Health Care Reform
Yesterday, we went over the top 10 news stories from 2011, which were mainly about news and issues that made headlines this past year. This morning, we’re recapping our most read stories from 2011.
Being a libertarian-leaning blog, we touch on a variety of issues. From those of you that aren’t familiar with libertarianism, it is a philosophy grounded in individual liberty. We believe the individual is sovereign and has a right to pursue whatever lifestyle he chooses, provided that he doesn’t harm or disparage the rights of other sovereigns in the process. The belief in individual sovereign also extends to economic liberty and a belief in free markets.
With that said, our top posts from 2011 range from civil liberties issues, including the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and the Fourth Amendment, to defending free markets and fighting cronyism and corporatism in Washington and on Wall Street to covering Ron Paul’s presidential campaign and having an open discussing the libertarian philosophy.
We offer no additional commentary on these posts. If you would like to read them, just click on the title. Again, have a safe and happy new year.
It’s official, the Supreme Court announced this morning that it will hear arguments regarding the constitutionality of ObamaCare, President Barack Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment, at some point during the Spring:
The Supreme Court said on Monday it would consider the challenge to last year’s health care reform law, setting up a major ruling on the Obama administration’s signature legislative achievement just months before the presidential election.
The case is likely to be heard in March, meaning that a final decision is likely at the end of the Court’s term, in June.
Apparently in recognition of the complexity of the issues presented by the cases, the Court has asked for an unusual amount of time for oral arguments. The order said the court would listen to five and a half hours of arguments—a rare departure from its usual practice of allocating an hour to hear a case.
The arguments will revolve around four issues — most notably the individual mandate, which requires individual Americans to purchase a government-approved health insurance plan. SCOTUSBlog has a run-down of the what exactly the Court will hear:
The Court, however, did not grant all of the issues raised and it chose issues to review only from three of the five separate appeals before it. It is unclear, at this point, whether all of the cases will be heard on a single day.
If you listen to the media, Tuesday’s election were a mixed bag nationally and a disaster for Republican the ever crucial swing state of Ohio due to voters overturning limitations placed on collective bargaining rights for public-sector workers, which was passed by the legislature earlier this year.
Democrats and labor unions raised some $30 million trying to defeat the effort. Passage of the referendum is certainly bad news for Ohio taxpayers, who will no doubt be hit with the ever-expanding costs of public-sector salaries and benefits.
What has gone under-reported is that Ohioans voted overwhemling against the individiual mandate, a central piece of ObamaCare, by supporting a separate ballot measure:
Voters in Ohio approved a measure Tuesday night disapproving of President Obama’s healthcare law.
Just like in 2008, the Club for Growth is putting together a series of white papers on candidates running for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. We’ve already covered their reports on the records of Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul and Gary Johnson. Next under the knife is Rick Perry, who has served as Governor of Texas since 2000.
Perry has certainly shaken up the race for the GOP nomination for president and dominated media coverage during his first week on the campaign trail. His campaign is being driven by conservatives and tea partyers wary of Mitt Romney, who they see as a flip-flopper and someone who laid the blueprint for ObamaCare. But does Perry have the fiscal record for conservatives and libertarians to get behind? You be the judge.
If you were looking for a substantive discussion of the problems facing the United States, last night’s State of the Union address was a let down.
President Barack Obama spent 62 minutes speaking in mostly generalities and explaining to us how great government spending is, but also warning the Congress that he will veto bills containing earmarks – special projects that are inserted into legislation that go bypass the normal budget process. President Obama also pledged to take measures to cut spending by enacting a five-year freeze on non-defense discretionary spending. While he may consider this to be some great feat, Obama’s proposal will only save $400 billion during that time. This is a drop in the bucket compared to the $6 trillion in budget deficits projected by the Congressional Budget Office.
Obama noted in his speech that non-defense discretionary spending represents a relatively small portion of the budget – around 12 percent, using his numbers, and added that “we have to stop pretending that cutting this kind of spending alone will be enough.”
I have long had a problem with Politifact.
There is just something wrong with not being able to come out and call a statement straight up true or false. I guess I’m a black and white kind of guy. For crying out loud, they have four different versions of a statement being deemed true. For me, it is either true, or it is false.
What has happened in the political arena as a result of painting with so many shades of gray, is that politicians can use Politifact anytime they want to demagogue just about any issue their opponents have made a statement about. They can point to a Politifact rating of Half-True (Insert sneering chortle here) and say their opponent is being dishonest with the voters.
And I guess what really irks me out of my pants-on-fire is that they are simply wrong so often. Case in point; they recently deemed the Lie of the Year to be the following statement; “A Government Takeover of Healthcare.”
Really? Why not pick something a little more easily provable, like I dunno, Christine O’Donnell’s claim that she, is in fact, you.
Billy Hallowell over at Mediate does a good job pointing out how much of the debate Poltifact had to ignore to reach their conclusion that “Government Takeover of Healthcare” is a lie.
Last week the GOP released their Pledge to America, attempting to give American voters a clear view of where the Republican Party stands on current issues. Since so many Americans – especially those of us who identify as Republicans – are furious with our out-of-control federal government, a specific plan of attack is a great idea.
One of the biggest concerns among Republicans that the Pledge to America addresses is the new health care law. Good points can be found in the health care section of the Pledge, but we should be cautious not to blindly accept everything the Republicans are offering. For example, the GOP’s Pledge promises to require health insurance companies to offer coverage to people with pre-existing medical conditions.
The party in Washington that has allegedly heard the concerns of America has pledged to extend regulations that dictate how insurance companies must operate.
Requiring insurance companies to cover customers with pre-existing conditions is a violation of free market economic principles and is a regulation that will raise insurance costs for everyone.
People with pre-existing conditions will buy the insurance (because government regulations will require insurance companies to offer them coverage), and the higher costs incurred because of the pre-existing conditions will lower the insurance company’s profit margin.
To offset the lower profit margins, insurance companies will raise their policies’ premiums, offer less extensive coverage, and give lower payments to doctors. As health insurance costs increase, we will find ourselves paying for coverage too costly to afford, receiving fewer benefits, and being treated by disgruntled doctors who have been forced to accept lower payments for their services.
Is this reform, or is this the status quo?
Today is going to be a day of discussing sheer politics, and little more. At this point, we are well beyond talks of policy and the only thing that matters for the next 12 hours is whether some members of Congress can be convinced, for whatever reason, to cast a Yea or Nea vote on the House floor on the health care overhaul.
But let us not forget the important philosophic differences that are at play in this debate.
In this weekend’s edition of the Wall Street Journal, the editorial board takes a minute to look past the politics, and reminds us of what is behind the battle over true health care reform:
In our world of infinite wants but finite resources, there are only two ways to allocate any good or service: either through prices and the choices of millions of individuals, or through central government planning and political discretion.
That is really what it’s all about. Who decides. Who controls. And who you think makes better decisions.
The Journal even reprinted a 1996 essay from the late economist Milton Friedman on their op-ed page. Now, if something written nearly 15 years ago still has relevance in the current moment of contemporary politics, you know it must be something special.
So, in between your vote counting on this Sunday afternoon, take a moment to read Friedman’s immortal words.