Jack Gutschenritter: Hate the name, love the act

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The term Obamacare is a derogatory reference to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act about a universal health care plan that actually is quite good. For those not paying close attention, it was passed in 2010 and has provisions that come into play in future years.

Conservatives recently lost a huge Supreme Court challenge to the passing of the act. They now are focused on a personal vendetta against Chief Justice John Roberts, who they think let them down.

Certainly this was the case last week when the Steamboat Institute’s 1773 Club (a reference to the Boston Tea Party and taking our country back) held an evening discussion with Ilya Shapiro, of the Cato Institute. The guest speaker tried hard to find reasons why the act never should have passed and how the recent Supreme Court ruling in favor of the constitutionality of the act is crazy. He only was talking sense if you had a predisposition of hatred toward government involvement in anything (including health care). The 1773 Club seemed to like him.

I genuinely don’t know the true motivation of those who continue to bash the PPACA. I suspect the reasoning is not the same for everyone. Some people don’t like any kind of government intervention, and others may not want the Democrats to get credit for such a huge accomplishment. One thing I know to be true is that the public is being done a great disservice by Republican/conservative propaganda machines like Karl Rove’s American Crossroads organization. His shrewd, conniving campaigns to mislead the public completely for the benefit of his own political party is detrimental to the health and solidarity of this country. He destroys patriotism under the guise of being patriotic. He received $25 million from unnamed sources to create propaganda against several Democratic accomplishments, including universal health care.

As an example, I received a forwarded email from a friend who tried to alarm people that, as of 2013, everyone will pay a 3.8 percent sales tax on any home sales per Obamacare. It went on and on with multiple paragraphs about how we all should be up in arms and fighting to repeal Obamacare. It encouraged everyone to forward the email every week until the November elections are over to ensure Obama is removed from office.

I challenge anyone to find this in the PPACA document. You can search for words within the document. Those words are not there.

The truth is that there is a House Resolution No. 4872 that enacts an investment income tax on home sale profits to help fund Medicare. It applies only to the top 3 percent income earners and is based only on the profit made on the sale of a house after certain exclusions ($500,000 per couple exclusion). Ninety-seven percent of the public is not even in the applicable income range, and not many people actually are making money on the sale of their house these days.

I encourage everyone to read the document to see for themselves that this act is not a crazy man’s act. It is a good program that addresses issues of insurance and provider profiteering, neediness, unfair insurance practices, fraud, etc.

A few good reasons to enjoy the PPACA:

■ It disallows insurance companies from considering prior health conditions of the applicant.

■ It eliminates those without insurance from abusing the emergency room at great cost to the public.

■ It extends the coverage of children covered under your insurance plan from 21 to 26 years of age.

■ You can keep your current plan with the above improvements.

■ It eliminates the possibility of an individual or family from going bankrupt or homeless as a result of medical expenses.

■ It requires those making in excess of a minimum income and who refuse to get private insurance to pay into the government system.

This isn’t a bad start to a reasonable universal health care plan. It will be tweaked and massaged in coming years, but why attempt to repeal it?

Mitt Romney says he will kill the PPACA on his first day in office if elected. This is very odd because the act is nearly identical to the State Healthcare Plan of Massachusetts enacted by Romney when he was governor. I guess he is one of those who doesn’t like that the act was passed under a Democratic president. Concern for his party is more important than concern for the public.

Jack Gutschenritter

Steamboat Springs

Comments

mark hartless 2 years, 4 months ago

One need only look at the government's record with respect to: -The US Postal Service -Border control - Gun-running ops - Amtrack - The War on Drugs - The War on Poverty - The Public Fool System" - Fannie Mae - Cash-for-Cunkers - Etc, Etc, Etc
From this we can know that Government health-care will be the same huge success it is in most other nations who have tried it.

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John Weibel 2 years, 4 months ago

The label of health care is a bad one also as it is sick care. Many of today's problems are cause by the Farm Bill's promotion of nutrient depleted foods.

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Joe Meglen 2 years, 4 months ago

Jack,

Although there may be some good ideas in the “Affordable” Health Care Act, it doesn’t change the fact that nowhere in the Constitution is congress given the authority to provide health care. The federal government’s authority is specific, and limited. Like cancer, the federal government has grown far beyond the scope of what the founders hand in mind. They would not be turning in their graves, they would be spinning.

Just because only the top 3% will pay the hidden taxes you mention in your article doesn’t change the fact that to give free “health care” to someone you must first confiscate the money from someone else. This is theft. It is immoral and unconstitutional to tax one group more than another. Given the financial condition of our economy, and therefore the united States, to talk about who is going to pay for the socialized “health care bill” is like passengers on the Titanic figuring out who is going to tip to the waiters serving the drinks.

This county is broke. The fiat money Ponzi scheme called the Western Banking System collapsed September 2008, as did our debt based economy along with it. We are at a crisis in this country and congress concentrates on grabbing more power by socializing medicine? The problem with health care in this country is the government. If health care is to be fixed, we need to get government out of the way.

"The purpose of government is to allow those that control it to plunder those that don't." ... J. Meglen

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Jack Gutschenritter 2 years, 4 months ago

Mark, Thank you for your comment. I can't respond to every item you list, and I know from seeing your name elsewhere that you enjoy poking mercilessly at the federal government so it is not productive for me to expend too much time responding. But there are 2 points I will make: 1. I don't see everything you list as a failure. A few of the items you listed are not actually even run by the federal government. 2. Two examples you did not mention are Medicare and Medicaid which are closer to the point. Both relate to healthcare, and both are actually relatively successful if you consider the cost of care growth compared to private insurance. Aggressive profiteering in the private sector has driven insurance costs and actual care costs for the past several years. The profiteering has been extremely destructive to individuals. The PPACA addresses this and the result will be lower cost for better or at least comparable care.

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Jack Gutschenritter 2 years, 4 months ago

Joe, I am not in a position to argue factually about the constitution. While you may be very well educated on the subject and you may be right, I don’t accept your premise that it is unconstitutional without knowing more. The Cato Institute speaker I referred to was not convincing and seemed biased toward an outcome.

What is well known by most educated people is that health care insurance costs, and cost of actual care given has skyrocketed in the past 10-15 years. It is not because we now have CT and MR diagnostic suites that cost a millions… these tools actually reduce net cost. It is not because doctor salaries are increasing unscrupulously. It is… 1. Private company (Hospitals/Insurance providers) greed and profiteering. 2. Unreasonable, unjustified, and extremely costly care given in the last 30 days of life. 78% of all healthcare costs for an individual occur in the last year of life… much of the 78% is in the last 30 days of life.

How can we stop this craziness? I see no answers that don’t involve government intervention. None of us loves big government, but this is a situation that calls for an urgent solution. The PPACA seems extremely well thought out and addresses profiteering as one aspect of control. The negative spinners will bring up death squads. This is crap thrown out to the public to stir emotions. The truth is that reasonable decision making has to be used in end of life situations or we will all pay through the nose for healthcare. Cancer is one of the biggest causes of abuse. Hopeless cases are routinely treated beyond reason and at great expense and suffering of the patient. People just like you and me, caught in the emotion of the moment, too often opt for doing everything possible to prolong life. Many times this is done against the will of the patient.

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Joe Meglen 2 years, 4 months ago

Jack,

We agree that health care is a mess. We disagree on how we got here. The health care industry is a cartel of health insurance providers, and the pharmaceutical companies. These cartels gain their monopolies by owning the politicians. This is why health insurance is limited to just a few providers in each state, and this is why patented drugs can cost 200% more in the U.S. than Canada. The “Affordable” Health Care Act was written by an army of lobbyists that work for Big Health and Big Pharma. This is why the grifters in DC did not read, nor understand the bill. It didn’t matter to them. Our representatives work for the big moneyed interests that give them the funds to keep being reelected. The goal was not to provide more affordable health care with greater access. If it were, doctors would have been consulted as part of the process and eliminating monopolies would have been a priority. They weren’t. The goal was to enrich the health industry providers while transferring enormous additional power to the federal government to control the people. Government, including state government, is the problem with the high cost and limited access to health care. They way to start fixing health care in this country is to get government out of the health care business.

I have several good friends who were fortunate enough to be able to escape the U.S.S.R. a few years before the collapse. They point out to me that they had universal “free” health care (as did Hitler’s Nazi Germany). The problem was that it took forever to see a doctor, medication was not available and if you needed surgery for even critical conditions, you had to wait years. Of course, like our own ruling elite, the Communist and Nazi Party members were exempt from the government plans.

If the health care bill was so great, congress would not have exempted itself from being part of it.

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Kevin Nerney 2 years, 4 months ago

Well said Joe M. Jack since you brought up cancer do you think rates will be on the rise with "Obamacare" or will the scam finally come to an end. Color me skeptical but I think the survival rate has increased because Drs. say you have cancer when you may not actually have it then after treating you and making a fortune off the drug kickback they say "great the cancer is gone." How come a guys back in the day were able to cure polio, mumps, measles etc. etc. without the vast knowledge and assistants' of computers (and limited financial resources) yet today after spending billions of dollars and I'm sure just as many hours they can't cure just one of the numerous illnesses classified as the big C. I have feeling that when uncle sam starts to foot the bill for extremely expensive drug medication treatment Big pharma will start to lose money because the government will not cover certain drug regiments.

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mark hartless 2 years, 4 months ago

Jack, I do indeed enjoy "poking mercilessly at the federal government", as you so aptly put it. In fact, "mercilessly poking" is probably the only thing that I and the federal government have in common. They poke me, I poke back... all in a days work.

And the fun doesn't stop there! Local and state governments offer an almost endless diversion from the feds.

Your response to Joe tells me all I need to know. You are admittedly ignorant of the Constitution but not surprisingly uninterested in a remedy to that particular malady, which not only has you in it's grip, but is sweeping across this nation like the plague.

Stacking your new-found "solutions" up on the deck of a sinking ship, which is what this nation is apart from the Constitution, is foolhardy. The temporal, unstable nature of a democracy operating outside the Constitution, coupled with the tendancy of such forms of governance to topple suddeenly and violently, pretty much insures that while you may see government health-care implemented, you will absolutely, positively NEVER live to see it succeed. Far more likely is that it's implementation will result in a lower standard of living, not only for you, but for your childern and grandchildren.

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mark hartless 2 years, 4 months ago

I got this e-mail earlier today. A quote from Donald Trump. Seems relevant to this subject...

"Let me get this straight . . .. We're going to be "gifted" with a health care plan we are forced to purchase and fined if we don't, Which purportedly covers at least ten million more people, without adding a single new doctor, but provides for 16,000 new IRS agents, written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn't understand it, passed by a Congress that didn't read it (but exempted themselves from it), and signed by a Dumbo President who smokes, with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn't pay his taxes, for which we'll be taxed for four years before any benefits take effect, by a congress which has already bankrupted Social Security and Medicare, all to be overseen by an obese surgeon general and financed by a country that's broke!!

What the hell could possibly go wrong?"

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cindy constantine 2 years, 4 months ago

Thanks, Mark! Concise and to the point----sooooooo "Trumpish"

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 4 months ago

FYI, the 3.8% capital gains tax. It will be a part of Medicare, for those with higher incomes. Consumer Reports issued this useful review which seems non-partisan:

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/06/update-on-health-care-reform/index.htm

Including: "New Medicare tax for high earners. Two Medicare-related taxes will impact high earners in 2013. Individuals earning over $200,000 (or $250,000 for couples who file jointly) will see their Medicare payroll tax rate increase from 1.45 percent to 2.35 percent. They’ll also pay a new 3.8 percent Medicare tax on unearned income, including investments, interest, dividends, annuities, rent, royalties, certain capital gains and inactive businesses. Read more about Medicare. Exceptions to the unearned-income tax. It does not apply to the sale of your principal residence—unless your capital gain on the house is more than $250,000 for single filers and $500,000 for married couples filing jointly. And even then, it applies only to the capital gain in excess of those amounts. So, for instance, a single filer who made a $300,000 profit on a house sale would only pay the tax on $50,000. Also exempt from the new tax: income from tax-exempt bonds, veteran’s benefits, and qualified retirement plan distributions such as those from an IRA or 401(k)."

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Robert Dippold 2 years, 4 months ago

Jack, Thank you for your well thought out letter. I make my living selling products abroad so my perspective is maybe a little different. U.S. politics is a common topic with my international business associates. While I love my country, I am not blind, deaf and naive enough to think that everything we do in this country is the best. The notion that our health care system is the envy of the world is simply not true. Most people from developed countries find the notion of the U.S. not having a health care system for all as being uncivilized and inconsistent with being a developed country and I happen to agree with them. Who knows what the founding fathers would think about what is going on. I'm not going to take a literal interpretation of something that was written 200+ years ago just like a don't take a literal interpretation of something that was written 2000 years ago. I think national health care is consistent with the Declaration of Independence. The first part of the DOI is about a vision for the way a "man" deserves to live. Before we start complaining about all the ways England oppresses us it starts off by stating that we believe all men are created equal and that each of us has a right to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I think equal access to health care for all could be construed as equality of men to pursue life. The concept of health care for all is a good concept. You can't really be against it can you? It is just how we go about getting there. I believe in taking a step forward instead of standing still and I'm proud of this country for taking the step towards health care for all. Hope to meet you down the road Jack.

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Joe Meglen 2 years, 4 months ago

Robert,

The Constituion and Bill of Rights were written to memorialize our unalienable rights. The founders intended for the Constitution to be interpreted literally, for the purpose was to protect the individual from the government. Our rights don't come from government and these rights are not subject to change. Health care is not a right, it is a privilege. If the government provides it for free it must first confiscate the money from someone else. This is theft. The Constitution was written to prevent such an attack on property rights.

Our socialized public school system has done an effective job in indoctrinating several generations now. Quoting Karl Marx: “From those according to their ability, to those according to their needs.” This is collectivism and it is the antithesis of the principles these united States were founded on.

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Robert Dippold 2 years, 4 months ago

Joe,

I understand your opinion. Many people have the opinion the Old Testament should be taken literally also. I just don't believe in a literal interpretation of something that was written so long ago. Would our founding fathers, over 200 years later, have written a different Constitution and Bill of Rights with the benefit of hindsight? To assume that all the endorsers of these 2 documents were of the exact same belief 200+ years ago is speculation and contrary to historical record. To think that they would be on the same page today without a need for change to the documents seems unlikely. (Remember, we have some slave owners in the bunch). I understand your opinion about health care not being a right and that it is a privilege. This is an opinion that I just don't share and the majority of the people of developed nations do not share. I am assuming that the majority of Americans don't share it either with regards to their parents or else we wouldn't have Medicare. There is so much propaganda around this subject, as the author of this post has pointed out, that nationalized health care is being positioned as something dramatically different than what our seniors have today. I am not scared of our country changing and evolving and I don't believe this makes me less of an American. I see nationalized medicine similar to nationalized roads. The government provides the framework and the majority of the actual work is carried out by private enterprise. I think Jack, the author of this post was quite accurate that people that are opposing this concept, for whatever reason are using charged words to rally people around a cause. Is this socialism, yes it is. So are roads without tolls. So are schools. So is Medicare and a host of other things the government is involved in. There is no perfect system. Our current health system is in need of change so that we can become a more civilized nation, in my opinion and I believe that healthcare should be a right of all Americans. Thanks for your opinions Joe.

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Rob Douglas 2 years, 4 months ago

Robert,

You write: "Would our founding fathers, over 200 years later, have written a different Constitution and Bill of Rights with the benefit of hindsight?"

The Framers of the Constitution would chuckle at your question and point out that there is no need to think about what they would currently do - "with the benefit of hindsight" - because they had the foresight to include Article V to the Constitution.

To ignore the amendment process as contained in Article V and argue that the federal government can do whatever it pleases outside the confines of the Constitution - because in your view the Constitution is antiquated - is to argue for mob rule and anarchy. Sadly, that is a fairly accurate description of where we are today. It is also - as the Founders and Framers understood from personal experience - a dangerous path to tread.

Be careful. Today, you may be with the mob. Tomorrow, it may be the mob who demands the government come looking for you.

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Joe Meglen 2 years, 4 months ago

Bob,

It is not about health care, it is about freedom.

Socialists, be they Fabian, Fascist or Communists, try to discredit the Constitution by referring to it as an old fashioned document written by privileged white men, some which were slave owners, who could not possibly envision how society would evolve 225 year later. Since the Constitution and Bill of Rights place strict limits on government to protect individual rights, statists of every persuasion have to discredit it. The “old quaint document” argument is well covered in today’s government schools. The problem with a “living breathing” Constitution is that the rule of law then becomes whatever the political animals say it is, which is whatever they can get away with.

I have the advantage in that my understanding of government started to change when I was drafted in 1969. It began to dawn on me at the time that the government might not have my best interests at heart. When you are conscripted into the military, you are a slave. When the government confiscates your wages through taxes, inflation or by saddling you with debt you never agreed to, you are enslaved - even if these thefts are for the “collective good”.

You state that “the majority of people in the developed nations” don’t agree with my position on socialized health care. This may be for my thinking is often at odds with the collective. Have you noticed that the majority of these “developed nations”, including our own, are irreversibly bankrupt? That is the ultimate fate of the welfare/warfare state.

“The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” … Margaret Thatcher …

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jerry carlton 2 years, 4 months ago

Robert I am sorry you do not belive in something written 2000 years ago. I assume that you are refering to the Bible. For some reason, today in our country people are afraid to use the words Bible and Jesus Christ. Might have something to do with the ACLU. It might serve you well to read some of the Old Testament and see the similarties between the United States and Israel. I will not wade in on the healthcare debate because I agree that the U.S. system sucks and I am on Medicare. If more people believed in Jesus Christ they would not be hanging on to life so hard knowing that their soul is going to a far better place. I will pray for you.

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Robert Dippold 2 years, 4 months ago

Hi Jerry, Always nice to know that someone out there is caring for someone beyond themselves. Thanks for praying for me. Hope to meet you someday. Bob

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Kevin Nerney 2 years, 4 months ago

Jerry- just tell people to read "The Harbinger". written by a Jewish rabbi. Saves the trouble of reading the Old Testatment . He did the work for you comparing the US and 9/11 to Israel.

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jerry carlton 2 years, 4 months ago

Kevin Thanks for the tip. I will get that and read it. Still like for people to go to the source info because then maybe they will continue into the New Testament and have hope for something more than this world and this short life.

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rhys jones 2 years, 4 months ago

In the City of God there will be a great thunder, Two brothers torn apart by Chaos, while the fortress endures, the great leader will succumb, The third big war will begin when the big city is burning.

  • Nostradamus 1654
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J.R. Thompson 11 months, 2 weeks ago

I am a 44 year old who hasn't been to a doctor in 20 years (knock on wood). I believe in preventative medicine. MY HEALTH INSURANCE IS GOING UP IN PRICE. A lot! It sucks! Im a struggling small business owner having a hard time making ends meet.

However, there's always been something in the back of my mind. How could the wealthiest Nation in the world refuse medical insurance to people with PRE-EXISTING medical conditions? People who are suffering the most! People suffering from conditions like cancer, arthritis, migraines, life-long back rehabilitation (from a car accident), just to mention a few... Just seems to me our citizens deserve better.

Even with my preventative health approach I am well aware I could get in a bad accident requiring medical attention throughout the rest of my lifetime. Under the current system this was a frightening scenario! Insurance companies had the right to flat out deny me! Wow, America the beautiful?

I know the ACA has some major issues! Not everyone is going to benefit from it. But this is why I am on board- Insurance companies can NO LONGER deny Americans with PRE-EXISTING conditions.

I ask you to do one thing. Ask someone you know who has a PRE-EXISTING medical condition what they think of the ACA?

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