Wednesday, September 28, 2011

ObamaCare to go to Supreme Court

Today the Obama administration announced that it is petitioning the Supreme Court to hear arguments on ObamaCare.

All I have to say is . . . FINALLY! Everyone has known it would come down to the Supreme Court but we have had to take the procedural steps to get to that point, and those steps have taken a year and a half.

Both the Obama administration and the opposing 26 states who are suing the federal government say that they are glad the case will be taken up by the highest court in the land. Both sides put on an air of confidence stating that they were sure their position would be upheld.

One article in USA Today said that a ruling by the Supreme Court would most likely happen before July of next year, putting it just 4 months away from election time. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out with the 2012 elections.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Did Ronald Reagan Support RomneyCare?

OK, OK, Ronald Reagan died two years before the passage of RomneyCare, so Reagan never said anything about RomneyCare. But I recently came across a letter written by Ronald Reagan on Nov. 13, 1979 where Reagan says he is considering a plan very similar to RomneyCare. Take a look and see what you think. (This letter is found in the book, Reagan - A Life in Letters, page 344, compiled by Kiron Skinner).

Background: During the 1980 campaign, Reagan writes to a Russian-American professor and supporter in response to questions on health insurance, Social Security, and the Soviet threat.

November 13, 1979

Dear Professor Nikolaev:

It was good to get your letter and have the benefit of your thinking on some very important subjects. I am most grateful for your generous words about my speech on the 13th.

With regard to the vice presidency, if it should fall to my lot to recommend a vice president, I assure you that it would be someone of my own persuasion.

Regarding national health insurance, you could reassure your student, Miss Lee Catcher, that while I am opposed to socialized medicine, I have always felt that medical care should be available for those who cannot otherwise afford it. I have been looking into a program whereby government might pay the premiums for health insurance for those who cannot afford it and, at the same time, make such premiums for others a tax credit or deduction, preferably credit to encourage more use of private health insurance. There is also the problem of insurance for those catastrophic cases where the medical care goes on for years at a tremendously high cost. I proposed a form of government insurance for that in California when I was governor, but we couldn't get any legislative support for it. I do believe this is a particular problem which must be faced and where the government could have a hand.

Regarding Social Security, I have simply said that the government must do something to resolve the actuarial imbalance which is going to have us finding the well dry down the road a few years. I have, however, always insisted that the first requirement is that those people dependent on Social Security must be assured it will not be denied them or taken from them.

I appreciate very much your views on the world situation and read them with great interest. There can be no question that we must not minimize in any way the threat to the free world by the Soviet Union.

And, last, but certainly not least important, may I thank you very much for your generous contribution to my campaign. I hope you have a very happy holiday season.

Best regards,
Ronald Reagan

I find it most intriguing that Reagan himself was considering a plan where the government pays the premiums for citizens to buy private health insurance. That is RomneyCare at its core; help those who cannot buy insurance by having the government pay all or part of their premiums, thus encouraging people to use private health insurance companies and not government health insurance. I find the two plans remarkably similar. Would Reagan have liked every aspect of RomneyCare? Probably not (and neither did Romney), but the core of RomneyCare, where the government helps citizens buy private insurance by paying for their premiums, is undoubtedly something Reagan would have been very supportive of.

Also, I love Reagan's sentiments of "compassionate conservatism" where he says "I have always felt that medical care should be available for those who cannot otherwise afford it." The GOP today, I fear, has become so concerned with cutting the deficit that they have lost that Reagan compassion to provide medical care for those who need it. We all were watching the last presidential debate in Florida where the moderator, Wolf Blitzer, asked Ron Paul what should be done if a 30 year old person who doesn't have insurance "gets injured or finds himself in a bad way" and needs expensive medical care, but the 30 year old has no way of paying for the care? Blitzer asked, "Should we just let him die?" And the alarming call from the audience was "Yeah!" We can't allow those kinds of sentiments to control our party, but unfortunately, those sentiments are becoming more and more common in the GOP, and it is just not right.

One of the reasons I support Romney is because he is a compassionate conservative, like Reagan, when it comes to health care. Romney has a record of reforming health care and making affordable health care available to everyone. As the Boston Globe calls it, "It was an amazing political feat. Who else on the Republican side had tried to do anything as difficult or ambitious - much less gotten it done?"

Hit or Miss

While the majority of ObamaCare remains unpopular, one provision of the law is quite popular and growing more popular with time. The provision that allows Young Adults under the age of 26 to stay on their parents health insurance continues to be popular and is making a big impact on the number of young people covered by medical insurance.

The number of young adults enrolling on their parents insurance plans has grown much faster than expected. It is estimated that nearly one million young adults have acquired medical insurance through their parents in the last year and a half since ObamaCare was passed.

So while some aspect of the law are popular, other aspects of the law remain slow to catch on and even unpopular in some cases. So it appears that the law is Hit or Miss so far.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

State Mandates vs. Federal Mandates

In an interview with Bill O'Reilly, Romney made an interesting argument supporting mandates at the state level versus mandates made at the federal level.

Romney said that even though people may not realize it, the state government has lots of mandates on citizens, mandates that would be unconstitutional for the federal government to do. For example, state governments mandate that all kids go to school. The federal government can't mandate that all kids go to school because the federal constitution doesn't give the federal gov. that power.

I don't think most people realize that each state has its own constitution, and that the federal government also has its constitution. Too often when we talk about "the constitution," we only think of the federal constitution. But it is important to remember that each state has its own constitution as well, and that it is the state constitution that gives the state different powers than the federal government. The powers of the state constitution are much more broad and encompassing because it is meant to fill in the gaps where the federal constitution has been prohibited to go. The founding fathers wanted a limited federal government and as such, they gave it a very limited and narrow set of powers. It is the state governments that fill in the gaps with their own unique constitutions.

Also, state governments mandate that drivers must have auto insurance. The federal government can't do that either. Romney goes on to say that some people counter that auto insurance is only required if you have a car. And Mitt responds to that by saying "Well what state do you live in where you don't need a car?"

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tentative Primary Schedule

Thanks to Matt Coulter at Race 42012, we have a good breakdown of the primary calendar at this point.

January 23: Iowa
January 31: New Hampshire
February 4: Nevada
February 14: South Carolina
February 21: Florida
February 28: Arizona, Michigan

Monday, September 12, 2011

Arizona Defies RNC

Arizona throws the first wrench in the primary schedule today. AZ gov. Jan Brewer has shown herself before to be willing to take risks and defy convention. She did that today by announcing that the AZ presidential primary will be held on Feb. 28, 2012, a week before it was supposed to. The announcement is a smack in the face to the RNC who determines the voting schedule of each state.

AZ now becomes the first state to set their voting schedule before the timeframe they were allowed by the RNC.

Currently Florida has its primary scheduled for Jan 31 which is a tentative date but most members of congress in Florida are reluctant to change it to something compatible with what the RNC wants.

Michigan will most likely be next to defy the RNC and schedule an early voting primary.

All of these states are likely to be good states for Romney, so I am fully supportive of the changes. The RNC has a major problem on their hands and hopefully these states will start a dialogue with the RNC in order to develop a more fair primary schedule for all 50 states.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Big 7 Swing States

According to a new analyses by one of the country's prominent electoral college experts, there are seven states that will determine who becomes president in the 2012 election cycle.

Those states are:
Colorado - 9 electoral votes
Florida - 29 electoral votes
Iowa - 6 electoral votes
Nevada - 6 electoral votes
Ohio - 18 electoral votes
Virgia - 13 electoral votes
New Hampshire -4 votes

The big prize is Florida of course with its huge number of electoral votes. However, the Republican candidate is going to have to win almost all of those states in order to win the nomination.

The 2010 census gave more electoral college votes to the GOP by awarding traditionally conservative states more electoral college delegates. That puts more pressure on the Dems to win as many states as possible.

Hispanics will play a huge role in this election. States with large hispanic populations such as FL, NV, CO can expect large efforts to win over the hispanic voting bloc.

A 3rd party candidate could throw a wrench in the balance of power in these seven swing states. If there is a viable third party candidate, the electoral college numbers could be dramatically different. However, not since George Wallace in 1968 has there been a third party appealing to right wing voters. We all remember how Ralph Nader (from the left) caused Al Gore to loose the nomination in 2000 by taking just enough votes in Florida.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Proud to be a Romney Supporter

I just read a great article summarizing the "DeMint Forum" today in South Carolina. I did not have a chance to watch any of the proceedings today so I had to read about it in the news. But I was very impressed with the moderate tone that Romney took today.

While many of the other candidates are constantly trying to outdo one another in how libertarian and far right they can be, Romney refuses to take the same approach. Romney came across as a moderate pragmatist and a problem-solver rather than a divisive ideologue looking for yet another confrontation that will take the country to the brink of crisis yet again.

I think the country is tired of the extreme partisanship in Washington these days and Romney is representing the moderates of the Republican party, the "silent majority" who so often get overlooked.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Can Perry Criticize RomneyCare?

A good article on The Hill describes the difficulty Perry will have in attacking Romney on health care.

#1) Perry leads a state that has the highest uninsured rate in the country. Contrast that with Romney who helped Massachusetts become the state with the lowest uninsured rate in the country.

#2) 10th Amendment - Perry has said that he strongly supports states rights in crafting their own solutions to their own problems. Perry has even stated that MA had every right to do what it did.

#3) A letter Perry wrote to Hillary Clinton is making headlines because in the letter Perry lauds the Ms. Clinton for her efforts to reform healthcare.