In the Arena

You Say Tomato, I Call Bullpucky

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Pete Wehner continues his relentless attempts to depict Barack Obama as a despicable human being by vamping on the President for calling the “tax” paid by people who don’t buy health insurance in the Affordable Care Act a “penalty.” Of course, Mitt Romney called this exact same payment a “penalty” in Massachusetts, (Add: and again today) which makes him far more honorable. The precise point is that this a volitional tax, just like the tax on tobacco: if you buy health insurance, you don’t pay a tax, a penalty or a fee. And the moral–and civic–reason why you should buy health insurance is that sooner or later you’re going to get sick, wind up in a hospital emergency room, and the rest of us will have to pay for it if you don’t. I thought Roberts decided the case on the firmest possible grounds–the federal government’s taxing authority, a better bulwark than the commerce clause. The half-crazed rabid Republican effort to use this as evidence that Obama is a high tax President is not only intellectually dishonest, but cynical in the extreme.

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Bird_Dog
Bird_Dog

This is a bizarre comment, Joe. Wehner was exactly right. The Obama administration denied the tax was a tax except, when arguing before the Supreme Court, they called the tax a tax. Whether Romney called it a tax or something else is a classic "look over there!" response. And, by the way, Romney later on acceded to the Supreme Court opinion. Obama has not.

baselmaven
baselmaven

The main point of Pete Wehner's Commentary article was that President Obama, to be extremely charitable, uses words that mislead. It is simply impossible to know what he means. When his words sound like he is against Israel he says he is its strongest backer. When his words sound like he'll go campaign for a Union cause he avoids Wisconsin. When his words sound like he is against venture capital he says he is a strong supporter of it. When he writes a book describing his life it turns out that it wasn't his life.

Ohwoahisme
Ohwoahisme

Bottom line, you can't spend more, borrow more, print more currency, and tax to cover the first three dumb things you do, and expect a different economic outcome for the country.  So all the rhetoric from both sides in the healthcare debate is really about government power over nearly 20% of the national economy in moving to a 'single payer' system with rationed care for most citizens, and the best for those who can pay for the best.  Both sides need to stop lying about it, and fess up to it.  One version is a state program the majority of those  residing in that state wanted.  The other is a national program that persons like me never got a vote on.  Others have already made the decision for me, and I'm stuck with it, unless it can be repealed, which is unlikely.  So those that had no healthcare will now have some, and those that had a better plan will have the same as those that previously didn't.  And those with money will have what they want.  My advice, get in better shape, and don't get sick.

Talendria
Talendria

I wish people would stop obfuscating the issue with constitutionality.  The government requires us to do all kinds of things we'd prefer not to do, because the consequence of not doing those things is detrimental to persons other than ourselves.  That's the price of civilization.  If you don't like it, go live in the woods.  The real reasons people fear the ACA are because they don't like change, they're worried about how much it will cost, and they don't trust Obama.  Anything else is lipstick on the pig.

superlogi
superlogi

Nah, the reason they don't like it is because it creates another step toward government dependency and some of us have simply never gotten use to the government nipple for our nourishment.  But, if we do go to the woods, whose going to pay for the nipple?  Self-esteem anyone?

bstockinger
bstockinger

 This has become the stupidest of debates.  The Supremes said the APA is constitutional.  So, whether its a tax or a penalty doesn't matter.  If you have any form of health insurance, you don't pay it.  Otherwise you do in some cases, because you know and I know that sooner or later you will have an accident or need care in a hospital and most people who don't have health insurance, don't pay their bills.  Its not all that much different for car insurance.  If you don't drive, don't buy car insurance but if you do, then buy it.  If you don't have car insurance, then the rest of us are stuck for the mess you create when you drive and have an accident. 

All sorts of people don't have health insurance and need it.  The person who gets hit jaywalking in Las Vegas, NV, comes to mind immediately.  Most are taken to County for treatment and most don't pay.  Something like 30 to 40 percent of the County hospital emergency room treatments aren't ever paid.  Who do you think pays for that mess?

superlogi
superlogi

The same people who can't afford health care today, will be there tomorrow and someone else will be paying for their health care.  ACA doesn't change that.  On the other hand, if I want to pay for my health care out of pocket who are you to tell me I can't?  Furthermore, do you really think ACA is affordable?  If so, you need remedial math.  The cost structure of all goods and services is based on price and quality and, of course, competition.  ACA doesn't address any of that other than to put a lid on profits while mandating services and that will only work until you drive the provider out of business.  The bottom line is, unless and until you  get rid of unnecessary regulation, open up competition across state lines and pools for health services, reduce punitive malpractice awards, provide for health savings accounts, allow for portability and let the market place (individual buyers) determine cost and services, you won't begin to control costs which was the original intent for health care reform.  Ah well, why let the private sector do it, when history demonstrates how well the public sector can do it (i.e. Medicare, Medicaid, SS, Food Stamps, SCHIP's, Unemployment, Post Office, Education, etc.)?

k_rock
k_rock

Whether this is a "tax" or a "penalty" is just semantics.  The problem with this ruling is that SCOTUS has created a dangerous precedent.  This decision strengthens the government's ability to coerce people into buying "government-approved" goods and services.  Hello nanny state!

rcerke79
rcerke79

Who cares, Unlike Obamacare, what Ma. did on healthcare didn't affect every american. That's the difference Klein.

Harriette Nye Seiler
Harriette Nye Seiler

This from  a Distinguished Law Professor at Universiry of Kentucky:

As an author

of the leading dictionary of tax definitions, I was astonished to see

the word “tax” used to describe what is clearly a civil penalty. Taxes

are there to raise revenues. As the renowned tax law professor and

practitioner Marty Ginsburg (yes, husband of Ruth Bader) once remarked

to me, “Every time the Supreme Court touches the tax law, they crumb it

up”. So true.  Unfortunately Congress has also done its part to scramble

the meaning of the Internal Revenue Code.

RICHARD A. WESTIN

Distinguished University Professor –

University of Kentucky College of Law –

Lexington, Ky. 40502

This from me:

If  it's a tax, let's use it for the common good--Improve  publicly funded Medicare and give it to everyone.

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

 Where nothing will happen, so don't hold your breath.

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

What difference?  They're both dead.

f_galton
f_galton

Klein says, "I thought Roberts decided the case on the firmest possible grounds–the federal government’s taxing authority," then he complains when people point out it's a tax, not a penalty

"this a volitional tax [thanks for admitting it's a tax], just like the tax on tobacco"

No it's not. You pay the tax on tobacco if you buy tobacco, you pay the Obamacare tax for doing nothing.  

georgiamd
georgiamd

This fact, alone, will defeat Obama, come November:

(CNSNews.com) - Only 30 percent of pure Independents—those Americans who

say they do not belong to or lean toward either the Republican Party or

the Democratic Party--told the Gallup poll during  June that they

approved of the way President Barack Obama is handling his job as

president.

SmilingSmartBlonde
SmilingSmartBlonde

In my swing state the voters really took a liking to Ron Paul and they are probably not inclined to vote for Mitt Rmoney. Ron Paul had such a competitive edge over Romney.  Will Romney's plans win electoral votes? The primary debates were so revealing about who was more skillful, who had wisdom.

georgiamd
georgiamd

 You raise a valid point, MouthySmartBlonde, but with his son endorsing Romney and Ron Paul's contempt for Obama...I would expect an endorsement any day, now.

Rand Paul Endorses Mitt Romney for President; Ron Paul Says He Can't Win GOP Nomination and will support the nominee. CBS news.

SmilingSmartBlonde
SmilingSmartBlonde

Perhaps you are correct in that the hatred is what fuels this.

I suppose also that there is a possibility that the GOP may underestimate the voters' possible perceptions that Mitt Romney is no different than George W. Bush.  We shall watch this closely and see how it unfolds.

Sue_N.
Sue_N.

The half-crazed rabid Republican effort? Please. They're at full-on loco now.

paulejb
paulejb

Sue_N,

Really? You must have missed this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... 

He's lying as fast as he can in full loco mode.

Sue_N.
Sue_N.

You keep posting your little videos, and we keep ignoring them.

Right now, you are the walking definition of insanity.

georgiamd
georgiamd

 No, Sue_N, I think it is more likely you and your fellow liberals who exhibit this symptom:

Denial Syndrome: An unconscious defence mechanism characterized by refusal to    acknowledge painful realities, thoughts, or feeling.

pollardty
pollardty

good point.  

Up is the new down.

paulejb
paulejb

nflfoghorn,

"That would have to take into account the fact that anyone other than you cares.

--------------------------------------------

The families of Agents Brian Terry and Jaime Zapata care. So do the families of hundreds of Mexicans who were slaughtered with weapons provided to criminals by the Obama regime.

You may not care, foggie, but millions of Americans will when they learn the truth of the Obama gang's actions.

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

BTW, the House voted to hold Holder in civil and criminal contempt, referring the investigation to...get this...the Justice Department!!!

Issa and you neocons are not. serious.  At.  all.

paulejb
paulejb

nflfoghorn,

DOJ already announced that they will ignore due process so now it's on to Federal court. 

Steve0T
Steve0T

The family of Pat Tillman is still waiting to hear the truth about the actions of Dubya, Cheny, Rumsfelt and their neocon acolytes. Wonder who will answer their questions.

paulejb
paulejb

Steve0T,

Pat Tillman was killed in a blue on blue firefight. Brian Terry was murdered by criminals armed by the Obama regime. 

Even the most mind numbed left wing troll could see the difference.

Steve0T
Steve0T

The award for the biggest hyperbole goes to Paulejb, as usual

http://noethics.net/News/image...

Holder, at worst, is guilty of ignorance. The Tillman saga had cover up written all over it. Only the most paranoid, delusional far-right troll could fail see that cover-up. We all know what you are.

bobell
bobell

"Criminals armed by the Obama regime."  Congrats, paule, you just moved ahead of Willard in the Grand National Lying Sweepstakes.

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

'You interested in making any of the 5000+ soldiers killed in Iraq a martyr?

paulejb
paulejb

nflfoghorn,

They are not martyrs. They are heroes as were Brian Terry and Jaime Zapata. The soldiers in Iraq were killed in a war. 

Terry and Zapata were killed as a result of an insane gun walking program of the Obama regime.

bobell
bobell

And the astoundingly lax Arizona gun laws and the inability of prosecutors to make any cases and the resulting legal advice to the agents assigned Famp;F that they not interfere -- all that had nothing to do with what happened? Right, paule?

Could you just occasionally shoot your mouth off about what actually happened?

Paul Dirks
Paul Dirks

Since your so fond of word games would you care to explain in what sense the guns were "provided"?

paulejb
paulejb

nflfoghorn,

"It's too small for me to read.

Or care to do so."

-----------------------------------------

Silly! Just click on it, foggie.

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

As soon as you post responses in the original spot....

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

 Then I choose to ignore your incessant use of props.

SmilingSmartBlonde
SmilingSmartBlonde

A little off topic for a moment here:

It appears that the Supreme Court Ruling preserves  critical pateint protections for families affected by cancer.  See this website:  http://www.acscan.org/content/...

It is worthwhile for the detractors to ponder about how this ruling helps those with serious chronic illness.

Perhaps it is a question of compassion?  Detractors-How compassionate are you?

SmilingSmartBlonde
SmilingSmartBlonde

Seniors will benefit from this LAW. They will.

georgiamd
georgiamd

 OF COURSE the expenditure for Medicare is increasing, MouthySmartBlonde, as more and more "babyboomers" get added to the roles (a major problem, in that it remains unfunded) This does NOT allay the fact of 500 billion being cut to help fund Obamacare. Please Google 500 billion cut from Medicare and you will have a hundred references to choose from, including many liberal sites such as Huffington Post...these cuts are real and they are impacting our seniors, negatively.

The 81% Tax Increase - Forbes.com - Information for the World ..To put it another way, the total unfunded indebtedness of Social Security and Medicare comes to 106.4 trillion. That is how much larger the nation's capital ...www.forbes.com/.../14/taxes-social-security...medicare.html - CachedMore results from forbes.com »

georgiamd
georgiamd

I commend the Florida Chain for trying to educate consumers, MouthySmartBlonde. I read the newsletter, but could find NO reference to the massive cuts to Medicare or Medicaid imposed by Obamacare. Do you really think they are doing seniors a favor by glossing over this highly pertinent information? After all, seniors are consumers, too.

SmilingSmartBlonde
SmilingSmartBlonde

I suggest you check with factcheck.org. I have attempted to reply with solid facts, however I am being censored. Here is yet another attempt at supplying you with the information you crave: CBO predicts that federal outlays for Medicare in fiscal year 2020 will be $929 billion, compared with projected spending of $519 billion this year. So the program isn’t being cut below existing levels, or even stopped in its tracks. It will simply grow slightly less than it would have otherwise – about 7 percent less.

georgiamd
georgiamd

Not by cutting 500 billion from Medicare, MouthySmartBlonde:

 Obamawants to pay for his 1 trillion to 1.6 trillion health bills with new

taxes and a 500 billion cut to Medicare. This cut will come just as

baby boomers turn 65 and increase Medicare enrollment by 30%. Less money

and more patients will necessitate rationing. The Congressional Budget

Office estimates that only 1% of Medicare cuts will come from

eliminating fraud, waste and abuse.

The rationing to seniors has already started and will only get worse.

Obamacare will cut 500 Billion from Medicare to help fund ..

SmilingSmartBlonde
SmilingSmartBlonde

I see you have not had an opportunity to visit the factcheck.org site. I suggest you do that. You may be in a vulnerable spot Georgemd, if that is who you really are. You may be believing the false ads being  spun by the Conservative Group called "60 Plus"

  The law  specifically protects seniors’ benefits. Section 3601 says that nothing in the statute "shall result in a reduction of guaranteed benefits under title XVIII of the Social Security Act" (that’s the part of the U.S. Code that establishes the Medicare program).

Perhaps this post will be published, however other posts I made were not.

SmilingSmartBlonde
SmilingSmartBlonde

I suggest you visit factcheck.org.

That $500 Billion Knifing

Every one of the ads notes that the law cuts Medicare by $500 billion. But that’s misleading, as we’ve pointed out time and again. The law calls for $555 billion in cuts in future growth of the program – over 10 years. The total projected cost of Medicare over that time, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, is $7.1 trillion, even with the cuts.

CBO predicts that federal outlays for Medicare in fiscal year 2020 will be $929 billion, compared with projected spending of $519 billion this year. So the program isn’t being cut below existing levels, or even stopped in its tracks. It will simply grow slightly less than it would have otherwise – about 7 percent less.

georgiamd
georgiamd

 Nice try at demonizing physicians, cin, but it fails to address the most pertinent issue. WHY are seniors being singled out to  pay for Obamacare? Do they deserve this "special" treatment?....after all, many of them are among our most vulnerable citizens. Could it be that escalating premiums would escalate even higher without this 500 billion dollar influx? You KNOW the answer, cin, be honest and admit it.

cin
cin

Do you not recognize anywhere--anywhere at all--that savings can be gotten from Medicare? Nothing can ever be cut or even trimmed from it? Ever?

Because I don't get it. To suggest that Medicare is sacrosanct and that never can any test, procedure, pill, visit, or service be turned down is just insane. There are limits, you must recognize that.

Unless...is medicare just an open checkbook to physicians, georgiamd? Is that it? Don't dare close the purse strings? Are old people just big dollar signs to you? Is that why you're so vociferous on the topic?

SmilingSmartBlonde
SmilingSmartBlonde

 I suggest you visit FloridaChain.org for details about this misperception. Excerpt follows: "...  

the total general Revenue (GR) needed to preserve Medicaid without cuts next year ($5.2 billion) is $3 billion (one-third) less than State economists projected four years ago. Back further, in 2004, they told us that more than $12 billion in GR would be needed by now. Medicaid growth is simply not spiraling out of control. Each year, budget history is rewritten to suit political need..."

SmilingSmartBlonde
SmilingSmartBlonde

Thanks for your post.

I just visited  FloridaChain.org and I read something that seemed interesting: 

http://www.floridachain.org/is...

Medicaid Misinformation: What FL Leaders Get Away With Saying

Greg Mellowe, Florida CHAIN

January 4, 2012-  Despite PolitiFact.com's stated aim of "sorting out the truth in politics" and the Pulitzer Prize it received for its efforts, it nevertheless came under heavy fire last month for naming the claim that "Republicans voted to end Medicare" the Lie of the Year for 2011.  Objectors (like Florida CHAIN) insisted that the House GOP was in fact trying to fundamentally end the program by supporting a plan to convert Medicare to a system of private vouchers. There may be some room to misinterpret such an oversimplified statement, but it's certainly no lie. Furthermore, once explained, it turns out to be fully true. Headed into Florida's 2012 legislative session, State leaders continue to make Medicaid their prime target. Most of their claims about that program are not nearly as ambiguous, however. In fact, they're flat out wrong, and intentionally so. Consider a few examples: "We must find ways to control the cost [of Medicaid]. If we do nothing, this program will bankrupt our state." - Governor Rick Scott This lie started with then-Governor Bush in 2004 and just won't go away. Florida's elected leaders have continued the tradition of claiming that "out-of-control" Medicaid spending justifies whatever budget cuts are on the table. This also allows them to divert attention from their unwillingness to raise revenue sufficient to meet Florida's basic needs.  When releasing his 2012-13 budget recommendations last month, Governor Scott made the above statement and called for $2.1 billion in Medicaid cuts, most of which would be to already slashed and strained hospital budgets.  However, only one-fifth of that money is General Revenue (GR) that the State must actually raise. So in order to free up less than 2% of the total GR available, the Governor proposes to put the poorest and sickest at greater risk, while simultaneously ripping $1.2 billion in federal matching dollars out of the Florida economy. Meanwhile, the total GR needed to preserve Medicaid without cuts next year ($5.2 billion) is $3 billion (one-third) less than State economists projected four years ago. Back further, in 2004, they told us that more than $12 billion in GR would be needed by now. Medicaid growth is simply not spiraling out of control. Each year, budget history is rewritten to suit political need. Granted, some earlier cuts have slowed the pace of growth, but without gutting the Medicaid system and without handing all of the keys over to profiteering HMOs. The growth in Medicaid spending is a result of adding more than a million recipients who lost jobs and income in the recession. As for the GR shortfall, that's simply due to the Legislature's use of temporary federal Medicaid stimulus money to replace far more of the State's GR investment in Medicaid than necessary, creating a huge hole when the stimulus ended. "I am pleased the federal government has given Florida approval to continue this effective pilot program...we appreciate their recognition of the success of the Medicaid Reform program." - Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Liz Dudek "We have given Washington a hundred good reasons to approve our waiver and remain confident they will do the right thing." - Senate HHS Appropriations Chair Joe Negron One key reason to keep the myth of out-of-control Medicaid spending alive is to sustain the pressure needed to approve statewide expansion of Florida's dangerous brand of managed care experimentation. States have been placing tremendous pressure on the Obama Administration for flexibility to operate their Medicaid programs, although they have significant flexibility already. For Florida, which does little more than the minimum required by the federal-state partnership, the flexibility they really want is freedom to slash eligibility and services. Absent that power, the best (worst) the Legislature can do is fully turn Medicaid over to HMOs and HMO-like plans with far less parameters and protections. That was the purpose of the original Medicaid Reform Pilot, and that aim was expanded by the statewide managed care expansion legislation passed in the 2011 session. Despite the failings of and unanswered questions about the Reform experiment, given the political climate, federal officials couldn't avoid granting Florida a three-year extension.  But "recognize its success"? Ridiculous. State officials have seized on the vacuum left by the feds' diplomacy as an opportunity to redefine reality, but the truth is easily spotted. One need only look at the evaluation the State promised to do originally, how little was ultimately completed, and what "independent" evaluators stretched to say (and deftly avoided saying). More importantly, the State received the extension only after agreeing to a rewrite of the federal-state agreement that reduces HMOs' power, demands more accountability, and clarifies meaninglessly vague requirements. Nevertheless, the extension keeps the door open for to expand Florida's brand of Medicaid managed care to almost all 3 million recipients statewide. Next up will be negotiations to determine if, how, and when expansion can proceed. Expect to be misled.

georgiamd
georgiamd

 You talk about compassion, MouthySmartBlonde? What about the shut in seniors who will  get greatly reduced medical treatment. These cuts affect our most vulnerable citizens.

Obamacare cuts 132 billion from Medicare advantage:

The Medicare Advantage reductions would cause "massive disruption for

the 10 million senior citizens enrolled in the program," says Karen

Ignagni, president and CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans, the

insurance lobby. "If these cuts are enacted, millions of seniors will

lose their coverage and face higher premiums." Senior citizens are

expected to be notified of the cuts sometime this year.

Given the proposed cuts, health insurers may drop some of these

extras or insurers may cut benefits and/or increase premiums, experts

say.

Our seniors will be carrying the burden of Obamacare on their backs!

SmilingSmartBlonde
SmilingSmartBlonde

Hi again. Floridachain.org could provide you with a wealth of information regarding this topic. An excerpt follows: "...One key reason to keep the myth of out-of-control Medicaid spending alive is to sustain the pressure needed to approve statewide expansion of Florida's dangerous brand of managed care experimentation...."

I tried to include more details earlier, but my post was not published.

Paul Dirks
Paul Dirks

president and CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans, the 

insurance lobby

With sources like that, who needs a second opinion?

georgiamd
georgiamd

 Look it up, Ivy and I agree, my feeble attempts to use my computer draws laughs from my ten year old son, too.

That's okay, I'm still one heck of a surgeon, though! Fortunately, we have techs to run our computer programs.

Ivy_B
Ivy_B

Once again no information and the attempt at posting a link doesn't work (well, it did show upcoming arts programs.) earl, you are just pathetic. I admit I was surprised when you posted your age recently. From your inability to use technology, I guessed you were at least 30 years older.

georgiamd
georgiamd

 These are the people being hurt, Paul and Ivy. Obamacare has hung them out to dry:

Health care cuts could hurt poor, disabled, elderly | North ..

Health care cuts could hurt poor, disabled, elderly by Travis Fain ... Tough as this may be to hear, Stevens said Medicaid cuts would be considered.

www.indyweek.com/.../health-ca...... - Cached

Ivy_B
Ivy_B

Too true. When the ACA was being developed, I heard more half truths and dreck from her on NPR that anyone else. She was their go-to-girl for ACA until listeners finally complained loudly.

paulejb
paulejb

MouthySmartBlonde,

And we needed a 2700 page monstrosity declaring that "The Secretary Shall..." 700 times to deal with that problem?

SmilingSmartBlonde
SmilingSmartBlonde

I stand my ground- If you are a detractor, just how compassionate are you?

By the way, I am in a swing state.