Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Repealing the Affordable Care Act is a Bad Idea

Update: Find out how repeal or denial of funding will impact people in your Congressional District: Go to http://democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/index.php?q=news/impact-of-repealing-health-care-reform

Tomorrow, the US House of Representatives Republicans led by Republican Majority Leader John Boehner will vote on the repeal of health reform -- moving to end the law that keeps insurance companies in check.

If the health care law is repealed or gutted by denial of funding, insurers could return to denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions, pursuing profits with no accountability, raising rates arbitrarily on families and businesses and canceling coverage when people get sick. Insurers could once again focus on promoting their own financial health at the expense of those seeking care.

And with repeal estimated to add $230 billion to the deficit over the next 10 years, the Republicans' first agenda item delays our economic recovery and does nothing to create jobs.

Repealing the Affordable Care Act is bad for our health, our economy, and our country.

What you can do:
Call your Representative in Congress to let him or her know that, as an Involved Voter, you are against repeal, and that you're counting on them to protect the Affordable Care Act, regardless of party affiliation.

According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, repealing the Affordable Care Act will add hundreds of billions to the deficit, increase costs for those who are covered, and result in 32 million fewer people receiving coverage. Health reform continues to provide greater freedom and control in our health care choices -- it's no surprise most Americans oppose repeal.

Chances are the Affordable Care Act is already benefiting you or someone you know.
It is at work for you:
-- If you're a senior who fell into the "donut hole" of prescription drug coverage and needed help covering that cost;
-- If you're a young adult who can benefit from staying on your parents' insurance until age 26;
-- If you've ever worried about your insurer dropping your coverage unexpectedly if you or someone on your policy gets sick or injured;
-- If you're a small-business owner trying to compete with large employers while providing insurance to your employees; or
-- If you're a taxpayer worried about the national deficit.

It took two years of debate and compromise for the 111th Congress to pass the Affordable Care Act. Please let your Representative know you think undoing that work and restoring free rein to the insurance companies is a bad idea.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Time for Healing

I'm passing along this post from Steve Benen at The Washington Monthly. It highlights some of the parts of President Obama's remarks at last night's remembrance in Tuscon that most inspired me as an Involved Voter.

"Those who died here, those who saved life here -- they help me believe," he said. "We may not be able to stop all evil in the world, but I know that how we treat one another, that's entirely up to us."
"We recognize our own mortality, and we are reminded that in the fleeting time we have on this Earth, what matters is not wealth, or status, or power, or fame -- but rather, how well we have loved and what small part we have played in making the lives of other people better.

"And that process -- that process of reflection, of making sure we align our values with our actions -- that, I believe, is what a tragedy like this requires.

"For those who were harmed, those who were killed -- they are part of our family, an American family 300 million strong. We may not have known them personally, but surely we see ourselves in them."

Benen went on to say:

At a fundamental level, I just like the idea of an American family. As we've seen over the last five days, we bicker and shout, and we often struggle to get along, but the threads that tie us together are stronger than we sometimes realize.

Or as the president put it, "As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility. Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let's use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy and remind ourselves of all the ways that our hopes and dreams are bound together....I believe that for all our imperfections, we are full of decency and goodness, and that the forces that divide us are not as strong as those that unite us."

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Being Faithful to the U.S. Constitution

The 112th Congress opened with a reading of almost the entire U.S. Constitution. (Parts of the original seven articles in 1789 Constitution referring to slavery were omitted from the reading. Slavery was abolished in 1865 when Amendment XIX was ratified.)

Involved Voters who want to understand the U.S. Constitution better should consider reading Keeping Faith with the Constitution (Liu, Karlan, Schroeder; Oxford University Press, 2010). The book describes a "constitutional fidelity" approach to the document and lays out the limitations of "originalist" and "strict construction" approaches.

In the words of the great Chief Justice John Marshall, our Constitution is "intended to endure for ages to come, to be adapted to the various crises of human affairs." To preserve the meaning and authority of the Constitution and keep it a living document, it's necessary to add precedent, historical experience, practical consequences and societal change to attempts to determine the original understanding of the text.

As the book's authors point out, the U.S. Constitution contains "the basic structure of government and some of its important procedures while expressing our commitment to certain core values: liberty, equality, and democracy."

A "constitutional fidelity" approach brings advances such as Amendment XIX (ratified in 1920) which states:
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Such an amendment is faithful to the core Constitutional values of liberty, equality, and democracy, but is not something those relying solely on the original intent of the Framers of the 1789 Constitution would make a case for.

The U.S. Constitution has been successful in preserving our nation because it is flexible enough to allow government to adjust as its citizens progress toward including all human beings in their vision of liberty, equality, and democracy.