic hit.

I have no problem if any senator is against the Affordable Care Act or has different views than me.  I do have a problem if they are determined to threaten the U.S. economy unless they get their way.