“The essence of Government is power; and power,
lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.”
~ James Madison, 1829
So, all quiet on the health care front?
Definitely not. There were recent news reports about the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to consolidate and hear several health care law cases in Spring 2012 with a ruling expected in June. Immediately following that development, there were calls for newest Justice Elena Kagan, to recuse herself from the case due to her involvement within the Obama Administration during the passage of legislation. Controversy over Kagan’s pro-health care “reform” law email exchanges were followed by calls for Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself because of his wife’s political activism[1. Justice Clarence’s wife, Virginia, involved herself in the tea party movement in 2009 and worked with groups, including forming one of her own, which advocated against the passage of the health care law. Justices Thomas and Scalia have both been criticized for speaking before the Federalist Society.] and his own speaking appearances.
But in stating that all is definitely not quiet when it comes to the subject of health care reform – I’m not actually referring to the pending litigation.
Health care reform is being implemented right now, by Democrats and Republicans alike, within almost every state. And many of the very same Republican officials who promised to stop the implementation of “ObamaCare” are actively assisting in that implementation.
Some lawmakers are even attacking activists who are sounding the alarm.
Since 2009, Republicans’ “we’re fighting for you!” mantra has been coupled with “our hands are tied” (i.e. “we’re the minority party…wait for the 2010 election…wait for the 2012 election”). That has now morphed into “we’re still against this thing!” but “we’re getting ready to implement it”…”just in case”…”we really don’t mean it – we’re really trying to protect you!”.
Please note the graphic at the top of this article. It was most deliberately chosen – Americans are not being told the whole truth about “health care reform”. Time is running out. As long as the majority of people continue to believe the half-truths – and outright lies – that are being told, what actually needs to happen to truly stop implementation will not occur, and it will be too late.
WHY aren’t elected officials, candidates, pundits, and think tank people telling the whole truth? First, many people, even some well-intended elected officials (a shrinking number, I recognize), don’t understand all of the many complex aspects of “health care reform” and are very mistakenly relying on what they’ve been told by others.
But, ignorance is only one of several problems.
We’ve already written a great deal about what Angelo M. Codevilla called “The Ruling Class”, and even launched a series about Nebraska’s version. Of course too many “R’s” are part of the big government team so they are going to go-along-to-get-along, even on “health care reform”. So they just pay lip service to action and even attack those point out that they’re losing the fight.
But that doesn’t explain the rest of the Republicans in federal and state offices, the pundits, and the think tank people. Too many people on “the right” are too often terrible fighters – they seem to give up before the battle even begins. And rather than acknowledging the need for improvement or looking around for support, they “settle” or just throw up the white flag.
And that’s just the Republicans. I know most people think there’s no mystery about “the left” when it comes to the issue of “health care reform”. My head already hurts from pondering the reasons for silence, inaction, and worse, the action from Republicans, so I’m not going to attempt to sort out too many details about Democrats.
Except one thing; many on “the left” understand all the details of “health care reform” and understand the VERY few options for getting out of its implementation.
I think a general review of three conversations I’ve had in the past year with people involved in state governments will likely do the best job of illustrating some of the problems I’ve noted. Since two of these conversations were private in nature, I’ve left out names. I will only say that one of the state legislators is a Nebraskan and one of them is not.
NONE of these positions are actually acceptable, are they? Of course not.
People who truly do not want “health care reform” implemented need to realize just what we’re up against here – the real solutions are simply not politically palatable. Think about the majority of elected officials we have in office everywhere. How many of them are willing to do what is politically unpalatable?
For those reading here wondering whether I’m saying – give it up! – we’re all doomed – THINK AGAIN. If we are ultimately doomed when it comes to this monstrosity that is being called “health care reform” it is only because there were not enough people who knew the truth, not enough people willing to do what was right, not enough people willing to sound the alarm, and not enough people willing to demand appropriate action from elected officials.
So – the first thing that is required is to STOP being credulous about what political types – at BOTH the federal AND state levels – tell us about these subjects.
“The truth is that all men having power ought to be mistrusted.” ~ James Madision
Don’t trust, VERIFY.
IF you are capable of a necessary healthy skepticism, here is what else is required:
- Get informed about the full truth – yes it is mind-numbing detail – sorry, I didn’t write the bills!
- Be willing to invest some of your time and talents
- Pull together with others who know the truth
- Work to inform as many people as possible
- Demand answers and action from elected officials
- Be prepared for criticism and push back
- Advocate for REAL solutions
I understand how unpalatable the “to do list” above may sound. It requires much more than showing up for a rally or sign wave, listening to a speaker who is running for office or selling a book, or even opening up a checkbook and writing a donation.
This article is actually the beginning of a series going over a number of important facts about “health care reform”, including recent developments. The entire series is nearing completion and for those who wish to “preview” it immediately, you can visit a page – HERE – which I’ve created here on the GiN site. (Note it is truly a “preview”; some changes, additions, and editing is still required as well as links that should be added.)
So – what is all of the activity I’ve mentioned?
While I will mostly focus on three states here, there is ample evidence, available from many sources, that Michigan, Oklahoma, and Nebraska provide much insight into what is going on in the rest of the country.
Joan Fabiano of Grassroots in Michigan has been reporting recent events in her State Legislature – which has been energetic about “gittin’ ‘er done” on the whole health care implementation thing. The State Senate voted to approve the setup of the health insurance exchange in Michigan – a HUGE step – and the exchange bill has now moved onto the State House, which has scheduled public hearings on January 12.
Some of our friends in Oklahoma, OK-SAFE (Oklahomans for Sovereignty and Free Enterprise), a group I’ve mentioned before, are tracking activity in their legislature. The only saving grace in Oklahoma at the moment is that the State Legislature is not yet in session. Recent activity has occurred, however, in off-session committee meetings in advance of the session (in the same way Nebraska has Interim Study activities between sessions).
One of them convened for the purpose of studying the implementation of the health care law. OK-SAFE Director, Amanda Teegarden, gave a presentation to her the Joint Committee on Health Care Reform on November 3, which I will reference again, several times throughout this series.
But the OK Legislature’s “studying” implementation has not been the only activity in the state. Earlier this year, the state’s newly elected Republican Governor, Mary Fallin (a former Congresswoman), announced she would accept a $54.6 million “early innovator” grant for which the previous governor had applied. Fallin had to retract her decision, however, when she received unexpected blow back from citizens. But Gov. Fallin, with the help of legislators, did not really stop working to implement the law – they instead opted for a “compromise” that moves Oklahoma towards setting up an exchange anyway, just in a different iteration.
SO – What about NEBRASKA?
- In August 2010, Nebraska’s Governor, Dave Heineman, applied for a $1 million ($999,999) federal grant to study a Nebraska insurance exchange set up
- In October 2011, Governor Heineman told the Omaha World-Herald he wanted to wait for the U.S. Supreme Court to rule before setting up a Nebraska insurance exchange. A story in the Lincoln Journal Star reported that a health insurance exchange would not be set up until the Court ruled[2. Both Nebraska newspapers left out additional information; Heineman stated to reporters from Business Week during the same period that the state will plan for an exchange, it will just not be implemented].
- The Nebraska Department of Insurance (an executive branch agency) applied for a $5.48 million grant to plan to set up the exchange and received the funds at the end of November.
What does this mean?
Regardless of particular details, the information above can be summarized very simply; Michigan, Oklahoma, and Nebraska are all working towards implementation of “health care reform” by engaging in any of the activities noted.
Hundreds of Millions in Health Insurance Exchanges Grants
Considering our level of debt as a nation, WHY are we spending money to…
What are the costs – so far?
The fact is, that all of the states except Alaska, Florida, Louisiana, and New Hampshire accepted $800,000 – $1,000,000 (most were $1 million) just to STUDY health insurance exchanges. Note that several of these states received the grant funds and then later decided to return them.
Total cost = $46.8 million
Twenty-nine of the fifty states have now received some kind of grant to PLAN for health insurance exchange implementation. The smallest amount was $1.6 million for Tennessee and the largest was $63.8 million for Rhode Island.
Note that there are apparently two levels of grant funds for exchange planning, so the total amount for planning grants will significantly increase as states pursue implementation.
Total cost (to date) = $439 million
“Early innovator” states – the states who the Federal Department of Health Human Services has called “States who are leading the way”, decided to embrace “health care reform” implementation and go full steam ahead. As noted above, the State of Oklahoma had originally decided to be an early innovator state, but, those funds were returned.
Total cost (to date) = $155 million
Two Questions To Ponder:
Considering all of the money spent so far, just to study, and plan, and only a small percentage of the possible total to implement, and JUST for the insurance exchanges, not other parts of the program, HOW is “health care reform” going to DECREASE the cost of health care?
Would YOU be studying and planning to implement something you weren’t going to implement?
This is just the tip of the iceberg and, without appropriate action soon – we might as well all be on the Titanic.
Stay tuned for the next installment, or click HERE to preview the working draft of the whole series.
[jbox color=”white” shadow=”3″ width=”690″ content_css=”font-size: 24px; color:#575757; font-variant: small-caps; letter-spacing: 3px;” icon=”http://grassrootsne.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/camera.ico”]Image Credit & Copyright Notice[/jbox]
“Health Care Truths” graphic, Copyright 2011 Grassroots in Nebraska and Shelli Dawdy, All Rights Reserved
Permission granted to re-publish or re-use WITH conditions:
1) Copyright notice must remain on the image.
2) When used online, a link back to our site is required.
Health Care planning grants map from Kaiser Family Foundation, as linked, see note, below.
[jbox color=”white” shadow=”3″ width=”690″ content_css=”font-size: 24px; color:#575757; font-variant: small-caps; letter-spacing: 3px;” icon=”http://grassrootsne.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/book.ico”]Footnotes, References & Citations[/jbox]
Note regarding linking to Kaiser Family Foundation: While KFF provides a great amount of data, visitors to that site should regard the entity with skepticism. KFF has long been an advocate for increased government intervention in health care, and has long listed a single payer system as one primary option. I am linking here to KFF because the data sources are transparently listed on the relevant pages and are not based on studies and projections, which are the most problematic types of data they provide.