Raising the questions of Constitutionality of the individual mandate on a Church forum seems quite appropriate from at least 4 perspectives:
1. Keeping the Gov from exceeding its authority is in the interests of all citizens, Christians are not excluded.
2. The UCC has a long history of being concerned with justice in several forms having being a public advocate for just laws and holding the gov. accountable for its actions. The UCC, at the nat;l level promoted the Equal Rights Amendment for women wayyyy back when, just to name one constitutional concern meriting General Synod action.
3. This Forum is about public and social policy. What could be more appropriate than laws which are being challenged on the basis of constitutionality. The decisions will frame social policy laws far beyond the Health Care Reform Act.
4. This thread is about the current status of Health Care Reform as it moves forward, sideways and up/down. When there is a Court ruling on part of that, where better for church folk to congregate and express their views?
So, the next news will be whether the various cases will get processed through the Federal Appeals Court or go straight to SCOTUS. Place your bets early & often!
Seriously, I hope all are praying for the judges & justices hearing the various cases such that God will grant them clear discernment and the ability to articulate their reasoning in ways most of us can grasp.
I agree pretty much. I'm not sure about wanting "more" or "less". I am sure the choices were never "all" or "nothing".
So, have alternatives to the Health Care Act of 2010 been proposed & considered? Yes, by the hundreds, apparently.
So, I did a small, brief amount of sleuthing. In both the 109th & 110th Congress, (2005-06 & 2007-8) over 1,000 different bills were submitted to either/and or both houses of Congress for consideration under the subject of "health"http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/thomashttp://thomas.loc.gov/home/LegislativeData.php?&n=BillText&c=110
It's search engine is a bit clunky to get used to but "Thomas" has "everything" relating to Federal legislation.
A few were passed, mostly innocuous. The vast majority with any real "meat & potatoes" were blocked.
If memory serves, in 2006 or 07, Senator Kennedy blocked cloture on a package similar to the GOP reforms I referenced earlier.
Thus, attempts to brand the GOP as "The Party of NO" would seem to rest on a rather sandy foundation when the legislative record is examined.
One area the Health Act doesn't seem to address would be patient's rights when Government run health systems fail.
Googling "Lawsuits Medicaid" yields over 1M results. "Lawsuits-Medicare" yields over 2M hits.
Here are 2 stories Denise may have seen:http://new.bangordailynews.com/2011/01/18/health/maine-plaintiff-joins-lawsuit-against-medicare-agency/http://www.maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/index.php?topic=AGOffice_Press&id=51607&v=article
One must suffer $75,000 in monetary damages to sue in Federal Court, $25,000 in our County courts in OH. The rich & greedy can file endless frivolous lawsuits forcing Dr's to practice defensive medicine to the point of paranoia. The poor have practically no access to civil justice when the gov screws up.
Solutions? 1. Introduce "English Rule" for torts, otherwise known as "loser pays". This gives law firms a serious incentive to evaluate the risks of losing and turn down low-probability, long-shot cases with the least merit. Before passage, examine the track record of suits in English courts on similar issues with American counterparts. Fine-tune policy to avoid the flaws in the British system.
2. Establish a separate Health Care Ombudsman Office similar to the IRS' "Problem Resolution Office" to which taxpayers can turn when the system has failed. I've used it a number of times for tax clients with remarkable results. It helps when an office's staff is seasoned and well-trained AND given the authority to over-ride the bureaucracy when warranted.
Its still bizarre when citizens have to sue the government to get medical care because the regulators need additional regulation.
2 final questions for which I can't imagine any simple or painless legal remedies:
1. Who pays for the medical care of illegal immigrants who's countries of origin have universal health care systems?
2. How do we increase the participation rates in Medicaid & SChips? The current law expands eligibility but I'm unaware of provisions to make those programs more attractive and reduce fraud.
Here's an idea, certainly not perfect, regarding pre-existing conditions:
1. Group plans already accept everybody, pretty much, regardless. Allowing more regional and nationwide organizations to form group plans would solve this to some extent.
2. How big is the problem? I have no idea. that could affect strategies to minimize problems.
3. Allow insurance companies to write policies that exclude the pre-existing conditions as well as policies that are targeted for pre-existing conditions. Review & revise underwriting standards. Then, have a phase out period for the exclusion. Or an extra charge. Run the numbers, Review, revise, adapt.
Insurance companies have to be able to avoid losses but if the Gov. picks up the tab, the deficit explodes. That remains the toughest nut in the pot, IMO. Could we focus on choosing healthier lifestyles? No laws needed for that but it would reduce health care costs significantly with no need for regulation.
Now, time for zany or worse.
OK, maybe a small, modest tax on "fat" content of food, with an automatic 10% annual increase mechanism until the annual tax collected drops below a 3 yr avg. Use the tax $$ to pay for obesity related health care & nutrition education. Do the same with the tobacco & alcohol taxes and other things that are choices and adversely affect health over time.
Or, if you love/trust Gov. control, issue a plastic "Family Calorie Ration" card to everyone who buys food. Each month you'd get an allotment of calories for the size & ages of your family. Every time you buy food, you swipe the card. When you've run out of calories, you can't buy any more food that month. That would be right out of Rev. 13, shades of "666". I can imagine a weird black market in high calorie foods developing. Hostess, Hershey's & Little Debbies would scream, IMO.
Well, on to other tasks like deciding who to root for in the Super Bowl. So, many choices, so little time.