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Old March 17, 2010, 05:56 PM   #51
HarrySchell
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This is standard practice for insurance companies.
And you think the feds or state government will fess up to malfeasance more honestly?

Comment deals with insurance companies, but government has no better a track record, and if granted a monopoly, will be even less responsive. Medicare already has a higher claim rejection rate than private insurance.

My daughter was complaining about her insurance, which is just a catastrophic plan, and how she changed to one that was slightly less restrictive and cost less. Still dissatisfied. So I said, "it sounds like you got a less bad deal and are paying less for it. How would that happen if there was a government monopoly?" She isn't fully against Obamacare, but is now thinking hard about personal freedoms at risk due to more government intervention everywhere.
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Old March 17, 2010, 07:18 PM   #52
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For giggles go ahead and google "doctors drop medicare". You should get about 1 googleplex in articles about doctors who have dropped it.
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Old March 17, 2010, 09:00 PM   #53
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My former sister-in-law fled Canada's "health care" system because it would have taken several months to get her in for an MRI that would have diagnosed her debilitating neck pain.

She came across the border to Buffalo and had an MRI that day.

She would have waited even longer for the surgery to correct the disk issue that was causing the debilitating pain.

She had it two days later in Buffalo.
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Old March 17, 2010, 10:29 PM   #54
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Ahem.... Getting back to the actual topic (y'all do remember what that was? Hmmm?)

A self-enacting rule, by and of itself is not inherently unconstitutional. Consider:

In the House, we have Bill A, which is a very unpopular bill, but has passed the Senate. It is also a bill that some members (of the House) see as essential to the country. We also have Bill B, which is hugely popular, in the House. The leadership of the House knows that Bill A may not pass a straight up-down vote. So....

The rules committee (Composed of a majority of the current party of majority) proposes the self-enacting rule that will include both Bill A and Bill B. The rule states that should the House agree upon the rule, both bills will be deemed as passed.

Some members will vote "yes" in order to get Bill A passed (as enacted in the Senate), and other members will vote "yes" to to get Bill B passed.

The measure carries and Bill A is sent to the President, while Bill B is sent to the Senate.

The individual representatives can therefore go back to their constituency and make the claim that in order to get Bill "X" passed (whichever their constituency likes), they had to make a compromise. Plausible and such compromise is politics at its core.

No real problem. In fact this is what has happened in the past.

In the present case, we have the Healthcare bill (Bill A) that the Senate passed and we have a reconciliation bill (Bill B) that the House has devised to get rid of things they didn't like in the Senate version. And we have the self-enacting rule.

Should the rule be approved by the House, then the Healthcare bill will have been deemed to have passed. Um, so will the reconciliation bill. The Healthcare bill will be forwarded to the President who is just waiting to sign it into law. Meanwhile, the reconciliation bill will be sent to the Senate who may or may not pass it as sent.

For the sake of the argument, let's say the Senate passes the reconciliation bill as worded. That gets sent to the President (who will most likely sign it) and the newly created law will have been immediately amended (as I understand Senate rules, this bill could come to a vote with as little as 20 hours of debate).

What makes this particular "Slaughter Rule" different than those self-enacting rules of the past?

By voting for the rule ("yes"), the members will have voted 1) to agree with and to pass the Senate Healthcare bill, and 2) to disagree with the Healthcare bill, because they are also voting for passage of the reconciliation bill. This is a self-contradictory vote.

This is the logical conundrum that I see. It's entirely possible that the SCOTUS will see this in the same manner.
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Old March 18, 2010, 02:47 AM   #55
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Interesting discussion.

Code of conduct rules prevent me from giving my honest opinion of what is going on in the halls of congress right now though.

ETA: Let me just say that I agree wholeheartedly with what Al said:

Quote:
By voting for the rule ("yes"), the members will have voted 1) to agree with and to pass the Senate Healthcare bill, and 2) to disagree with the Healthcare bill, because they are also voting for passage of the reconciliation bill. This is a self-contradictory vote.
And why are they doing this(?).........whoops..........code of conduct prevents me from presenting my true feelings on this issue.

Sorry for the rant, carry on guys.
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Old March 18, 2010, 04:06 AM   #56
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By voting for the rule ("yes"), the members will have voted 1) to agree with and to pass the Senate Healthcare bill, and 2) to disagree with the Healthcare bill, because they are also voting for passage of the reconciliation bill. This is a self-contradictory vote.
I think the bolded parts are relevant, the italic, while probably accurate, is not relevant.
Specifically, if you vote for something, whether you 'agree' with it is really beside the point, and, somewhat meaningless.
Either its constitutional to tie two bills together in one vote, or it isn't. I don't see how the contents of the bills change that fact.
Say a rule ties together a bill for a tax cut, and a bill that rescinds that tax cut. The end result is no change in law, its just political games, but is it unconstitutional?

So, the House members will be voting yes or no on the senate bill (with its abortion language, which I understand is the sticking point for many), and the 'reconciliation' bill, which may or may not get passed in the senate. So they can say 'no, it wasn't my intention to pass that abortion language - the senate dropped the ball on that'.
Anyone who buys that line is a fool, but as the saying goes, people get the government they deserve.

Last edited by ganai; March 18, 2010 at 04:19 AM.
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Old March 18, 2010, 10:34 AM   #57
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Ganai, the entire post, was just my opinion. Whether that opinion is accurate and/or holds any weight, is yet to be seen.

I would posit that a vote for any particular legislation, is in fact, a vote to agree with (the merits of) that legislation.

The Courts may or may not agree that this is irrelevant. That is still to be determined. For the average voting American however, it is entirely relevant.

As I outlined, and as Mike Irwin has shown, back in post #14, this type of procedure has occurred in the past.

However, the one overriding difference is that in the past, such a procedural move never encompassed legislation that will effect every single person living within the United States. Nor has any prior procedural move encompassed legislation that attempts to give the federal government control over one-sixth of the entire GDP of the nation.

This is sweeping legislation and in such matters, it is absolutely necessary that each and every member of Congress should be held accountable for their vote.

The Constitution is very clear on maintaining democratic accountability. That is why we have Art. 1.7.2 and 1.7.3. The procedural ruse that the House is attempting, defeats that clear accountability.

Should this attempt be held Constitutional, then any time hereinafter that either House wishes to pass legislation that they know would never stand in an up-down vote, may be bypassed by similar machinations.

We then become a country ruled by congressional fiat, where no Representative or Senator is ever accountable to the people.
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Old March 18, 2010, 11:14 AM   #58
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I did read the link Mike provided, and what I see is that this procedure has been used to incorporate amendments to bills before the house w/o having house members actually vote on the amendments.

What's not clear to me is that the procedure has been used to pass a bill OUT of the house (either for signature or to the senate). The examples given in the white paper do not mention whether or not the bills so amended were later presented to the house for a final vote.

I would argue that the first type of activity (amending bills before the house) falls squarely within the House's authority to set it's own rules for moving legislation forward.

To use this procedure to pass a bill out of the house without having actually been voted on seems to run afoul of the constitutionally defined process for approving legislation that is submitted to the president or senate.
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Old March 18, 2010, 02:33 PM   #59
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Should this attempt be held Constitutional, then any time hereinafter that either House wishes to pass legislation that they know would never stand in an up-down vote, may be bypassed by similar machinations.

We then become a country ruled by congressional fiat, where no Representative or Senator is ever accountable to the people.
from Article 1 Section 7:
Quote:
But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by Yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively.
If the vote for this rule does get yeas and nays, and the names casting those votes are recorded and available to the public, it seems to be in compliance with the constitution. We the people will still know who voted for it, and who didn't, and can ourselves vote them out based on that info.
Personally, I'd be happy to see this mechanism (self-enacting rule) killed, but it seems that if it was open to serious constitutional challenge, we'd have seen that challenge before now.
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Old March 18, 2010, 03:40 PM   #60
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The cat is amongst the pidgeons now...the House has voted 222-202 "to approve the Slaughter Rule". Breaking news, I am not sure what this really means, but 28 Dems voted with Reps against the measure, with half a dozen or so not there to vote, Dems and Reps.

I guess if Pelosi loses the actual vote on the Senate bill...if they actually have one...then she turns around and deems it passed?

I suspect tempers are going to fray a bit.

Why is this happening?
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Old March 18, 2010, 05:55 PM   #61
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Article I, Section 5, Clause 3

Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal.
The above is exactly how both Houses have always taken a voice vote and declared the winners. All without ever recording who shouted what.

Just in case you were wondering, ganai.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry
Why is this happening?
Because the progressive left know better than us plebes how to manage our lives. (I should now ban myself for this partisan political statement.)

Seriously, though, this is being done in this manner because the House leadership knows that they do not have enough votes to pass the Senate bill on its own merit. Does anyone seriously think that the Senate is going to allow the House to gut their own bill by amending it with the reconciliation bill?

It has been brought out a couple of hours ago, that this reconciliation bill, is a direct replacement for everything in the Senate bill.
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Old March 18, 2010, 05:59 PM   #62
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At least one of the states has promised to sue congress over this if it passes. If it does find the supreme court I wonder if the justices are impartial enough to forget the snubbing they got at the state of the union address.
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Old March 18, 2010, 06:58 PM   #63
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The above is exactly how both Houses have always taken a voice vote and declared the winners. All without ever recording who shouted what.

Just in case you were wondering, ganai.
Right, but that isn't specific to self-enacting rules - it goes for any vote.
I just don't see how the House could 'hide' their votes on this - surely at least 1/5 of them will want a record of the vote?
Or is there some other parliamentary trick happening here that I'm unaware of?

As far as why its happening - the Senate bill, as it currently is, wouldn't pass the House, and also, the Democrats no longer have 60 votes in the Senate, so they couldn't break a filibuster on a health care bill modified to get through the House.

So for the Democrats, its the Senate bill, and then modify it after it is passed, or no health care reform at all.
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Old March 18, 2010, 07:28 PM   #64
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Antipitas...

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However, the one overriding difference is that in the past, such a procedural move never encompassed legislation that will effect every single person living within the United States. Nor has any prior procedural move encompassed legislation that attempts to give the federal government control over one-sixth of the entire GDP of the nation.
I don't quite get how this has Constitutional significance. The Constitution makes no procedural distinctions based on the scope of legislation... if it would be Constitutional for Congress to use this exact process to rename the Post Office in Frog Balls, Arkansas, it's Constitutional for them to use to pass the health care bill. From the perspective of the Constitution, a bill is a bill.

This has come up a lot on talk radio in the last few days... first it was "this process has never been used before!!!", and then it became widely known that it in fact has been used, hundreds of times, by every Speaker in every Congress in living memory. So then the objection switched to "this process has never been used to pass legislation of this scope", which is, even if true, irrelevant to any discussion of whether it's permissible.

They have done it in the past, and been challenged in Court, and they won those challenges. Ergo, they can do it again now.

--Shannon
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Old March 18, 2010, 08:35 PM   #65
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I find it amazing the extent to which the party in power seems willing to shoot themselves in the foot politically over the healthcare issue.

Reconciliation, at the very least, sets a very bad precedent that could very easily come back to bite the Democrats in their proverbial hind ends in the future. What is often misunderstood about reconciliation is its purpose. A filibuster over a budget bill would be unconstitutional as Congress is Constitutionally mandated to produce a budget, doing nothing simply is not a legal option (hence the proper term: Budget Reconciliation). The problem with using it for other means is the precedent that it sets: should the Democrats find themselves in the minority again (which is a very real possibility in just a matter of months) then they have basically lost their power to filibuster and would be at the mercy of the Republicans.

The Slaughter Rule is, in a nut shell, a way for the House to pass potentially unpopular bills without having their individual names attached to them. By using this tactic for such a well-known piece of legislation, however, they have brought to the public's attention the method in which they are able to "fly under the radar" so to speak. In doing so, it would seem to me that they leave the tactic open for court challenges (remember everything's Constitutional until SCOTUS says otherwise), or at the very least a campaign issue for future political opponents (If elected, I'll abolish the Slaughter Rule).

Then again, the lack of political wisdom here is par for the course, this whole healthcare debate has been more politically damaging for the Democratic Party than what most Democrat administrations would be willing to endure.
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Old March 18, 2010, 08:56 PM   #66
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One thing confusing me is why they might need an additional 16,500 IRS agents, yet:

Quote:
"All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives."
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Old March 19, 2010, 09:10 AM   #67
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Originally Posted by Webleymkv
"Then again, the lack of political wisdom here is par for the course, this whole healthcare debate has been more politically damaging for the Democratic Party than what most Democrat administrations would be willing to endure."
'...where you stand often depends on where you sit".

If you look at the matter from the perspective of the Obama Administration, I suspect the view appears differently: Obama was elected on a "hope & change" platform, and views health care as a devastating challenge to domestic politics...along with being financially un-sustainable into the future.

If he fails to achieve SOME sort of bill, regardless of what it actually accomplishes, then his legacy is diminished; his ability to 'correct a looming financial, social, and healthcare-related disaster' vanishes; and his probability of being elected to a second term approaches near-zero.

While no concensus exists on an appropriate resolution, there are many who are willing to concede that health care costs represent a significant burden to many citizens. Lots of Americans would like something done about it. They simply do not agree on what ought to be done.

[And frankly, IMO the shrill arguments warning of "socialized medicine" conveniently ignore the fact that we already have socialized medicine in the form of medicaid and medicare, which together provide health care to something like 30% of Americans in one form or another (depending on whose numbers you accept). So it's a bit odd that this is held up as the boogeyman under the bed...]

Congress is in a spot where they're damned if they do and damned if they don't.

(They ought to be used to it by now, I suppose...)
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Old March 19, 2010, 09:13 AM   #68
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I didn't think the constitutional argument was about procedure, but whether they could force an individual to buy health insurance. Unlike car insurance there is no other party's losses to cover, just one's own. The argument can be made however that since you will get health care anyway and somebody else will have to pay for it you are effecting the rights of others.
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Old March 19, 2010, 11:34 AM   #69
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Doc Intrepid, I agree that Obama and the Democrats have put themselves between a rock and a hard place, politically at this point. You're right in that they've passed the point of no return, but that wasn't the case last summer. There are many other issues that Obama campaigned on which would probably give him just as big, if not bigger, political boosts than healthcare without the degree of risk. Were I Obama, I'd have "tested the waters" so to speak with healthcare, and once I got the reaction that he did, I'd have either let the issue quietly fade away or scale back the changes that I try to make.

Politically, I think that taking on issues like tort reform and insurance across state lines first would be wiser as Republicans support these measures. By doing that, the Democrats could still take credit for accomplishing some sort of reform, compromise with Republicans (this seems to be what the moderates want), and use it as a basis for more sweeping changes later if the desired results aren't achieved (we tried it your way and it didn't work, now it's our turn).

Honestly, I think that the mistake here is letting healthcare overshadow issues like the economy and Iraq/Afghanistan Wars (two issues that Obama campaigned on heavily). However, at this point he's pushed health care so hard for so long that to drop it or compromise with Republicans would make him appear two-faced or weak to his base and opens him up for attack from both sides (Hillary 2012 anyone?).
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Old March 19, 2010, 11:51 AM   #70
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One thing confusing me is why they might need an additional 16,500 IRS agents, yet:
IRS will be the enforcers and collectors of the fines on miscreants who don't have the right kind of insurance, among other things. So they will have to be auditing health plans as well as your income numbers. I guess one will have to file a proof of insurance every year, and perhaps a copy of the plan, in some cases, if it has not yet been reviewed and found compliant with whatever law ultimately is written. Further information collecton of your personal information.

When they own your bank and your doc, they have a lot of leverage on you to conform, and vote the "right" way.

This is an ecological disaster, too. Think of all the trees which have to be converted to paper in this process.
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Old March 20, 2010, 07:34 AM   #71
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One thing confusing me is why they might need an additional 16,500 IRS agents, yet:
There's nothing confusing about that to me, and it points to the real constitutional problem with this bill, which isn't the procedure being used in the House.

This bill amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide for a fine on people who don't have government approved health insurance.

That's using the power to tax to force a private purchase. That is NOT what the power to tax is for, and furthermore, the entire bill is an assault on the structure of our government. James Madison, Federalist 45:

Quote:
The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.
Is buying health insurance an external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce, or is it more one of the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State?

This isn't a proper federal role, and the power to tax and even the vaunted commerce power don't authorize it, IMO.
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Old March 20, 2010, 03:57 PM   #72
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Maybe my sarcasm is a bit too dry, I see a revenue bill. Others, you, myself get to pay officially for someone else's healthcare or union carve-out or abortion or whatever. Obviously illegals will be on the roll as well since the court will eventually rule they are entitled(similar to public schools).

Since it's a revenue bill(to me), I wish it had come out of the house. But oh well, none of this is my biggest issue with it.
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Old March 20, 2010, 07:55 PM   #73
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I think this whole thing will be challenged under Clinton Vs. The City of NY.

Quote:
statutes may only be enacted "in accord with a single, finely wrought and exhaustively considered, procedure"
The AGs of various states are lining up to sue the fed over this thing.
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Old March 20, 2010, 08:05 PM   #74
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If the Feds can force us to buy health insurance, for our own good and the promotion of the general welfare, think about the other things they'll be able to force us to buy (and use).

Bicycle helmets, motorcycle helmets, trigger locks, etc. It could get ugly. They can make us buy things 'just in case we need it', like life jackets, and other stuff we may never use, but they will force us to have, just in case. After all, you never know when you'll be caught in a flood like N.O. and need a lifejacket. What about an inflatable raft for all folks in any federally declared flood plain. The opportunities for the feds to force us to buy crap is endless. Whether they would really go that far is up for debate. Based on past history, I favor the odds saying they would go quite far. To save us from ourselves? That's what they would have us believe. What they really want to do is save money that we would otherwise force them to spend because the put a program in place that demands they protect us from ourselves. It's getting out of control and they will need to maintain control, ever more so.
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Old March 20, 2010, 08:30 PM   #75
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Bicycle helmets, motorcycle helmets, trigger locks, etc. It could get ugly. They can make us buy things 'just in case we need it', like life jackets, and other stuff we may never use, but they will force us to have, just in case. After all, you never know when you'll be caught in a flood like N.O. and need a lifejacket. What about an inflatable raft for all folks in any federally declared flood plain. The opportunities for the feds to force us to buy crap is endless. Whether they would really go that far is up for debate. Based on past history, I favor the odds saying they would go quite far. To save us from ourselves? That's what they would have us believe. What they really want to do is save money that we would otherwise force them to spend because the put a program in place that demands they protect us from ourselves. It's getting out of control and they will need to maintain control, ever more so.
Yup, and to paraphrase C. S. Lewis, those who torment us for our own good will never back off or down. Their consciences won't let them, or consider any limit in their "caring" for us. They need this "caring" to fulfill themselves as wonderful people. An ego trip on steroids.
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