Obama to Romney – You can’t just switch principles on a dime because of pressure from Rush Limbaugh

President Obama in an interview today with the Cincinnati NBC affiliate:

“Mr. Romney was one of the biggest promoters of the individual mandate. In Massachusetts, his whole idea was that we shouldn’t have people who can afford to get health insurance to not buy it and then force you or me, or John Q. Public to have to pay for him when he gets sick. That’s irresponsible. That’s exactly what’s included as part of my health care plan. And the fact that a whole bunch of Republicans in Washington suddenly said, this is a tax — for six years he said it wasn’t, and now he has suddenly reversed himself.

So the question becomes, are you doing that because of politics? Are you abandoning a principle that you fought for, for six years simply because you’re getting pressure for two days from Rush Limbaugh or some critics in Washington? One of the things that you learn as President is that what you say matters and your principles matter. And sometimes, you’ve got to fight for things that you believe in and you can’t just switch on a dime.”

Is it a tax? Or is it a penalty? Poor Romney is stuck in verbal circles.

Contradicting his own top campaign adviser, Mitt Romney on Wednesday declared that the individual mandate contained in President Barack Obama’s health care law is, indeed, a tax and not a penalty against those who refuse to buy coverage

“I said that I agree with the Supreme Court’s dissent, and the dissent made it very clear that they felt the individual mandate was unconstitutional,” Romney said in a released clip of a CBS News interview. “But the dissent lost. It’s in the minority. And now the Supreme Court has spoken. And while I agree with the dissent, that’s taken over by the fact that the majority of the court said it’s a tax, and therefore, it is a tax.”

Romney continued: “They have spoken. And there’s no way around that. You can try and say you wish they decided a different way, but they didn’t. They concluded it was a tax. That’s what it is.

The remarks are a complete 180 from those made by two top advisers to the Romney campaign in recent days. Spokesperson Andrea Saul, two days ago, said that the governor “thinks the mandate is an unconstitutional penalty,” not a tax. Top aide Eric Ferhnstrom, that same day, emphatically declared that the campaign did not believe the mandate was a tax.

The conundrum for Romney of course is that he did the exact same thing with health care in Massachusetts. He didn’t want to call it a tax because then he would be saying he raised taxes in Massachusetts. But conservative do want to call it a tax so they can say Obama raised taxes. So he’s stuck bouncing back and forth, parsing and twisting nuances until he’s tied up in a verbal pretzel he can’t get out of.

 Some parts from the Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/04/mitt-romney-individual-mandate_n_1649233.html?utm_hp_ref=politics) which takes some parts from everybody else.

Q&A about the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation posted a quiz about the health reform law. You can see the quiz at http://healthreform.kff.org/quizzes/health-reform-quiz.aspx, but I’m just going to leap ahead and post the correct answers because there is so much disinformation out there this election year. It’s important to get the facts out.

Whether you agree with the new law or not, at least let’s talk about it using the facts. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion. Nobody is entitled to their own facts.

1. Will the health reform law require nearly all Americans to have health insurance starting in 2014 or else pay a fine?

Yes. Starting in 2014, most U.S. citizens and legal residents will be required to obtain health coverage, or pay a penalty. Some exemptions will be granted, for example, for those with religious objections or where insurance would cost more than 8% of their income.

2. Will the health reform law allow a government panel to make decisions about end-of-life care for people on Medicare?

No. No such panels exist. While early versions of the law did contain provisions that would allow Medicare to reimburse physicians for voluntary discussions with patients about end-of-life planning, these provisions were dropped from the final legislation.

3. Will the health reform law cut benefits that were previously provided to all people on Medicare?

No. The law reduces payments to the privately administered Medicare Advantage plans, but they will still be required to provide all benefits that are covered by traditional Medicare.

4. Will the health reform law expand the existing Medicaid program to cover low-income, uninsured adults regardless of whether they have children?

Yes. Medicaid will be expanded to cover nearly all individuals under age 65 with incomes up to 133% of the federal poverty level ($14,400 for an individual or $29,300 for a family of four in 2010).

5. Will the health reform law provide financial help to low and moderate income Americans who don’t get insurance through their jobs to help them purchase coverage?

Yes. Individuals without access to affordable coverage who purchase coverage through the new insurance Exchanges and have incomes up to 400% of the federal poverty level will be eligible for premium tax credits based on their income.

6. Will the health reform law prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage because of a person’s medical history or health condition?

Yes. Starting in 2014, all health insurers will be required to sell coverage to everyone who applies, regardless of their medical history or health status.

7. Will the health reform law require all businesses, even the smallest ones, to provide health insurance for their employees?

No. The law does not require employers to provide health benefits. However, it does impose penalties, in some cases, on larger employers (those with 50 or more workers) that do not provide insurance to their workers or that provide coverage that is unaffordable.

8. Will the health reform law provide tax credits to small businesses that offer coverage to their employees?

Yes. Beginning in 2010, business with fewer than 25 full time equivalent employees and average annual wages of less than $50,000 that pay at least half of the cost of health insurance for their employees are eligible for a tax credit.

9. Will the health reform law create a new government run insurance plan to be offered along with private plans?

No. The law does not create a new government-run health insurance plan. The existing Medicaid program will be expanded to cover more low-income people, government regulation of the health insurance industry will be increased, and tax credits will be provided to make private health insurance more affordable for people.

10. Will the health reform law allow undocumented immigrants to receive financial help from the government to buy health insurance?

No. Undocumented immigrants are not eligible to receive financial help from the government to buy health insurance, nor are they eligible for Medicaid or to purchase insurance with their own money in the new Exchanges.

You can download an analysis of the the quiz here: http://healthreform.kff.org/~/media/Files/KHS/Source%20general/Quiz%20Analysis.pdf


Pack up the kids, quit your job and sell the house. We’re moving where they don’t have health insurance

From a New York Daily News editorial by Albor Ruiz:

“What the court did not do on its last day in session (repeal the ACA), I will do on my first day if elected president of the United States,” a clearly frustrated Mitt Romney said in a Washington press conference.

But it was Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) – a potential Romney choice for the vice presidency – who, in trying to defend his prospective boss, made a statement many people thought was a joke. It was reported by the Daily Kos on June 28.

Asked about Romney’s support for the individual healthcare mandate in Massachusetts while opposing it as a Presidential contender Rubio said: ‘But what a big difference. He supported it on the state level. Which means if you didn’t like it in Massachusetts, you could move to another state.’

The Daily Kos reponse is priceless: “Well, sure. Honey, pack up the kids, quit your job and sell the house. We’re moving where they don’t have health insurance.”

To the 32 million uninsured Americans, Romney’s threat reveals once more how out of touch the GOP flag-bearer is with their daily reality.

For those 32 million uninsured, the Supreme Court decision, far from “strangling” their freedom, finally gives them a fundamental one that should have always been theirs: The freedom to get quality healthcare.

“In passing the Affordable Care Act the Supreme Court have reaffirmed a fundamental principle that here in America – in the wealthiest nation on Earth – no illness or accident should lead to any family’s financial ruin,” Obama said.

No, it shouldn’t, especially when right now more than 60% of bankruptcies in the country are caused by runaway medical bills.

Think about it this way: Among other things, pre-existing conditions can no longer be used by insurance companies as an excuse to deny coverage; young people up to 26 years of age can be covered under their parents’ insurance, prescriptions will become more affordable for older Americans, and millions of uninsured people will have the chance to get the coverage they deserve.

No, it is not a perfect law, but ACA is a giant step towards recognizing something Romney, Rubio and others like them fail to understand: Affordable, quality health care is not a privilege but a fundamental human right.