Posted by Charity on May 7th, 2009

I haven’t been blogging much the past week because I have some kind of weird joint flare-up in my right hand and it hurts a lot after I have been on the computer for any length of time, even a few minutes.

It’s kind of freeing to be out of the loop on political news, though.  That stuff drives me crazy.

My situation has me thinking about our health care system in the US and the push to reform it.

I went to my doctor Monday about my hand.  I had forgotten that my co-pay increased from $15 to $20.  I remarked that it was a small price to pay for the care available to me.  It really is.  Obviously, we pay more than that for our monthly premium, and my husband’s employer pays even more than that, but what is it worth to me to be able to see a doctor within days of calling?

After examining me and ordering some blood work, the doctor referred to a rheumatologist.  My appointment is in three weeks.

I was curious what the wait times are on such a non-urgent condition in Canada.  Anecdotally, via message boards, people report waiting 4-6 months to see a rheumatologist.  One person said 6-9 months.  The Arthritis Community Research & Evaluation Unit reported, “In 2000, Ontarians with non-urgent arthritis waited an average of 10 weeks for an initial rheumatology consultation,” but I didn’t find anything more recent from them.

I worry that a shift to a health insurance system administered by the government will increase the wait times we experience here in the US, not just for rheumatology, but for everything.

Another concern I have is that we will see a two-tiered system, with only the rich having access to health care in a timely manner, and the rest of us being forced to wait for care.

I agree that we need changes in our health care/insurance system, but utilizing the government to equalize the system is not the answer.  The government’s version of equality usually involves bringing everyone down.

Some changes that would be beneficial are:

  • Universal insurance forms, to reduce administrative costs for doctors and hospitals.
  • De-coupling insurance from employment, so people can take their policy with them when they change jobs or become self-employed.
  • Making all health insurance related costs tax deductible and allowing the costs to be taken out of our paychecks pre-tax.
  • Loosening regulation on what types of policies are available.  Allowing catastrophic policies.  Allowing a la carte options, instead of mandating what must be covered.

There is no need to throw the baby out with the bath water when it comes to reforming heath care in America.  We have the best, fastest, most innovative health care system in the world.  Let’s keep it that way.

33 Responses to “A Few Thoughts on Health Care Reform”

  1. I am not sure how much I will be online, so I wanted to address one comment always comes up when discussing health care.

    People like to use mortality and disease rates to “prove” that we do not have the best health care system in the world. That is a false conclusion. Americans are lazy pigs. Most of our diseases are caused by over-eating, not getting enough exercise, and other unhealthy choices, such as smoking and drinking – not by our health care system.

  2. “I worry that a shift to a health insurance system administered by the government will increase the wait times we experience here in the US, not just for rheumatology, but for everything.”

    Why?? One of the problems that Canada has is a general lack of health care professionals…something that the USA does not have much of a problem with. The wait time issue is generally, intentionally overblown by the Right-wing in this country. As you basically point out above, try showing up at a doctor’s office without an appointment…you wait or they won’t be able to see you at all. That won’t chnage at all under a single-payer system. What will change is that everyone will be covered and we’ll end up spending waaaay less money on administration costs. Also, try having your co-pay go up from $15 to $30, like mine did last year.

    “Another concern I have is that we will see a two-tiered system, with only the rich having access to health care in a timely manner, and the rest of us being forced to wait for care.”

    Even in Canada the rich (and others) have access to more “gold-plated” health care plans that fill-in small gaps in their government-provided health care…just like we have down here with the Medicare program.

    “De-coupling insurance from employment, so people can take their policy with them when they change jobs or become self-employed.”

    I believe that the Obama administration is going to be working on just that…just like several states already have.

    “Making all health insurance related costs tax deductible and allowing the costs to be taken out of our paychecks pre-tax.”

    You should look into Medical (or Health) Savings Accounts…they do just what you’re looking for.

    “We have the best, fastest, most innovative health care system in the world.”

    Actually, if you look at many different metrics, the American health care system is far from the “best” or “most inovative”.

    “That is a false conclusion. Americans are lazy pigs. Most of our diseases are caused by over-eating, not getting enough exercise, and other unhealthy choices, such as smoking and drinking – not by our health care system.”

    What you are missing is that some of the very reasons why many other countries across the rest of the world have better medical outcomes is because their systems encourage more healthy living and regular trips to health care professionals to nip potential health problems in the bud before they become major issues.

  3. I think health insurance companies should be abolished. They have to screw people to make a profit. The federal government should cover at 100% the cost of all doctor, hospital, pharmaceutical, dental and eye care for all people in the country regardless of citizenship and also for US citizens overseas.

  4. Haik said, “The federal government should cover at 100% the cost of all doctor, hospital, pharmaceutical, dental and eye care for all people in the country regardless of citizenship and also for US citizens overseas.”

    Wow! That’s ambitious. Please refer me to the Article, Section, and Clause in our Constitution where the federal government is authorized to do what you propose.

  5. Chanman … two places …

    From the preamble: “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    From Article 1, Section 8: “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;”

    Medical/health care is something everyone of us makes use of in our lifetime … without exception. If that doesn’t fall under the heading of “general welfare” nothing does. I don’t believe the constitution’s framers deliberately put something in there that had no use or bearing on anything, do you?

    Charity … you’re confusing insurance with medical care. The single payer, tax funded proposals are about the money side. Nowadays that’s handled via insurance paid to private companies who invest those premiums into banks and stock markets with the firm belief … nay knowledge … that we, the taxpayers and premium payers, will bail them out when the insurance business model proves insufficient to the task.

    It’s more than that, but I’ll rest my weary fingers for now.

  6. Rama, can you please explain why you think I have confused something? I was talking about the money side in all of my bullet points.

    Money and care are related. In countries where salaries and prices are set by the government (for health care), there are shortages and rationing of care.

    It seems you are confused, or rather living in a dream world, if you think changing the way we pay for health care will not affect the care itself.

  7. Charity, you started your mini-thesis with “My situation has me thinking about our health care system in the US and the push to reform it.” And you ended your mini-thesis with “There is no need to throw the baby out with the bath water when it comes to reforming heath care in America. We have the best, fastest, most innovative health care system in the world. Let’s keep it that way.”

    In between you talked about insurance.

    By the way, Charity, I had to wait 4 months to have a strongly suspected melanoma looked at. I’m a cash paying customer, and the suspected melanoma was indeed melanoma. THIS WAS IN THE USA and after shopping around!

    I’m not even going to get into the long waits I’ve witnessed first hand working with folks with varying frailties, illnesses and injuries.

    That’s no dream world I witness on a regular basis, Charity, that’s reality plain and simple.

    Please don’t talk to me about

  8. Rama, our health care system is the best, fastest, and most innovative because of the system we have. To switch to some form of government-funded health care system would, in my opinion, have a negative impact on those things.

    Funding and care are connected.

    I am not confusing anything.

    I apologize if you were not able to draw connections between the different things I was talking about. I am not trying to be obtuse; it is difficult for me to type with my hand pain. Perhaps I can find some links that better explain my thoughts.

  9. “Please refer me to the Article, Section, and Clause in our Constitution where the federal government is authorized to do what you propose.”

    Wow, you really are a one-hit wonder…as I’ve said before…never heard of the Elastic Clause eh?? We have an Air Force, and we can (and already do have) government-provided health-care. It’s not going to come from the federal level though IMO.

    “In countries where salaries and prices are set by the government (for health care), there are shortages and rationing of care.”

    Huh?? Where in the world are all “salaries and prices … set by the government”?? If you don’t think care is being rationed by the health care insurance companies (because the less care that they authorize, the more money they make in profit) in this country, then you have blinders on.

    “our health care system is the best, fastest, and most innovative”

    No, it simply isn’t, and until those on the Right realize that…we will never be able to really move forward on this issue at the national level.

  10. To Mister Guy: Why yes, I have heard of the Elastic Clause. It says that Congress has the power “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.” The “foregoing” powers are the ones listed in Article I, Section 8; nationalized health care is not among those powers. Your Air Force argument is one that has been tried before on me, and I suggest you find a better argument, because yours sucks. According to Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, Congress is given the power to fund an Army and a Navy. Until 1947, the Air Force was a part of the Army (The Army Air Corps), and if you are suddenly such a stickler for constitutionality, I would have no problem putting the Air Force back under the Army again. And your argument that since we have government-provided health care already we should stick to it, is ludicrous. No matter how long you do something that is illegal, it continues to be illegal.

    To Rama: Ah yes, the tired old “promote the general welfare” justification. Again, you bend the rules to fit what you want rather than what is allowed. Instead of you, let’s refer to someone else’s thoughts about what “promote the general welfare” means. I know! Let’s ask the “Father of the Constitution” himself, James Madison, who said:

    “With respect to the words ‘general welfare,’ I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.”

    Really, Mister Guy and Rama, find yourself some new talking points. Yours are stale and will continue to be wrong, wrong, wrong.

    The one-hit wonders are people like yourselves who keep wanting to circumvent our founding document because you find it inconvenient to your collectivist control-freak fantasies.

  11. Chanman .. desperately grasping for anything to feel like you have some intellectual support.

    1) James Madison was only one person, and it took many others to sign on to the constitution. Why don’t you enumerate all of the other thoughts about general welfare?

    2) We’re not talking about any “unlimited sense”. We’re talking about funding for health care.

    3) I notice, per your comments to Mister Guy, that you’re not a stickler for constitutionality … so what’s yer beef?

  12. 1. So James Madison is not an authority on the Constitution?

    2. Yes we are talking about funding for health care. There is no authorization for funding health care in our Constitution. To authorize it is to go beyond the limits of our federal government’s power. Hence, when you go beyond the set limits, you now have unlimited power. You’re either being obtuse, or you are clueless.

    3. Huh? I said that the Air Force should still be part of the Army; the fact that they are not is a little bit beyond my control at this point. Nevertheless, our country can and should easily survive without socialized medicine; we cannot survive without airplanes in our military.

    Bottom line is that you still haven’t answered the question: Where in the Constitution is our government authorized to provide health care? Your desperate attempts to change the subject are telling.

  13. “The ‘foregoing’ powers are the ones listed in Article I, Section 8′

    Too bad that’s NOT how the courts have interpretted the Elastic Clause in connection with the Commerce Clause as a Constitutional basis for a wide variety of federal laws. The point in mentioning the Air Force is that the Founding Fathers were smart enough at the time to realize that they couldn’t exactly list all of the needed future powers of the federal govt. (as airplanes weren’t even invented until over a century after the U.S. Constitution!), which is why the Elastic Clause was inserted into the Constitution in the first place.

    “And your argument that since we have government-provided health care already we should stick to it, is ludicrous. No matter how long you do something that is illegal, it continues to be illegal”

    …except for the FACT that government-provided healt care has *never* been labelled as illegal, period.

    “To authorize it is to go beyond the limits of our federal government’s power”

    …only in the mind of the most ardent far Right-wing shills that is.

    “we cannot survive without airplanes in our military”

    …which is why the Elastic Clause is one of the most important parts of the U.S. Constitution that the Right-wing loves to just try & ignore.

  14. You are comparing apples and oranges here.

    Congress is given explicit power to raise and fund our military. The Air Force is part of our military. While the military might be specifically listed in Article I, Section 8, there is nothing in the listed powers of Congress that grants a power to fund health care. You can’t use the Elastic Clause to expand upon a power that is not even granted in the first place.

    Oh, and then you pull out the “Well the courts say different” argument. You mean the same courts that gave us the Dred Scott decision? Plessy v. Ferguson? Courts are not God. Sometimes they get it right, sometimes they get it wrong. Last year, the D.C. Circuit Court found that people in Washington D.C. have the right to keep guns in their homes; I bet the left thinks that’s a horrible decision, but it’s the court’s decision. The disagreements go both ways.

    Call me a “right-wing shill” if you want; your insults do not change the fact that our Constitution was written to limit the power of the federal government. I know that is inconvenient for you since it stops your utopian machinations, but that’s the way it is. If you want Congress to be granted a new power that they were not originally given, then by all means, petition your congressman and state legislatures to get the ball rolling on a constitutional amendment. Good Luck.

    Oh one more thing. You said, “…except for the FACT that government-provided healt care has *never* been labelled as illegal, period.”

    Do yourself a favor and read the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 which stated that states have a duty to consider null and void any federal law passed under the pretext of the Constitution. Those were written in response to the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, but the extra-constitutional principle remains the same.

  15. FYI – I extended the commenting on this post. Comments were set to shut down this afternoon, but I was enjoying the conversation.

    I just love how Mr. Guy and Rama assume Chanman is dumb, since he’s conservative. Mr. Wikipedia (aka Mr. Guy) has nothing on Mr. History Teacher (Chanman).

    Also, Chanman, your last couple of comments got caught in the spam filter for some reason. Sorry to hold up the discussion.

    And Mr. Guy, you mentioned health savings accounts in your first comment. Did you see the Dems want to do away with them and tax money spent on health insurance, too?

  16. “The Air Force is part of our military”

    …not when the Constitution was written it wasn’t!

    “You can’t use the Elastic Clause to expand upon a power that is not even granted in the first place”

    …except for the FACT that this has been done for several centuries now in the USA.

    “You mean the same courts that gave us the Dred Scott decision?”

    Hey, our side wasn’t the side that was trying to use that horrible decision (the original Constitution didn’t exactly get the issue of slavery “right” to begin with BTW) in the recent Heller gun control case…that was the NRA that was using it.

    I’d add Bush v. Gore to the mix as well, but at least the U.S. Supreme Court was “smart” enough to clearly state (for the first time in U.S. history) that that case set no precedent for the future…even though the Court *exists* to set precedent.

    “Call me a ‘right-wing shill’ if you want”

    I will, since if the shoe fits…it makes sense to wear it…

    “Do yourself a favor and read the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798″

    Please, every, single time that the issue of “states’ rights” has come up in this country, it’s evetually gone down in utter defeat. We don’t live under the Artciles of Confederation anymore yanno…sheesh… The weak attempts of the Right-wing to resurrect this kind of thinking recently is just going to end up the exact, same way as well.

    “Mr. Wikipedia (aka Mr. Guy) has nothing on Mr. History Teacher (Chanman).”

    LOL…make that Mr. *Middle School* history teacher. Hey, I liked one of my middle school history teachers when I was a kid, but teaching history to middle schoolers is a tad different than teaching it to college students, where I got a minor in it tyvm. Please…

    “And Mr. Guy, you mentioned health savings accounts in your first comment. Did you see the Dems want to do away with them and tax money spent on health insurance, too?”

    No, I didn’t see that, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they wanted to get rid of MSA/HSAs, as they really do nothing to hold down the cost of health care. I looked into them when they first came out, and an “account” where the company that’s running the program sucks up all the “leftover” money at the end of the year that you haven’t spent doesn’t sound like much of “savings account” to me. Also, when using an MSA/HSA without some kind of group insurance plan, you just end up paying through the nose for your health care, as the health care providers can charge you just about whatever amount that they feel like for their services.

    As for the “tax money spent on health insurance” ting, that sounds more like something that McSame wanted to do…who knows…

  17. Mister Guy said: “LOL…make that Mr. *Middle School* history teacher. Hey, I liked one of my middle school history teachers when I was a kid, but teaching history to middle schoolers is a tad different than teaching it to college students, where I got a minor in it tyvm. Please…”

    I beg your pardon? I teach history to middle schoolers now, but that hasn’t always been the case. I have also taught government, economics, and U.S./World history at the high school level as well, up to and including seniors. I’m so sorry I haven’t had the opportunity to teach college, but I did, like, go to college and stuff, and I, like, took a few history courses there. I guess you didn’t know that one has to take the same courses in order to teach history to middle schoolers as you do to teach history to seniors in high school. Perhaps you should STFU regarding things about which you obviously know nothing.

    I’m sorry, but that little snobbish comment of yours tells me oodles about your rotten character. You are an ugly little man.

  18. Now that I have pointed out your snobbish ugliness, Mister Guy, I guess I need to point out again to your wikipedia-addled mind that the Air Force started out as part of the Army. If you refer to Article I, Section 8 of our Constitution, you will see that Congress has control over the raising and funding of an army. Again, I would reiterate that I would have no problem putting the Air Force back under the Army in order to pass constitutional muster. They could be to the Army like the Marines are to the Navy.

    However, while the Congress is explicitly given control of the Army, there is no mention in Article I, Section 8 regarding Congress being given the power to fund or control health care in this country. You can’t use the Elastic Clause to create a new power; only to carry out a power that was previously granted. And any abuses of that rule – even if it has happened over the last “several centuries” – doesn’t make it right. If a law or govermental action is unconstitutional, then it is null and void no matter how long it sticks around.

    Regarding the Dred Scott decision, what do you mean that about “your side” not being the side wanting to use it? What side is that? You are making absolutely no sense.

    Regarding States Rights, you talk more nonsense about that concept going down to defeat every time and that we don’t live under the Articles of Confederation anymore. What the hell are you talking about?

    Have you not heard of the concept of Federalism – the division of power between the federal and state governments? Are you living your life operating under the assumption that our federal government is all powerful and can do whatever it wants? If so, you are dead wrong. OK, here is Constitution 101:

    The Constitution was created by delegates from the several STATES in order to create a federal government with certain limited and defined powers. Those powers can be found in the first four of seven total articles of the Constitution. Those powers listed are the only powers the federal government has. So do you get that? The STATES created the Federal government; not the other way around. The only way to grant more powers to the federal government than those listed is to amend the Constitution. However, our Founding Fathers accurately predicted that there would be power-hungry control freaks who want to run everyone’s lives (like yourself) who would want to consolidate all power with the federal government; control freaks like you who scoff at the idea of our states having any sovereignty at all.

    That is why our Founding Fathers included the 10th Amendment, which makes clear that the only powers the federal government has are the ones explicitly granted to it in the Constitution. If a power has not been granted to the federal government, this means that particular power goes to the states or to the people. I’m not quite sure why you are having so much trouble understanding this concept. Actually, I’m sure you understand it quite well; you just wish it wasn’t so.

    Gosh, only being a *middle school* history teacher, I can’t believe I was able to actually articulate all this. I need a rest.

  19. “I have also taught government, economics, and U.S./World history at the high school level as well”

    Wow, high school kids as well…lol…getting closer, but not quite. Once again, the subjects & level of info that you deal with on a daily basis at that level is nothing compared what is learned at college (or, in your case, leanred & then likely promptly forgotten), period.

    “Perhaps you should STFU regarding things about which you obviously know nothing.”

    LOL…hit a nerve eh?? It didn’t take very long…

    “Air Force started out as part of the Army”

    …which matters very little to those that try & read the Constitution from a “Strict constructionist” point of view.

    “They could be to the Army like the Marines are to the Navy”

    …except for the fact that the U.S. Marine Corps basically started way back on on November 10th 1775 (before the Constitution was ratified). My Dad & I celebrate that date every year…

    “You can’t use the Elastic Clause to create a new power”

    …once again, your “analysis” of the Constitution flies in the face of the history of our country & the bulk of U.S. judical decisions of the last two centuries or so.

    “Regarding the Dred Scott decision, what do you mean that about ‘your side’ not being the side wanting to use it? What side is that?”

    The side that was against Heller in the recent D.C. gun control case. The Heller/NRA side used the Dred Scott decision (why I have no idea) in their attempt to overrule what D.C. wanted to do with handguns. Try reading some case history sometime…ugh…

    “Regarding States Rights, you talk more nonsense about that concept going down to defeat every time and that we don’t live under the Articles of Confederation anymore. What the hell are you talking about?”

    The principle of the supremacy of federal powers over those powers held by the states is based on the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. U.S. States’ rights issues that have gone down in defeat in the past include slavery & secession from the Union, attempts by the South to nullify tarrifs, and attempts to deny Americans their Civil Rights…among others.

    The Articles of Confederation had a very weak central govt., which is one of the many reasons why it failed. So much for you knowing much of anything about history eh??

    “So do you get that?”

    No, and neither does the vast majority of the rest of the country or the history of our country…lol…

    “control freaks like you who scoff at the idea of our states having any sovereignty at all.”

    I don’t “scoff” at the idea of states having the right to conduct the vast majority of what they do every day without any interference from the federal govt….I just know that, the vast majority of the time, what the federal govt. says overrides what the states try to do. It’s worked that way in our country for well over 200 years now…now get over it…

    “That is why our Founding Fathers included the 10th Amendment, which makes clear that the only powers the federal government has are the ones explicitly granted to it in the Constitution.”

    The 10th Amendment did *not* amend the Necessary & Proper Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which is also known, of course, as the Elastic Clause! In U.S. v. Sprague (in 1931) the U.S. Supreme Court noted that the 10th amendment “added nothing to the [Constitution] as originally ratified.” The Supreme Court rarely declares laws unconstitutional for violating the 10th Amendment, which I’m sure annoys you Right-wingers to no end…but oh well…

    Let’s face the facts here, what you & many other “conservatives” in this country are advocating for is quite simply *never* going to happen, because it flies in the face of the vast majority of the history of how our country was founded & run for much of the last two centuries, period end of story.

    I’ll take leave of you now, so that you can rant & rave in response & say the same things over & over again as if they were actually true, as I’m off for a bit of vacation tomorrow…free from the Internet! ;)

  20. Charity wrote “I just love how Mr. Guy and Rama assume Chanman is dumb, since he’s conservative. Mr. Wikipedia (aka Mr. Guy) has nothing on Mr. History Teacher (Chanman).”

    Problem for Charity being she can’t support that any more than Chanman can support his claim that “general welfare” can’t include public medical/health care.

    For Chanman: regarding the ‘general welfare’ phrase you present me with one (1, less than two but greater than zero, singular) statement from one person who signed our nation’s binding document. Not a history of statements, not an enumeration from a list of signatories … one.

    And let’s revisit what your Madison quote, Chanman: “With respect to the words ‘general welfare,’ I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.”

    You quote Madison giving his opinion. Madison doesn’t even claim that is what the agreed on meaning for “general welfare” as incorporated into our constitution was/is.

    I’ve been involved in committee work long enough to know that different people have differing interpretations on what a phrase can mean .. even with them all agreeing to that phrase. But you, Chanman, will quote an opinion from ONE person of a large committee and claim that is the meaning the committee at large attributed to a phrase … without any support at all.

    So let’s try a different tack, Chanman, tell me what the phrase “general welfare” in our nation’s constitution means. Tell me how the common usage of the word welfare has changed over the last two centuries.

    Because I’ll tell you welfare has always meant well being, and that “general welfare” phrase has always meant the well being of the population of the United States.

  21. So let me get this straight, Mr. Guy, you think that minoring in history in college gives you more knowledge of history than a high school/ middle school history teacher? You only need 6 classes for a minor. Don’t you think that he took at least that many college history classes to become a teacher?

    BTW, I minored in political science, so I guess I know more about government than you do. Oh, well, Mr. Guy, I guess you have to admit that I am right from now on.

  22. I have a question for Rama and Mr. Guy, if the writers of our constitution really wanted to government to provide all of our basic needs, rather than facilitate our ability to provide them for ourselves, then why is it that the government did so little back then?

  23. Hi Mister Guy,

    You bet you hit a nerve, because you are betraying the “tolerant” “compassionate” facade that you lefties want us to think you have a monopoly on. But when push comes to shove, you are just as elitist and petty as the people you supposedly detest.

    I think the problem here is that you apparently believe that in order to teach middle and high school, one must only take middle and high school-level courses. No, I took the very same college history courses that any history major or minor – like you perhaps – has to take. Your smarmy little attitude toward my expertise on the subject because I “only” teach middle and high school really shows you what you think of teachers in this country. Your belittling of me only make you look like the moron that you must want us to think you are.

    Regarding our disagreements on the Elastic Clause, we are obviously going to have to disagree – you repeatedly make your points, and I repeatedly make mine. The difference is that your points will be wrong no matter how many times you repeat them, while mine will be right.

    And Charity is definitely on to something. If your vision of what our country should be is truly in line with the Constitution, then why do you have to find a right to health care in it? Unlike airplanes, health care existed in the 18th century; why didn’t the founding fathers grant the federal government the power to provide health care at the outset?

    One more thing: You totally botched your analysis of my Marine Corps analogy. You keep saying the Air Force is not mentioned in the Constitution; neither is the Marine Corps. The Marine Corps is officially part of the Navy. My proposal is that the Air Force remains part of the Army. That one flew right over your head, didn’t it?

    Have fun on your Internet-free vacation. Might I suggest a little summer reading during your sojourn: The Constitution and the Federalist Papers.

  24. To Rama:

    “With respect to the two words ‘general welfare,’ I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.” -James Madison.

    So this isn’t enough for you? OK, here are a few more from Madison. He is after called “The Father of the Constitution.” His opinions certainly carry a bit more weight than yours:

    “[Congressional jurisdiction of power] is limited to certain enumerated objects, which concern all the members of the republic, but which are not to be attained by the separate provisions of any.” – James Madison, Federalist 14

    “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined . . . to be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce.” – James Madison, Federalist 45

    “If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions.” – James Madison, 1792

    And then there’s another author of the Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton. Even though he believed in a much looser interpretation of the Constitution than Madison, he still had this to say about the “General Welfare”:

    “This specification of particulars [the 18 enumerated powers of Article I, Section 8] evidently excludes all pretension to a general legislative authority, because an affirmative grant of special powers would be absurd as well as useless if a general authority was intended.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist 83

    And then there’s also Thomas Jefferson:

    “Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated.” – Thomas Jefferson, 1798

    Yes, yes, I know, Jefferson wasn’t at the Constitutional Convention. However he did write our Declaration of Independence, was our third president, and closely associated with many of the men who did write the Constitution. Not to mention, this doesn’t stop your side’s slavish devotion to Jefferson’s “separation of church and state” phrase to justify your gutting of the First Amendment. That phrase was also just an opinion and your side has seriously misinterpreted anyway.

    So there you go: Madison, Hamilton, and Jefferson. What the hell do they know, right?

    One question for you: If the General Welfare clause can be interpreted to mean – as you assert – that Congress can pass a law concerning anything they want, then why did the Founders go to all the trouble to list all the clauses of Article I, Section 8? Read those clauses sometime: they all address the general welfare of the American people; they don’t favor one individual or group over another. That’s what “general” means.

    The bottom line is that our Founders created a government that was supposed to perform certain limited functions – defense of our states, relations with foreign countries, and protection of our individual liberties – and it kills people like you and Mister Guy that the Founders’ creation was not designed to play Santa Claus like you desire. Think about half the stuff you want to foist upon me and millions of Americans – while calling for the confiscation of our hard-earned money to pay for it – and ask yourself: Is that really what the founders had in mind when they wrote the Constitution?

  25. First for Charity … she asked “I have a question for Rama and Mr. Guy, if the writers of our constitution really wanted to government to provide all of our basic needs, rather than facilitate our ability to provide them for ourselves, then why is it that the government did so little back then?”

    Because things were just getting off the ground, and societies develop and change over time? I suppose, Charity, you were busy having children and home schooling them when you were an infant.

    Oh, but wait … our government was busy providing from the very beginning. Our fledgling government was busy using it’s greatest force, the military, to force one group (those who lived here before the European invasion) off lands so another group (the European invaders) could make personal use of those very same lands. Our government was busy enforcing slavery rights (for the slavers, not the enslaved of course). And things just kinda barreled on from there, didn’t they?

  26. Chanman,

    That’s fine, let’s include the full letter you’re probably referring to (my emphasis):

    “You will have learned that an act for internal improvement, after passing both houses, was negatived by the President [in 1817]. The act was founded, avowedly, on the principle that the phrase in the Constitution which authorizes Congress ‘to levy taxes, to pay the debts, and provide for the general welfare,’ was an extension of the powers specifically enumerated to whatever would promote the general welfare; and this, you know, was the federal doctrine. Whereas, our tenet ever was, and indeed it is almost the only land-mark which now divides the Federalists from the Republicans, that Congress had not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but were restrained to those specifically enumerated; and that, as it was never meant that they should provide for that welfare but by the exercise of the enumerated powers, so it could not have been meant they should raise money for purposes which the enumeration did not place under their action; consequently, that the specification of powers is a limitation of the purposes for which they may raise money. I think the passage and rejection of this bill a fortunate incident. Every State will certainly concede the power, and this will be a national confirmation of the grounds of appeal to them, and will settle forever the meaning of this phrase which, by a mere grammatical quibble, has countenanced the general government in a claim of universal power.” (to Albert Gallatin, June 16, 1817. ME 15:133)

    So yes, there certainly was very differing opinions as to Article 1, Section 8.

    Look at what you quote from Hamilton (a Federalist, and again my emphasis): ““This specification of particulars [the 18 enumerated powers of Article I, Section 8] evidently excludes all pretension to a general legislative authority, because an affirmative grant of special powers would be absurd as well as useless if a general authority was intended.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist 83″

    What I want you to do, Chanman, is go to your nearest copy the United States Constitution and count the enumerations in Article 1, Section 8. There’s 18 enumerated powers ONLY if you count “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;”. By the way, I find it strange that you won’t count the first enumeration as an enumeration … but that’s you privilege … not accurate however.

    And (***sigh***) we’re back to Madison. A good modern day conservative who saw government as being there for military might such as taking other people’s land to give it to his people. He was one, and only one, individual in that committee. Hamilton, if your brackets are correct, saw the whole of Article 1, Section 8 … not just 17 out of 18 enumerations; and Hamilton was also a member of that committee.

    You can jerk quotes out and throw them around without context all day .. it will never make you correct.

    And my final thought on this because I weary of the same tired and faulty arguments over and over and over again: we’re not talking about caring for every individual’s needs. We are discussing one of those areas; such as our sole source of food, water, air and shelter (aka the physical environment); that beyond a shadow of a doubt falls under the paradigm of “general welfare”. And the general welfare is enumerated (in fact in the first enumeration) in Article 1, Section 8.

  27. “So let me get this straight, Mr. Guy, you think that minoring in history in college gives you more knowledge of history than a high school/ middle school history teacher?”

    In this case, apparently yes. The middle school teacher in question is obviously heavily biased in favor of his far Right-wing views. How much of them he spews upon his helpless students I do not know.

    “You only need 6 classes for a minor.”

    Not at the university that I went to.

    “BTW, I minored in political science, so I guess I know more about government than you do.”

    Is political science equal to government?? Nope. BTW, I have actually worked for government in the past, and governments are just made up of people just like you & me…but I already told you that a long time ago…

    “if the writers of our constitution really wanted to government to provide all of our basic needs, rather than facilitate our ability to provide them for ourselves, then why is it that the government did so little back then?”

    I am not saying (nor have I ever said) that the govt. needs to “provide all of our basic needs”. As to why did “the government did so little back then?” Well, the country was very young back then, and it didn’t have very many resources at its disposal. As I’ve pointed out before, it’s not like the Founding Fathers got the slavery issue right in the U.S. Constitution either.

    “I think the problem here is that you apparently believe that in order to teach middle and high school, one must only take middle and high school-level courses.”

    I never said that at all…what I said is (the truth) that you do not deal with the kind of complex issues that are in play here in your daily life as a middle school teacher, period.

    “Your smarmy little attitude toward my expertise on the subject because I ‘only’ teach middle and high school really shows you what you think of teachers in this country.”

    Really?? My Mom was a reading teacher for over 30 years…I have plenty of respect for teachers in general in this country, but that doesn’t mean that whatever a far Right-wing middle school history teacher says is “true” about the U.S. Constituion is actually, in fact, true.

    “The difference is that your points will be wrong no matter how many times you repeat them”

    Now you’re projecting now…lol…

    “If your vision of what our country should be is truly in line with the Constitution, then why do you have to find a right to health care in it?”

    Did I ever say that everyone has the “right” to health care in the USA?? Nope. Being in favor of a single-payer system, which would simply cost *less* money in long run, be more efficient, and cover everyone equally does not require that you think that health care is a “right”.

    “The Marine Corps is officially part of the Navy.”

    LOL…next time that you meet an actual USMC member (either former or current), try mentioning to them that you think that the USMC “is officially part of the Navy.” Just remember to duck ahead of time though…

    “Not to mention, this doesn’t stop your side’s slavish devotion to Jefferson’s ’separation of church and state’ phrase to justify your gutting of the First Amendment.”

    LOL…Madison had basically the same opinion as Jefferson on the separation of church & state BTW. Once again, so much for you knowing much of anything about history…sheesh…

    “The bottom line is that our Founders created a government that was supposed to perform certain limited functions”

    …in your far Right-wing opinion only at this point.

    “Think about half the stuff you want to foist upon me and millions of Americans – while calling for the confiscation of our hard-earned money to pay for it”

    LOL…once again, only on the far Right-wing in this country is taxation considered “confiscation”. It’s actaully just one of the many responsibilities that come with being a citizen of the USA, period.

  28. “Is political science equal to government??

    According to the American Political Science Association, “Political science is the study of governments, public policies and political processes, systems, and political behavior.”

    The government might be made up of people, but they are people who can take away my freedom and ability to choose how to live my life.

  29. “The government might be made up of people, but they are people who can take away my freedom and ability to choose how to live my life.”

    You’re really never going to stop being afraid of govt. are you Charity?? That’s too bad…

  30. I am not “afraid” of government.

    Do you lock your car? Is it because you are afraid or is it because you like to take reasonable steps to protect that which is valuable to you?

    I feel the same way about my rights as you do about your car.

  31. “I am not ‘afraid’ of government.”

    I think you are, and a lot of other “conservatives” are as well.

    “Do you lock your car?”

    Not always…same thing with the doors to my house actually. Fear is undoubtably a very powerful emotion, and I try not to let it rule my life.

  32. “I think you are”

    Based on what? If you want to make accusations, you should back them up.

  33. “Based on what?”

    We’ve had this discussion a long while ago. A lot of what motivates “conservatives” in this counrty is fear of their fellow man, since it’s apparent that they believe that the nature of man is not good at all. So, it would make sense that a lot of “conservatives” would fear their own govt., which is just a bunch of individuals grouped together & working towards a common set of goals. “Conservatives”, in general, champion the individual as opposed to groups of individuals acting together. They tend to view individuls as less of a “threat” to their freedoms.