Jack Gutschenritter: Obamacare blocks insurance profiteers

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As I read the opinions and related comments about Obamacare, I cannot help but want to shake some people awake. The public “clarity of thought” needs to improve on this subject.

I have sat on management boards where for several years consecutively we were faced with outrageous health care insurance premium increases … like 25 percent per year. This was just a few years ago. It was ridiculous.

It is not a coincidence that the biggest, fanciest buildings being built/occupied were owned by these same insurance companies. These companies are mentioned in newspaper articles for being the greatest places to work because they offered free restaurant-quality meals at lunch to all employees, beautiful workout facilities for employees, a whole string of perks most businesses can’t even think of offering and executive salaries that were outrageous.

The situation was simply mega-profit taking, and we the public were being held hostage. This is why the government had to step in for the public interest.

Obamacare fixes the profiteering, and the insurance industry hates it. They despise it. They throw money at politicians’ re-election campaigns to stop it. They hire lobbyists to disable it. The lobbyists hire shills to rabble-rouse and get susceptible people fired up to fight against their own best interest.

The shills put labels on it of “Big Government,” “Another Government Program” and “Public Handouts.” Certain people of susceptibility in our society buy this rhetoric, get angry and speak out against Obamacare, just as the shills designed their actions to do. The health insurance companies get their money’s worth out of their lobbyists when private individuals start pressuring for essentially what the insurance companies want and previously had (huge profits). This is the tried and true methodology used since Karl Rove and the Koch brothers made it a popular strategy.

GOP governors are also doing their best to make Obamacare fail for political reasons. While all states were encouraged to set up insurance exchanges, many GOP states chose not to. This greatly impedes private individuals from benefiting from the Affordable Care Act. This is sheer political motivation at play, at the expense of citizenry. And many people living in those states don’t even understand what their governors did to them.

Certain insurance companies have sent cancellation notices to policy holders. The motive again is to sabotage Obamacare. My insurance company has not done this, and I am free to choose insurance coverage of my choice. It is hugely important that existing conditions are no longer legally allowed for consideration when buying insurance, past claims cannot impact future premiums, and children younger than age 26 can be covered on their parent’s plan (it is not free, as some erroneously say).

This is not a government-run insurance program as some would have you think. It is a government-facilitated program limiting private profit taking, to allow affordable access to private health care insurance.

I urge my friends to see what is really going on here and not to buy the line of those that would love to get back to making huge profits in health care. Just to be clear … it is not our hospitals and caregivers that are the villains here. It is the insurance industry and those groups and political parties that choose to align themselves with them.

Jack Gutschenritter

Steamboat Springs

Comments

Ken Collins 4 months, 1 week ago

For GOP governors to hold out on the Federal help for people getting a chance to get health care or better coverage is unbelievable. It's done to make a political point. Gov. Perry of Texas is the prime example of the state with the highest uncovered citizenry in America and yet, the guy who couldn't remember three things in a Presidential debate, is the roadblock for his own Texans to get insurance. Make no mistake, like Jack writes, the biggest villains in this situation are the insurance companies themselves. Can you really believe those people have your best interests in mind? Do you expect them to give up all they've gotten from decades of gouging the American people with out a fight. It turning out that most of the people who may be losing their policies, are finding out that the policies were practically worthless except for a narrow coverage plan. The insurance companies are throwing tens of millions at the fight. Maybe they should take that money and lower your premiums.

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Martha D Young 4 months, 1 week ago

Thank you Jack and Ken. The insurance industry is an unregulated for-profit industry that gouges their insured clients by charging higher premiums and raising deductibles. They extract contracts from providers, then pay them less than their regular rates, thereby claiming to be saving money for their clients.Denied payments for medical care are rampant. From time to time the salaries paid to insurance companies' CEOs are published. They are beyond appalling. The necessity of having health insurance holds us all hostage to an industry with outrageous practices that border on criminal.

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Stephen Jones 4 months, 1 week ago

Jack, Ken, Martha, Kevin. It simply says a lot about a government and political party in the guise of fixing healthcare that they gut the working medical side. With distain of working together with the opposing political party to get real fixes step by step. Mid night passage and the then house leader's famous now words she likely eats every day "We Need to Pass This Bill to see what's in it! A disgusting situation for which all of America is now paying. Not to mention the lying going on in the administration. Life should not be this way. Folks on both sides need to find a way to work together. Great Jack you have the experience you site. Do not doubt others with different experiences. For profit companies are what has made America GREAT!

Thank you

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john bailey 4 months, 1 week ago

its a stool sample....it would seem to me to be all about the lawyers along with the insurance companies, starting with the idiot who spilled the hot coffee in her lap. has there been one incident that caused so much as this one before ?

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mark hartless 4 months, 1 week ago

Insurance companies may no longer make a profit? Yeah, right.

Check back on that one in a few years. I'll bet you any amount you wish that they are making RECORD profits.

Whether they realize a profit or loss is not the concern, unless you just hate capitalism.

The question is whether or not YOUR healthcare costs have gone down. Why don't you folks take a deep breath and hold it in real tight until medical costs go down under Obamacare. If what Jack says is true it's all going to work out fine, just wait and see...

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Karl Koehler 4 months, 1 week ago

I agree with Comrade Jack. We simply cannot tolerate profit-taking in a free market economy. Why next thing you know some people will have nice places to work with good benefits and maybe even completely unnecessary and socially unjustifiable perks! And then they'll want nice places to live and before you know it we've got resort communities. I say we need even more "government-facilitated programs" (good phrase - I'm going to use that) that ok, just might increase costs for everyone a teensy little bit, but more importantly limit private profit taking! That, after all, is what government should be doing. From each according to his ability, to each according to his need!

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mark hartless 4 months ago

You know, you rarely hear the anti capitalist crowd bitchin' 'bout the obscene profits made in Hollywood... or by trial lawyers who bring frivilous medical cases... or about the obscene salaries of government workers (even if the salaries are spread amoung 20 people doing 3 people's job)... or about the tax write-offs for celebrities who own "farms"... or about the San Fransisco drug addict that used his SSI check to buy drugs and make an obscene profit re-selling them on the street... or...

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john bailey 4 months ago

or the surfer-rocker-dude whose only job is to play guitar meet hot chicks and collect his welfare benies . oh xit , why did I ever go to school to learn a trade that pays well ? when the construction jobs are there. I coulda beena a nobody........ at least I got HULA.....

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Fred Duckels 4 months ago

Jack , Having one's name on a building denotes strength and is good advertising but seldom do they own the building, Often they are the predominant renter. I suppose that it is hard for elites basking in their superiority to swallow a debacle by third world standards without finding someone responsible. Obama read about it in the paper as he does with every embarrassing product of his doing. The insurance companies came on board after they were promised a profit which makes them subservient to the government and no longer independent so they are now in the fold They dare not refuse coverage to anyone not signed up by Jan. 1 in order to cover the "liar of the year" by politifacts opinion's but. They now are a ward of the state.

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Brian Kotowski 4 months ago

People who lost their coverage are "thrilled" dontchya know. Can someone explain why this harpy still has a gig? And why her boss is never held accountable for anything?

That was rhetorical, of course. It will be interesting to see how much longer the President's lapdog media will continue to peddle this boondoggle and how much longer the sheeple will keep lining up at the public trough without ever considering how it's being filled.

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Brian Kotowski 4 months ago

The so called "fact checking" site Politifact has identified its Lie Of The Year. 4 years after bleating from atop the Ocare bandwagon.

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Ken Collins 4 months ago

JB, MH, KK, FD and BK, I'll take Obama's "Miscalculation of the Year" over the Lie that GeorgeWCheneyRumsfeldCardWolfawitz told us back in 2002 that got America in a war that killed 4500+ Americans, wounded 40k more and killed over a 100k Iraqis, cost us a few trillion dollars and recruited thousands of new terrorists, broke up countless families, putting many vets on the streets and still is causing thousands of military suicides every year. Let's keep things in perspective, please.

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Michael Bird 4 months ago

Jack, May we deal with facts. Insurance companies ARE regulated. Their profits are regulated. Do State Farm,Allstate,Farmers,Hartford,Geico,Progressive,Prudential, Travelers -and the list goes on and on - sell health insurance ? The answer is a resounding no. Whoops ! If insurance companies are in the business of making a profit ( and they are ), and health insurance is mega-profitable, isn't it common sense that these and many other insurance companies would sell health insurance. Prudential, State Farm and most insurance companies that previously sold health insurance exited from health insurance years ago. Another fact - as all medical providers greatly increase their charges, premiums must be proportionally increased - remember insurance company profits are regulated unlike the profession or industry you were most likely in. Compare the profits of pharma,oil,tech, and most other unregulated industries. Just do it. Stock brokers do every day. Over decades, rarely has an insurance stock been a recommended buy. Yet the medical field has consistently been recommended. Today health and bio tech remain highly recommended mutual funds or ETFs but not insurance ones. The stock market is neutral. The big fancy buildings with great employee perks belong to Google,Microsoft, Facebook, Cisco,Intel, and some other unregulated tech firms so who the heck were you writing about?

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Brian Kotowski 4 months ago

Absolutely brilliant, Ken. Dumb down the President's fraud with gradeschool semantics, followed by 'look at what that other guy did.' Doublespeak and obfuscation: the last refuge of the malfeasant.

By the way, isn't it just awesome how the President nuked that Pakistani wedding party the other day? And that Club Gitmo is still entertaining favored guests? And that extraordinary rendition is still the law of the land? For the low-information voters among us, extraordinary rendition is the Presidentially approved procedure by which we ship those we don't like to places like Egypt where they are introduced to the persuasive entreaties of electrocution and genital mutilation with red-hot needles and razor blades. When GeorgeWCheneyRumsfeldCardWolfawitz [sic] did it, it was evil. With ObamaHolderBiden at the helm, it's enlightened!

Keep that sheeple suit cleaned & pressed, Ken. You wear it well.

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Dan Kuechenmeister 4 months ago

Mr Collins, I am assuming the "lie" you are referring to is regards weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Once again according to you it is all the GPO's fault. Never mind that the likes of Lieberman, Feinstein, Miluski, Daschle and Kerry signed a letter asking for "necessary actions" to be taken because of Iraq's refusal to end it's weapons of mass destruction program in 1998. in 2001 the likes of Bob Graham,Lieberman, Harold Ford, Tom Lantos signed a letter regards Iraq and WMDs. In 2002 we have Tom Harkin and Arlen Spector, we have Barbara Boxer, we have Robert Byrd, we have wesley Clark, we have Jacques Chirac, we have Hillary Clinton. I could go on but by now the point is made. As I said earlier on a different thread regards your editorial there appears to be plenty of blame to go around but it appears from your perspective the left and the Dems are blameless for pretty much anything. Wasn't it you accusing another poster of bringing civil discourse to a new level. Would be an interesting competition? Did Bush "lie" about WMDs vs. did Obama "lie" about "if you like your plan you can keep your plan, if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor, period". I am not thinking too many people would consider Obama's stand a "miscalculation".

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john bailey 4 months ago

Ken, In perspective , how many more would perhaps had been killed on our soil? you take the fight to your enemies , on their soil. sadly fighting these terrorist will go on forever...even the domestic ones.~'0)

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mark hartless 4 months ago

Ken is actually right about the Iraq war. Made more terrorists than it killed, most likely. Cost a huge amount of money, no doubt. Didn't help this nation one little bit. Ditto for Afghanistan, methinks. Hell, for that matter we haven't fought to win a war, nor have we won any since 1945.

I don't know if we should have, but we certainly could have nuked the bastards for a lot less trouble.

However, defending the corruption, lying, free market tampering and hapless stupidity of the current president by pointing to the corruption, lying, free market tampering and hapless stupidity of a past president is, it would seem to me, a tactic of children... ("but heeeee started it...") Grow up and call spades spades.

Alas, that's all we seem to get anymore. No democrat willing to admit Obama is a lying sack of S**t. No republican willing to admit GW Bush was, before Obama, the spendingist president in the history of the republic. Sad really; both sides right down there in the sewer defending indefensible, harmful, even criminal acts while claiming the high ground.

As master Yoda might put it: Fooling themselves, they are.

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rhys jones 4 months ago

I really don't think any rookie politicians in Washington went there intending to become a lying crook -- except those born into it, so it's a way of life -- but once they get there, they learn how the game is played, and where the power lies -- so they do what they're told, like good puppets. This phenomenon transcends party lines. Same crap happens, whatever dupe gets blamed. When NOBODY does what they say they will -- and EVERYBODY gives us at least one new war -- don't you start to smell a rat?

Oh yeah -- Obama said he'd give us health care -- such as it is. My comments refer to world policies. There will not be peace until everybody has an account in a Federal Reserve bank.

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mark hartless 4 months ago

Nobody goes to washington a "rookie". Least of all Obama. He graduated from the Saul Alinski school long before the sheeple sent him to DC. The "rookies" are the dupes that put this man in the white house without knowing his background. Of all the people that voted for this man, I'll wager anything you want that 99.9% wouldn't know who Saul Alinski ius if their life depended on it.

The Federal Reserve, the chief war machine of the planet, wouldn't be my last hope to bring any peace, Rhys.

This season holds out an answer for those who seek true peace.

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Kevin Nerney 4 months ago

Michael," rarely has an insurance stock been a recommended buy." I wish I would have read "The Davis Dynasty"by John Rothchild years ago. Shelby Davis and his sons and grandkids have made billions with a "B" investing in insurance companies. Most people know who Warren Buffet is and that he made his money in Insurance companies. Just a few quotes from the book to make my point. "His stake in 32 insurance co. was worth $1.6 million so his original $50k had multiplied thirty-twofold. "Davis's insurance portfolio added $500 million to his net worth in the 1980's." "Buffet bought 500,000 shares (of GEICO)at 2 and left a standing order for millions more. The price quadrupled from 2 to 8$ a share."
So yeah I guess you're tight there's no money in regulated insurance companies.

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Michael Bird 4 months ago

Kevin,Your write about Property/Casualty insurance companies and I wrote about health insurance. GEICO has never sold health insurance nor has Buffett been involved with it. There is money in regulated insurance companies. I never said, or even inferred, that there isn't. If there weren't, they could not exist. Look at Davis's porfolio over the decades - see any health insurance stocks ?. If there were mega-profits, don't you think that GEICO etc. would be jumping into this market. After all, they are in business to make a profit ? Does your Auto/HO company ( company not agent ) sell health insurance ? I bet not. Check the ROI (return on income ) of insurance companies compared to similarly sized industries and you'll see why buyers prefer tech, bio-tech,commodies, financials,oil, almost anything over them over the decades. Read the top ten financial newsletters, Money, or Kiplinger's financial magazines and you don't see insurance mutual funds/ETFs in their top recommended holdings and this has been true for decades. Just some thoughts for your consideration.

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Thomss Steele 4 months ago

I don't support Obama Care mainly because we are forced by our Government to do something we may not want to do. Also we were LIED to about the great benefits of this failed plan. We all believe that we needed reform especially the profiteering by insurance companies and allowing preexisting condition patients the ability to participate. We also need competirion across state lines for these companies to allow the fee market a chane to regulate premiums. No one likes being like lied to especially by the president. We were all bamboozled.

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mark hartless 4 months ago

"We were all bamboozled".???

Hardly. This was as predictable as the tides in two specific ways.

First, gubbamint has the "inverse Midas touch"; everything it touches turns to... well... not gold.

Second, Obama is a student of Saul Alinski. Anyone who has studied this man knows that deception and double-talk are standard operating proceedure. If you don't know who Alinski is, but you voted for Obama anyway then you are, in my opinion, a fool who deserves exactly what you get.

It is that group that I most enjoy seeing getting screwed by the man they haplessly chanted for; "O-BA-MA!" O-BA-MA!" knowing nothing and caring nothing of his easily discoverable background.

Others knew exactly who they were dancing with when they cast their vote and, having little if any morals, they welcome tactics (means) such as these so long as their pollitical goals (ends) are achieved.

To suggest we were ALL fooled and that it is the fault of Obama alone is simply incorrect.

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David Ihde 4 months ago

@ Ken Collins:

Excuse me? Who shoved this law down our throats against our will? Now your are blaming republicans for the disastrous rollout and implementation? And now you want their help, when you dissed them entirely when shoving this stupid law down the American peoples throat? You got to be hiding me. Get a clue! And just because you think you have improved the uninsured situation with this law, it is turning out to be just the opposite. And not only because of the increased costs (promised to be otherwise BTW) but doctors and hospitals are either left out of this program, opting out of this program or leaving the industry altogether! How doe that help? Just because you have insurance does not mean you have healthcare. And you are lying through your teeth when you say most people are finding out that their plans were practically worthless when they lost them. No industry could have survived to date with that kind of customer service! You are extremely naïve if you think that the government has your best interest at heart more than an insurance company who has to compete for your business. Government can only control costs through rationing and you will find out the hard way about how cruel that is. And guess who will now be partying on your dime when the government takes over healthcare? The government! Look no further than the IRS and GAO party scandals! Only this time you will have nowhere to go. Maybe they (the insurance companies) should take that money and lower our premiums? Maybe you and the government should mind your own business instead! Premiums were lower when you did! Reference my response to your "other" party letter I posted today too.

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David Ihde 4 months ago

BTW, insurance company profits average about 7% industry wide. That compares with 11% for Dow Jones companies on average and 20% for companies like Apple. Now who is gouging who?

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Michael Bird 4 months ago

David, Thank you for the facts which are easily obtainable. Gouging,profiteering, are continuously spouted by the ignorant. Of course insurance companies make a profit.. Unlike other companies, however, their rates,premiums, and thus profits are regulated by each State in which they operate. Notice that no one responds to why State Farm,Allstate,Hartford, etc. do not sell health insurance. It is the continuously low profit margin or they would have kept offering it , such as State farm, Travelers, Hartford, etc. or they would enter the health insurance field if it were "mega-profitable".

Opinions are needed. Opinions filled with incorrect statements, errors, and emotion do not advance knowledge nor contribute to solutions. The author,Jack, of this initial letter to the Pilot " speakith noth of which he knows". Apologies to Shakespear.

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Steve Lewis 4 months ago

I went back through a decade of premiums we paid for our health insurance. The average annual increase in premiums over that period was 11% per year. The early payments covered a household of 4, while most covered a household of 2, so the inflation is actually a little higher. This June the premiums jumped 20%. The June before they jumped 19%. That trend is simply not sustainable. It would ruin us and many other families. Many businesses could not sustain that trend either.

That seems an obvious fact, and a problem worthy of national and state attention. There have to be better constraints on this inflation.

After surviving the Colorado websites, I am encouraged by my experience with Colorado's exchange. It offers across the board standardizations and far more shopper information than was available before. That clearer picture of the product makes for smarter buyers and should increase the competition between insurers.

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Jack Gutschenritter 4 months ago

I want to address insurance company profitability.

Example: Anthem Blue Cross (A Colorado provider) They are owned by Wellpoint Health Networks. WellPoint, Inc. is the largest managed health care, for-profit company in the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Use financial info for stock code WLP.

2005, Net Income = $2.46 Billion (5.5% of Sales)

Rising to

2009, Net Income = $4.75Billion (7.3% of Sales)

Then Net Income dropped…

2010, Net Income = $2.89 Billion (4.9% of Sales)

2011, Net Income = $2.65 Billion (4.4% of Sales)

2012, Net Income = $2.66 Billion (4.3% of Sales)

For those of you not used to looking at financial performance numbers, looking at Net Income as a percent of Sales can be deceiving. An increase from 5.5% to 7.3% looks like less than 2 percentage points, big deal. It is a huge deal. I invite you to search for stories about this company during the years of interest. You will find public reports of highly aggressive price increases, cancellation of policies for those needing healthcare coverage the worst, several state lawsuits regarding price gouging, and on and on.

This company spent 2.3 Million dollars to influence politicians to kill the ACA in 2010.

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mark hartless 4 months ago

Every single bit of that might be true.

The questions many people have is 1) Why must that automatically translate into a multi-thousand page, indecipherable monstrosity called Obamacare? 2) Why anyone in their right mind wants to put the same agency in charge of your heart operation that can't run Amtrack, USPS, etc?

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mark hartless 4 months ago

I suspect that many fans of Obamacare have an insatiable desire to screw any entity they see as "profiteers". This is a prevelant characteristic for many on the far left. They hate the idea of profit and hate most anyone who makes a profit, no matter what industry.

This translates into a willingness on their part to subject themselves (and of course everyone else) to what has historically been utterly disastrous, state-run economies.

Further muddying their water is the notion that if anything, anywhere, ever, ever, ever ought to be non-profit and purely philanthropic, surely it should be healthcare.

I believe their hatred for 'profiteers", coupled with their ignorance of the historical realities of economics so blinds them that they are willing to chance utter destruction; and that is exactly what they have done.

They do not want to hear anyone tell them how profit and what they call "greed" are actually good. How they motivate, spurr innovation, foster competition, strengthen and inspire. They do not want to admit that this motivation houses more people, feeds more people, lifts more people out of squalor, cures more diseases, and ultimately saves, improves and prolongs more lives than all the non-profit, charitable, and government action ever could; and it's not even close!

All they know is that it somehow just doesn't feel right to profit from someones medical needs, and they have their insurance bill to prove it.

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Dan Kuechenmeister 4 months ago

Who is John Galt? “So you think that money is the root of all evil? [...] Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can't exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?” ― Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

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Jack Gutschenritter 4 months ago

The message you repeat is that of the lobbyists and shills. The govt is going to manage your heart surgery... really. I can't believe that you really think that. But the insurance industry loves having you out there tooting their horn. They pay good money for that. What about the fictional death squads?

look... Nobody touts that the more govt involvement the better, so stop attributing that to anybody of any party. Everybody generally thinks profit is great. I love profits. If this were Hollywood, sports, automotive, or plumbing supply profits there would be no discussion and I would join in applauding the company's fine efforts. So stop attributing that to people you don't know.

Analogous to antitrust laws, government does need to be involved where private entities become abusive or as a whole are doing something counter to the best interest of society. Healthcare differs from Hollywood. You can choose not to go to a movie. For many people insurance is life or death. For many management teams it is a labor contract clause to provide health insurance. The union doesn't care about the cost, and the Insurance company knows that, so they jack the price 25% year over year. People that have paid premiums for 30 years suddenly get cancer so they become unprofitable... they get dropped. No other Insurance company will pick them up due to existing conditions. The person dies, or loses their home trying to pay the medical bills. These examples could be you or your neighbors. It is real and it is happening. Most reasonable people would say maybe the govt is appropriately getting involved in the way they are. The insurance and the providers are still for the most part private, and they are allowed reasonable profits.

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mark hartless 4 months ago

What the heck do you MEAN "nobody touts ... more government involvement..."??? That is EXACTLY what you are doing, pilgrim.

"... government does need to be involved where private entities become abusive or... counter to ... best interest of society." Who is saying what's "abusive" or "counter to"??? You??? Because, if that's the criteria I would like to file a complaint against an "abusive" and Counter to society" government.

Insurance is NOT "life or death" That's a total lie. Anyone, with or WITHOUT insurance gets treatment at any hospital.

I agree that many folks lose their life savings from a system which is currently intangible. But you are wrong that "most people say that government is appropriately getting involved..." The truth is that the majority say the EXACT OPPOSITE. People are walking away from Obama, and his healthcare "solution" like beachcombers running from a tsunami.

Your last phrase says it all... "...they (insurance companies) are allowed reasonable profits..." Who in the heck are YOU, or congress-critter so-and-so, to say what is "reasonable"???

I will take your own words here as an admission that your letter title "Obamacare Blocks Insurance Profiteers" is inaccurate, and that you already admit it should be ammended to read "Obamacare insures that insurers WILL make profits".

Your solution is government. Government is corrupt. Therefore, your solution is corrupt.

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Jack Gutschenritter 4 months ago

Mark. Wow. I hardly know how or whether to respond. You lack any reasonable frame of reference. Your responses make you sound like a hillbilly hermit that has withdrawn from society. I don't think I can deal with that.

Before I sign off, I will just make you aware that you will not get all treatments you might need to prolong your life from a hospital for free. If you have cancer and require Chemotherapy, Radiation Therapy, Targeted Therapy or Transplantation... If you need a major surgery, hospice care, palliative care... if you need long term medical care... good luck with the free service expectation.

If you don't know why antitrust legislation was needed to be introduced by the govt, I can't converse with you.

If you don't know how to quantify "reasonable profits", you are simply removed from reality and don't seem to care to rejoin by asking questions.

I am signing off from you and wish you all the best in your existence.

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mark hartless 4 months ago

You will not get all the treatment you need to prolong your life from government for free either, Jack.

I understand anti-trust. I understand a need for government. Unfortunately, there are those who think that if a sip of cool water is good we should automatically run right out and find a firehose to stick into our mouths. Government is too big, Jack. Sip-good. Firehose-bad. Get it?

Please describe to me who is the arbiter of "reasonable" when it comes to profits, Jack. Do Health insurance companies make as much profit as the NFL? As MGM? As Michael Jordan? As Google? Who's gonna set the "reasonable profits" standard for THOSE endeavors? How 'bout a "reasonable wage" for people like yourself? Do you REALLY need that Christmas bonus-or is that bonus causing some other poor souls costs to go up too much??? You think it is ok for insurance companies but not for your Christmas bonus???

By empowering government to correct a market problem, you are loosing a force onto society for the purpose of iron-fistedly ruling over one specific area of discomfort; but that force is not going to heel and hapily return to it's cage. It's eventually going to come for YOUR profits too, Jack... and everyone elses.

And it is incorrect grammar to say "get it FOR free". You can get it "for nothing" or you can get something "free" but not "for free". But what do I know, as a hill-billy?

Before you sign off you really ought to correct your letter to the Pilot from "Obamacare Blocks Insurance Profiteers" to "Obamacare Decides Insurance Profits"

I'll publicly wager you right now that insurance companies are making MORE profits in 1, 2, and 5 years than they are today; and that they are doing so as yet another protected racket of Uncle Scam.

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Jack Gutschenritter 4 months ago

I will take that bet. The whole point of the Act is to reduce profiteering and to make insurance coverage affordable.

One of the provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is that it limits the profits of health insurance companies. The ACA imposes a minimum medical loss ratio (MLR) on all insurers. The MLR is the amount of money spent on covered person medical care divided by the total revenue received through premiums.

The ACA requires health insurers in the individual and small group market to spend 80 percent of their premiums (after subtracting taxes and regulatory fees) on medical costs. The corresponding figure for large groups is 85 percent. According to a recent Kaiser tracking poll, 60 percent of the public views the MLR concept favorably, although only 38 percent was aware that the provision is in the ACA. Insurance brokers may be getting squeezed for insurers to meet this amount.

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john bailey 4 months ago

sure ,Jack , what ever you say. stool sample I tell ya.....~;0) hulahula

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Joe Meglen 4 months ago

Jack,

The ACA was not written by the political cockroaches that infest Washington, DC. The ACA was written by Big Pharmaceutical and the five health insurance giants. Then our corrupt Congress made it mandatory that every American buy health insurance. The reason that our "representatives" that passed this law didn't read it is because they didn't need to. They followed instructions from those corporations that own them. Obamacare doesn’t block “insurance profiteers”. It guarantees and increases their profits. When corporations control government, corporations become government. This is Fascism. Under Fascism the individual is only useful when he can be plundered on behalf of the state. Obamacare is a transfer of wealth from the people to Big Insurance and Big Pharma.

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mark hartless 4 months ago

I used to charge $4 for my widget.

I made $3 profit on each one.

Life was good.

Government stepped in and said I could no longer make an "obscene profit" of 75%.

They said I could only make 35% profit; any more than that was "profiteering".

So... I raised the price of my widgets to $9 each.

My company used much of that price increase lobbying congress-critters for new regulations making it harder for competitors to start widget factories, thereby allowing me to be a monopoly and sustain my new $9 price.

The company then takes a large chunk of the revenue increase and buys out our widget competitors, ensuring price stability indefinitely.

The company spends the rest of the revenue increase on employee benefits, new cars for all the staff, more of everything that I can deduct from my company expenses BEFORE I have to consider it "profit".

Now I make $3.15 / widget. Life for me is even better now! Thanks Uncle Scam!!

I conformed to the government's new rule; now only making 35% "profit".

Who got screwed? People who have to have widgets or die.

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mark hartless 4 months ago

Not bad for a "hill-billy", hum?

I can see it now...! Move over Duck boys, "Widget Dynasty" here I come!!

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Steve Lewis 4 months ago

Our existing health insurance provider has been calling us 2 and 3 times a week. If the ACA was such a boon to my carrier, why is that carrier trying so hard to sell us his product that is not part of the new insurance exchange? Joe if you are right and the carriers control and love the ACA, why is my phone ringing?

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Jack Gutschenritter 4 months ago

Mark, Hmmm... the analogy doesn't work.

The minimum medical loss ratio requirement in the ACA means the payout for medical expenses must be at least 80-85% (private vs group policies) of the sum of the policy premiums. This defines how much room a company has for "expenses", employee benefits, perks, and executive salaries. Your widget story is completely off base for the ACA situation.

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Ken Collins 4 months ago

If you sell a widget for $4 and made a profit of $3, that means it cost you $1 to make & promote the widget. A $3 dollar profit on a $1 cost is not a 75% profit. It IS an "obscene" 300% profit. Keep selling those widgets, Mark. Maybe Google will buy you out someday.

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mark hartless 4 months ago

300%...?? Wow, that's even better than I thought!!

I'm gonna be rich!!

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Joe Meglen 4 months ago

Steve,

The understanding that corporate monied interests captured and control government is a matter of fact, not opinion. This truth goes back to the lead-up-to, and was the real cause of the “Civil War” that killed Federalism and the founder’s vision of bottom up government. The lessons taught in our civics classes about how the government operates is a myth. The following article explains who wrote Obamacare. Make sure you page down and watch the video expose by Bill Moyers:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/dec/05/obamacare-fowler-lobbyist-industry1

Health insurance agents and brokers are a casualty of Obamacare. They are being squeezed out. It is understandable that your agent/broker is anxious to sell health insurance. Your agent’s future is quite uncertain. The article at the link that follows addresses this issue:

http://content.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2013623,00.html

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Jack Gutschenritter 4 months ago

Joe, I find myself surprisingly in agreement with most of what you say above. The govt corruption by moneyed interests is sickening. And I am all about exposing how the public is defrauded by this activity. However... the guardian article is way off base.

First... the Guardian is saying how there was no public option for healthcare because industry reps were involved in writing the Act. Really? As most have said in this set of commentaries, they don't want a public option.

Second... the article and Bill Moyers ascribes evil motivation to the people involved in writing the Act, because they come from the insurance industry. One can easily generalize and make this bad assumption. But the facts are quite different. Fowler came from the industry (only 2 years) but wanted desperately to change it. Her motivations were pure. Read about her in other articles (even one link in the guardian article shows her in a highly favorable light). The profits of her ex-employer (Wellpoint) are much lower after 2010, and the long term fix is in place to limit insurance company profits by a very specific formula to which I have referred before. So Fowler is no Industry puppet.

Also in 2010, 75% of the money Wellpoint spent via lobbyists and PACs went to Republicans to fight the Act being passed.

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Joe Meglen 4 months ago

Jack,

Since you agree that the government is controlled by big corporate monied interests, and state yourself that: “The govt corruption by moneyed interests is sickening.” do you think that the spawning of the ACA is an exception? Do you think that this time noble politicians created this unconstitutional law because they were looking out for the best interests of the people?

Most of us have passed through the government controlled public school system. The government school system purpose is not to educate, but to indoctrinate. Between the socialized school system and the controlled corporate mainstream media, Americans have been well conditioned to support the ruling class that pulls the strings behind the curtain. A growing minority do not take everything the politicians, government, or their mainstream media propaganda arm, state at face value. This growing minority now questions everything for they have grown to realize that the real purpose of government is to allow those that control it to plunder those that don’t. Once a person comes to this realization, then all the insanity we observe in Washington, DC. sadly makes sense. The Big Health Industry lobbyists, along with their fleet of attorneys, wrote the ACA. That is why actually improving healthcare and making it more affordable was never addressed in the bill. Improved affordable healthcare was not the goal. The goal was to give Big Health a monopoly forcing people to pay for health care insurance to boost Big Health Industry profits. We now have a Fascist healthcare system in the United States. Fascism is not in the best interests of the individual. Just the opposite is true.

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john bailey 4 months ago

what did the emperor change today to this stinking pile of poop ?

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john bailey 4 months ago

you betcha Jack! they don't let me tell em how to spend the taxes I give em why should they tell me how to spend the rest of it on Health care. Sheeple ba baaaaa

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Jack Gutschenritter 4 months ago

John, I was actually referring to Joe's negative "I am a victim and can't do anything about it" type of wisdom. But you probably agree with him. I am blown away by the defeatism. There are positive things happening, but if all one sees is negativism, then that defines ones life. That is the press you will believe. That is the outcome you are essentially ensuring. It takes a lot of positive people to counteract this force. All the best...

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john bailey 4 months ago

Jack , the reply doesn't work for you either ? no I don't agree with Joe I am never a victim I pay for what I need and nothing more. now a days anyway , I tighten my belt when needed. I had a work ethic instilled in me by my parents at a young age and it's still working for me to this day , little slower than I used to be but ain't we all,. just quit giving everything away , makes for a lousy citizen . when the money runs out what then? they've bled us dry , whose to pay for the entitlements ? all the best to you, and (excuse me) Merry Christmas to you and yours...~;0)

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Jack Gutschenritter 4 months ago

Merry Christmas to you John and everyone revisiting this thread. Those on this thread have some real differences, but I purport to set them aside and move on.

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Dan Shores 4 months ago

Thank you for your article Jack. Notice how there are many who complain about the ACA but non of them have any solution to the problem which is, how to guarantee the right of every American to have access to health insurance, even with a pre- existing condition. This is the intent of the legislation and this point seems to get lost in all the partisan bickering. You first have to ask yourself this fundamental question, do you believe that access to health insurance is a right or a privilege. If you believe that it is a privilege then of course you would be against the ACA. If you believe that it is a right, then you should support the law or come up with a better solution. Both parties have recognized this problem in the past and that's why the republican solution was the individual mandate as implemented in Massachusetts by then governor Mitt Romney. This is the role of government, to step in when the free market cannot provide a necessary service. The issue of the cost is the second part of the puzzle and needs to be addressed. The President actually favored the public option or a single payer system both of which were denied by the republican party.

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mark hartless 3 months, 4 weeks ago

I don't find the "right of every American to have health insurance..." anywhere in the Constitution, Dan. Would you kindly point us to where we might find that "right" enumerated in the U.S. Constitution?

Your assertion that anyone oppoesd to this particular "solution" must, by default, be opposed to improving healthcare in America is a typical tactic of the "partisan[s]" you criticize.

Other solutions have been offered in the above comments, as well as on the national stage. Many of us believe that these other solutions were not genuinely explored, much less embraced because, contrary to your assertion, the primary "intent" of Obamacare is NOT "solution" to the problem, rather an avenue to a government takeover of a huge portion of the economy, as well as means for wresting inordinate amounts of personal freedom from each and every American forever, and ever, and ever (ie THE wet dream of big government).

Your assertion of the "role of government to step in..." takes a big leap in assuming that the free market can not provide a necessary service. The truth is, Dan, that a truly "free market" solution has most certainly NOT been tried, and is not wanted by most in power, especially leftists, statists, progressives. They can not find free market solutions to this, or any other problem, for the same reason that a bank robber can not find a police station.

If the American peole would ever wake up enough to compare the actual RESULTS of many government "solutions" with their professed and proclaimed INTENT, they would see that many "solutions" have been foisted on the people of this nation, only to realize decades and billions of wasted dollars later that their RESULTS were wretchedly ineffective at best; and in many cases compounded and exacerbated the problems they purportedly INTENDED to solve.

The contrast between INTENT and RESULT of gubbamint programs could be the subject of a rather extensive book, and should be more dominant in the considerations of those who defend ever-increasing government on the feeble grounds if INTENT. Many of these champoins go from one failed "solution" to the next-like Locusts- never looking back to see whether the chain of events they set in motion actually did what they promised.

A truly honest reflection on the success/intent ratio of their past expirements is needed.

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Karl Koehler 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Bingoh-so-close Dan! Your question almost gets to the crux of the issue. I'm of the opinion that "access to health insurance" is clearly not a right. In response to those who'd argue it is I'd ask, "Says who or according to what?" Do we hold this right to be self evident? That all men should have access to health insurance? Is it a god-given right? Is it a logical outcome of the application of some sort of natural law? Is it a right only for Americans? A right of freedom? A human right? A property right? If it's a right then why should it be limited in any way shape or form and why should different degrees or levels of the right be granted to different people (bronze v. platinum)? Do the unborn have this right? No Dan, it's not a right. It's a nice thought, and one facet of the utopian's unsustainable dream, but in my opinion it's not a right. I wonder whether you really mean "access to health insurance." I think what you really might be arguing for is the idea that access to health care is a right. And then the question becomes if access to health care is a right, why should anybody, ever, anywhere have to pay for any of their healthcare needs to be met? After all, it's a right! It seems that approach hasn't worked out so well say for example in Great Britain with the NHS. The internet is filled with stories of "subpar" healthcare being provided to people under that system. Unless of course you mean to argue that we all have the right to crappy health care and the duty to our fellow man to put up it. Jack I know you're not a comrade and that was a cheap shot. Please accept my apology and thanks for writing a letter that fostered some thinking and an informative exchange of ideas. Merry Christmas to all!

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Kevin Nerney 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Another question I have is if it is a right to have health care or that it is right to have health insurance is at issue why did it take 2700 plus pages to illuminate that fact? The founding fathers spelled out at least 10 rights in the bill of rights and that only took several pages. Not very long ago car insurance wasn't demanded by every state but today it is. All 50 states that require car insurance probably don't use 2700 pages combined. Is there that much legaleze involved? Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.

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john bailey 3 months, 4 weeks ago

HEY , PILOT WHATS UP WITH THE REPLY FUNCTION ? more than a few of us have asked this question , give us an answer , please. Kevin , you nailed it , its the freeking lawyers , we are so quick to sue for the littlest thing. that's my fix TORT reform , a few lawyers at the bottom of the pool is a good start......hulawannahulamyahula ~;0)

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jerry carlton 3 months, 4 weeks ago

John Good solution but replace "few lawyers at the bottom of the pool" with most lawyers at the bottom of the ocean. First ones in are all members of any level of government that are Lawyers. The VERY FIRST ones are all members of the SENATE and HOUSE that are Lawyers and that includes retirees. We could start reducing the federal debt then.

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mark hartless 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Karl properly questions how healthcare, or even health insurance could be a right. I agree generally with his assesment.

There are many good, needful, humane things on this earth. There existence and their "goodness" does not make them "rights". Things like healthcare, "living wage", housing, etc are not and can not be "rights".

One limiting factor with most true human "rights" is that it requires little or nothing from one's fellow man. For example, one's right to speak does not require another to listen. One's right to keep arms does not require them to be purchased by others; you want a gun you buy it. Ones right to be free from unreasonable search and seizeure- same thing.

Contrarily, when one espouses a "right" to healthcare, they are saying that they have the authority to compel someone else to pay for that healthcare. As much as healthcare might be good, and needed, and a very humane thing, (and I totally agree that it is) one simply can not make the case that one person ought to be empowered with the "right" to compel another to provide it.

When people espouse a right to anything that requires another's labor to provide, that person is ultimately claiming a right to make another person their slave.

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Dan Shores 3 months, 4 weeks ago

I'm glad we are now discussing the fundamental question with regard to the administration of health care to all Americans. As I said, this to me is the fundamental question. I don't expect everyone to agree with me that all American's should have the right to receive health care at an affordable price. I never said it was a part of the constitution. I still think it is a moral obligation of a just and civilized society that every citizen should have access to affordable health care. If you think that access to affordable health care is a privilege that only some people can afford, then so be it. If that is your view then of course you would be opposed to the ACA. It is my view that sometimes the free market pure form of capitalism must be considered along with morality. For instance, the most effective pure capitalist avenue for accumulating wealth would be to rob banks. very little capital investment required, some considerable risk but a huge profit potential as long as you don't consider morality. In addition, if the work force has access to affordable health care then there are more healthy people that can be productive and provide goods and services that contribute to the greater good of the society. This would also reduce the overall costs since their are more healthy people who require fewer heath services. I still haven't heard any solutions being offered to controlling the cost of health care and providing more of it. I have only heard vague references to some proposals that were never tried or considered. Why Mark, would the left be opposed to a free market solution? I wouldn't be. So what are those proposals and why isn't the opposition party promoting their "better" idea on how to solve the problem. It is also a fact that both parties agreed that the pre-existing condition exclusion was an issue and that's why the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, came up with the idea of the individual mandate that is now being opposed by conservative groups. After all, this is a conservative idea, that everyone pay their own way. Let's see if we can stick to just the issue of health care and not get distracted and start discussing the constitution or reproductive rights or when life begins. We could go on forever.

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mark hartless 3 months, 4 weeks ago

"For instance, the most effective pure capitalist avenue for accumulating wealth would be to rob banks. "

NO, Dan. This is NOT what "Free Market" is. What you describe is theft, and it is illegal for a reason. In a robbery, the bank teller or store clerk says "please don't kill me!". Thr robber says "thanks for the cash!".

In the free market the clerk behind the counter says "thanks for your business" and the customer says "thank YOU" to the clerk. That's because BOTH parties believe themselves to be better off having made the VOLUNTARY transaction.

Free Market is NOT theft, Dan. It is unfortunate you can so easily equate the two.

I also find it both laughable and terribly alarming that you would propose involving the government in 1/6th of the US economy while isolation that discussion from the question of it's Constitutionality.

Frankly, the public's willful disregard for the Constitution in the application of governance is precisely why healthcare (and so many other things in America) are as screwed up as they are.

The Constitution is a "Thou Shalt Not..." list, addressed NOT to the people, but to the government. It explains in no uncertain terms where government power ends. Why therefore, would any sensible person propose govbernment act in ways outside that document?

The problem with so many in both pollitical parties (they are not "opposition parties") and outside of government (like Dan) is that they want to work on the machine that IS our nation with little or no knoweledge of it's owners/operators manual (The Constitution). Then, when the timing chain or carbeurators are all out of sinc, and the machine isn't working they wonder why and propose more "fixes" that are clearly opposed to the owners manual they never bothered to read.

Yes, a more healthy work force would be good. Yes, people not losing their homes due to health concerns would be good. Yes, healthcare for all should be a priority for all compassionate Americans. But this, like anything else does not happen in a vacuum. Taking $$$ from one individual, even for an altruistic and noble purpose, STILL deprives that person of resources. Who is Dan, or government to know whether that deprived person might have used that $$$ to better HIS family; to save HIS loved one from illness; to educate HIS kids; to invent the next cure for cancer, etc???

When society parts men from the rightful fruits of their labor it sets in motion alterations to that society that carry highly negative ramifications. Perhaps unintended, but consequences nonetheless. Too many like Dan whistle past these consequences wearing glasses shaded in the mono-tone of they good they apparently believe is taking place in a vacuum.

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Joe Meglen 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Mark,

You politely and completely dismantle Dan’s positions. As you understand too well, it is quite uncomfortable for people to consider positions based on facts that differ from their world view. The majority don’t realize that the Constitution has its basis in Lockean Natural Rights. When the self ownership and freedom recognized in the Constitution are not understood, then the principles upon which the United States were founded are lost. The declaration that health care is a right demonstrates a lack of understanding of what rights actually are. Government does not create or give rights. Rights come from an authority superior to government and these rights existed prior to the writing of the Constitution. The Constitution is the enemy of the state for it protects individual freedom and places strict limits on government. The state has been effective in conditioning its subjects. Your posts hopefully enlighten some.

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Chris Hadlock 3 months, 4 weeks ago

While I know that you love all of your "unconstitutional" arguments and have all become very vocal about your beliefs that this terrible health care law but you have two very major problems with your complaints.

1st, The Supreme Court has already found the law to be within the bounds of the law with the minor exception about coercing the states over accepting the Medicaid. Whatever "beliefs" that you have about the constitution I am fairly sure that Supreme Court decisions trump your "belief".

2nd, A very brief reading of the actual clause in the constitution clearly gives the Federal Government the right to lay and collect taxes for the general welfare of the United States. If you can find a way to show me how healthcare does not qualify as the "general welfare" of the United States, I am willing to listen but it seems pretty clear to me.

"The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States"

Regardless of your belief system about the ACA, I think it is time to put aside your arguments about the constitution. The Supreme Court has spoken.

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Joe Meglen 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Chris,

Any reference I make regarding what is, or is not, constitutional predates Lincoln’s unconstitutional war that killed state’s rights, Jeffersonian Federalism along with 700,000 plus Americans. All three branches of the federal government are now hopelessly corrupt. This includes the Supreme Court. The justices of the Supreme Court are nothing more than political appointees. They are federal employees that work for the government. When “interpreting” the Constitution the court routinely finds the unconstitutional to be constitutional. Using all manner of twisted logic this court consistently finds more power for the federal government and less freedom for the individual. With the death of state’s rights following Lincoln’s illegal war, there was no longer a check on the growth of the federal government. The Constitution as it exists today is emasculated bearing little relationship to the original document and intent. Without the restraint of the Constitution, most of what the federal government now does is “legal” but “unlawful”.

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mark hartless 3 months, 4 weeks ago

It was Obama himself, during the last presidential debate, who claimed to have grown fond of the term "Obamacare", but who has now, much like the ever decreasing number of dupes that defend him, started referring to it as the ACA. If it's still so great why are you guys not still proudly calling it Obamacare?

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mark hartless 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Joe,

Thanks.

More than picking at one single issue, whether it be as large as Obamacare or as small as the City of Steamboat outlawing plastic bags, my primary intent in most of my comments is predominantly to have people think about the proper role of government and the negative ramifications of allowing this dangerous force out of it's box.

Alas, many will never get it. They will never understand true freedom. Their indifference almost certainly ensures that this nation's best, freest days are behind us now.

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mark hartless 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Oh, hey...

Chris or Dan...

One quick question: How many legs does a dog have if you count the tail as a leg?

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Chris Hadlock 3 months, 4 weeks ago

4 Mark, a tail is not a leg as everyone knows.

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.

I did not write these words, the founders did and they are a direct quote from the "Actual" Constitution. Please explain to me how health care cannot be considered as part of the "general welfare" clause.

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jerry carlton 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Chris Explain to me why congress and the president gets gold plated health care insurance paid for by we the taxpayers and we the taxpayers get crap for health care insurance?

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mark hartless 3 months, 4 weeks ago

So, if calling a tail a leg does not make it so, then why must calling something "constitutional" guarantee that it is right and just? And if it IS just, why, as Jerry asks, isn't it good enough for everyone?

You present the equal protection issue above, then defend a pollitical system which is blatantly ignoring that very law.

Exemptions are sent forth hither and yon to all the pollitical buddies, leaving you and me in the lurch ("suckin' hind tit", as they say down south) and yet your support remains steadfast.

Ever heard of "Stockholm Syndrome"??

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mark hartless 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 (1857), was a landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court held that African Americans, whether slave or free, could not be American citizens and therefore had no standing to sue in federal court. Was that right or just?

Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. 162 (1875), is a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held that the Constitution did not grant women the right to vote. Was this right or just?

Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), is a landmark United States Supreme Court decision in the jurisprudence of the United States, upholding the constitutionality of state laws requiring racial segregation in public facilities under the doctrine of "separate but equal". Was this just and fair? After all, it was "the law of the land"!

Closer to home, today the Federal government denies Coloradoans right to grow, posses and smoke Marijuana, yet the people and the state have set about doing so anyway. Is the Federal government right on this one too???

Cases where the Supreme Court overruled it's own decisions are too numerous to list. Were they correct the first time, or when later Supreme Courts overturned those decisions.

Throughout history, fallible men have made flawed decisions to appease mobs. "...and they said (to Pilate the governor) "give unto us Barabbas" (the murderer)...and when the chief priests therefore and officers saw Jesus, they cried out , saying , Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye Jesus, and crucify him: for (even though as the governor and rightful authority in this matter) I find no fault in him.

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Joe Meglen 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Chris,

Since you are willing to listen I will attempt to answer the question you have asked twice in your comments. The original intent, and the 18th Century understanding of the General Welfare Clause, has been bastardized by the federal government in order to expand its authority far beyond those enumerated in the Constitution. There would have been no purpose of listing and limiting the enumerated powers granted to the federal government by the states if the General Welfare Clause then allows Congress to expand its authority to whatever it deems worthy. James Madison, the father of the Constitution, makes it clear in his writings that the General Welfare Clause does not grant the federal government powers that are not enumerated. Therefore, the GWC does not give the federal government the authority to take over health care, the education system, create social security, Medicare, welfare, et al. The Constitution was created to acknowledge and protect individual liberty. The statist’s self serving interpretation of the General Welfare Clause is in direct opposition to the original intent of the Constitution.

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Dan Shores 3 months, 4 weeks ago

mark, I realize that robing banks is theft. That was the point. Obviously it is not a moral act to rob banks, but in a pure capitalist context without considering morality robbing banks would be a very efficient to way to accumulate capital. That's all I said and for the record, I don't hate capitalism and believe me, I certainly don't hate making a profit. Free market capitalism can only be successful when morality is part of the mix. I'm pretty sure you understood my point and I'm not sure what your motivation was to distort the meaning of what I wrote. I don't really care, but it might be a question that you want to ask yourself. Chris has already made the next points that I was about to make with regard to constitutionality. Thank you Chris. I still haven't heard any solutions to the problem of how to guarantee that every American has access to affordable health insurance/care. The individual mandate is one solution and so far the only solution to the problem. Republicans used to call for repeal and replace. The "replace" part is now missing from their rhetoric. It's easy to find fault and criticize. The hard work is to find just and meaningful solutions. It would be very interesting to hear solutions to the critics perceived problems with the ACA instead of just criticism. I'm not talking about big government or controlling government power, the constitution or any of it. I'm talking only about the problem of access and affordability of health insurance/care for all Americans with or without a pre-existing condition, period. Thank you.

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mark hartless 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Free market capitalism can only be successful when morality is part of the mix.

On that we agree. Perhaps that's why things aren't going so well these days.

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Chris Hadlock 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Well over 100 years of Supreme Court history would disagree with your "interpretation". Social Security, Medicare, Food Stamps, and now Obamacare(Just for you Mark). Have all been determined to fall within the the boundaries and limitations of the Constitution. You can call the entire system corrupt because those decisions disagree with your interpretation but reasonable people know how to concede when they are wrong. There are many things wrong with the ACA, but claiming that the President in illegitimate and the laws he passed unconstitutional is not going to convince anyone. Yes, there are problems with many of our existing laws and I would change or eliminate many of them. Discussion, debate and the voting booth are the proper forum for these changes.

When you so adamantly argue against the very document you profess to adhere to, it makes all of your discussion look wildly inaccurate. You know very little about my beliefs but choose to attack me as an individual because I disagree with your "opinion" about existing law. So be it, I knew that I would be attacked for disagreeing with the conservative bloggers on this site but that does not mean that my "opinion" is any less valid than yours. Rest assured there are many of us "liberals" out there that see a need for moderation and control over market forces. Most of them just choose not to actively engage on these forums due to their negative nature but express their opinions in the voting booth. I believe you refer to us as "low information" voters in an attempt to discredit those that disagree with you.

While I may disagree with what you have opined, I read and contemplated every word and every link before expressing my personal opinion. If you would like to change the law leading all the way back to Abraham Lincoln, me thinks you have quit listening to reason. Give it up man, that is just not possible and your beliefs are very much in the minority no matter how strongly you feel. The very examples quoted by Mark show Constitutional Law as a living breathing document with amendments and changes that were later determined to be wrong and were further amended. That being the case, we must incorporate the entire history of law rather than relying on a narrow interpretation of the founders intent. Our country is simply not the same as it was in the 1700's and our laws need to be kept up to date with modern concerns and issues. The founders could never have forseen air travel from NY to LA in 4 hours or the electronic forum that we are now communicating in. These things were beyond their comprehension and not included in the Constitution. Does that mean those things should be ignored and not regulated because the founders did not specifically discuss them?

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Chris Hadlock 3 months, 4 weeks ago

These discussions have been going on in our country now for over 200 years and your grandchildren will be discussing these same issues 50 and 100 years from now. I hope by then that they have learned to present their views with an open mind and listen to those that disagree instead of attacking the messenger.

Regardless, I wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year. If I see you around town or on the slopes I will shake your hand, smile and say hello. I wish you the very best of luck in re-writing centuries of Constitutional Law but will not hold my breath waiting..

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jerry carlton 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Chris No response on why the people in power get great health insurance and we the people get inferior insurance? You defending the morality of these altruistic politicians? We the taxpayers pay and they take, take, take. Waiting to hear from you on that one?

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john bailey 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Chris , how bout you answer Jerry's question and quit the BS

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Pat West 3 months, 3 weeks ago

The lawmakers are in clear violation of the constitution by passing laws that don't apply to them. It shows the corruption that is rampant in our system. But the evidence of corruption dose not mean the ACA isn't doing what is needed, and that is opening a debate on our healthcare system, and opening the door for millions to get healthcare.

In years ahead, maybe we can streamline the ACA, or repeal it and get something better. But not until our congress stops playing for one side or the other, and instead starts working for the good of everyone in the US. Too bad Congress will have to reform Congress, and I feel that until campaign finance is reformed, Congress will never be staffed with anyone wanting to change the system that gives them power.

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jerry carlton 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Well from what was said on TV this morning, Not Fox but I forget where, CBS, ABC, or, NBC, one million have signed up and three million have been cancelled. That sounds like real progress. It is nice to hear that Pat admits corruption is rampant in the system. If every one in the country would throw every one of the senators and representatives out every election cycle maybe something would change. What we have going now is not working.

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Dan Kuechenmeister 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Dan Shores, You made the comment that all the complainers against ACA have offered no alternatives, in at least 3 of your posts. Here are a few examples. I can provide more if you would like. *Ten Steps to Transform Health Care in America Act (S. 1783) introduced by Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) July 12, 2007.

*Every American Insured Health Act introduced by Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Bob Corker (R-TN) with co-sponsors Tom Coburn (R-OK), Mel Martinez (formerly R-FL) and Elizabeth Dole (formerly R-NC) on July 26, 2007.

*Senators Bob Bennett (R-UT) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the Healthy Americans Act on January 18, 2007 and re-introduced the same bill on February 5, 2009.

*Patients’ Choice Act of 2009 introduced by Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Richard Burr (R-NC) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Devin Nunes (R-CA) on May 20, 2009. H.R. 2300, Empowering Patients First Act introduced July 30, 2009 by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA).

you also said this. "I still haven't heard any solutions to the problem of how to guarantee that every American has access to affordable health insurance/care ". A noble thought no doubt but I would argue impossible to "guarantee" What is affordable to you may not be affordable to me. You may wish a health care plan with a higher premium and lower co pays and deductibles. I may want a higher premium plan with lower co pays. I could go on. Finally, there is irony and hopefully you would agree with that, the ACA was passed with no Republican party input and now the Dems want the Republicans to step in and help to fix it. The Dems owned the presidency, the house and the senate and decided that this bill was the only solution to attempt to fix the health care issues most of us agree are a problem. My recollection is a comment of President Obama was "we won". As was once said to the Bush administration about Iraq, "you broke it, you own it".

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Chris Hadlock 3 months, 3 weeks ago

I apologize that I have work obligations that take me away from constant internet connectivity. I only had time for one response this morning.

Jerry, it is abominable and a clear violation of what was intended. WIll you join me in calling for Term Limits? I propose the following.

a. 2 terms President, 2 terms Senator, 5 terms House. Then you are done. 10 years in elected office prevents you from running for any other elected office forever. Return to the Private sector.

b. No retirement, no health bennies when out of office.

c. unlimited campaign contributions from anyone with the following regulations: All contributions are public information. No more pacs, super pacs and hidden funding. No fundraising until the calendar year of the election At the end of each election, all excess campaign funds are forfeited to the Local/State/Fed to retire debt. Every candidate starts with zero dollars in their campaign fund.

Service to this country should be just that. Service and not a lifetime entitlement. Go home at the end of your service to this country and earn a living like the rest of us.

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Chris Hadlock 3 months, 3 weeks ago

What BS do you refer to John Bailey? I can find some very different opinions in this article but almost none of it looks like BS. What I do find is a discussion about differences of opinion with multiple examples to support varying points of view. This particular thread actually seems to be more meat and potatoes than BS and conjecture IMO, that is why I chimed in.

Is it BS to have different opinions than other members of the community?

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jerry carlton 3 months, 3 weeks ago

I agree with you completely on b and c. On a I would only give any of them one term.I would also revoke all the pensions of past congerssmen and presidents. None of them need the money. They stole enough while in office. Widows and old people need their SS more than political scum need to keep stealing. None of this will ever happen. The ruling elite has a death hold on the serfs of this country.

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mark hartless 3 months, 3 weeks ago

What a bold commitment indeed to say "this is the "law of the land" ... until we change it", which we will do the moment it becomes pollitically expident.

Such is the value of a "living document".

A classic example of this circular thinking is the idea of term limits. The electorate can't get the job done at the properly designed place for limiting tenure (the voting booth) and so it proposes to dump those obligations too off on the law (ultimately the Constitution since that's where any such law would find itself in short order).

And when the Supremes declare limitations "Constitutional" we can expect the already woefully disconnected electorate's participation in their governence to further plumb the depths of apathy! And if limits are stricken what hope have we? Will we be forced to do then what we can not do today? To actually show up, grow up, own up, and make tough decisions? Hardly. Americans can not make the hard decisions because Americans are not hard; they are soft. And make no mistake that a world full of jackals sees and senses it and bides it's time.

Yes, let's forget about actually sitting down and thinking critically about things like natural law, personal responsibility, how the law is used as an instrument of plunder, and how we could limit every congress-critters term simply by expressing a small percentage of the outrage to which they are obviously entitled.

America is getting the government it deserves; the mirror image of the Godless, venal cauldron from which all congress-critters emerge.

AS C.S. Lewis so accurately put it, "No clever arrangement of rotten eggs will ever make a good omelet."

If we have only a cesspool from which to draw our leadership then how often we recycle the dunghill is irrelevant.

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john bailey 3 months, 3 weeks ago

agreed Chris its been an interesting thread , and yet Dear Leader signed up for something not meant for him. Why ? that's called BS. you never answered the question , just agreed its an abominable and a clear violation. its also BS the way this Admin changes policy on this matter depending on which way the wind , that particular morning , is blowing .hulawnnahulamanamay did anyone else notice this has been an Oz free thread ? humm

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rhys jones 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Thanks for not noticing that I've stayed out of this one too. I'll readily admit I'm not nearly smart enough, and the VA makes the point moot pour moi anyway. Hula choo-choo.

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john bailey 3 months, 3 weeks ago

me either , Rhys, Merry Christmas to you and yours . loving all that powder huh? you better be LOL , wish I could join ya........

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Dan Shores 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Dan K., thanks for the examples. I wonder why these proposals are missing from the republican "repeal" rhetoric. Currently there is no mention of replace. It seems that if these proposals were indeed viable alternatives, the republican party would have a much better chance of gaining traction with the American people in their efforts to "fix" the problem. Why aren't republicans in congress proposing legislation to address their concerns with the ACA? The mix of political parties in congress is determined by the will of the American people. If the American people agreed with republican ideology then we would have a republican president and congress but we don't. I also don't think that it is impossible to guarantee affordable health insurance premiums. The public option was one way and a single payer system could be another but both of those proposals were killed by republicans in congress. I personally believe that health insurance should be taken out of the "for profit" business model. This gets back to my morality issue. I think that it is the moral obligation of a civilized society to insure that everyone has access to health care without going broke. I would be happy to pay higher taxes if the money went toward health care instead of prosecuting "wars of choice" a la the Bush administration. I don't believe that someones health is an area where the "profit motive" should apply. In essence, insurance companies are betting that the insured won't get sick and in the process they adjust the premiums to maximize profits which they should. They have a duty to the share holders to do so. I just don't believe that someones health is the proper area for profit maximization. It is not like your buying something that you would just like to have, say a new car or a new mountain bike or pair of skis. We are talking about a persons health! Whether someone lives or dies, whether someone is around to see their kids grow up, whether they can continue to work and provide for their family and contribute to the greater good. Also, I'm tired of people blaming the cost of health insurance on the ACA. They should be blaming insurance companies, or hospital administration, or lawyers or whoever is causing health insurance to be so expensive. I would like to see the day when the amount of energy that goes into wining and complaining went into figuring out why health care costs in America are so much higher than any other country in the world. And don't start in about because the quality is so much better because it isn't. That's why I say health INSURANCE should NOT be a "for profit" business, in my view. Also, may I say thanks to all those who contribute to these discussions, while I strongly disagree with some of you, it is still very interesting to hear the different points of view.

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Pat West 3 months, 3 weeks ago

" If the American people agreed with republican ideology then we would have a republican president and congress but we don't"

I think many Americans do agree with some the republican ideology, but unfortunately the fringe controls the primaries, and so more moderate republican candidates are removed from the election process before they get a chance to represent the voters.

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Dan Kuechenmeister 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Dan Shores, Here are some more recent proposed replacements or alternatives. Universal Health Savings Accounts proposed by John Goodman and Peter Ferrara in 2012. This combines fixed tax credits with individual pay or play and health status insurance concepts along with Roth-style Health Savings Accounts. Fixed tax credits. A variety of proposals have centered on using fix tax credits to replace the current inefficient and unfair tax exclusion for employer-provided health benefits. Two good explanations of how that would work are here: James C. Capretta and Robert E. Moffit, “How to Replace Obamacare,” National Affairs, no. 11 (Spring 2012). Constructing an Alternative to Obamacare: Key Details for a Practical Replacement Program. American Enterprise Institute, December 2012. *More recently, 8 scholars from Harvard, University of Chicago, and USC–Jay Bhattacharya, Amitabh Chandra, Michael Chernew, Dana Goldman, Anupam Jena, Darius Lakdawalla,Anup Malani and Tomas Philipson—released Best of Both Worlds: Uniting Universal Coverage and Personal Choice in Health Care (2013) which also is built around a model of individual health insurance subsidized with income-related tax credits.

Maybe we should consider the possibility that because the Obama administration and the Democratic party shut out any Republican proposals or input from the start that the Republicans have thrown their hands in the air and said why bother with any new proposals as they didn't want our input in the first place. Right now the Obama administration is changing the ACA as the winds blow. What ever was approved by the Supreme Court no longer exists. Take the "profit" out of offering health care insurance and you will no longer have health insurance companies. You will have the government in charge. Can you say USPS or Amtrak, now those are proving to be not for profit businesses. Finally, it is my hope that each and every one of you who participate in this little free speech experiment enjoy the blessings of the holiday season, that you have a Merry Christmas and that 2014 is your best year ever.

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