Sunday Afternoon Open Thread

I am leaving health care behind to begin my outline on challenging the Government's expanded use of electronic surveillance in drug cases, for the NORML Key West legal seminar, which is just around the corner (Dec. 3-5.) My title: "Snoopy's New Tricks: Getting Around the 4th Amendment and Title III in Drug Cases." If you're a defense lawyer and would like to join us, there's still time to sign up. (Even the TL kid is attending this year.)

I trust there are things going on the world (besides health care and football) to discuss, so here's a place to do so.

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    Packing this Monday morning for my trip home (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by ruffian on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 05:56:00 PM EST
    from Japan. Long trip - 3 hr train to Osaka Kansai airport, 11-12 hr plane ride from Osaka to San Fran, 6 hrs to Orlando. But I still get home on Monday evening - it's like time travelling.

    Put in some very long workdays - billed 80 hrs each of the last 2 weeks. I'm too old for this stuff! Getting back to my day job will be nice and relaxing after this.

    I hope to sleep on the plane. A tylenol PM or 2 usually works. Got an upgrade for the US leg, so that will be nice.

    How did the Bears do Sunday? better look it up.....

    aaaargh...never mind, I should not have looked. (none / 0) (#16)
    by ruffian on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 05:56:53 PM EST
    You're telling me (none / 0) (#42)
    by lilburro on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 01:57:23 AM EST
    as an Eagles fan, all I can say is that at least you didn't have to watch it unfold!  Also:  see you in Dallas.

    Moreenlightenment (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Fabian on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 07:21:12 PM EST
    from the Anthony Sowell story.

    You can get away with crimes, as long as you choose the right victims.  

    The right victims being individuals without strong social support systems, who have erratic behavior, make poor witnesses due to being unreliable, undependable and often reluctant to talk to police.

    Being poor is a good start.  Having negative history with the police is another - arrests and convictions.  Using and abusing drugs is merely icing on the cake.  One woman who was assaulted by Sowell and didn't report it recalled that physical and sexual assaults were part of her life when she used cocaine, and just another reason for her to use the drug.  

    In my own small experience with the police, I reported a theft and was surprised to be asked if I would cooperate with the investigation and prosecution.  H_ll, yes.  I wasn't filling out the paperwork for the insurance company.  But, I can see what would happen if a person filed a report and then refused to cooperate further.  The woman who reported the assault that resulted in Sowell's arrest failed to show for a scheduled interview.  If the person she had accused hadn't been a known sexual offender, I wonder if the police would have tried to contact her again or just given up.

    The whole story is full of women who didn't even report assaults or refused to talk.  

    An awful lot of them (none / 0) (#27)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 09:05:48 PM EST
    with various petty crimes of one sort or another, or just plain not so good habits, and afraid of being caught up and prosecuted if they complained.  Apparently, they're having trouble identifying bodies because people with missing family members are afraid to submit their DNA.

    I can understand that totally. Heck, I'm afraid in some primitive part of my mind every time I swipe my card at a store and wait for approval, it's going to come back that I'm denied because I bounced a check once or was mean to my mother 40 years ago.


    Actually (none / 0) (#50)
    by Fabian on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 04:18:38 AM EST
    they are doing quite well with the DNA, perhaps because the coroner's office made it clear that the only thing they would use it for was IDing the bodies.  Seven out of eleven, in only a couple weeks.  With all the noise about people being unwilling to come forward, I expected the process might be very slow.

    There was plenty of criticism of the police at first.  Then as the bodies were identified, it turned out that several of those women had never been reported missing.  


    All the more reason... (none / 0) (#53)
    by kdog on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 06:34:21 AM EST
    to clean up the law books and get rid of all the crimes in name only.  Until then, most everyone on the fringes of society will be hesitant to report real crimes or cooperate with the investigation of real crimes.

    As it is now, if you're a drug addict, recreational drug user, drug dealer, sex worker, bookie, undocumented immigrant, etc...you're taking a big risk by dealing with the police...and that makes you an easy mark for the real bad guys.  Everyone should feel free to report and cooperate in the investigation of real violent crime.  The way to get there is to clean up the law books.

    Sadly, the fringes of society being subject to victimization by murderers, rapists, and thieves at a higher rate is not new...our laws are partly to blame.


    It's not just the laws. (none / 0) (#54)
    by Fabian on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 06:57:53 AM EST
    It's the victims themselves.  If you make a report and walk away - the chances that the police will follow up on it is a lot less than if you are an active, willing and reliable participant in the process.

    If you make no report at all, then the police have no reason at all to investigate anything.

    I met a woman at an Amtrak bus station.  She bore the marks of a very recent beating and she was begging for money in the women's restroom.  I didn't give her any.  The woman needed a trip to the ER, not money.  Much, much later I realized what her situation probably was.

    You can't make people do anything.  You can't force them to report crimes.  You can't force them to testify.  They have to want to.  


    True... (none / 0) (#55)
    by kdog on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 07:05:00 AM EST
    some people are never gonna want to...but if we give people less reason to fear police I think we'd see more cooperation with law enforcement and possibly a reduction in violent crime.

    Cheney the Second (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by Fabian on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 06:00:06 AM EST
    That ought to be Joe Lieberman's nick.

    He's now talking "terrorist attack" about the Fort Hood shootings.  And radical Muslims.

    My first impression of the Fort Hood was standard work place violence (aka "going postal") with the ever present possibility of mental illness.  So far, nothing has changed that.  But Our Good Friend Senator Lieberman is banging the same drum that Bush and Cheney did.  Oh, and continuing to threaten the public option.

    Dick must be so proud!

    (Pssst.  What about the Orlando shootings?  Maybe they were a terr'rist attack too!)

    I would love to hear Jeralyn's take (none / 0) (#1)
    by barryluda on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 02:18:24 PM EST
    on this story.

    Could it possibly be legal for a law enforcement official to meander up to the defense table, begin reading the defense team's files, then take documents from said files without notifying the attorney?

    I have a question (none / 0) (#2)
    by Steve M on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 03:01:42 PM EST
    Let's say I'm an employer (I am).  Let's say I buy an insurance plan for my employees, from the vast menu of insurance plans available out there.  And let's say the one I buy just happens to have inferior coverage for one gender or the other.

    Let's say, for example, that the policy doesn't cover certain OB/GYN procedures.  Let's say it doesn't cover certain illnesses or conditions that are much more prevalent among women than men.  Now, some states have laws that wouldn't let an insurance company do these things, but let's assume for the moment that the policy complies with state law.

    Am I committing an actionable form of sex discrimination?  After all, health insurance is part of a compensation package, and my male employees are therefore getting more compensation than the female ones, if their coverage is better.  Is there enough for someone to make a federal case out of this situation?  If so, hmm.

    I don't have the answer to your question; (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Anne on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 05:41:53 PM EST
    I am not a lawyer and could not begin to even hazard a guess.

    That being said, it just seems to me that the way the public option and the exchanges are being configured, there's a kind of Catch-22-like situation.  

    One cannot use either if one's employer offers a plan.  But if the employer is a small business, it can use the exchange.  But, if Stupak survives, there won't be any plans on the exchange that have abortion coverage.  Does this force employers to go outside the exchange - a move that may be more expensive - in order to offer their female employees "full" coverage?  If these small businesses won't pay any penalty for not offering a plan, do they end the practice of offering a plan and leave it to their employees to decide whether they will go out into the exchange or into a completely private plan?

    When you start to examine all of the possibilities, it feels like the details were not completely thought through.

    I don't know whether, in the scenario you have laid out, your female employees would have an actionable claim, but I suspect you might have generally unhappy female employees.  

    Damned if you do, damned if you don't.


    EEOC sez this (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Dan the Man on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 06:35:01 PM EST
    "Any health insurance provided by an employer must cover expenses for pregnancy-related conditions on the same basis as costs for other medical conditions."

    Therefore, not "cover[ing] certain OB/GYN procedures" is prohibited.

    As for not "cover[ing] certain illnesses or conditions that are much more prevalent among women than men", this is where disparate impact analysis would apply.  The only argument I can think of which could plausibly reject the application of disparate impact is that, post-Ricci, disparate impact analysis has been overruled.


    What does "pregnancy-related" cover? (none / 0) (#19)
    by nycstray on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 06:52:18 PM EST
    and does it continue into your 40's, 50's and 60's?

    Why "pregnancy-related" and not just blanket coverage for our uterus and breasts?


    When our ovaries dry up (5.00 / 3) (#21)
    by Fabian on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 07:01:33 PM EST
    we cease to be vessels of procreative potential and thus, we are expected to dispose of our useless and troublesome/expensive organs.

    Men continue to be fecund for a much longer time, so they can have Viagra as long as they like!

    I wish this was snark


    Unfortunately, the full sentence at that link is: (none / 0) (#20)
    by steviez314 on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 06:55:21 PM EST
    Any health insurance provided by an employer must cover expenses for pregnancy-related conditions on the same basis as costs for other medical conditions. An employer need not provide health insurance for expenses arising from abortion, except where the life of the mother is endangered.

    Notice it's titled (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by nycstray on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 07:01:55 PM EST
    Facts About Pregnancy Discrimination

    Not gender . . . .


    Seems pretty straightforward (none / 0) (#24)
    by Steve M on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 07:44:50 PM EST
    Thanks for the info.

    Thank you. This is the question (none / 0) (#3)
    by Cream City on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 03:21:04 PM EST
    that I looked to have addressed here at a legal blog.  I cannot imagine that today, my employer -- the government -- could discriminate this way.  (Note: it does, now, finally cover domestic partners, so it did discriminate that way until recently.)  So how can this bill go forward?  Because Obama and Congress will legalize such discrimination?  If it got to court, wouldn't there be overriding issues, overriding Obama and Congress so discriminating against specific groups?

    And if so, since we always are to anticipate llth-dimensional chess, am I supposed to figure out from this that not only do Obama and Congress not want to effect any change until 2013 but that they actually are writing it this way -- giving sufficient time for court challenges, too -- to never take effect at all?


    Sounds like there's an embedded preemption (none / 0) (#4)
    by andgarden on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 03:47:09 PM EST
    question there.

    There are private insurance plans right now that (none / 0) (#5)
    by steviez314 on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 03:53:54 PM EST
    do not cover abortion services, certainly not a majority of them, but quite a few.

    But my question (none / 0) (#6)
    by Steve M on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 04:00:18 PM EST
    was not whether it is discriminatory for an insurance company to offer such a policy, but whether it is discriminatory for an employer to provide it to its employees.

    Note that we need not be just talking about abortion, either.


    Not just abortion is correct (none / 0) (#7)
    by nycstray on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 04:22:27 PM EST
    for instance, the plans I see that the woman has to pay off a high deductible before her preventive/well visits to the ob/gyn are covered. Not a problem for a man and the woman is being charged more for her care/has to pay out of pocket. I'm not a lawyer, but as a woman, if you offered me as an employee a plan like that . . .  {grin}

    I can actually see folks arguing it isn't discriminatory for an employer to do that. I'd prob be retired by the time it was decided though  ;)


    There are so many procedures covered by insurance (none / 0) (#8)
    by steviez314 on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 04:34:45 PM EST
    that are applicable to only one sex, that either a man or woman could claim some unequal treatment, so I don't see this line going anywhere as long as premiums don't vary based on gender.

    But you miss the legal point (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Cream City on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 04:53:30 PM EST
    as well (in addition to Steve M's point about liability of an employer) that this is not about individuals with individual and different illnesses, conditions, etc.

    Point me to the private insurance company that specifically and only precludes a group -- the only group that has all of the specifically excluded illnesses and conditions and body parts and etc.


    yes, that seems to be the question (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by ruffian on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 05:49:32 PM EST
    Are any procedures for the health and maintenance of the male organ forbidden by any employer-sponsored insurance plans? I have no idea.

    If we needed a final point of evidence of the unsustainablility of employer-sponsored health care, this issue may be it.


    And my daughter has more questions (none / 0) (#11)
    by Cream City on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 05:09:17 PM EST
    that could have major impact on her health and her life -- as well as on a class discussion this week on health care (a college poli sci class, but she is older and cannot be covered by our insurance).

    She is laid off and on COBRA.  Could these actions of Congress to pick on people with grrl  parts have impact on her government-run health insurance as well?  As Pelosi keeps talking about this bill covering 96% of Americans, which includes those already on government-run programs, does this bill also essentially rewrite those programs?  (COBRA, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.)

    And she wonders about things like the shots she gota while ago, and that her younger girl cousins ought to soon get -- a vaccine against cervical cancer. So because the shots are for ob-gyn sorts of protection, are they not going to be covered? Or, as she asks, are the shots still going to be covered because they are given in the arm, above the waist and away from those awful grrl parts?!

    That really shows how incredibly ignorant of women's anatomy and biology is this bill -- as are those who wrote it and those who support it.  Even now, she keeps coming up with more and more interesting questions that make me wonder how any member of Congress who even completed high school could not see the problems in this.

    And, therefore, I am even more suspicious that this is exactly what was intended -- for this bill to ultimately fail in court.  But after the 2010 and 2012 elections, of course.


    Heh, (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by nycstray on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 05:19:31 PM EST
    I was going to start and "Equal Rights For Uteri!" campaign (already have some slogans!) but "Equal Rights for Grrl Parts!" is kinda fun . . . The teens and young adults would get it.

    On that subject, what do you make of some of (none / 0) (#48)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 03:23:55 AM EST
    the existing state laws being discussed down-thread? Starting with Oculus Comment #34.

    This is a fun one (none / 0) (#10)
    by joze46 on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 04:56:03 PM EST
    "Electronics Surveillance" the opportunity to catch the villain is very wide open. However there are some very smart politicians that are active in this crime, and some not so smart. For me, it is the political arena that is the catalyst to all of this stuff. Always has been.

    My reasoning is the news lately has Americans discovering all of a sudden as Democrats are in office, hundreds if not thousands of drug deals occur daily through out America. There is a street war going on in Mexico and the Gulf States that are media suppressed. In my opinion this crime stuff can not be done without political money. It is a shame to say but just as the streets of Afghanistan are loaded with political corruption and drugs America mirrors the same. All very know by mainstream media suppressed for political preference, which flies in the face of taking the fight over there, Bush's legacy.  

    Perhaps the criminals work via a magic jack or a Jupiter jack, real mobile stuff or relay through stolen telephones. Likely bogus accounts are set up to draw the government in to a networked theater as real action. The biggest organized crime syndicate today would likely be "Black Water". It's almost a given that they are in drug and guns trafficking of all sorts, the subcontracting for security is nothing more than front business cover by Bush and Company his Wahabbi friends.

    Sheesh we can ask our selves how much drug trafficking has been stopped do to good electronic surveillance since its inception?

    So where is the real surveillance? Not totally in voice communications likely some of the rhetoric is staged anyway. The real need is to follow the money, wired money.

    Here is a wild speculation, lets say I am a desperate banker and it might be true some of that secret money given to high rollers "the to big to fail banks" unloaded some of that secret TARP money in drugs. That's one reason we don't know where it's at, that is one of the only ways to get returns on investments quick especially free money from tax payers that can get lost or get lucky. If you don't think Madoff was in on such deals, suppressed because of politics, you have a virtuous mind.  

    Had a nice weekend (none / 0) (#18)
    by Fabian on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 06:36:15 PM EST
    with my relatives.

    Missed all the fun.  Or not.

    Anyone mind telling me why I should enthusiastically support this cr@ptacular HRC bill?

    Surely not (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 09:00:40 PM EST
    enthusiastically, but grudgingly, I would say yes.

    We weren't (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 09:01:24 PM EST
    going to get something we could enthusiastiacally support.  Them's just the realities, alas.

    Very True (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by CoralGables on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 10:27:49 PM EST
    And living in reality is always far more productive than chasing rainbows.

    Wishing for rainbows is fine, but never shoot yourself (or others) in the foot by turning down movement in the right direction because it wasn't everything you had hoped for.

    Incremental steps are far superior when compared against years of no progress due to reaching beyond the possible.


    Yeah, women who don't want rights taken (5.00 / 3) (#29)
    by tigercourse on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 10:32:44 PM EST
    away are a bunch of unrealistic nutbags.

    WE WON!


    Wonder what the next "compromise" will (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by nycstray on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 11:08:23 PM EST
    be? Keep in mind . . . Obama does say that we can compromise on women's rights. In fact, didn't he campaign on it?

    Ahhhhhhhhh . . .  leadership.


    Nominations for SCOTUS. Count on it. (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by oculus on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 11:28:08 PM EST
    {head desk} (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by nycstray on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 11:40:42 PM EST
    sh*t. I temp forgot about that one . . .

    I suspect (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by CoralGables on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 11:38:10 PM EST
    the bill will be much less to your liking once it comes out of the Senate.

    From all I have been able to read, BTD looks to be correct in that rights remain the same as they were yesterday.

    The federal Medicaid program mandates abortion funding in cases of rape or incest, as well as when a pregnant woman's life is endangered by a physical disorder, illness, or injury. The new bill covers the same thing when funding is provided by the Federal Government.

    You may be unhappy more wasn't offered, but freedom of choice was not taken away.


    High Five Bro! (none / 0) (#30)
    by tigercourse on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 10:33:15 PM EST
    NYT on Stupak amendment et al.: (none / 0) (#34)
    by oculus on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 11:40:02 PM EST

    Five states go further than the amendment to the health care overhaul. The five -- Idaho, Kentucky, Missouri, North Dakota and Oklahoma -- already bar private insurance plans from covering elective abortions.

    The federal employees' health insurance plan and most state Medicaid programs also ban coverage of abortion, complying with a three-decade old ban on federal abortion financing. Seventeen state Medicaid programs, however, do cover the procedure, by using only state money.

    That Excerpt (none / 0) (#36)
    by CoralGables on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 12:41:36 AM EST
    is a good primer on where things were before yesterday.

    The only really silly line in the rest of the article is..."The provision would block the use of federal subsidies for insurance that covers elective abortions. Advocates on both sides are calling Saturday's vote the biggest turning point in the battle over the procedure since the ban on so-called partial birth abortions six years ago."

    In reality, nothing happened in the area of elective abortion at all. Both sides are puffing about gains or loses when in fact nothing changed at all.


    Am I incorrect in concluding no state (none / 0) (#37)
    by oculus on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 12:50:38 AM EST
    may now permit Medicaid to receive abortion pd. for by state funds not obtained from federal government?  According to the article, some states do provide Medicaid recipients w/state-funded abortions. If I am correct, I read this as a large change for the worse for freedom of choice.  

    Not only Medicaid (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by jbindc on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 07:30:36 AM EST
    ANY insurance company that receives federal funding (i.e. is part of the exchange) may not cover abortion-related services. So, if Blue Cross is part of the exchange, it too may not cover such services.


    The beneficiary of this impasse was Stupak, an outspoken abortion-rights opponent whom the leadership had tried to circumvent, in order to pick up the votes he claimed to represent. After months of stalemate, the speaker was forced to accept language Stupak first drafted over the summer that would bar any insurance company that participates in the exchange -- including the government option -- from offering insurance plans that would cover abortions.

    "Normally, at the end of the day, you're arguing over fine-tuning," said an aide whose boss was involved in the negotiations. "But this is a sizable change to current policy. So everyone was kind of stunned."

    For more than a decade, the Hyde amendment has prohibited the federal government from paying for abortions through any existing government program. The law needs to be reauthorized each year as part of the appropriations process, but the two sides had come to something of a détente.

    The health care fight, however, disrupted that balance, and a big bloc of anti-abortion Democrats were threatening to derail the entire bill unless party leaders agreed to stronger restrictions the church could accept. Since mid-September, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer had been working closely with Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D-Ind.) to craft language that would thread what proved to be an impossible needle.

    Ellsworth, in consultation with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, was trying to amend legislation passed out of the Energy and Commerce Committee to make sure insurance companies that receive federal funds under the programs created by the bill don't use any of that money to pay for abortions.

    By Thursday, Ellsworth, who was working closely with Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) realized the church wouldn't accept anything less than a version of Hyde, so he and his staff started working on a version the bishops could accept, aides said.

    No reply from CG? (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by Cream City on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 07:58:10 AM EST
    Who keeps saying that nothing changed yesterday.  As if just saying it enough will persuade us.  CG totally misses the significance, but maybe it's just nice to be in CG's head and be so happy.

    I saw no reason to reply (none / 0) (#59)
    by CoralGables on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 08:55:49 AM EST
    as it just confirms what has already been stated. There will be no federal funding for elective abortions, but there will be in cases of rape, incest, or when a pregnant woman's life is endangered by a physical disorder, illness, or injury. This has been in place, and renewed in similar form, every year since the Hyde Amendment was passed.

    So in spite of creating your own version of reality, in regard to abortion, absolutely nothing has changed. Women are free to choose just as much today as they were yesterday, and how the bill is paid is exactly the same today as it was yesterday. Nothing gained, nothing lost.

    Show me where anything is taken away concerning a woman's right to choose, and I'll be happy to change my stance.


    read up on the provisions (none / 0) (#61)
    by Cream City on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 09:17:43 AM EST
    that extend the Hyde Amendment into private insurance.

    And of course nothing legally changed Saturday with a bill still in process and not law.  It's just so cute to keep putting it that way.  But it's also just tone-deaf to ignore that change is not just legal, and that it was the surfacing of a sea change toward women's rights.  I suppose that all the tidal signs last year also were nothing to note for you.  Fine; you do still have the right to ignore the signs.

    And you still have the right to tell others that they're stupid to see the signs for what they are.  But we still have the right to ignore you, then.


    Again, no (none / 0) (#64)
    by jbindc on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 09:24:38 AM EST
    ANY insurance compmany that receives ANY money from the government will not be allowed to cover abortions.

    That's VERY different than what is the status quo.


    Wrong (none / 0) (#75)
    by CoralGables on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 02:49:50 PM EST
    it means an individual insurance policy that uses federal funds towards payment cannot cover elective abortion.

    Here's an overview for ya (none / 0) (#68)
    by nycstray on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 10:48:31 AM EST
    The Stupak Amendment, if incorporated into the final version of health insurance reform legislation, will:

        * Prevent women receiving tax subsidies from using their own money to purchase private insurance that covers abortion;
        * Prevent women participating in the public health insurance exchange, administered by private insurance companies, from using 100 percent of their own money to purchase private insurance that covers abortion;
        * Prevent low-income women from accessing abortion entirely, in many cases.


    I guess the question is (none / 0) (#70)
    by CST on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 11:07:20 AM EST
    who is worse off if this passes?

    • there are currently no tax subsidies at all for anyone - so people who need tax subsidies either do not have this coverege anyway, or are spending their own money and can opt-out of tax subsidies keeping the status quo.

    • again, currently no health insurance exchange, people can keep status quo.

    • finally, this already exists.

    The one difference I see is the mandate, if you are gonna force people to pay a fine for not having something, they should be able to choose what they are purchasing.

    The trade-off for me becomes mandate for amendment.

    But then again, I was never a big fan of the mandate...


    But the idea (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 11:18:26 AM EST
    of this "health care reform" is to increase affordability of health insurance.  Premiums are going to increase through the roof if this mess passes and many women will be forced to take the subsidies....

    Passing the bill ensures that the status quo CANNOT be adhered to in many cases.


    I don't agree (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by CST on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 12:11:30 PM EST
    with that premise.  First off, premiums are already increasing/through the roof, so to me, that's kind of the status quo.  Second, the cost of covering existing conditions will be offset by the huge pool of uninsured youger folk that are forced in.

    I do think however that mandating people buy something that refuses to cover their needs is the real problem here.  


    I'll be PO/Exchange eligible (none / 0) (#72)
    by nycstray on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 11:38:31 AM EST
    so my "choice" will be to buy into something I do not support (discrimination against women) or buying insurance I can't afford. Nice work there . . .

    This is just so disgusting . . .


    I am incensed that this was (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by Anne on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 09:17:41 AM EST
    done in consultation with the Catholic church, which has NO BUSINESS getting involved in a matter that concerns a woman's legal right to make her own reproductive choices.

    I get that there have been restrictions within Medicaid since the Hyde Amendment, but to further restrict women from having this coverage under any private policy offered in the exchange, even if they use their own funds, is a major change.

    And I think it's only going to get worse from here on out.


    Because if it faces a court challenge (none / 0) (#62)
    by Cream City on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 09:18:24 AM EST
    we have a Supreme Court that is two-thirds Catholic.

    Yeah, but (none / 0) (#63)
    by jbindc on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 09:23:38 AM EST
    I'm Catholic and outraged by this.  Not all Catholics think alike when it comes to abortion and women's reproductive freedoms.

    Do they have any Catholics like that (none / 0) (#65)
    by Anne on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 09:45:23 AM EST
    on the Supreme Court?  

    The question for me is Sotomayor; she's been touted as pro-choice, but I can't say that I have all confidence she will reliably hold the line.

    If Stupak makes it into the final bill, and it passes, I expect some kind of legal challenge to it, so I think the composition of the Court matters.  Considering that the legislation would not go into effect for at least three years, there is a distinct possibility that there could be two new justices in place by then, replacing Stevens and Ginsburg.

    I just have this queasy feeling that someday in the not-too-distant future, we may be looking back at this and realizing this was when it all changed, contrary to the chorus of dismissive voices assuring us now that "nothing" had changed.


    It's an interesting question (none / 0) (#66)
    by Cream City on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 10:13:44 AM EST
    re Sotomayor.  I wasn't able to find clear indication of what her Catholicism means to her -- and potentially to the law.  In general, too, it's hard to call re Hispanic Catholicism.  In some cases, it apparently can mean fairly rigid adherence.  However, a friend who is a priest in a Hispanic parish (not Hispanic himself) sees the fast growth of the Hispanic community in this country as the hope of a return to Catholicism of the John XXIII sort -- social justice Catholicism.

    All that said, what I really found was no indication that Sotomayor's approach would be anything but, first and foremost, that of a lawyer and legal scholar.


    I'll check again (none / 0) (#40)
    by CoralGables on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 01:36:06 AM EST
    but I am under the assumption that the new bill and it's elective abortion restrictions deal with federal funding in the same way that is now listed in medicaid. Those few states that actually provide state funding could continue to provide for the procedure using state funds as they have done in the past.

    Said state laws must be unconstitutional... (none / 0) (#45)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 02:53:43 AM EST
    Who knew that ID, KY, MO, ND and OK had cooked up this malfeasance:
    Five states go further than the [current] amendment to the health care overhaul - they already bar private insurance plans from covering elective abortions.
    How in the world did these states manage to implement legislation that expressly required private health insurance companies to deny coverage for any legal medical procedure? Let alone, abortion, which the Supreme Court (in Roe v. Wade) deemed to be:
    a fundamental right under the United States Constitution, thereby subjecting all laws attempting to restrict it to the standard of strict scrutiny.

    Obviously, there was no "strict scrutiny" in ID, KY, MO, ND and OK: health insurance executives colluded with state legislators and profited from infringing upon a "fundamental human right". I know the Constitution is in tatters, but still you'd think something like this would have garnered a boat-load of hot-button buzz, at the very least.


    Ezra Klein, 11/06/09. Excerpt: (none / 0) (#38)
    by oculus on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 01:12:54 AM EST
    The abortion argument is centered on a pretty small, and slightly absurd, dispute: how best to cordon off federal funds. Under a compromise suggested by Rep. Brad Ellsworth, for instance, the public plan would hire a private contractor to pay abortion providers. The end result here is likely to be a complicated system in which insurers document that abortions were paid for through the funds that the individual contributed, as opposed to the subsidies. It's all a bit absurd, but it's workable.

    A crate of rotten tomatoes (none / 0) (#51)
    by Fabian on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 04:20:49 AM EST
    for Mister Deliberately Obtuse.

    Moral of House HCR plus Stupak: (none / 0) (#39)
    by oculus on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 01:25:45 AM EST
    read Digby each and every day.

    Oct. 28

    OT oculus (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by ruffian on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 02:43:24 AM EST
    but I found out about cherry blossom season in Japan for you. (I think it was you that asked) .Best time is late March-early April. That jibes with what I remember, since i just missed it one other time I was here.  I would love to come back for it sometime. Must be spectacular in the Iwakuni  area where I was. There is a beautiful old bridge there known as the Kintai Bridge, with a cherry blossom lane and park next to it. I'd love to see it in bloom.

    Sitting here at Kansai airport, Osaka, waiting for my flight. Getting my ipod charged up and using the internet station, and reading about health care reform. Perhaps the Starbucks was a mistake pre-flight, but the baristas were so nice when I bought my traditional souvenir mug for my collection I could not resist the free espresso. They mistakenly thought I speak Japanese well because I can say arigato gozimas with the right inflection. Can't spell it though - or say much of anything else!


    Thanks. The only thing I learned to say (none / 0) (#46)
    by oculus on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 02:55:52 AM EST
    in Japanese was "arigato."  And smile alot.

    Beautiful photos of the bridge.  


    Does the new bill sit with the (none / 0) (#41)
    by nycstray on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 01:53:25 AM EST
    new plank?

    The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v Wade and a woman's right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.The Democratic Party also strongly supports access to affordable family planning services and comprehensive age-appropriate sex education which empower people to make informed choices and live healthy lives. We also recognize that such health care and education help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for abortions. The Democratic Party also strongly supports a woman's decision to have a child by ensuring access to and availability of programs for pre and post natal health care, parenting skills, income support, and caring adoption programs.

    You forget that this is Obama's (5.00 / 2) (#56)
    by Anne on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 07:27:15 AM EST
    Democratic Party now - the one where words are what matter most and we should ignore when the party's actions are inconsistent with those words.

    We saw this with the pre-election FISA bill, didn't we?  Days and weeks of saying that he didn't support it, that he would take part in a filibuster of it, and then, when push came to shove, he voted for it.  And his justification?  It was...the best we could do.  We...didn't understand.  We...didn't know what he knew.  He would...fix it later.

    State secrets, torture, transparency, the lobbyists - the list goes on.  Pretty, but empty, rhetoric.

    I would bet you a basket of fresh veggies that he would find nothing inconsistent in the platform vis-a-vis Stupak - of course, he supports the platform, but...[insert here all the "reasons" why we "had to" accept Stupak].

    All that mattered was passing "something;" I'm sure he's committed to pressuring for "fixing" this in conference...or maybe not.  


    Sen./candidate Obama sd. (none / 0) (#67)
    by oculus on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 10:40:36 AM EST
    he would "support" a filibuster re FISA revise.  Did not say he would participate.

    Oh, dear - my bad. (none / 0) (#69)
    by Anne on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 10:49:16 AM EST
    I keep forgetting that Obama's all about the cerebral, not the physical.

    I may have to start calling him The Under Armor President, seeing as he's all about the support.


    Translated: If others (none / 0) (#73)
    by Cream City on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 11:54:13 AM EST
    have guts and do the heavy lifting, I will get out the teleprompter and go the Rose Garden and say it was their finest hour (but take the credit for it).

    Really, what we witnessed -- such as a Democrat leading the way with a very Republican amendment, and a fourth of the Democrats in the House voting for it -- was the Democratic Party's "finest hour," unquote from Obama in the Rose Garden yesterday?

    Well, maybe the new Democratic Party's -- but not the party I knew, the one that had so many truly fine hours in the past.


    Complete disconnect. Maybe (none / 0) (#43)
    by oculus on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 02:08:19 AM EST
    women should apply to DNC if they need help paying for abortion.

    More like complete mendacity. (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 02:58:36 AM EST
    Perfect story for TL baseball fans (none / 0) (#49)
    by Manuel on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 03:37:49 AM EST
    Michael Lewis writes an interesting story about Cuban baseball.  It even includes crime and politics.

    "Perfect story for TL baseball fans." (none / 0) (#76)
    by oculus on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 02:59:16 PM EST
    Criminal defendant illegally used a client's money.  Client sd. ok with him, even though he didn't know about it.  Jury convicts defendant.  Lawyer disagrees.