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COLUMN: Health care suit exercises freedom, but argument is no-win

Wednesday, July 14, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 1:55 p.m. CDT, Monday, August 2, 2010

I had a conversation last weekend about our lieutenant governor’s decision to sue the United States of America concerning the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Public Law No: 111-148.

I am glad he is suing. He may have valid point. However, I am also scared his lawsuit will destroy the Missouri Democratic Party, the Democratic National Committee and the Obama administration.

Peter Kinder, joined by the three other citizens, is not the only player in this field. At least 14 states are suing the federal government, calling the reform provision a violation of amendments 9 and 10 of the Constitution. Kinder is not suing on behalf of Missouri, but as a private individual.

Kinder is doing what every citizen has the right to do: addressing his grievances against the government for an act he feels is unconstitutional. I think it is great and cannot fault him for doing it. Yes, he is trying to make nice with the right-wing radicals and may be setting himself up for the next gubernatorial race, but he is doing something in the process, bringing the issue of health care back on the table.

Yes, I am supporting Kinder’s right to file such an action. However, we cannot lose the little reform we have gained.

Knowing the health insurance industry as well as I do, I can say two things concerning the future effects of health care reform:

  1. Insurance companies are in business to make money, not to provide social services like bandaging your boo-boos, and
  2. even with the new “reforms,” the health insurance industry will find a way to rip off the consumer.

As of Monday, Kinder’s filing was being challenged by Attorney General Chris Koster, who says that Kinder may have filed a portion of the complaint under his official title rather than a private citizen.

Yet, I am more concerned about Prop C and if it is a calculated attack to put the Obama administration in a truly no-win situation.

This Aug. 3 ballot issue reads, “Shall the Missouri Statutes be amended to: Deny the government authority to penalize citizens for refusing to purchase private health insurance or infringe upon the right to offer or accept direct payment for lawful health care services? Modify laws regarding the liquidation of certain domestic insurance companies?”

This is a states' rights issue and one that I believe Missouri cannot win. Article VI, Clause 2, the Supremacy Clause, says that federal law is the supreme law of the land.

If the United States Supreme Court rules that Public Law No: 111-148 is constitutional, and if Proposition C passes and is found invalid, the anti-federalist movements will have the boost they have been looking for. The president and all Democrats, progressives and liberals will have no place to go but out. The tea party movement and neo-conservatives will have enough ammunition to not only defeat the liberal and progressive movements in the 2010, '11 and '12 elections, but possibly for decades.

I am afraid the president has not played this one well. As soon as Obama thinks he has his opponents and detractors in "check" in that great chess game of politics, his opponents have him at "mate." It is a no-win situation.

As a twist to Koster’s actions against Kinder, the Attorney General’s Office is representing the legislature by defending it against a lawsuit seeking to remove Prop C from the ballot. The issue was heard by the Cole County District Court (Case number 10ac-cc00413) on Tuesday. As of this writing, a disposition has not been made.

It is the Great Conservative Battle Plan. The passage of Proposition C and similar referendums around the country may ring the political death knell for Obama and company. We have heard little concerning this issue and if the Democrats do not say something now, loud and clear, they will be in trouble.

On Aug. 4, I hope we will be talking about a victory and not planning a wake.

David Rosman is an award-winning editor, writer, professional speaker and college instructor in communications, ethics, business and politics. You can read more of David’s commentaries at InkandVoice.com and New York Journal of Books.


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Comments

John Schultz July 14, 2010 | 1:09 p.m.

If you believe that Prop C will not be upheld by courts, how will the passage of it and similar measures in other states bring about the great Democratic destruction you prophesy? I think the general displeasure of the populace who didn't approve of the healthcare reform bill's passage is more of a danger to Democrats in November than the possibility of it being overturned.

(Report Comment)
Virgil Sollozzo July 15, 2010 | 4:02 p.m.
This comment has been removed.
tom kelly July 15, 2010 | 5:45 p.m.

Who are you talking to Virgil? Did you forget your medication?

(Report Comment)
Thomas LoGrasso July 16, 2010 | 5:31 p.m.

How on earth did we get to the point where we are debating giving up our freedom and our liberty? The Founders would be astonished at our complacency. These two ideas have made us the greatest nation on the planet and many hundreds of thousands of Americans have given up their lives for these ideals. Yet here we are in this column ready to just give them over to a government filled with beaurocrats who care nothing about our individual right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is the individual American’s charity, ingenuity, creativity, morality and exceptionalism that makes our country the envy of the rest of the world. I want my kids and grandkids and yours to have the same opportunities that the Founders gave me. If this healthcare bill stands they will not. How about you Mr. Rossman?
Tom LoGrasso

(Report Comment)
Holly Henry July 24, 2010 | 6:24 p.m.

My concern about Prop C is that NO ONE seems to be talking at all about the part of the bill NOT related to the federal legislation. Who benefits from it and who pays if the state law changes are made? Passing Prop C is not going to stop the federal health care rules from going into effect and is not likely to stand as exempting Missouri from them either. That means that part of the bill is nothing more than a distraction. From what I can see, it's been an effective one given that even local newspapers are either not able to or not interested in investigating the potential impact a yes vote has given the OTHER part of the bill.

(Report Comment)
Barbara Green August 3, 2010 | 6:00 p.m.

If the "Opt Out" Prop C passes, I choose to "Opt Out" of the opting out. What's next? Each state choosing what to follow and what not to? We are the United States Of America, not individual countries.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking August 4, 2010 | 7:59 a.m.

" 1. Insurance companies are in business to make money, not to provide social services like bandaging your boo-boos,"

They do both. Fortune 500 gave the profit margin of the health insurance sector at 6.2 % in 2008. Removing this would not change the cost of insurance significantly.

and
"2. even with the new “reforms,” the health insurance industry will find a way to rip off the consumer."

I hope you don't mean that like it sounds. Insurance companies simply have to pay the bills. It is health care costs that make insurance premiums as expensive as they are, not insurance company profits or practices.

Why can't health care be like the 50's and 60's, when even people with no insurance could see a doctor without being wiped out financially? The short answer to that (and it's an oversimplified and unsatisfactory one) is that we've come to expect more of health care providers and they have more to offer us. It now means that most people must invest either personal or employer (or both) funds toward their future medical bills. Since most people don't want to do this on their own, they buy an insurance policy.

These companies negotiate better rates than most people would get on their own, and they have the advantage of a large customer base and funds, so you don't run out of money halfway through a difficult health problem. They do a fairly good job, all in all, and I fail to see why they are blamed for costs that are largely out of their control.

I have no conflict of interest here. I just don't find it productive to blame the insurance industry for the high cost of health care. Nothing in the health care reform bill addresses health care costs directly, and in fact, most of the factors that make health care so expensive are not things most of us would want the government messing with.

DK

(Report Comment)

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