General Question

Federico's avatar

What are some good sources about the healthcare reform bill?

Asked by Federico (7 points ) March 18th, 2010

For a while I just threw up my arms and assumed I would never have time to investigate but now I want to understand it.

What are the best objective resources about the bill?

Thanks in advance!

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

34 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

http:/www.whitehouse.gov

CaptainHarley's avatar

Any sites I might send you to would be irrelevant, since Nancy Pelosi is, as we speak, trying to get the “Obamacare” bill passed without so much as an up or down vote by the Congress, much less revealing to the American people what is in it. This is the most dictatorial government this Nation has ever had.

dpworkin's avatar

Hahahahaha @CaptainHarley you crack me up.

Shae's avatar

Can’t wait for my Obamacare!!! Hopefully Glenn Beck will finally have his melt down where he goes completely bonkers strips and has sex with a donkey while singing I’m So Pretty.

And all the Tea Bagger morons will try to start their “revoluntion” on their Rascals and be laughed off the stage.

laureth's avatar

@Federicothomas.loc.gov is the definitive site for looking up bills. They’ve posted the one you’re looking for right at the front, where you can see exactly what’s in it. Fears that they “don’t want to show you what’s in it” appear unfounded when you know it’s there for all to see.

@CaptainHarley – Are you aware that the procedure they’re using (that upsets you so) was used 39 times in the 2005–2006 Congress without any fuss? It was used for things like the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2005; the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005; the Energy Policy Act of 2005; the Workforce Investment Act of 2005; the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2005; the Security and Accountability for Every Port Act; the Communications Opportunity, Promotion, and Enhancement Act of 2006; the Lobbying Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006; the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005; the Pension Protection Act of 2006; the 2007 budget; and the nomination of at least one Federal Judge. It’s all there in the Congressional Record, for anyone who cares to look it up. (The notion is called a Self-Executing Rule over there.) If you see it as being the most dictatorial government we’ve ever had, you may not have been watching government very long at all.

noyesa's avatar

@Cruiser Sean Hannity looks like a used car salesman on his site.

Federico's avatar

@laureth

Good LORD that thing is long!!!

I wonder if they snuck anything small into it…because it would be VERY hard to catch

Cruiser's avatar

@noyesa That was just a bad publicity shot…ignore the pic and savor his words!!

ETpro's avatar

Kieth Olbermann did an hour long Special Comment tonight on it on MSNBC. His dad just died after a lengthy stay in the hospital, so he got a chance to see the good, the bad, and the ugly of our current system up close and personal, and his conclusions are both poignant and to the mark. If you missed the segment, it should be posted by tomorrow on the MSNBC website. Just search for Countdown and you can play the video of the show.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Ezra Klein. He’s a blogger at the Washington Post and is following it. He does a pretty good job of explaining what you need to know about the bill and filibusters and reconciliation and whatnot.

ETpro's avatar

@Cruiser I realize any talk of healthcare reform is scary. We may not like to think about it, but our most fundamental urge is “I want to live!” We are talking about DEATH. We all know it is going to catch up with us some day, but we all want to put that day off as long as we can. We want to live. We want our wives, and our children to live. We want our friends to live—even homeless guys we don’t know to live. So any change to the health care that helps us do that is scary. That’s why it has been so easy to use lies and disinformation to terrify people in pursuit of profits by preserving the status quo.

The Republicans like Boehner and McConnell wringing their hands over the Cost of health care reform are LYING. The nonpartisan CBO determined that the bill will REDUCE the deficit by $130 billion in the first 10 years and will reduce it by $1.3 trillion in the second 10 years.

The three that made such claims today ALL voted for the Medicare Part B expansion, which the CBO said would INCREASE the deficit by $395 billion over ten years. They voted FOR Bush’s first and second tax cuts for the rich, which the CBO warned would increase the deficit by $1.6 trillion dollars over 10 years. THey supported INCREASING the deficit by $2 trillion and now they are claiming that REDUCING the deficit is too expensive? They aren’t that stupid. They are LYING!

They are going to vote for the status quo because very wealthy interests that make LOTS of money selling the right to live a day longer when you are sick will make even more money if they are left to continue business as usual, and those interests will pour money into any politician’s lap if he just votes for the status quo. They are going to vote to let people die if they don’t have enough money to buy health insurance, or if they loose a job and have a preexisting condition, or if they have great insurance but the carrier’s DEATH PANEL decides it’s more profitable to cancel their coverage than to pay for a needed cure. 45,000 Americans are going to die this year because they don’t have insurance—can’t get it. And that number is going up each year.

Unless you are very wealthy, you and I and every single American that doesn’t yet have Medicare is one medical disaster away from bankruptcy or death because we either don’t have coverage, or when we get too sick it gets canceled, or we get laid off and the insurers won’t let us buy a policy because we now have a preexisting condition.

Death Panels in our government? Another Republican LIE! We already have death panels. They are called Anthem Blue Cross, Cigna, Aetna, Humana and so on. They decide every day to refuse procedures doctors request or cancel coverage because it is more profitable to let you die than keep you alive. They are the true Death Panels, and they have paid folks on the right to go out and spread lies like manure to protect their profits—to let 45,000 Americans die year after year to protect their ever increasing profits.

What we’re trying to do with healthcare reform is substitute Life Panels for the current Death Panels.

Rufus_T_Firefly's avatar

@ETpro – Great answer, ET! As usual, you have both met and exceeded my expectations. Kudos!

@noyesa – Sean Hannity may look like a used car salesman, but don’t let that fool you. He’s not smart or quick enough to be a used car salesman.

b's avatar

@Cruiser All right! Keep the government out of my medicare!

laureth's avatar

@Cruiser – Fox News (most of the time), Rush, and company are entertainment shows, not necessarily factual. If that is where you do your research, you may be hearing things that are meant to amuse or divide, not inform.

laureth's avatar

Also, one more thing. Just about every news outlet is reporting that the Health Care reform bill vote will be held this weekend, which flies in the face of the idea that there “will be no vote.”

In 1986, my husband (in the US Army) was stationed in Turkey. At the time, the President of Turkey was the general who happened to have staged the last successful coup. If he wanted legislation passed, he mentioned it to their governing body and it was on his desk a week later, awaiting his signature. If it was delayed in any way, the President sent military personnel to lawmakers private homes.

Our President just spent the last year trying to get the legislation he wanted, and it’s still very much up for vote. If our government appears dictatorial, those who think so should really get out more.

Cruiser's avatar

@ETpro Explain to me then why all the changes to the health care system that you and I see that are necessary require a Obama care nationalized revamping now bloated with all sorts of back room deals just to get people to vote for it’s passage? Something seriously wrong here. There are simple easy fixes that don’t require a 100 mil Cornhusker Kickbacks, a half-a-million dollars for a peanut museum in North Carolina, the 300 mil Louisiana Purchase. This whole process stinks IMO and I have a very hard time with this grandiose scheme to blind side America with a bill that no one has seen, no clear picture on how it will be funded and all sort of CBO estimates that again are based on something no even the President has seen? You are actually in favor of this circus??

ETpro's avatar

@Cruiser I don’t like the sausage making way laws get passed any more than you, my friend. We both know, though, that it is the way business gets done in Washington regardless of which party is doing the business. I would have loved to see Republicans engage in an honest debate about how best to reform our current system—because it is unsustainable as it is. But the Republicans decided to play partisan politics instead. They were more interested in destroying Obama and getting control of all three branches of government again than in fixing the broken healthcare system.

The right-wing handlers at Fox Propaganda station are lying to you about the funding being hidden, about the CBO not knowing what’s in the bill, about the President not knowing. The bill went to the CBO for scoring. It is posted online for all of America to see. It will remain online for 72 hours before it can come to a vote. That is current law.

The status quo is NOT the answer.The system is unsustainable. Ten years ago, we were spending half as much of our gross national product on heath care as we are today. Ten years ago, there were 38.4 million uninsured in the USA. Today there are 47 million. Ten years ago, the uninsured were 25% more likely to die of an illness than the insured. Today, they arr 40% more likely to die. And the rate is increasing 1% per year. By 2020, you will be 50% more likely to die if you loose your healthcare coverage. We are on a road to disaster, and instead of even caring about that, Republicans are only interested in getting back on top the gravy train.

Republicans could have engaged in a real debate about real issues instead of lies like Socialism, Communism, Nazism, Death Panels, Government Takeover of healthcare. They could have said we need more cost control. We need to let insurers sell across state lines and we’re willing to accept a national standard if they can. We need tort reform, and we’re willing to accept reasonable consumer protection from real malpractice and negligence if we can get that. They could have helped shape a much better bill in return for bipartisan support. But they chose only to posture and play politics.

I think the present bill sucks, but it is WAY better than the status quo. I wish Republicans had engaged in the process. They could have made the final product much better. But they made the selfish backroom deals the blue-dogs exacted look like Sunday School in their heartless lack of real, honest engagement. They are working feverishly to let 45,000 Americans die every year, and that number keep growing, so they can get power back in their hands. And they were willing to tell shameless LIES to get power while people die!

Cruiser's avatar

@ETpro Those are all the talking points to again justify a bill of Titanic proportions of which the Dems are bending over backward to pass with little to no debate or transparency. We are talking the bill of the century here not some minor adjustment…wholesale change of an entire industry. You admittedly know more about this but from my limited knowledge it would seem much more prudent to make individual separate changes to the industry such as torte reform, interstate commerce, prescription reform, Medicare fraud etc. Do these separately so we/they can gauge what works and what doesn’t and it would be much easier to monitor and make these “adjustments” as we go along than this wholesale change that has no method to the madness nor specifics in terms of costs and clear method of paying for this monstrosity.

I would have so much less of an issue over this bill had Obama lived up to his campaign pledge and promise of transparency. And Pilosi and her damn the torpedo approach is politics at its worst and anything in the past pales in comparison.

Rufus_T_Firefly's avatar

@Cruiser – Sadly, the bloat has been there for a very long time. Unfortunately, for the taxpaying public, it has become necessary for politicians to exchange pork-flavored hand-outs (not to mention hand jobs) to their opponents in order to cut through the time-wasting muck of divisive party politics and get anything done. It has become a necessary cost of politics and no politician has been willing to do anything about it. Yet. Maybe if everyone were to actually write or call their Congressmen/women and force them to make this topic a major issue, the practice might actually stop.

Personally, I’ve always been a staunch proponent for creation of a law that would require a full mandatory reading of each bill being submitted and then enforcing a ‘one law – one bill’ style of legislation forcing each piece of legislation to either pass or fail according to it’s own merits. That way, the total time and text required for description, discussion and passage of a bill might, theoretically, become shorter and more linguistically understandable. In other words, if a bill must be read in full before it can be considered, it’s author might intentionally shorten or clarify the language to conserve the time spent in passing it, thus preventing the inclusion of unnecessary pork.

However, a need for certain pork projects will probably always exist. Economics being what they currently are, there isn’t a state/county/township that doesn’t have some sort of immediate need. Maybe there is another, more prudent and direct way that we can distribute such funding equitably among the states that need them. I don’t have all the answers, just suggestions, but it seems to me that an awful lot of the money being wasted on pork projects is being generated because of unnecessary party-to-party political backscratching and clandestine backroom deals currently required in order to get any kind of bill passed. It’s a nasty and often vicious circle-jerk that wastes everyone’s time and money.

As for passage of the healthcare reform bill, it is obviously a long overdue national need and people are dying as a result. Sure, it includes pork. And, in some ways it doesn’t go nearly far enough and in others it may go too far, but it’s a start and it can be amended. Besides, I’ll bet that nobody can name even one law passed in the last fifty years that didn’t include pork. Joint creation of comprehensive anti-pork legislation might be THE perfect way to close the gap between conservatives and liberals. It would certainly be an opportunity for both to rethink or redefine our most-essential goals and maybe get us all back on the right path. Please don’t let one critical national need fall by the wayside just because we haven’t yet addressed the pork issue as a singular national concern.

Cruiser's avatar

@Rufus_T_Firefly I realize the “reach around” has always been part of the process, but sleight of hand of this magnitude is unconscionable. BTW thanks for your perspective as always and I wouldn’t hold your breath on your suggested thoughts!

Rufus_T_Firefly's avatar

@Cruiser – The degree of magnitude is no different from bills of the past… and no different from author to author. I am, as usual, concerned with parts of any bill that cannot be rescinded or amended. Don’t worry, I won’t hold my breath, but the discussion has to begin somewhere, doesn’t it?

ETpro's avatar

@Cruiser, I haven’t cited talking points, I have cited things I can document as being the truth. Haven’t debated this??? FRD first called for the need to reform healthcare over 70 years ago. Trumann, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter and Clinton all echoed that call. This one attempt has been debated for over a year. And you say I’m spouting talking points? Pot, meet kettle.

I’m as disgusted as you with pork barrel politics, but as long as voters keep reelecting their congressman or senator because s/he “brought home the bacon” pork will remain a part of the sausage making process.

We can shake our fists at politicians, Congress, or Washington, or whatever other straw-man we want to skewer in our anger, but the fault lies with John Q. Public who keeps voting in the ridiculous fantasy they are going to get something for nothing. Liberals more often vote for social programs that won’t cost anything, and conservatives keep voting for tax cuts that will pay the deficit down.

Bills are so ridiculously long for two reasons, one good and one not so good. The good reason is that they are law . They MUST be incredibly specific or every law of the land would be open to interpretation. This cop or judge thinks you are fine and that one thinks you broke the fuzzy law big time.

Not only that, new legislation today modifies or incorporates many, many laws already on the books. How it does must be carefully laid out in the bill. That’s why we so often elect lawyers to represent us. They can actually read through and comprehend what a bill means, and once passed, it’s going to be lawyers as prosecutors, attorneys general and judges who must apply and enforce it.

The bad reason is we allow unlimited amendments to every law. Every lawmaker can get hiss or her pet project in it to assure reelection by voters who welcome the bacon. More and more, Republicans are using the amendment process to simply stall anything getting done so they can then blame the Democrat [sic] Congress for not doing anything. Reforming any of this, as you note, isn’t likely to happen any time soon. Even the lawmakers who fall victim to the amendment process today want to keep it as a tool they can use when they are in the minority. Such is life.

None of that is a sensible reason to sit and do nothing as we are heading down the road where we absolutely know the bridge to healthcare in the future is washed out and we are going to go over a cliff called death.

Cruiser's avatar

@ETpro You make an excellent point here…“Not only that, new legislation today modifies or incorporates many, many laws already on the books. How it does must be carefully laid out in the bill. That’s why we so often elect lawyers to represent us. They can actually read through and comprehend what a bill means, and once passed, it’s going to be lawyers as prosecutors, attorneys general and judges who must apply and enforce it.”

My only problem is every government representative I support and voted for is rigorously opposing this bill and the entire process to boot! What is worse there are many who once opposed this bill on it’s merit alone who are now being promised special favors to change their mind. When you consider what this bill will do to a company like Caterpillar as one example (increase their HC cost $100 mil the first year alone) I can only shake my head an wonder what are “they” Dem’s/Obama thinking here??? Biden today was even quoted as saying “you’re insurance rates aren’t going to skyrocket” wait a minute here!! What happened to rates going down?? Now he’s saying they won’t skyrocket??? WTH does that mean??? I am utterly amazed at the level of opposition and the deaf ear the Obama is turning here. This thing is a runaway train and the bridge is out.

ETpro's avatar

@Cruiser There’s no question in my mind they did it all wrong. They had some stupid, misguided idea that by watering down real reform they would get Republican support.

They should have started with these ideas. Open Medicare to all citizens. Anyone under 65 can BUY in. You can keep what you have if you like it better. You can leave Medicare and buy private insurance any time you want. Those under 65 who opt for Medicare can buy coverage at just a bit above what it costs for their age group. The profits generated go to plug the doughnut hole and help put Medicare for seniors back on firm footing after Congress has been raiding trillions form it and social security over the years.

Let insurance companies compete across state lines, but in order to prevent them buying up some state legislature and setting ludicrously lax laws governing their behavior, have a national board of medical experts that has to approve each plan. Credit card companies used the buy the legislature loophole to set up all the gotchas they use. Interest rates are fixed in my state at 12% per year, but PayDay lenders from out of state get 140% per year legally whereas we throw Mafia loan sharks in federal prison for charging less.

Do tort reform. Phony lawsuits must pay all costs. Eliminate the need for doctors wasting money trying to prevent any possibility of being sued. Make sure that real negligence and real malpractice can still be punished, and real victims compensated.

Make coverage mandatory for all. If you don’t, premiums will have to keep skyrocketing because the healthy young population mostly bet they won’t get sick and opt out, leaving the elderly and the ill to buy in, and that costs the insurance companies money they have to recoup if they aren’t going to go bankrupt. Raise taxes for the wealthy back to where they were during the economic boom years fo Bill Clinton, and use the revenue to pay for Medicare coverage for thise under 65 who honestly can’t afford to pay for private insurance or paid Medicare.

Begin the process of dismantling employer based healthcare coverage. That extra cost to our businesses is driving more and more jobs offshore to countries that already provide socialized coverage to all their people, so their corporations have no such costs and can underbid ours.

Rufus_T_Firefly's avatar

Just to make it clear, I have no problem with any modification of existing law as warranted by the people or either house. Those are not pork as far as I’m concerned. It’s the scads of hidden money that secretly passes from one shadow to the next that I abhor, It;s the hidden money that continually goes to one particular Senator’s or Representative’s constituency on a more than regular basis while those constituencies that need it go without, or the hidden money that somehow magically ends up back in the politician’s pocket at the mere cost of his vote.

Cruiser's avatar

Thanks @ETpro Good info!

CaptainHarley's avatar

It will be a miracle if the entire Country isn’t a train wreck by the end of Obama’s only term in office.

ETpro's avatar

@CaptainHarley We’re a resilient prey. We survived 2 terms of Reagan, 1 of Bush Sr. and two of Bush Jr. Obama’s got his fault, but those faults pale in comparison to any of the three former Republican presidents.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@ETpro

In whose opinion?

I miss Ronnie. Hell! I miss BILL!

ETpro's avatar

I liked Reagan as a man. In fact, with the exception of W. I liked them all as persons. But Reagan started us on the course that’s got us near destruction now. He slashed taxes on the wealthiest Americans from 70% to 28%, basically eliminating any tax distinction between Warren Buffet and a typical grocery store clerk in tax rate. It did fire up the economy. But it fired up the rise in National Debt as well. He tripled the National Debt in hos 8 years, a record no other President in US history has come close to.

And he started the deregulation that has brought us such fun events as the Savings and Loan meltdown, the Hedge Fund meltdown and the near Depression of 2007. The FDA cut 95% of their food inspection staff and outsourced inspection to the industry they were previously supposed to police. No surprise, food borne illness and death is back like it was before Upton Sinclair wrote The Jungle back in 1906.

Bush 41 continued to pile up the deficits. If he had won reelection, he was on track to double the already mountainous National Debt he inherited from Ronnie.

But Clinton denied Bush 41 a second term, and he pushed through a relatively minor tax increase, raising the top rate back to 39.6% on taxable income over $250.000 give or take (the exact number bounced around year by year). We actually started paying the National Debt back down like we had been ever since Harry Trumann’s time. And Clinton left office with the largest budget surplus in US History.

Bush 43 ran on a promise to magically slash taxes for the rich and somehow preserve Clinton’s budget surplus. We all know how honest that promise was. He blew through the Clinton surplus in one year, and racked up enough debt in 8 years to double the National Debt yet again. He actually added more debt to the US deficit than all the previous US Presidents combined in 220 years. Here’s the curve showing who you can thank for the huge deficit.

Almost all the debt we are being crushed under now is thanks to Reaganomics. The Republicans say it’s “the Democrat [sic} Congress” or the “Tax and spend libruls”. They know it is a shameless lie, but they also know right wingers won’t check, and will deny the facts when shown them as I have done here. Please post your denial and prove nothing has changed, or will any time soon.

thekoukoureport's avatar

Funny but the bill that passed(yea!!!!) closely resembles the republicans answer to HillaryCare and they still could not get republican support. Funny, but anyone notice that John Boener isn’t as Orange as usual? Guess he didn’t want to pay the tax on his sun-tanning.

ETpro's avatar

@thekoukoureport Ha! There’s one benefit of the tanning tax!

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