Reform and revolt

March 24, 2010 1:37:09 PM PDT
And you thought the debate over health care reform was fierce before the vote! Man oh man, is the vitriol and anger abundant.

Just want to get this right. The argument from those vehemently opposed to guaranteeing health insurance to 30 million uninsured Americans is that the federal government shouldn't be dictating what people should or shouldn't do. That's up to the states to do.

And these opponents point to car insurance as the benchmark comparison: It's the states that require car insurance, not the feds.

But the feds require Social Security contributions, and Medicare withholding, and the federal income tax, and civil rights, and... where do I stop?

That doesn't make Pres. Obama a socialist. To be that, he'd have to believe in the public ownership of the means of production. And that's not what Mr. Obama is proposing. Even when he was pushing the public option, it wasn't to take over the health insurance industry. It was only to offer some competition to the insurers who have increasingly enjoyed their less-competitive world.

That, it seems to me, makes him more of a capitalist than a socialist; a believer in ensuring competition.

Anyway, the anger is out there by people who don't want the government telling them they have to have health insurance. Some of these same people also don't want the feds telling them they have to register their firearms. Ironically, these are not the wealthy people who don't have to worry about paying for health care (or about security); these are often the very people who could most benefit from expanded coverage.

And they will.

Will these same people be angry over the requirement - hidden in the legislation - for fast food and chain restaurants to include calorie counts on menus? Many cities and states already require it, and now the health care provision in the federal law includes it. Is it the facts that annoys these people ("Golly, I didn't know this bacon cheeseburger was so fattening!") or the Big Brother implications?

If it's the former, wake up and smell the saturated fat. If it's the latter, where were all these people when we went in search of weapons of mass destruction that the government in fact knew didn't exist in Iraq?

A host of legal hurdles might have to be navigated before this complicated legislation slowly evolves. I say slowly because some of the provisions will take years to become mandatory. Tonight at 11, we're going to look at the potential obstacles (a group of doctors in New Jersey filed suit today in federal court, trying to nullify the law), and take a closer look at some of the people who will benefit from the legislation - especially those with pre-existing conditions.

Also at 11, a bizarre story, and you can see civil libertarians lining up on this one: A man from Brooklyn, riding in the back seat of an SUV on the Southern State Parkway on Long Island, faces charges for watching "pornography" on a mounted DVD player.

Apparently, a State Trooper pulled alongside the SUV and saw the pictures. No word on how long he traveled parallel before pulling the car over.

And finally, yes I know the difference between Seminole and seminal ? but you wouldn't know it from reading this space yesterday. Haste makes waste proves just as wise advice today as it did when your mom said it to you years ago.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER


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