Friday, November 6, 2009

A Warrior's Honor

In Book II of Vergil's epic poem, the Aeneid, King Priam of Troy says to Pyrrhus, who has just slaughtered Priam's son before his very eyes in front of an altar, "You lie when you say that Achilles was your father, for Achilles was never an enemy like this."

He is, of course, referring to Achilles, the great hero of Homer's epic poem, the Iliad. Achilles was many things, but there was no question of his honor as a warrior. It is important for us to see the tragedy at Ft. Hood in its starkest light. The madman coward who murdered his brothers-in-arms was no Achilles. He lacked all honor. To read more in this vein, see my post "A Warrior's Rage" at Bedlam or Parnassus.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Government Takeover of Health Care

On October 29, 2009, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and congressional Democrats released their latest version of a government takeover of America’s health care system.

∙ The Democrats’ Affordable Health Care for America Act (H.R. 3962) is the antithesis of patient-centered reform that empowers Americans to truly own and control their health coverage and provides more choices, more competition, more innovation, higher quality and lower costs.

∙ In deciphering the ins and outs of the new health care system, Americans will have to get familiar with a host of new czars and bureaucrats, including the Health Benefits Advisory Committee (Sec. 223), the Health Choices Administration and the Health Choices Commissioner (Sec. 241).

∙ Americans can say goodbye to personal, private insurance as individual health insurance coverage is grandfathered out of existence (Sec. 202) and more limitations are added to health savings accounts (Sec. 531 & Sec. 533).

∙ Fears of government-run health care are alive and well with experts saying the government health insurance plan (Sec. 321) will force tens of millions out of their existing coverage.

∙ The U.S. Constitution and the principle of limited government are tested as never before by forcing Americans to purchase “acceptable” health care coverage or face a tax of 2.5% of modified adjusted gross income (Sec. 501).

∙ Trial lawyers get off scot-free as Democrats pay lip service to real medical malpractice reform, opting to hand over money for lawyer-friendly “alternatives” (Sec. 2531) instead of limiting attorneys’ fees or capping damages.

∙ Washington goes after employers, by mandating they provide health care coverage or pay a tax equal to 8 percent of wages (Sec. 512), and S Corp filers, by instituting a 5.4 percent surtax on taxpayers (Sec. 551).

∙ More low-income individuals (now up to 150% of the federal poverty level) will be pushed onto the rolls of Medicaid (Sec. 1701) leaving already over-stretched State Governments to pick up the tab.

∙ Future costs will be borne by your children and grandchildren. A preliminary analysis by the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the true cost of the bill is $1.055 trillion.

∙ It permits federal funds to be spent on abortion services (Sec. 222).

∙ Community organizations like ACORN may assist the Health Choices Commissioner in enrolling individuals in the Health Insurance Exchange (Sec. 305).

∙ Members of Congress are not subject to the same health care system Americans will have to live by under the public health insurance option (Sec. 330).