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Secretary Gates begs to differ with Buyer and McKeown.

This came out this morning, I'm assuming in response to this press release from the Republicans on the Veteran's Affairs committee.  Note, however, the hedge about the Senate.   As a blogger of my acquaintance said when I passed this on to him - "So I guess I can expect Gates' nuts to be delivered by FedEx when this blows up all over veterans?"

Tricare Meets Health Care Bill's Standards, Gates Says
Mon, 22 Mar 2010 07:06:00 -0500

Tricare Meets Health Care Bill's Standards, Gates Says
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 22, 2010 - The Tricare military health plan meets the standards set by the health care reform bill the House of Representatives passed last night, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said in a statement issued yesterday.

Calling their health and well-being his highest priority, Gates reassured servicemembers and their families that the legislation won't have a negative effect on Tricare, which "already meets the bill's quality and minimum benefit standards."

"This was clarified by a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives [March 20], and is expected to be re-affirmed by the Senate," Gates said in the statement.

"The president and I are committed to seeing that our troops, retirees and their families will continue to receive the best quality health care," the secretary said.

The devil, of course, is in the details.  As another blogger of my acquaintance just ranted regarding how the bill affects veterans, in service and out.  More importantly, it demonstrates the flim-flam being pulled to get it passed.  I.e., Congress may not like how the Pentagon plays the budget game, lowballing costs up-front to get things rolling and then saying "Oops.  Oh well, gotta spend the money now to fix it!" but the Pentagon learned it from Congress.  As our blogging bud who handles stuff like this for his day-to-day job relates (in a slightly bowdlerized fashion for this family blog):

 "TRICARE does (meet the requirement), not Tricare for Life, and some of the affiliated stuff. Pelosi talked to us and assured us this would be corrected ASAP.  In the off chance I am not understood, this is the worst [redacted] bill in the history of mankind. And this shit SHOULD have been fixed. But if they had done so it would have tossed their shitastic bill over 1 trillion. So they said screw it, it can wait. Now they passed it on the lower numbers, and will do the fixes. I have no doubt the fixes will occur, and that they will also toss this into the 1.4 Trillion range. I am not at all worried that these military issues will get fixed, and thus I avoid attacking on those angles, since then the Dem response is “Ok, we fixed that, now what do you want?” and we have to find a new approach. The real abortion to this bullshit is that the fix will be done afterward, just so that these sonsabitches could get the pricetag they needed to foist it on the rest of America. They used us, and then they fix it and will want us to be grateful. And attack the imperfections that will be cured only sets them up for a win on that front."

That dovetails into the argument of "Once it's passed, it will never be repealed."  It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the Federalism arena in the push-back from the States, as in this effort in the region of the Castle, as reported out by my local state representative, Melanie Meiers, who is a Democrat (of course, a Leavenworth democrat would be considered a rabid right wing knuckledragger in Boston).

“Freedom of Choice in Health Care” Act

This week we are scheduled to debate House Concurrent Resolution 5032. It is a proposal to amend the Kansas Constitution by adding a new Article 16. The stated purpose of the new constitutional article, which concerns health care, would be to preserve the freedom of Kansans to provide for their health care. Article 16 would include the following protections:

· No law or rule would compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in any health care system or to purchase health insurance;

· Any person or employer could pay directly for lawful health care services and would not be required to pay penalties or fines for paying directly for lawful health care services;

· Any health care provider could accept direct payment for lawful health care services and would not be required to pay penalties or fines for accepting direct payment from a person or employer for lawful health care services.

As a Constitutional Amendment, this Resolution requires a 2/3 majority vote of the House and of the Senate in order for it to go to the ballot for Kansans to vote on. Last week the Senate’s version of this Resolution was defeated in committee. If it passes by a 2/3 majority vote in the House, it will then go to the Senate. After subsequent passage by 2/3 majority of the Senate, it will go on the ballot for a Statewide vote. If it makes it to a ballot in its present form, you will see the following statement on your ballot:

‘‘Explanatory statement. The purpose of this health care freedom amendment is to preserve constitutionally the right and freedom of Kansans to provide for their health care. This proposition

would not affect which health care services a health care provider or hospital is required to perform or provide; would not affect which health care services are permitted by law; would not prohibit care provided pursuant to the general provisions relating to workers compensation; would not prohibit care pursuant to the provisions relating to state employee benefit programs; would not affect laws or rules in effect as of August 1, 2009; or would not affect the terms or conditions of any health care system to

the extent that those terms and conditions do not have the effect of punishing a person or employer for paying directly for lawful health care services. Nothing in this amendment is meant to discourage anyone from purchasing health insurance.

‘‘A vote for this proposition would preserve constitutionally the right of a person, employer or health care provider to be free from laws or rules compelling participation in any health care system; preserve constitutionally the right of a person or employer to purchase lawful health care services directly from a health care provider; preserve constitutionally the right of a health care provider to accept direct payment from a person or employer for lawful health care services; and preserve constitutionally the right to have the ability to purchase or sell health insurance in private health care systems.

‘‘A vote against this proposition would provide for no constitutional right of a person, employer or health care provider to be free from laws and rules compelling participation in any health care system; would provide for no constitutional right of a person or employer to purchase lawful health care services directly from a health care provider; would provide for no constitutional right of a health care provider to accept direct payment from a person or employer for lawful health care services; and would provide for no constitutional right to have the ability to purchase or sell health insurance in private health care systems.’’

Proponents of the Resolution say that this will give Kansans a rationale to reject Federal health care programs. Opponents say that this Resolution will not make a difference because the U.S. Constitution’s Article 6 says “that federal law is supreme and that if there is a conflict, federal law prevails,” and if challenged the Kansas Article 16 could be declared unconstitutional. Opponents also say that the Kansas Legislature should be focusing on the budget crisis and not wasting time on Resolutions that will not change anything.

I noted in Melanie's missive she didn't really tell us where *she* stands on this issue - so I've asked her directly.  I suspect that Article 6 will be tough to overcome - absent a "velvet revolution of non-compliance" by the States sufficient that even Federal law enforcement couldn't process 'em all...  I'm really not interested in going through an 1861 level of resistance. 

1 Comments

This KS amendment, and others contemplated in other states, mean exactly zero unless some teeth are put into it.

The teeth I have in mind would be to order the KS Attorney General to defend any KS citizen charged with non-compliance by the Feds.

Until and unless this provision makes into your Amendment, it means nothing to the Feds.