Health Insurance Reform: Senate Bill (with House Fixes) Passes; Now for the Hard Work–Ensuring the Promises Become Real

In the debate for health care insurance reform, I am disappointed with how far from the idea of single payer that the present law is (H.R. 3590, H.R. 4872). I watch cautiously to see how the real world interprets and executes this law. When former Washington D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams closed D.C. General Hospital, he offered magnificent plans. Needless to say, not a shovel of dirt has been moved to this day to implement those plans.

TheĀ  issues of concern is the individual mandate and the excise tax on high-cost insurance plans.

The provision for the individual mandate to purchase a private industry product is understandable theoretically, but I am wary for placing that much trust on a monopolistic health insurance industry. One thing of which I am certain–the highly paid executives of those companies will not reduce their salaries or their bloated bureaucracies.

Hopefully, the health care law can address this somehow. There will be a test with the next premium increase, Wellpoint’s increase received a tongue lashing from President Barack Obama and the Secretary of Health and Human Services; however, the premium increase remains in effect. I truly hope this does not foretell reactions in the future.

The excise tax is another provision that must be watched. Will premiums be raised to such an extent that by the time the tax comes into effect that even more purchasing power is removed from wage earners who barely scrape by with a skyrocketing cost-of-living?

It is a shame that certain beneficial provisions of the law is clouded by these not-so-beneficial provisions, but that is how the politicians crafted the bill.

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Evan Gargiulo: Psychologist Concludes Defendant Insane

[Note: Persons accused of a crime in the United States are presumed innocent until proven guilty.]

The trial involving Evan Gargiulo has begun in Fairfax, Virginia.

According to The Washington Post, a psychologist, Stanton E. Samenow, testified for the defense noting that Evan Gargiulo, accused of murder, was insane at the time that the victim, Mazhar Nazir was shot. Dr. Samenow made this determination after interviewing Mr. Gargiulo for a number of hours.

Dr. Samenow stated that Mr. Gargiulo’s anger at being robbed and his fear of Mr. Nazir caused Mr. Gargiulo to shoot Mr. Mazhir, the Post reported.

Samenow said Gargiulo’s dismay at being robbed and his “enormous fear” of Nazir caused him to shoot without thinking of the consequences. “I haven’t encountered somebody with this level of fear,” Samenow said. He said there is no formal definition of Gargiulo’s mental condition in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the accepted reference book for courts trying to parse mental illness and criminal culpability.

A videotape of Mr. Gargiulo’s interview with the police was played at the trial.

WMATA: Transit Agency Selects Interim General Manager from New Jersey Transit

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) is seemingly prepared to select Richard Sarles, a former chief of New Jersey Transit (NJT), to become the interim General Manager. It is said that he is being selected for his record on safety, but running Metro will require much more than that, even though it is important.

The reader must remember that the state of New Jersey paid for whatever Mr. Sarles proposed. How will his safety proposals for Metro be paid for? Moreover, NJT runs commuter trains like Maryland’s MARC. How will that transfer to a subway system?

Without taking care of the funding issue and the capital structure of the Metro system, all that the Metro Board of Directors will be doing is removing the albatross from Mr. Catoe and tranferring it (on an interim basis) to Mr. Sarles.

Health Care “Reform”: The Process is an Abject Failure; Senate Bill (H.R. 3590), Supported by President Obama, is the Worst of the Bills under Consideration

Now it seems that the consensus political opinion is to pass the failed Senate bill, H.R. 3590, at any cost lest the voters think that the majority power Democratic party is unable to govern. H.R. 3590 is simply not the vehicle of true reform: The mandate to buy a private industry product (H.R. 3590’s use of the commerce clause seems questionable (opposing view)) and the excise tax on employer-provided health insurance should doom the bill to failure.

President Barack Obama issued his proposal, but the President is no longer a Senator so he cannot propose legislation. Also, his proposal is not in the form of a bill and is too late since the House already passed H.R. 3962, and the Senate passed H.R. 3590. It may be an elaborate cover to allow the House just to pass H.R. 3590 without any changes. Given the agreement of the President with the industry, I am sure he wants all of H.R. 3590, regardless of his speeches to the contrary.

The House is facing renewed pressure to pass the offensive striker amendment composed H.R. 3950. Should the House pass the Senate bill, the House can rest assured that the bill will not be altered (so-called sidecar reconciliation) and go straight to the President to sign.

The whole process has been disappointing, and those politicians who vote for this false “reform” bill deserve to suffer political defeat.

Post script:

Presidential summit on health care