Monday, March 29, 2010

A Civil War over health care?

President Obama signed the health care legislation he’d fought so hard for into law last week.

It was a bit of a disappointment if you believe, as I do, that affordable health care is a basic right that should be available to everyone, as it is in the rest of the civilized world.

Because this bill doesn’t really do it.

It does make some advances over our present system. It limits insurance companies’ ability to deny coverage base on a prior existing condition or cancel people’s coverage when they get sick. It extends insurance coverage to the majority of the nation’s currently uninsured through public insurance exchanges with subsidies for those who can’t afford coverage.

It also requires that everyone have health insurance, either through their employers, from a private company or through the exchanges.

Mandatory coverage was initially a Republican idea. The plan Mitt Romney oversaw as governor of Massachusetts has coverage mandates. It was trade off with the insurance industry, for losing their ability to refuse to insure those with pre-existing conditions.

But now the mandates have whipped up a frenzy among Republicans who – a few years too late to keep George W. Bush from wiretapping Americans and reading their e-mail without a warrant and suspending habeas corpus – have discovered that they love the Constitution.

And, they claim, that nothing in the Constitution gives the government the right to make you buy a product, like health insurance.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Rotten to the core

So now we have a budget.
It’s an ugly, ugly budget.

Granted, it’s not as bad as it could have been.

That’s because the Senate prevailed and scaled back some of the cuts that the House of Delegates and Gov. Bob McDonnell had proposed for public education. Still, with the cuts the legislature added and those in former Gov. Tim Kaine’s introduced budget, public education got hit for about $1.2 billion in the next biennial budget.

That’s more than a quarter of the $4.2 billion in reductions that had to be made due to declining state revenues.


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Monday, March 8, 2010

Are we living the thesis?

Remember Bob McDonnell’s thesis?
The one we were supposed to forget about?

The one where he said government should punish homosexuals and ban abortion and that working women were a threat to the family?

Remember how that was supposed to be just something he’d written back in his youth (he was in his 30s) and how what we were really supposed to look at was his record as a legislator and attorney general (dozens of bills co-sponsored dealing with social issues, none on job creation).

Because, as McDonnell said during his campaign for governor last year, it’s all about the economy. It’s not about divisive social issues. He was running as the smiling centrist, “Bob for Jobs” McDonnell.

The campaign tactic worked. McDonnell won in a landslide.

But if it was supposed to be a strategy for governing, McDonnell forgot to send Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli the memo. And the centrist stuff may have slipped the new governor’s mind as well.

Late last week, Cuccinelli sent a letter to the administrations and boards of visitors of the state’s public colleges and universities telling them they don’t have the authority to adopt personnel policies that protect gays and lesbians from discrimination in hiring or from harassment.

Let’s be clear about this, if you’re against protecting people from discrimination, that makes you pro-discrimination.

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