"No matter what your views are on abortion, you shouldn't ask people to use their tax dollars if they think that abortion is taking a life. I would hate to see the health care debate go down [sic] over that issue."-Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), on Fox News
This kind of sanctimonious moralizing chaps my ass. Does Senator Gregg agree with this statement?
"No matter what your views are on the Iraq war, you shouldn't ask people to use their tax dollars if they think that the war means the unjustifiable taking of life."
Logically, you can't subscribe to the first without admitting to the second, but logic rarely intervenes in conservative "thinking."
Abortion is, of course, a right established by the Supreme Court in 1973. It's legality has survived one challenge after another. And unless universal health care includes coverage for abortions, poor women will not be able to exercise their Constitutional rights. That to me is at least as unconscionable as Senator Gregg's hand wringing. And this clown was going to be in Obama's cabinet?...
Here is a useful time line of the broad schedule for health care reform. Even if and when legislation is passed, it will take longer to put into effect than you think. The highlights:
- 2010: The government establishes a Healthcare Advisory Committee led by the surgeon general to recommend basic benefits.
- 2011: The committee reports out recommendations for adoptions by the Health and Human Services Department. Taxes on the upper-income earners so dear to the Republican party take effect.
- 2013: The government opens a health insurance exchange available to individuals and companies with fewer than ten workers. All plans in the exchange offer at least the basic benefits package and assistance to families at up 400% of the poverty level. "Individuals are required to get coverage — and employers to offer it — or face financial penalties. Businesses with payrolls under $250,000 are exempt from the mandate. Medicaid eligibility is expanded."
- 2014: Exchange expanded to include businesses of up to twenty people and individuals who cannot afford employer co-pays.
- 2015: "The government decides whether to open the health insurance exchange — and the government-sponsored plan — to all employers.
- 2018: Employers who continue to provide coverage outside the exchange must offer at least the same basic benefits available through the government-regulated purchasing pool.
And yet the Republicans caution against moving too quickly. Where was all that caution when Bush rushed into the war in Iraq?
This is not as efficient, all-encompassing, or cost-effective as a single payer plan. There can and will be many a slip betwixt now and 2018. But there is the critical public option, and it's a damn sight better than what we have now. The biggest obstacle between President Obama, the American people, and decent health care access are -- unsurprisingly -- fearful members of the Democratic caucus apprehensive that the plan is too "liberal." If one of these panicky poltroons of the Potomac comes from your state or district, let him or her know that you expect them to grow a backbone...
There is a balm in Gilead...
This is my 500th blog entry. When I was a kid growing up in the 60s, I knew every big league ballplayer who had hit 500 or more home runs (or was about to) because there just weren't that many of them. So here's to Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Frank Robinson, Harmon Killebrew, Mickey Mantle, Jimmy Foxx, Ted Williams, Ernie Banks, Eddie Mathews, and little Mel Ott, all 5'9", 170 pounds of him...
While we're at it, five players I wish I could have seen in their primes: