October 05, 2009
Hassling Whole Foods

I received a postcard a few days ago that screamed "Why is Whole Foods CEO fighting progressive health care reform?" It was from an organization called Health Care for America Now and it warned me that Whole Foods is looking to locate in my neighborhood soon. I had the urge to look over my shoulder for lurking real estate executives in trench coats, scoping out sites for the new store.

The reference was to CEO John Mackey's Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal where he dared to suggest that, even though "we clearly need health reform," we should be moving "toward less government control and more individual empowerment."

The postcard wailed, "[Mackey] went so far as to say that health care is not a right in America." Silly Mr. Mackey. He must have mistook the very debate he was participating in as evidence that there is no right to health care in America (other than the right to be treated in emergency rooms regardless of ability to pay, which every person in American has by statute).

Health Care for America Now's website urges people to "get angry," and lists the lies (yes lies!) that are being told about proposed health care reforms. To my horror I realized I am one of the lying liars who tell them since I believe there is a pretty good argument for several of the propositions on their lie list. And forgive my mendacity for not agreeing that "health care reform will be fully paid for," that "a majority of reform will be paid for by finding savings and cutting waste within the current system," or that "nothing in any health reform bill being proposed . . . would ration care," all propositions that are "The Truth" according to Health Care for America Now's web site.

Is anyone else sick of this manner of debate? There are gross examples of this same poor behavior on the right. Let's not waste more valuable debating capital arguing about who started it. I don't know a conservative person (or anyone for that matter) who doesn't believe that the government has a role in ensuring that everyone has health care, including assisting those with low incomes and catastrophic/chronic diseases. Everyone recognizes that rising prices must be checked. No one favors continuing the status quo. The debate is about how we get there, and it should be an honest one about the trade-offs.

Don't we all aspire to live in a world where objectively presented facts and thoughtful argument carry the day? One ought to be able to put forward a reasoned argument in good faith without being subject to thinly-veiled boycott campaigns. What do you say we turn our ears from the shrill voices, hold up and engage the reasoned ones.


See John Mackey's more complete statement of his proposal on his blog here, and his weekend interview with the Wall Street Journal here.

Posted by Carter Mackley at October 05, 2009 04:47 PM | Email This
Comments
1. "Don't we all aspire to live in a world where objectively presented facts and thoughtful argument carry the day?" The sad fact is no, many on all sides of this and other issues are wrapped up in dogma and knee jerk ideology.

Posted by: Jim T. on October 5, 2009 05:47 PM
2. John Mackey is great. He's made a great business, profitable enterprise, and provides for a great many employees and happy customers. And all by catering to the ignorant do-gooders who feel that by eating organic food, shopping in an enlightened environment, or paying more for what could otherwise be had for less. The American way. It's no wonder he also has a sensible plan for healthcare reform.

Smart businessmen like Mackey are the people that actually move the world. We need more Mackeys and less Obamas.

Posted by: Jeff B. on October 5, 2009 08:06 PM
3. Read all of Mackey's statement about his position on Health Care and it was very sensible. Btw, the employees at Whole Foods love this guy, because he's a GOOD GUY.
I would say that the lying liars are people who make the claims the crazed Left are claiming--the ones with quotes around them in the 4th paragraph of this post. If they believe this stuff, then they are far more gullible than they even realize.
Pity.

Posted by: Michele on October 5, 2009 08:17 PM
4. If healthcare is a "right", why does Congress want to fine thousands of dollars if you do not have it?

Maybe Health Care for America Now should regroup with Congress and reset on their story line.

Posted by: SouthernRoots on October 5, 2009 08:38 PM
5. I support Mr. Mackey and will shop at Whole Foods. The left doesn't care about doing the right thing. In spite of the clawing, scratching, whining and the lies of the left, there is no real urgency for overhauling the Health Care system. However, there is an urgency for incrementally making it better and at the same time addressing the 15% that do not have access to affordable Health Care. This can only be accomplished if it is done in a bipartisan way. The left is employing kamikaze tactics to change for the sake of governmental control even if it is against the wishes of 60% of the population. It is critical to stop these crazed statist loons before they take us over the proverbial cliff.

However, to reform Health Care correctly, it must be done incrementally otherwise there will be Liberal Progressives only bill passed that will make Health Care worse for the majority who have it now to benefit the 15% who don't have it now.

Posted by: KDS on October 5, 2009 09:27 PM
6. Wow. "[Mackey] went so far as to say that health care is not a right in America." Ummm. That is, actually, a fact. There is not a single serious argument that health care is a right in America. You may believe it SHOULD BE, but it is not.

Also: Health care reform would be a "government takover" of health care

So when government forces all private individual insurers to go through a government-run "market," that is not taking over part of the health care system? Of course it is. It is not a COMPLETE takeover (yet), but who said it was? It is, in fact, a partial, and significant, takeover.

Also, they blatantly lie here: they say that you get to keep your insurance. If we have insurance mandates, many people WILL be forced to get new insurance plans. There's no way around that. In order to have mandates, you must have a minimum level of coverage, which necessarily means that some current plans will be under that level, and those plans will be, in effect, illegal. And even without mandates, in the "health insurance exchange," many plans will be essentially forced to shut down by the government's unfair "competition" and "market" requirements, which will obviously mean those consumers won't get to keep those old plans ... and any new plans must go through the government.


Health care reform would cover undocumented immigrants and pay federal money for abortions

Even the White House conceded that the former was true, because there wasn't any enforcement of the provision that would disallow benefits going to illegals. As to the second, it's just plainly true: many private insurers cover abortions, and federal money would go to pay for these plans.


Health care reform will bankupt [sic] our country

Far from being a lie, that's a reasonable belief based on the evidence.


Health care reform will cut Medicare and Medicaid

Medicare cuts have been proposed for various reform bills.


What's really sad about that page is that it is basically a HOWTO for people to engage in dishonest debate. Rather than encouraging people to discuss the facts, it tells them to first get the other people angry, then establish that THEY (the insurance companies) are who you should be angry at, then say that Obamacare is the alternative.

Posted by: pudge on October 5, 2009 11:25 PM
7. "Don't we all aspire to live in a world where objectively presented facts and thoughtful argument carry the day?"

If it occurred tomorrow the sudden and catastrophic drop in population could please only Greens.


That Whole Foods may be given the same treatment as Wal-Mart by pseudo-intellectual rubes causes laughter in me.

Posted by: tehag on October 6, 2009 03:54 AM
8. #4, Because I was told by a regular visitor to this site that we don't have a Right to *not* have health insurance.

That's how twisted up their notions of Rights are.

Posted by: Gary on October 6, 2009 05:57 AM
9. Gary, you don't think you're a free person, now, do you? Talk about rubes!! ;-)

Posted by: pudge on October 6, 2009 06:14 AM
10. pudge, I know, I know. But I do actually still think of things like Freedom.

Yesterday at the White House doctor photo-op, the White House passed out white coats for the doctors to wear. "Here, put these on so that Americans will know that you're doctors."

So embarrassing. I'm starting to feel badly for them.

Posted by: Gary on October 6, 2009 06:32 AM
11. I think we all have it wrong and I wish the administration would come clean and just say that they are not trying to take over the health CARE system, they are going to take over the health insurance companies that are miss managing it.

Posted by: Roadcrack on October 6, 2009 06:44 AM
12. Say, this looks suspiciously like an astroturf campaign. I bet the media will be right on this.

*snerk*

Posted by: Frank Black on October 6, 2009 08:58 AM
13.
The President to the assembled props on the White House lawn:

"You Look Very Spiffy In Your Coats"

So stupid. So brain-dead. Come on liberals, even you have to admit this is idiotic.

Posted by: Gary on October 6, 2009 09:03 AM
14. Pudge @6:
****
Also, they blatantly lie here: they say that you get to keep your insurance. If we have insurance mandates, many people WILL be forced to get new insurance plans. There's no way around that. In order to have mandates, you must have a minimum level of coverage, which necessarily means that some current plans will be under that level, and those plans will be, in effect, illegal. And even without mandates, in the "health insurance exchange," many plans will be essentially forced to shut down by the government's unfair "competition" and "market" requirements, which will obviously mean those consumers won't get to keep those old plans ... and any new plans must go through the government.
****
There is another aspect to your point above. To keep cost down there is a greater than not chance that the 'base' plans will contain much less than the current standard plans. Which, of course, means that insurers will then have a benchmark to LOWER their plans to. This would mean that your plans would change.

Posted by: Mr. RcGuy on October 6, 2009 09:31 AM
15. What the left has attempted to do to Mr. Mackey is just beneath contempt.

The left wants to tax the hell out of corporations but doesn't want to hear a word out of them in their own defense. Corporations do a lot of GOOD things for this country and it is downright criminal that they are precluded from having a place in the marketplace of ideas.

I think that corporate managers have bought into the idea that silence is golden for too many years. I would love to see the insurance companies come out swinging on the whole healthcare debate.

Posted by: johnny on October 6, 2009 12:35 PM
16. pudge, In order to have mandates, you must have a minimum level of coverage

This sentence is not true.

All the plans do contain a mandate, and they do contain an exchange that has minimum benefits. But it is not true that a mandate implies a defined minimum level of coverage. You can have one without the other.

those plans will be, in effect, illegal

That is not true. People can keep their current plans, and the individual market (outside of the exchange) will still exist. These plans will not meet the mandate requirement, but the statement you made is false.

many plans will be essentially forced to shut down by the government's unfair "competition" and "market" requirements

The as-of yet unnamed ones? Great argument.

which will obviously mean those consumers won't get to keep those old plans

That is not true. By law, insurers must keep people who choose to stay on their current plans.

and any new plans must go through the government.

That is not true. The vast majority of people get their insurance through their employer, who is not party to any exchange.

There is nothing in the bills that forces people to switch insurance or change doctors. Of course over the course of one's lifetime one will likely change insurers, and the plans cannot and should not prevent that.

Posted by: John Jensen on October 6, 2009 04:11 PM
17. Health care reform will bankupt [sic] our country Far from being a lie, that's a reasonable belief based on the evidence.

That is not true.

The latest CBO estimates from the Finance bill have shown the bill to reduce the deficit over the next 10 years and beyond. The President said in a speech to Congress that he will not sign a bill that adds a "dime" to the deficit -- either now or in the future.

Medicare cuts have been proposed for various reform bills.

Will any benefits be cut? No.

Posted by: John Jensen on October 6, 2009 04:21 PM
18. "The head of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, Douglas Elmendorf, told senators that seniors in Medicare's managed care plans could see reduced benefits under a bill in the Finance Committee."

-
SHAWN BISHOP, SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE PROFESSIONAL STAFF MEMBER: "The $113 billion dollars is a reduction in the extra benefits, the added, additional benefits that Medicare Advantage enrollees have available to them. And those benefits come in the form of vision, dental, reduced hospital deductible. It's unstatutory, it's unlawful for any Medicare Advantage plan to reduce the AB covered benefit that they provide. That's by statute. They have to provide that. They are going to have a reduction in the added benefits that they have in Medicare Advantage. So there's a reduction in benefits but its additional extra benefits that they have above what they're entitled to by law on the fee for service side." (Finance Committee, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 9/22/09)

-

AP: "WASHINGTON - Congress' chief budget officer on Tuesday contradicted President Barack Obama's oft-stated claim that seniors wouldn't see their Medicare benefits cut under a health care overhaul."

-

But... they had doctors in costumes at the White House!

Posted by: Gary on October 6, 2009 05:44 PM
19. Mark, in the pursuit of reasoned arguments, I would appreciate a post backing this assertion:

"I don't know a conservative person (or anyone for that matter) who doesn't believe that the government has a role in ensuring that everyone has health care, including assisting those with low incomes and catastrophic/chronic diseases."

Because it is my observation that the conservative position on health care as espoused by Republican elected representatives and conservative publications has been and continues to be predominantly opposition to Democrat proposals and positions.

If indeed there is a consensus on the right for a government role in assuring that everyone has health care, I'd like to read about it.

I don't believe there is such a consensus and I believe the shrillness of the debate is a result of shrill opposition.

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on October 6, 2009 05:49 PM
20.
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d111:h.r.03400:

Posted by: Gary on October 6, 2009 05:55 PM
21. #19 "Because it is my observation that the conservative position on health care as espoused by Republican elected representatives and conservative publications has been and continues to be predominantly opposition to Democrat proposals and positions."

-

We have no power. Just pass HR3200 if that's what you want.


Posted by: Gary on October 6, 2009 06:02 PM
22. Gary, you quoted the CBO: It's unstatutory, it's unlawful for any Medicare Advantage plan to reduce the AB covered benefit that they provide. That's by statute.

In other words, no Medicare benefits will be cut. Medicare Advantage extras are different from Medicare benefits, and the government should not be subsidizing gym memberships and yoga classes. A gym membership is not a Medicare benefit.

Medicare Advantage was introduced by the GOP under the theory that the private sector could do things cheaper. That idea is untrue on its face since we pay 14% above Medicare costs for each Medicare Advantage member. Our Medicare taxes are used to subsidize yoga classes for Medicare Advantage members. That's ridiculous. If private companies can do Medicare cheaper, then pay them the same cost as Medicare and the profit motive will drive them toward innovation. Don't over-pay them so they can offer non-essential benefits on our dollar.

We have no power. Just pass HR3200 if that's what you want.

Is that your party's platform for health care reform? "Just pass it already!" OK.

Posted by: John Jensen on October 6, 2009 06:23 PM
23.
What do you care what my party's platform is? You have HR3200. You have every branch of government. Are you waiting for our approval?

I provided a link to a GOP House bill.

Posted by: Gary on October 6, 2009 07:13 PM
24. No one is arguing that democrats can't pass a bill. We're not fretting that the GOP has different opinions and is opposed.

The majority of the arguments I make are about good policy vs. bad policy, not who is in power. The GOP doesn't really have a policy here. They repeat myths about cross-state competition and tort reform being able to make a fundamental difference. It's just not true. And then the rest of the time is spent spreading distortions and scaring old people.

So yes, we have majority. And we'll probably pass a bill on our own. But you should be ashamed that for such a fundamental issue the GOP has no rational, SERIOUS response. Instead it's trivialities and distractions. It's disheartening.

Posted by: John Jensen on October 6, 2009 08:28 PM
25. #24 "They repeat myths about cross-state competition and tort reform being able to make a fundamental difference. It's just not true."

Oh. Okay. You don't like the GOP's views, so therefore they are not "serious".

Alright.

Posted by: Gary on October 7, 2009 05:51 AM
26. AP: "WASHINGTON -- Congressional tax experts say Senate health care legislation would impose $29 billion more in taxes on health care industries than originally thought.

The Joint Committee on Taxation says drug companies, medical device manufacturers and insurers would pay $121 billion over 10 years as a result of taxes in the Senate Finance Committee bill."

Great! Health care expensive? Let's make it even more expensive!

Posted by: Gary on October 7, 2009 05:57 AM
27. And of course none of this debate is cause for boycotting Whole Foods. Hell, the benefits there are what I thought people liked. Or, again... does it only count if the benefits come from the government?

Posted by: Gary on October 7, 2009 06:52 AM
28. #24 "Instead it's trivialities and distractions. It's disheartening."

-

Trivialities like making doctors wear costumes at the White House? That kind of triviality? Yes, that's very serious... "Here, put this on so that the stupid Americans will know that you're a doctor."

Posted by: Gary on October 7, 2009 08:04 AM
29.
#16 "There is nothing in the bills that forces people to switch insurance or change doctors. "

How do you know that? Have you read the Senate bill? Nobody has. This is from the San Francisco Examiner:

" When then-Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama promised not to sign major legislation until it had been posted on the Internet for public reading at least five days, trusting voters took him at his word.

Now they know better. Not only is the actual language of what is likely to become the main legislative vehicle for Obama's signature health care reform not available on the Internet, it hasn't been given to members of the key Senate committees or the Congressional Budget Office."

So, how do you know what's in it or not in it?


Posted by: Gary on October 7, 2009 09:43 AM
30. Gary, You don't like the GOP's views, so therefore they are not "serious".

They aren't serious because they aren't real fixes. Tort reform is a good idea and I think we should address it just to make doctor's lives easier, but it literally has nothing to do with the cost problems. Cross-state competition is simply a race to the bottom -- insurers would go to the state with the least regulations.

Have you read the Senate bill? Nobody has.

The fully-amended Finance committee mark has been online since Friday, smarty pants. It is written in plain English.

"Now they know better. Not only is the actual language of what is likely to become the main legislative vehicle for Obama's signature health care reform not available on the Internet, it hasn't been given to members of the key Senate committees or the Congressional Budget Office."

That editor is, quite frankly, completely wrong. The Finance mark is not an outline as the next sentence of the editorial says.

The Finance committee always writes it's legislation in plain English. Those marks are approved by committee and then converted into legislative text. The legalese must match the plain-English mark.

It's a BS claim to delay the process. Obviously, once the merged bill gets to the floor of the Senate it should be posted online. But nothing is being hidden. In fact, it is far more useful to have a plain-language version of the bill than one that is simply incomprehensible to non-lawyers.

Posted by: John Jensen on October 7, 2009 09:58 AM
31. You can read the full mark here. It is not an outline, but a detailed plain-language act. That's how I know what's in it, Gary.

Note that the very last paragraph is: Before the Finance Committee can vote on final passage of ―America‘s Healthy Future Act of 2009, the conceptual language in plain English and a complete cost analysis by the Congressional Budget Office must be publically [sic] available on the Finance Committee‘s website ahead of the vote.

Posted by: John Jensen on October 7, 2009 10:01 AM
32.
The CBO should have legislative text.


Posted by: Gary on October 7, 2009 10:21 AM
33. Because you say so?

The Finance committee has never in its history used legislative text. The CBO scored the Finance marks of Bush's tax cuts, Bush's Medicare Part D, and every other major legislation that went through the committee with plain-language marks.

Using actual English is a far more transparent process than legislating in impossible-to-understand legalese. The fact that Senators can read amendments makes the process better. I wish every committee did this.

Your assertions aside, the CBO score and the Finance committee mark will be and is already online, respectively. There is plenty of transparency here. That's how I know what's in the plan.

What's your excuse for not knowing? Too challenging to read plain English? You'd rather also not-read legalese?

Posted by: John Jensen on October 7, 2009 10:33 AM
34.
What I said was "The CBO should have legislative text."

It doesn't exist?

Posted by: Gary on October 7, 2009 10:35 AM
35. How are states going to pay for expanded medicaid benefits, when they're already running deficits?

Posted by: Gary on October 7, 2009 12:13 PM
36. The CBO scored the mark. Reduces the deficit by $81 billion.

(Guess what the CBO score is posted on? The Internet.)

Posted by: John Jensen on October 7, 2009 01:09 PM
37.
$829 billion to cover 29 million people. 6% still uninsured. No public option? Is that right?

The CBO scored it based on projected spending cuts and tax increases. Not on a single person making less than $250k, I'm sure.

Will states have to increase their Medicaid expenditures?

Posted by: Gary on October 7, 2009 01:25 PM
38. And the CBO score is "preliminary".

Posted by: Gary on October 7, 2009 01:34 PM
39. @ 33 What's your excuse for not knowing? Too challenging to read plain English? You'd rather also not-read legalese? ~ John Jensen

I can only assume your are directing that accusation at an actual Democratic congressman and representative from MI who admitted he couldn't understand the healthcare bill in front of him without having 2 lawyers explain it to him (yet he's the chairman of the judicial committee). Isn't that what he's paid for afterall? To read the damn bill he's voting on is too much to ask of this mutt?

If so, I agree wholeheartedly with your above criticism of our elected "leaders" who fail us day in day out while claiming they represent us.

Posted by: Rick D. on October 7, 2009 07:50 PM
40. John-
We need to see the legal language to find out not what the bill says, but what the courts and the bureaucrats are likely to do with it if it were to be signed into law.

Take a look at the way bureaucrats and judges interpret what we have out there today and tell me that's not important to do?

For instance, we have basic language that says things like a "right to bear arms" but we have courts fighting the legal language all the time and laws on the books in several states that control hand guns and other gun ownership in a way that is plainly out of step with this "plain language."

On the other hand, I think you can check the bill of rights, declaration of independence, etc. and NOT find a word about the killing of unborn children, but these same courts and bureaucrats seem to treat the somewhat questionable "right" of abortion as a law beyond question.

Illegal aliens in our schools? An unintended right based on some interpretation of legal language. At least I hope thats' the case. I'm pretty sure that if the plain language version of a law said "Hey guys, we're going to spend 10's of millions of precious education dollars each year to educate people who aren't Americans as well as divert teacher time to coddle people who came over the border. That's okay with you, right?" There would have been quite a bit of objection to it. I've been on this planet quite a while and don't remember that happening.

(I know your position on illegal aliens John. We've all read it enough times now. Here's one that I think more people in the U.S. subscribe to: "Attempting to begin a path to citizenship by breaking our immigration laws makes as much sense as attempting to start a courtship through rape. Both should result in punishment and never, ever result in any kind of reward.")

Your point that some of the stupider stuff that Bush II put through finance was also approved based on "plain language" is further proof as if we needed any that nothing should EVER move forward unless the true legal wording of the bill is in cement.

So that's why we need to see the legal language and have people who aren't politicians looking at it.

Posted by: johnny on October 7, 2009 08:15 PM
41. Rick, Isn't that what he's paid for afterall? To read the damn bill he's voting on is too much to ask of this mutt?

No one understands legislative language easily. It should be in plain English, just like the Finance committee bills are. Funny that Gary attacks this common sense approach. :)

johnny, We need to see the legal language to find out not what the bill says, but what the courts and the bureaucrats are likely to do with it if it were to be signed into law.

I mean, you have a point. Obviously the final law must be legislative language, so we're going to see it.

But the conceptual language is translated exactly to legislative language if there were ever a dispute on the meaning, the courts would certainly use conceptual language since legislative intent is incredibly important for the judiciary.

On the other hand, I think you can check the bill of rights, declaration of independence, etc. and NOT find a word about the killing of unborn children, but these same courts and bureaucrats seem to treat the somewhat questionable "right" of abortion as a law beyond question.

It hinges on the word liberty in the following sentence: nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law. The authors of the 14th Amendment purposefully did not define life, liberty, and property.

The authors of the Finance Committee mark are not simply just leaving things undefined. And yes, at some step, it must be converted to legislative language.

Illegal aliens in our schools? An unintended right based on some interpretation of legal language.

That sounds made up.

I've been on this planet quite a while and don't remember that happening.

Oh, this is your evidence. You don't remember.

Your point that some of the stupider stuff that Bush II put through finance was also approved based on "plain language" is further proof as if we needed any that nothing should EVER move forward unless the true legal wording of the bill is in cement.

No, my point was that every single bill that goes through Finance is in plain English -- no matter the president: W, Obama, Bush I, Clinton, Reagan, Carter, Ford, Nixon, LBJ, Kennedy, Eisenhower, etc.

I personally appreciate being able to read and understand what Senators are voting on. I like being able to understand amendments. It makes the process more transparent and is better for our country. I would go as far to say that I wish every single bill were passed in plain English first, then passed again as legislative language. (It would be trivial to make it a statue that the bills must match exactly.) The HELP and House bills are in legislative language, and it's really difficult to follow what they mean at times.

And what if the bill were legislative language? We'd have same CBO score, but people would be complaining about how long the bill is and how no one has read it. So there's just no winning.

Posted by: John Jensen on October 7, 2009 09:16 PM
42. The problem with any healthcare bill that would pass is it would be just a skeleton when voted up or down. Afterwards, the powers that be just start filling in the body parts when it's too late to let the public know wtf is actually in the bill so they could actually voice their opinion to their representative. So much for the administration of transparency.

Given the track record of government in such matters, there is no sane person that would agree they should have a hand in our health care decisions.

Posted by: Rick D. on October 8, 2009 04:59 AM
43.
#41 "And what if the bill were legislative language? We'd have same CBO score, ..."

CBO said: "Those estimates are all subject to substantial uncertainty."

Maybe, maybe not. Either way, this score depends on a $200 billion tax increase on the middle class that 150 Democrats in the House have already vowed not to vote for so this is all moot anyway. It was just a vehicle to get some momentary good press. They scored something that is not even going to happen.

Of course, the government was only off by 800% when they projected Medicare costs back in the day, but I'm sure they're much more reliable now. And we only have a $1.4 trillion deficit this year. Nothing to worry about.


Posted by: Gary on October 8, 2009 06:09 AM
44. Oh, and $829 billion (yeah, right) to insure 10% more people?

We are so doomed.

Posted by: Gary on October 8, 2009 06:11 AM
45. It's also DOA because it raises taxes on the middle class, and Obama said this in his big speech to Congress:

"The middle class will realize greater security, not higher taxes."

So. He won't sign it anyway.

Posted by: Gary on October 8, 2009 06:40 AM
46. Rick D, The problem with any healthcare bill that would pass is it would be just a skeleton when voted up or down. Afterwards, the powers that be just start filling in the body parts when it's too late to let the public know wtf is actually in the bill so they could actually voice their opinion to their representative.

I don't know if you'd read the Chairman's mark or not, but you should. Details are not being omitted. There aren't things just being left out, to be filled in later. The only difference is writing your bill in plain language and legislative language.

Oh, and $829 billion (yeah, right) to insure 10% more people?

Wait, ONLY 10% of the country? ONLY one in ten people? How many people does the GOP plan cover?

It's also funny you question the CBO's estimate for cost but accept its estimate on coverage as fact.

The CBO also estimates that this bill brings down the cost curve for health care in general, and Medicare in specific. How much does the GOP plan reduce the cost curve?

Either your party is ready to make the tough choices, Gary, or they're not. I'm leaning toward not.

Also, the taxes are on insurance companies. Are insurance companies the middle class now?

Posted by: John Jensen on October 8, 2009 09:19 AM
47. Gary, And we only have a $1.4 trillion deficit this year. Nothing to worry about.

So let's put off health care reform for another 40 years. Sounds great to the GOP. Sounds bad to America.

Posted by: John Jensen on October 8, 2009 09:22 AM
48. #46 "Also, the taxes are on insurance companies. Are insurance companies the middle class now?"

Talk to the unions. No way that's happening. And yes, John... any tax on any company is a tax on the customers.

"So let's put off health care reform for another 40 years."

You've only got Ted Kennedy to thank for that.

Posted by: Gary on October 8, 2009 09:35 AM
49. Gary, Talk to the unions. No way that's happening. And yes, John... any tax on any company is a tax on the customers.

I'll bet you money that it's in the final bill. The White House wants it bad. It's the only way to make the bill deficit neutral and to bend the cost curve over the long-term. I think a bill would be substantially worse without this revenue source.

The tax on insurance companies will put downward price pressures in insurance costs. The insurance industry is subsidized by the largest tax deduction in the country: the benefits deduction. Simply capping that deduction on the most expensive plans is a great first step toward putting price pressures on insurance. We shouldn't subsidize super expensive insurance plans for CEOs.

You've only got Ted Kennedy to thank for that.

Ted Kennedy killed the Carter plans? Killed the Truman plans? Killed the LBJ plans? Killed the Clinton plans? No, none of that happened.

What we have to blame is a Congress that is ineffective at making tough decisions. You seem pleased with that fact, with your party clearly unable to make any tough decisions at all and offer a real, substantive plan to cover more Americans and bend the cost curve, as well as reduce Medicare costs.

Posted by: John Jensen on October 8, 2009 10:03 AM
50. "Ted Kennedy killed the Carter plans? Killed the Truman plans? Killed the LBJ plans? Killed the Clinton plans? No, none of that happened."

He killed the Nixon plan.

This Baucus thing is BS and isn't gonna happen. The CBO scored a whole bunch of steam.


Posted by: Gary on October 8, 2009 10:10 AM
51. Gary, He killed the Nixon plan.

Reforms have been pushed since then and were pushed before then, and all have failed. The problem isn't one Senator or one President -- it's that Congress -- particularly the Senate -- are ineffective at making tough choices.

This Baucus thing is BS and isn't gonna happen. The CBO scored a whole bunch of steam.

That's some deep thought. Thanks for your insight.

Posted by: John Jensen on October 8, 2009 11:04 AM
52.
Cannot criticize Ted Kennedy. After all, he had sex with 1,000 women and only killed one.

"Ted Kennedy killed the Carter plans? Killed the Truman plans? Killed the LBJ plans? Killed the Clinton plans? No, none of that happened."

Interesting that you left out the one he actually killed.

The CBO scored a concept, not a bill.

Posted by: Gary on October 8, 2009 12:04 PM
53. Gary,

Interesting that you left out the one he actually killed.

Interesting that you focus on a single one of the seven (TR, FDR, Truman, LBJ, Nixon, Carter, Clinton) universal health care reform proposals that Presidents made but Congress failed to act on. Why focus on this one?

Cannot criticize Ted Kennedy. After all, he had sex with 1,000 women and only killed one.

Oh, I see. You wanted to poke fun of someone who just died of cancer.

Great having a health care discussion with you, Gary.

The CBO scored a concept, not a bill.

No, they scored the Chairman's mark -- not a concept. That mark was amended several times, and is the thing that the committee actually votes on. You're wrong.

The bill is going to get converted to legislative language the second it gets passed, I really don't understand your point. Long before this mark turns into law it will be one of those 1,100 page bills that you won't read nor understand. I'm sure even after you don't read the bill and don't understand it, you'll still find ways to attack the President and dead Senators.

Posted by: John Jensen on October 8, 2009 01:07 PM
54.
"Oh, I see. You wanted to poke fun of someone who just died of cancer."

-
You'll excuse me if I have not much sympathy for the man. He lived much longer than Mary Jo, but she was just a peasant.


Posted by: Gary on October 8, 2009 01:32 PM
55. Great having a health care discussion with you, Gary.

Psst. Some Republicans are bad people too. Let's stop with the villains and focus on making our country better.

Posted by: John Jensen on October 8, 2009 01:35 PM
56. And if Ted can joke about Mary Jo, we can joke about Ted. Good news is he's been sober for over a month now.

Posted by: Gary on October 8, 2009 01:37 PM
57. Yes, sir! No more Kennedy jokes!

Posted by: Gary on October 8, 2009 01:43 PM
58. Great having a health care discussion with you, Gary.

Posted by: John Jensen on October 8, 2009 01:55 PM
59. What? I said no more jokes. Isn't that what you wanted?

Posted by: Gary on October 8, 2009 01:57 PM
60. Some independent analysis of the Baucus bill. The biggest "fib" is that it's $829 billion over 10 years. In fact, it's $820 billion over 7 years, meaning it's 30% more expensive per year than told. The reason is the plan doesn't start until 2013, but the "costs" are spread starting in 2010. That's not really honest.

Also, note that it expects a very heavy tax burden AND on cutting Medicare payments (by 21%), something that Congress should have done 6 years ago and STILL has not done...

Reality is this bill will NOT reduce the deficit, it WILL leave millions - potentially 10+ million - uninsured, and it will cause tens of millions to be forced to the public option.

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on October 8, 2009 07:11 PM
61. Taxes will go up to pay for health reform, Medicare benefits will be cut to pay for health reform and there will still be about 25 million people who don't have health insurance.

So, what have we gained for all the trillions of dollars that are going to be spent?

Short answer: Government control of health care with Democrats gaining more control over a huge segment of the economy.

Can you say "boondogle?"

Posted by: Clean House on October 8, 2009 07:23 PM
62. I've never shopped at Whole Foods because I assumed it was owned and operated by a bunch of brainless liberals. I stand corrected -- the boycott just got them a customer.

Posted by: jvon on October 9, 2009 12:06 AM
63. I think Obama just talking about health care is enough to earn him a Pulitzer Prize. And a Grammy, and an Emmy.

Posted by: Gary on October 9, 2009 06:49 AM
64. #57

Speaking of Ted Kennedy jokes, I saw a great bumper sticker today.

In big letters it said "All I want is What Ted Kennedy Wanted." In smaller letters it said "Booze, broads and unearned power and wealth."

Someone ought to put that second line on Teddys tombstone. Can't think of a more fitting summary for the guys life.

Posted by: johnny on October 9, 2009 02:58 PM
65. On Fox News the On the Record News w/Greta Van Sestran let folks know about this outrage.Out of this came an effort to encourage folks near these stores to buy from them and nutralize this pointless boycott. I hope they are succesful!! This CEO deserves better.

Posted by: Laurie on October 11, 2009 03:11 PM
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