Effect Measure

The US House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on one of the many required, but in this case crucial, steps to beginning an overhaul of the chaotic situation of American health care. By all accounts the vote is close, which is really pathetic. What is being proposed in the US is a baby step in absolute terms, although it is huge in terms relative to the historically backwards and reactionary character medical care in the US. I hope it passes, since not passing it would leave tens of millions without insurance of any kind and most of the rest of us insecure about the coverage we have. Well, not all of us. I’m over 65 so I have the benefit of a government single-payer system (called Medicare in the US). That makes me luckier than others, at least as far as health coverage is concerned, although my late mother had it right when she declared, in one of her few less than highly dignified utterances, “Getting old sucks.”

The proposed “reforms” are welcome but still badly flawed by leaving everyone else at the mercy of private health insurers. So at this critical juncture (at this point I don’t know how it will come out), it’s time to remind ourselves who these folks are that drive the health care bus in the US:

In May, 2002, Jerome Mitchell, a 17-year old college freshman from rural South Carolina, learned he had contracted HIV. The news, of course, was devastating, but Mitchell believed that he had one thing going for him: On his own initiative, in anticipation of his first year in college, he had purchased his own health insurance.

Shortly after his diagnosis, however, his insurance company, Fortis, revoked his policy. Mitchell was told that without further treatment his HIV would become full-blown AIDS within a year or two and he would most likely die within two years after that. (Murray Waas, Reuters)

So this kid hired an attorney, went to court, and had a jury award him $15 million (reduced to $10 million by the judge). Another case of a jury beguiled by a slick plaintiff’s attorney? Not according to the trial judge and the South Carolina Supreme Court judges who heard the case on appeal:

Previously undisclosed records from Mitchell’s case reveal that Fortis had a company policy of targeting policyholders with HIV. A computer program and algorithm targeted every policyholder recently diagnosed with HIV for an automatic fraud investigation, as the company searched for any pretext to revoke their policy. As was the case with Mitchell, their insurance policies often were canceled on erroneous information, the flimsiest of evidence, or for no good reason at all, according to the court documents and interviews with state and federal investigators.

[snip]

“There was evidence that Fortis’ general counsel insisted years ago that members of the rescission committee not record the identity of the persons present and involved in the process of making a decision to rescind a Fortis health insurance policy,” [Trial Judge Michael G.] Nettles wrote.

Elsewhere in his order, Nettles noted that there were no “minutes of actions, votes, or any business conducted during the rescission committee’s meeting.”

The South Carolina Supreme Court, in upholding the jury’s verdict in the case in a unanimous 5-0 opinion, said that it agreed with the lower court’s finding that Fortis destroyed records to hide the corporation’s misconduct. Supreme Court Chief Justice Jean Hoefer Toal wrote: “The lack of written rescission policies, the lack of information available regarding appealing rights or procedures, the separate policies for rescission documents” as well as the “omission” of other records regarding the decision to revoke Mitchell’s insurance, constituted “evidence that Fortis tried to conceal the actions it took in rescinding his policy.”

In affirming the trial verdict and Nettles’ order, Toal was as harsh in her criticism of the company as Judge Nettles had been. “We find ample support in the record that Fortis’ conduct was reprehensible,” she wrote. “Fortis demonstrated an indifference to Mitchell’s life and a reckless disregard to his health and safety.”

Mitchell’s rescission was officially performed by an insurance company committee, charged with considering the validity of the grounds for such drastic action. It turns out, however, this committee was just a sham rubber stamp for the actions of clerks and underwriters at lower levels. In the session where Mitchell’s insurance was canceled, a session where there were no minutes, notes, instructions or rules or even the barest written record, 40 cases were handled in less than two hours. That’s less than 3 minute per case, assuming there was no chit chat or time between cases. Pretty quick for matters of life and death and certainly too quick to see if the recommended action were based on verified or even plausible information.

In Mitchell’s case there was no attempt to verify a single scrap of information (involving a questionable date) despite abundant evidence in the record it was erroneous and not plausible. Even the underwriter had he doubts.

Were it not for the efforts of a tenacious social worker, Mary Wiggins, who worked with an agency servicing HIV patients, Mitchell would have been allowed to die and the evidence buried. Remember this case when people complain about being at the mercy of government bureaucrats. With private health insurance you are at the mercy of clerks and low level underwriters whose livelihood, is contingent on their employer’s main objective, to save (and therefore, make) money:

“In addition to these acts toward (Mitchell) there was evidence that Fortis has for some time been making recommendations for rescission, and acting on those recommendations, without good-faith investigation conducted fairly and objectively … Fortis pre-programed its computer to recognize the billing codes for expensive health conditions, which triggers an automatic fraud investigation by its “Cost Containment” division whenever such a code is recognized.”

A federal investigator who has reviewed Assurant’s remaining records says that they showed that once a person with HIV was targeted with a fraud investigation, the company made a greater effort than usual to cancel the person’s insurance. Policies and medical records were scrutinized to a greater extent than others being scrutinized, he said.

We won’t have real health care reform in the US until we are released from the clutches of these blood suckers. That won’t happen today, either way, but we can hope that it’s on the way. I hope I live to see it.

Comments

  1. #1 M. Randolph Kruger
    March 21, 2010

    They might have healthcare Revere, but they aint going to have jobs and thats going to kill this country so fast it will make your head and wallet spin. Healthcare at all costs is going to take us out. The amount of money that this will cost will outstrip the entire economy within four years… just as it has your state.

    I advised everyone on Friday that works for me that they will be part time as of Monday and I will have NO full time employees. Probably not going to need them anyway.

    Think I am kidding about this?

    Hong Kong tanked on the open just minutes ago. Dow futures are dropping like bowling balls from a plane, and well it aint over because the amount of cost is really going to do the Communists/Democrats/Liberals/Progressives/Marxists and before 2011 from the layoffs. By November the unemployment rate is going to be skyrocketing.

    18,000 part time airline workers here in town were told the same thing if this passed…. They will be responsible for their own insurance after its signed. Yeah, you can keep your healthcare plan if you want… But its not going to be offered to part time employees. So, now you put them below the poverty line too. Moodys will likely drop the bond rating of the US within the month and when that happens its going to bomb the economy. Cant get a loan on a good day now, cost of borrowing is going to skyrocket.

    Your own state with its program is now outstripping its domestic product by more than 8% a year and they were one of about two or three that went with the Dem experiment. Tennessee was one of the first and the first to toss it bankrupted the state. I just got off the phone with the State Senate Majority Leader and they will file suit just as soon as this is signed sometime tomorrow or the next day. We can only hope for a legal challenge that will take this out. The other alternative is secession and the petitions are already starting to circulate, even in your state. There simply is no more money to give and lying about the bait and switch and taking 500 million from Medicare to pay for it is a fact. Its going to raise taxes by that much…Every year and not adjusted for inflation either..That too is going to go through the roof.

    Prosperity using someone elses money and these people most of them are able bodied and they got pregnant because they game the system, they get their homes taken care of because they game the system and all at someone elses costs. Take from the haves and just give it to the have nots without any strings… Spread the misery to everyone rather than ensuring that the system remains intact. You would call it status quo Revere. Making money in the US just became an endangered species… Just like it was during Carter. They are going to have to tax EVERYTHING to pay for this and well, they just aint got it because they ran all the businesses into the ground or out of the country. We just slipped to third world nation status, we are only waiting on the designation.

    Remember the day that this was implemented and those that wanted this had better remember that they had the opportunity, indeed the right to just say no until this day. This is going to tip hundreds of thousands over the edge. Now you submit or the IRS comes for you. Buy insurance plans, a gimmie to the insurance companies who will simply jack the rates up now. Mandated by Congress and they are open armed.

    Bullets will fly when this comes down to it. They will come after the previously on the edge homeowner/businessowners and they will seize their properties and thats when they are going to find out about the right to keep and bear arms. Then they will try to take that too. Three of my neighbors are in law enforcement and they were told to a man to expect civil unrest if this passed. I can only hope it doesnt get down to that.

    This kind of taxation is going to lead to a revolution. Do put the day on the calendar and remember it when you were supporting it and your kids get a 12 trillion dollar deficit hanging on their heads and all those oldies retire in under 10 years so they get the debt and the medical costs. So guess who gets fucked? The old people for starts and our kids and grandkids second. The oldies are going to die in poverty with a “you dont need that knee, you dont need that heart valve, you need this known to cause heart attack drug, you dont need anything to improve your quality of life.”

    You’ll be getting care from some doctor from a third world nation and you women will have to wear headress to visit them. The availability is going to go to hell too. Why be a doctor… Lawyering to get your rights under this fucked up plan is where its going to go out on them.

    Next thing out? Raise the retirement age. Oh, and dont forget to get an attorney on retainer. You are all going to need one after age 55 because they are not going to spend money on you anymore. You are no longer productive to the system.

    Every Democrat got bought and paid for with our tax money in the last two months. When healthcare outstrips our economy they will figure it out that they sold the country out for for a 30 pieces of silver. But by then it will already be too late as the debt outpaces intake.

    God Save the United States of America !

  2. #2 revere
    March 21, 2010

    Randy: When nothing you say comes true, then what? You’ll just make up some new crap?

  3. #3 pft
    March 22, 2010

    A terrible day for America, and a wonderful day for insurance companies, despite their griping. These companies are exempt from anti-trust regulations and engage in price fixing, legally. They are essentially monopolies given the few companies holding 80% of the premiums.

    The extra costs associated with adding on those with prexisting conditions will be offset by insuring millions of healthy young adults who must buy insurance or face fines (and imprisonment of they do not pay the fines), not to mention higher premiums for those under corporate plans.

    There is this myth that government can only spend what it gets in tax receipts and credit given it by private investors and central banks at interest. Government issued credit that is debt free and legal tender in the US could be used to finance single pay health care (medicare for all). No taxes needed. A country at less than full employment should experience no inflation as a result, and the boost to the economy would be obvious (less money going to premiums and HC expenses would be spent or saved). Previous experiments with this have occurred in a time of war (eg. civil war, revolutionary war), when inflation occurs regardless of the method of paying for the war, and are used to discredit the idea.

    Of course, those who have made a living off the existing system of public financing, an system going back 300+ years with the founding of the Bank of England, would engage in financial terrorism and attack the dollar and markets, so I suppose we are held hostage to the status quo. I mean, we could threaten to label these folks enemy combatants and wipe out the Cayman Islands, but most of our politicians are owned by these guys, so we won’t.

  4. #4 Charles
    March 22, 2010

    Randy: When nothing you say comes true, then what? You’ll just make up some new crap?

    Yep.

  5. #5 Kralizec
    March 22, 2010

    Lady, I knew this would be a good time to stop by and have a laugh at your complacent innumeracy.

  6. #6 Paula
    March 22, 2010

    pft–cool points re systems of financing. Where did you learn the econ history? Be good to hear more.
    kruger–look, agreed the seniors will take a hit, though it’s mostly the Centrists’ doing (U.S. Center is most places’ rightwing). But you know it is not health coverage that is tanking the economy; as a folksinger friend wrote, ff. October 2008, “Where’d the money go?” Meanwhile, some of the nicest people I know get pregnant and some of the best physicians I’ve ever known are “third world”; and as for who’s gaming the econ system, look who owns it.

  7. #7 Hand Gel Man
    March 22, 2010

    Mr Kruger
    Where were you when Mr Bush was spending all the money – putting America on a hole?
    When Mr Bush was spending all the money where did you think it was coming from?
    Revere is correct – America is making baby steps – but at least they’re in the right direction…

  8. #8 Paul Browne
    March 22, 2010

    Randy “Bullets will fly when this comes down to it. They will come after the previously on the edge homeowner/businessowners and they will seize their properties and thats when they are going to find out about the right to keep and bear arms. Then they will try to take that too. Three of my neighbors are in law enforcement and they were told to a man to expect civil unrest if this passed. I can only hope it doesnt get down to that.”

    Of course what you really mean is that you want bullets to fly and that you and your cronies will do everything you can to mislead, misrepresent, incite and provoke in order to make sure that they do. In the course of a couple of years writing for Pro-Test and Speaking of Research I’ve come across many Animal rights extremists who express similar views to your own, and like you most deny that they are actually attempting to incite violence, and those that admit to inciting violence are careful to make sure that their threats are non-specific enough to stay jus tthe right side of constitutionally protected.

    People like you, Operation Rescue and Negotiation is Over are really very similar, though no doubt you’d be the first to condemn each other. You don’t seem to understand that we can look beyond the position statements and where your cause lies on the left/right spectrum and see the hatred that unites you all.

  9. #9 dmcw
    March 22, 2010

    I find it hilarious that a regular reader of an epidemiology blog cannot understand that correlation does not neccessarily imply causation.

    M. Randolph Kruger’s numerous posts on many blog posts all note that universal health care is available in countries with financial problems (UK etc). Therefore the Universal health care caused those problems?!

    Certainly, in the UK we view the war in Iraq and Afghanistan as the biggest waste of money for our state.

    We like the idea that our politicians as least pretend that they care whether we live or die.

  10. #10 mk
    March 22, 2010

    Really, this is the only reasonable response to Randy:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rX7wtNOkuHo

    Oh, and what Paul Browne said.

  11. #11 Shay
    March 22, 2010

    Three of my neighbors are in law enforcement and they were told to a man to expect civil unrest if this passed. I can only hope it doesnt get down to that.

    From whom, the sore losers? The sense of entitlement that possesses the right wing in this country absolutely boggles the mind. Obviously they slept through civics class; particularly the part about the US being a republic rather than a direct democracy.

    I’m a retired Marine; the rhetoric I’m seeing from the lunatic fringe of the Republican party (who have taken over, I’m sad to say) is what we used to call incitement to mutiny. Pity we can’t give them five days solitary on bread and water.

  12. #12 Marc
    March 22, 2010

    Revere, this was a great piece. Email it to every neocon you know.

    “Remember this case when people complain about being at the mercy of government bureaucrats. With private health insurance you are at the mercy of clerks and low level underwriters whose livelihood, is contingent on their employer’s main objective, to save (and therefore, make) money:”

    Should be common knowledge. The “government bureaucrats” talking point is only one card in the neocon’s deck. Ever met the “the government wants to tell you which doctor you have to visit” card?

  13. #13 M. Randolph Kruger
    March 23, 2010

    Shay the idiot less than 45 ASVAB Marine. Most people can count and this isnt about sore losers. Its about losing the country. It is a representative republic as you say and the electorate in a 2 to 1 margin called to their representatives and they were IGNORED. Sounding a bit like the Politburo to me. They showed up with thousands in DC. They were ignored. The phone calls? Over 22 million in two months. And what is a communist state? It is one that the central committee decides who is going to be elected, what they are going to vote on and what they are going to pay for. You? You just get to pay for it.

    Sense of entitlement? Marxist Marine-Listen up. We are entitled to whats in the Constitution, no more, no less. That has been skewed by leftist judges across the last 50 years. Your money should belong to you, not some skank who is on welfare working as a prostitute and crack whore. They want to pay for abortions too. Something I am vehemently against but as long as we are going to have it we are going to have it clean. But I sure as hell aint paying tax money for murder…Thanks Stupak.

    Then there is this “Executive Order” thing on abortion. I believe that if a President can with a flick of a bick contravene federal law then that makes him a monarch does it not? Yeah, you should have paid more attention in civics class.

    But there is the bill itself and its costs. We are going to pay big and bigger each year. This will result in massive unemployment. Maybe as high as 20% unemployment until system collapse. Its at 12% to 16% now. They admit to 10.

    37 states are lining up to sue over this. That can only be done with a governors consent. My state? Its going to cost us a billion dollars by the time one year rolls around and we aint got it. What is California going to do? They cant pay the state workers now or their vendors. Arizona just dropped SCHIP because they are broke and much finer legal minds than yours say that this is a taking and that is prohibited because it requires a purchase of what is a mandated service or good under the 10th.

    But thats the Constitution for you. Democrats dont like it, it fucks with their ability to control the people and stay in power. Well bub, the ability to pay in this country is going fast and this is going to only line the health insurance companies pockets for a short time. They too will go when they are forced to deal with even 20 AIDS patients. One million a year to take care of them at end stages… But Joe Biden says that “WE”
    are going to control them. This is going to save money? How?

    For a short time, there will be no control over what they can carge for the uninsurables with the idea being that this will lower costs. But, Obamanation has decided that everyone below about 80G a year get a voucher or credit so its a turn the money program. Everything will be fine for about two years and then it will go insolvent. They will raise taxes to cover it, then they will raise them again and then when they cant any longer they will ration. But, what are those 16,000 IRS Nazi’s for? Its not to ensure that you didnt cheat on your taxes… Its enforcement. The second they start to lock people up for that then there WILL be bullets flying. Better to go back and start over and get those uninsured on a minimal program that THEY pay into as well rather than just another fucking giveaway that the Dems are good and well known for.

    I can also tell you Marine that you are pretty naive about the Constitution.

    DCMW-You have had UHC for 60 plus years and its collapsing. The economy in the UK as is most of the EU and now the US is financed with future generations money. Try to deny it and you will draw back the bloody stump. The US is at a 68% of total GDP for 20 years for just this. That doesnt take into account military, roads, fire and police and any of the other things that HAVE to be taken care of. Florida is going to have to pony 22 billion to finance this game and thats the end story. Its cheaper to sue, then if not run the election clocks, and if that doesnt work-secession. I am sure that the second that we start talking about that in state legislatures that Obamanation might try to use the military against the states. You think its ugly now…Wait til the implementation starts. Thats what the LE’s were talking about and they were discussing it about whether they would fire on crowds or not. I wont tell you what their answers were.

    Even if I am half right, the US will be a third world nation with nukes in five years if this goes through.

    And Revere, those 37 states and those guys that are gearing for this are Phd’s Attorney Generals with law degrees and they are telling you that you are wrong so its not just me old boy. You are just pissed because you are likely trumped by the US Constitution. Thats okay, most people who want to take control are. You want to provide health care to people. Commendable. Toss in your entire salary and then I might be willing to listen. I recall that they said the same thing in Poland by getting key individuals to kowtow by force or bribes. Quisling,

    ” On March 23, 1933, the Nazi government put forward the Enabling act, giving Hitler the authority to create new laws without parliamentary approval, thus making him the dictator of Germany. ” So whats so different now?

    1965 we got Medicare/Medicaid….. .They are bankrupt
    1974 we got ERISA….. Commitments exceed the pay ins by 3000%
    1935 we got Social Security…..Commitments exceed the input by more than 10,000%

    So now we need yet another program that are always introduced by the Democrats/Leftists/Communists/Marxists/Progressives. When it goes bust they blame the military, Bush or what have you. Uh-uh, not this time out. This one takes the US out because the total commitments overall of this government exceed 65 TRILLION dollars across the next 50 years. The Democrats own this one and yes the bullets will fly if the social order starts to fall apart either from worthless money, or the cutbacks that will be inevitable. The answer? Dictatorship…. Obama was very big on political science in his writings. Those writings were sealed by court order. Why? Because it showed a propensity towards communist/marxist dogma according to former teachers.

    Hey, remember that prescription benefit? It cost 1.3 trillion all by itself. But if you are a retired Marine lets take your VA benefits. Well they just got fucking cut by this bill old son but you didnt read the fine print. They may tank you to the masses and do away with the VA medical end under this. Why have two systems right? Next will be that your retirement money might have been printed on old brown paper sacks as the value of the money drops.

    Enjoy what follows boys and girls because with 100% leverage in the UK, France, Greece (bigger than 100%), Italy etc, its only going to take a little push to take the whole thing down and thats without adding health care to this debacle.

    Might I add something as an employer. My taxes on my business were/are set to rise 28% to pay for this bullshit. If you read the Constitution it says clearly that you are own your own. Should we help the indigent? Yes. Emphatically so. But I see whole neighborhoods here that have never even looked for a job, nor have they ever held one. Why? Because those socialist communistas are pumping them with our free money for housing, cars, food, healthcare, education to get their power and frankly that works right up until the time that the money runs out. We are there now without healthcare. 14 states are teetering on the brink and you self indulgent idiots who forgot how to add and subtract cant seem to understand the words over budget. Obama’s home state (no not Kenya) is likely to be downgraded to the B’s in the next month and that means that even schools will have to close and consolidate. Layoffs mean rises in unemployment… And Obama will just keep spending until there is nothing to spend left.

    Blame Bush? Bullshit. This president and Congress has spent more money than all the previous presidents combined and you likely think that this doesnt come with a price.

    Remember, the meltdown occurred two years AFTER the warning about Freddie and Fannie were given by REPUBLICAN regulators. They were called racists by the Maxine Waters/Barney Franks. Being black and gay are not crimes against the people, but stupid is. Why blame Bush? It was a Democrat Congress and even Bill Clinton said it needed to be reined in.

    Read the following and then say lets go spend some more. This is our money, this is our self determination going. EVERYTHING IS CONTROLLED BY GOVERNMENT NOW!

    CARS, MORTGAGES, STOCK MARKET, PAY, INSURANCE, SCHOOLS AND SCHOOL LOANS, THE AIR WE BREATHE, PAYOFFS TO SENATORS, PAYOFFS TO CONGRESSMEN AND ITS ALL WITH OUR MONEY AND NOW WE GET OBAMACARE! ADMINISTERED BY EVERY GODDAMN BUREAUCRAT AGENT THAT THEY CAN CREATE AND NOW YOU ARE A CRIMINAL BY CONDITION IF YOU DONT BUY INSURANCE?

    Try and tell me what part of our lives are NOT controlled by government. We cant take a crap now without a bureaucrat examining it. You’ll understand within months if this holds as the unemployment rate starts to skyrocket. Why? Because they will simply find that its simpler to use contract labor and part time employees. We still have to compete in this global economy. Do tell UK how much you pay in taxes for everything… How much do you have left after the paycheck is emptied by government? I am sure you are fully invested in totally destroyed 401K equivalent just as I am. The money in it is 40% less in value today. In two years the projection is that it will be 60%. If you remove it, the fucking government penalizes you for it.

    You can bet that if we lose this one then the US will break up. Its cheaper to form a new country than it is to put up with this bullshit.

    Some people are too stupid to be allowed to vote. Above this post with those pundits are several prime examples of that.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aYUeBnitz7nU

  14. #14 Alex
    March 23, 2010

    I suppose Randy is a big admirer of the Beck/Limbaugh/O’Reilly/Savage/Palin/Bachmann crowd. So, Randy, one part of our life that is NOT controlled by the gov? Well, clearly there must be at least one since you posted that “revolutionary” comment and you’re not in a secret prison somewhere.

  15. #15 Shay
    March 23, 2010

    …and to think I spent twenty-one years of my life protecting douches like Kruger.

  16. #16 Shay
    March 23, 2010

    Please excuse my comment @14. What I meant to say is “And to think I spent twenty-one years of my life protecting un-American douches like Kruger.”

  17. #17 M. Randolph Kruger
    March 23, 2010

    And I spent 13 in direct combat situations defending uneducated guys like you Shay. Ever been to Honduras or Panama? What you got to go to Panama? How bout Desert Dirt? Grenada? The only one I missed was D. Storm. I was busy in the tropics at the time.

    At least the government acknowledged that you existed and were in your mission. If they had caught me then there wouldnt have been even a letter in the mail.

    Un-American Shay? If your definition is that the country comes first and the people behind it then your reference is gladly accepted. You are off the reservation if you think it thing is going to go a way. Its going to be the sole consuming issue that brings the country down across the next 5 years. After its killed the economy, after we cant buy people and countries off with our worthless money, and after as they are now test us for weakness and then do us again you’ll likely change your tune.

    I bet you made it all the way to E-5. What are you doing now?

    Alex-I run a business that just took 21 people to part time status in anticipation of ObamaCare. Previously their insurance was paid for 100%, but now I would have to pay for their insurance, get taxed for it, they would and will get taxed for “cadillac plans” and no, they dont get to keep their insurance. Uninsured? This is going to tip everything over and you guys just dont get it.

    12 states just filed suit against Obama so you can bet I am not alone. If the Constitution will not be upheld then its time for a little housecleaning and bullets flying.

    This is NOT wanted by the majority of Americans. This is Obama/Communista dogma. It is ideology of Marxism.

    http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/HealthCare/obama-sign-health-care-bill-law-republicans-challenge/story?id=10176898

  18. #18 Karl Withakay
    March 23, 2010

    I’m re-posting a comment I made over at Whtecoatunderground. I hope some choose to read it in spite of its length:

    I know this is long (and will probably get held up for moderation), but if you’ve never read this before, it is well worth reading. In my opinion, it should be required reading for every high school student or even possibly citizen of the United States.

    “Mr. President

    I confess that there are several parts of this constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them: For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is therefore that the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others. Most men indeed as well as most sects in Religion, think themselves in possession of all truth, and that wherever others differ from them it is so far error. Steele a Protestant in a Dedication tells the Pope, that the only difference between our Churches in their opinions of the certainty of their doctrines is, the Church of Rome is infallible and the Church of England is never in the wrong. But though many private persons think almost as highly of their own infallibility as of that of their sect, few express it so naturally as a certain French lady, who in a dispute with her sister, said “I don’t know how it happens, Sister but I meet with no body but myself, that’s always in the right – Il nay a que moi qui a toujours raison.”

    In these sentiments, Sir, I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of Government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered, and believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other. I doubt too whether any other Convention we can obtain, may be able to make a better Constitution. For when you assemble a number of men to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men, all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. From such an assembly can a perfect production be expected? It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does; and I think it will astonish our enemies, who are waiting with confidence to hear that our councils are confounded like those of the Builders of Babel; and that our States are on the point of separation, only to meet hereafter for the purpose of cutting one another’s throats. Thus I consent, Sir, to this Constitution because I expect no better, and because I am not sure, that it is not the best. The opinions I have had of its errors, I sacrifice to the public good. I have never whispered a syllable of them abroad. Within these walls they were born, and here they shall die. If every one of us in returning to our Constituents were to report the objections he has had to it, and endeavor to gain partisans in support of them, we might prevent its being generally received, and thereby lose all the salutary effects & great advantages resulting naturally in our favor among foreign Nations as well as among ourselves, from our real or apparent unanimity. Much of the strength & efficiency of any Government in procuring and securing happiness to the people, depends, on opinion, on the general opinion of the goodness of the Government, as well as of the wisdom and integrity of its Governors. I hope therefore that for our own sakes as a part of the people, and for the sake of posterity, we shall act heartily and unanimously in recommending this Constitution (if approved by Congress & confirmed by the Conventions) wherever our influence may extend, and turn our future thoughts & endeavors to the means of having it well administered.

    On the whole, Sir, I can not help expressing a wish that every member of the Convention who may still have objections to it, would with me, on this occasion doubt a little of his own infallibility, and to make manifest our unanimity, put his name to this instrument.”

    ——————————————————-
    -The words of Benjamin Franklin (too weak to present to the assembled crowd on his own), spoken by James Wilson prior to the signing of the final draft of the US Constitution on Monday, September 17, 1787, the last day of the long and grueling Constitutional Convention.

    I have always considered this to be one of the finest speeches in the history of American Democracy.
    ——————————————————–

    The great thing about American Democracy is that if this turns out to be that bad &/or wildly unpopular, it can be repealed later. It isn’t a constitutional amendment, it’s just regular (albeit VERY LARGE)act passed by congress.

    Of course, it would probably take a super-majority in the US Senate to repeal (or significantly amend)it. (This bill would not have passed if there had not been a super majority in the Senate at the time it passed the Senate; reconciliation only works if you already have passed a version in the Senate.)

    Prohibition was repealed, and it was a constitutional amendment, and constitutional amendments take substantially more effort to repeal.

    There will be much said by all sides in the following days, but only time will really tell how well it works. The same could have been said about doing nothing.

  19. #19 geodoc
    March 23, 2010

    Interesting stuff, as seen from this side of the Atlantic. I just don’t know what to make of the likes of M. Randolph Kruger: not so much the opinion (I certainly don’t know enough about US healthcare reform to say whether this particular bill definitely should or should not have gone through), but the savagery with which it is expressed.

    Reminds me of a family story though. The UK NHS was set up in the aftermath of WW2, when the country was exhausted and financially crippled. My grandfather came out of the Navy and went straight into general (family) practice in a rural part of Southeast England. He was one of the only doctors in the locality to support the new health service, which met with extreme opposition in the medical profession, and in other sectors of society. Although not a socialist, nor (I think) a Labour voter, he became known locally as the ‘red doctor’ for a while.

    Then people got used to it.

    Fifty years on the NHS is just the NHS: far from a perfect system (and yes, maybe a bit too ‘socialist’ in how it functions) but all the main parties know it would be political suicide to question the underlying principles, such as universal access and free-at-the-point-of-delivery healthcare.

  20. #20 M. Randolph Kruger
    March 23, 2010

    Karl,

    About Repeal… You are sadly mistaken and it would only be done after the damage is done. Fact is that the other governments around the world dont trust us any longer and when your bond ratings start to go, so will the country. Hyper-inflation is the only way to pay for this and thats by printing paper. Paper backed up by what? We are very close to tipping it over now and the seeds of a revolution are already starting to grow. Might I remind you that the mindless senseless acts that have recently been against the government facilities. You get 20 or 30 of those a week in a Baghdad type of operation and this country goes down. Most would present it as vote, then civil disobedience as in ah aint gonna pay for health insurance type of thing.

    Doesnt matter the end result is the same and that would bring the country down. This is the simple matter of it and its moving towards that now with ferocious speed. These guys simply didnt pay attention to the people who voted for them and thats for sure going to create problems. How big is the only question. Better hope these guys get the message and very soon.

    Me… I am fucking benign compared to some of the people that are out there and while I am armed, its like pitting a division against a company of dug in troops. If they get rolling there will be no stopping them.

    Geodoc… The “likes” of me. The same could be said for those who want this that rammed it down the throats of the people of the US. They are NOT going to sit back and do nothing you can bet… I would also say you are in a terrible minority on this thought too.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/03/23/fox-news-poll-say-economy-collapse/

  21. #21 Paula
    March 23, 2010

    Previously I have enjoyed reading Kruger’s chest-beating comments–though I certainly disagree with him on most, though not all, issues. His statements got out of hand recently with his paralleling of the wrongly discharged Wal-Mart staffer to some fictional strawwoman, but still this was merely ranting. Now, however, we learn “I run a business that just took 21 people to part time status in anticipation of ObamaCare.” One wonders what sort of business this could be that could simply absorb this drop in personnel, not to mention whether the action would not end up costing more than any feared extra taxation, but mostly one must be shocked at such behavior toward presumably loyal, hardworking staff. Congratulations for letting us know more of yourself so succinctly, Randy.

  22. #22 M. Randolph Kruger
    March 24, 2010

    Thats okay Paula. Its like the US when it wont quit spending money. You still have to have a US to go home to to start fresh from. Those workers have been and were told across about a year plus what would happen. I also anticipated your response which is automatically contra to anything that a centrist Republican would come up with.

    Its also basic economics. It also is this nanny state bullshit to which you refer. It is a communist state, a socialist state, a government by government rather than by the people and they just do what THEY in power do. This will get much closer to your home now and as the taxes upon taxes pile up and tip more and more over in the next year, you will get the picture or maybe not if you cant afford your internet.

    Coercion in the vote? No, I told them what would happen if Obama got in and its not healthcare, its control. The government via taxation is now going to be telling you when and where to take a dump. They passed a bill without even putting in what what was in it before passing it. Sorry, but thats not a representative republic and the best way to peacefully bring it down is to bring it down. All of these idiots who think they are going to get cheap affordable healthcare are crazy. Those that have pre-existing conditions go into a high risk pool now… And they get to charge whatever they want because well you guys fucked up and didnt read even the small print. Healthcare at all costs is now dominion. This is what the Republicans were trying to tell you along with 69% of the country. But thats okay. I will live to see Pelosi gone in under two years, Dodd will be gone, Kennedy is gone, the leprechaun Kucinich gone, Specter gone, and my absolute fave Reid destroyed in the Nov. election.

    But damage done. You are now ordered by the government to comply against the Constitution of the United States. If it holds, the balance of power shifts to one group, one man and they become the dictatorship. Everyone postured that Bush would hold onto power and declare a state of emergency and not leave. That didnt happen.

    What I do fear now is the empowerment and endowment of rights, money and above all OUR money onto 15 million illegal aliens and that other 15 million that have never hit a lick in their lives. 2/3rds of the country held hostage by the other 1/3rd using our money. But you would be too dumb to recognize that Paula. We pay the bills and they get all the benefits. Thats just not what this country was founded on. Above you see a statement by Benjamin Franklin… A founder. He also said this:

    “It has been said that on a sunny day in Philadelphia in 1787, just after the Constitutional Convention had finished its work, a woman approached Benjamin Franklin and asked, “Mr. Franklin, what kind of government have you given us?” “A representative Republic, madam,” Franklin quickly answered. “If you can keep it.”

    That statement is telling. Our representative republic went against the will of the people and they will move quickly now to enslave you and me and run roughshod over anyone who stands in their way. Consolidate power quickly before the people figure it out. As of this morning I counted some 56 new taxes being announced from 10 states (Obama states) and they could ill afford them as their economies are on their asses. This little chug-chug will take a little time to pull into the station but those part timers will likely be out of work in about six months as all of the new taxes burden a dying economy. That economy is a Depression economy and they are putting people onto the government dole and unemployment will rise as a result and our democracy will be at an end. This one we likely dont get out of unless the Supremes rule the entire thing unconstitutional. Change the law? No, toss the whole thing and create a permanent pool for those that cant get insurance otherwise.

    You know what kills me Paula? Its the fact that people like you just dont understand what this all means to the US as a country. If it collapses, your dream world is going to be gone. There wont be healthcare, Medicare, Medicaid, or Obamacare. It all goes in a poof. Those people who want to suck the govt. nipple wont have a nipple to suck on. We might have been able to do something like this in the 60′s if it were limited, but now its communism pure and simple. I actually believe as do many that this is an orchestration to bring this country down. If the economy collapses under the weight of the taxation that this is bringing and it will, then it all goes like a thief in the night.

    Gotta have healthcare. Forget EVERYTHING else and thats the problem. They did forget everything else such as bond downgrades, tax revenues, states starting to collapse under their portions of healthcare. None of that was in any CBO report. They were limited by Reid and Pelosi on the parameters that their reports produced. It was a zero assumption start with nothing about long term. Save a trillion? Bullshit, it will be a trillion in the hole in 5 years. Good job Obama. Healthcare brings the US down.

    None dare call it treason.

  23. #23 Paula
    March 24, 2010

    Kruger, I don’t find necessary to respond to the “dumb,” “wouldn’t know,” and other name-calling, which are not only falsities but inappropriate to this list. What is interesting is that you bring them on when questioned about your action in cutting worker hours and benefits. More interesting is how similar your and other very rightwing reactions to the health”care” bill (and many others) so much parallel those of many of us on the Left; it would seem we are all reacting against the politico-economic shenanigans of a corporate-controlled governmental system, but responses like dumping on one’s staff hardly seem helpful.

  24. #24 Shay
    March 24, 2010

    I’m still waiting for the rioting in the streets.

  25. #25 M. Randolp;h Kruger
    March 24, 2010

    How about Democrats getting death threats Shay? Would you settle for that for now?

    I wonder what the bag limit is for Dems that head back to their districts to face the music?
    ————-
    Oooops-The bond market tanked today and the US is having to spend MORE to borrow money and thats effing up the shitbox down at the White House.
    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/treasurys-slump-ahead-of-five-year-note-auction-2010-03-24

    Oh Paula I am sorry. I am just pulling off the gloves now. I have been called every name in the book by the lefties here and I have restrained and restrained and restrained. This mess? The Democrats OWN IT and they are going to have to stand and take their lumps whatever it is. I doubt Shay ever served a day but thats just me. From now on when they start mud-flinging they are going to find out how nasty I can get.

    I havent dumped on any of my staff either thank you very much Paula. They were simply advised across the last year by memo and by direct contact that the conditions of their employment were and are based on the economics of the day. We have a strict no lay off policy. They arent laid off…Yet. But their hours have been cut as has their medical. Your response though is leftist. Big baddassed employers owe their employees a living even if said living puts you out of business. Not so . Here is another little tidbit, you know those fuckwits that took over GM. They were being paid full pay while they were on layoff. I tried two years ago to convince Revere that a sweeper made 70 an hour in those plants and he told me he I was nuts. No, he was just wrong. And speaking of wrong, you guys are about to find out somewhere in the month of April or May when Corp bonds refinance that the commercial real estate market has to refinance as well. Well they aint going to get it and there has to be demand and there has to be a buyer to keep that new big problem afloat. But the Dems didnt re-regulate that one on the requests of the Republicans either.
    .
    Hey, its all about Bushie now isnt it?

    BTW-If it were a corporate controlled governmental system then we would have fired Hussein Obama a year ago. But thats okay the Dems are self destructing and they are doing it in fine style.

    Steny Hoyer is demanding that Republicans stand up and condemn the threats against Dems who are going back to their districts to run for re-election. If I were them, I would just stay in garrison in DC. If they pissed their people off to the point they are being threatened with violence at home then its for a REASON. How about not paying attention to the people who ELECTED YOU? If you have ever been any place where the political temp was over 74 degrees you are now seeing the beginnings of anarchy. I posted on this months ago that this would happen. Lets see one IRS building, lots of post offices, whats next? When the system does not listen to the people they will rebel. Sometimes its peaceful such as the breakup of the Czechs. No damn shooting. But these guys just keep right on going like they are bullet proof and I can tell you emphatically that I have seen this kind of stuff before and those electeds IMO ought to be wearing flak jackets for their own protection…You know, kind of like down in S. America… In the dictatorships.

    Threats are one thing, activism is another. Until something actually happens they are simply expressing themselves. But they are pretty close to tipping over.

    Dont be surprised if there isnt a 1 million man march into DC this summer as these new taxes are kicking in. They cant pay their house notes and now you gotta buy insurance..? Does that mean you can check into a hospital for a hot meal? This is the total illogic of the left and very much “Let them eat cake”.

    No, I dont parallel ANY leftists because thats what they are-LEFT. Progressives first, Socialists second, Communists third and Marxists in the fourth. Pick one that you are and spout that I parallel that. Not going to happen.

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0310/34953.html

    Oh and for Steny and the boys and girls who refused to directly vote on the health care or to create a bipartisan package they can go pound sand and take their chances both politically and physically with their constituents. Never before ever been seen or done. Nice when those leftists come up with programs that nobody but those people who think they are Robin Hood want. No matter that it always comes apart at the financial end. Well boys and girls this time they got exactly what they deserve. Repeal it? Shit no. Keep it for five years and then the system collapses completely and anarchy will rule and you will look back to the day that it happened Mar 21, 2010. The best part of that is that it will result in the Constitution being brought back from the dead because these jerks sure as hell dont care about it. They are trampling it and when that happens they simply are going to get what they deserve from everyone.

    Do pay attention to that bond thing too because once the commode flushes everything you know and own will change, but not change you can believe in. We will be lucky if all they do at that point is raise hell. Its only going to take one tripwire to be breached and the shit is going to hit the fan.

    If I offended you personally Paula I do apologize but you guys always come across like Obama and that is that you got the greatest idea… but everyone else has to pay for your experiments.

    The list again, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Aid to Dependent Children, SCHIP, Fannie, Freddie and now…ObamaCare.

    Great as long as someone else is paying right?

  26. #26 Paula
    March 25, 2010

    No, Kruger, thanks–you did not personally offend me. But I don’t think this conversation is getting anywhere, so I leave you to it.

  27. #27 Paulina
    March 25, 2010

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  28. #28 M. Randolph Kruger
    March 25, 2010

    Well hmmm… Lets see. Todays news contains info that Dems were receiving death threats ostensibly by Tea Baggers and Republicans. Amazing in light of the fact that the Dems were receiving death threats BEFORE the Sunday vote and they were from Democrats. Yep, the Dems were threatening the Dems…. Does this sound a bit RUSSIAN to anyone?

    And now the gunfire has started to erupt. Yep, they went after the Republican minority whip today. I am sure its Republicans that are after him.
    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/03/25/congressional-staffers-complain-double-standard-health-care-law/

    Gollee Gee…. We have Ann Coulter going to Toronto and then having her speech canceled when an organized group shows up to shout her down…So much for that Canuck free speech gig huh.

    Funny-I have never seen a Republican hate group at a WTO meeting or one that starts breaking windows and throwing stuff. Yeah that spit on the Dems as they walked to the House the other day was likely a real eye opener for the Dems. Be damned glad the guy didn’t have an Uzi. Turns out it wasnt shot by a Republican, the guy was a Dem and hadnt gotten the word they had the votes. He was aiming at Stupak.

    And of course Steny says the Republicans arent doing enough to maintain order? Well, what do you expect the people to do when they know their jobs are going to be gone? Revere’s home state today had the largest manufacturer of defibrillators tell their employees that they likely wont have a job in 6 months because the tax burden was going to put their costs above that of a foreign competitor. So no demand, no jobs.

    Great.

    Nice job boys and girls… Keep it up. The ravages of the ObamaCare “we dont know whats in it” bill just keeps rolling out. Now understand I have already seen this stuff and the taxes are just taxes upon taxes upon taxes. We voted the Dems in here and they bankrupted the state in just 5 years and then struggled along for another few after that when businesses moved out to MS. Hey, has anyone seen any HEALTHCARE out of this? So far all I am seeing is taxes.

    OBTW-Did you know that the government is now tracking your credit card purchases? Yeppie Do ! Part of the Recovery Act requires merchants to list singly all of the large purchases and report them. Thats so as they can catch the income tax cheats.

    Not sure what the limit is as it goes into effect in January… I got my notification as a merchant account holder today. Dont file it? Sure no problem but they will just subject you to backup witholding for being in biz for allowing you to make big purchases. So now everyone is going to go back to cash.. Hard to track and fuck that up but I guess they will have you fill out a form next little control they come up with when you want to BUY something that might keep an American employed.

    If you havent guessed, I am going to enjoy the next 8 months until the election. As the new and exciting bullshit rolls out they are going to self destruct and repeal it.

    Could someone please refer me to to the Constitution page that says I owe someone else healthcare, a house, a car, an education… I missed that part somewhere along the way.

    Open the pod bay doors HAL.

  29. #29 M. Randolph Kruger
    March 26, 2010

    But you know, we gotta do health care so we can control the masses. Yep, gotta keep that deficit spending going. Well folks its game over and you’ll know it when no one will buy the bonds.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/mar/26/cbos-2020-vision-debt-will-rise-to-90-of-gdp/