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Chan Lowe: Health care reform passes

sonny.gifThe reason that health care reform has inflamed so many passions on all sides is that it goes to the very core of what each American believes his relationship to his government should be.

Because we are a nation founded on principles, not ethnicity, it is a stand-in⎯for better or worse⎯for what “being an American” means to many people.

This has been a conflict of fundamental world-views. If, through your prism, you view the providing of health care as primarily an economic issue, then you embrace the argument that if the nation can’t pay for it, we shouldn’t have it (A more rugged variant is “Why should I pay for someone else’s?”).

If, however, you believe that health care is a citizen’s right, and that it is the moral obligation of government (as an expression of the people who empower it), to provide it to every American, the same as it does their national defense⎯then you accept that as an imperative, and find a way to pay for it.

If you adhere to the latter view, you prioritize. Maybe depriving the rich of some extra lucre is the way to go. They won’t miss their next meal, and it might save someone whose child has a catastrophic illness from missing theirs. Un-American? Depends on your point of view.

Or maybe you want to pay for it some other way. Fight fewer pointless wars, perhaps. Whatever. If you truly believe, you’ll find a way.

There is no right or wrong way of looking at the role⎯or the reach⎯of government. Deciding what it will be is the function of elections.

Categories: Barack Obama (172), Medical (50)
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The reason is there are two types of people in this country, those who are responsible for themselves and want government to stay out of their lives and those who want government to run every aspect of their lives so they don’t have to worry about doing anything for themselves.

The republicans are all for reform, just not a hostile takeover. The system can and should be fixed but this isn’t the way. This is cash-4-clunkers all over again, we are trading in a car with some dents for a small incentive only to be saddled with huge payments we can’t afford.

Your ideal of taking the rich’s “lucre” to feed a “catastrophic” child may be all heart warming and reminiscent of Robin Hood’s “Take from the rich and give to the poor” but it’s still stealing. Charity comes from the heart, not an IRS agent dressed in SWAT gear kicking in doors to “take” your “tithing”. We have been taking care of the poor for a long, long time in this country and we will continue to do so, at least until all the rich (and anyone who still has a job) becomes the poor. Then who will feed the poor? The Chinese? George Soros?

If it comes to that I may just “bite the hand that feeds me”!

Pointman870, bullcrap. By classifying people into "two groups" shows exactly what type of thinking you do, simple thinking. This is a very complex country with many types of people and many types of needs. This country REQUIRES complex solutions.

This bill is far from a "government takeover;" the government is in no way, shape, or form going into the insurance business in this bill. The bill is a tightening on the abuses the health insurance industry performs. The for-profit health insurance companies make decisions on people's lives and it must be regulated, because it is in their interest to take in more money than they pay out. I guess you wouldn't mind if an insurance company contemplated your life-saving surgery by analyzing whether they would still make a profit off you, instead of analyzing whether it saves your life or not.

Most Democrats I know do not wait for hand outs, but do the complete opposite, work hard and earn a living. The Democrats I know want to make America an equal opportunity country, where everyone has the same rights and opportunities, rich or poor. Speaking of most rich people, the only reason they are rich is because AMERICA provided them with the platform to increase their wealth. The capitalist system along with the regulating government allowed them to open businesses, invest, and earn their money. They should be happy to pay taxes back into the system to allow others to accomplish what they did. That is what America is all about, providing equal opportunities for everyone so they can live the American Dream.

Mr. Lowe,
Your blog basically states that everyone is entitled to their own point of view. Then you go on to deride any viewpoint that is opposite your own in your typical snarky manner. I wish the Sun Sentinel would hire a cartoonist who was 180 degrees your opposite politically, who's cartoon would appear along side yours everyday. Now that would be fair.

Chan says:

Olga, far from deriding anyone's point of view, I sought to make clear that there is no "right" or "wrong" way to look at the role of government. People have their own ideas about it, and elections decide whose prevail in any particular circumstance.

As for my own views and commentary on current topics, the Sun Sentinel hired me because they believe me to be effective at communicating mine. Readers may or may not agree with me, but the newspaper is under no obligation to give an opposite viewpoint equal space. This is why we call it the "Opinion Page." Opinions are, by definition, weighted on one side or the other.

This goes beyond saying, "there is no right or wrong way to look at the role of government". It is the process by which this bill got passed. Pelosi, forcing every dem to vote on it on a Sunday night prior to them going home to be lambasted by the constituents. She knew if they got away with delaying the vote, they would come back and vote NO. Let's not even mention all of the shady deals and bribes. And, the paper might be forced to offer an opposing viewpoint if they adopt the fairness doctrine.

Barry O,

The Sun-Sentinel carries Bill
O'Reilly's point of view, as well. The Editorial Page covers a variety of viewpoints. You might want to check it out.

The problem is the fact that this health care bill is in violation of the Constitution of the United States. They could have done alot of good without violating the document that our government is founded and supposedly run by. The very fact that the government can put me in jail for not getting health care is simply ludicrous.

This has been chewed on long enough-Both parties are using it as a red meat issue but it's getting old,tired,and dried up..Reminds me of when our Rottweiller dog would get a new raw-hide bone...He'd chew on it-gnawing it up into little pieces..Soon, nothing was left.! Let's get thinking about jobs,immigration,and the economy next.!Sure we'll all fight over those issues too.!

Ahhh Chan, there is a right way and a wrong way to view government. One is Constitutional, the other isn't.

The Government can't run Social Security right, they can't run Medicare right, they can't run the Post Office right, they can't run Welfare right, Government waste everywhere and now healthcare. So much for freedom. I hope you enjoy celebrating March 21st as Dependance Day...

Somthing the govt should not be doing is requiring the Americans purchase something.

Can anyone give me any example EVER of our govt requiring, under penalty of law, that American Citizens buy something?

This whole thing is so un-American.


You do realize, by law, basically all states REQUIRE you to purcahse car insurance to drive your car???

As for your statement "This whole thing is so un-American"

--so 35 million Americans WITHOUT medical insurance is "American?"

SQ - You are only required to purchase auto insurance if you drive your car (if you own one) on public roads. There is no comparison.
When do I get preexisting conditions covered on my car? Or my house?
The fact of the matter is we cannot afford this. Soon no one will work because it doesn't pay to work, then where will the money come from?

SQ - You are only required to purchase auto insurance if you drive your car (if you own one) on public roads. There is no comparison.
When do I get preexisting conditions covered on my car? Or my house?
The fact of the matter is we cannot afford this. Soon no one will work because it doesn't pay to work, then where will the money come from?


So, tell me, who doesn't drive on a public road? Thats not the point though, the fact is a GOVERNING body requires you purchase car insurance, just like a GOVERNING body will require you to purchase health insurance. In theory, a government in both cases is requiring you to purchase insurance, and if the states can mandate it, so can the federal government.

Second, a big portion of the bill will be paid for by the increase in Medicare taxes by .9% on people who make $200,000 or more and by a tax of 3.8% on investment income earned by people who make $200,000 or more. Other market sector fees and excise taxes will be charged to certain medical companies to help pay for the costs as well. Increase in penalties by codifing the economic substance provisions help pay for it. Also, a 40% excise tax on high cost insurance plans will be taxed.

You can't serious about no one will work. If you are, that is the most ridiculous statement I have ever heard. Middle-class families and small businesses with fewer than 50 employees are NOT going to hit with higher taxes with this bill. Actually, small businesses with fewer than 50 employees are exempt from providing health insurance to employees and companies with fewer than 25 employees may qualify for tax credits if they offer insurance to their employees. Lower level individual income earners will also receive tax credits to purchase insurance.

Didn't you notice the health insurance companies stocks all went up when the bill was passed? Because, since this bill manadates insurance for every individual, the insurance companies are going to get over 30 million new customers in 2014.

Not only that, most of the abuses the insurance companies get away with are now ILLEGAL. They will be ILLEGAL because the government is looking to protect your rights from companies who make life and death decisions on your behalf.

So tell me, what is "socialist" about this bill? What is so wrong about this bill? knew some genius liberal would use the car insurance example...that's a wonderful example of how wrong it is. If someone does not want to drive...they do not buy a car...and if they do not own a car...THEY ARE NOT FORCED TO BUY INSURANCE! is unamerican... tell me how "American" it is to use 30 million as an example...and then REQUIRE 270 million to purchase something.

Where in our founding papers is there ANY precedent for the govt to force citizens to purchase something.

if you choose to drive (which is a privilege that can be taken away)...then you have to buy insurance...that fact is nowhere near the unconstitutional debacle that has taken place. is a quote from our beloved leader: "when there is a bill that ends up on my desk as the public WILL HAVE 5 DAYS to look online to find out what's in it before I sign it." (pause for massive cheer of people believing what he is saying)

"so that you know what your govt is doing."

He signs this 1/6th of our economy bill in 36 hours...and nothing in the press about it. Even democrats dont care how much he lies.

A "governing body" requires a person to purchase car insurance ONLY if that person CHOOSES to own a car.

Any idea how many NYers dont own cars? is a GREAT idea...think how much less it would cost all NYers in car insurance if we made everyone pay for car insurance...whether they have a car or not.

If you want a massive influx of potential health insurance is a pretty simple no cost solution...ERASE STATE BORDER RESTRICTIONS on where people can purchase their insurance.

If 300 million potential customers could shop nationwide for the best possible deal...I guarantee the free market would drop prices quite a bit.

All for the massive price of NOTHING...we wouldnt have to wait for our beloved leader to lie about how long a bill would be on his desk.

It is funny how you keep referring to the founders, as if they somehow knew all the extremely complex industries and situations Americans would be facing 200 years from now when they wrote the laws. Soceities evolve over time, I don't think the founders worried about massive health insurance companies abusing the middle class with their practices and costs. You want to talk about FREEDOM, what FREEDOM do Americans have when an insurance company can control your life? When insurance companies can drop you if you get sick, deny you for care for pre-existing conditions, raising premiums whenever and however they want. These can life or death decisions. What is FREE about that?

What kind of health Ins. do they have in Columbia.? Isn't that where your from.?

If a NYer does have a car, they have nothing to insure. Why would you force something with nothing to insure to insure something?

On the other hand, when you are born, you do realize you are born a human, and humans can have many different sicknesses. Therefore, you have something to insure, your body and your life.

I meant if an NYer DOES NOT have a car, they have nothing to insure.

Let us not forget that for homeowners here in Florida, there is the Citizens Insurance surcharge on your homeowner's policy, even if you are insured with another company. This is levied to ensure the viability of the insurance company of last resort, and to keep rates at least somewhat affordable for other homeowners than yourself.

This is an example of government forcing you to pay for something that you didn't have to pay for before. I might add that the law was passed by a Republican state legislature.

Lorraine.........I'm not too sure what you are asking..."Columbia"? Are you asking about the District of Columbia? Columbia, SC? Or maybe a past post where I said my parents legally immigrated here from the country of COLOmbia.

Liberals have a hard time spelling ACLU sometimes.

I don't live in family left there for this wonderful country. I have been to hospitals there though...and greatly missed Broward General while I was there.

Dont forget Colombia is also where I can get pulled over, give the cop 3000 pesos & be on my way...let's not start the "Colombia does it so we can too" argument.

I mentioned the founders once...and that's all you focused on.


I spelled a foreign country wrong...How TYPICAL of a American,right.? You still didn't say what health care plan they have in COLOMBIA.?
P.S.I "focused" on all your recent post today. ! !

The problem is the government can punish you for deciding not to do anything. Driving a car is a privelage (get a DUI and you lose that privelage). In order to take advantage of said privelage, you must buy insurance in case you are liable for any damage to life or property. Come on, we all know this. But to fine and/or imprison someone for just breathing within our borders is not constitutional if you ask me. As for the cartoon, maybe you should've drawn a purse snatcher taking the old lady's purse (with 500 Billion drawn on it), and running away.

Isn't it funny how liberals never address this part...I'll post it again:

"If you want a massive influx of potential health insurance is a pretty simple no cost solution...ERASE STATE BORDER RESTRICTIONS on where people can purchase their insurance.

If 300 million potential customers could shop nationwide for the best possible deal...I guarantee the free market would drop prices quite a bit."

Here Lorraine...since you are so interested:

Liberals...please give some reasons why we cant open up state borders regarding health insurance?

Thanks for the info. on COLOMBIA..
It seems that if Ins. Co's were allowed to sell across state,or state's, they'd all run like lemmings to the place with the worst "rules & regulations"--As did the Credit Card Co's.! !
Perdoname my misspelling of COLOMBIA...

Our President is a constitutional scholar. Do you really think that this bill is unconstitutional? You all love your country but if there were no regulation or laws then we would be no better than a third world country.

Thanks- I went to the web site you suggested regarding health care in COLOMBIA.(the place of your birth) It made the case FOR health care reform in this country-NOT AGAINST....
Hoisted by ones own petardo-(Hamlet) slowly...I am a naturally born American whose parents emigrated from Colombia.

You didnt even know how to spell the you want espouse their healthcare?

I've been to a few Colombian hospitals..."nice" ones...for Colombia. I imagine that's what our hospitals will look like after a few years of obamacare.

An accidental misspelling and just being ignorant of the correct spelling are two different things. Glad I could reduce your ignorance...a little.

I know you'll think of me anytime in the future you have to write C-o-l-o-m-b-i-a. haha

We'll meet in Chan's Sandbox again.Ho Ho-Ha HA...

I am low income right now, and just had surgery, through a clinic that is paid from charity (with me paying on a sliding scale). I am truly grateful for the voluntary charity of the people that contributed so that people like me can get help. Do you realize how HORRIFIED I feel that someone would be forced to pay for my health care insurance. I cannot express how badly that makes me feel. I know there needs to be changes to insurance and tort reform, but forcing people to pay for others always results in a mess. Look at medicare. I had a temporary job at a doctors office and they could no longer take medicare or medicaid patients because they would only get a very small portion back from the government. If I was rich I would lose incentive to make money if people forced me to pay. Yes, they get a tax break, but I think that's great! I want them to get something out of it too!

I live down under. We are covered by national health. Yes we do have problems where by we must wait for elective surgery so that might take longer e.g. fixing the knee, getting rid of the mole (as long as it was not malignant, otherwise they'd do that in a hurry) etc. However, NO ONE down under is going bankrupt due to medical insurance. Neither is no one opting for being unemployed because of wanting to go on medicaid as many jobs working for small companies don't provide health care as in the US. This is the major reason I opted to return Down Under. I could not stand the way I would see people sleeping in cars and so on due to the economy - no jobs etc and to top it off seeing people not having basic health care. America, the modern, western world? Think again.

We need to put things into perspective while debating the health care issues in our country:

a – Every time an un-insured person goes to a hospital we do not let them die, that is not the American way, we take care of them and “us” the tax payers of Florida end up paying for it.

b – When an un-insured person goes to a hospital the case is normally really bad because they had no insurance and no preventive care. IS COSTING US MORE.

c – Persons with good health like type 1 diabetics cannot get health insurance because “pre-conditions”. That kept many people without insurance. Many of them health is better than you and me. KEEPING PEOPLE FROM GETTING INSURANCE COSTS US A LOT OF MONEY.

d – When you buy a TV set made overseas you are paying for the health insurance of that person overseas. Most countries in this “blue marble” have insurance or free health programs. We must tax foreign imports and the proceeds to go to support our health care system. WE ARE PAYING FOR OVERSEAS HEALTH CARE.

e – We must put money to support the population of the United States.

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About the author
Chan LoweCHAN LOWE has been the Sun Sentinel’s first and only editorial cartoonist for the past twenty-six years. Before that, he worked as cartoonist and writer for the Oklahoma City Times and the Shawnee (OK) News-Star.

Chan went to school in New York City, Los Angeles, and the U.K., and graduated from Williams College in 1975 with a degree in Art History. He also spent a year at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.

His work has won numerous awards, including the Green Eyeshade Award and the National Press Foundation Berryman Award. He has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His cartoons have won multiple first-place awards in all of the Florida state journalism contests, and The Lowe-Down blog, which he began in 2008, has won writing awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.
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