For quite some time now, I have been feeling quite unwell and have not had the energy to keep up with our politics as usual, nor have I had the ability to be up and around enough to actually post to my blog my rantings regarding them. My apologies to the few and precious people who actually do read what I have to blog about. My health is returning to me slowly and I am beginning to feel much like my normal self again so hopefully very soon there will be another posting here on River's Ramblings.
Yesterday, Tuesday August 11, 2009 President Obama was quoted saying, "Spread the facts. Let's get this done."
By all means, let us spread the facts. For quite some time now I have been scouring H.R. 3200, America's Affordable Health Care Choices Act of 2009, which is current legislation being proposed at the House of Representatives. This is an insanely long piece of potential legislation filled with labyrinthine twists and turns like to give anyone a headache as they try to navigate their way through it. I know, it gave me one.
There are so many issues with this legislation that I can only concentrate on one at a time here. I will visit as many of the issues as I can for as long as this debate goes on.
First up is the claim from the White House that by no means does any of the proposed legislation prevent you from choosing your insurance, your doctor or both. The talking points repeated over and over again by our president assure the American people that by no means is this reform about converting America into a single payer public health care system.
Isn't it amazing out those in power in our government can tell a truth that is anything but?
The proposed legislation does indeed spell out that you will have the right to choose to stay with your current health insurance. But what it also says is this:
(highlighting is mine for emphasis. I have included Section 102 in its entirety in order to prevent any thoughts that I may be taking anything out of context and thus propagating "misinformation".)
SEC. 102. PROTECTING THE CHOICE TO KEEP CURRENT COVERAGE.
- (a) Grandfathered Health Insurance Coverage Defined- Subject to the succeeding provisions of this section, for purposes of establishing acceptable coverage under this division, the term `grandfathered health insurance coverage' means individual health insurance coverage that is offered and in force and effect before the first day of Y1 if the following conditions are met:
- (1) LIMITATION ON NEW ENROLLMENT-
- (A) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day of Y1.
- (B) DEPENDENT COVERAGE PERMITTED- Subparagraph (A) shall not affect the subsequent enrollment of a dependent of an individual who is covered as of such first day.
- (2) LIMITATION ON CHANGES IN TERMS OR CONDITIONS- Subject to paragraph (3) and except as required by law, the issuer does not change any of its terms or conditions, including benefits and cost-sharing, from those in effect as of the day before the first day of Y1.
- (3) RESTRICTIONS ON PREMIUM INCREASES- The issuer cannot vary the percentage increase in the premium for a risk group of enrollees in specific grandfathered health insurance coverage without changing the premium for all enrollees in the same risk group at the same rate, as specified by the Commissioner.
- (b) Grace Period for Current Employment-based Health Plans-
- (1) GRACE PERIOD-
- (A) IN GENERAL- The Commissioner shall establish a grace period whereby, for plan years beginning after the end of the 5-year period beginning with Y1, an employment-based health plan in operation as of the day before the first day of Y1 must meet the same requirements as apply to a qualified health benefits plan under section 101, including the essential benefit package requirement under section 121.
- (B) EXCEPTION FOR LIMITED BENEFITS PLANS- Subparagraph (A) shall not apply to an employment-based health plan in which the coverage consists only of one or more of the following:
- (i) Any coverage described in section 3001(a)(1)(B)(ii)(IV) of division B of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5).
- (ii) Excepted benefits (as defined in section 733(c) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974), including coverage under a specified disease or illness policy described in paragraph (3)(A) of such section.
- (iii) Such other limited benefits as the Commissioner may specify.
- In no case shall an employment-based health plan in which the coverage consists only of one or more of the coverage or benefits described in clauses (i) through (iii) be treated as acceptable coverage under this division
- (2) TRANSITIONAL TREATMENT AS ACCEPTABLE COVERAGE- During the grace period specified in paragraph (1)(A), an employment-based health plan that is described in such paragraph shall be treated as acceptable coverage under this division.
- (c) Limitation on Individual Health Insurance Coverage-
- (1) IN GENERAL- Individual health insurance coverage that is not grandfathered health insurance coverage under subsection (a) may only be offered on or after the first day of Y1 as an Exchange-participating health benefits plan.
- (2) SEPARATE, EXCEPTED COVERAGE PERMITTED- Excepted benefits (as defined in section 2791(c) of the Public Health Service Act) are not included within the definition of health insurance coverage. Nothing in paragraph (1) shall prevent the offering, other than through the Health Insurance Exchange, of excepted benefits so long as it is offered and priced separately from health insurance coverage.
What I believe this to be saying (and I am by no means a legal expert) is that if this Act is signed into law, the private health insurance that you currently have will stay the same, and you can choose to keep it, but that at the end of a 5 year grace period it must then convert to and only be offered as an Exchange-participating health benefits plan. Thus an end to your private insurance and the beginning of a government supervised and enforced health care insurance system as outline here:
(Again, highlights are mine for emphasis only. In this next section the QHBP means Quality Health Benefits Plan.)
TITLE II--HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGE AND RELATED PROVISIONS
Subtitle A--Health Insurance Exchange
SEC. 201. ESTABLISHMENT OF HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGE; OUTLINE OF DUTIES; DEFINITIONS.
- (a) Establishment- There is established within the Health Choices Administration and under the direction of the Commissioner a Health Insurance Exchange in order to facilitate access of individuals and employers, through a transparent process, to a variety of choices of affordable, quality health insurance coverage, including a public health insurance option.
- (b) Outline of Duties of Commissioner- In accordance with this subtitle and in coordination with appropriate Federal and State officials as provided under section 143(b), the Commissioner shall--
- (1) under section 204 establish standards for, accept bids from, and negotiate and enter into contracts with, QHBP offering entities for the offering of health benefits plans through the Health Insurance Exchange, with different levels of benefits required under section 203, and including with respect to oversight and enforcement;
- (2) under section 205 facilitate outreach and enrollment in such plans of Exchange-eligible individuals and employers described in section 202; and
- (3) conduct such activities related to the Health Insurance Exchange as required, including establishment of a risk pooling mechanism under section 206 and consumer protections under subtitle D of title I.
- (c) Exchange-participating Health Benefits Plan Defined- In this division, the term `Exchange-participating health benefits plan' means a qualified health benefits plan that is offered through the Health Insurance Exchange.
Compare what you see, look at the disparities yourself. This isn't a "staged protest". This is not fear mongering, this is imploring you, for the preservation of your freedoms to look into the facts yourself. Do not believe anything I tell you. Do not blindly believe anything our president is telling us. For the sake of all that is good, don't listen to the popular media. Find out for yourself, and when you do, talk about it and encourage everyone you see to do the same.
To paraphrase our President, doing nothing here would be extremely detrimental to America.
How's that, Mr. President, for spreading the facts?
~If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.~
This phrase is used as the title of an article written by the White House Director of new media, Macon Phillips on The Blog at www.whitehouse.gov, written Tuesday August 4, 2009 with the apparent purpose of dispelling "disinformation" regarding current efforts toward health insurance reform.
The quote used as the opening title is from the second president of the United States, John Adams the full text of which is, "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."
It is indeed a wonderful quote, however, I wish to share with you another one attributed to John Adams.
"When people talk of the freedom of writing, speaking, or thinking, I cannot choose but laugh. No such thing ever existed. No such thing now exists; but I hope it will exist. But it must be hundreds of years after you and I shall write and speak no more."
In the article found at The Blog on the White House's web-page something a bit more sinister appears, a request for American citizens to email the White House if they see or hear anything "fishy" in regards to opinions related to health insurance reform.
"There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to email@example.com."
That's right folks, a dedicated White House email address specifically earmarked for you to send reports about your neighbor's political opinions, especially if they are "fishy." This request is in opposition to free speech. It puts the fear of undue governmental influence on those who would speak out, limiting those who would feel free to exercise their right to speak.
It is so beyond unethical it is nothing more than a most reprehensible example of governmental corruption.
I cannot even begin to express the level of disgust I am feeling as I write this post out. The White House openly asking for information on their dissenters, the thought is hugely frightening.
Now, the White House will tell you that its not collecting any names, not creating any databases. I just don't know if I trust my government that much. Nor should you. The technology is there to track all sorts of statistical information about you and me simply by using an easily accessible IP address from which an email is sent or a blog is written. This is in clear violation of current law!
According to The Privacy Act of 1974 5 U.S.C. § 552a, United States agencies, including the Executive Office of the President shall, "maintain no record describing how any individual exercises rights guaranteed by the First Amendment unless expressly authorized by statute or by the individual about whom the record is maintained or unless pertinent to and within the scope of an authorized law enforcement activity."
Reporting the political views and opinions of your neighbors to your government, talk about "Big Brother". Yeah. I hope that someone does send a link of this blog to the White House. I will certainly be having quite a lot to say about the current proposals for health insurance reform and Obama's policies, and much more in the very near future. I hope that our President sees it.
If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention. America is the greatest nation on the planet, help us keep it that way; join the new American Revolution. Speak out, send in your tea bags, write to your representatives, if you remain complacent the America we love and for which many have fought and died will be lost.
In closing I leave you with one more quote of John Adams, written in a letter to H. Niles, February 13, 1818.
What do we mean by the American Revolution? Do we mean the American war? The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments, of their duties and obligations...This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people was the real American Revolution.
I can't say that I've been overly committed to this act of blogging, because I know that I haven't. I can't can't say that even when I have blogged that I've put down into words anything that is of any intrinsic value. Not really. I need to change that, at least for this one post. Maybe for other posts to come.
I need to speak of something that is of the most vital importance to our country. It is political, but it has nothing to do with party lines. Whether you are a staunch Republican or Democrat matters very little. What matters is your love for this country, The United States of America. The best country in the world.
What I have to say today has every thing to do with two powerful words. Patriotism and dissent.
Patriotism: love for or devotion to one's country.
Dissent: to differ in opinion.
We are at a precipice, right now, you and I, a turning point of grave importance. The video linked at the bottom of this article is of Bob Basso speaking to us as Thomas Paine, founding father, activist and author of Common Sense, and other pamphlets written during the American Revolution.
Reclaiming America the great, our America, is quite possibly the most important thing that you or I may ever endeavor to do. Watch the video and join the Second American Revolution. Step up and help us to be known as the greatest generation in American history.
Some people may say that to speak out against our President, our government, our leaders is un-American. Nothing could possibly be further from the truth. We, the citizens of the United States of America have a duty to question our leaders, to hold them accountable and to speak out when their actions are against the interests of this country.
If you love your country, then you are vested in its future. Don't be fooled and don't give in. Dissent is patriotic. It is possibly one of the greatest expressions of patriotism.
Now is the seedtime of continental union, faith and honor. The least fracture now, will be like a name engraved with the point of a pin on the tender rind of a young oak; the wound would enlarge with the tree, and posterity read in it full grown characters. ~Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776
Recently I purchased my very first "every day" wheelchair. Ordering something this customized and, well, expensive is somewhat of a nerve wracking experience. Even more so because I purchased it online. However, I was quickly put at ease while speaking with Scott at bike-on.com. He took the time to actually talk with me and get a true feel on the types of activity and places I would be using my new chair, and never once made me feel "less than" because it was my first time ordering such a chair.
I decided on a Quickie GPV in midnight purple and spent quite a while on the phone with Scott specifying all sorts of details like seat width and depth, back rest height, options for breaks and footrests. When it was all said and done I put my money where my mouth was and ordered the chair. It took about two weeks from ordering to receiving and I woke up one morning with a giant box sitting in my living room waiting for me to open it up.
I love this chair!
For the last year, ever since losing the use of my legs, I have been using a second hand Jazzy power chair. The power chair was comfortable, and lets face it, free...so I had been more than happy with using it since I had no other options at the time. It had its uses, but lets face it...it also had its drawbacks. For one, it had a limited range, only being able to go a total of five miles, when the batteries where brand spanking new and fully charged. As the batteries got older, the range of the chair became less and less. We put quite a bit of money into the chair, having bought two sets of batteries over the past year and a new charger for the unit. Another one of its drawbacks was that it was heavy and quite a bit of a challenge to transport, making it absolutely impossible for friends to drop by and pick me up for an afternoon out.
I have been dreaming about a new wheelchair for at least the last six months. However, a good "every day" wheelchair (not the kind you see at hospitals used to transport patients here and there) costs a pretty good chunk of money. The most economical of them run between $1,000-$1,500. I had to wait until I knew for sure that the investment was necessary and for the money to be available to us. Finally the day came and I bought my new wheels.
This chair is so light, and the wheels are so easy to remove that I am able to transfer into almost any old car and break the chair down myself and put it in the backseat. How cool is that, I ask you? Pretty damned cool!
The seat and angle of the leg rests are so comfortable...I never knew what I was missing until I spent just a few minutes sitting in it. Its great, absolutely great. I took it to a grocery store and went shopping with my family not too long after receiving it to test drive it in the world. Gliding along the polished tile floors in the grocery store was practically effortless!
I love this chair so much that in celebration of receiving it, I put purple highlights in my light brown hair to commemorate its arrival.
So now I have myself some hot new wheels and a hot new hairdo to match. Life is good.
~River, simply being me.
Posted by River 4:41 PM
Dear Pogo/EA games,
Thank you! Just prior to my sojourn in the void I wrote to your customer support and asked about the options of having a wheelchair to place my Mini in. Your response at the time was polite, but stated that that particular option had not yet been developed. I went shopping around in the Mini options today and found that you had developed that option. I congratulate you on your open-mindedness and willingness to accommodate those who are disabled and who wish to incorporate that into the expression of themselves on your site. A big thumbs up and kudos to you!
Posted by River 8:40 PM
So, I really sucked at Blogging quite some time before...and I may continue to bore people who stumble unwittingly upon River's Ramblings. However, I believe that it is time to give this one more go.
Things in life tend to change drastically, so drastically sometimes that it forces you to change and/or redefine who you are. I've had one of those changes in my life, just this past year. I was hit by a catastrophic illness that left me paraplegic, unable to continue my life as a Registered Nurse. So, now at the tender age of 33 I have been forced into early retirement. I have a lot of time to fill now.
A portion of this past year, half of it in fact, I have spent without access to the internet. This period of time I have been referring to as the void. I had to create things to keep myself occupied and to keep myself from losing my mind. Fortunately, part of the aftermath of my catastrophic illness comes with a boost in creativity. Something that I sorely lacked before in my life, being the consummate left-brain science nerd.
Now, I am spending my time writing a novel length story, knitting, crocheting, learning the tin whistle, etching glass, carving art into tile...all sorts of things.
Part of me thinks that cronicling some of the things that I am doing and creating would be interesting to others...the other part of me knows that it will at least be interesting to me. So, for no other reason that it being interesting to me, I believe that I will pick up my blog once more and see if I can't bore the innocent passer by once in a while.
Treat yourselves well, you're the only 'you' you have.
I've decided that I really suck at this blogging thing. I posted a few times, then never got back to it. I've recently re-read my previous posts and decided that my topics and writing style are completely boring.
Read on if you dare...
I may or may not ever post again!
Posted by River 1:03 PM