Obama Lied, My Healthcare Plan Died

obama-doctorFolks, we’re hosed. As you may know, I’m a healthcare professional who happens to work for a major corporation. The other day I got an interesting postcard from my employer telling me that as of Oct 1, my family will be dropped from their health plan. In other words, I won’t “have the healthcare plan I wanted, or the doctor I already have” as Glorious Leader promised us. But don’t worry! The postcard said that I’ll have “more choices at more affordable rates”!

You’ll pardon me while I withhold judgment until open enrollment is over. After all, my wife and I are in our mid-fifties, I’m a Type II diabetic with a history of cholesterol problems and a slightly elevated blood pressure. Case in point: my wife recently had a complaint and had to negotiate with our doctor on how to deal with it. Not see him mind you, negotiate with him. As in, if I see you for this complaint, I’ll have to code it in a certain way and you’ll have to wait next year for your “annual.” As in, I can see you now but you can’t ask any more questions about other complaints because I’m duty bound to code them in and I won’t get reimbursed for treating you for any additional complaints because I already coded you in for the complaint you made an appointment for. You’ll need another appointment for that Ma’am. (And how exactly is this going to decrease costs?) So she negotiated to have her annual a little bit ahead of time since during a general physical additional medical concerns can be addressed –at least for now. It was an interesting ballet, negotiate about what was going to be discussed at an appointment.

OK, at this point, Socialist-Liberal Do-Gooder will interject: “What are you complaining about, she got treated, no?” Well yes, after several days of going back-and-forth between us and our doctor and finding a way to get the treatment she needed. That’s because I’m in healthcare and I was able to advise her what to do. And even then I had to think about it. (Sorry, I won’t open a sidebar on Monomakhos advising people about how to navigate this thicket. Not for free anyway.) I’m sorry, but do you not see how laborious this process is? Do you think our family physician has the time and energy to negotiate this kind of diagnostic strategy with each and every one of his patients? Quick answer: no, never in a million years.

That’s why medical care will go to hell. There is simply no way that “X” number of doctors can see the “Y” amount of patients in “Z” amount of time while embracing the additional (Z+n) burdens necessary to make sure that the bills are paid. Nor should we forget the amount of bills that never get paid, which go down the ever-expanding black hole of uncollectables. Eventually Z+n is going to result in fewer doctors which will result in fewer patients getting treated. After a decade of this, costs might actually decrease but that would be thanks to the rise in morbidity and mortality.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Whereas my wife and younger son were part of my health plan (my elder son is 26 and has struck out on his own in case you were wondering) now they are on their own as well. I have somewhat of a head-start in this as my own profession has long been consumed by insurance concerns and I know how to game the system somewhat. Better than say a mechanic or an accountant. My wife likewise used to work for a major insurance company as a reimbursement specialist. Between the two of us, we’ve got enough intellectual wattage to survive this Social-Darwinist scheme. But what of the poor 25-year-old schlemiel who graduated college with $50,000 in guaranteed student loans he’ll never be able to pay back because he flips hamburgers? At twenty-five, I was a struggling young husband with a mortgage and a future. That poor sap can look forward to living in his mother’s basement. Think he can afford to pony up a spare $100 for the individual mandate?

Sure, he shouldn’t have wasted his time studying the Greater Lesbian Poets of Nicaragua but thanks to a glut of useless degrees, McJobs are his future. I’m lucky: but even with my two degrees, 30-plus years in the business world and a decent job, I feel like Indiana Jones armed with a machete hacking my way through the jungles of Panama just to navigate through this mess. You think Young Master McJobs has a chance?

As I write, the federal government is headed towards a shutdown. Polls show that the GOP will get the blame but I doubt it. Oh sure, the Mainstream Media will scream incessantly about those Wascally Wepublicans but Boehner is no Gingrich. Chances are the shutdown will only last a couple of days or a week in which case the blame will be short-lived. My hunch is that unlike 1995, the reputation of the federal government is pretty much in the crapper. Most of us who work hard and play by the rules have come to the realization that it’s just a big shell game, jury-rigged to reward the malingerers and the crony capitalists who know how to game the system to their advantage. If I’m right, the attention of the people will turn on the wreckage wrought by Obamacare in no time. The only thing that will be remembered by November 2014 was that the GOP tried to storm Castle Frankenstein but by the time they arrived with the torches and pitchforks the monster had already escaped and was terrorizing the village. Nobody wants this now. What makes you think anybody will want it then. Even Democrats like Sen Joe Manchin of West Virginia are asking for a year’s delay for the individual mandate. Ditto some major unions and Corporate America who are on the same page for once. Those that are well-connected are getting waivers while little people like you and me are left holding the bag.

When the jobs are lost, when the “glitches” become more apparent, when people see how much their premiums rise, there will be hell to pay. For better or worse we have a presidential form of government. Even though the three branches of government are co-equal, American history is demarcated by presidential administrations. That means that the buck always stops at the Oval Office. Obama’s going to be left holding this bag and it ain’t gonna be pretty.

In the meantime, bend over.


  1. Ladder of Divine Ascent says

    Day one of ObamaCare…

    Surprise! Obamacare health insurance exchange websites don’t work; HealthCare.gov a total mess:


    (June 18, 2013) Savages of Socialism:


    In Venezuela, savvy shoppers are hunting down scarce supplies of toilet paper with a smartphone app. The smartphones, compact packages of electronics, are several generations more advanced than the white square, but they are available when the toilet paper isn’t, because unlike the toilet paper they aren’t subsidized and price controlled.

    While Hugo Chavez did at one point unveil a Chavezphone for the poor, he succumbed to the wonders of Cuba’s Socialist medicine before they could become as big as Obamaphones. But if Venezuela ever falls to the dumbphone, then there won’t be a smartphone app to find a smartphone with.

    The sight of modern men and women hunting down toilet paper with smartphones seems like the Soviet Union as reimagined by William Gibson, but it’s a common enough outcome in an economy that is really a patchwork of uneven subsidies.

    The Arab Spring was fueled by the social media apps of smartphones and anger over insufficient subsidies for staples such as bread and fuel. The smartphones may bring you the revolution, but it’s the toilet paper and bread shortages that set them off.

    The problem is a commonplace one that Americans will shortly begin experiencing with the subsidized medicine of Obamacare.

    (September 30, 2013) Nicolás Maduro seeks to deflect blame as Venezuela’s woes mount:


    What to do if your country’s economy is on the ropes, inflation is soaring, shortages are rampant, political support is fragile and violence is flaring? For critics of Nicolás Maduro, the president of Venezuela, the answer is that you wrap yourself in the national flag and blame somebody else, anybody else, even Spider-Man.

    Since becoming president five months ago, Mr Maduro has routinely cited vague international conspiracies by capitalist plotters, or even cartoon superheroes, for Venezuela’s mounting problems that range from a lack of toilet paper and national electricity blackouts to one of the highest murder rates in the world.

  2. Well, count me as one reader looking forward to a successful implementation of the ACA. As a self-employed freelancer supporting a family of five who has not been able to secure affordable health insurance for 10 years because of a pre-existing condition, obtaining coverage on my new state health insurance exchange will be an answered prayer.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Douglas, I am grateful that you will be able to obtain health insurance. I hope you can afford the $5000 to $6300 out-of-pocket for the treatment of your pre-x. Believe me when I say having a client declined was always a blow.

      Many of my clients who fell into that bucket however were people who did not even seek health insurance until a chronic condition developed. I hope you were not one of those.

      • James the Other says


        The out-of-pocket numbers you quote are for the Bronze type plans which are geared for younger people who are healthy but are basically purchasing catastrophic care coverage. That really isn’t much different from what they can get now, however, with these people now getting coverage, it increases the insured pool, which as you know is beneficial to long term rate mitigation.

        The cheaper the monthly rates, the higher the deductibles. This is nothing new.

        • Michael Bauman says

          The smallest OOP for any plan offered in my state is $5000. The $6300 is the standard under the ACA. The platinum plan also has a very restricted provider list.

          The rates are based on the sample age 27 rates. Just so happens my son is 27.

          Believe me when I say that the vast majority of people with whom I have worked do not understand the and certainly don’t like the fact that one must accept a higher out of pocket to get lower premiums. This is particularly true for the previously uninsured.

          Plus the propaganda that sold the plan in the first place left many such people believing that they would bear no OOP responsibility.

          If you want to argue with my 17 years of on-the-ground experience in this, be my guest, but I don’t see how you can rationally do that.

          BTW: “Massive taxes increases and/or rationing of care” are the only way to pay for this plan. A public statement by the then President of the National Association of Insurance Commissions in 2010 based on her intimate knowledge of the plan specifics and the actuarially assumptions underlying the plan. Ms. Praeger the insurance commissioner of Kansas is a supporter of the plan (although a Republican) and a good friend of Kathleen Sebelius. Ms Praeger ran for commissioner on a platform of mental health parity. A platform which she quietly abandoned once she got in office and saw the outrageous burden that would impose on Kansans if Kansas alone did it. She got it in Obamacare and, I suspect one of the reasons she supports the plan.

          “Massive tax increases and/or rationing of care”

          That is the long-term cost of this plan which NO ONE seems to be willing to address. Care to be the first?

          • Fr. Peter Dubinin says

            Michael – I appreciate your knowledge and insight on this issue very much. So, I ask you and others, I would be curious to know your thoughts on what would constitute viable, effective health insurance coverage for citizens of the US? You may have answered this question already. If so, just direct me to the right place.

            • Michael Bauman says

              Father, it is a really difficult question on both the design and implantation levels. Here is a plan I posted earlier in the Peacemakers thread with some modifications here

              A 11 step plan:

              1. Establish uniform underwriting standards for both individual and group through the NAIC. There would also be a uniform list of exclusions. The NAIC is the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. One of the things they do is write and propose model ordinances which are then submitted to the individual states for adoption. The states can adopt them, not adopt them or change them within limits. The states already mandate policy language on coverage and exclusions. No reason why they can’t mandate underwriting approaches for policies issued in that state. There could still be some local variations, but not anything extreme. For instance Kansas has long mandated that individual carriers offer coverage for normal maternity. It was an option, however, it got really expensive to buy because people would buy it and then drop it when the child was born.

              2. Prohibit rescission except for fraud.

              3. Establish a federal high risk pool funded by premium taxes, premiums and other taxes if necessary.

              4. Establish a refundable tax credit for premiums only which would also apply to Medicare supplement and Part D plans.

              5. Increase the limits on HSA contributions and extend them beyond age 65 to encourage the purchase of high deductible Plan F supplements. Allow premiums to be contributed and paid through HSAs.

              6. Prohibit unbundling of medical services and the maintenance of multiple pricing policies.

              7. Establish an independent ombudsman to assist people in claim and billing disputes.

              8. Have an independent binding arbitration panel with one level of appeal to assess malpractice claims and award damages commensurate with real need and damage. No lawsuits. No vague “pain and suffering” category and no punitive damages.

              9. Create and use a single page summary that details the premium, the basic benefits and the total out of pocket cost of the plan purchased which the insured signs. Policies written in clear English.

              10. No opt outs for anyone in government for any reason or anyone involved with creating policy of administrating it.

              11. While there can be a package of covered causes, people, within reason should be able to remove certain items they don’t want coverage for such as normal maternity and mental health services.

              All things subject to greed malfeasance stupidity and human mistakes as they are now realizing that people will still suffer and die in humiliating and unnecessary ways no matter what we do.

              To control premiums there has to be some level of underwriting. We’ve seen that on the group plans when the guaranteed issue for small group came in under HIPPA. Honestly Kansas has done a really good job in this area. The small group paradigm was to underwrite fully, but no declines and no waivers. The issuing companies could then put a rating for the overall health of the group with the maximum depending on the state. In Kansas the maximum was a 67% rate up, in Arizona (the only other state I know) the maximum allowed was 400%. It is not perfect because there is still a lot of anti-selection, but it is workable.

              We absolutely have to get away from the idea of perfect and the mantra of “universal healthcare” we have universal healthcare now. It is available to everybody. Its paying for it that is the problem.

              There is no reason to include birth-control medications in the list of approved drugs as they are not medically necessary for most folks. If there is a medically necessary reason to prescribe them such as for helping a woman regularize her menstruation, that could be addressed on a case by case basis much as pain medication is now.

              The other really big problem is that any time insurance is involved, costs go up. In a single payor system when the single payor is the government, costs will escalate even more rapidly. It is the phenomenon of greed when what is perceived as “other people’s money” is being used to pay for something.

              I would add one other point: For Medicare supplements if the premium increases to 250% of the original premium or a certain percent of the insured’s income the insured should be able to transfer to another carrier without underwriting at the standard rate.

              All of this could have been done with very little problem within the current system.

              Of course nothing reasonable will happen at this point because the whole thing has become an ideological political football and all that is happening is a stirring up of passions.

              Lord have mercy on us.

              • Michael Bauman says

                At this time 3:18 CST, I 2 in favor and 1 against my plan. That’s a much higher approval than Obamacare got. It should be passed right now and you can actually read it before you pass it. “What a country!!!”

          • Chris Banescu says

            The Unaffordable Care Act is truly UNAFFORDABLE. Since we pay for our own health insurance, I checked to see what options our family would have under ObamaCare in CA.

            The plan that most closely matched out current basic insurance coverage would cost approximately 68% MORE per month than what we now pay via the private insurance system. Once again the gov’t bureaucracy has failed, and failed miserably! This is in addition to the nearly 57% rate increases we’ve had to endure since 2010 when the first wave of idiotic ObamaCare regulations made the already high insurance rates SOAR even faster!

            Don’t believe me? Check for yourself and compare:

            The great words of President Ronald Reagan ring true: “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem!

            The nightmare known as ObamaCare is making the current healthcare problems 3x times worse and will hurt the poor, the needy, and the middle class the most. Everything conservatives warned about is happening, even more rapidly than predicted.

            • M. Stankovich says

              Mr. Banescu,

              The only reason your health insurance would be 68% MORE per month under the ACA is because your household income exceeds the rate to qualify for a subsidy, the hallmark of the Act. And if it is, in fact, a full 68%, the.difference is substantial. The ACA failed you because you make too much money. Some would be grateful. How you figure this “will hurt the poor, the needy, and the middle class the most” is nonsensical; try the “shop & compare” calculator you yourself provided. Somehow, I imagine you knew all these details before you wrote this post, but I’m trying not to be cynical…

              • Chris Banescu says

                Had Stankovich bothered to check the facts, instead of running to spew his Marxist denunciation that a household “makes too much money”, he would have discovered the truth (I know, there I go again with that “right-wing”, “Christian extremist” terminology) that a family of three (2 adults + 1 child) that earns more than $70,315 in income per year will receive ZERO subsidies under ObamaCare.

                ObamaCare Subsidy Calculator

                Apparently any family living and working in “low tax and low-cost-of living” CA and earning more than $70,315 per year is clearly “too rich” and unworthy of any gov’t consideration. How dare they complain that insurance rates have soared and are rapidly becoming unaffordable, primarily due to the socialist insanity known as ObamaCare? Hard working, law-abiding, legal citizens of America, especially conservatives, do not have any right to speak up and complain. They are, after all, second class citizens and their Constitutional rights don’t count.

                Of course, Stankovich shows no contempt, cynicism, or outrage for the actual hypocrites and elites in Congress and their staffs who will get Gov’t SUBSIDIES even if they make up to $174,000 per year. (By inference, a congressional household with 2 adults would technically be able to get gov’t subsidies even when making up to in $348,000 per year!)

                Over the last few months, members of Congress and their staffs have been worried about losing their health care subsidies and being forced to participate in the Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges, as the rest of us will be required to do.

                Now, President Obama has stepped forward to help them get around the law, using the Office of Personnel Management to promise them to continue making the 75 percent contributions, even though members’ salaries are $174,000 a year.

                To summarize this Orwellian lunacy:
                (1) Legal, Law-abiding, self-employed households earn $70,315+ per year = BAD
                (2) Politicians + their staffs and families on gov’t dole earn $348,000 per year = GOOD

                (1) Legal, Law-abiding, self-employed households earn $70,315+ per year = Make Too Much Money
                (2) Politicians + their staffs and families on gov’t dole earn $348,000 per year = Make Right Amount of Money

                (1) Legal, Law-abiding, self-employed households earn $70,315+ per year = Unworthy of Gov’t Subsidies (ZERO subsidies)
                (2) Politicians + their staffs and families on gov’t dole earn $348,000 per year = Worthy of Thousands of Dollars in Gov’t Subsidies

                (1) Legal, Law-abiding, self-employed households earn $70,315+ per year = Denounced as Selfish and Not Caring for the Poor
                (2) Politicians + their staffs and families on gov’t dole earn $348,000 per year = Praised for “Caring for the Poor”

                Seems like America has been transformed into George Orwell’s Animal Farm. “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

                • M. Stankovich says

                  Mr. Banescu,

                  According to the US Dept. of Justice, for purposes of bankruptcy, the median income for a single earner with a three-person family, the median income in CA is $67,401. The overall average income in CA is $59,910. According to the 2013 Poverty Guidelines for the 48 Contiguous States and the District of Columbia published in the Federal Register, the US poverty line is established at $19,530, and in Alaska $24,412. The poverty rate in the State of California is 23.5% – the highest in the US – followed by Washington DC (23.2%) and Florida (19.5%). The estimated population of the State of California is 38,041,430, meaning there are approximately 8,939,736 individuals living below the poverty line. The “approximation” does not consider the number of illegal immigrants that utilize the services and resources of the state.

                  Apparently. Mr. Banescu, you haven’t been near any ER in CA, let alone the one on Martin Luther King Blvd., because they all prominently display the sign – in English, Spanish, and generally an Asian language – that no one in need of treatment will be turned away by CA law. It is the “health insurance” of the legal & the illegal, the uninsured, the poor, the needy, the elderly, infants, children, the under-insured, the intoxicated, the mentally ill, day & night, 365 days a year. How is it funded? Tax dollars. The most expensive, least effective, and least preventative access to the health system is draining the system, and you are crying over the lack of subsidy at $70,315+ at three times the poverty line. We are from different Americas, Mr. Banescu.

                  Perhaps you’ll join me in my Edmund Pettus Bridge march out of Selma with 50 geese in the annual, “Silly Geese White People Didn’t Learn a Damn Thing” on Thanksgiving. Oh, it’s free…

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Dr Stankovich, I simply don’t see what the Edmund Pettus Bridge has anything to do with Mr Banescu’s argument. I am however glad to see that you acknowledge that the funding mechanism for the ERs of California come from tax dollars. My question therefore is how is subsidizing the cost of Obamacare premiums going to ease that burden? From where are those tax dollars coming from? The Rockefellers or from ordinary hard-working Americans like you and me?

                    On a tangential note, do you not see the perverse incentives that these increases will cause to the system? People will make the gamble to not buy into the exchanges (which are becoming increasingly hellish to get on to) but will take the chance and pay a minimal fine should they need medical care. It’s actually not a bad trade.

                    BTW, your plucking out numbers from the Federal Registry is interesting as far as it goes but it never really tells the full story. These numbers just paint a macro picture but on the micro level it’s never as black-and-white as these numbers would seem to suggest.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Mr. Michalopulos,

                      Subsidizing healthcare premiums means that individuals have access to preventative medicine and earlier intervention into chronic disease known to affect minorities and the poor and under-served: hypertension, diabetes, and cancer are prime examples, It is infinitely less expensive to prevent, intervene early, and treat the primary manifestations of these diseases, rather than to treat the lifelong consequences. As I have noted previously, those forced to utilize the ER does so when they are gravely ill, in the poorest overall health, with longer hospital stays, with little to no follow-up, with the highest prediction of relapse and outcome, and the worst protracted prognosis. AND it is the single most expensive vehicle of entry into the healthcare system. These savings alone, Mr. Michalopulos, would be monumental, let alone alleviating the strain and burden it constitutes to the system itself.

                      The system had to change, and how to measure and account for several generations of inequity and needless suffering among “ordinary taxpayers like you and me?” It had to start somewhere, and if for now it only manages to bring relief to the 15% of Americans most needy and deserving, it is a good start. In fact, an excellent start.

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      George, those without health insurance who do not enroll prior to March 31, 2014 will face a lot more than a small fine if they need care. They will face the fact that they have no way to pay for that care except out of their own pocket. It will be interesting to see what happens when such people present to an emergency room. Will emergency rooms still be required to treat them? I mean it is a requirement to have health insurance now. If someone willfully violates that requirement are emergency rooms still required to treat them? If so are there limits to that care?

                      If they don’t sign up by 3/31/14, the next open enrollment period does not begin until 10/15/14 for coverage effective 1/1/15.

                      First year “tax” is $95 or 1% to $285 deducted from one’s tax refund.

                      2015: $325 or 2% of income to a max of $975

                      2016: $695 or 2.5% of income to a max of $2085

                      Beyond 2016 adjusted for COL.

        • 100 Unintended Consequences of Obamacare
          Companies, workers, retirees, students, and spouses all suffer from the law’s inflexible mandates.

          Disappointed Obamabots wake up to find they have to pay a fee for not having health insurance

          It’s almost as if they were unacquainted with the provisions of the law.

          Profanity warning.

          • Oh, and this—this—is beyond the pale.

            • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

              Oh, and this—this—is beyond the pale.

              “Need health insurance? The Obama administration has you covered. Simply dial 1-800-FUCKYO to reach the next available health-care provider.

              “Far from being a mistype, that’s the official number that Health and Human Services wants Americans to dial when seeking health care. Obamacare’s national call center really did list its number as 1-800-318-2596, helpfully spelling out President Barack Obama’s tendency to blatantly flip the bird in plain view.”

              Franklin D. Roosevelt:

              “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.”

              • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                That’s wonderfully intelligent: deciphering the code of telephone numbers, Ladder! You should definitely give up theology! Did you do it without looking at the dial? Reward yourself with some buttered popcorn, and you may eat it with both hands.

                • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

                  “That’s wonderfully intelligent: deciphering the code of telephone numbers, Ladder! You should definitely give up theology! Did you do it without looking at the dial? Reward yourself with some buttered popcorn, and you may eat it with both hands.”

                  Yes, you smart, God only like smarties, no likey mouth breathe as me do. Me wish smart as you, Fr. Meyendorff, and Bulgakov. Me am as almost everyone not smart, you smarties right too laugh, but that make entire dumbo ROC angry and condemn Bulgakov’s smarts. Smarties know better, know Bulgakov great, you all so very great, and us so very dumbo and yet become dumbo more since Bulgakov. So sad. Me likey hear ur smart stories, me learnted. Can tell what meself learnted?

      • Pere LaChaise says

        George, you are an expert whiner. If you think your petty complaints about the workings of our lousy system of medical care amounts to a substantive critique of the new law of the land, you kid yourself – it’s embarrassing how petty your writing gets when you wax partisan.
        Serving as priest in an Orthodox parish I have not enjoyed any health coverage whatsoever for myself or spouse for the last three years. Working in the ‘health’ industry myself as a hospice chaplain to supplement my meagre parish stipend did me no better. Can you imagine my chagrin as I go about my rounds seeing hospice patients and their attendant nurses while I myself have no access to medicine? I know the system being set up will be imperfect.
        Since my spouse and I are so poorly paid, we will probably qualify for subsidized insurance. it IS too early to either rejoice or complain as I have yet to be able to access the site where I can apply for insurance.
        But one thing I can say: the extension of affordable insurance to the rest of us is a major social achievement amidst this rather awful time of the destruction of the middle class. I expect many bumps in the road. But places like CA will lead the way toward a single-payer system that will eventually eliminate the waste and allow doctors to actual do the medicine they were trained for, rather than doling it out in droplets as they currently do under the ‘competitive’ system.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Pere, outside of a couple dozen or so Randian Objectivists and/or Anarcho-capitalists, I know of NO ONE in the Conservative movement who doesn’t want everybody to be able to afford their own healthcare and/or health insurance. That you haven’t had any for three years is a travesty but it is caused by failures in both the legal system, insurance regulations, and taxation. Whenever Conservatives/Libertarians tried to push through Medical Savings Accounts there were innumerable roadblocks put up by the Powers That Be, some structural, some procedural.

          Later, I will give you an example but work beckons.

          • George Michalopulos says

            OK, here’s one example: about 20 years ago, I worked in a pharmacy in a medical/professional bldg. It was on the bottom floor of a 10-story building, all chock-full of doctors’ offices. One day, I saw an older doctor come by to pick up some injectable meds for his office. After he left, my assistant said that he charged patients who had no private insurance only $10 for an office visit. Word spread and he had a pretty good practice (as I could tell by the volume of Rx’s I filled). Long story short, he took private insurance, Medicaid and cash. Everybody was happy. Not a bad day’s work if you ask me.

            Anyway, we had to keep quiet about it. Why? Because if Medicaid found out that he took $10 in cash, they would cancel their contract with him because he would be “underbidding” Medicaid (which I believe reimbursed him $35 per patient per office visit).

            Now, how short-sighted is that? The State should have been grateful that he was providing a needed service for the uninsured. At the very least they should have been grateful that by “underbidding” he was keeping some uninsured from getting on Welfare. Instead, they would have not only cancelled his contract but probably fined him heavily as well.

            • Pere LaChaise says

              I agree, it’s a horrid system you describe. It’s not surprising though. For a while after my wife and I wed, we had a N. County health cards in a highly populated area and still had fair access to very low-cost healthcare (at least for minor things we came down with). We experienced Canadian health care (two huge thumbs up, even in a major metropolis it’s ver accessible at all hours of the day or night); we had fairly expensive (by our penurious standards) private insurance in a rural place in the States. And we’ve experienced the anxiety of of NO INSURANCE WHATSOEVER (except for our daughter, and that only after 2 yrs’ hiatus because of income limits – as though we were doing so well we could afford unsubsidized). So now I’m waiting for the website traffic to slow down enough so that we can apply. We both need to see doctors.
              As for medical expense bank accounts – that’s a farce, a non-starter way of addressing our collective problem. How can people living hand-to-mouth save up any money to throw to doctors? a tax shelter for such moneys is useless if you can’t get paid enough to sock it away.
              So what’s so bad about National Health Single-Payer as they have in Canada?

              • George Michalopulos says

                Pere, so what’s the difference between the straining of your meager resources to have private insurance and being forced into a healthcare exchange which will also strain the resources of the young and the underemployed? The difference between a MSA and Obamacare is that MSA’s introduce more market incentives into the medical system which presently don’t exist thanks to Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance. Remember: medical care is subsidized all up and down the line; if you want to have more of something and increase its costs, subsidize it.

                One answer was tried over 100 years ago: medical co-ops. This was the golden age of Americans conglomerating in Burke’s “small platoons.” The various fraternal lodges offered financial instruments like life insurance and health insurance policies for their members. For a $1 per year (that’s one dollar mind you), a member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles/Elks/Moose/etc., could purchase access to a doctor who contracted with said lodge to provide diagnostic services for their members. Some lodges went all out and offered dental services as well. Usually the doctors were recent graduates of medical school and needed to establish a patient base and this was a win-win for all concerned.

                I know of doctors today who practice something along these lines. There’s a doctor in Kansas City who charges a flat fee based on age and contracts out for lab work that may be needed. It’s a closed system as far as each practicioner is concerned, maybe limited to 1,000 patients or so as no doctor can see more than that in a year anyway.

                Bottom line? The free market would work if we’d let it.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  But George you just don’t understand people don’t want a free market they want a market that is free.

                  Pere HSA plans don’t work for everybody but they actual can help folks save a lot of money and acquire good coverage.

                  For instance would you rather spend $200 a month for a plan with generous co-pays and a $2500 out of pocket or $85 a month for a plan with no copays same out of pocket exposure and you could have a tax deductible savings account that allows you to use tax favored dollars to pay for many types of healthcare like eye glasses and dental care? Or save over $250 a month in premium for a family of four bringing the purchase of health insurance into the budget for the first time (father self-employed as small contractor). Coverage comparable to the more expensive plan the couldn’t afford.

                  It was never designed to provide coverage to folks with no money but I been able to make health insurance affordable to many folks who couldn’t afford it before.

                  It is a democrat lie that it is only for the rich. It benefits those with less disposable income and fewer tax deductions significantly more.

                  I have real world actual experience with real people who save real money and are able to get genuinely affordable health insurance.

        • Obama could dress in a beret and a military uniform and arm himself to the teeth, and some of you still wouldn’t recognize that he’s a tyrant and a Communist.

  3. Preexisting conditions like diabetes, cholesterol, and other ailments will no longer be taken into account when underwriting private health insurance. It’s also likely that older, sicker consumers will get a break compared to young, health consumers.

    I can tell you my state’s exchange offers a plan that is $1100 cheaper per month (!) than we were able to get in the pre-ACA private insurance market in 2012 due to a preexisting condition in one of my children. Once that preexisting condition was dealt with, we were still paying $200 per month more than the new ObamaCare rate we would be eligible for.

    This calculator will tell you what you would pay in your state:


    Go here to actually apply for coverage:


    • Michael Bauman says

      Just make sure you study the coverage, not just the rate. Before ACA I ran across folks all the time who bought on line and bought on price alone and had no clue what they bought.

      • James the Other says


        I am glad you are there to help people figure things out. Can anyone explain why Gov. Perry in Texas and Scott in Florida, to name just two, but from two very important states, would bar or put obstacles in the way of the ACA Navigators doing what you do?

        • Michael Bauman says

          Good question: ACA Navigators are not trained agents and are forbidden by law from making recommendations on plans. They are not licensed and nothing in the qualifications for navigators bars convicted felons (even those convicted of identity theft) from being a navigator. As a navigator, they would have legal access to all of the financial information, including social security numbers the person they were assisting has to enter.

          Federally certified agents are legally prohibited from helping a client create a Marketplace account. Once they do, we can help them choose a plan.

          At best the navigators will be like those part-time “tax preparation” people in the store fronts.

          If the government follows the course laid down for agent participation in the sale of Part D prescription drug plans, more and more onerous testing will be put on the shoulders of qualified, experienced agents while less and less is required of people such as navigators who are only involved for 45 days each year (after this first time). Eventually, they will push agents completely out of the process expecting us to do it for free while the compensated government employees who are vastly inferior in knowledge and have far fewer ethical constraints will be compensated.

          My own biased opinion is that the government does not want anyone with actual knowledge to assist people in making plan decisions. They will get their will under the guise of “protecting the consumer”

    • You are being sucked in.

      This is the cost this year. You think it will remain flat in subsequent years?

      A bronze plan has a 40% copay. Moreover, you must stay in network. Doctors are fleeing the networks, and for good reason. They will be paid 75% less for the same work. This will destroy Medicare (which was ripped off to the tune of $750 billion by Obamacare) and you might have insurance coverage, only to discover that it is NOT the same thing as having medical care. HHS is in the process of redefining what cancer is, so that less of that malady will be covered. Use your common sense and the brain that that Good Lord gave you. You think that adding thousands more people (and it will be Millions as businesses dump retirees, families, part timers, and finally employees) into a system will make it work better? Be cheaper?

      The larger damage is to the overall economy. 96% of the jobs that this administration created and is touting are part time jobs. The Obamacare legislation is driving this behavior.

      This program was built to collapse.

      When it collapses, the administration will hold out the life preserver of single payer care. But really it is holding out the manacles that will enslave the country even while destroying it.

      But you go right ahead.


      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says


      • Michael Bauman says

        Saunca, in Kansas each plan level has a limited network HMO option and a much broader network PPO option. The HMO option costs less. The out of pocket on all the plans if you go out of network are truly onerous. If people choose plans on price alone and have anything serious happen to them and go out of network, bankruptcy is likely to follow.

        I have no yet been able to obtain an exclusion list but believe me there will be exclusions. They will not be available on line but should be.

        All the more reason to find an agent and make sure you understand both the network and exclusions cause whatever plan you chose you’ve got until next year’s open enrollment.

        If you have a grandfathered plan, stay with it unless you can save a ton of money or there are health waivers on it that you really need treatment for.

        • Michael Bauman says

          Saunca, I don’t know TRICARE well, but everyone I have know who has been on it, liked it.

          At least with the Kansas ACA Plans, there is a choice between a full PPO and an HMO type plan. BUT…everybody I have worked with who bought health insurance on-line before did not know what they bought because they bought on price alone.

          All insurance has wholes where no or limited coverage exists. It is an agent’s job to point those out to you and help you make a more informed decision based on both the price and coverage.

          However, combined with promotion that if I did it would cause me to loose my license many people will thing that everything is covered for free. Most people, even quite intelligent ones, do not understand how out of pocket costs and co-pays will effect them.

          • Carl Kraeff says

            Regarding TRICARE, I suppose it is good enough for colds and broken arms. I have found most physicians, especially specialists, treat it as worse than Medicaid. I do not know if the problem lies in the way it is structured or administered, but it remains at the bottom of the available insurers so far. BTW, I have had TRICARE for decades and still do.

  4. George,

    One of the conservative principles at play with Obamacare is that the consumer, the individual is in control of their healthcare. The individual can pick the best available healthcare insurance plan that best fits their needs. I can speak from personal experience that my family knows exactly the type of plan we need based on our heath care needs, pre-existing conditions being one of them, finding the Plan that our doctor is a part of, Rx requirements.

    Living in a State that has set up its own Heath Insurance Exchange, we have so many more health insurance options than we did last year. As for the cost, it looks like we will be paying about 40 to 50% less for the same about and type of coverage than this year. Not having to worry about pre-existing conditions is a big plus, one that you also must consider.

    The will be glitches in the roll out, no doubt, but I prefer to make my assessment of the new healthcare law based on how it works in practice and not the prognosticators who all all gloom and doom. Time will tell.

    Trust but verify. Right?

  5. James the Other says


    One of the conservative principles at play with Obamacare is that the consumer, the individual is in control of their healthcare. The individual can pick the best available healthcare insurance plan that best fits their needs. I can speak from personal experience that my family knows exactly the type of plan we need based on our heath care needs, pre-existing conditions being one of them, finding the Plan that our doctor is a part of, Rx requirements.

    Living in a State that has set up its own Heath Insurance Exchange, we have so many more health insurance options than we did last year. As for the cost, it looks like we will be paying about 40 to 50% less for the same about and type of coverage than this year. Not having to worry about pre-existing conditions is a big plus, one that you also must consider.

    The will be glitches in the roll out, no doubt, but I prefer to make my assessment of the new healthcare law based on how it works in practice and not the prognosticators who all all gloom and doom. Time will tell.

    Trust but verify. Right?

    • Michael Bauman says

      James the other: I fail to see how ACA puts any control in the hands of people to manage their health care.

      • James the Other says


        I am sorry that I was not clear enough in my comment. Let me give you a personal example to illustrate where I feel more empowered to take greater control of my healthcare insurance.

        Up to this point I was very limited in my ability to find affordable health insurance because of a serious pre-existing condition that forced me to only be limited to one, maybe two companies who would even look at me at rates that were affordable. However, as of October 1, I have at least 15 insurance companies bidding for my coverage and I can choose what level of coverage I would like and be able to afford. This puts me in a more advantageous position.

        As for my costs, my current insurance company has notified me that my rates will go up about 15% however on the state run exchange my rates will be 50% less than the new projected rates from my current company. I do not qualify for any tax credits or subsidies so the savings is not based on incentives now offered by the state and federal governments.

        With my current coverage I have a lifetime cap, but with the new provisions I do not have a lifetime cap.

        I hope this better explains my situation.

        • Michael Bauman says

          James. Pretty much the opposite has ocvired iny state. Before Obamacre there were 7 companies who offered a variety of plans, premiums and underwriting approaches plus a well functioning high risk pool. Down from 12 a few years before that.

          Now there are two on the exchange and two off with virtual plans and premiums
          The premiums are higher and the plans worse. Only the subsidy brings the premiums down to slightly under what they were before in the lowest cost area of the state. Likely to be higher than before even with the subsidy in the high cost rural areas.

          • Michael Bauman says

            OK folks: my post above is the simple facts. I cannot imagine what would cause any one to vote thumbs down. Empirical reality. The situation in Kansas is not improved except in the fact of guaranteed issue.

            I am assuming that James the other’s situation is improved and for that I am glad.

            • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster, PhD says

              Michael, I have a good hunch that some of the folks who rate the posts on this blog vote up or down along strictly ideological lines. A few of my posts that merely present or restate traditional Orthodox moral teaching have garnered some thumbs down, obviously by those who, for whatever reason, reject that teaching (e.g., re homosexual activity, in particular, as a vice or passion that requires repentance and cessation rather than affirmation). Or perhaps some of those nyet-sayers have a personal animus against you, George M, yours truly, and others who embrace our Orthodox moral tradition in its fullness. It’s the cost of doing business in a religious community afflicted here and there by radical heterodox notions.

              • Michael Bauman says

                Of course Father, I realize that and if my post contained anything that addressed the philosophy of the change that would be one thing.

                BTW the two companies offering through the Marketplace in Kansas are Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Kansas and Coventry Healthcare of Kansas (an Aetna Company). The two additional companies offering ACA Compliant plans off-marketplace only: Humana and Assurant Health.

                Coventry’s premiums are somewhat lower across the board that BC/BS. I expect that both Humana’s and Assurant’s rates will be higher.

                In my county there are 37 plans offered through the Marketplace with realitively minor pricing differneces between the Platinum and the Catastrophic as well as little concrete difference on the out of pocket expposure.

                The rates prior to the subsidy are significantly higher for higher out of pocket exposure, benefits added: Normal maternity on all policies and full mental health parity. The subsidies I have seen bring the average premium down to a little less than the old premium for men and for female smokers quite a bit.

                Editorial commentThe new rates are unisex which means that men pay more than they should based up overall usage and women pay less than they should but somehow that is not discrimination. The fact that female tobacco users fare the best in the premium structure is an indication to me of the unsupportable pricing structure inherent in the plan. The Gov’t is counting on young males (highly penalized) who even if they buy the insurance will tend not to use it to subsidize the women. IMO, the young men will be massive no shows and many will simply pay the penalty or find ways to evade that as well.

                A USA Today article today pointed out that many are not finding the new plans affordable.

                I have already had to alert the Kansas Insurance Department to the misleading and incorrect information being given out by the so-called “help line” about the plan and agent availability in Kansas.

              • M. Stankovich says

                Wow, and here the whole time I thought the problem was as described by Archbishop Averky of Jordanville, of blessed memory:

                If we expect to withstand the world, it is first necessary to understand it and keep sensitively in mind that in this present age all that which carries the most holy and dear name of Orthodoxy is not in fact Orthodox. Rather, it is often ‘A fraudulent and usurped Orthodoxy’ which we must fear and eschew as if it were fire. Unlike this spurious faith, True Orthodoxy was given and must be received without novelty and nothing must be accepted as a teaching or practice of the Church which is contrary to the Holy Scriptures and the dogma of the Universal Church. We choose the way of fidelity to the true Faith and not the ‘modern way.’ We choose faithfulness to the true Church with all Her canons and dogmas which have been received and confirmed by the local and universal Councils. We choose the holy customs and traditions, the spiritual riches of that faith transmitted complete and entire to us from the Holy Apostles, the Holy Fathers of the Church, and the Christian heritage of our venerable ancestors. This alone is the faith of the true Orthodox, distinct from the counterfeit ‘orthodoxy’ invented by the Adversary. We receive only the Apostolic Faith, the Faith of the Fathers, the Orthodox Faith.

                The Lord railed against the lack of humility, hypocrites, “blind guides,” the self-righteous, the inhospitable, the uncharitable, those who seek the “first seats,” the unteachable, those with ears who do not hear, those with eyes who do not see, and those who neglect the poor & naked & hungry & sick & imprisoned & widowed & orphaned. But he never spoke one word regarding homosexuality.

                Perhaps you have considered that you and yours receive(-ed) “ratings” for reasons other than your self-perceived stand of “great virtue?” Or perhaps you fail to see the total foolishness in relying on the closest thing to “soothsaying” available? In fact, I can’t seem to choose which is the dumber choice.

  6. Perhaps we should let a Fox News contributor explain the facts relative to your anecdotal evidence regarding the ACA’s affects:

    Over 96% of companies with more than 50 employees already provide health insurance to their employees. And contrary to Republicans claiming otherwise, studies show the vast majority of those employers do not plan to drop or reduce that coverage because of ObamaCare.

    Also, there is no evidence that ObamaCare has led to companies slashing full-time workers. In fact, since ObamaCare passed in March 2010, over 90% of the gain in employment has been full-time positions.

    Still, we know that companies that can afford to provide health insurance to their workers and yet fail to do so off-set the costs of care onto the rest of us — whether the cost of emergency room treatment that gets passed on to other consumers, or Medicaid coverage that we pay for as taxpayers.

    In Florida alone, more than 50,000 workers at companies like McDonald’s and Burger King are on the state’s Medicaid rolls. Especially with tax credits available to small businesses, there is no excuse for companies to pass the buck. And 75% of Americanssupport this element of ObamaCare.

    Read the rest of the article here:


    Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

    • Michael Bauman says

      No evidence cutting full time workers? Nonsense. That is going on all around you. I have talked to several business owners myself or hiring managers who tell me that is exactly what they are doing.

      • George Michalopulos says

        I’m trying to get the latest employment figures but a great percentage of those who have been hired recently work for the government. That’s not really the signs of an economic revival.

        • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 169,000 in August, about in line with the average monthly gain of 184,000 over the prior 12 months. In August, job growth occurred in retail trade and health care, while employment in information declined. Employment continued to trend up in food services and drinking places, professional and business services, and wholesale trade… Employment in other major industries, including… government, showed little or no change in August.”

          This is in line since the move to austerity and a refusal of the federal government to support state and local government payrolls. Private industry has been increasing payrolls while government has been slashing. Were the US to have continued deficit spending at the rates Reagan did as he came out of his recession our unemployment rate would be much, much lower and tax revenues higher thus offsetting short-term deficit spending.

          While it is true that “Of the 963,000 jobs created in the past six months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Household Surveys, 936,000 of them are part-time” (WSJ), it is also true “there are fewer Americans working less than full-time for economic reasons now than just about any time in the last three years.” “Part-time work rises when the economy stinks. It falls when the economy improves. That shouldn’t surprise anybody. But in [a proverbial] Part-Time America, you would expect the share of part-time workers to be historically high and rising after the recession. Again, it’s not. “The level of part-time work in recent years is not unprecedented,” the researchers [at the San Francisco Fed] find.” One can also look at “the ratio of part-timer workers to unemployed workers. In Part-Time America, you would expect that ratio to be historically out of whack today, as well. It’s not.” In fact, it was higher in the Reagan years and then grew to its next highest through the Bush years; it’s dropped under Clinton and had been dropping under Obama until Republicans refused to offer short-term stimulus (i.e., refuse to run up credit cards when times are tight and then pay them off when things turn around later.)

          If you guys won’t believe one of your own when it comes to facts rather than anecdotal evidence, then there’s really no use arguing with a brick wall. Dogma uber alles.

      • Daniel E Fall says

        My mother had her hours cut from full time to less than full time like back in 1988. For a school district for all you conservatives out there! Why? To lower the costs of healthcare for certain staff.

        None of the employee status changes should surprise anyone; it has been going on for years.

        The empirical problem is employers carrying employees health care insurance.

        By raising this issue, the conservatives continue to point out the problems with American health care.

        And if you get terminal cancer that’ll take 5 years to kill you; well, better hope you are strong enough to stay with your employer or your family will lose their coverage.

    • Did you click through to the links in this article? Polls. Total assertions and bullpucky!

      Government is not slashing jobs, it is the only sector growing! Your sources are suspect, to say the least. And the numbers that the government has been spewing are pretty distorted. You mean to seriously tell me that the debt has not moved one penny in months? Really? I mean, really?

      You are looking at an administration that is hiding the incredible unemployment by just moving the long term unemployed out of the numbers. When you add them back in, this unemployment rivals the Great Depression. Never mind the numbers of unemployed black youth, or even blacks in general.

      As for short term stimulus, we are long past spending our children’s income and are working on that of their children.

      You are spewing all the talking points, tell me, how much are you paid to troll here?

  7. Ilya Zhitomirskiy says

    So, how is the situation in Canada by comparison? I am seriously thinking about leaving the United States once I am done with my education. At least the Canadian health care system does not seem to be dysfunctional. What other alternatives are there if Canada is unsuitable? I am a Russian citizen by birth, and could return to my homeland, but I do not want to engage in military service because I feel that war is a violation of the commandment “Thou shalt not kill”. I would not wield arms, but I could be involved in alternative service if Russia ever went into war, but I don’t know how realistic it is to enter alternative service in Russia. Something must be wrong if this system is being fought over in such a way that leads to people losing services and causing a government shutdown.

    • Ilya
      I have never had a major problem with our medical plan in Canada in my 66 years – nor anyone I know.
      I have had 5 years of successful cancer treatments in the past and have type 2 Diabetes and have had 2 kids and their assorted ailments ( so I have used and worked in the system) and have never payed out of pocket.

      Our income taxes are higher than in the USA, I imagine – that is the price of free medical care.
      I can see whatever doctor I chose who is taking new patients. I believe in some provinces there may be a very minimal yearly user fee.
      If I want to see a specialist and have it covered, I must be referred by my family doctor or go through Emergency Dept.
      At this point most prescription drugs are not covered- most provinces have a income related program that will pay after the patient has payed a certain amount . There are also private plans that pay for drugs, physio etc etc.

      People complain everywhere, but the most common complaints I hear are related to waiting lists for elective / non emergency surgery and shortages of MDs in rural areas.
      It is not perfect – it is a bureaucracy at the top after all, but it is pretty darn good.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Maureen, may I ask what kind of legal system you have in Canada? I seriously doubt it is as rapacious as ours is.

        • Having never been involved in the law to speak of, I can only assume from what I hear in the news that we are not quite as litigious a society as the U.S.
          I also must assume it is based on the British system.

      • Lola J. Lee Beno says

        So why are there so many Canadians who go to US or other countries for medical care?

        • Having never been involved in the law to speak of, I can only assume from what I hear in the news that we are not quite as litigious a society as the U.S.
          I also must assume it is based on the British system.

        • I think it is often people who can afford to not have wait for elective surgery.
          I also have heard of well- to- do people some of whom want a luxury suite and not just a plain old private room.
          They go to south for elective surgery –

          We lose some doctors as well, because the pay is better – maybe that will change under Obamacare.

          I have never seen the stats on how many people do that – I have never known anyone.
          Maybe I don’t know enough people with unlimited funds.


  8. Michael Bauman says

    Here is the worst part George. Even before Obamacareless, hospitals in my area were requiring full payment up front of any unsatisfied deductible and co-insurance on a person’s plan for any ‘elective’ procedure. Some of which are not as ‘elective’ as the word makes it sound–like heart surgery when you are still in relatively good health and can live without it (one of the ways that EMTALA distorts the system.).

    Now, when someone has an OOP Max of $6300 and can barely pay even the subsidized premium, where or where is that $6300 coming from? Will the hospitals be able to collect that?

    From an insurance standpoint the metal plans, except for the higher Gold and Platinum ones, don’t have much value.

    Do you at least have coverage through the end of the year, ’cause the metal plans don’t take effect until 1/1/2014.

    Note to Bishop Tikon: the law is in effect, but the specific insurance plans don’t take effect until 1/1/14.

  9. William Harrington says

    I listened to our supposed constitutional scholar of a president complain that one half of one branch of the government shouldn’t be able to shut down the government. He revealed, I think, why he won’t release his college transcripts. Any high school civics student should be able to tell him that that’s what checks and balances mean and, when the majority party ignores the will of the majority of the people (a narrow majority, but the majority) then this system of checks and balances is supposed to provide a way to stop the government as an alternative to armed rebellion. The Republicans are doing exactly what they were elected to do and I hope they stick with it.
    The truth that Obama doesn’t want to come out is that if the federal government is shut down, life will go on and most people won’t be too affected and the myth that the government is absolutely necessary to everyone’s well being will be exposed. Meanwhile the states, counties, and tows will go on functioning, except for those who have already shown themselves to be incompetent. Think about it this way, if the federal government is shut down for a few days or weeks, thats a few days or weeks that they can’t do anything to us. And don’t worry, state and local governments will keep calm and carry on.

    • When they shutdown passport processing and farm subsidy payments; all the Republican lawmakers will sing a mew tune.

  10. Mr. Michalopulos, Rush Limbaugh will not be there to conduct your soul through the tollhouses.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Clare are you saying that we need a guide to properly navigate the taxes and so-called benefits of Obamacre or risk being dragged down to hell?

      • No. I’m saying that Mr. Michalopulos appears to adhere to something that might be called ideological Christianity. I am concerned that his religion might be, or become, an adjunct to his Republicanism. I am cautioning him that his ideology will not save him or anyone else.

        • Michael Bauman says

          That is the essential problem of our age. One that we all face as ideology rules in a secular culture.

          The created thing becomes all to easy to worship as most believe the created thing is all there is despite our pious objections to the contrary.

          So instead of prayer, fasting, repentance/forgiveness, worship and almsgiving we haggle with each other over “the unhygienic condition of our worm cases” as Christopher Fry put it.

          Forgive me a sinner and rejoice in God for His great gifts.

        • Trudge at SmartVote says


          The Orthodox morality of George and other posters on this blog appear ideological and Republican to you because your ideology and religious belief is Moralistic therapeutic deism.

          Please see the definition of Moralistic therapeutic deism from the work of sociologists Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton:


          • Is that the school of Hierotheos Vlachos? Or St. Maria Skobtsova of Paris? Because I would say that they are my two leading guides in Orthodoxy.

            Why don’t you see them?

            • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

              “Is that the school of Hierotheos Vlachos? Or St. Maria Skobtsova of Paris? Because I would say that they are my two leading guides in Orthodoxy.

              “Why don’t you see them?”

              One is a mere living man, the other is a somewhat unique figure who has yet to pass the test of time. Orthodoxy is the golden chain of the saints, the whole consensus of the Church, not one or two mere mortals.

              • Okay. So why did you call yourself Ladder of Divine Ascent and not Golden Chain of the Saints? It’s because you especially appreciate St. John Climacus, correct? No faves for real Orthodox — really? Or maybe just not for the ones who disagree with the One Who Fights Alone?

                • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                  Clare, I think the choice of pseudonym was meant to remind people of the journal by that name that Metropolitan Jonah was associated with; in fact, I sometimes feel that it is Metropolitan Jonah who isreminding us of this accomplishment by posting here.

            • Geo Michalopulos says

              Clare, thank you for your concerns. Also thank you for allowing me to clear up some misconceptions.

              For one, I think one can belong to any political party and be a Christian except for those parties that mandate a materialist or an anti-Christian or un-Christian worldview as a condition for membership. The Communist Party would qualify as the first while the Nazi Party would fill the bill for the second. (Nazism preached a neo-Paganism that would supplant Christianity in time.) I imagine the Muslim Brotherhood would qualify as well. Objectivism and anarchy also.

              That pretty much leaves every other political ideology as OK in my book. As for myself, I am Conservative because despite my Classically Liberal (=Libertarian) leanings, I have come to the conclusion that Libertarianism cannot sustain a critique of culture. Case in point: although I believe in maximal autonomy for individuals, I don’t think that women should have the right to prostitute their bodies. Why? Because I don’t want a brothel being opened down the street from my house. Is it because I’m a moralist? No, it’s because I don’t want to see my property values decline.

              I think Edmund Burke hit upon the most succinct philosophy of governance in modern times. (I still believe that Aristotle was the greatest political scientist of all time.) The Founding Fathers came to the same conclusion as well, with their belief in Federalism and the sovereignty of states. The Catholic Church brought into this mix the concept of subsidiarity.

              That’s what I believe in a nutshell. I don’t think people are evil for believing differently it’s just that the paradigm I described is more consonant with reality and does not stand in the way of spiritual growth. Indeed, I think spiritual growth is easier in a Burkean free society than in a coercive slave state.

              • Michael Bauman says

                George I’m not sure I agree with your last statement. If the history of the United States shows one thing is that spiritual growth is unlikely to occur in a country that makes an idol out of individual freedom. Indeed traditional Orthodox praxis demands obedience as a prerequisite for both lay and monastic spiritual growth precisely because in “freedom” we follow the passions.

                The difference in the level of obedience between monastics and non-monastics is the primary reason for the different levels of spiritual understanding..

                That is one reason marriage is so crucial to those in the world. Marriage offers an opportunity for a kenotic submission to the love of Christ that exists nowhere else outside a health monastery.

                Obedience leads to real freedom. Indulgence in passions …..

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Please understand, when I mean a “free society/country” I mean one that generates enough wealth to take care of the indigent while enabling R & D to proceed. Also one which allows people to engage in spiritual pursuits. Your point is taken however: if enough wealth accumulates then many people see no need for the ascetic struggle and in point of fact, the consumerist impulse crowds out ascesis as a viable option.

              • Trudge at SmartVote says


                If you love God, you will obey Him rather than your own desires and self-justifications for things that are contrary to His will, stated plainly in His words to us and imprinted in the created order.

                The core of Christianity is the truth of the Scriptures and the restoration of the created order to the original incorrupt state, and to reverse the lies of the evil one in his mission to pervert us. All who come after the Scriptures reflect and do not change these immutable truths. The will of God is known from the Scriptures and not from the popular morality of the day.

                I would recommend giving the Gospel of Matthew a careful reading out loud in a spirit of humility and allowing the words to critique the morality you are asserting to us and your life choices, paying careful attention to the Parable of the Sower and what the Son of Man says about lawlessness, the lawlessness of the last days and what will happen in the great and terrible day of judgment to the lawless, and the place that Sodom has in the teachings of the Son of Man in His descriptions of the judgment to come.

                Also you must consider the teachings throughout the Old and New Testament concerning adultery and the decadence of mankind in the sexual component of our being, which is temporal anyway and not worthy of the modern elevation of it.

                I hope you read the outline of the belief system of Moralistic therapeutic deism, because the modern person holding it takes as their starting point, “let me take my own moral truths and find in religion what speaks my truths to me best.”

                Father Vlachos shares the same criticism of modernized superficial morality that substitutes for the spiritual virtues that should be the aim of the spiritual man, as do the authors of the concept of Moralistic therapeutic deism.

                Modern man is a law to himself and does not see the possibility that there is a divine lawgiver to contradict him.

                As a warning to us concerning this state of things are the prophecies given by the Apostles, including Paul, Peter and the Lord himself throughout the books of the New Testament.

                We are presently not in an age of strong theology and protection of the doctrines of the Church, which have at their source the Scriptures, divine Truth revealed by God through the prophets and Apostles and in the teachings and appearance of the Son of Man himself.

                Because of the low spiritual standards of our priests and laity, it may seem to you that you have leeway to forge your own interpretations of things.

                But where do you find that either Father Vlachos or St. Maria Skobtsova suggest that we disregard the spiritual morality taught through the ages by the Church that were fulfilled in the Christ as the second Adam, as Adam was supposed to be, as male and as man in complete obedience to the will of God? In the same way the Apostles and Saints were at peace and not at war with the bodies God gave them, except to war with the passions in them contrary to the will of God and their destination, the heavenly country, as they “confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”

                The foundation for the health of the soul is first the encounter with the Scriptures themselves, for here it finds the Christ and his teachings, the consummation of all things. This is essential for the healing, the salvation of the soul as one sees in the Parable of the Sower. It is especially important to have a thorough grasp of the Gospels to counter the distortions of the Son of Man in his modern portrayal.

                Finally, the soul is to be master of the body, not its slave.

                Christianity is not a means of justifying and intellectualizing our own evil. The beginning of wisdom of the fear of the Lord. As the Son of Man said:

                But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him! -Gospel of Luke Chapter 12

                And so we pray “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

                • I read from one of the four Gospels every day. Right now, I am reading Luke.

                  • M. Stankovich says


                    Fr. Alexander Schmemann once said that the “sound” of this world is continuous “lecturing,” instruction, debate, the exchange of dialog, information, details, points of view, opinion, point, and counter-point. And had he lived so long, I am sure he would have added that now, we are able to accomplish this near instantaneously. Imagine! And he concluded by saying that, in the end, the “sound” of the Kingdom of God will be blessed silence! On that day, when our God will be all in all, when everything will be revealed, there will be nothing to say!

                    And so, if I am to be left alone, give me the Holy Scripture and a copy of Tolstoy’s tale of the bumbling, half-wit Three Hermits, who, try as they might, were beyond the help of the noblest of bishops:

                    Oh Lord! The hermits are running after us on the water as though it were dry land!’

                    The passengers hearing him, jumped up, and crowded to the stern. They saw the hermits coming along hand in hand, and the two outer ones beckoning the ship to stop. All three were gliding along upon the water without moving their feet. Before the ship could be stopped, the hermits had reached it, and raising their heads, all three as with one voice, began to say:

                    ‘We have forgotten your teaching, servant of God. As long as we kept repeating it we remembered, but when we stopped saying it for a time, a word dropped out, and now it has all gone to pieces. We can remember nothing of it. Teach us again.’

                    The Bishop crossed himself, and leaning over the ship’s side, said:

                    ‘Your own prayer will reach the Lord, men of God. It is not for me to teach you. Pray for us sinners.

                    And the Bishop bowed low before the old men; and they turned and went back across the sea. And a light shone until daybreak on the spot where they were lost to sight.

                    Sometimes, “missing the forest for the trees,” is the deafening sounds of our own voices alone. Blessed Mother Maria pray to God for us!

  11. Obama is creating a socialist state, and he doesn’t care who gets hurt while he does it.

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      Didn’t vote for him. He can’t “impose socialism” without Congress. I very much doubt that he’ll be nationalizing the railroads, Boeing, the auto manufacturers, the airlines, the steel mills, Microsoft, etc.

      Whatever happened to the definition of “socialism”? It’s something besides “social welfareism”, though.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Nothing would surprise me anymore. The bailout of GM & Chrysler by sticking it to the bondholders was a type of soft socialism. Really, what we have now –a type of crony capitalism–is not that much different than National Socialism (I know, I know, Godwin’s Law alert and all that but if the shoe fits…).

      • Tim,

        Just in case you missed it, he DID nationalize the auto manufacturers. Is in the process of destroying the coal industry. Has done serious harm to the oil and gas industry. Have you looked at Dodd-Frank? Nationalized the banking industry.

        If Obama is not the antichrist, he’ll do until the real one comes along.

        • Daniel E Fall says

          It would be hard to put your name to that script.

          Nationalize the automakers-a lie-boldface lie. The government is not running GM – in case you missed it.

          Destroying coal – could be the best thing that ever happened to America. The miners are really at risk and the environment is too.

          Oil and gas – research the profit numbers for the last oh, say, I dunno, maybe like since 2008-I think they are at records so the harms he’s done have seriously hurt them I’m certain – yikes.

          Dodd-Frank? Do you even know what a CDO is and how they were conveniently traded to unsuspecting idiots in a game of musical chairs? Which bank is now government owned-I don’t recall.

          I understand your anonymity. It would hard to be Orthodox with such a trail of bullkaka.


          • George Michalopulos says

            Didn’t Obama put in a Car Czar to overseer the GM/Chrysler bailout. You think he doesn’t have a say in what goes on with these two “private” corporations?

  12. steve turner says

    “The other day I got an interesting postcard from my employer telling me that as of Oct 1, my family will be dropped from their health plan.”

    Here’s the problem; the employer not ObamaCare. The Affordable Care Act gives everyone the possibility to have “affordable,” good, healthcare. Apparently, this employer wants to relieve himself of any responsibility for healthcare for his workers. He is the problem. Time to find another employer.

  13. Michael Bauman says

    Steve the ACA gives no any healthcare. Healthcare providers do that. What the ACA promises to do is create a centralized system through which people can buy one of several standardized health insurance plans to pay for covered health care. Those plans are subsidized by all tax payers (you are welcome).

    The fact that you don’t recognize the difference between a system for paying and actual health care indicates to me that you have not thought deeply enough or educated yourself sufficiently to have an intelligent opinion

    Also check the difference between the actual premium and the subsidized cost and compare the true economic direct cost to you vs the out of pocket exposure on the ACA plans to determine “bang for your buck.

    My 27 year old son would pay $2600 a year before subsidy vs $996 now but have twice the out of pocket and no way to tax shelter the out of pocket.

    For a plan that allows him the tax shelter he has now he would pay $1452 vs $996 and have 2 1/2 times the out of pocket.

    Now if you buy insurance not expecting to actually use it the second plan with the subsidy makes short term sense.

    However there are going to be a significant number of low risk, healthy young men who elect to pay the penalty and not buy insurance.

    Next year the premiums will go up. Out of pocket costs are likely to rise in the future.

    If you would not pay the unsubsidized premium for the coverage, why should we?

    • George Michalopulos says

      Michael, you raise an interesting point (as always). What people don’t understand is that the out-of-pocket expenses are going to be tremendous for many if not most. Now, that’s not a bad thing in and of itself as it brings in some market reforms. However Obamacare was never sold to the great masses as being somewhat free-market based. Healthcare exchanges were first a Republican idea and Romneycare was the first implementation of it. A great percentage of the Democrat coalition are people who don’t have the wherewithal to navigate the free market, hence the intractable dependent underclass that Daniel Patrick Moynihan warned us about in the black demographic and Charles Murray recently warned us about in the white underclass.

      You and I and I imagine most people reading this blog can take some time, examine the different health exchanges, look at our individual families’ medical conditions and stages of life, etc., and decide which insurance plan to go with. It’s not going to be easy and we won’t be completely happy but at the end of the day, some of us might be pleasantly surprised. This type of mental exertion is not something even the brightest of us look forward to. For many members of the underclass, such long-term strategic thinking just doesn’t enter into their mental calculus. That doesn’t mean they’re bad people or necessarily stupid. You have no idea how resourceful some low-class people are when it comes to finding new ways to make methamphetamine: if they used 1/4 of that brainpower necessary they could’ve cured cancer. (Incidentally, 98% of meth-makers and meth-users in my neck of the woods are white. The drug of choice for many blacks is Phenergan w/Codeine elixir which requires a prescription whereas Pseudoephedrine does not.)

      Anyway, sorry for the digression. But the point is that at historic levels of underemployment and slagging economic growth on the horizon, the 20-somethings such as your son are going to face increasing burdens “affording” Obamacare. Hence the inevitability that they’ll take a chance, not purchase it and then pay the fine when they need medical care. And of course the absence of millions of 20-somethings will bend the cost of medical care upwards.

      • Archpriest John Morris says

        I do not think that anyone disagrees that we need health care reform. However, the way that Obama Care was done doomed it from the start by alienating too many people. The Democrats wrote the program with no input from the Republicans and rushed it through a lame duck Congress without giving the members time to read and study it using tricks of parliamentary procedure to push it through. This created our current divisions. Obama and the Democrats should brought the Republicans in from the beginning and made enough compromises that the bill could have been passed with a bipartisan vote. Now Obama stubbornly refuses to talk with the leaders of the House of Representatives to work out the compromises necessary to get a budget passed by Congress. Someone should give him a copy of the constitution. The House has the power of the purse according to our system of government. Obama unilaterally and unconstitutionally changes laws passed by Congress to give his supporters favorable treatment. Obama’s autocratic ways are dividing our nation and preventing our government from functioning the way it was originally designed to work.

        • Justin Tyme says

          Not true! A majority of the Affordable Healthcare Act was a a compromise between the GOP and Democrats. In fact, much of what’s in there are GOP ideas. The AHA mirrors the healthcare plan in Mass. that was instituted by Romney (Repub) and all the people in Mass. love their healthcare. All of this bull by the GOP in Congress is just SOUR GRAPES. Ultimately, the Southern GOP racists can’t stand the idea of the first black President being a great success. The economy is turning around, the deficit is plummeting, jobs are coming back and healthcare will be a great success. So, the GOP is trying to destroy any and all of Obama’s success. He needs to declare that that what the GOP is doing is ECONOMIC TERRORISM. He should then sign an Executive Order to stop and all GOP actions. Then, because this is a form of terrorism against the U.S., arrest the GOP kingpins; Cruz, Boehner, etc. (Love to see it!)

          • Archpriest John Morris says

            I hope that you are joking. It is totally and completely unfair to accuse someone who does not agree with Obama with being a racists. Resorting to that sort of tactic shows the weakness of your argument.
            It is a fact that regardless of where the ideas came from, when they wrote the actual bill, the Democrats did not allow the Republicans to participate. It is also true that the bill was rushed through Congress so fast that most of the members of Congress did not have time to read it, much to study it. It is also true that Obama and the Democrats did not take the time to build the consensus necessary to make radical changes in our medical system that will effect the life of every American.
            If Obama were to follow your advice that would be a coup d ‘etat that would overthrow our constitutional system of government. That would make Obama a dictator and change the very nature of our government. This is still a free country and our freedom of speech protects our right to disagree with the president of the U.S. or the decisions of our Congress.
            You have not dealt with my objections as an Orthodox Christian to Obama’s radically pro-abortion and pro-homosexual policies much less my alarm over his support of the rebels in Syria who are killing my fellow Antiochian Orthodox Christians. They have attacked and done serious damage to the ancient monastery of St Thekla and are now attacking the sacred Monastery of Saidnaya. I will oppose any American President regardless of their party affiliation who supports abortion and same sex marriage, and aids radical Muslims who threaten freedom the Orthodox Christians in Syria or any place else.

            • This is part of the pathology with many **tolerant** liberals. They smear others with the racism and bigotry trump cards to shut them up. They don’t see people as individuals and unique human beings. They categorize people by race, sexual orientation, national origins, religion or some other superficial wrapper. They scream **bigots** or **racism** every time they have nothing meaningful to say.

              As an example here’s how Dr. M. Stankovich classifies his neighbours on his website in the Semi-Charmed Kind of Life http://www.mstankovich.com/2013/04/07/semi-charmed-kind-of-life entry.

              “I look at myself and my life as rather ordi­nary, really. I live in a coastal city, in a neigh­bor­hood dom­i­nated not by beach, but by med­ical cen­ters. Day & night I am regaled by sirens and heli­copters. From cer­tain van­tages, walk­ing the dog at exactly 10:00 pm, I can see the apex of the fire­works from Sea World; on a very clear morn­ing, the shim­mer of the ocean. The neigh­bor­hood itself has “had its day,” so to speak, and it is trendier and “mid-citier” in sev­eral other direc­tions. Nev­er­the­less, you can walk to shop, to cof­fee, to the pub­lic library, to the park, to the Greek Ortho­dox Church, even to trou­ble, should you wish.

              This lit­tle “com­plex” is six units: a young les­bian cou­ple with a new baby, one mother study­ing clin­i­cal psy­chol­ogy; a newly divorced mother with a daugh­ter try­ing to get into grad school to study clin­i­cal psy­chol­ogy (what is up here?); a young cou­ple – oddly I’ve never even seen; a vacancy that broke my heart; and finally, a middle-aged les­bian cou­ple – One Black, one Puerto Rican from (for real) Ford­ham Road in the Bronx! I first met her as I was get­ting the mail, her par­ents were vis­it­ing, and I was wear­ing a hoodie from my days on Rose Hill.”

              This can be seen as well in other posts on Mr. Michalopulos’ website. A lot of liberals are intolerant and racist in their views. They’re obsessed with race and sexual orientation. Some only display their crass racism fully in private, but sometimes you can see it peek in how they always pull out the race and bigotry cards when they’re losing in a debate. They’re so fixated on race that they even invent non-existent racism to satisfy their pathology and congratulate themselves about how special and superior they are than the rest of us **racists** and **bigots.**

              Also, they never fail to remind us how many black and gay friends they have and how that proves how **tolerant** they are.

              • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

                Also, they never fail to remind us how many black and gay friends they have and how that proves how **tolerant** they are.

                Stuff White People Like: Having Black Friends:

                “However, if we dig deeper what we notice about white people is not if they have black friends but in fact, how many black friends they have. White people like numbers. They like to count things like stars in the sky and the death toll at Mt. Everest and the number of times they’ve seen Tori Amos and/or Phish in concert. Counting the number of black friends is then clearly a divine imperative. The number of black friends white people possess also illustrates their comfort with black culture.”


                #22 Having Two Last Names
                #21 Writers Workshops
                #20 Being an expert on YOUR culture
                #19 Traveling
                #18 Awareness
                #17 Hating their Parents
                #16 Gifted Children
                #15 Yoga
                #14 Having Black Friends
                #13 Tea
                #12 Non-Profit Organizations
                #11 Asian Girls
                #10 Wes Anderson Movies
                #9 Making you feel bad about not going outside
                #8 Barack Obama
                #7 Diversity
                #6 Organic Food
                #5 Farmer’s Markets
                #4 Assists
                #3 Film Festivals
                #2 Religions their parents don’t belong to
                #1 Coffee

                Little Brother in the Big City (pretty much nails it, with “Stuff White People Like fascism,” and being able to walk two blocks into urban war zones, just as Stankovich mentions being able to walk “to trouble, if you wish”):


                The city is being segmented into unlivable welfare ghettos where there is no law and gentrified areas inhabited by hipster technocrats who want a thousand regulations that will make everything come out exactly their way. Both the ghetto and the gentro are expanding and squeezing out a working middle class baffled to wake up one morning and find out that they are the enemy of the new state.

                In the modern city, you can walk two blocks or drive two miles and cross from a graffiti streaked strip of subsidized housing where the only law is don’t talk to the police to an oasis of renovated homes where there are roughly four million regulations covering every little thing.


                Little Brother and Little Sister never grew up, and instead of a family album, they have photos of their favorite meals in their social media. They would only wear jackboots ironically, but they have painstakingly exact tastes in everything from food to fonts to politics and they want everything to be exactly the way that they think it should. They believe in freedom and in reporting their neighbors to the authorities. They believe in personal choice for everyone who thinks the way that they do. They are, it goes without saying, Obama voters.

                In Little Brother’s state, the police don’t enforce the law. They enforce the whims of Little Brother and Little Sister. They are there to see that all the children play with Little Brother and Little Sister the way that they want them to. They don’t believe in fighting crime or terrorism, except briefly when it happens to them, and they let go of it once their Facebook friends tell them to check their privilege, but they do believe in enforcing the million petty regulations of utopia.

                Little Brother doesn’t want anything done about crime. He wants something done about the rude people who drive cars to work or carry food home in plastic bags without caring about the impact on the environment. Little Sister doesn’t care about Islamic terrorism. Islam is like spiritual and part of the great fabric of diversity. She wants something done about the unenlightened people who just don’t get that.

                Little Brother and Little Sister are the new elite. They are the unthinkingly glib products of an educational system that teaches little, but indoctrinates a lot. Their knowledge comes from Wikipedia. Their actual education taught them little except about how many people the United States managed to oppress in such a short time and how we need to feel connected to the environment to truly be alive.

                Every age has its elites. Our age is burdened with idiot elites dedicated to destroying the “elites”. We have a 1 percent that inveighs against the power of the 1 percent and then throws around its weight to get its way. We have people who work for corporations denouncing corporate power only to make use of it anyway. Our elites offer a torrent of contradictory pieties that are undone by their actions.

                And the people who actually run all this, negotiating between the idiot elites and the violent classes, are only too happy to focus on the small stuff because the big stuff is officially hopeless. The real problems are a tangled Gordian knot that can be cut through, but not unwound individually the way the technocrats would like to do. And the little problems devolve into petty fascism that makes everyone but the people being stepped on feel better.

                The angry mobs get to torch, behead and bomb. And the remnants of the middle class get a boot in the teeth. And Little Brother and Little Sister get to turn another street into a bike path or to insert calorie counts or environmental warnings or some other treehousery into daily life so that they can pretend that they have power, when the territory that they have power over is actually shrinking.

                The center of power is always the last to feel the sensation of deadening chaos outside. It takes tyrants, even petty ones, a while to figure out that the system is over. The power that insulates them from that knowledge becomes petty. Instead of controlling nations, they control capital cities and eventually only their own courts. That micromanagement gives them the illusion of being in charge.

                The Little Brothers have pushed the West to the edge, but they laugh at the very idea of danger. By all their metrics, everything is better than it was before. There are more jobs developing apps and more bikes being ridden and fewer people saying insensitive things and more little boys being taught not to play with guns and more diversity everywhere. It’s progress. It’s the future. It’s forward and onward.

                They’re winning all the arguments and controlling the debate, but yet somehow everything is slipping through their fingers. Every initiative of their agenda passes, but it never works out the way that they think it should.

          • Justin,

            What did you name your unicorn? And is his manure really skittles?

          • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

            “He needs to declare that that what the GOP is doing is ECONOMIC TERRORISM. He should then sign an Executive Order to stop and all GOP actions. Then, because this is a form of terrorism against the U.S., arrest the GOP kingpins; Cruz, Boehner, etc. (Love to see it!)”

            Ok, sure, let Obama do that. Such a move could be quickly followed by the military overthrowing Obama on the ground that he is clearly insane, and that anyone who supports Obama is a domestic enemy of the Constitution. Obama isn’t exactly popular to begin with, after imposing sodomy upon them and using them to try and restore the Caliphate across the Middle East.


        • Nate Trost says

          Archpriest John Morris wrote

          Now Obama stubbornly refuses to talk with the leaders of the House of Representatives to work out the compromises necessary to get a budget passed by Congress.

          I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that rather than engage with critique of your earlier ‘masterpieces’, you are continuing to regurgitate similar material in subsequent threads.

          At the risk of repeating myself, one giant problem is that you appear to have a very limited information intake of things that don’t involve partisan criticisms of Obama. You display a dismaying lack of comprehension of current political events and strategies, even to the extent as they are reported within conservative sources, written by conservatives. To put another way, it seems as if your bubble has a bubble. This results in you making the statements like the following quote, with no cognition of how absurd they sound if you had actually read details of the GOP playbook as reported by conservative media, frequently involving direct quotes of the players involved. Let us go back in time to the aftermath of the failure of Plan B up against the fiscal cliff!


          Four months ago on a cold January day, an exhausted John Boehner walked into a windowless room in the Capitol basement, turned to his colleagues, and conceded. No longer, he told House Republicans, would he conduct closed-door negotiations with President Obama. House business, he declared, would now be ruled by “regular order.”

          The Williamsburg Accord meant the ends of attempts at grand bargaining and the end of direct negotiation between the the White House and the House. The new plan was to kick the can down the road a bit, pass the FY14 budget resolution in the House and use that as the battle standard at the next debt limit showdown, which was thought to be shaping up for early summer.

          Of course, unlike FY12 and FY13, where the senate basically pointed to the language in the 2011 BCA deeming it as the equivalent of a joint budget resolution for those fiscal years, for FY14 the Senate also produced their budget resolution. So the House GOP didn’t even have that to complain about (and due to the 2011 BCA, the complains were pretty much grandstanding to anybody who actually knew what was going on), and make no mistake, it put the ball in their corner.

          So, as a result, after the Senate passed their resolution, instead of doing their job, the House then spent the last several months refusing to go into budget conference with the Senate. Obama couldn’t force them to do this. If you think Obama should have offered bribes to the House to get them to fulfill their legislative duty and begin negotiating with the Senate, I really don’t know what to say. If that’s the case perhaps you are the sort of cleric who wouldn’t dream of performing a sacramental duty without being slipped an envelope of cash. Although I presume not.

          Why the House stalled on going into budget conference was because the entire plan was predicated on using a debt limit crisis for maximum leverage and avoiding the potential compromises that might emerge from a conference. Because the House had no intention of compromising. That the debt limit event horizon slid back until the same window as the FY end and the expiration of the current CR was just serendipity from the GOP perspective:


          Ryan seems to have expected, all along, that the CR debate would unfold this way — crashing into the debt limit and creating a discussion beyond government funding. “I think it will fold into the debt-ceiling fight. I think that’s inevitable, and preferable in my opinion,” he said in an interview with NRO last week. “I like combining all of our leverage, which is sequester and the debt limit.”

          And so, we are left with you carrying water, spouting mindless talking points contradicting reality and filling your inner spirit with rage for Obama for not doing something the House explicitly agreed with themselves they weren’t going to do. Again, it’s not like this is any secret, or anything I’m detailing is wild liberal media conjecture. It was the public GOP playbook and there is really no reason for you not to know any of this. Once you know these things, pointless exercises in optics like the photo-op with the empty chairs yesterday become eye rolling exercises in farce.

          Someone should give him a copy of the constitution.

          Alas, the depths of your ignorance drown the rabid dog of your condescension and rob it of its bite.

          Suffice to say, your litany of woes against Obamacare is as equally flawed as your railing about the current fiscal situation. But we can get into that next.

          • Archpriest John Morris says

            You can defend Obama and call me all the names that you want, but I cannot support a president who refuses to negotiate with the leadership of the House, which has the constitutional authority over the budget. Our system of government has survived due to compromises. Our constitution itself is built on compromises. The Republicans are willing to negotiate, but Obama and Harry Reid refuse to work out the compromises necessary to resolve this crisis. That is not my imagination or right wing propaganda. It is fact. I have heard them say it themselves. Throughout his presidency we have gone from one crises to another, all caused by Obama who has no leadership skills.
            I think that we do need health care reform, but the way that Obama Care was done has doomed the effort to achieve this badly needed goal. Even if Obama Care were perfect, the way that Obama and his supporters pushed it through Congress alienated so many people, that he has divided our nation more than any time since the Civil War. Obama Care effects every person in our country. In order to make this kind of radical change it is necessary to build a consensus on a bipartisan basis. Instead the Democrats wrote a bill with no Republican participation. Then they pushed the bill through Congress without giving the member time to study or even read it using parliamentary tricks and an extraordinary Christmas Eve session to get the bill passed before the newly elected senators took office. Then Obama has selectively exempted his supporters including the Congress that passed the bill from the requirements of Obama Care, but refuses to give the same exemption to the rest of us despite the fact that he has no legal authority to do so.
            As an Orthodox Christian, I cannot support a president who is strongly committed to abortion and a health plan that forces Christians institutions to pay for abortion inducing medications. I also cannot support a president who supports same sex marriage and constantly portrays gays as persecuted by people like us who believe that homosexual relations are sinful.
            Finally, Obama is supporting and providing aid and arms to the people who are killing my fellow Antiochian Orthodox Christians in Syria. The Syrian rebels are attacking the ancient Orthodox monastery of Saidnaya. They have already done great damage to the ancient monastery of St. Thekla, kidnapped the Antiochian Orthodox Metropolitan and Syriac Orthodox Bishop of Aleppo and tied to assassinate his Beatitude Patriarch John X. They have killed many Orthodox Christians including whole villages and have driven the Christians out of Homs. These rebels whom Obama supports have declared that their goal is to establish an Islamic state ruled by Islamis Sharia Law which will guarantee that my fellow Antichian Orthodox will live as subject people under Islamic domination. Indeed, Obama’s support for the Syrian rebels threatens the continue existence of the Patriarchate of Antioch in Syria.
            In short as an Orthodox Christian, I cannot support Obama because he is advancing an agenda that is completely opposed to the teachings of our Church and which threatens the continuing existence of the Orthodox Church in Syria.
            Call me whatever names you want, but my first commitment is to Christ and His Holy Orthodox Church. Obama has shown that he is anti-Orthodox in thought as well as deed. I am also an American and cannot support a president who is dividing our nation the way that Obama has done.

            • Nate Trost says

              Archpriest John Morris wrote

              an extraordinary Christmas Eve session to get the bill passed before the newly elected senators took office.

              By all means, name for the audience the newly elected senators that were waiting to be sworn in on December 24, 2009.

      • James the Other says


        What is very puzzling is that the Obamacare also includes what they call “Navigators” trained professionals who will help people navigate the new law but some states, Florida and Texas is not allowing or making it difficult for these people to help folks who need help in finding the best coverage for themselves or their families to operate. In Texas, Gov. Perry will not allow any state help, rather they have to go to shopping malls and set up shop.

        To me this is just being callous, especially in Texas where 22.5% of the population has no healthcare insurance. I understand that Gov. Perry didn’t want to set up a state run exchange so the feds had to step in and run it, but come on, helping 22.5% of your citizens learn more about the new law? To be more precise, in Texas
        30% of adults under 65 are uninsured. Texas has the highest proportion of uninsured children, elderly and unemployed in the USA. Yet Gov. Perry says the implementation of the ACA is a “felony” and “criminal.” I would suggest that making it more difficult for the millions of citizen in Texas to at least learn more about the ACA is criminal.

        Here is more data about how Texas stacks up on this issue.

      • Let’s assume the actuaries for all these plans know a thing or two. The prices in the exchanges are actuarially determined rates that take into account the plan requirements, the law, and all the variables associated with the segmentation of those expected to sign up for the law (and not). And those prices came in far lower than was predicted, originally. Importantly, the stocks of public health insurance providers have been going up since the ACA was passed as it is expected to increase their top and bottom lines.

        Until opponents of the ACA offer a solution that gets at anything like the expansion of coverage in the ACA rather than reverting to the free market policies that left millions uninsured, millions more individuals and businesses absorbing huge increases in costs to for-profit healthcare insurers and providers, and millions more receiving health care via ER and/or on the government’s tab, they really have no standing to bitch. All the energy going into the pose of defunding could have been put to use politicking for a better version of expanded or universal healthcare – but that’s never really been the point of opposition to Obamacare or of the Defund Obamacare movement.

        • Michael Bauman says

          123: the actuaries are greatly restricted on the original plan pricing. Even if they are not, the expected results of an uncertain morbidity pool and the actual results of a real pool can vary greatly. The actual results usually take about three years to hit the fan.

          Largely for competitive reasons insurance companies typically project the best case scenario for new plans, three year later well…………

          As to the cupidity of insurance companies, you are absolutely correct they have been less than forthright and honest in many of their dealings and between them and the feds, agents will be removed from any meaningful participation in the next three years.

          What I have not seen yet is the list of exclusions these plans offer. Insurance companies don’t really like to provide those to agents and the feds won’t like it either.

          BTW, there is no such thing as “universal health care”. That is just a ideologue’s propaganda talking point.

          The way the Republicans have gone about the opposition is stupid and self-defeating. They are just as much to blame for the mess as the Dems. We’ve had years, decades to come up with a reasonable plan to meet reasonable objectives. Nothing happened.

          That is in part because there was no real demand from we, the governed, errrr ruled.

          Hey, I have my own failures in this mess believe me, but it is a mess.

          • Most other industrialized nations have true universal health care coverage. The ACA is not universal health care insurance coverage, correct.

            Actuaries were restricted on the factors they could take into account, correct, e.g., age, tobacco use, location, not preexisting conditions, etc. Those assumptions were taken into account in the pricing they provided. Even if they are a little low, they came in well below expectations, which were themselves well below the open market rate prior to the ACA. The primary difference being the individual mandate, and the actuaries assumptions about participation rates.

            Considering the exclusions and higher deductibles and lifetime limits, etc. on the previous open market, any exclusions in the exchanges will be broadly a wash. There are also different levels of coverage (Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze, and catastrophic-only), so one can’t speak about exclusions across the board.

            You are correct that there has been no demand for health care reform among the Republican electorate, which is why those who have made such demands and are most in need of such reform have flocked to the Party that has been pushing health care reform since the 1930s.

            Until Republicans offer solutions and reforms that get at much the same end goal, they have no business trying to defund even this watered down attempt (the ACA). If they don’t have the votes or ideas to repeal or replace, they have no business closing the government, putting 800,000 patriots in government service on the streets with pink slips, or yet again threatening the global economy with threats of default (something no rich nation on earth has ever chosen to do).

            • Excuse me. Nice meme you’ve got there.

              Republicans have been offering bill after bill to keep the government open, OBAMA AND REID have rejected each one, not even allowing them to come up for a vote in the Senate. “My way or the Highway” is not negotiation, it is despotism.

              And as for the default, have you ever heard of cash flow? The government takes in cash in taxes each month, far above that needed to pay for our debt payments. So

              threatening the global economy with threats of default (something no rich nation on earth has ever chosen to do).

              is something OBAMA is threatening, not the Republicans.

              The Democrats had no business pushing through this piece of crap legislation. Obama has altered that legislation, which is an unconstitutional act so it no longer resembles what was passed nor what was reviewed by the Supreme Court.

              Your OFA talking points are showing. As is your lack of critical thinking skills.

              • Archpriest John Morris says

                What I would like to know is where all the money that Obama has spent has gone. What do we have to show for it? He eventually admitted that the “shovel ready” projects were not really that “shovel ready.”
                The political reality is that the constitution has given the power of the purse to the House of Representatives. It is irresponsible for Obama and Harry Reid to refuse to negotiate with the leadership of the House on the budget.
                My criticism of Obama is not with the idea of health care reform, it is how he has done it. As a student in Frankfurt, I dealt with the German socialized medicine and found it superior to our American profit motivated health care. I remember reading in the German newspapers that it was a national scandal that the average patient had to wait 30 minutes to see a doctor. Here I have spent hours trying to see a doctor even when I had an appointment. 41 years ago the cost for the German health care system was about $20 for a student. Thus, I strongly believe that we desperately need health care reform, but object to the way that it was done, because instead of working to build consensus on something that will effect the lives of every person in our country, Obama and his people pushed it through Congress. It is a matter of practicality and reality. Something this important has to be done in a bipartisan manner. From the beginning the Republicans should have participated in writing the bill. Instead, only one party wrote the bill and excluded the other party from giving input in the form that health care reform would take. Then they produced a long and complex bill and pushed it through Congress before the members had time to read much less study the bill on a purely partisan vote. Something that will effect the lives of every American must have bipartisan support to avoid the divisions that Obama’s method have caused. I would write the same thing had a Republican president sought health care reform the autocratic way that Obama did it.

                • Nate Trost says

                  Archpriest John Morris wrote

                  What I would like to know is where all the money that Obama has spent has gone.

                  You’re being rather vague. If you are unfamiliar with the big picture of Federal spending there are a number of well-done visual guides that may make it easier to comprehend, i.e.:


                  What do we have to show for it? He eventually admitted that the “shovel ready” projects were not really that “shovel ready.”

                  Now this leads me to believe you are referring in specific to ARRA, which is far from recent news. But, that said in that particular case, if you wonder where the money went and what there is to show for it, it turns out there is a rather comprehensive answer.

                  Of course, if we are looping around to talk about ARRA, it’s worth noting that was legislation where the administration made significant compromises and modifications in negotiations with moderate GOP senators who were needed to pass it in the Senate. Which is something you repeatedly proclaim Obama refuses to do. So, there is that.

                  The political reality is that the constitution has given the power of the purse to the House of Representatives.

                  If you’re going to keep parroting this line then I have a question for you: How then, in your mind is it justified for the House to have refused to go into budget conference with the Senate to reconcile the House and Senate resolutions for the past five plus months? From where I sit you claim the House has responsibility, and then turn right around and absolve the House of any responsibility and put it all on Obama and Reid.

                  • Archpriest John Morris says

                    If Obama and Reid are so willing to negotiate with the leaders of the House, why are they refusing to negotiate now? I will tell you why. Obama has decided that it will help him politically to let the government shut down and then blame the Republicans for the current crisis. I have seen his idea of negotiations several times. When he finally sat down with the Republicans to discuss health care reform, he would not even consider their suggestions, but instead told them that if they did not like his proposals they would have to live with it because he won the election. Then another time when he met with the Republicans to discuss the budget, he began the meeting giving a speech insulting the Republican leadership. Obama is a Chicago thug politician who is in over his head and is a study of incompetence.

                    • Nate Trost says

                      You evade my very simple question sir, and fail to answer it. For someone who claims to desire normal operation of our government, I think it behooves you to respond, again:

                      How then, in your mind is it justified for the House to have refused to go into budget conference with the Senate to reconcile the House and Senate budget resolutions for the past five plus months?

                      I suspect you are going to dodge, evade and ignore this question and continue to write more tangential (and frequently inaccurate) rants about Obama because you have no good answer. Because the honest answer if you are going to remain consistent with your stated beliefs in a desire for normal and proper operation of our government, is you will then have to answer your own question:

                      If Obama and Reid are so willing to negotiate with the leaders of the House, why are they refusing to negotiate now?

                      With the answer: Of course they are refusing to negotiate over things which should never be items of negotiation or concessions, namely the operation of the federal government and the fiscal solvency of the country.

                      I could flip it around: why shouldn’t the House accept a CR at the spending levels they wanted (which Obama and the Senate have conceded to), raise the debt ceiling to ensure the continued function of the economy and enter into budget conference with the Senate? If we all desire normal order is that not how things should proceed?

                      Once again, the question posed to you:

                      How then, in your mind is it justified for the House to have refused to go into budget conference with the Senate to reconcile the House and Senate budget resolutions for the past five plus months?

                      You wish to blame Obama for orchestrating the shutdown but will not answer this question. Stand and deliver, Archpriest John Morris, it is time to stand and deliver.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      I’ll answer that: the House did not refuse to enter into negotiations with the Senate. It’s the Senate which refused. The Constitution clearly states that all spending bill will originate in the House. The House did their duty, they passed a budget for the Fiscal Year. The Senate however has been derelict for three of the last four years in not passing a budget.

                    • Nate Trost says

                      While I await Archpriest John Morris answer, I will address yours.

                      the House did not refuse to enter into negotiations with the Senate. It’s the Senate which refused.

                      Wrong. Just ask Senator Patty Murray. I suppose If we want to be absolutely precise, it is perhaps more accurate to say that the congressional GOP blocked it, since the procedural mechanism was in the Senate. But this would only be a meaningful difference if the Senate GOP actions were out of sync with what the House GOP wanted. Good luck trying to suggest that.

                      The House did their duty, they passed a budget for the Fiscal Year.

                      They did part of their duty. That they passed the House budget resolution is: Correct. H.CON.RES.25 for the 113th Congress.

                      The Senate however has been derelict for three of the last four years in not passing a budget.

                      This is kind of weasel worded, but if you are suggesting that unlike the House, the Senate has not passed a budget resolution for the current FY14, the answer is: Wrong. S.CON.RES.8 for the 113th Congress Of course, if you knew that, and were using that ‘three out of four’ language to obscure for the unaware that for this fiscal year, the Senate has a budget resolution, well, shame on you. That strikes me as awfully disingenuous when discussing the current situation which is impass reached after passage of budget resolutions from both halves of Congress.

                      Do explain for the audience what is supposed to happen once the House and Senate both pass their respective budget resolutions.

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      It is Obama and the Democrats who absolutely refuse to negotiate the compromises necessary to end the shutdown of our federal government. Instead, they have resorted to childish acts like fending off the World War II Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial. Both of which are completely unnecessary, but are designed to make the shutdown hurt the average American. Obama deliberately used language designed to make the stock market go down to further the hurt. He is completely to blame for the mess that our government is in right now. How can you call yourself an Orthodox Christian and support a president who is radically pro abortion and homosexuality? Just on those two issues alone, I could not be faithful to the teachings of our Church and vote for Obama. Since the election, he has added giving aid and support to the Syrian rebels who are killing Orthodox Christians and who, if they win, will threaten the future existence in Damascus of the Patriarchate of Antioch to his list of offense against Christianity.

                    • Nate Trost says

                      Archpriest John W. Morris continues to evade and dissemble to avoid giving an answer to a question that would undermine his fundamental premise of:

                      He is completely to blame for the mess that our government is in right now.

                      Let us once again revisit some very basic facts:

                      Fact: The government is currently shutdown due to the failure of Congress to pass a CR.
                      Fact: The Senate gave the last full House CR back to the House as a “clean” CR with the funding levels the House specified.
                      Fact: The House refuses to pass the amended “clean” CR which still maintains their spending levels and insists on policy concessions to re-open the government.
                      Fact: The reason the CR was necessary is the set of normal appropriations bills for FY14 were not signed into law.
                      Fact: The reason the appropriations bills were not signed into law is Congress never wrote them due to the lack of a joint budget resolution.
                      Fact: Both the House and the Senate have passed budget resolutions and under normal order go into a budget conference to work out differences so they can pass a joint budget resolution that acts as a framework for the subsequent appropriations bills.
                      Fact: The Senate Democratic majority wanted a budget conference. The Congressional GOP did not agree to enter into one and could not be forced into one.

                      All these things are a pretty simple matter of public record.

                      In addition, in previous replies to you, I have laid out some of the behind the scenes strategizing, machinations and infighting that went into the unfolding actions (or inactions) of the congressional GOP. There are more things, that I could link for additional background, if we really needs to grind that out some more. However, you not only appear to be ignorant of these things, you seem to consider them utterly irrelevant and in the whole process frankly come across as completely incapable of actually addressing the points I am making. You introducing a random grab-bag of things you don’t like about Obama as a reply is not an answer, it is an evasion.

                      So as far as the breakdown in ‘normal order’ that got us into this mess, I once again ask you a very basic question:

                      How then, in your mind is it justified for the House to have refused to go into budget conference with the Senate to reconcile the House and Senate budget resolutions for the past five plus months?

                      But you do not answer this question, nor do you actually engage me in rational debate. You merely continue write ill-informed diatribes and make unbacked assertions, and even when I debunk your nonsense you continue to persist as if facts don’t matter. You are behaving neither as a gentleman nor a scholar and appear to be hell-bent on unmanning yourself, sir.

                    • Archpriest John Morris says

                      To Nate Trost below
                      I do not know where you are getting your information, but I have heard Obama and Reid state very clearly that they refuse to negotiate with the Republican leadership of the House of Representatives. He may not like it, but according to our constitutional system budgets must be approved by the House. That means that a competent president must be willing to work with the House even if it is dominated by another party than his own. That means that any effective president must be willing to make compromises necessary to get legislation through both Houses of our Congress. Obama absolutely refuses to try to reach compromises with the Republicans necessary to resolve the disagreements about the budget and because of his stubbornness our government has shut down. Obama has absolutely no leadership skills, but has caused one crisis after another because he refuses to bend on the issues. His election is one testimony that we should elect our presidents from successful governors, who know how to work with both parties to achieve the compromises necessary to keep our government operating not from the members of the Senate, especially a member who has only served part of one term. Obama was totally unqualified to be president and has shown that he has not learned anything while on the job. His foreign policy is a disaster which is allowing Islamic radicals to take over the Middle East and persecute Middle Eastern Christians. His domestic policy has produced the worst economic times since the Great Depression. His method of governing has not brought us together as he promised but has divided us more than any time since the Civil War. You may like him, but I guarantee that in a few yeas when the emotions have faded and an unbiased evaluation of his presidency is possible, historians will rank him as one of the worst presidents in American history.

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      Nate Trost sees through such obfuscations very well. You know, Dr. J. Morris, an Archpriest, also wrote this amazing question; “Why do you think that Obama has not allowed anyone to see his academic records?” in logic this is known as the Double (orComplex) Question, akin to ‘when did you stop beating your wife.’ He also IMAGINES that Mr. Obama, the President of the United States, would be ashamed of affirmative action!!!!. Mr. Obama is a Democrat and I believe Democrats like to take credit for affirmative action, although they are not the only ones seeing its virtues!

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Not really. There is so much we don’t know about President Obama. Every other Dem or GOP candidate for president has always released his college transcripts. Only Clinton never released his medical records. What does Obama have to hide?

                    • You haven’t been listening very carefully, then. They refuse to negotiate about raising the debt limit or defunding (rather than repealing, they don’t have the votes for that) a Constitutional law passed three years ago and confirmed in a national election centered around the ACA. Democrats have actually already compromised by accepting the far lower spending demands of the Republicans rather than what they initially proposed. There has also been talk about about cutting the tax on medical devices. You are mistaking Republican assertions that they are and Democrats are not willing to negotiates with reality. That’s what happens when you assume MSM only means liberal media, cf. Rove being sure Romney won the election because his proverbial reflection in the mirror told him so. The minority within the Republican caucus simply won’t allow an up or down vote in the House to continue spending at sequestration levels; the House would pass such a law today, it would be approved by the Senate and signed by the President. Republicans were the ones who refused to work through the normal budget process because they sought to use the 11th hour threat to the global economy for leverage, again. If the President backs down now the precedent will have been set and default will become standard practice. That will do more to harm the US economy and our standing in the world than the ACA.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Lots I can take apart but I’ll zero in on one point only for the time being: the Democrats have not “actually already compromised” on spending. The Sequester did that. All of its cuts are automatic. There has been no give-and-take or negotiations.

                    • Nate Trost says

                      Archpriest John Morris, I can only hope that when constructing your sermons, you don’t take the liberties with context that you do with your political assertions. Otherwise it’s a wonder you haven’t been defrocked. Let us examine your proclamation:

                      I have heard Obama and Reid state very clearly that they refuse to negotiate with the Republican leadership of the House of Representatives

                      There is so much necessary context left out of this statement that an image is brought to mind of happening upon a man beating another man savagely. Upon question to his behavior, he responds that he is merely hating his brother to be a disciple of Jesus. This is the level of your perversions of political argumentation.

                      For one, you make the implication that Obama and the Senate refuse to negotiate with the House over anything (or, rather, over anything fiscal if you object to *that* broad an interpretation). This is patently false. Indeed, this very assertion demands you answer yet another very simple question:

                      If Obama and Reid are ‘refusing to negotiate/compromise’ why did the “clean” CR sent back to the House (which Obama would sign) keep the spending levels the House specified for the CR?

                      This is an actual event that undermines your core premise and argument, and I suspect it is another question you will stubbornly refuse to answer.

                      Now, there are indeed things that Obama and Reid have explicitly said are not open to negotiation. But you never specify those honestly or accurately. However, I am more than happy to answer the question: what have Obama and Reid said is not open to negotiation? The answer has two parts: in the case of passing a continuing resolution to avoid shutdown/re-open the government: essentially no policy concessions unrelated to funding levels of the CR. In the case of raising the debt ceiling: no policy concessions period, the debt ceiling not open to negotiation because the act of not defaulting the US government is not a concession to be granted in a negotiation. It is a moral imperative.

                      and because of his stubbornness our government has shut down

                      The government shut down because of the sequence of events I presented as facts in my last post to you. You have failed to even attempt to rebut any of them. In fact, in light of those events your statement

                      Obama absolutely refuses to try to reach compromises with the Republicans necessary to resolve the disagreements about the budget

                      is ludicrous on its face because you have proven incapable of answering either of these previous questions:

                      How then, in your mind is it justified for the House to have refused to go into budget conference with the Senate to reconcile the House and Senate budget resolutions for the past five plus months?


                      Why shouldn’t the House have accepted a clean CR at the spending levels they themselves specified?

                      The government shut down because the House refused to proceed with normal order to reconcile the House and Senate budgets and the procedural backup option of passing a CR failed because the House insisted on policy concessions that had nothing to do with disagreements over the budget (again, the Senate and White House agreed to the House spending levels in the CR). The CR was necessary not because the Obama refused to negotiate over the budget, but because the House did. I have clearly documented this in various postings. In previous responses to you I laid out why they did so, as reported by conservative media talking to conservative politicians: because the strategy was to use the crisis of a governmental default to gain leverage. It only turned into a shutdown issue when the default date pushed out past the end of the fiscal year. The problem for you, of course, is there is no rational defense for refusing the established rule of law for generating a budget resolution and appropriations legislation and instead resorting to hostage-taking of the federal government and US economy in order to attempt to force capitulation to policy demands. It is not negotiation and it is not how the government is supposed to work and it was not initiated by Obama. You have no answer for my questions because you have no defense.

                      Instead, you continue your pattern of just typing out paragraphs of irrelevant bromides against Obama. I don’t even care to debunk them because they have nothing to do with the crux of our argument. I can simply state: Obama could right now, on television, decapitate the Patriarch of Antioch, chant “Allahu Ackbar, there is no god but allah and muhammad is his prophet” and wipe his rear with a copy of the Constitution and it doesn’t make you any less wrong about your assertions and opinions regarding the government shutdown, the breakdown in budget and appropriations order, or who deserves blame for what in all of this. If this were a high school debate class you’d be on your way to a F. Do better.

                      Random topical citations for the day:

                    • I believe the sequestor was voted on by the Democratic controlled Senate and signed by a Democratic President. In addition, the clean CR returned to the House byt he Democratic Senate stripped the defunding language but retained the lower spending levels of the GOP CR. Both levels are fare below sequestration levels of spending, as well as the original Democratic budget proposal. Refusing to negotiate on specific points is different than refusing to negotiate, and being willing to negotiate is not the same as heads I win, tails you lose. As a past, sane Republican President once put it when confronted with the equally intransigent forebears (literal and metaphorical) of today’s Republicans, ‘A highwayman holds a pistol to my ear, and mutters through his teeth, “Stand and deliver, or I shall kill you, and then you will be a murderer!”‘

              • Oops, that was supposed to be a yes vote which registered as a no thanks to big thumb, little key

                • Archpriest John Morris says

                  To Nate Trost

                  I have been listening to Obama tell us for the last hour that he refuses to negotiate over the budget with the Republicans. His constant insults directed at the Republicans are making any future compromises almost impossible. If Obama were a real leader, he would meet with the leaders of both parties in Congress and negotiate a settlement based on compromises just like every other president, Democratic and Republican has done. I cannot believe that you consider this unreasonable. Congress has a right to repeal or change any law that has been passed. It is clear that Obama Care is a disaster that is harming our people and is badly in need of reform. Obama is too stubborn and arrogant to compromise with the Republicans to correct the defects of Obama Care.

                  • Nate Trost says

                    Archpriest John Morris wrote:

                    I have been listening to Obama tell us for the last hour that he refuses to negotiate over the budget with the Republicans. His constant insults directed at the Republicans are making any future compromises almost impossible.

                    Here is the full transcript from Obama’s speech and Q&A which you are “relating” to us. I will take a moment to highlight that you explicitly said you were listening to him. In other words, you have no excuse for misreporting or misrepresenting his words.

                    Now, let us review your charges:

                    tell us for the last hour that he refuses to negotiate over the budget with the Republicans

                    The onus is on you make the case for this claim from his words, bearing in mind that people reading you have the full context of the entire speech to judge whether or not you are making an argument in good faith or perhaps are letting the whispers of a serpent in your ear distort your reason. Needless to say, I disagree with your take of his remarks, but it would be nice to hear you attempt to support your claim. Since we actually have his remarks for the record.

                    His constant insults directed at the Republicans are making any future compromises almost impossible.

                    Please quote his insults from the transcript here for the record.

                    And I can’t help but note that once again you have continued to fail to answer my simple and direct questions to you from previous posts.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Mr Trost, you’re trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. (And one that is growing uglier by the day.) Obamacare was never presented as a tax. Had it been, it never would have passed even the Pelosi-led Congress. It was John Roberts and four other Justices who ruled that it was a tax thereby making it “Constitutional.”

                  • Archpriest John Morris says

                    Just because a law was passed and declared Constitutional by the Supreme Court does not mean that it cannot be repealed or revised. Obama won the presidency, but the people also voted to give control of the House of Representatives to the Republicans at the same time. By our constitution the House has control over the finances of our government. Any budget must be approved by a vote of the House. Therefore, it is quite reasonable that any president would have to negotiate his disputes with the financial decisions of the House with the leadership of the House. Our government is shut down due to the stubbornness of Omba and Reid. Besides, the president himself is not following the law. He is giving special exemptions to his political supporters despite the fact that he has no authority under the law to do so. If the members of Congress and their staff and big business do not have to follow the law, why should the average citizen have to live by it.
                    When he was trying to get Obama Care through Congress, Obama made a set of promises, none of which have turned out to be true. We cannot keep our current health insurance if we are satisfied with it because the law changed the whole insurance system through mandating that every health insurance policy provide coverage not required before Obama Care. The cost of health insurance under Obama Care has increased dramatically despite Obama’s promise that Obama Care would cause the cost of health insurance to go down. He has violated the religious freedom of religiously affiliated institutions by requiring them to provide coverage for medical procedures like abortion causing forms of birth control that violate the moral teachings of the sponsoring religion. Now we are finding that the system for registering for the insurance exchanges is so poorly designed that it does not work.
                    The House is well within its constitutional rights to refuse to fund Obama Care unless badly needed reform is done. The House is also right to demand that the US government make reforms to limit and eventually eliminate deficit spending before voting to extend the debt limit as Obama demands. We cannot continue to spend more and more money driving our nation deeper in debt. That is not a matter of politics. It is a matter of simple ordinary common sense.

              • Reply to really? Says.

                Hoped to click thumbs up but it went the other way!

      • Michael Bauman says

        George high out of pocket costs don’t bring market reforms at all if folks either won’t or can’t get access to the information to make wise decisions. Besides the disparity in knowledge and power between providers and provided makes it eve more difficult.

        Trust is a key ingredient. Insurance in general weakens that trust while government controlled insurance tends to destroy that trust because of the utilitarian rules that replace real healthcare.

    • The fact that your 27-year old son would pay $2600 a year before subsidy vs $996 now is comparing apples and oranges. His subsidized rate is the proper comparable on price relative to level of coverage. And that’s assuming you are also comparing private insurance to the rate on the exchange rather than to the price of an employer-provided plan (with or without an employer subsidy). The exchange is there to lower costs for those currently uninsured or with private insurance who find the open market rate unaffordable. In an apples to apples comparison, the exchange price (Silver) was $1100 per month less for my family than what was available to us via private insurance a year ago. with broadly comparable coverage (better in some ways in that the Silver plan covers maternity and preexisting conditions with no lifetime limits, which private insurance did not match).

      • Michael Bauman says

        123: it is a basic measure of the actual cost of the two plans vs. the unreal “price”. The subsidies are based in part upon unreal expectations because of the delusional pricing at the heart of the plan. It will take about 3 years or less for the delusion to make itself felt:

        Again I will quote the Insurance Commissioner of my state who as the President of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners at the time the bill was being rammed through testified to Congress that the pricing model being used was unsupportable and needed to be changed. Her testimony and the testimony of every actuary who offered testimony was to change the assumptions. That repeated testimony was ignored.

        That same commissioner when giving educational seminars of the plan and the proposed state exchanges made the public statement in the presence of the state’s chief actuary that because of the unsupportable actuarial assumptions to pay for the plan we would face “massive tax increases and rationing of care”

        I have made this statement repeated on this blog. NO ONE has addressed it.

        The testimony was ignored as far as I can figure out because of political arrogance and/or because they realized that to restructure the actuarial assumptions in accord with reality would scuttle the bill.

        Massive tax increases and rationing of care. Massive tax increases and rationing of care.

        The subsidy is cotton candy: tastes nice now, but of no real substance long term unless we want, wait for it—–
        Massive tax increases and rationing of care.

        Maybe the guaranteed issue is worth it, expect that could have been arrived at without the long term risk and overall financial burden to the country (that’s us by the way). What I heard from many of the folks I deal with daily was that Obamacare would be free.

        We are not able to keep our own doctors in all cases, we are not able to keep our own insurance and we sure are not saving $2500 per family. All lies. Plus most everybody currently insured will face out of pocket costs two to three times higher than before. Those just buying insurance will be fine until they actually use it. It ain’t just the premium!!!!!! But one thing I have learned about people in this business is that we are far more willing to believe lies than to believe the truth.

        BTW in my professional life I have dealt a lot with tax favored investments and subsidized plans. The rule of thumb and ethical responsibility when evaluating the plans and making recommendations was to always consider the true economic value of the plan without the subsidies and/or tax favored status before investing. Otherwise you will buy something that will bite you. What the government gives, the government will take away sooner of later. We are always required to make the statement when discussing benefits to say “Under current tax law….”

        So once again, you seem to be putting your ideological commitment, hope and feelings against my bias to be sure but also 30+ years of professional experience of what the long-term consequences of such plans are likely to be. I have never in my life wanted more to be wrong, but I sincerely doubt that I am.

        So I will close by asking you do you really want “massive tax increases or rationing of care” (likely both) for an artificially cheap premium now?

        I’m not gong to feel much of that tax burden but I am quite likely as a Medicare recipient to feel the effects of rationing of care during the next 15 years that is my life expectancy. God forgive us for our concupiscence, hedonism and greed.

        Glory to God for all things and may He enlarge all of our hearts to rely on Him and Him alone.

        • We already have rationing of care due to the cost of health insurance and health care. The poor get little to no health care while the rich get “the best health care in the world”. This should remind Orthodox Christians of the Parable of Lazarus.

          Since we have historically low levels of real taxation relative to our own history and compared with the rest of the industrialized word today, I think we as a nation can afford to care for our own society. It’s not as if the rich got rich in a societal vacuum and don’t owe a great deal back tot he society that gave them the opportunity to succeed (focusing only on the true entrepreneurs rather than the children of the rich who were born on home plate and think they hit at home run.) A case can also reasonably be made that lack of affordable, universal healthcare has saddled US businesses with additional costs not born by their first world competition, i.e., we rely on companies to provide healthcare and those costs have been increasing massively thus eating into their bottom lines and into the discretionary money employees would otherwise have spent in the economy as a whole rather than in one well-lobbyed corner of it . We are in danger of massive tax increases primarily because we have not addressed the massive increases in medical costs in a dysfunctional health care system which is then passed onto government through Medicare, Medicaid, the VA, state health insurance plans for children, etc. The ACA is the only solution either Party has offered to seriously address the root issue. Could it be better? Yes. So far, the Republicans have merely suggested people “don’t get sick”, “get a better job with better health insurance”, or “get richer”, or to address Medicare/Medicaid costs by simply cutting them and then cutting other important spending (which is the real goal of the faux concern for debts/deficits and the ACA).

          • Michael Bauman says

            Lord have mercy, but I have no patience for the identification of government extortion and Christian charity. All government power is backed up by the threat of deadly force. Keep that in mind. That is what government does, it orders people, often against their will. That’s not Christian.

            Let me guess, you don’t like the concept of a Christian Monarchy, but you are perfectly willing and eager to allow an anti-Christian secular oligarchy take as much money as it can as long as they say some magic words over it like: “Its for the children” or “Its for the poor” and you don’t have to worry anymore. You’ve got your ticket into heaven. Gag.

            The fact that more and more people want the government to order their lives no matter what the cost is truly depressing to me. We are abandoning our call to nepsis. But, hey as long as they make the trains run on time, great.

            Do you realize the social cost of taxation? I doubt it. It’s been a long time so I’m sure the figures are inexact and out of date, but I’ve seen well designed studies that show that for every dollar of taxation 2 to 3 dollars (or more) are taken out of the private sector. It is mind-boggling.

            It is not “a little bit more taxes” but MASSIVE tax increases. To me your lack of concern for that and the extensive rationing lacks a spirit of Christian charity. And the fact is that in communities all over this land folks are donating from their own pockets to those who need money to meet medical expenses, believe me that won’t go away with “universal” health care.

            More and more taxes limits the ability of people to respond in Christian charity. Yet no matter how much money the government takes from our pockets, we will still be called to fulfill the requirements of Matthew 25.

            And given the fact that we no longer have real representation, IMO, but a non-representative oligarchy elevated to ruling status with what amounts to plebiscites, “TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION IS TRYANNY!

            “Universal health care” allows the government bureaucrats to cut off treatment to those it deems too expensive to treat or of the wrong political persuasion or too old, or too whatever.

            Guess what happens to them: they either die, or remain in their pain. Nothing will change, we will have just given up more of our freedom and money. But guess what that will be true not matter how perfect and how “universal” health care really is people will die and remain in pain and they will need others to help them.

            It is a utopian pipe dream. Utopianism is a heresy.

            The Bible never says we can or should do away with poverty, etc. It calls on us to personally respond to those in need simply because they are human out of mercy. It calls on us as communities of believers to respond to those in need for the same reason. A Christian state would be called upon to do the say, but that would still not relieve us from our own personal responsibility.

            Besides this isn’t healthcare it is a healthcare payment system. It has NOTHING to do with health care at all only what is allowed to be delivered and how much it costs. Costs will continue to escalate.

            • George Michalopulos says

              You know, one of the most ironies of those who quote the Priest-Prophet Samuel with his parade of horribles that a monarchy would unleash on Israel is the fact that our “republicanism” has amped up those same horribles and put them on steroids.

              • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                Testing. One Two Three Four

              • Tim R. Mortiss says

                What’s the bottom line, George? Does self-government, ordered political liberty, and an end to eternal public and private corruption violate the precepts of Orthodoxy?

                Is what emerged in England, so gradually, over so many centuries, and bore fruit in North America in the political order, contrary to the teachings or the spirit of the Church?

                Will we have to return to the condition so much of the world remains in: everybody calculating the balance of power in the clan, tribe, town, and state? Who needs to be flattered, who to be paid off, who cultivated, who sacrificed? Not just for advantage, but for life itself? Alternating servility with oppression, depending on where the power appears to lie?

                Indeed, Americans are naïve. But they are naïve precisely because they need not approach every relationship with a knife concealed behind their back (figuratively or literally), or every institution of government with a conviction that it is always corrupt.

                Is only the ruler to be virtuous, or shall each citizen be called to be virtuous, too, to sustain that very self-government? Is that impossible?

                Must we return to rule by those cretinous Catholic bigots like James II and his equally foolish father, his good Christian majesty Charles I?

                No, we’ll show them off, just as in 1688. And here, may government of the people, by the people, and for the people not perish from the Earth. And as the same man who spoke those words recalled, the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether!

          • Archpriest John Morris says

            123 wrote, “The poor get little to no health care while the rich get “the best health care in the world.” That is not true. We have medicade, which is bankrupting our state, because instead of paying for their own health care the “poor” flood the emergency rooms of our hospitals for the flu or something that a regular physician can treat to get free health care. The hospitals turn around and charge those with insurance extra to pay for the free care that they have to give the “poor.”
            We do need health car reform, but the way that Obama did it was all wrong. It was pushed through Congress with no Republican input in writing the bill that is so large and complex that the members of Congress had no time to read, much less study using parliamentary tricks to circumvent the normal legislative process. Remember Nancy Pelosi saying, “We have to pass the bill so that you will know what is in it.” You do not build a national consensus that way. Obama told the people that Obama Care was not a tax, and then justified it before the Supreme Court by arguing that it is a tax. Then Obama gave exemptions to his supporters and big business, although he has no legal authority to do so. The results of the bill will be a disaster or the average American. People will have their hours cut so that they will fall below the level of that would require businesses to pay for their health insurance. Obama told us that his program would cause health care costs to go down, but they have actually gone up. He requires religious institutions to pay for abortion causing medications despite their religious beliefs. The list of flaws with Obama Care is endless.

            • Medicaid costs are very low, Medicare is where costs are spiraling out of control. Medicare simply mirrors the dysfunctional nature of the health care system as it was. A major Republican solution was adopted by Obama, and then it became anathema. The alternative proposed was nothing, or a version of the ACA that didn’t cover anywhere near what the ACA covers (which doesn’t cover universally already), or a version that added to the deficit rather than being revenue neutral to positive (per the CBO).

              In fact, the poor flooding ERs is the reason behind the individual mandate as found in Romneycare and Obamacare. Requiring health insurance and subsidizing those who cannot otherwise afford that mandatory care (or face a fine/tax) addresses that dysfunction in the previous system.

              Oh, so it’s Obama that’s now in bed with big business. Interesting.

              The Constitution allows latitude in the execution of legislation and always has. While the individual mandate is core to the functioning of a national insurance market like the ACA, the corporate mandate is at most ancillary. 85% of people already receive health insurance via government or business, and small businesses with under 50 employees are exempt from the corporate mandate leaving a small portion of companies benefiting from a delay of the corporate mandate.

              There is no proof of part-time work increasing due to the ACA, as noted in the Fox News piece above. Fox News, not NPR, not MSNBC, not the ACLU, and not Krugman.

              The rate of health care cost increases has dropped significantly in advance of the ACA. While they have not dropped, they are not increasing by double digits as they were before. They have bent the curve, so to speak. More can be done. Hopefully Republicans can offer solutions that don’t circle back to their cure-alls of cutting the social safety net and taxes.

              Also, he requires businesses to provide standardized health insurance, which includes some not for profit colleges and universities and hospitals that are in no real sense religious institutions anymore given that most of their employees, students, and those served are not of their religion. Legacy is not the same as reality. Seminaries, churches, monasteries, etc. are not required to purchase that aspect of standardized health insurance coverage. And its also become less and less clear that certain forms of birth control are in fact abortofacients. Such standard plans also cover vasectomies, which aren’t allowed by Orthodoxy, and psychological treatment which some religious people find distasteful, and chiropractic which many medical doctors find to be quackery.

              • According to the CBO, real Medicaid spending has remained flat since 2001 while Total Healthcare spending has increased just under 40% and Private Healthcare spending has increased over 60% in the same time period.

                • Archpriest John Morris says

                  Not in Mississippi, Medicade is bankrupting our state.

                  • Mississippi also leads the country in obesity , diabetes,high blood pressure and venereal diseases. Please do not be your usual arrogant self and lift up Mississippi as a paragon of health care. One important measure of the Affordable Care Act will be access to preventive care which people in Mississippi could probably use. It is the lack of preventive care and people using hospital ERs for treatment which could be delivered in a doctor’s office which drive up health care costs.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      StephenD, one reason Mississippi leads the US in these pathologies is because it has the highest concentration of African-Americans. Because of certain physiological differences, they are more prone to obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes. This is not a racist statement because many ethnic groups suffer from diseases specific to them. Ashkenazi Jews suffer from some 35 different autosomal diseases, Greeks have a higher proportion of syndactyly and Cooley’s Anemia, American Indians have a higher proportion of diabetes, etc. These are biological phenomena, nothing more.

                      Your statement that Obamacare will improve preventative care is one to be hoped for but I can state that from my perspective on one of the frontlines of healthcare, that would be difficult. Especially as it’s becoming more and more apparent that one needs a degree in rocket science to navigate the healthcare exchanges.

                      When all is said and done, obesity is a particular problem among the poorer among us because of cultural concerns that cannot be overridden by preventative measures short of incarceration and/or a Spartan regimen of calisthenics instituted from childhood and continuing through adulthood.

                    • Archpriest John Morris says

                      I am certainly not lifting up Mississippi as a paragon of anything. I am not a native of Mississippi and only live here because I was assigned to a parish here. The people of my parish are good people, but the state of Mississippi has serious problems. One reason that Mississippi has so many health problems is Southern food. Everything is fried. The members of my parish who can afford it send their children to the Catholic schools because our public schools here are terrible. Mississippi has a lot of problems. The high cost of medicade is one of them. The whole welfare system if dysfunctional and has caused a lot of the problems of Mississippi. People who can and should work are encouraged to go on and remain on welfare.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Mr. Michalopulos,

                      I would like to personally welcome you to the 21st century with the revelation of the human genome, and most startlingly, the complex interactions of a human being, their genome, and environmental factors (epigenetic) that act both positively & negatively on their ability to interact, prevent, fight, overcome, and ultimately succumb to the consequences of those interactions.

                      What is being revealed to us, is that – as you indicate – there are significant differences among ethnic and racial groups. Take, for example, the defect in the BRCA1 gene or the BRCA2 gene that results in breast and ovarian cancer in western women at a rate of near 60% (e.g. Angelina Jolie), but is virtually unknown in villages of N. China. Nevertheless, women who migrate to large Chinese industrial cities from these villages seem to establish a near identical rate of the defect as women in the west in as little as a single generation. The thought is a change in diet, outside work activity, and exposure to environmental toxins may all play a role. Dr. Richard Francis has examined the role of Nazi-imposed famine on later trends of obesity in Scandinavian countries as an epigentic phenomenon. In other words, we are discovering that genetic/epigentic influences in populations are not “centuries” and “generations” in the making, and that rapid & persistent interventions are likely to be successful.

                      I will not “chide” you over your very poor appreciation for epidemiology regarding hypertension, Mississippi, and African Americans. While each of your observations are correct, I could say the same in regard to NYC. Each year, New York Magazine does an issue dedicated to the “Best Doctors in NYC.” It is interesting that the highest rated cadiac surgeon is invariably from NYU Langone or NY (Cornell), both in the “First Avenue” hospital district. The State of NY gathers yearly statistics of every program certified to conduct cardiac procedures and publishes a report indicating “outcomes.” In the last few years, they have broken it down to individual surgeons, and again, the “best” invariably came from NYU Langone or NY (Cornell). The NY Times did an investigation of the NY “outcome” report and found that it did not account for the general health or co-occurring conditions of patients undergoing cardiac procedures. When they investigated, they found that many patients in hospitals in “marginal” programs we very ill, frequently coming into the hospital by ambulance via the ER, while the “First Avenue” patients were “elective” surgery patients. Uninsured, under-insured, poor, minority, no preventative or interventional medicine (e.g. primary care physician, anti-hypertensive/cholesterol-lowering medications, etc). And probably no symptoms. The patient from Lower Manhattan? Insured, primary-care doctor, appropriate meds, “We should be thinking 2 or 3 stents at 6:30 am on a Friday. You can rest on the weekend and go back to work on Monday.”

                      Maybe those 15% who will now have insurance won’t be going to a world-class facility on First Avenue, Mr. Michelopulos, but they will do just as well with a thorough, dedicated family physician who takes an interest in their well-being and their future healthcare. Nothing more, nothing less. And it will make all the difference in the world for them.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Dr Stankovich, thank you for your response. I for one have never upheld the “genetics only” paradigm to human micro-evolution. I firmly believe that there are “epigetic” factors that explain some pathologies. This would include gestational and congenital stresses that result in certain dysfunctions. For example, there is a high correlation (as you have pointed out in the past) between maternal stresses and male homosexuality.

                      Other examples include the mutations that occurred on certain chromosomes in the Ashkenazi population about a thousand years ago. These mutations caused Ashkenazi Jews to have a higher-than-average IQ in recessive form but when expressed in a dominant fashion, caused autosomal diseases like Crohn’s, Tay-Sachs, and others. What caused these mutations? Hard to say. A reasonable hypothesis would be a combination of societal factors that were imposed (and self-imposed) on Ashkenazi populations, including: intramarriage, confinement to ghettos, the inability to farm because Jews were forbidden to own land, etc. But this veers too close to Lamarckianism so I’m at a loss.

                      It’s one thing to posit individual stresses on pregnant women and another to assume that stresses can be spread throughout a population.

  14. James the Other says


    What is very puzzling is that the Obamacare also includes what they call “Navigators” trained professionals who will help people navigate the new law but some states, Florida and Texas is not allowing or making it difficult for these people to help folks who need help in finding the best coverage for themselves or their families to operate. In Texas, Gov. Perry will not allow any state help, rather they have to go to shopping malls and set up shop.

    To me this is just being callous, especially in Texas where 22.5% of the population has no healthcare insurance. I understand that Gov. Perry didn’t want to set up a state run exchange so the feds had to step in and run it, but come on, helping 22.5% of your citizens learn more about the new law? To be more precise, in Texas
    30% of adults under 65 are uninsured. Texas has the highest proportion of uninsured children, elderly and unemployed in the USA. Yet Gov. Perry says the implementation of the ACA is a “felony” and “criminal.” I would suggest that making it more difficult for the millions of citizen in Texas to at least learn more about the ACA is criminal.

    Here is more data about how Texas stacks up on this issue.

    • Michael Bauman says

      James the other: the navigators are not “trained professionals” they take a 3-4 hour computer course then are tested on it. That’s it.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Another interesting point: someone asked why Govs Perry and Scott (of Texas and Florida, respectively) were being “obstructionist” with the healthcare exchanges. Maybe they didn’t want to turn over their citizens’ private health information over to the NSA/IRS in DC? Has anybody ever thought about the great intrusion into privacy that Obamacare entails?

  15. How much negotiating with beancounting insurance adjustors should we be doing annually for our healthcare? Shouldn’t we look at how to strengthen our citizenry with best practice universal health coverage run by medical personnel?

  16. I am not American. Of Russian descent, I have been blessed to live all my life in several countries of the British Commonwealth, all of which have some form of universal health care. In my present country of residence, Australia, people pay a 1.5% levy on their income to support a universal health care system and those who wish to have their own choice of medical specialist and/or hospital cover in the event of major illness or surgery insure themselves privately over and above that – a hybrid system somewhere between Britain’s National Health and America’s free market. Whatever complaints I have heard people make in the UK, Canada, New Zealand or Australia about these systems over the years, no-one…I repeat NO-ONE… wanted to see their country’s health care system dismantled so as to become more like the American system pre-Obama (and that should not be construed as support for Obama’s plan, about which I know little and which I understand may have been badly implemented). Everyone I have ever known in the British C’wealth, even political conservatives, has been willing to pay a relatively modest tax or levy for the personal and social good that universal health care provided. Needless tosay, in virtually all traditionally Orthodox countries, public health care is also seen to be a social good that justifies its reliance upon the public purse. So, can some American please answer the following questions for me: why is this such a hot issue in the US? Is not America heavily invested in public education, more so, indeed, than any British Commonwealth country, in which private schools still flourish? Then why is public education, relatively speaking, a non-issue politically in the US but public health is? Is not education much more determinative of the character of a nation than health care? Thank you in advance for enlightening me.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Basil, I’m sure your experience with people in the various Commonwealth countries is accurate, that they don’t want to go to the American system. Yet I as a health professional have known people from England, Cyprus, and Greece who come to the US for treatment because they can’t get it in their country of origin.

      The dirty secret of all socialist systems is that they work –to the extent that they do work–on small countries that are homogeneous in population. The idea that a nationalized health system can be imposed on fifty sovereign states with widely varying demographics is preposterous. Look how out of whack Medicare is, and that population at least has at least one demographic in common.

      The dirty little secret of Obamacare is that the overwhelming majority of low-information Americans who are “for” it think that it’s going to be free. They have no concept of the market forces behind the health exchanges. We are talking about docile people who show up at the emergency rooms because of minor complaints. Rather than make provision for the future by saving money, living within their means, getting and keeping jobs, getting and staying married, living lives of sobriety, etc., they just go merrily along the way thinking that when they get sick they can just show up to the ER and get treated.

      • Germany and France, for example, are NOT small countries and not as homogeneous
        as 50 years ago, yet still enjoy their social healthcare. I know, I lived “all over the world”.
        Socialized healthcare and pensions were introduced in Germany under the Kaiser and
        Bismarck in 1871. “nuff said”

        • George Michalopulos says

          Taso, when France and Germany started their social-welfare schemes they were far more homogeneous than they are today. You are comparing apples to oranges. The profligate immigration policies (both legal and illegal) that have been unleashed on Western nations only took off 30 years ago or so. Fifty years for the US.

          Regardless, the vast majority of nations that have gone down the socialist path (Greece, anyone?) are either in full-bore collapse or darn near to it. Germany will not suffer to the same extent because it is the largest nation in Europe and its people the most resourceful.

          Think I’m an alarmist? It was revealed yesterday that Switzerland released military plans for a possible invasion by a bankrupt France. France is what? the second largest economy in Europe? fifth largest in the world?

          • Ce sont vraiement de bonnes nouvelles! Good news! Merci de m’en avoir informe! Thanks for info!
            It’s about time France liberated at least the french speaking cantons of Switzerland!
            And, one should not forget Quebec. As DeGaulle said when he visited Quebec, “Vive le Quebec libre”.
            But, that can wait, just like Louisina, named after Louis XIV.
            What France really should do, is what Louis XIV tried, but ultimately failed; conquer the Netherlands.
            Then, France and Spain should form an alliance and invade England. A French-Spanisch alliance
            makes perfect sense, King Juan Carlos is a direct descendant of Louis XIV. I hope, this upcoming
            invasion of Switzerland will be well covered be the news media with lots of footage of the carnage.
            I’ll be glued to my TV, slurping a nice Bordeaux and munching on a baguette and ripe Brie or
            Vacherin to celebrate the occasion!

            • George Michalopulos says

              Codswallop! Why is it you must kill the messenger? It’s the Swiss Army which is making preparations for a possible French invasion. Is it possible that they see things you and I can’t because of their proximity?

              Another question: why do Liberals think that history stopped when they were born? Stranger things have happened.

              • Nate Trost says

                You confuse “coming up with a wargaming scenario” with “making preparation”. Which of the following makes sense as an OPFOR for a Swiss military exercise:

                a) Belize
                b) France
                c) USA
                d) Nazis emerging after 70 years from a base on the dark side of the moon

                • George Michalopulos says

                  And yet, the only scenario they are preparing for is from France. Not Germany to the north, Italy to the south, or Hungary, Romania, Czeck Republic, etc. France. I wonder why.

                  • Nate Trost says

                    Go ahead, try and draw up an OOB for an Italian invasion of Switzerland without devolving into helpless fits of giggling. Germany? In 2013? Oh no, we’re going to be mauled by this fierce kitten! The reality is I suspect planners had to apply some generous handicaps to ensure France wasn’t going to fail too fast and keep things interesting for the purposes of the exercise. Such as pretending they wouldn’t run out of munitions for air sorties by like day 3.

                    This is, also, completing ignoring the minor detail that if people were seriously convinced France was going to implode in a spectacular fashion nobody is actually going to be worried about an invasion for come sort of economic gain when that ship sailed like a century ago. It would be “what the (insert very colorful list of expletives here), is going on with the Force de frappe”?

                    Because nobody would be happy with the concept of “anarchy” and “SLBMs” mixing it up like peanut butter and chocolate. I have the vague feeling somebody wrote a horrible techno-thriller with this plotline.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      You know Nate, giggling is not an argument. The fact remains that in case of even more financial collapse, the Swiss choose to war-game against France and not the other named countries. Is it because France has a nuclear arsenal?

                    • Nate Trost says

                      Thankfully giggling wasn’t the argument. The argument was challenging your implicit assumption that various European countries actually have the capability of mounting a credible invasion of Switzerland.

                      I repeat, you confuse “coming up with a wargaming exercise” with “making plans for an expected situation”. There is little value in constructing an exercise where the opponent is far out of scope with your own forces. It’s like suggesting an average college football team scrimmage against a Pop Warner team or against Super Bowl champions. Obviously the Swiss military is going to inevitably run into various levels of contrivance, but you try and make these things useful. To be fair, they could have picked randomly out of a hat from Germany, France or Italy and figured out how to come up with something constructive. Just don’t read too much into the ‘backstory’ of an exercise. Especially when the OPFOR is a nuclear power.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      So why pick on France? If anything, the Swiss would likely come up with a preemptive surrender in order to preserve their neutrality. A “Finlandization” if you will. Clearly, the Swiss are not taking into account France’s nuclear arsenal thinking that perhaps the French wouldn’t be so brutal or stupid as to use it.

                      Your responses and non-responses evade the basic question –why France? The answer may be because France’s economic situation is far worse and its internal demographic situation far worse than we are led to believe.

                    • Nate Trost says

                      I am not evading the question, I am simply rejecting your presupposition that there must be a secret reason why France was the specific OPFOR in an exercise. Or that the background brief for the exercise was constructed out of something viewed as an actual tangible possibility. Because a valid answer to: why France? Can be: because that was the name of picked out of a hat of qualifying forces and then some staff officer with an imagination has some fun. No conspiracy theory is needed, but there is nothing I can do to keep you from believing one, so knock yourself out. I guess to put it another way: no, I reject the idea that the Swiss have super secret knowledge and think there are plenty of valid reasons for choosing France that don’t involve economic conspiracy theories.

                  • Tim R. Mortiss says

                    And it’s about time! The Genevan forces will hook up with the Hugenot armies in Rochelle, and there will be big payback for St. Bartholomew’s Day!

      • The US is supposed to be a federation of states. The biggest problem with Obamacare is that it is a federal program. Imagine if the EU mandated a uniformed health care system for all member states. That may give you a sense of what is going on. The constitution limits the role of the federal government to specific enumerated powers, and regulating health care is not one of them. One enumerated power is regulation of interstate commerce, another is taxation. The Obama administration thought they could justify this initiative based on the power to regulate interstate commerce. Basically the Supreme Court did not buy that argument, but they did allow the law to stand as a very complex new form of taxation.

        Much tension in US politics is focused on the ever expanding powers of the federal government at the expense of the powers of the states and by extension other local governments. Public education in the US has always been a state level issue and in most states the local school board has tremendous freedom and power to control almost all aspects of public education. The federal government has found an increasingly prominent role via civil rights legislation and very large grants programs (a carrot rather than stick made possible via the power to tax). The federal government has had a prominent role in racial integration of public schools and in the development of special education programs. More recently, President Bush II used grant monies and the threat of withholding these monies to reform literacy programs and implement a few other pet projects. But almost all intitiatives that increase the role of the federal government meet with resistance. The resistance is usually from more conservative parties but not always. For instance, the primary resistance to Bush II’s reading initiative came from more liberal parties.

        • The Articles of Confederation were scrapped, the Confederacy lost, and the Constitution is not as narrow as you think it is in what it allows. The enumerated/implied powers argument was won long ago, cf. see the difference in language between the Articles and the Constitution (“expressly delegated” became simply “delegated” resulting in acceptance of the implied powers in addition to the specifically enumerated powers, all of which is thoroughly Constitutional).

          • George Michalopulos says

            Better a “narrow” Constitution than a “living” one.

            • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

              George, This is how one Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives views this matter:
              “”We’re not going to be disrespected,” Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.) told The Washington Examiner. “We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.”

            • Monk James says

              Although I pretty much don’t do politics, I think that I could describe myself as a ‘strict constructionist’. It’s my heartfelt conviction that the american constitution’s second amendment ought to be repealed, since it has clearly outlived its time and place and applicability.

              The second amendment is now always misunderstood and misapplied in modern times, since ‘a well regulated militia’ is no longer an issue. Even the SCOTUS is in error, providing wide room for the NRA to go on demanding that all sorts of weapons (not imagined in the context of the second amendment) must continue to be made available to the bigots, crazies, criminals and fundamentalist idiots who keep killing our people.

              Hunting rifles should be allowed to licensed hunters, and I hope they don’t ‘hunt for sport’. ALL other firearms ought to be illegal on every level. People who buy, sell, or own anything but licensed hunting rifles ought to be prosecuted, disarmed, and punished in accordance with the law.

              • Please check out the despots who first disarmed their citizenry. Hitler’s Germany. Stalin. Mao.

                The reason for the second amendment has nothing to do with sport. It has everything to do with defending against a government that has become tyrannical. You disarm the citizens, you can herd them into the showers with nary a peep. It is you who misunderstands this amendment and right.

                If you’d like to go on a rant, why don’t you try the pharmaceutical companies? ALL of the crazies that have committed mass murders (with the possible exception of the terrorist oh, sorry, disgruntled work force employee Hassan) have been mentally ill people who have been on medications that seem to have side effects of serious aggression. Ask George.

                • I am against ensuring trains run on time and all Volkswagons. Hitler proves both lead to World War and a Holocaust.

                  Besides, “the assertion that Hitler and other notorious dictators always supported gun control is simply not accurate. These dictators may have disarmed those who they considered enemies, but they did not propose gun control as we know it now.

                  In 1919, Germany banned gun ownership by individuals to accord with the post-WWI treaty of Versailles. Contrary to the anti-gun control talking point, Hitler passed a law which reduced the gun laws in Germany in 1938. This deregulation, not increase in gun controls, is the signature gun control change which gun enthusiasts have latched onto in calling Hitler anti-gun. When compared to current American gun laws, the past German laws were much stronger, thus some see Hitler as pro-gun control, but this does nothing to mitigate the fact that Hitler actually decreased gun regulation.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    123, “disarming those who they considered enemies” is what gun control is exactly about.

                    • The point of the actual history of gun laws in the Third Reich was that Hilter deregulated those laws for all but a small group. That is different than what is being sought in America today where our problem is a nation awash in firearms due to lack of regulation stemming from a long outdated frontier fetish. That’s the opposite of the situation in 1930s Germany, and was obviously in preparation for Hitler’s war machine.

                      The vast majority of gun violence is not committed in the name of revolution or sedition or freedom. Gun violence is due to accidents and crime, those are our enemies. All that a a good guy with a gun does is get himself shot or accidentally shoot others. That’s what the research the pro-gun lobby has not been able to muzzle has demonstrated.

                    • This is in response to

                      123 says:
                      October 7, 2013 at 10:19 am

                      as we seem to have no more reply buttons due to the government shutdown.

                      123, you just advance more specious arguments. Just because you have not seen an armed citizenry in your lifetime come to the defense of freedom doesn’t mean that the Framers didn’t intend the 2nd amendment for exactly what I said above: to defend against a tyrannical government. History didn’t begin when you were born.

                      And your comment about a good guy with a gun? Really? I mean, really?? If you look at the full body of research and not just at what the gun control lobby would have you believe, there are a myriad of situations where an armed citizen has caused a criminal to stand down, and crimes have been prevented. I would contend that there is in fact very little shooting of self or others accidentally as a percentage of the population owning firearms.

                      And if you actually looked at the research, and not just at the propaganda, you would find that in states passing concealed carry legislation, crime rates dropped. So those good guys with guns have been useful in supporting law enforcement. An interesting side note; when Florida’s CC law was put in effect, while the overall crime rate there dropped, there was an increase in crime against foreign nationals, and those in rental cars (which at that time had distinctive license plates,) in short, those people who where identifiably from outside Florida and therefore unlikely to be carrying a firearm.

                      In places (like the UK) where guns have been banned or heavily regulated, there is a sharp increase in crime, especially violent crime, and home invasions. So look at the entire body of evidence, not just one side of the question.

                      But that isn’t in your talking points, I suppose.

            • Better the Constitution we have than the Confederate misinterpretation of it some would like to see revived.

              • George Michalopulos says

                123, that’s the problem: we barely have a Constitution. It is honored more in the breach than in the rule.

                To all my liberal/progressive friends: you say you believe in a “living” Constitution. Do you want your employer to pay you from funds drawn from a “living” bank account?

                • No, we have a Consitution that is merely more complex than a cursory reading would suppose. It’s not as clear as some think, especially given the purposefully vague terms used to gain support, one side or the other of which was later approved judicially (and often at very early dates in the Republic’s history), as well as the sometimes contradictory language in later Amendments that then modify the meaning of other parts of the Constitution (i.e., Amendments are fully Constitutional, not just the Articles). There also seems to be little understanding that while it’s easier to understand the text as written, it is far harder to determine what the intent of the framers and those who voted to ratify the Constitution and its Amendments were. But originalism seeks to base judicial understanding on this intent.

                  An easy way to show we all prefer something like a living form of the document is to consider what the Framers considered cruel and unusual punishment (8th Amendment) and what we would consider such today.

          • The 10th Amendment was part of the Bill of Rights ratified with the original Constitution, as part of a package deal. It very explicitly states:

            “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

        • Michael Bauman says

          Um, in case you weren’t looking, we lost the ‘federation of states’ idea of government in the Civil War and it was followed up with income taxes and direct election of Senators.

          Now, the 10th Amendment is still technically the law of the land, but none of the folks in power believe it.

          Public education was designed around the philosophy that children should be made good minions of the state and to remove them from the influence of Christianity (check the writings of Horace Mann if you doubt). Guess what, the massive brain washing system known as public education has been cloned in much of ‘private’ education and it continues to achieve its goals.

          The one reason I was attracted to the “Contract with America” way back when was its promise to eliminate the U.S. Department of Education. Guess what, more and more money is poured down that rat hole every year.

          • The disagreement over the intent and meaning of the 10th Amendment goes back to early in the Republic. It only seems like a clear answer without actually looking at the argument for the implied delegation of powers and the 10th Amendment’s relation to other parts of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The simplest explanation is that the Constitution clearly waters down the same language as found in the failed Articles of Confederation be removing the term “expressly”. “General welfare” is also in the Constitution, too. These concepts have been consistently, explicitly found Constitutional for the past 100 years and undergird many popular programs (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, WIC, Interstate Highways) as well as those some people find unpopular (Depts. of Ed and Interior, EPA). Arguing the opposite merely proves the adage that a little education is dangerous.

            • So the 10th Amendment means what to you? It must mean something. It has its own number and everything.

              • It means exactly what the Supreme Court has ruled it means for the last 100 years, and stretching back to the early days of the Republic before that. Whatever it means in totality, it does not mean what the proto-militias and neo-Confederates on the Right have been taking it to mean.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  123, that’s an assertion. One I might add that is not backed up by history. For that matter, the Supreme Court was never given the authority to expand on the Constitutionality of a particular law. It arrogated to itself that power in Marbury vs Madison.

                  • If you are seriously questioning established precedent going back to 1803 (Marbury vs Madison) then you have gone off the deep end.

                    Going back to 1803 and settled consistently as established law since the early 1930s, the Tenth Amendment does not mean what you really, really want it to mean but doesn’t. Maybe Bill O’Reilly can write an alternate history book to make you feel vindicated, or you can cry into your beer with your Civil War reenactor and militia buddies about how the Holy Spirit abandoned the United States already in 1803 due to our sins against the infallible and inerrant Constitution (sans all those later Amendments and 200 years of precedent reflecting deeply on the document in toto).

                • So its a gnostic thing, you can’t really say, you just have to know?

                  And if you are graced with this special knowledge, the only thing you will know for certain is that your most hated enemies must be 100% wrong?

                  That’s a fabulous plan for running a country of 300+ million.

                  At least start by reading a wikipedia article or two, so we can have a conversation.

                  • I believe I’ve spelled it out elsewhere in this combox, and one can easily find the reasoning in the opinions supporting Social Security. The Chief Justice goes back to disagreements between Founders on this very issue, and the enumerated powers side lost, and has always lost. It is not the law of the land and never has been.

        • Archpriest John Morris says

          The Supreme Court declared Obama Care constitutional based on the power of the federal government to tax. However, during the effort to push it through Congress Obama and his people swore up and down that it was not a tax. Obama also told us that if we liked our health insurance, that we could keep it, and that prices would go down if Obama Care was passed. He was either not telling the truth, or is too stupid and arrogant to realize the harm that Obama Care would do to the average middle class American.
          Under Obama the rich are getting richer and the Middle Class is shrinking as those who are work are taxed to buy the votes for Democrats by promising more free stuff like cell phones for those too lazy to work. Soon, we will have two classes, the very rich and the welfare class because the Middle Class can only pay a limited amount of taxes to support the welfare state. The rich can afford to pay taxes and attorneys and accountants to lower their taxes, or they can always put most of their money in off shore accounts not subject to American tax laws.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Basil, it is an issue because of the manner it was imposed and the scope of its reach (way beyond so-called healthcare). It was passed as a pig-in-a-poke and is massively complex, and arcane.

      In any system in this fallen world those with resources will always be better taken care of than those without.

      The real problem with this system which George alludes to is that it is totally misrepresented at every level and anybody who objects is called a racist or some other such epithet. The goals it purports to meet are not being met. The only goal it meets is that everyone can now qualify for health insurance, but for many of those un-insured it purports to be for won’t be able to afford all of the co-pays and out-of-pocket expense and many expect to pay nothing at all.

      Trust me I’ve talked to some of these folks trying to sell them better insurance for less money. They want a $0 deducible with no co-insurance for $50/month. Anything more that $50 a month is just too much especially if they have to pay any additional when they need care.

      Now if the plan was actually designed to give a reasonable level of care at modest cost to everybody, it would sound a lot better, but as much and as often as Medicare has been looted, abused, and defrauded, even that would not last long and remain ‘affordable’ whatever that even means.

      I bet that sooner or later the government will strong-arm providers to waive the deductibles for those who can’t pay. Guess what, the amount the services ‘cost’ will go up dramatically and those who can pay will be paying for less and less.

      We already get that with Medicare as providers pass down the losses they realize on Medicare patients to those with private insurance or are private pay. It is not unusual even now for a doctor to cut a bill in half if the patient pays in cash at the time of service.

      Sooner or later the government run plan will force the Catholic Hospitals to either change their treatment philosophies principally their refusal to do abortions or go out of business. That is another part of the conflict: the assault on the free exercise of religion that is a big part of this plan.

      It is the hedonistic social agenda behind much that is in Obamacare that disturbs many: the abortions, the sex-change, as a way to help legitimatize homosexual unions on par with real marriage. Believe me all of that is in there.

      This plan as designed and implemented is, despite what the Supremes said, illegal. It violates the 10th amendment, the commerce clause and even if considered a tax did not originate in the House of Representatives as the Constitution requires of all tax bills. With its social agenda it violates the 1st Amendment too.

      NOTE: I know on Orthodox doctor who has arranged her life and her practice to be able to treat indigent patients entirely for free. She is a modern unmercenary healer. That is Christian charity. I also know of doctors in my own parish who routinely arrange to either pay or get discounted the medical bills of others. Frankly, I expect to see a lot more of that kind of thing once the rationing of care and the unaffordability of care to lower income people becomes more apparent. The MASSSIVE tax increase forthcoming will make that more difficult particularly if the movement to tax churches and contributions to churches gains any more momentum.

      • The complexity is a serious problem, as you point out. It is not clear that any of the elected representatives who voted on the law actually read and evaluated the law in its entirety.

        But this is a problem with most federal laws these days.

    • Basil,

      This issue does not exist in isolation. There are a number of problems which, as has been mentioned above, will result in rationing of care, a rationing at a level that has never been seen in the U.S. before.

      1) You can have open borders. Or you can have universal health care. Not both. This setup is an economic impossibility. So the government will set prices, and set them artificially low. In the U.S., it will cause a medical brain drain, in fact, it is already doing so. So supply of medical care dries up. Ask someone today trying to find a doctor who will take Medicare/medicaid.

      2) The U.S. has been subsidizing the rest of the world FOR DECADES, largely in its research and innovation. This is most clearly seen in the pharmaceutical industry. Drugs in the U.S. are expensive because the U.S. market pays for all the R&D expense for new drugs (and for the research that fails to produce a new drug as well. Companies must cover their costs to survive.) Other countries have price controls/contracts with the drug companies that do not cover such expenses. This is why Canada and Mexico do a thriving export business of U.S. drugs to people in the U.S. What do you think is going to happen when that research stops being paid by the U.S. when we get dragged into single payer? I would submit that fewer new drugs will be developed and brought to market. So medical innovation will be stifled.

      3) Laws and legal precedent indicate that anyone walking into an ER in the U.S. must be treated. So we HAVE universal heathcare, it is just wasteful and inefficient. And we are going broke because of it. Rather than address the broke nature of medicare and medicaid (to say nothing of Social Security) we have had this national boil of Obamacare inflicted upon us. It is only a question of when we end up in the situation seen in Greece. Only we will be much deeper in the ditch because of the ability to print money and buy our own debt, which is how this administration is keeping this house of cards aloft.

      As to education, I think it is a major issue in the U.S, and you are right that this is where character is formed. Unfortunately, the high ground has been ceded in the U.S., and our education now is more indoctrination than teaching values or critical thinking skills.

      • Michael Bauman says


        Real critical thinking is a great skill but there is a critical thinking movement that seeks to define and train critical thinking as wholly materialist any any inclusion of anything they consider “supernatural” as a deficit.

        • Michael.

          You are right. When I speak of critical thinking skills, I am talking about, for example, looking at some of the links provided by 123 that do not prove what he asserts. Both values and thinking skills must be taught, and are not. We have grammar schools full of children thinking that global warming is drowning all the polar bears, animals that are champion swimmers! Whose populations are increasing. Not to mention that the AGW crowd is screaming about a problem that they themselves do nothing about. (See ALGORE jetting from place to place, bringing cold snaps with him, and making millions on a fraud.) People who truly thought this was a crisis would stay off jets, no?

          Critical thinking is a vital skill, but as you have pointed out, the Evil One can create a distortion for anything. Me, I can believe in Christ and Him crucified without chucking my ability to weed through specious arguments, which abound on this thread.

          • Michael Bauman says

            Specious arguments abound everywhere. As I said critical thinking, logical thinking is a great skill and it need not take long to learn. My late wife and I homeschooled our son. Two things that have benefited him the most from that experience came late in his schooling: Reading and discussing Plato’s Dialogs with a close friend who also was homeschooled and working through one history oriented book on Critical Thinking.

            He has used those two experiences along with his devotion to the Church and Jesus Christ to know how to really think and present the Christian faith in a forceful manner when necessary. He uses as his foundation the Nicene Creed.

            However, such skills are worse than useless if they are founded on a wrong premise.

            But, we agree on that.

            Unfortunately, I have learned in my life that the majority of people would rather believe a lie than the truth and it is often impossible to get folks to examine their premises because most don’t know they have any. I am a bit surprised that Critical Thinking would be part of a government school curriculum because it is the exact opposite of what is often taught and the fundamental philosophy of the public education movement from its inception.

            Name the issue: Homosexuality, abortion, Global Warming errrr Climate Change, national health insurance vs Christian charity, scientism, etc., etc. The propaganda fostered in the government schools toasts the mind. One of the reasons that my home parish (after 20 years of trying) began a K-3 school this year (to expand as the children grow) based on the classical model of education the only rationale I can find for it is the fact that it teaches materialism and the lie that all ‘faiths’ are equally delusional.

            As Orthodox Christians we have an abundant treasure trove of teaching on the nature of man and our interrelationship with our Lord, God and Savior that goes so far beyond anything else ever written or contemplated. We have the incomparable opportunity to enter into love with our Lord in the Mysteries and life a life of communion that restores our souls. We all too often sell that re-birth right for not just a bowl of pottage but a pile of demonic dung in the form of modern political and social ideologies.

            Of course, the upshot of all this is that if we raise our children as faithful Christians they will be totally at odds with the world for their entire lives, so we had also better prepare them to face that reality. The typical upwardly mobile respectable middle class American consumer life full of college, profession, things and respectability. will not be for them I suspect .

            Lord have mercy on us.

            • MIchael,

              RE: Government school curriculum has critical thinking unit. We are observing the implementation of an Affordable Care Act (Premiums decrease by $2500/family, you like your doctor, keep your doctor, etc)
              Yes, I think much of the government labeling of things can be summed up in “up is down.”

              I pray that your classical Orthodox school will not only be blessed, but it will weave the Orthodox faith with learning and thinking skills that will allow the children to grow into human persons that can live “in the world, but not be of it.”

  17. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

    Geroge, and the rest. Here is how one Republican member of the U.S. Houae of Representatives summed things up:
    “”We’re not going to be disrespected,” Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.) told The Washington Examiner. “We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.”

  18. Thomas Barker says

    Michael Bauman said: “…the assault on the free exercise of religion that is a big part of this plan.” Right on and thank you for calling it the way it is. With the ACA the assault on Christianity has only accelerated. The federal government is like a colossal satanic octopus with its tentacles grasping for every man’s soul.

  19. Michael Bauman says

    Ah, let the fun begin: Fraud is already showing its ugly head: Fraud warning

    My professional advice:

    1. WAIT. Nothing is right about this just yet. There is no hurry

    2. Educate your self on the plans available to you. PLANS. The premiums shown on this site are real premiums for the plans listed but not all of the premiums they are representative and allow you to compare the relative price of the different plans available to you.

    3. AVOID both navigators and doing it yourself on line. Navigators are neither trained nor knowledgeable and are forbidden by law to make plan and coverage recommendations. They do not have a legally enforceable fiduciary responsibility. Spoofing and fake sites are likely to be rampant and far more functional that the real ones at this time. An identity thief’s dream.

    4. DO seek out a reputable, experienced insurance agent in your town who is also a certified Marketplace agent. We do have an ethical and legally enforceable fiduciary responsibility to our clients to make recommendations that are in their best interests as far as we can determine that and to guard your privacy under HIPPA, and many other privacy laws. You can check out an agent’s regulatory history somewhere on most state insurance department web sites. Plus we carry E&O insurance.

    5. PRAY

    • Don't Want to be a CLIENT says

      I don’t want to educate myself enough to hire a consultant to explain the differences in products nor have to worry about the certification or expertise of an insurance salesman who may or may not be doing his responsibility toward his clients. I don’t want the insurance industry involved in my healthcare at all. I find them an incredible waste of money as far as health is concerned. Let’s have universal health care in the best system in the world. Imagine what our healthy electorate might do in creating and maintaining jobs and resources!

      • Michael Bauman says

        I am not surprise Don’t want that you feel that way. There are many frauds in the business, just as in any walk of life. But you cannot avoid some form of insurance unless you are wealthy enough to go the private pay route on all of your healthcare. Although as the life and death of Michael Jackson and others show, that is not always so good either.

        Insurance is, at its base, a sharing of risk. You exchange a known amount of money with someone who is willing to pledge an unknown amount of money (usually with a maximum amount at risk) in the future in the event of certain events occurring for the known amount. The exchange is structured in a legally enforceable contract which produces a tremendous amount of social good. One of the things that the national health insurance scheme that we have has severely limited the ability of folks to create and manage their own risk sharing networks based on Christian beliefs as the type of risk sharing coverage they offer is non-compliant with the law. If people choose that over the compliant plans, they will be penalized, errrrrrrr taxed.

        The money the insurance industry has provided to people though this sharing of risk over the life of this country is incalculable.

        As I have noted, however, health insurance has always been a difficult form of insurance because the scope of the risks being insured, the cost of treatment and the drastically different way that different people need money for care, the lack of predictability that treatments will actually work, people’s expectations and many other situations. Add in the lack of a cap on the amount of money at risk which we have with our new national health insurance, it becomes exceedingly difficult to price well. That difficulty is moved to a impossibility when political and ideological factors are brought to play.

        HMO’s have created a bad taste in the mouths of many, with good reason.

        Given the frequency of fraud within the provider community, however, you Don’t want might just as easily say you Don’t want to pay (directly or indirectly) any doctor or anyone in the medical industry to treat you.

        But I have to ask you, if you don’t want to educate yourself, how can you have any worthwhile opinion? How will your protect yourself?

        If you Don’t want to rely on an insurance agent, that’s fine, but the folks hired by the government don’t have your best interests at heart either, almost know training or knowledge except the propaganda they have been force fed.

        The fact is that there are capable, knowledgeable, ethical people in the insurance business who take our responsibility to our clients and our companies seriously.

  20. cynthia curran says

    Well, the Republicans could have taken the money and created their own health care system. Indiana, Tn and some other states did that. The shutdown isn’t worth it, in fact Ted Cruz is a bit of Gingrich the second type of politician that never really changes things. In fact as I mention the man wants to bring in over 300,000 tech vistas and lots of folks have lost their jobs because of the H1B program but maybe it will help Los Angeles County gain more Asians to do the engineering since a lot of the native born there have left for some where else.

  21. cynthia curran says

    Not true! A majority of the Affordable Healthcare Act was a a compromise between the GOP and Democrats. In fact, much of what’s in there are GOP ideas. The AHA mirrors the healthcare plan in Mass. that was instituted by Romney (Repub) and all the people in Mass. love their healthcare. All of this bull by the GOP in Congress is just SOUR GRAPES. Ultimately, the Southern GOP racists can’t stand the idea of the first black President being a great success. The economy is turning around, the deficit is plummeting, jobs are coming back and healthcare will be a great success. So, the GOP is trying to destroy any and all of Obama’s success. He needs to declare that that what the GOP is doing is ECONOMIC TERRORISM. He should then sign an Executive Order to stop and all GOP actions. Then, because this is a form of terrorism against the U.S., arrest the GOP kingpins; Cruz, Boehner, etc. (Love to see it!)
    Well, I don’t think the Republicans are as racists as Democrats think, if they were, they would have milions of whites moved to Vermont, Oregon, Washington, and so forth but they promote Texas which is far from lily white, it has a lot of Mexicans but its true there is more of a milder form of not liking Obama since he sides with minorities against white Conservatives. This is nothing new but people like Ted Cruz who want a lot of guest worker programs particularly like high tech workers don’t help white middle class people either. In fact if Cruz got his way on H1b’s his state would go from 5 to 10 percent Asian since most of the tech workers are Asian unless Russians and Eastern Europeans pushed to be apart of the tech vistas.

    Rating: -8 (from 20 votes)

    • Archpriest John Morris says

      How could the Affordable Care Act be a compromise with the GOP since the Republicans were not allowed to have any input when the bill was written? The Democrats wrote the bill behind closed doors and allowed the Republicans to play no role in the drafting of the legislation. Instead, the Democrats wrote a long and extremely complex bill and rushed it through Congress using tricks of parliamentary procedure before the members of Congress had time to read or study the Bill. Remember Nancy Palsoi said that they would have to pass then the people could know what is in it. That is not the way that a democratic system should work. When Congress considers legislation that will have an impact on the lives of every American, the people have a right to know what is in the bill so that they can contact their representatives to give them their opinions on the legislation.
      Even is the bill is perfect, which it is not, the way that it was done was all wrong. For something this important a public consensus is necessary and the bill must be written and passed on a bipartisan basis. Not shoved down our throats as Obama Care was. The way that the bill was written and passed has only caused serious division among the American people that will last a long time. That was not necessary. Every intelligent person knows that we need health care reform. The way that it as done may very well have doomed the effort to reform our health care system.

      • Even more divisive has been the callous disregard for the lack of affordable health care by the Right. The Democrats did negotiate with the Republicans who were willing to negotiate, which is how the public option was dropped and why so many were left out of being covered when compared with the original revenue neutral proposal brought forward by the Democrats. The tactic adopted by the Republicans at the time was obstructionism, not cooperation. They didn’t expect the bill to be able to get through because they were (and still are) mistaking what they hear in their gerrymandered districts and from their Koch brother lobbyists as what the nation believes and wants.

        If you like the way in which Obamacare was passed, you should be screaming about the way the Republicans are trying to make an end run around a law that was passed and signed, held Constitutional, and voted on in national election that debated its merits. By all means, those opposed to the ACA should vote against it and vote against politicians who support it, but that’s not what’s going on here. To prove the ACA would be terrible for the economy the Republicans are threatening to destroy the economy via default and increasing the unemployment rolls by 800,000. You can’t negotiate with terrorists.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Actually, the Democrats negotiated with themselves in order to get Obamacare passed in the dead of night. Sen Joe Lieberman was the one who held out for dropping the Public Option. His vote was needed to override the Republican filibuster. Likewise Sens Mary Landrieu, Ben Nelson, and Blanche Lambert Lincoln (all Dems) had to be bought off piecemeal for the same reason. Really, there was no negotiation with Republicans at all. Not one Republican voted for Obamacare. They sat on the sidelines. For all practical purposes they could have all stayed at home.

          As for the “constitutionality” of the law, it was SCOTUS who made it constitutional by stating that it was a tax. Obamacare was not voted on as a tax, which made it unconstitutional as it is against all laws (especially Natural Law) to force people to buy any financial instrument or good or service.

          I have the right to own a gun, I don’t have to own a gun. I have the right to seek work at the refinery, I don’t have to work there. I have the right to own a Bible, you can’t force me to buy a Bible, etc. These are important distinctions that are easy to make. Rights can be only taken away from a citizen by due process.

          • Archpriest John W. Morris says

            If Obama Care is a tax, it is definitely unconstitutional, because the U.S. Constitution Article 1 Section 6 states, “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.” Since Obama Care originated in the Senate, it is unconstitutional. I am really surprised that someone has not made this argument against this bad law.

            • George Michalopulos says

              You’re right Fr. Basically, what the Dems enacted was a higgledy-piggledy type of make things up as they go along type of law. Obamacare originated in the Senate, in direct contravention of Constitutional Law.

            • Nate Trost says

              Archpriest John W. Morris wrote:

              Since Obama Care originated in the Senate, it is unconstitutional.

              George Michalopulos wrote:

              Obamacare originated in the Senate, in direct contravention of Constitutional Law

              You are both wrong. The Senate amended H.R. 3590, which was a revenue bill the House had already passed. After passing the Senate, there emerged several months of work between the House and the Senate to resolve issues the House had with the bill, which resulted in H.R. 4872 to satisfy House concerns with things that could no longer be amended with H.R. 3590. Once this was done the House passed the Senate amended bill that began life as H.R. 3590 and Obama signed it. At the end of the day, it’s pretty basic: the House passed the bill twice, once in original form and again to approve the Senate amendments. By all means explain to me how this is a violation of Constitutional Law.

              Now, if you are going to complain that it was a major piece of legislation that ultimately passed via essentially a party-line vote, fair enough. Although at that point we enter into a different argument. However, if you are going to complain it was “unconstitutional”, you should probably learn a bit more about the finer details of both how our legislative system works and how the relevant bills that make up “Obamacare” ended up becoming law. And by learn, I mean for real, not just deriving your beliefs from some inaccurate summary that feeds your sense of outrage.

  22. cynthia curran says

    Percent of Pregnant Women Receiving Prenatal Care in First Trimester 50th Texas Average Monthly (WIC) Benefits per Person 51st Texas. Now, I understand Republicans wanting less of this but Texas is doing less in these categories than even Mississippi and Pureto Rico, places a lot poorer. Texas is moderate in income overall and about 8th worst in poverty in the US at 17.9 before adjustment for income and cost of living. Its not New Hempshire where the poverty is around 10 or 11 percent before adjustment. If it was it would be more understandable why its 50th or 51st in the WICc payments for Pregnant women.

    • Do you have any idea how many of the those pregnant women come over the border to the south?? The elephant in the room here is that the statistics for Texas are massively skewed by the amount of illegal aliens pouring across the Rio Grande.

      Trauma centers in Texas are deluged by these illegals – illegals who will not pay anything for Obamacare, but will continue to be served by these Texas hospitals, and to be paid for by citizens who pick up the difference.

  23. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

    If anyone, such as Dr. J. Morris, Archpriest, is unhappy with the way Republicans voted in the passing of the Affordable Care Act, they should take it up with those Republicans, not whine about Democrats and our President, Mr. Obama, and, instead of following proper procedures to abolish the act, trying to engage in parliamentary manipulations in the area of financing the law.

  24. cynthia curran says

    If anyone, such as Dr. J. Morris, Archpriest, is unhappy with the way Republicans voted in the passing of the Affordable Care Act, they should take it up with those Republicans, not whine about Democrats and our President, Mr. Obama, and, instead of following proper procedures to abolish the act, trying to engage in parliamentary manipulations in the area of financing the law.
    Actually, a lot of Republican states could have done their own health insurance program like Indiana and so forth. The Republicans don’t believe in states rights when it comes to the Purple states like Arizona who only did the federal exchange or the Blue States like Kalifornia-Republicans call it that.. In fact, Rick Perry was speaking in Anaheim and Anaheim has a lower poverty rate than Dallas and Houston and a lower crime rate.

    • Archpriest John Morris says

      You know that no Republicans voted for Obama Care. That is part of the problem. Even if Obama Care were a good law, the way that it was written and pushed through Congress has divided our nation. From the start, Health Care Reform should have been done on a bipartisan way. Instead, the Democrats shut the Republicans out of the process of writing and evaluating the bill and used tricks of parliamentary procedure to push it through Congress before the members even had the time to read it or the American people to evaluate the law. Something that directly effects the lives of every American must be done by first building a consensus and then passing the bill on a bipartisan basis.

  25. cynthia curran says

    ccording to the US Dept. of Justice, for purposes of bankruptcy, the median income for a single earner with a three-person family, the median income in CA is $67,401. The overall average income in CA is $59,910. According to the 2013 Poverty Guidelines for the 48 Contiguous States and the District of Columbia published in the Federal Register, the US poverty line is established at $19,530, and in Alaska $24,412. The poverty rate in the State of California is 23.5% – the highest in the US – followed by Washington DC (23.2%) and Florida (19.5%). The estimated population of the State of California is 38,041,430, meaning there are approximately 8,939,736 individuals living below the poverty line. The “approximation” does not consider the number of illegal immigrants that utilize the services and resources of the state.
    This is the famous 2011 adjustment poverty. In fact in overstates poverty in California, why, the cost of living varies in the state and this is really a liberal measure because California gets less food stamps as a percentage of the population as some states even in the South because of Pete Wilson’s reforms Note San Diego is at 6 on food stampers while Harris County Texas is at 10.. A better measure is the food insecurity. Mississippi has the highest food insecurity and the non-adjusted cost of living of living,Mississippi poverty rate is 24 percent. Texas is 4 worst in food insecurity. In fact in 2010, Harris County had 18 percent of the population at food insecurity while La was at 16 percent and San Diego and Orange County were down to 14 percent. So, the 17.9 percent before adjusted is Texas poverty and 17 to 20 is California if don’t use the cost of living of the Bay area.

  26. cynthia curran says

    Despite the study’s alarmist numbers, we know that San Diego is not Tunica, Miss. It’s not Brawley or El Centro, either. But the CPM does spotlight a problem that’s a touchstone for many of California’s most significant debates.

  27. cynthia curran says

    Trauma centers in Texas are deluged by these illegals – illegals who will not pay anything for Obamacare, but will continue to be served by these Texas hospitals, and to be paid for by citizens who pick up the difference.
    This is true but only 10 percent of Hispanics are illegal, it however rises to 20 percent or more if American born children are included. Conservatives complain about the illegal situation. Fine the companies that hire them, Houston is about the 3rd or 4th highest for hiring illegal immigrants. Conservative control government can do e-verify in the state.

    • Agreed. BOTH parties have a stake in illegal immigration, for different reasons.

      A friend of mine, an OB/GYN who works in the valley, tells me that at his hospital, over 90% of the babies delivered are from illegals – some of whom come across the border to have their children because it is free here – costs them the equivalent of $200 in Mexico. Some of these then take their children back over the border, after they have pillaged our medical system.

      This is one of the functions that our Federal government is charged with doing. EPIC FAIL.

      • Yeah, that Good Samaritan was such a sucker paying for that man’s health care. Besides, he should have known better than to travel a route well-known for brigands. Serves him right. Burn me once…

        Of course, the solution to this problem is (more) universal health care, which could even include citizenship requirements. In fact, overburdened ERs and hospitals was the impetus for the individual mandate in Romenycare and Obamacare – if everyone might need to be covered for free in an ER or hospital, everyone needs to pay into the system to make sure that service is available to you if and when you might need it.

        I find it interesting that mandatory ER care was one of the reasons touted by the Right for the US not needing health care reform, but others in the fever swamps decry even that modicum of decency.

        Since I’ve been told our nepsis requires us to give personally rather than through the government, I sure am glad there’s all that free medical care provided for church and individual Christians just waiting at ERs to pay poor people’s medical bill. Oh, that’s right, there isn’t. While there may be some, even a great deal of medical help given by churches and Christians, it no where near meets the need that’s out there. It’s a supplement to an already overburdened state system of medical subsidy. And Christians are supposed to individually make up the difference. Sure. We jsut saw floods of money to charity following Bush’s tax cuts, charities were sending money back they didn’t need once the lion lay down with the lamb.

        In should not that visiting the ER in the UK was completely free to this American who has never paid any UK tax, but they’re a bunch of suckers, too, I guess. Or, they’re civilized rather than faux Christian Social Darwinists.

        • George Michalopulos says

          123, I seem to have missed the part where the IRS of Judea forced the Good Samaritan to pay for the Beggar’s relief upon pain of imprisonment. Please direct me to the requisite verse.

          • Yes, you do seem to have missed all the tax money spent by Christian leaders on the poor, in support of health care, make work programs to deal with unemployment, government investments in local businesses, etc.

        • Micahel Bauman says

          123: there is a lot more going on than you think.

          Besides we are not required to care for all of the needs of all of the people. Poverty is not, in and of itself, a curse. Let me remind you: utopianism is a heresy.

          Certainly, most of us could give more but government extortion is not the solution.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Of course. The Zuckerbergs, Bloombergs, Kochs, the real-estate developers, et al will experience a windfall from the driving down of the wages of native American workers once the floodgates are opened legally. It’s a win-win for the Republicrat oligarchy.

        • It’s about time Native Americans got the upper hand on all the illegal immigrants who’ve been flooding the Americas.