Learning From “Obamacare”

Some people are ardent proponents of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — known to many as “Obamacare” — and others are equally ardent opponents.  People on both sides of the issue feel passionately about whether the concept and purpose of the statute is good or bad, and it’s hard for a moderate to find common ground.

I think there is one thing, however, that fair-minded people on both sides of the issue might grudgingly accept:  the implementation of the statute hasn’t gone as its advocates forecast.  There have been delays in promulgating regulations, and developing systems to audit and enforce the different provisions of the law.  There have been unexpected consequences, as employers have considered the economic impact of different potential approaches to compliance with the law — a process that has resulted, for example, in some employers deciding to focus more on part-time workers.  The allegiances of former supporters of the bill, such as labor unions, have in some cases shifted as regulations are promulgated and the potential impact of the statute has become clearer.

None of this is particularly surprising, but it does teach a valuable lesson.  The American economy is extraordinarily complex, and whenever Congress promises to take an action that “fixes” a problem, we should all show a healthy skepticism.  Health care is a significant and complicated part of the economy, but it’s not appreciably different than, say, the mortgage loan sector.  People are, perhaps, more aware of the issues with the Affordable Care Act because it has been the continuing subject of withering public attention and because, in certain respects, its implementation is having an impact on everyday Americans — but I think it’s quite plausible that the financial institutions regulation that Congress enacted recently, or for that matter the Patriot Act passed in the wake of 9/11, are having similar issues and producing similarly unanticipated effects.

This has nothing to do with the party affiliation of the sponsors of legislation, or even the competence of the administrators trying to draft appropriate regulations.  It’s just reality.  The American economy is intertwined and interdependent and interconnected that broad-based regulations are going to have a ripple effect that could go far beyond whatever the politicians promise.  All of us, Democrat and Republican, should remember that the next time Congress makes confident predictions about the effect of a significant statute.

Taking The “Affordable” Out Of The Affordable Care Act

This week, enterprising journalists discovered that the Obama Administration has delayed another key provision of the Affordable Care Act.

In this instance, the delay affects one of the core selling points of the Act — the provision that capped the total amount of out-of-pocket expenses, in the form of deductibles and co-payments and other contributions by the insured toward health care.  It was supposed to take effect in 2014, but the newly discovered ruling gives insurers a one-year extension.

The delay wasn’t exactly announced in a way that befits an Administration that President Obama recently described as “the most transparent Administration in history.”   The New York Times article linked above describes the relevant ruling as follows:  “The grace period has been outlined on the Labor Department’s Web site since February, but was obscured in a maze of legal and bureaucratic language that went largely unnoticed. When asked in recent days about the language — which appeared as an answer to one of 137 “frequently asked questions about Affordable Care Act implementation” — department officials confirmed the policy.”  I guess “transparency” means burying the bad news in an avalanche of regulatory drivel and minutiae, rather than being honest about the many delays and snags that have affected legislation that was passed three years ago amidst confident predictions about its implementation, enforceability, and impact.

And speaking of impact, Forbes has a very interesting article about the impact of the Affordable Care Act on, well, getting affordable care.  It discusses the inevitable effect of caps on out-of-pocket expenses like co-payments and deductibles.  Because they don’t have anything to do with the cost of health care, that just means more of the cost will be paid through premiums imposed on everyone, rather than through contributions by the users (and, often, overusers) of health care.  The article notes that some colleges that used to offer cheap plans to their healthy students have had to drastically increase the premiums and other schools have stopped offering health care plans altogether.

Of course, the whole notion of burden-sharing underlying the Act means that some people will pay more — the question is, how many people, and how much more?  What we’ve seen of the Affordable Care Act so far doesn’t instill great confidence that we know the answers to those two important questions.

Congress Gets Special Treatment, Again

For years, Congress enacted laws that did not apply to Congress.  The Affordable Care Act was supposed to be different, however.  It provided that members of Congress and their staffs would not receive gold-plated coverage through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program and instead must purchase insurance through the on-line exchanges.  Notably, the law made no provision for taxpayer subsidies of the cost of such insurance.  In short, Congress and its staffers would have to pony up for insurance just like the rest of us schmoes.

DSC04196Then Congress had second thoughts.  Without subsidies, Representatives, Senators, and staffers would face “sharply increased costs.”  That, in turn, might cause a “brain drain,” as dedicated public servants left for more lucrative private employment.  Those considerations, at least, were offered as justification for a new proposed rule promulgated by the Office of Personnel Management after intervention by Congress and President Obama.  Under the proposed rule, taxpayer contributions will be allowed to continue for exchange-purchased plans for lawmakers and their staffs.  The taxpayer contributions will cover about 75 percent — 75 percent! — of their health care costs.

It’s a mystery how the OPM can conclude that taxpayers must pay for a subsidy when the Affordable Care Act says nothing about it.  More basically, though, the justification for the subsidy is laughable.  What is the evidence that there are any brains, among members of Congress or their staffs, that we should worry about being “drained”?  How much thoughtfully crafted legislation has come out of Congress lately?  The last I checked, members weren’t even bothering to read the voluminous bills that get written and voted on at the eleventh hour.  And there is no sign of brilliance in the legislative maneuvering, on both sides of the aisle, that has produced nothing but pointless bickering and idiotic solutions like “supercommittees” and “sequestration.”

In reality, members of Congress aren’t worried about brains — they are worried about protecting their own little fiefdoms, where they are treated like royalty by staffers who are prized not for intellect, but for loyalty and a laser-like focus on the crucial, ultimate goal of getting their member reelected at all costs.  If the loss of a 75 percent subsidy that most private employees could only dream of will cause those staffers to look elsewhere for employment, Congress has only itself to blame.  The alternative jobs undoubtedly will be lobbying and consulting and NGO jobs, where the former staffers will trade on their government experience and ability to obtain “access” to their former bosses and others on Capitol Hill.  If Washington, D.C. were not an insiders’ heaven, lucrative outside employment opportunities for the staffers who are pure political hacks would be non-existent.

Members of Congress are elected to represent us; they don’t thereby become an elite class.  They shouldn’t be treated any differently than the rest of the country, and neither should their staff members.  Shame on us if we let this latest outrage pass without recognizing, and acting on, the fact that Congress has once again immunized itself from the pain and aggravation that we will experience as a result of laws that Congress and the President have enacted.

Do The Affordable Care Act Delays Mean Anything?

In recent months the Obama Administration has announced the postponement of a number of provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

In April, full implementation of the Small Business Health Option Program was delayed.  On July 2, the Administration stated that the employer penalty provisions of the Act would not be applied until 2015.  And, only a few days ago, the Department of Health and Human Services gave notice that still other provisions — in this case, dealing with health insurance verification and income reporting requirements for state health insurance exchanges — will be delayed.  The latter delay means that, in 2014, state exchanges will be allowed to accept an “attestation” of projected household income to determine whether the individual seeking insurance is eligible for certain tax credits and cost sharing reductions.

Do these delays mean anything?  Are they simply what we should expect when any brand-new federal program takes effect?  Or, do they signify something deeper and more significant?

In announcing these postponements, the Administration cited considerations like “complexities” and “operational barriers.”  That may simply be CYA bureaucratic jargon devised by a regulator who dropped the ball.  Or, it may mean that the health care and health insurance markets in our country are a lot more complicated than proponents of the Affordable Care Act thought.

I’ve always been skeptical of the bold promises made by the President and congressional advocates of the Affordable Care Act, so take this with a grain of salt — but it seems to me if straightforward things like income verification and employer insurance verification haven’t been resolved in the years since the statute was enacted, much more complicated provisions of the Act might be in even greater jeopardy.  I know that the Administration and regulators are confidently telling us that the system will work fine once it takes effect . . . but then these same people assured us that the provisions that have now been delayed would be readily achievable.  Why do we think the “complexities” and “operational barriers” that are supposedly preventing some requirements from taking effect will be resolved in a year’s time?

As I mentioned, I was not an advocate of the Affordable Care Act, but it is the law of the land and therefore I hope it works.  With health care and health insurance being such huge elements of our economy, heaven help us if it doesn’t.

Delays, Delays . . . And Accountability

Today the Obama Administration announced — through a blog posting, of all things — that the “employer mandate” aspect of the Affordable Care Act law, also known as “Obamacare,” will be delayed by a year.

The “employer mandate” provision is supposed to penalize employers with more than 50 employees that do not provide certain minimum health insurance coverage for employees.  The provision was supposed to take effect in 2014, but now it will take effect in 2015.  The one-year delay was announced in a blog posting by an official in the Treasury Department.  The Obama Administration says the delay is the result of a “dialogue” with businesses about reporting requirements.  The “individual mandate,” on the other hand, remains unchanged.

Of course, people are already questioning whether the delay was politically motivated, with the Administration hoping to avoid fallout from business resistance to the new law.  My questions, however, are more fundamental.  The Affordable Care Act is supposed to be a federal statute.  How can the Administration simply delay the effect of the law through administrative fiat?  What kind of law is it that can be delayed through a blog posting by some functionary in an administrative department?

For that matter, doesn’t it seem awfully questionable to announce something so economically significant through a Treasury Department blog posting?  Is it possible that the Administration hoped that the announcement would escape any notice?  What’s the White House press secretary for, if not to address this kind of issue, publicly and transparently?

Set aside your views about the Affordable Care Act for a minute.  From a strict accountability standpoint, shouldn’t a decision affecting the implementation of a major, controversial statute be announced in a more open and honest way, in a context where the news media might be able to ask a question or two?  It seems that way to me.

The Miracle Of Modern Medical Technology

Yesterday our family had urgent need of our American medical system . . . and boy, did it ever deliver!

In our case, the medical problem was a blockage caused by a large blood clot in the brain.  A skilled surgeon was able to use a new, less invasive procedure — one that has been in use at the hospital for only about six months — to follow the blood vessel up into the brain and use suction to dislodge and then safely remove the clot.  The entire procedure took less than an hour and left the blood vessel and brain tissue undisturbed.

Americans often complain about the cost of our health care system, but we also should boast, even more frequently, about the amazing quality of the care it provides.  In our case, the very recent technological advances permitted a result that is nothing short of miraculous — and it was a result that wasn’t reserved for royalty or the super-rich, but instead was available to a worried family that brought a loved one to a neighborhood hospital in Columbus, Ohio.  Where would we be if our hospitals were not striving to provide the best care imaginable?

Without lapsing into the political realm, I think it’s fair to say that our experience is one of the reasons why the Affordable Care Act is of concern to so many people.  Yesterday, when time was of the essence, we received the care we needed immediately, without having to cut through red tape or waiting to receive bureaucratic approvals.  I’d hate to think that things might change that would change that result — or, in some way, remove the incentives that our hospitals have to purchase and use the space-age technology that consistently delivers the modern medical miracles to which we’ve become so accustomed — and for which we are so grateful.

Looking For A Quick, Clean Exit, Far Into The Future

How do you want your life to end?  An even more difficult question:  how do you want the lives of your loved ones to end?  An article in New York magazine, about a family’s struggle with their mother’s long, slow decline — and the related emotional and societal costs — raises those stark heartbreaking issues.

I think most people would like to go out like my grandfather did.  He lived to be 99, kept his mental and physical health until the end, then had a stroke while eating breakfast and died later that day.  No institutionalization.  No dementia.  No months or years of a twilight existence, apparently unaware of his surroundings, experiencing bedsores and diaper changes and incomprehension.

Of course, we don’t get to make stark choices between the ideal and the awful.  Instead, families deal with impossible judgment calls.  Should the frail 84-year-old woman with the bad hip endure the pain, or have an implant operation that could give her a pain-free existence — or produce a shock to the system that causes her to slide into an irreversible downward spiral?  If an elderly relative decides not to undertake life-extending treatment, should the grief-stricken children try to argue him out of his decision?  How should a family deal with an institutionalized Alzheimer’s victim in the bewildered, angry, unrecognizing end stages of mental decline and the guilt that comes from not wanting to see their relative in that terrible condition?

The author of the New York article yearns for a “death panel” — he calls it a “deliverance panel” — where family members could appeal for a relative’s death.  There’s a reason why the concept of such panels provoked such opposition during the recent debate on health care reform, however.  What modern Solomons would staff such panels?  The doctors who want to sharpen their skills at an aggressive life-extending procedure and get paid for their efforts?  The bureaucrat who sees his health care budget exploding and wants to rein in costs?  The hospital administrator who thinks the room the patient occupies could be better used by someone receiving more care and treatment?  The children who are heartsick about the potential loss, hoping for a miracle, guilt-ridden, exhausted, overwhelmed, and concerned about their inheritances, all at once?

There are no easy answers to these terrible issues.  I think the appropriate first step is for everyone to make their own decisions about their own care, when they are still healthy and capable of doing so, and memorialize those decisions in some kind of binding way so that their surviving relatives aren’t saddled with impossible choices.  Is the prospect of long-term institutional care and constant pain a source of unimaginable horror, or would you be willing to put up with it in order to meet your great-grandchildren?  Only the individual can know how much of a deviation from the ideal end-of-days scenario they are willing to endure.

At A Supreme Court Oral Argument

I’m glad people are paying attention to the arguments to the Supreme Court about the constitutionality of the health care law, and I think it’s great that some people waited in line for days to sit in the seats reserved for the general public.

I’ve had the privilege of watching oral argument to the Supreme Court on two occasions.  It is an awesome experience, from the long walk up the front steps and through the towering pillars to get into the building to the post-argument post mortem that begins as soon as the lawyers walk down those same front steps, debating the potential meaning of the questions posed by the Justices.  In the majestic chamber where arguments are presented, the Justices appear from behind a curtain to take their seats at the long bench, with the Chief Justice seated in the middle.  The lawyers present their positions, the members of the Court ask their probing hypotheticals — often jousting with each other in the guise of questioning the advocates — and the lawyers respond as best they can.  The entire process occurs with great dignity and solemnity, befitting the role of the highest court in the land.

After the arguments on the various legal issues presented by the health care law are concluded later this week, we’ll hear pundits talk about which side gave the better presentation, and we’ll know how the Court rules by the time its term ends in June.  For now, however, I hope people appreciate the marvelous nature of the process.  The fate of a hugely significant and hotly debated law will be decided by unelected judges based in part on oral arguments presented in measured tones in a quiet chamber that is open to all.

I wish more people went to see a Supreme Court argument when they visit Washington, D.C., because it tells you something very positive about our government and the central role of the rule of law in our country.

Up To The Supremes

The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to accept one of the appeals addressing President Obama’s health care statute, and thereby has set the stage for one of the most anticipated legal rulings in years.

In its order accepting the case, the Supreme Court identified four issues for the parties to brief and set aside five-and-a-half hours for oral argument.  Five and a half hours!  It’s an extraordinary amount of time, but why not?  The issues presented are titanic and unprecedented and could have far-reaching consequences.  Can the federal government require everyone to buy insurance?  If not, should the entire statute fall?  Should the Supreme Court even decide those issues on their merits, or should it wait for the law to be fully implemented?

Many people will focus on the political impact of any Supreme Court ruling on the health care statute, but I think the legal issues are of the most interest.  In many ways, the statute tests the outer limits of Congress’ power under our Constitution — if in fact there are any limits left.  The Supreme Court may well decide that issue come June.

Fat And Fairness — And The Federal Government

What to do to deal with the obesity epidemic in America?  (And not just in America, either — recent studies also are showing increasing obesity in places like Scotland.)  Normally you might say that the eating and exercise habits of individuals are their own business.  The problem, however, is that obesity, like smoking, is statistically likely to cause significant increases in health care costs.  And when most working people participate in group health care plans, where expensive health problems inevitably produce increased premium costs, individual cases of obesity and cigarette smoking end up being everybody’s problem.

The companies that sponsor group health plans for many Americans have tried to deal with this problem by sponsoring wellness programs and offering incentives to employee participation.  But you can’t force a person to exercise or quit smoking.  Now some companies are taking a harder line, and making obese employees and smokers pay more for health coverage to reflect their increased likelihood of incurring health care costs.  Predictably, those efforts are being met by questions about the legality of distinguishing between people on the basis of weight, whether the programs have a disproportionate impact on the poor, who are said to be unable to afford health clubs and good nutrition, and the propriety of companies getting into the personal lives of  employees.  Those on the other side of the debate argue that non-smoking, non-obese employees should not pay the tab for the risky, costly lifestyles of co-workers who can’t curb their appetites for cigarettes and sugar.

It will be interesting to see how this issue plays out — and even more interesting to see what happens if President Obama’s health care statute is upheld and the federal government becomes increasingly involved in health care.  Does anyone think that federal regulators, having been given the power to require people to buy health insurance, would hesitate to mandate certain kinds of individual behavior — like eating less, quitting smoking, and exercising regularly — and punish non-compliance in an attempt to hold down costs?

The “Health Care Reform” Law Hits The High Court

It is looking increasingly likely that Supreme Court will hear an appeal of the ever-controversial “health care reform” law, and soon.

Both sides to a lawsuit — the Department of Justice in favor of the law, and 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Businesses in opposition — have asked the Court to accept an appeal and decide whether the law should be upheld or struck down as unconstitutional.  The Supreme Court has the discretion to decline the appeal, but the fact that the appellate court declared the law unconstitutional, and the fact that both sides to the case are seeking review, should increase the chances the high court will hear the case.

Stripped of its partisan baggage, the appeal poses a fascinating legal issue:  how far does Congress’ power to regulate interstate commerce extend?  In prior cases, the Court has articulated an expansive view of that power.  However, opponents of the new law argue that this case is different because Congress — through the “individual mandate” provision that requires all citizens to buy health insurance — is for the first time assuming the power to compel unwilling citizens to engage in commerce.  Proponents of the law respond that, when it comes to health care, every living American is already affecting commerce, because those who don’t have insurance and then need health care are imposing economic burdens on the rest of us.  A Supreme Court decision on this issue would go a long way toward defining, once and for all, the full extent of Congress’ power to regulate the daily lives of Americans.

If the Supreme Court takes the appeal, it would be likely to rule in the summer of 2012 — just before a presidential election where the wisdom of the “health care reform” law is likely to be a very hot topic.  And the decision will come against the backdrop of a recent report that shows a sharp increase in health care costs, which undoubtedly will cause Republican candidates to blame the unpopular new law and redouble their attacks on it.

Who Is This Guy? (The Health Care Side)

The third part of the approach President Obama outlined in his fiscal policy speech on April 13 addressed health care costs.  He first contrasted his approach with his characterization of the Republican plan.  He said Republicans intended to reduce health care costs in the federal budget by “asking seniors and poor families” to pay the health care costs, whereas his approach would “lower[] the government’s health care bills by reducing the cost of health care itself.”

How to do so?  First, by reducing “wasteful subsidies and erroneous payments,” cutting “spending on prescription drugs by using Medicare’s purchasing power to drive greater efficiency and speed generic brands of medicine onto the market,” and working with governors “to demand more efficiency and accountability from Medicaid.”  Next, the government will “change the way we pay for health care” with “new incentives for doctors and hospitals to prevent injuries and improve results.”  Finally, “we will slow the growth of Medicare costs by strengthening an independent commission of doctors, nurses, medical experts and consumers who will look at all the evidence and recommend the best ways to reduce unnecessary spending while protecting access to the services that seniors need.”  These initiatives, the President said, will save $500 billion over the next 12 years.  And if those savings don’t materialize, “then this approach will give the independent commission the authority to make additional savings by further improving Medicare.”

This part of the speech seems completely inconsistent with a prior part of the same speech.  The President earlier observed:  “So because all this spending is popular with both Republicans and Democrats alike, and because nobody wants to pay higher taxes, politicians are often eager to feed the impression that solving the problem is just a matter of eliminating waste and abuse.  You’ll hear that phrase a lot.  ‘We just need to eliminate waste and abuse.’  The implication is that tackling the deficit issue won’t require tough choices.”

The clear implication of that passage is that promising savings from eliminating “waste, fraud and abuse” is not a serious approach to solving budget problems.  Yet isn’t that all that the President’s health care approach does?  Look again at the President’s proposed approach, and you’ll see plans to eliminate “wasteful subsidies and erroneous payments” (end waste), to demand more “efficiency and accountability from Medicaid” (prevent fraud), and to “improve results” while “reducing unnecessary spending” (avoid abuse).  It’s as if the two parts of the speech were written by two different speechwriters — or as if President Obama thinks that, just because he is the one making the proposal, the tired “waste, fraud and abuse” mantra has actual validity this time.

So, again, I am left to wonder what this President actually believes.  Does he believe that a deficit reduction plan that focuses on eliminating purported “waste, fraud, and abuse” is really no plan at all?  Or, does he truly think there is $500 billion in waste, fraud and abuse to be wrung from our health care spending — and if that is the case, why has that waste, fraud, and abuse been allowed to continue unabated during the first two years of his Presidency?

While we are asking questions, another fair question is whether the President honestly thinks that there is any real value in blue-ribbon commissions, when the political landscape is littered with the reports of prior blue-ribbon commissions that have been happily ignored by those in power.  And if the President does think such commissions are a powerful answer to problems, why does he hold that belief when he has pretty much ignored the recommendations of the Bowles-Simpson budget commission that he himself appointed?

Who Is This Guy?  (The Defense Side)

Who Is This Guy?  (The Spending Side)

Government By Waiver

One of the more troubling aspects of the “health care reform” legislation enacted into law last year has been the ability of companies and unions to get waivers that relieve them from having to comply with certain aspects of the law.  The waivers relate to provisions of the law that prevent plans from using high deductibles or low annual limits to control benefits.  Unfortunately, many plans need such provisions to manage costs; without those provisions, employers and unions would need to jettison their plans as unaffordable.

The Department of Health and Human Services may waive those provisions for certain employer and union plans.  The HHS website explains that, to be eligible for a waiver, the plan must certify “that a waiver is necessary to prevent either a large increase in premiums or a significant decrease in access to coverage” and must inform plan enrollees “that their plan does not meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.”  Whether to grant the requested waiver then seems to be entrusted to the discretion of the HHS and its Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius.  To date, 733 company and union plans, covering 2.1 million Americans, have received waivers.

This concept of “government by waiver” is troubling.  I’m skeptical of the claims of some conservatives, who believe that the waivers are being handed out as rewards for prior political support.  I do, however, question a process that allows unelected bureaucrats to grants waivers from a law that is supposed to apply to everyone.  The waiver process is symptomatic of the accumulation of power in the Department of Health and Human Services that seems to be the true hallmark of the “health care reform” legislation. If the law remains in force, Americans will need to get used to the idea that HHS will be making all kinds of decisions that have a direct impact on our health care.

In addition, what does it say about this hastily drafted, poorly considered law that more than 700 plans have certified that one of the law’s provisions will either vastly increase costs or cause coverage to be sharply curtailed?  Does anyone doubt that, if all American businesses had been aware of the possibility of obtaining waivers, that 700 number would have been multiplied by a significant factor?  It also is worth noting that the waivers aren’t limited to small, Mom and Pop plans.  To the contrary, some of the plans that have received waivers have hundreds of thousands of participants.  According to the HHS website, the plans that have received waivers include the United Federation of Teachers Welfare Fund (351,000 participants), CIGNA (265,000 participants), Aetna (209,000 participants), and BCS Insurance (115,000 participants).  Given these waivers, how can the proponents of the “health care reform” legislation continue to contend that the legislation will neither increase costs nor reduce coverage?  By granting the waivers, the bureaucrats at HHS are admitting that the exact opposite will occur if the law is enforced as written.

Close to Home

Bob and I have probably blogged the heck out of the health insurance issue, but here’s a story that hits close to home.

The other night at dinner I sat next to my nephew who happens to run his own pizza shop here in Columbus. He doesn’t have the luxury of working for a big corporation with a group insurance plan or a mid-size business that might offer their employees health insurance. He has four employees who are young like he is and don’t want coverage cause they are all healthy, but he has to carry his own insurance, because he is not quite twenty five and has a pre-existing condition called crohn’s disease.

Currently he pays $350 per month, that’s $4,200 a year for medical coverage that is not all that great and they keep raising his premiums. So he is trying to do what any smart businessman would do, try to find better coverage at a lower cost to reduce his out of pocket expenses.

Unfortunately he is not having much luck because when he puts down crohn’s on his health questionnaire  so far each and every insurance carrier will offer him medical coverage with an attached exclusion that no claims related to his crohn’s disease will be covered even though he is taking medication to control his condition. I could tell he was visibly frustrated by this.

He asked me if I knew what the age was for dependents to be covered under their parents plan with the passage of the Health Care Reform Act and I told him it was twenty six so he has asked his mother if she would call and add him to their policy.

There will be no cost to his parents because their two daughters are currently covered and they have family coverage through his dad’s employer. By doing this he said it will give him more time to try to find better coverage as opposed to paying the high premiums for his current plan not to mention saving the premiums he would have to pay for the next year or so.

I’ve read Bob’s blog about the government statistics being unrealistic, however having been a medical underwriter for many years for a large insurance company here in Columbus I don’t agree with Bob’s conclusions. Most people are probably not aware that height and weight are a major reason why people can’t get health insurance and it has been mentioned recently that by 2015 three out of four Americans will be over weight.

Another condition which makes it hard for a very large number of individuals to get medical coverage is high blood pressure. It’s estimated that 65 million Americans have high blood pressure and from my experience most are not even aware they have this condition.

Of course being America everyone is entitled to there opinion and Bob to his, but I saw an article on the internet the other day that census bureau statistics through 2009 showed 50.7 million Americans with no health insurance coverage and in my mind there is just something terribly wrong with that.

Making A Statement And Fulfilling A Promise

The House of Representatives, now under Republican control, has passed legislation to repeal the “health care reform” legislation passed by the last Congress.  Democrats in the Senate, who control that chamber, are saying that repeal legislation will never come to the floor for a vote — and, of course, President Obama would be expected to veto any repeal legislation that would happen to reach his desk.

So, was the House vote a waste of time?  I don’t think so.  By voting to repeal the “health care reform” legislation, the Republican majority was fulfilling a campaign promise.  We should applaud politicians who do so, not condemn them.  The general public would have a more favorable view of politicians generally if more politicians actually tried to keep their promises.  By acting so promptly, the Republicans are demonstrating that elections have consequences.  And, of course, you never know whether political pressure will build on the Senate to consider some form of repeal legislation.  If Democrats in the Senate consider the legislation to be such a great success, why should they duck a vote on its proposed repeal?

Now that the Republicans in the House have met one of their promises, they need to turn to working on the others.  If I had a vote, I would urge them to focus on deficit reduction and a careful analysis of potential federal spending cuts.