Sunday, March 25, 2012

If I Were A Supreme Court Justice

Obviously I am not a Supreme Court justice. I am not a lawyer nor an expert on the law, but if it were my decision I would support the Affordable Care Act that was approved by congress and signed into law two years ago. Everything I read about this law seems like a good idea to me.

Medical care is too expensive. We spend far too much individually and as a nation for health care. In 2009 the nation spent $2.6 trillion on health care, that is 17.9% of the U.S. Economy. Something needs to be done about this problem soon. The Affordable Care Act is a step in that direction. Decreasing the cost of health care will be a complicated process, but steps in that direction have begun with this law, and that is good.

The big question before the court is the issue of forcing everyone to buy health insurance, the individual mandate. The vast majority of people already have health insurance. Those people without health insurance receive little if any routine, preventative care. They still receive health care, but it is usually administered in emergency rooms and paid for by higher premiums on those with insurance and by taxpayer dollars. People without health insurance make health care more expensive for the rest of us. Mitt Romney editorialized in 2009 that imposing a tax penalty on those who choose to remain uninsured encourages health care free-riders to take responsibility on themselves instead of passing the costs of their health care on to others.

The way I understand the law, those who choose not to buy health insurance will be required to pay a modest fine that could never exceed 2% of their annual income. This would be a “shared responsibility” payment. The fine is meant to be a financial incentive to find health insurance that would be more affordable. No one would become a law-breaker by refusing to buy health insurance.

If we are supposed to call social welfare programs after the president that signed them into law, then I support Roosevelt Security, Johnsoncare, and Obamacare. None of these programs are the perfect answer to the problems they address. They all could use a bit of tweaking to make them better. They are all good programs.

All of these are laws in our country. I believe all of them should be upheld by our justice system.

Thursday, March 08, 2012


We have just returned from a two day trip to Philadelphia where we managed to cross three more items off our bucket lists.

On our way into town we stopped in South Philly to enjoy an original Philly cheese-steak sandwich at Pat's King of Steaks. According to the advertising this is the place where the cheese-steak was invented. The sandwich was every bit as yummy and messy as I expected it to be. South Philly, with it's narrow streets and crowded houses, looked just like I expected it to look. There were two problems with lunch at Pat's. It was a cold day, and sitting at the outdoor picnic tables was a bit too chilly. After riding up the road for two hours I was in need of a restroom. Pat's has no public restrooms. We enjoyed our quick lunch, crossed another item off the list and headed on to our next destination.

Visiting the Franklin Institute has long been on Dennis's bucket list. He was like a little boy in a candy store at this hands-on science museum. It was great fun to watch him pulling levers, twisting knobs, and pushing buttons. He grinned his way through one science demonstration after another. Nothing makes him happier than seeing how things work. He left happily at closing-time and checked one more item off his bucket list.

The next morning we headed to the convention center to enjoy the Philadelphia Flower Show. I've been wanting to do this for many years. It is said to be one of the biggest and the best flower shows in the country. The show was fabulous. There were displays that were huge with waterfalls, volcanoes and magnificent orchids. There were beautiful miniature displays only a few inches tall. There was an emotional and patriotic display featuring the USS Arizona Memorial. There were stalls selling everything to do with gardening There was also one the biggest crowds I have ever seen. It was hard to move. I was exhausted at the end of the day, but I’m glad I went. One more item checked off the list.

What's left on your bucket list?