Health Care Reform Passes 219 to 212

For the first time in generations, the US Congress has passed a bill reforming our nations health care system.

Historical Attempts
This lofty goal has eluded reformers ever since Teddy Roosevelt attempted it during his 1912 run for president. A national health insurance program was proposed by FDR as part of Social Security, and the effort was continued by his successor Harry Truman in the 1940s, but stiff opposition by conservatives derailed the effort. Lyndon Johnson managed to get limited reforms enacted with the passage of Medicare in 1965, although this national health insurance program is only available to those over 65 years old (and a few others in certain circumstances). Despite nearly universal support today, conservatives vehemently opposed Medicare at the time, claiming it would be the start of government takeover of the health care system. In fact, Sarah Palin almost quoted verbatim the fear mongering speech by Ronald Reagan to the AMA in 1961 that opposed the creation of Medicare.

Rep. John B. Larson (D-CT), the Chairman of the Democratic Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives writes that the top 10 immediate benefits of the bill will be:

Prohibit pre-existing condition exclusions for children in all new plans;
Provide immediate access to insurance for uninsured Americans who are uninsured because of a pre-existing condition through a temporary high-risk pool;
Prohibit dropping people from coverage when they get sick in all individual plans;
Lower seniors prescription drug prices by beginning to close the donut hole;
Offer tax credits to small businesses to purchase coverage;
Eliminate lifetime limits and restrictive annual limits on benefits in all plans;
Require plans to cover an enrollee’s dependent children until age 26;
Require new plans to cover preventive services and immunizations without cost-sharing;
Ensure consumers have access to an effective internal and external appeals process to appeal new insurance plan decisions;
Require premium rebates to enrollees from insurers with high administrative expenditures and require public disclosure of the percent of premiums applied to overhead costs.

The health care reform expert Karoli adds:

1.Adult children may remain as dependents on their parents’ policy until age 26
2.Children under age 19 may not be excluded for pre-existing conditions
3.No more lifetime or annual caps on coverage
4.Free preventative care for all
5.Adults with pre-existing conditions may buy into a national high-risk pool until the exchanges come online. While these will not be cheap, they’re still better than total exclusion and get some benefit from a wider pool of insureds.
6.Small businesses will be entitled to a tax credit for 2009 and 2010, which could be as much as 50% of what they pay for employees’ health insurance.
7.The “donut hole” closes for Medicare patients, making prescription medications more affordable for seniors.
8.Requirement that all insurers must post their balance sheets on the Internet and fully disclose administrative costs, executive compensation packages, and benefit payments.
9.Authorizes early funding of community health centers in all 50 states (Bernie Sanders’ amendment)

Doubt–The Movie

Moonhowlings 2nd movie discussion.

The film deals with gossip and innuendo in the setting of a Catholic school and parrish church a year after President Kennedy was killed.  Those days were far more clearly defined in terms of absolute morals and the unleashed gossip scatters in the wind and can never be totally retrieved. 

The film stars Meryl Streep, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Viola Davis, and Amy Adams

Join us.  Hopefully, Rick Bentley will be the moderator of our film discussion. 





Movie Link

What Retired People Do

My dear friend Frank sent this joke. Seems like a good way to end the weekend.

Working people frequently ask retired people what they do to make their days interesting. Well, for example, the other day my wife and I went into town and went into a shop. We were only in there for about 5 minutes. When we came out, there was a cop writing out a parking ticket. We went up to him and said, “Come on man, how about giving a senior citizen a break?”

old people

He ignored us and continued writing the ticket. I called him a Nazi turd. He glared at me and started writing another ticket for having worn tires. So my wife called him a sh..-head. He finished the second ticket and put it on the windshield with the first. Then he started writing a third ticket. This went on for about 20 minutes.. The more we abused him, the more tickets he wrote… Personally, we didn’t care. We came into town by bus and saw the car had a Republican sticker… We try to have a little fun each day now that we’re retired.. It’s important at our age.

Blame it on the retirees.  There has to be a moral here somewhere.  The sticker could easily become a Democrat sticker.  Out of respect for the sender, I kept the joke in its original form.

Corey, Corey, Corey…..more Macaca


Sunday’s News and Messenger had a great article on the Coffee Party entitled Still Brewing.  It featured Bob Settle, Bill Golden and Al Alborn  all sitting outside a Woodbridge Starbucks drinking coffee and explaining   the Coffee Party.  The men spoke  a little about their politics, which were surprisingly centrist and conservative. 

Jonathan Hunley, reporter for the News and Messenger,   apparently wanted to give Corey Stewart, the chairman of the Board of Supervisors,  a chance to clean up his act. He had been unflattering to the Coffee Party the previous week at their kick off meeting.   It didn’t work.  Stewart once again shot himself in the foot.  Poor Corey is running out of feet real quickly:

Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chairman Corey A. Stewart isn’t buying that, however.

He said that if everyone in the Coffee Party was a “middle-of-the-road veteran” such as Alborn, he might have more respect for the group.

But Stewart said Byler and Park are just “ultra-left attention-seekers” who “despise” him and Supervisor John T. Stirrup Jr., who led the county’s crackdown on illegal immigration.

“This is just an ultra-left fringe group,” the Republican said.

Corey, Corey, Corey!  This kind of talk has no political capital.  The Coffee Party isn’t about you or John Stirrup.  The Coffee Party isn’t about Annabel Park or Eric Byler.  The Coffee Party isn’t about the 3 men who were interviewed for the story. 

I find it frightening that the only people Stewart seems to have respect for are ‘middle-of-the-road veterans’.  Does that mean that everyone else is an ultra-left attention seeker, a fruitcake, a nut, or crap? (his descriptors, not mine)

A review of the article will be forthcoming.  Chairman Stewart’s words, meanwhile, deserve to be handled separately.

Why does the Chairman continue to shoot himself in the foot making derogatory remarks about his constituents?  There are a bunch of people out there who see themselves as Coffee Party People.   They do not deserve to be called names, especially by the county Chairman.  This behavior sets a bad precedence.  Do we assume Mr. Stewart is a member of the Tea Party and sees the Coffee Party as competition or do we just assume he doesn’t want to be re-elected?  I can’t vote for anyone who gratuitously calls strangers names, not even knowing who they are.  

Mr. Stewart ought to find out who the people are and go shake their hand.  These are the people who want to be part of shaping their government.  Aren’t those  people the folks  we used to call a PATRIOTS?  What happened to that term?


Protestors Hurl Racial Epithets at Members of Congress Saturday



Signs Promoting Violence
Signs Promoting Violence

Abusive, derogatory and racist behavior  directed at House Democrats by protesters on Saturday shocked lawmakers.  Before the President’s speech to  House Democrats, thousands of protestors gathered to protest the passage of health care reform.  Members of the crowd were shown heckling.   Some became abusive and resorted to  hurling racial epithets. 

The Huffington Post reports:

A staffer for Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) told reporters that Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) had been spat on by a protestor. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a hero of the civil rights movement, was called a ‘ni–er.’ And Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) was called a “faggot,” as protestors shouted at him with deliberately lisp-y screams. Frank, approached in the halls after the president’s speech, shrugged off the incident.

But Clyburn was downright incredulous, saying he had not witnessed such treatment since he was leading civil rights protests in South Carolina in the 1960s.

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