Category Archives: Supreme Court

Behind the healthcare debate

All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida

Long last, the decision everyone was waiting for. The Supreme Court voted 5 – 4 on Thursday to uphold President Obama’s healthcare law, the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA).

Since ACA was signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010, quite a few very important parts have already gone into effect.

• Providing small business health insurance Tax Credit

• Relief for millions of seniors in the Medicare Prescription Drug “Donut Hole”

• Providing access to insurance for uninsured Americans w/ pre-existing conditions

• Extended coverage for young adults to stay on parent’s plan till age 26

• Providing free preventative care

• Eliminating lifetime limits

• Prohibiting denying coverage of children based on pre-existing conditions

• Prescription drug discounts

• Free preventive care for seniors

Much of this has been overshadowed and misunderstood due to continuous debates and the ongoing effort to repeal the entire Affordable Care Act better known as, “Obamacare”.

The Republican Campaign in 2010 focused greatly on a total repeal, signing pledges and stating their mission if elected would be this repeal and making sure Obama was a one term President.

As they campaigned, it wasn’t about what they could do to improve our nation, their states or what jobs they would actually focus on once they were seated in Washington. Their focus was on what they could undo and how they could use tactics to somehow tarnish Obama’s first term in office to hopefully make it his only term in office.

The way this Congress has been operating is exactly the way the 2010 candidates presented themselves during their campaigns. They ran on misinformation, desperation and what became a popular and easy idea because of them, REPEAL!

What did the American people get? Voter’s remorse maybe? But, a large number of Americans are also getting insurance benefits they did not have and that is due to the Affordable Care Act these same Republicans have and are still trying to in some way repeal.

As the Supreme Court’s decision came in, it was clear there would be statements from both sides. This debate has gone on for this long and is a topic that not only has an effect on the lives of so many Americans but has also caused such an ongoing divide amongst a large number of individuals as well. The idea of that should be troubling but it seems to be feeding an ongoing debate that often times the media is playing into.

The divisions are often based on misunderstandings of the law or due to social and economical differences. These differences are not new and often come up in other issues as well. The idea is to bridge gaps not feed into the source causing them.

The first need is to understand what the Affordable Care Act is and what it is not. Stay informed.

The second thing is to not only consider the needs of the American people now but also in the future. Understand that things happen in life that people could never plan on.

Example: One day, without notice a person can suffer a massive heart attack, have a stroke or be diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, cancer or come down chronically ill with something that makes them unable to work, continue day to day activity or even be given the news they are facing death. Most people do not want to think this can happen to them and certainly one would hope this doesn’t happen to anyone.

When something like this occurs however, life takes a dramatic turn. Suddenly the focus is on the illness, treatments, doctor and hospital visits and most everything else is on the back burner. This is a time of extreme uncertainty.

This situation happens all across America, everyday. This affects working families, single income families with or without insurance, every economic level, any race, any religion and at any time.

Things that should not be happening are insurance companies taking advantage of people getting sick by denying treatments and/or medications ordered by the doctor, hiking up rates on patients because they are receiving treatment and/or setting annual or lifetime dollar limits on a patient’s coverage.

These tactics make medical cost for insured patients unaffordable. They also shouldn’t be able to deny someone coverage because they happened to survive their heart attack, stroke, cancer or are living with asthma, diabetes or other illnesses they consider to be “pre-existing”.

Everyone should agree to this. That is simple.

Healthcare is a must for everyone. It shouldn’t depend on your age, your economic status or whether you are coming down sick or in really serious condition. A person is more likely to stay behind their health with health insurance than without. Chronic conditions need to be managed or they can become life-threatening. Many viruses could be better managed if more people received flu shots and many conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol could be kept under control before more serious conditions arose due to either a person not knowing about the condition or the lack of available treatment.

Overall, people do not like getting sick, enjoy feeling better even if they may dislike or are nervous to visit a doctor.

Soon after the Supreme Court’s decision, Mitt Romney made a statement. Part of his statement was this. “If we want to get rid of Obamacare, we’re going to have to replace President Obama. My mission is to make sure we do exactly that. That we return to the American people the privilege they’ve always had to live their lives in the way they feel most appropriate. Where we don’t pass on to coming generations massive deficits and debt, where we don’t have a setting where jobs are lost.”

The problem with that statement is a great number of people are not able to live the way they feel “appropriate” or even acceptable. Many people have to decide between getting prescriptions filled or to putting gas in the car, paying utility bills or buying groceries. A large number of families have lost homes due to medical bills or living expenses while overseeing a loved one’s medical care. Others skip going to the doctor at all together because often times they can’t afford the visit, are without insurance coverage, or the deductibles have become so large due to adjustments made trying to bring the monthly premium down.

On the idea of passing down “deficit and debts, plenty of Americans have taken out multiple mortgages on homes to pay for medical cost and/or cover expenses for time out of work during medical treatments for themselves or their loved one. That is a huge financial crisis for a family and a burden that will pass along to their children most likely.

Often times it is said that to know what someone else is going through, you’d have to walk a mile in their shoes. It shouldn’t take a mile or a “pair of shoes”. This isn’t about Republicans or Democrats, winners or losers and it isn’t about the rich or the poor or the ones in the middle.

This is about all Americans and humanity.

It is also about looking ahead and being prepared.

A person or a family should not have to go broke to take care of medical expenses.

More sadly, a family shouldn’t have to lose a home while going through the loss of a loved one.

Anyone should be able to take their child to the doctor and receive quality care when they are ill.

Everyone should be able to receive quality care for chronic illnesses and not worry they may be dropped from their insurance company because they are sick.

When a family or anyone is facing a tragedy, our Country should have in place a system that shows we are a Nation with high quality care and we value each Citizen as well as our morals, unity and integrity. It should be a standard we set and a statement we are proud to stand by. It shouldn’t be an issue fought over in Washington but instead a value protected year after year.

After all, looking after the American people is their job and our future.

Arizona is just the beginning…. Watch Out!

Has Arizona’s crime problem come to the point they need to take the law into their own hands? That is the question. That is not the only thing really going on here though. There is so much more under the surface of what is going on. This is like a long line of dominoes and the longer “Arizona” is able to continue lining up those dominoes without having a stop put to it before they all fall down, the worse the situation can get.

Let me explain.

Arizona is saying their biggest problem is the border and the immigrants, actually the illegal immigrants coming across that border. It can’t be denied the illegal immigration is a problem and what the United States has done to this point hasn’t been working. The question here is what is Arizona’s reason behind this law? What are their future plans? What comes after this law has been in effect for a while? Read on.

Governor Jan Brewer signed the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, otherwise known as Arizona SB1070 on April 23, 2010.  If you haven’t read the law, I urge you to do so. Not to get a negative or positive opinion of it but the knowledge of what the law says and stands for. Most people are hearing about the law, talking about the law but haven’t read the law.

Certain parts can be explained about the law, for example; the law says a person can only be asked for their identification if they have been pulled over in a traffic incident or are already doing something wrong but if you read the law closely, parts of it are directed toward a certain group of laborers as well. These laborers are most always immigrant laborers, legal or illegal. It is directed. It is also directed at those that will be in the country over 30 days whether visiting or on a study visa or there for whatever reason, they have to register (which I am fine with that) and have their I.D. on them at all times. If for whatever reason they are with someone or in a situation and they are asked for that I.D. and they don’t have it, then they risk being arrested? Let me point out that this is for anyone that looks fits the image they are saying could be an illegal immigrant. This person could be a fourth or fifth generation U.S. Citizen. You can look Hispanic and not even be Hispanic. You can be Hispanic and not even look Hispanic. You see the loopholes here?

The idea here for Arizona, they say, is to find illegal immigrants but they haven’t said how they are going to handle the people that just don’t walk around with their I.D. Think about it. If you look like who they are looking for which in this case is “Illegal Mexicans” and I don’t get that either because Mexico itself has citizens that have diverse look? I don’t know, I guess Arizona’s government and police know who they are looking for. However, in either traveling or living how many times do you go places without your I.D.? Well, legal or not, you better make sure you have it on you in Arizona or just don’t visit Arizona.

The second problem is this. The Arizona Governor is making it sound like the majority of crime is being caused by the same people they are hoping to “root out” by this law. So, she makes it sound like these are ruthless individuals, gangs and members of drug cartels. Could this not be something that could turn out to be dangerous and violent for the police and the citizens of Arizona? What happens if something occurs during one of these situations where an officer is trying to prove immigration status? Someone reaches in their shirt or pocket for their I.D. and an officer thinks they are pulling out a weapon and shoots the individual? Then come to find out, the person had no weapon and was actually a Mexican-American Citizen with no weapon? What is the next step? Have they already thought ahead to a worse-case-scenario? If I have thought of this, they must have. It is their state and the safety of their citizens they say. Mind you, their citizens include Mexican immigrants that have lived there for generations. Their safety alongside everyone else’s is the priority of this law, is it not? What would be the next step? How would they make it more clear or visible who is a legal immigrant or an illegal immigrant? You know “safer” for everyone involved. That is what Arizona is after, right? Are they going to ask for anyone that looks Hispanic to wear their I.D. around their neck? This is beginning to sound a little familiar. But, I can see it going there just by the way things would be playing out in the different case-scenarios. They aren’t really too far off base to me. I mean it is a touchy situation for everyone involved when you put it in a State Government’s hands.

At this moment many Hispanics are saying they don’t want to go into Arizona to visit due to the new law and others are moving out due to this new law going into effect. At the same time, the attention this law has brought about has had its own “Silver Lining” according to one News Article that points out how some Mexicans are seeing a group of Americans standing up against the SB1070 law including President Obama. The numbers go both ways with a large group of Americans supporting the law and other Americans standing against the law. This has definitely been something that has seemed to “draw a line in the sand” when it comes to debating how people feel when it comes to immigration reform laws.

As far as politicians, this is like Hot Potato. Some want to jump on board and go with one idea and others don’t want anything to do with it especially now with elections so close. Although Republican Barry Wong, a candidate for the Arizona Corporation Commission, an elected body that decides public utility issues came up with an idea of cutting electricity, water, natural gas, even telephone lines at the homes of illegal immigrants, he said it would lower costs for the rest of the state’s customers.

The idea of taking away basic necessities from someone, even kids is something I can’t personally see anyone thinking would further their political career but how dare someone believe that is even remotely okay something like that when it comes to human rights? Cutting electricity and water wouldn’t be acceptable in a third world country. Has it come to that? Really?
Senator Russell Pearce, a Republican of Mesa Arizona says he wants to see the SB 1070 law mirrored across the U.S. He wants it to be the law of the land. He is working with representative in 18 other states to draft the legislation.

“It will be the law of the land,” Pearce said to a few hundred participating in a support rally for SB1070. “We’re not waiting on Washington, D.C.” He is backed by the Tea Party Movement.

Arizona’s immigration law makes it a state crime to be in the country illegally.

Arizona’s Border is more than Mexico. First and simply, Arizona borders Mexico, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas. That is geographically and visibly obvious. Whoever wants to come and go from those states is free to do so and whoever is in Arizona is free to come and go into those states. But Arizona is part of the U.S. and whatever goes on inside of Arizona affects all of the United States and all of its Citizens and it is having a great deal of affect on Mexico’s citizens. This is something that has been shown through not only our history but the history of the world. It is not always what you are doing but how you go about your actions.

Certainly there has been a problem with border control. Both the Mexican government and our government see that. Certainly things need to happen to fix that and it needs to have happened already, a long time ago. That is not the fault of the citizens of Arizona. That is not the fault of children that have been born here to parents that were here without their legal status. Arizona is also trying to turn over or rewrite the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.

14th Amendment: All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

This isn’t the first mention of changing a part of the U.S. Constitution or not agreeing with a very important part of our U.S. History and what we have fought for which is freedom and equality for all. If you remember just recently, Rand Paul’s speaking about the 1964’s Civil Rights Act.  First he stated that he believed private businesses should be able to say who they serve and do not serve but in an interview with Robert Siegel of All Things Considered on National Public Radio he states, “And to tell you the truth, I haven’t really read all through it because it was passed 40 years ago and hadn’t been a real pressing issue in the campaign, on whether we’re going for the Civil Rights Act.” What? How old is the U.S. Constitution? Is it just old material? Invalid? These documents have been fought for and are there for more than just a simple reason to be glanced at when someone gets a chance. Rand Paul thinks that the Civil Rights Act needs to be changed but hasn’t read it?

This is something that is new for a large group that we keep hearing from more and more these days. A group making a lot of noise and wanting to say how wrong things are going and how nothing is happening in Washington D.C. and the only way to fix it is to listen to them and get them in there so they can fix it. Once everybody hears their message and joins their rallies, follows their movement then things will go the right way. Finally things will work out. They have been saying that on and on for a long time on their news network, at their rallies, at their Tea Party Movements and yet they held office for eight years and left a mess. Now they want to say they have the answers and for everyone to move aside?

I mentioned earlier about the dominoes lining up and the longer they are allowed to line them up, the worse it gets. Well, that is what is going on in Washington. There are a lot of excuses as to why nothing can happen but why? There is a big need for Immigration Reform, right? Everyone knows that. It is not a simple problem. Who is making the most noise about it? The Republican Party. Who is blocking the progress on not only that but nearly anything that tries to get moved through the House and the Senate? Why is that? What are they waiting for? Again, they had eight years to get things done. How did Immigration Reform go during that time? Was the border safe then? Did this all just now start? If this is a problem, why can’t the Republican Party work with the current administration in the White House? Isn’t this for the good of the American people? Isn’t that what they are elected for? Or, is Arizona’s government doing this for political gain and the Republican Party doing this for political gain? Who is working for the American people? Even if they want political gain out of the situation, I am sure their constituents will see they were part of getting something done if they could do so without all the fuss. If they could make common sense speeches as to why Immigration Reform needs to move forward and how it will benefit the country and how it will benefit the country for both parties to work together to get the job done.

Like I said, Arizona borders more than Mexico. I talked about the physical border but this isn’t just about Arizona. Crime is everywhere in the U.S. Crime is not caused by a person’s nationality or their location. It is caused by the person. The person chooses to commit the crime. Many crimes are hate crimes. I talked about this in an earlier article, “Are you the “right” color?” Please click on the link and read the article. It is a very worthwhile article to read. It goes along with and discusses the problem in Arizona as well.

America is a great country, with a big land that was founded with many dreams. It seems that what America has been built on is falling right through our cracks. Those are our freedoms, our desire to grow and expand, to learn and invent and to leave behind something better than we found.

Our country has been run with a government from the beginning of its founding. It is our job to elect that government and in doing so we also elect to work with that government. When there are Bills in the House or the Senate continuously not getting passed due to party lines and this is the person you have voted for, it is time for you to rethink your vote. This is why things don’t happen in Washington D.C. This is where the things get bogged down. We are going to watch it with the Immigration Reform Act. This is where you matter, you make the difference. You make a choice. It isn’t your party, it is your vote.

What else is in our control? Arizona is not alone. Arizona isn’t at the top of the list for crime. Immigrants aren’t the reason crime has risen in the U.S. While the government is working on immigration, there is far more that needs attention.

In an article, “That’s how a lot of these shootings happen…over nothing” a former high school teacher in Chicago points out how abundant guns were in his school. In Chicago the Supreme Court ruled June 28th the ban on guns was unconstitutional. The teacher states how abundantly gun availability is and the students admit having to walk away from a hand fight knowing what it will lead to. It is a city basically held hostage to the knowledge of how many people are walking around with guns. They aren’t anywhere near a border.
What is your biggest fear? Who do you try to protect? Do you appreciate your freedoms?

Have you read the U.S. Constitution? Does it bother you that politicians would like to change it? Right now the parts they have mentioned trying to change may not affect you but what if they want to change something that does affect you? Then what? If one part can be changed, then another part can. I spoke about that also in the previous article I mentioned, “Are you the “right” color?” When you are talking about one person’s rights being taken away, you are also talking about the ability of your own rights being taken away.

So much of what I see going on in our nation today makes me think of what has gone on throughout our world in history. I keep asking myself how people can’t see the resemblance of past world horrors that can be repeated. I wrote a rather long article, “Will history repeat itself?” I always think that people would recognize something that would be so obviously similar before things would happen but this situation in Arizona and the fact that other states want to copy the law is just something that people are brushing off but it isn’t something that should be taken so lightly. People become desensitized to what is often hidden racism. It can be labeled as “law enforcement….safe neighborhood act” but it is what it is when it isn’t looking out for a person’s civil rights and human rights. People need to step back and put themselves in the shoes of others.

Stand up and get the representatives in Washington D.C. to do their job, stop hiding behind their party lines and vote to pass the Immigration Reform Act. Don’t leave it to the states to make up their own laws, their own rules and start trying to make changes to our Constitution. They don’t want Washington to work the way it is supposed to. They want it to continue to fail so they can continue to beat the same dead horse and tear this Nation apart piece by piece. Don’t vote in people that aren’t willing to work in Washington but want to just make their own rules and laws and tear apart our U.S. Constitution, our Land, our People and our Freedoms. Today you may be on one side of those rights they are taking away but tomorrow you may be on the other side.