Health Care Revisited

“Ways and Means Republicans have voted to defund, undercut, and undermine our country’s health care system.”–Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis.

“They have made it clear as day that they care more about the cost of the ACA than the value of human life,” Moore wrote, referring to former President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare reform, the Affordable Care Act. “I am announcing my remission today to remind everyone on this committee that I am a living example of the lifesaving value of essential health benefits. For my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren that is a cost worth paying.”–Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis.

Essentially every committee Republican expressed support for guaranteeing coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and called on Congress to lower health care costs.–Roll Call

The 116th Congress Ways and Means Committee met circa Jan. 29 to discuss health care. Instead, they engaged in political posturing. Republican opposition to affordable, universal health care for Americans is well known. They were adamantly opposed to coverage for pre-existing conditions in the Affordable Care Act until that position became politically untenable. But now they would have us forget about that.

The Roll Call article cited reports:

Still, the hearing largely fell into a rehashing of past health care debates, such as how the 2010 health care law was drafted and whether the Republican health bill that passed the House last year included significant protections for patients with pre-existing conditions.

That measure included a provision known as the “MacArthur amendment” that was crucial to its passage in the House and would have allowed states to seek waivers letting insurers charge people with pre-existing conditions more for coverage in some situations.

Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) was one suggesting that Republicans now support insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions:

“Take yes for an answer. We agree with you. We heard the voice and the fear that was the result of the 2018 election where this issue became centerpiece.”–Rep. Tom Reed

Ranking member Kevin Brady, R-Texas, reportedly proposed the committee work on efforts to lower prescription drug costs, prevent surprise medical billing and reduce deductibles in a bipartisan way.

“The ACA is failing too many Americans who face soaring costs, skyrocketing deductibles and few choices of local doctors and hospital. It’s time for a fresh start, this time with both parties working together — creating truly affordable health focused on patients, not Washington.”

What sort of fresh start would lead to affordable, universal health care yet be radically different from the Affordable Care Act which Brady continues to disparage isn’t clear.

Posted in Congress, Health Care, Political, Reed's Views | 1 Comment

What Do You Care What Other People Think?

feynman“What Do You Care What Other People Think?”is the second of two books of oral reminiscences of American physicist Richard Feynman. Feynman explains that this was the advice given by his wife. This advice seems to have served him well.

Freshman New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) in an interview late Monday (Jan. 21) said she gives “zero” f—s about criticism she’s received from members of her own party. Why should she care–she was elected to represent her constituents not other members of her party.

Rep. Tom Reed is very much a party stalwart; he almost always votes with his party, especially when his vote matters.  His constituents would be better represented if he represented local interests rather than the interests of his out-of-state fat cats, self-interest, special interests, and other members of the Republican Party.

Posted in Congress, Political | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Tom’s travel

frenchcaucus-01-88ac7.jpgWe didn’t know where Tom was last November, but we do now. Tom and his wife have traveled the world at the expense of the Ripon Society and the Franklin Center–Prague, London, Berlin, and Paris last November. According to Tom:

Participation in this trip will build relationships and enhance communication between our two countries.

Congressional delegations love to go to Paris, and the French welcome them. If the trips are worthwhile, why is Tom so secretive about his travel, one wonders. The trip for Tom and Jean Reed cost the Ripon Society more than $11,000. Reportedly, lobbyists fund these trips to “gain access” to members of Congress.….pdf




Posted in Congress, Political | Tagged , | 11 Comments

A political contradiction


On the one hand, President Trump is widely suspected of misfeasance before and after taking office, to wit:

  • His relations with foreign leaders are suspect.
  • He fails to recognize that the Constitution limits his powers, but attacks Congress, judges, and courts.
  • His understanding of issues is sketchy, based on news reports rather than study or expert advice.
  • He cites “alternative facts,” some reflecting Russian propaganda.
  • He is out of step with past administrations, Democratic and Republican, on many issues–free trade, climate change, foreign relations.
  • His administration is rife with corruption.
  • He encourages divisiveness, racism, intolerance.

One might think that even suspicion of conspiracy with foreign dictators alone would be fatal, yet for President Trump even billowing smoke doesn’t mean fire to many of us.

On the other hand, he was elected President, and whether fairly or not, occupies the office and exercises its powers and usurps more:

  • He enjoys the support of a significant fraction of us.
  • He threatens war and makes nice erratically.
  • He nominates judges, some to lifetime positions.
  • His administration fails to fill many important offices with little notice.
  • He appoints senior officials, often cronies and family members, with the consent, if not the advice, of Congress.
  • He has provoked the longest shutdown in history.
  • He has imposed tariffs on foreign goods disrupting the world economy.
  • He has used the military in questionable ways.
  • He quarrels with allies and makes nice with dictators.

Why, one wonders, is President Trump able to do this? Is it that we have such faith in our elections that we can’t conceive of an unsuitable person being elected, is it that politicians, seeking partisan goals, choose to ignore the danger, or is it that the constitutional provision for removing an elected President, impeachment, is too cumbersome and controversial to be used?





Posted in Constitution, Trump | 9 Comments

Rep. Amash on the border security crisis


potatoes‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.’ –Lewis Carroll

Rep. Amash (R-MI) on the border security crisis

“I think both sides are making a mountain out of a molehill,” Amash said in an interview on Friday with the Sentinel-Standard. “Both sides are pretty stubborn. Both are exaggerating the significance of the wall as part of this legislation.

“Whether the wall is $2 billion or $5 billion will have relatively little practical effect. It’s not unusual. These kinds of things happen in a lot of these fights, where a particular element gets exaggerated for political purposes.”…

“I don’t have an inherent objection to a border wall,” he said. “It needs to be done thoughtfully. It should take into consideration private property at the border and environmental concerns. If those things can be taken into account, I’m OK with it.”


Rep. Amash argues above that a few billions are small potatoes, but this conflicts with his view that budget items ought to be considered individually and in detail.

But the congressman believes the issue has been blown out of proportion. He thinks much more attention should be paid to the entire spending bill, because it includes far too much waste that will continue to balloon the federal deficit, and in turn the massive national debt.

“If the issue is whether we’re going to spend $2 billion or $5 billion on a wall, that’s not worthwhile (for a shutdown),” he said. “The real issue people should be concerned about is the excessive spending in other areas. It’s the departments and programs we are spending hundreds of billions on (that are the problem).”

Amash said that in order to prevent future shutdowns, a more open and deliberative process needs to be established. He feels that each item in spending bills should be discussed and examined individually, rather than each party taking hard stands and fighting.

Rep. Amash, a conservative Republican, believes the government spends too much. However, in this article at least, he fails to explain why he thinks spending billions for border security doesn’t deserve careful examination.

I expect Rep. Amash to object to “executive overreach,” but he didn’t mention any concern over that.

Posted in Congress, Immigration, Political, Trump, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

If you lock your doors at night, a border wall is needed


Reading the news

Good ideas or rubbish?

  1. If you lock your doors at night, a border wall is needed.
  2. It was cold today, so climate change is a hoax.
  3. Tax cuts for the rich benefit all.
  4. The Federal Government is useless, so a shutdown of weeks, months or years doesn’t matter.
  5. Trump knows much about many things, more than anyone else.
  6. Hostility toward Iran makes it less likely that it will seek nuclear weapons.
  7. If a 5 billion dollar wall is a bad idea, a 2.5 billion dollar wall makes sense.
  8. Cutting taxes raises revenue.
  9. Guns don’t kill, so firearm regulations are unwarranted.
  10. Tariffs and trade war are good for the economy.
  11. Britain, France and Germany are unreliable allies, Russia and N. Korea not so much.
  12. The Mueller investigation has found nothing, so it should be terminated.
  13. Scandal is no problem if officials are implementing Trump’s policy.
  14. Administration lies are no big deal.
  15. The Press Secretary’s job is to repeat and justify President Trump’s falsehoods.
  16. America has regained the respect of the world.
  17. The Trump Administration is making America great again.



Posted in Political | Tagged | 3 Comments

Be careful what you wish for

disruptionIn his memoir, Travels with Herodotus, Ryszard Kapuscinski tells the story of a Persian potentate intent on making war with a neighboring tribe. The tribe’s queen predicts that the Persian will get his fill of blood if he persists. As it happens the Persians are defeated, and the Queen, overlooking the dead, brutally makes her threat real.

Rep. Tom Reed’s support for Donald Trump, hoping that he would “disrupt government,” reminded me of this story. Tom doubtless hoped disruption would boost his bill collecting business, cripple medicare, social security, and more generally disrupt the social safety net which he abhors. Tom was right in that Trump’s election did bring disruption, did reduce his taxes, promises to further cripple the social safety net, and much more–responsible government, civil peace, international relations, compassionate immigration law, our military, and efforts to combat climate change are examples. Will Tom someday get his fill of disruption and discord? There is no sign of it yet.


Posted in Reed's Views, War | Tagged , , | 6 Comments