Health Care Reform Leaves Plenty of Time to Prepare for Change

We all know the clichés surrounding change. Change is hard. Change is another word for opportunity. Change is inevitable. Change hurts. Change is for the best. Etc., etc. Put simply: change, whether for good or bad, is uncomfortable. And under the legislation passed by the House of Representatives yesterday, change is coming to the health care industry. In fact, when one-sixth of the economy is involved, change is coming to our society.

The anxiety this change is causing is not surprising. Health care is personal and critical. The legislative process and political context in which this health care reform bill passed has done little to inspire confidence. For many readers of this blog, whose career and livelihood is inextricably tied to the health insurance industry, the changes coming are especially unsettling.

So a certain amount of hyperventilating is to be expected, both in the comments section of this blog and beyond. Over the next several days I’ll be posting information about some of the details of the reform package and offer my observations on how this will impact the industry and, more specifically, professional health insurance brokers. But for now, my advice is, to take a deep breath and try to maintain a sense of perspective.

Keep in mind, nothing is going to change tomorrow. Or next week. Or next month. Most, although not all, of the reforms take effect months and years from now. There will be plenty of time to digest the meaning of the health care reform package and to prepare for its impact.

Not only will there be plenty of time to digest and prepare for the coming changes, there is plenty of time to influence what those changes are. Congress is still considering the clean-up legislation. And once these laws are signed, there’s still much to be done. Judges, judges, regulators and state lawmakers will refine, define and mold the provisions of the bills. This is an evolving process. Organizations like the National Association of Health Underwriters are well prepared to promote the viewpoints of its members.

One final bit of reassurance for those overstressing about health care reform. It takes the form of two interconnected truths: 1) things are never as bad as they seem to be; and 2) America is strong enough to muddle through challenges, mistakes and worse.

America survived Senator Joe McCarthy and his witch hunts in the 50’s. We survived the anti-war demonstrations and the campus riots of the 60’s. We survived President Richard Nixon and Watergate in the 70’s. We survived mullets in the 80’s. America survived the scandals of the 90’s. We survived unfunded, deficit-busting tax cuts for the wealthy in the ‘00s. (Two of them, actually). The reason? None of these events were as cataclysmic as they seemed to be at the time. And America is strong enough to survive such problems.

To claim that health care reform marks the end of America’s greatness is illogical and, based on history, wrong. Opponents called Medicare and Social Security socialistic, yet the country is sound and those programs are an established part of what’s considered the norm. Critics claimed President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal was going to result in the destruction of American values. Didn’t happen.

At least once per generation some economic swing is described as dooming the financial wellbeing of that generation’s children and grandchildren to an inner circle of financial hell. Well take a look around. We are the grandchildren of those economic policies. And we’re still the strongest economy on the planet.

The unknown is a scary place because, well, it’s unknown. And as human beings we have a tendency to extrapolate from where we’ve been through where we are to where we’re going in a straight line. The Glenn Becks of the world love to play this game, tying reasonable regulation to the advent of socialism, Nazism and communism. But the Glenn Becks of the world are more interested in selling soap (or gold, as the case may be) than in presenting sound and reasoned arguments. To fully understand the silliness of this simplistic, irrational thinking, I strongly urge you to spend 15 minutes watching Jon Stewart’s skewing of Glenn Beck on The Daily Show that aired on March 18th. Not only is it hilarious, but it superbly outlines the danger of Mr. Beck’s sloppy illogic. (There’s a couple of annoying commercials you have to get through before the show starts, and it’s somewhat risqué, but thedelay before he gets to the chalk board is well worth it. This may be the best quarter-hour of political satire I’ve every seen).

America is a resilient country. We are creative, hard working, and dedicated. We work things through. The health care reform package President Obama will sign into law tomorrow (even as improved by the side-car legislation that will likely arrive on his desk in the next few weeks) creates problems galore. It does some good things, too. For those taking notes, the status quo presents problems aplenty, too. And it also does some things well.

Problems are never solved, they’re just replaced with new problems. And as those new problems emerge we’ll address them.

The same holds true for health insurance professionals. We’ve faced change before – and not all of it for the better. But we continued to provide meaningful services to our clients, demonstrated our value and expertise, and we’ve succeeded. And we will again.

31 thoughts on “Health Care Reform Leaves Plenty of Time to Prepare for Change

  1. Meg,

    While I don’t question that the numbers you’re providing are accurate, as Obama is planning to decrease Medicare funding by $500 Billion in order to fund a large part of “ObamaCare”, how does he intend on funding Medicare with just $20 Billion

    Is the ultimate goal (in your mind, in the mind of the source from where you got these numbers, in Obama’s and Congress’ mind) to have Medicare “folded in” as a part of ObamaCare, costing the public, with inflation (not going away), in excess of $1440 Trillion dollars (the same percentage increase as the previous example)? I’m not questioning these ultimate outcomes, yet, but would like to truly be able to “get my mind around” this. I haven’t found any of the CBO scores to make sense, especially as it is predicted by the CBO and other sources that many of the funding assumptions used will not realistically be implemented in the final analysis, or better put, when the time comes “to pay the piper”.

    Could you please go into further detail? Can this estimate be found at specific sites?

    Spence

  2. The brokers and independent agents who have dealt with Health Insurance have long recognized the imperative that is Health Care/Insurance reform…..
    This bill, having been signed into law, will perhaps allow us to actually “fix” the problems now that everyone expects to be covered…..
    Regardless of the actual dollars being spent on Health Care in the USA, a few numbers may finally surface and quantify the need for change…..
    In the first few years of this decade, we have been spending approximately 15% of our total GDP (gross domestic product; the market value of goods and services produced/delivered)….
    “Whatever” $ value that number is, it can be broken down by the following…..
    Total Health Care Spend: 100%
    Spending by Category: (approximations)
    Doctors and Hospitals: 80% to 85%
    Insurance: (operations): 7% to 12%
    Drugs: (ethical) 5% to 8%
    All other spending: 3$ to 5%

    So now that President Obama has vindicated the way “insurance companies” treated his dying mother and made sure they are no longer a problem……how are we going to solve…..
    1. Medicare & Medicaid inadequite reimbursment rates continually frustrating doctors so they refuse “new Medicaid/ Medicare patients”….who are the newly insured going to see?
    2. The fact that a significant % of all the money spent in a person’s lifetime (estimates range from 20% to over 30%) is spent in the last few months of life, but the patient still dies!
    3. That somewhere between 70 and 80 million people will be on Medicare/Medicaid by 2020….that represents over 20% of the population of the US…This is a massive increase from the current numbers….between 40 to 50 million—-(the impact of expanding Medicaid to 133% of the Federal Poverty level for subsidies may move this up)….how does “insurance reform pay for this?…Where will the money come from to pay for this?
    4. That an individual’s lifestyle choices about diet, exercise and “sleep” directly impact the amount of “health care” needed in one’s life time….the impact is estimated to be as much as +/- 25% to 50% the current mean average….(e.g. if today the “average person” spends $250K in their lifetime, then “best case” lifestyle estimates for someone who lives a healthy lifestyle might spend between $125k to $175K….whereas a person who makes “poor choices” will spend between $325 to $400K)….How are we going to incentivize people to make the right choices? How are we going to get them to pay for the extra costs their choices create?
    5. WHY are doctor bills and hospital bills so high? If the spending for doctors and hospitals if to improve the quality of life, (that is, intended to make us healthier)….what is causing their bills to be so high?

    Now that President Obama has his “victory”, perhaps the Executive Branch and the Progressive’s in Congress can finally focus on solving the rest of the problems without being distracted by “insurence companies”….then we will all be better served.

  3. Does anyone know if the premium tax on carriers in the new law will be imposed on ASO business (i.e., based on something like a premium equivalent)? Did CBO assume this in their scoring of the Bill?

    • Question 2 – For the National High Risk Pool intended 90 days from enactment it is my understanding that to qualify

      A – You must be uninsured for 6 months
      b – Been denied coverage from private insurer
      c – Do not have access to employer sponsored coverage.

      I realize it doesnt exist at this point but just asking if this is the collective understanding.

  4. I am curious to see how my fellow commenters on Alan’s superlative blog respond to the latest poll numbers, which indicate a significant shift in popular sentiment in favor of the recently passed healthcare reform bill.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2010-03-23-health-poll-favorable_N.htm

    I personally do not think the shifting, moment-by-moment opinions of the national citizenry are infallibly accurate. But it seems to me that those who so frequently cited polls–specifically, how very opposed the majority of the American public was to this bill before it passed–need to explain why all of a sudden their change in sentiment no longer matters? (Please, I beg you, resist the knee jerk urge to dismiss this poll as biased.)

    Perhaps the long national temper tantrum will begin to unwind as claims of Armageddon, catastrophe, and the like prove as to be the groundless and cynically manipulative fear-mongering that President Obama has for so long claimed.

    My prediction: as soon as senior citizens begin to benefit en masse from the closing of the donut hole, an awful lot of air is going to be siphoned from the fast-returning-to-planet-earth Tea Bagger zeppelin.

    At the risk of seeming overly inflammatory here, a few more points:

    * It will be interesting to see any shifts in mortality stats in the elderly when the estate tax exemption fails to renew, and tax rates go back to where they were pre-Bush. I wonder how many fervently pro-Life sons and daughters of the mega rich will suddenly decide that dear old dad “truly wanted to die with dignity” and pull the plug on him before Dec. 31?

    * I read in the NYT that the “Age of Reagan” may be coming to an end. Thus was the case with the Guilded Age, too. The time for robber barons will come again, it always does–but do not begrudge the other side their short-lived time in the sun! Income disparities in this country have been widening since 1970. Is it really so horrible this trend might reverse itself for a little while?

    Seriously, do any of you really think asking someone who earns $1 million dollars a year–that’s $83,333.33 dollars per month!–to pony up an extra 40 grand a year to help pay down the deficit is really going to cause catastrophic harm to that person?

    Did you see the recent report that found the median net worth of black women in the this country (and this is before the recession) is $5.

    $5!

    I am sure that in the mind’s befuddled eye of many of our staunchest social-welfare-beneficiary Tea Baggers, such women are seen as collectively sitting on their oversized bonbon-stuffed hindquarters and watching HDTV on the government dole.

    I’d venture to say there are a lot more scions doing this, sitting on their Louis Quatorze divans, clipping coupons, getting their bowels in a fury from Fox News, then going to take another dump of half-digested foie gras in their guilded toilets!

    • “I am curious to see how my fellow commenters (sic) on Alan’s superlative blog respond to the latest poll numbers, which indicate a significant shift in popular sentiment in favor of the recently passed healthcare reform bill.”
      – – – – – – – – – – –

      Forty-nine percent (49%) of U.S. voters favor their state suing the federal government to fight the requirement in the new national health care plan that every American must obtain health insurance… 37% disagree and oppose their state suing to challenge that requirement. Fourteen percent (14%) are undecided.” – Rasmussen: http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/healthcare/march_2010/49_support_state_lawsuits_against_health_care_plan.

      Gallup polls show 49% are in favor of new HCR legislation, 40% opposed.

      This is a major shift? As with the vote, this appears to be the same party line divide. Hardly a bi-partisan agreement that this was the right thing to do.

      Interesting, though, is that today, for the first time since Obama took office, news being disseminated from the MSM, is about the clamor for “Jobs” by many unemployed in America. What a shame that an entire first year of a Presidency, one that began in horrific economic climes, was wasted on a problem that affected a small percentage of Americans (about 10% or less, in reality), instead of putting, then 10 Million, now 18 Million Americans back to work (see US Bureau of Labor and Statistics for validation of that percentage).

      “Hi ho, hi ho, it’s back to work we go…”, maybe, if the Obama Administration has time to think about this important issue; after all, climate, environment, making friends with Iran and the terrorists who would destroy America, these should now come before putting Americans back to work, right? That can wait until, what, 2011, 2012? Sure.

    • So Jim, now you’re in favor of the pre-Bush death tax with only a 1 mill unified tax exempton. I worked very hard all my life to create my wealth. On call 7 days per week for 50 years, did without many vacations and never overindulged, saved and invested my money so my wife and kids might enjoy the good life. If my estate would be the size of Warren Buffet’s, John Kerry’ or Jay Rockefeller’s, then it would not matter to me. My money has been taxed once, twice, and even three times as I own a C Corp. IT’S MY MONEY!! It’s not the governments, or Jim Thornton’s. It’s mine!!! I want my money to go to my kids, not confiscated at a rate of 55% on the excess of 1 mill and given to your kids or to some liberal spender to squander. Jim, your problem is that you do not have a pot to p— in, and that’s your failure, not others. Instead of always dreaming of sticking your hands in the pockets of others and constantly crying like a child, focus on how you might become a success in life.

      Is it your desire to abolish the American dream?

      • Rick,

        I concur with all that you’ve said. We recently went through the Death Tax experience with my mother’s death (dad died in 1996) and not only did the IRS sock it to the “Estate”, big time (almost half of it), the State of Washington, unknown to us, then hit us for 35% of what we had to pay the Feds, with a state “Death tax”.

        Dad worked hard ever since he escaped Hitler in 1933 and set up his medical practice in Seattle, WA after serving in the US Army from 1941 through 1945, retiring from the Reserves in 1975 as a General. He helped found the Seattle Symphony, Ballet, Opera, School of Medicine at the U of W, Ballard Hospital, and never thought a bit about what he “Deserved” in life, only about what he could do for others. As the result of his years of giving, dad provided employment for hundreds of people.

        I have lived my life the same (this acorn didn’t fall far from the tree); worked from 10 to 15 hours a day, six days a week for many years, tried to create a good life for my family (knowing now that the IRS will sock it to them as well), and resent having to turn over a lot of what I have worked to create to those who have done little to earn their own way, let alone should get their hands into my pockets as well. As with you, I have no patience for those, who like pigs, sit under the acorn tree all day long eating acorns, and never look up to say “Thank you”. They just keep eating their way into our hard earned “acorns”, and constantly demand more.

        It is such a shame, because we give a lot of money and time to charities, like “Special Needs” children, Senior Services of Seattle/King County (Meals on Wheels, etc), the Alzheimer’s Association, a Dance Group that works with Alzheimer’s patients, same with an Art Academy, and others. I’ve found that those who do, always seem to find time to do more. I’ve also found the converse to be true with those who “Don’t”.

        That said, when you and I leave this world we will never have to worry about the direction in which we’ll go.

        Keep the faith, Rick. The “Pigs” won’t win in the long run. You will.

        Spence

  5. I met with two insurance clients today. One told me, “We’re going to need you more than ever now that this confusing legislation is passed.”

    The other asked if I would conduct a series of seminars throughout the state for the various sections of his association so I could explain the changes to his members.

    So, for what it’s worth, here’s one broker who today feels optimistic on continuing in the insurance business!

    • Good for you, Meg!

      I’ll wager a guess, that as with Medicare, those who passed this abomination don’t have a clue how it works, the agents and brokers do, and again, we will be the “Saving Grace” (as my wide says) for the public.

      The question is, a properly presented education regarding Medicare takes a good couple of hours, even to those who work at Medicare offices, as I have personally experienced. How long will it take to explain this convoluted mess, and how much income can the agent/broker afford to lose and still provide the information?

      Hopefully, before year’s end, it will be easier to explain. And that will be thanks to no one but those in our tribe.

      Again, Good on you, Meg!

      Spence

      • I was thinking that we might get an email grouping together and share pieces with each other that are good for education of timelines, etc. In the last couple of days I have gotten some really good resources that have timelines and bullet points that are great for reference and education of clients. I am happy to share mine and help us all.

  6. I enjoyed your optimism because I am optimistic and will embrace the change with opportunity. My 2 cents of what needs to impact change:
    I feel that the patient should be in the driver seat more in answering to the medical costs of going to the doctor and procedures. When you go into the doctor’s office or hospital, you sign a paper that states that you are responsible for any charges not covered by the health insurance without actually getting to review the probable charges. A published rate sheet would be nice with all of the charges. Why do we not see the standard charges before we sign??? This is a legal document so why is it that we are asked to sign before we are properly informed?
    The market would take care of itself in many aspects if the patient/consumer was better informed on COSTS. I think one of the best things that could happen would be to get rid of the COPAY system and everyone work on the contracted PPO network price- then the consumer would be able to see where their money is going. People blindly pay copays and have no idea on the billed charges.
    It is not only choice and competition for insurance companies but it should be choice and competition for doctors, x ray facilities and hospitals. This is a business! If you think your doctor is too expensive or the xray facility is too expensive, then shop around for a new doctor or another x-ray facility.
    Two cases in point:
    My daughter went to a specialist for her ear. I signed the paper that said that we were responsible before our visit. . After the visit, the charges were over $400, they were submitted to the insurance company and repriced at $182.00- reasonable- I was relieved but still worried after I had signed that paper and then saw the charge for over $400 for a 30 minute visit doctor visit. She did have a hearing test- but still? I asked the receptionist for a copy of the bill- she was shocked- she told me no one ever asks to see it?? Patients pay a copay and there is a REAL disconnect in knowing the actual charges.
    My daughter had a skiing accident so we went to the specialist and they gave me an order for an MRI of her knee and wrote it on the pad to their facility. I asked her to write it on a prescription pad so that I could shop for the best price and she tore it up and complied. She acted bothered and upset. What? Is this not a business? I called around and found the best priced facility.
    The patient/consumer needs to be in the driver seat and I believe that the doctors, x-ray facilities and hospitals should be required to publish their rates before you agree to sign. Some talk of cost should be discussed before the patient is stuck with the bill. That is my 2 cents!

    • “I feel the patient should be in the drivers seat”

      Jeanette, I agree but afraid it’s too late.

    • “I feel the patient should be in the drivers seat”

      Jeanette,not only do I concur with Rick, but the patient obviated that responsibility many years ago when the patient refused to review their Medicare EOMBs and take action on those that were clearly fraudulent, when they refused to review their statements received from Hospitals and doctors, and if left with nothing to pay after their insurance did its work, complained to no one, content that someoen besides themselves got “taken”, and not them, and the list goes on.

      The American Public is as responsible for today’s HCR mess as are the Insurance Companies and any other facet, as the American Public has proven itself, time and again, to be lazy, to want someone else to “tuck them in at night”, and to be able to handle little more than working an eight hour day, get home, get a pizza and beer, and turn on Monday Night Football, content that their world is alright, or that if not, someone, not themselves, will make sure that it is by morning.

      We live in a country surrounded by apathy. Americans don’t really respond to issues, not really, until those issues hit them with force, right in their pocketbooks. Then they look around with a look of shock, wondering how and when the government began to act like their parent.

      Those of us who post on blogs such as this, who want to maintain control over our lives, are in the minority. The majority, even those who claim that they don’t want government control, are happiest when fed their pablum and are able to suck on their pacifier.

      Some may think me cynical. I’m just pragmatic, in fact, I’m an optimist, but after all these years, am a cynical optimist. Any who may disagree are more than welcome to prove me wrong, with substantive and validated facts.

    • Terrific post, Jeanette. You are “spot on” that we as consumers have to spend our money wisely. Technology should help with this. For instance, some carriers have online cost comparisons available to help consumers evaluate their options.
      But as Spence said, many Americans are apathetic. Apathy is a powerful sedative and its after effects are slow to wear off. It’s easier to just go along with your doctor’s recommendations without fully engaging in the process.
      I’m hopeful that one benefit of the tumultuous health care reform debate is that people are waking up and really thinking about the many aspects of this complex situation. The concern I have is that people will remain in their respective camps and shout “talking points” at each other.
      I have been a part of the insurance industry on the carrier side for 20 years (specifically California Small Group) and have seen many pieces of legislation enacted that were supposedly going to put us out of business. And you know what…that didn’t happen. We made the appropriate adaptations, implemented the changes and were still able to be profitable, while serving our customers.
      An executive at my company once gave a presentation to my department. He told us that we work in a noble profession. He told us that when we are speaking to a customer, we are speaking to someone who is sick or hurt or who has a loved one who is sick or hurt and we have the opportunity to help this person. We have the opportunity to DO GOOD.
      I’ve never forgotten that message. I hope that we each take the opportunity presented by health care reform, to do good.

  7. Hi Alan, I read the following verbage from NAHU’s website. Regarding indiviual policies, is my ability to sell individual policies going to be taken away, or will brokers be able to sell via the exhanges?

    Existing individual policies would only be able to be
    retained if the only change to the policy was to add or
    delete a dependent. New individual policies would have
    to be purchased through the exchange.
    Group plans would be allowed to phase in reform
    requirements over 5 years, eventually these plans would
    have to change to meet the terms of the proposed
    individual and employer mandates.
    January 1, 2013

    • Good question Scott. Brokers are eligibleto sell in the Exchange. Not every carrier will compensate brokers, just as not all individual carriers compensate brokers in today’s market. But the expectation is that brokers will be paid for most plans. NAHU worked very hard to successfully get language specifically addressing this into the bill.

      • Why would sell the exhchanges?!! Wake up the 80/20 & 85/15 claims ratio is a broker killer. Any surviving insurance companies are just a utility.

  8. Alan,

    You write so well; articulate, eloquent, to the point, and you make your points well. I may not agree with all that you say, but I am “wowed” by how you say it, nonetheless.

    That said, when discussing those who harangue, I.e. Glenn Beck and Rash Limburger, let’s also include in that bunch of “entertainers” Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, Howard Dean, Ed Schultz, and others who can’t seem to control or balance their emotions or comments any better than the former named celebrities. After all, fair is fair and the right hardly has a monopoly on “Screamers”, or on those who display their arrogance with zeal (does the name Donna Brazile ring a bell? Haughty, arrogant, tries to control the conversation and let no others speak, yada, yada).

    I agree with you that we will likely survive this latest onslaught on our society. I may appear to be a bit overzealous but I assure you that I am not hyperventilating. My feathers do get a bit ruffled when I see legislation passed into law when the large majority of Americans are opposed to its passage, as acknowledged by Wolf Blitzer on CNN today. Such actions strike me as a display of raw arrogance of the “Name the controlling Partisan party_________” toward the American Electorate and taxpayers. In two words borrowed from Our Generation, “Not cool”.

    While it may take several years before the tax ramifications of this Bill are felt, and felt with fever by the taxpayers, it will take place, unless there are some major changes. Also acknowledged today on Wolf Blitzer’s show is that while poor and lower middle income America will doubtless gain from passage of this bill, Middle America will be put under even more financial pressure (Middle America being defined as a family of four earning $88K per year, and that isn’t a whole lot of gelt). Also, while no one reading this will likely give a hoot about those who make $200K per year or more, I thought those considered to be high income were to be delineated at the $250K mark, but, heck, what’s $50K, more or less? Never-mind the many millions of Americans who are employed by, given benefits by, given sick days, paid vacation, AND provided with excellent insurance benefits by those who earn $200K and up, they probably want to see their benefits reduced so that Union workers and other special interests can share more of the wealth earned by those in the higher income brackets.

    Apparently, the Seniors in America will now need to wait in “patient anxiety” to see “If”, and “If so”, how badly they’ve been harmed by passage of this historical new law. It occurs to me that we are doing our Senior population a major disservice in creating such unnecessary worry to those who have earned their benefits, simply to allow this president and this Congress a quick method of paying for half of the cost of this new HCR plan. I can sum up this action in only one word that ranges throughout many generations, “Irresponsible”.

    I find it worthy of note that thus far 11 States are launching lawsuits against the Federal Government on Constitutional issues, and that one of the most liberal (we adopted Hillary Care and put ground glass in it), Washington State, is among them.

    Alan, I agree that America has persevered in spite of McCarthyism, White Supremacists, Black Supremacists (of course there are…I’ll name a few very well known of this ilk, if you like…Jesse Jackson for one? Hmmm…interesting, I was born in “Hymietown”, and I AM a “Hymie”; the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s pastor, for another…), Purple People Eaters, Men from Mars, and Franklin “Don’t Let Those Damn Jews Off That Boat, Send Them Back to Hitler, Damnit” Roosevelt (do you all remember the Ship of Fools? Yup, that’s the one, and he’s the guy). I have no doubt that we will continue to persevere. I also have no doubt that it will take a lot of work, money, and time to make a silk purse, heck, a cotton purse, out of this sow’s ear.

    There is absolutely no question that truths have not been acknowledged by this current crop of Congressional Leaders or this current iteration of the Presidency, and the American People do deserve to hear and read the truth.

    • We’ll agree to disagree, Spencer. I simply don’t see things as bleakly as you do.

      For the record, I have lambasted Keith Olbermann in posts here. More than once. (And I disagree with you about Donna Brazile. I think she does a fine job representing her views on CNN, which is what I assume you’re referring to). But hey, I needed a hook to get a link to the Jon Stewart parody included in this post, so I focused on Glenn Beck. Did you watch the Jon Stewart clip? It’s brilliant.

      • LOL:

        Alan, I just saw it. Jon Stewart is always brilliant! My two favorite shows are Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

        Glenn Beck certainly helps, as he is such a caricature of himself (as is O’Reilly, Hannity, about the only one I like on FOX is Sheppard Smith, and he just reports the news, same with Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC…I can’t even watch Rash Limburger…he strikes me as a “Televangelist” preaching his brand of intolerant theocracy)!

        Brilliant is right. Thanks, Alan. 🙂

        Spence

    • “There is absolutely no question that truths have not been acknowledged by this current crop of Congressional Leaders or this current iteration of the Presidency, and the American People do deserve to hear and read the truth.”

      This is what disturbs me the most. I tend to agree that the actual legislation will go through sufficient machinations that it will eventually work out. We, as a society, will find a way.

      But the routine indifference to honesty, integrity and just plain following through on what our politicians say they are going to do… that is what chaps my hide. Clearly, this administration knew well before they first set foot in office that the economy in general and jobs in particular were the focus of the nation. Yet so much energy and attention has been given to something not even on most citizen’s radar. When did we lose the ability to dictate agenda? When did we allow our politicians to dictate what is or is not important to us?

      • “But the routine indifference to honesty, integrity and just plain following through on what our politicians say they are going to do… that is what chaps my hide.”
        – – – – – – – – – – – –

        LOL EvoRev, I used to have a fellow blogger on another blog, five years ago, who was fond of saying, “That really steams my beans!” I think “That is what chaps my hide” is as good, if not better! 🙂

        In response to your question, it is my humble opinion that we began the “evolution” to dictating to our representatives the agenda with which we were most concerned when we stopped holding our representatives accountable for what they say, and then do.

        I remember, as well I’m sure as do you, when our answer to what we perceived as “bad law” was “In another two years, vote the bums out…” The problem is, we didn’t. Too many Americans became apathetic, lazy, disinterested. Now we must become, and urge our friends, families, associates, colleagues, and any one else we can “reach” to become pro-active, energized, interested.

        Alan stated in a post in response to one of mine that he didn’t view our future as bleakly as I seemed to do. His comment was spot on. I was feeling enervated, not because I don’t believe in HCR, I do, but not in the form in which it’s been rammed through Congress. There will always be the right way to proceed, and the other way. This was not done with an eye to the public’s wishes, or to the economic viability of our country’s future.

        That said, I do have optimism for our future, because we can change what was ill-conceived, make it far better, and (hopefully) “lose” some of our Representatives (Not) this fall. Hmmm…can’t resist the pun…”Perhaps some of our Representatives, who don’t, will fall, this Fall”…[Groan].

        I do believe in America, and in our resilience, and agree with you and Alan that we will survive this mess, and come out of it better than we went into it.

  9. Alan, those deficit-busting tax cuts for the wealthy in the 00’s actually produced more tax revenue. It was the spending that did us in.

    • I would suggest that it was the tax cuts combined with funding two wars “off budget” that were two major factors in causing the deficits, but I’m sure it’s open to debate. My point is the same, however. We survived McCarthy, Nixon, and Bush-Cheney. We’ll survive this, too.

      • Forgot to mention you missed including LBJ (lost War on Poverty & Vietnam) & Carter (14% inflation 20% interest rates) with McCarthy, Nixon, Bush-Cheney

      • We survived not only mullets in the 80’s…but rampant inflation, Black Monday, excessively large shoulder pads and Scrunchies. I’m with you, Alan, I’m sure we will persevere. Thanks once again for a well-written blog.

Comments are closed.