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Poll: Pete Stark Wants To Uphold Obamacare. Do You?

Congressman Pete Stark hopes the Supreme Court validates key elements of the President's health care plan. Does he speak for you?

 

The Supreme Court is currently considering whether to uphold or overturn key provisions of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, commonly called Obamacare. 

On Tuesday, Congressman Pete Stark, the democrat who represents San Leandro and a staunch supporter of the President's plan, listened to some of the arguments before the court .

Afterwards he sent out an email:

"The topic for the Court was the constitutionality of the individual responsibility component of the law. This provision requires people to choose between insuring themselves, or paying a penalty to help cover the cost of the health care they will inevitably need.

Without the individual responsibility requirement, it would be very difficult to enforce two key consumer protections: guaranteed insurance for all comers and a ban on insurers denying a person health care coverage because of a pre-existing condition."

Conservatives strongly oppose the act, as captured in a commentary in the journal National Affairs:

" 'Obamacare' poses one of the gravest challenges to republican self-government since the Civil War. It establishes a vast array of new entitlements, cost controls, and regulations over the health sector that comprises one-sixth of the U.S. economy. And it raises profound constitutional concerns — not only because of its sheer scope, but also because of the authority it claims for the federal government.

Politico, the insider news service in Washington. DC, excerpted seven key moments in Tuesday's arguments before the court.

What do you think? Leave a comment and vote in our poll.

(Follow the link to get San Leandro Patch delivered by email.)


Leah Hall March 31, 2012 at 01:53 AM
Stephen Colbert on the Death of ObamaCare http://www.indecisionforever.com/blog/2012/03/29/stephen-colbert-on-the-death-of-obamacare
David March 31, 2012 at 03:28 AM
Depends on what you think the "problem" is, Rob. You'll never solve the "problem" of masses of people wanting to get something for nothing, nor politicians willing to promise them that. But if you want to actually define a soluble problem, then maybe there can be some efforts put to solving whatever it is you think is the problem.
Tim March 31, 2012 at 03:38 AM
All I can tell you Rob is that since the signing of Obamacare my health insurance premiums and costs for medical care have gone UP, not down... it's become LESS affordable under the "Affordable Care Act" aka Obamascare.
Rob Rich March 31, 2012 at 03:55 AM
I think the problem is a lack of access to healthcare. I want people who need healthcare to get it. That means all of us. And not just when it is time to saw off an uninsured limb in the ER, but the type of preventative care that keeps manageable issues from blossoming into crises. I think we are collectively paying far too much as a society for the care that we do receive. I believe our current system is incredibly inefficient and that there are powerful, entrenched interests that are profiting from this mess & don't want to change a thing.
David March 31, 2012 at 04:18 AM
People who need healthcare can get it. If you're looking to preventative care to save money, it won't on average. It's simple math. If it costs $900 for a colonoscopy, and we screen everyone at age 60 by law, let's say. There are about 4M Americans who turn 60 every year. Let's make the math easy and say that's $4 Billion in "preventative care." How many cases of full-blown colon cancer will it "prevent"? More than $4B worth? The incidence of colon cancer (http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/colorect.html) is 47/100,000, one fifth, or about 9, let's say 10/100,000 or 1/10,000 are diagnosed between 55-64. So if your government mandated colon screen were to occur at age 60, you might prevent 500 cases of colon cancer, at a cost of $4B, or $8,000,000 per cancer case prevented. Now, treating cancer is expensive, but no regimen costs $8,000,000/year (the most expensive, the FOLFIRI regimen costs between 100-150k/year). So, actually, so-called-preventive care is not cost-effective. Increasing access to it will increase costs even more. As I've gone through on other posts, the actual number of US citizens with no health insurance, no access to government programs, and not enough income to buy health insurance is quite small--about 4% of the population. This is the "mess" you think is such a massive problem it requires literally trillions of dollars in taxes, etc etc to fix? Really? Or do you mean you have a different problem?
David March 31, 2012 at 04:27 AM
Now, you think that we pay too much for the care we receive? Is that another problem? What would you trade off? A 2 year wait for an orthopedic surgeon, like you'd be waiting for in England? A year or two for cataract surgery like in Canada? The Western world's worst rates of prostate cancer (or any cancer) survival like in the UK, versus the best here? We pay a lot for health care. The majority of health care payments are payments to nurses and doctors. Nurses and doctors in America make far more than nurses and doctors in other OECD countries. If you want to reduce health care costs in this country, doctors and nurses and staff must be paid less. To do this and maintain access to health care, doctors and nurses and staff liabilities must be reduced--lower med school costs/debts, lower malpractice premiums, lower dead-weight working capital. There are "entrenched" interests who are trying all the time to reduce the cost of care. They're called insurance companies.
Fran March 31, 2012 at 04:34 AM
Haha, the government is going to start to mandate certain health tests now. They may recommend them and set guidelines, but mandate? I don't think so.
Leah Hall March 31, 2012 at 07:47 AM
Yes, Rich. Kinda like driver's insurance, but for all of us. Keep it real, kids.
David March 31, 2012 at 03:31 PM
Leah, you may not realize it, but only STATES can require you to have car insurance as part of licensing you to drive. In fact, last time I lived and drove in Wisconsin, that state had no requirement for insurance. But keep trying, skippy. One day you'll figure it out...ah, who am I kidding.
David March 31, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Fran, why not? If the feds can mandate you buy government-approved health insurance, why can't it, as a condition of that, mandate you to have your colonoscopy at 50? Why can't it mandate you to join a gym as a condition of your gov't approved insurance plan? There is no limiting principle, as admitted by the government's own lawyer in the arguments. This is an unlimited power, never granted before to the federal government to 1) force you to engage in a commercial transaction with a private entity and 2) to police you to enforce the mandate (by applying a penalty/tax-depending on what day the solicitor general was arguing the case). Never before has the government invoked this power, and #2 is expressly forbidden by the Constitution; this is why the military (a federal entity) cannot act as police (posse comitatus).
Fran March 31, 2012 at 04:12 PM
David, It's highly doubtful the government will mandate any medical tests. that's akin to the so-called death panel scare tactics, so don't insult my intelligence. Also, did it ever occur to you the $900.00 cost for a colonoscopy will decrease substantially as it , as well as other preventative tests, become more prevalent in our society. You like to cite all these free market principles when they conform to your beliefs, but when they don't you throw them out the window.
David March 31, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Sure Fran. Let's give the government all the power and trust them not to exercise it. Insult your intelligence? When in history has a government, when granted such powers, NOT exercised them? People would laugh that when all the cigarette bans were enacted, that the next thing would be banning cheeseburgers and whatnot. Well, take a look at what Mayor Bloomberg has done in NYC banning trans fats etc. Don't insult my intelligence by saying, "don't worry, silly, the government would NEVER do such a thing" when in fact, it can, does, and did. Sure Fran, the costs for colonoscopies have gone down, with little or no government intervention. The costs will continue to go down with the government funding them? Uh, no. Guess what medical procedures have not increased as much in price compared to overall costs? The ones paid for OUT OF POCKET--i.e. LASIK, cosmetic surgery, etc. Not the ones paid for by insurance or the government. Give me an example where the government has began subsidizing something and the cost has decreased. College tuition? Uhhhhh. Medicare? Uhhhh. Insult my intelligence again. Please.
Sarah Nash March 31, 2012 at 05:16 PM
I agree with Clyde. What a ridiculously biased "polling" question.
Craig Williams March 31, 2012 at 05:34 PM
England now "fast tracks "all cancer patients. We need to think of health care as a type of Money Ball. If it were a baseball league , we would be at the bottom of the OECD Division with the highest team salary for a country in the league and leaving 40,000,000 without coverage. On top of that, its the highest cause of bankruptcy for families in the country, millions of tragic stories. In a one on one , equal dollar campaign Single Payer would get a lot of support and with a little luck could win in referendum, even though two thirds of Americans haven't seen the main media talk about this option ,so therefore they don't know much if anything about Single Payer.It would be the player that would pull us out of the Health Care cellar within the OECD division. That said , maybe technology will save us. According to Michio Kaku noted scholar and writer , in the future they will be able to place computer chips in toilets to help people detect cancer 20 years ahead of the two or three year detection time for numerous cancers.
Fran March 31, 2012 at 06:27 PM
You can't compare a college education with healthcare. Everyone doesn't need a college education, but everyone, sooner or later will need healthcare. And we pay now, the gov't subsidizes this already. So why not just have universal coverage for everyone? The government has the power to do this, they just don't exercise that power though because they put private industry interests over those of the people. Follow the money. Look at the heaps of money "donated" to our politicians from private insurers. If they took all the lobbying money they bribe our politicians with, it would be probably be enough fund the entire system. lol
Rob Rich March 31, 2012 at 08:25 PM
We pay more for health care than other countries. More per person. More as a percentage of our GMP. I know these are important factors when we discuss public education, but I don't understand why it isn't for health care?
Fran March 31, 2012 at 08:39 PM
which is why we have the healthiest population and greatest life expectancy. Oh wait, I stand corrected, we are #36, tied with Cuba. lol
David April 01, 2012 at 02:59 AM
Fran, as I've stated before, 100% taxpayer provided government healthcare would be Constitutional, like Social Security, and other federally provided benefits have been determined to be. The government doesn't do it, because the people elected to Congress would be thrown out just as fast as they were after voting for Obamacare if they were to propose Canada-style "health care" for Americans. A Republican Senator got elected in Massachusetts for heaven's sake with the advent of Obamacare. Sooner or later, everyone is going to get buried. Why not have the government bury everyone? That'd be a lot easier to administer than hundreds of millions of different people's health care procedures from a central bureaucracy. Canada's outlays have doubled, just like America's in the past decade. they just started from a lower base (because they pay their doctors & nurses less). We won't agree that the government is the best arbiter of who receives what health care for how much money. Fundamentally, I'll never agree that the government is capable of doing that efficiently (and seriously how can you believe that, given your criticism of the government--you admit that everyone gets bribed, you think it'll be different with single payer?--guess who'll go to the front of the line etc etc). My preference is for what I stated above--high-deductible health INSURANCE plans that are portable etc. Pay for routine care, OTC meds, just like you pay for oil changes and gas for your car.
David April 01, 2012 at 03:06 AM
Uh, I'm not sure who you're discussing health care with, but it's a constant refrain amongst critics (see Fran) that we spend the most money for mediocre outcomes (and we hear that truism far less often for public schools). As for you and Fran, the "life expectancy" is a classic BS stat for the following: 1) Premature babies born in other countries aren't counted as "live births" if they're less than 1 kg, therefore if/when they die, they don't enter the life expectancy calculation. Obviously a death at 1 day disproportionately lowers life expectancy. 2) Murder rates in the USA. Again, for whatever reason, the US has much higher murder rates than most other developed countries. Most murder victims are under 40 years old. Again, disproportionately affects life expectancy. 3) Car accidents. Again, we drive more than other countries and have higher traffic fatalities. Again, a lot of younger people are killed. 4) Guess what Fran, the USA leads or is near the top in the the world in disability-free years for people over 60. The US is also near the top in life expectancy after 65. The USA leads in cancer survival rates and heart disease survival rates. 5) Enjoy your "free" health care in Cuba. Which is why people like heads of state like the pm of Newfoundland go to...not Cuba for his heart surgery. (he came to the US of course).
Jack Kincaid April 01, 2012 at 04:49 AM
Dear David: 1, Who are you? You hide behind a single name. 2, All the stuff that state and the studies/statistics that you quote are pretty much sophistry (BS!). You must get your stats. etc. from the same sources as Rush L.
Rob Rich April 01, 2012 at 04:52 AM
There is no question that our "profits 1st" health care model works great for millionaires, foreign heads of state, and former VPs. In addition, the US has good survival rates for tumor cancers across the board, though our supposed superiority in prostate cancer survival is illusory; the mortality rate for prostate cancer is the same in the US & UK @ 25 per 100,000 (unless you happen to be African American, in which case you're mortality rate just doubled). http://voices.washingtonpost.com/factchecker/2007/10/rudy_miscalculates_cancer_surv.html As for waiting times for surgeries, Businessweek says "in reality, both data and anecdotes show that the American people are already waiting as long or longer than patients living with universal health-care systems." http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_28/b4042072.htm There are often challenges when comparing data across countries, and health care is no exception. Unlike some on this thread, the CIA thinks life expectancy at birth is a valuable metric. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2102.html Finally, while the US does comparatively well on survival rates for preterm babies, we're not so good with full term babies, and since there are a lot more of those, it means that even though we spend a lot on health care, we still lose a lot of babies in the process. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db23.htm
Fran April 01, 2012 at 02:09 PM
The healthcare debate (term used loosely) is the one that drives me nuts like no other. That the two so called "sides" cannot agree on the most rudimentary facts worries me. At the least it's unsustainable, and at its worst, downright cruel. How our congresspersons can stand on the floor and criticize it while they enjoy comprehensive healthcare courtesy of the taxpayers is beyond me. I look at is as a microcosm of all that is wrong with our political system and the corruption encompassed within it. The arguments against it are plain silly. We need universal healthcare, period. We need to rid our society of these insurance companies once and for all. Sure, it’s natural there is some uncertainty on our government’s ability to administer universal healthcare fairly, BUT I trust insurance companies even less. What we have currently is a joke. There are numerous first person accounts (books, essays, etc.) of Americans with experience of the myriad of systems across the globe. They are enlightening as well as entertaining. Read them. There are better ways if the goal is to have a healthy population, and not maximize revenues of insurance companies.
Paul Vargas April 01, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Yeah, if people used it for "emergencies" not as a free clinic for their sniffles or sore throat. Unless someone is in there for a real emergency they need to told to leave.
David April 01, 2012 at 02:19 PM
Jack, I am who I am. Leah has pointed out who I am for months. Sorry if you haven't learned. Who are you? 2) I cite studies frequently. You don't. You lose.
David April 01, 2012 at 02:33 PM
Rob, your WaPo opinion piece doesn't work. Or, you can go to a actual collection of statistics: http://www.oecd.org/document/11/0,3746,en_2649_33929_16502667_1_1_1_1,00.html The USA is #1 in breast cancer survival #2 in Colon cancer survival etc etc "Spending on Ambulatory care providers – that is, physicians and specialists as well as dentists, is much higher than in the other OECD countries – almost two-and-a-half times the average of the other five countries." As I wrote, health care in the USA costs more because doctors, nurses, etc here MAKE MORE MONEY. Guess what we're also #1 in? PUBLIC, tax-payer supported per capita health care spending. So you really think that if the government took the whole thing over, we'd SAVE money? I have a bridge or 3 to sell you. As for "African American" prostate cancer survival, how many African Americans are there in Britain again? Perhaps you should look at Afro-British. Anyway, EEEVIL racist doctors and generally EEEVIL white people aren't behind Africans poor prostate cancer outcomes: http://www.cancer.gov/newscenter/pressreleases/2008/prostatecancerambs/print?page=&keyword= "The results of this study suggest that biological differences may, in part, underlie the disparity in prostate cancer survival rates observed between African-Americans and European-Americans." For genetic reasons, African-descended people tend to have more aggressive breast and prostate cancers.
David April 01, 2012 at 02:45 PM
You can trust insurance companies even less, as I wrote above, we're never going to agree. And assuming I don't trust insurance companies (which I don't, really, except to trust that they're going to maximize their profit), at least I can change them, where I can't change the government, especially the massive bureaucratic apparatus that will be in place with single payer. You should also read how various countries especially Britain and Canada are looking to overhaul their systems due to...guess what? Cost overruns etc. But it is typical of your side to call my side's arguments "silly." It's that kind of dismissal of the other side that led to the lack of preparation and abject failure of the Solicitor General to make any kind of coherent defense of Obamacare. But of course there's no convincing you, just like there's no convincing the 4 Justices certain to shred our Constitution to pursue their "liberal" dreams. You're also wrong when you presume that the rest of the world has single-payer. Most places have both public and private systems, and many places are not directly centrally administered with no/little private care like Canada or Britain. Germany for example runs it through the states and has private insurance also. Switzerland runs via an individual mandate system with private insurers. There are numerous attempts at statistical studies, rather than anecdotes, that you should read.
Rob Rich April 01, 2012 at 07:52 PM
There is an important distinction between "survival rates" and "mortality rates." In the discussion on prostate cancer, David is using the former & I have been using the latter. Both are legitimate metrics, but when used across health care systems, survival rates are skewed by variances in testing. For example, in the US it is very common for men to receive the PSA test, but not so in the UK. So in the US many, many more asymptomatic men are diagnosed with prostate cancer, without a corresponding benefit in reduction of mortality from the disease. http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/87/8/09-069872/en/
Leah Hall April 01, 2012 at 09:24 PM
"Sorry, I can't heal you. You have a pre-existing condition." - Jesus Picture posted above (click on photo link above). ;-)
Paul Vargas April 01, 2012 at 09:27 PM
Exaclty. The "Public Option" is the county hospital.
Leah Hall April 01, 2012 at 09:57 PM
Hi Jack, This is what David is referring to (I posted this a short while ago on another string). It's been a long (and obviously still festering issue), so I don't really have much more to write at this point. "What are civic-minded people to do? They can't censure online speech, nor should they try. But they can start teaching themselves and others what makes forum comments valuable. One mark is that the author is willing to stand behind his or her statements with that person's real name. Without a name, /credibility/ is up in the air no matter how smart the comment sounds." (from http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2017734048_harrop13.html) For David: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdLIerfXuZ4 ;-)

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