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Comments about ‘Robert Bennett: Congress should reclaim its powers’

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Published: Monday, Aug. 19 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

Congress is so obsessed with doing nothing so that they can have clean hands next election, that yes, they had abdicated their role to the President. Power can not tolerate a vacuum. If someone refuses to take control, then someone else will take that control from them.

Obamacare is a great example. We hear weeping and wailing from one side of the isle. The vote 40 times that they don't like what has been done. It was up to them in the first place to fix the problems that everyone acknowledged. But they choose inaction as the "safe" way out. When they didn't act, someone else did. And of course it ended up in an unbalanced one sided legislation.

Leadership through abdication doesn't work. Voting no solves nothing. An active congress can be the engine for a leaner, more efficient, and more customer focused government. But they need to act, rather than grandstand and vote against everything.

Just my opinion.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

"I am not defending Obamacare. I voted against it. I believe it will make our health care situation worse, not better. I would be delighted to see it replaced by something that makes more sense."

And yet, as of this day, the GOP has STILL not penned replacement legislation. Yes, they have thrown out a tidbit here or there, but no actual proposed legislation. Big Difference.

I think most people believe that the GOP would like to kill Obamacare and keep the status quo.

Mountanman
Hayden, ID

JoeBlow. Maybe its because given its track record, the government has no business in the healthcare industry, the automobile industry, the post office industry or any other business. The government should mind its own business and keep its corrupt, inefficient and inept hands out of private businesses!

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

Mtnman,
Post office? That is provided for in the constitution.

"The government should mind its own business and keep its corrupt, inefficient and inept hands out of private businesses!"

That would be very doable if businesses were not allowed to bribe our govt officials. And if business leaders went to jail for their corruption.

If business would consistently act in an honorable, fair, and responsible way we would not need so many regulations.

Do you think chemical plants would not dump toxic waste in rivers if the govt was not involved?

Would hospitals allow people without insurance to die untreated if the govt (reagan) had not stepped in?

Would bank act responsibly, or would they take our economy to its knees in pursuit of maximum profits?

Leaving Business alone to do as it pleases would be disastrous.

Certainly govt oversteps its bounds often. And it is just as likely to be an R as it is a D.

Balance is the key.

Mountanman
Hayden, ID

Joe Blow, If you want the government to have its hands in everything, you would love Cuba.

Mountanman
Hayden, ID

And N.Korea. now there is a government run paradise!

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

This is the GOP's problem

I like the FDA. Not everything about it. Not every regulation is good. But without it, business would kill lots of people to save a penny or to make another buck.

I like the EPA. They do lots of good things. I don't agree with everything they do, but lots.

How about we look to have SOME government intervention without screaming Communism or Socialism or even becoming Cuba?

We can look to reform some of these agencies and strive to take advantage of what they do good and reduce the not so good.

But alas, that is not todays GOP. They want to shut down all govt agencies without contemplating the consequences.

It is that knee-jerk, all-or-nothing solution that scares off many people from that party of Reagan.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

Mr. Bennett, I too would be delighted to see ACA replaced by something that makes more sense. You had 18 years in Washington to accomplish that and did nothing. And that is the Republican answer: do nothing, while millions go uninsured, millions are bankrupted by the voracious insurance/healthcare industrial complex, and millions wait in ER's to get help for their crying children. If Republicans had an answer to all that, I imagine we would've heard more about it by now. But they don't. And you don't.

Mountanman
Hayden, ID

"How about we look to have SOME government intervention without screaming Communism or Socialism or even becoming Cuba."
Where is the line between government abuses and intervention? Now that is a discussion isn't it?

Mark B
Eureka, CA

M-man is trying to distract by ignoring JB's legitimate questions and flying off into fantasy. No, we are NOT Cuba or North Korea, but neither are we Somalia, where business heroes are actually just the top suppliers of bribes.

It's also a little surprising to see Bennett contradict the GOP plan of amassing executive branch power that was one of Cheney's proudest achievements. This was less than ten years ago. But the flip flop is easy to explain. The president is a (D), and so NOW Bennett pulls for Congressional power even though it is hopelessly split and incapable of meaningful action.

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

Have to defend Bennett on one point. He and D-Senator Wyden did develop a healthcare plan. An article at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, "An Examination of the Wyden-Bennett Health Reform Plan," lays it out. However, it didn't gain traction in Congress (or with the public), but it was a good faith effort.

Bennett is also right about earmarks. I think most people thought earmarks were additional spending in and of themselves--not just directions on where the spending would go. Earmarks got a bad rap-- but in some cases they deserved it. For many years they served as tools which could be used to persuade legislators to vote for a bill that otherwise was distasteful. Rightly or wrongly they were often the grease that made the system work.

Joan Watson
TWIN FALLS, ID

Actualy the power behind the power are the lobbyists....they are retired senators, and retired representatives, who now head the lobby political game in D.C. to revel in power and money - a lot of power and a lot of money.

Neanderthal
Pheonix, AZ

@Irony Guy:
"And that is the Republican answer: do nothing..."

The Republicans tried their best to help construct the ACA but got overruled time and time again by the Democrats who, at the time, controlled both houses of Congress and, of course, the White House.

"...while millions go uninsured..."

Medicaid is available to the millions you claim go uninsured... provided they meet the income level. And if they have the dough, they can get health insurance but, for some reason, but choose not to.

"...millions are bankrupted by the voracious insurance/healthcare industrial complex..."

Bankruptcy is a function of where you wanna put your resources. If you'd rather have cable TV, an ipad, cell phone, eat out five nights a week, go on a vacation every year, etc., instead of purchasing health insurance then you can't blame others for your bankruptcy.

"...and millions wait in ER's to get help for their crying children."

There's plenty of free or reduced-cost health care facilities if you'd just bother to search.

"If Republicans had an answer to all that, I imagine we would've heard more about it by now."

You just did.

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

Re:Neanderthal
Although Medicaid covers some low-income adults, parent eligibility levels are below poverty in 34 states and childless adults are excluded from the program under federal rules. Eliminating the categorical exclusion of childless adults, increasing income eligibility levels and enhancing the federal financing available to support coverage for adults could enable Medicaid to cover more of the low-income uninsured and help establish a strong floor of coverage upon which additional expansion efforts could build.

"Bankruptcy is a function of where you wanna put your resources. If you'd rather have cable TV, an ipad, cell phone, eat out five nights a week, go on a vacation every year, etc., instead of purchasing health insurance then you can't blame others for your bankruptcy."

Does that describe the typical bankruptcy in UT, which ranks high in the U.S. in number of bankruptcies?

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I agree Congress should reclaim it's powers, but not only on budgetary issues. They have become irrelevant for the most part. Because everybody of the President's party is a rubber-stamp for whatever he wants, and the other party is almost an automatic vote against whatever the President wants. They tend to give almost no thought to designing and considering good legislation. Their every move, their every thought, from the day after they are elected is only on 2 things:
1. "How can I support my party" (not America or the people in the State they represent)
2. "What can I do to get RE-Elected".

Congress has no business holding hearings on steroids in baseball, bringing comedians to testify to them, etc. They need to stick to their business (supporting the Constitution and writing legislation that does that).

They also need to be able to cross partisan lines more often. THEN they will become relevant again.

The Hammer
lehi, utah

Neanderthal, I agree with you on most of what you say but our health system prior to Obamacare was broken. Millions of working poor could not get health insurance because it was too expensive and they couldn't even afford hdhp plans in case of a catastrophe because it costs them more than a car loan each month. These costs did cause them to make decisions but paying bills (not eating out or cable tv or whatever else you imagine) trumped that.

Most plans for the working poor cost between $400-$600 even with the subsidy tax break to the employer. The working poor can’t afford these plans didn't qualify for any Medicaid in most states and couldn't afford any health coverage because of how outrageous the cost is. With health costs rising higher each year and most people having limited access to healthcare it was becoming a terrible burden on young families and working poor who were having children or got a serious health problem.

Republicans could have and should have solved this problem when they had power but they chose not to and hence they lost power because they failed to lead on the issue.

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

A former Republican operative in Georgia who was diagnosed with cancer revealed last week that his medical struggles have made him a supporter of the new federal health care law known as "Obamacare."

Clint Murphy, who worked on John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign and Karen Handel's 2010 Georgia gubernatorial bid, wrote that opponents to Obamacare are taking a position that's at odds with his best interest.

When you say you're against it, you're saying that you don't want people like me to have health insurance," he wrote, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Murphy was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2000 but, after four rounds of chemotherapy (covered by his insurance), it had gone into remission by 2004. He wasn't in the clear quite though. Because his sleep apnea qualifies as a "pre-existing condition," Murphy currently has no insurance.

Murphy said he will enter Georgia's health insurance exchange when it opens in 2014. He doesn't think Obamacare is perfect, but said that Republicans "are not even participating in the process" to suggest improvements.

We have people treating government like a Broadway play, like it is some sort of entertainment, he told the Journal-Constitution.

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

To those of you who think we just need to re-tool the ACA, you are wrong. We need to dump the ACA, and eliminate many of the mandates imposed on health insruance companies. In other words, the problems that people have with insurance companies have to do primarily with government mandates.

Those of you who are worried about the pre-existing conditions that some people have, that used to be handled by the companies having waiting periods before those conditions would be covered. People were not denied insurance, the waiting periods were often waived for people that had previously carried insurance.

The government is the problem, and getting the government more involved will not fix it either.

UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

"Those of you who are worried about the pre-existing conditions that some people have, that used to be handled by the companies having waiting periods before those conditions would be covered. People were not denied insurance, the waiting periods were often waived for people that had previously carried insurance."

This statement is just plain false. There are many insurance carries that if your spouse has had breast cancer... they are disqualified. We had a young lady in our ward, who moved to Utah and was actually featured in an article by the Deseret News that has Cystic fibrosis - who when she was married was disqualified from getting her own insurance. They had to become poor enough to be covered by Medicaid in order to get coverage. The ADA helps... it has many valid parts to it.

Fine, ripe it up.... burn it... throw it away.... but before you do that.... tell us what will REPLACE it. Nothing is not an answer.

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

To "UtahBlueDevil" that is a lie. In Utah, that young lady would have qualified for the HIPUtah program, which is a private insurance exchange supplemented by the state for the poor and more importantly it covers people who are deemed uninsurable. There are similar programs in Colorado, Texas, Indiana, and many other states.

She could have obtained insurance, but apparently didn't look very hard for it.

The ACA did nothing for people with uninsurable conditions other than to make insurance cost more for everybody else.

The ACA should be replaced with a deregulation bill that would stop the fascism set up by the ACA.

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