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Obamacare: 2010 vs 2013

Way back in May 2010, while I was working as a political commentator, I presented the views of America – as stated in polls at that time – about Obamacare (or the Affordable Care Act if you prefer). Then, as now, the majority of Americans opposed Obamacare. So, with important news out today, I wanted to review that.

On May 18, 2010, I wrote (and a Youtube video as well):

“56% of those surveyed have said that they believe Obamacare will increase the federal deficit…54% believe the cost of healthcare will increase. 50% expect the quality of care to fall. 63% of seniors, the group most directly affected by and likely to use the Obamacare, are in favor of repealing the Reform.”

As of 2013 we know that Obamacare is NOT deficit neutral. In fact it will add to the deficit according to the CBO. Further, as millions of Americans have realized since October 1st, healthcare costs are increasing. Personally, in a company sponsored healthcare plan, the increase is more than 14% higher. Were I to have gone through the Obamacare exchange the increase would have been in excess of 200%.

As for quality of care, and the impact on seniors (besides cost), is still to be seen. Given the proposed increase in patient levels without a commensurate increase in doctors, common sense says that reductions are likely.

But I did mention breaking news.

In 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 President Obama repeatedly brushed off polls and opposition to Obamacare with the comment, “We will keep this promise to the American people. If you like your doctor you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your healthcare plan, you will be able to keep your healthcare plan. Period.” (June 15, 2009)

Well that isn’t exactly true. In fact for 40% – 67% of Americans with individual plans, some 7 million people, that isn’t even close to sort-of true. Like Democrat pundit Kirsten Powers, millions are getting letters in the mail that they getting new plans, often at higher costs – whether they like it or not. Because Obamacare requires it.

More importantly, the White House knew that this would happen… in 2010. As stated via NBC News,

“Buried in Obamacare regulations from July 2010 is an estimate that because of normal turnover in the individual insurance market, “40 to 67 percent” of customers will not be able to keep their policy. And because many policies will have been changed since the key date, “the percentage of individual market policies losing grandfather status in a given year exceeds the 40 to 67 percent range.”

That means the administration knew that more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them.”

So, the polls in 2010 were right. Opponents of Obamacare were right. President Obama knew they were right, and kept up the stageshow anyway.

I have to wonder, if so much that critics were pointing out over the past 3 years is right, and we are learning that the White House knew it to be true, how much more is going to be right? What consequences are going to come from the partisan ramrod to pass Obamacare?

Healthcare reform is needed in this nation, but Obamacare isn’t the answer. The time to stop it before there is irreparable harm is short, but I believe it should be pursued. That’s what constituents want, still. That’s what their elected Representative should be talking about right now.

What do you think?

…and Obamacare will fix it all

One of the great problems in politics today is not the laws that are being passed, though many are quite troubling. It’s not the partisanship that has gridlocked Congress, though that is pervasive and adds to the problem. It’s the fact that there is no consideration of the consequences of what is being shoved into law.

Obamacare is of course a great example. Here we have a partisan law, passes without being read, that the public has never wanted, touted as the great fix to healthcare insurance woes. So far, the website cost 3x it’s initial estimate and is inferior to similar sites by 10 years of technology. Millions are finding out that “affordable” is a relative term, rarely matching the hype that this law has been surrounded by. Hundreds of thousands are quickly learning that keeping the insurance and doctors they have and like is not an option – or when it is, it is too expensive to be realistic.

Is this because healthcare reform was a bad idea? NO. Was it because of the partisan gridlock? Partially, as excluding reform ideas from across the isle limits the effectiveness of any law. Is it because partisan ideology demanded that politicians not pause for a moment to reflect (or read) what they were doing. The consequences of their actions were of no concern in the face of getting it done. Mere years later and already havoc is starting to play out, with no end in sight of how long the dominoes will fall.

All of that, and the worst consequence of all. Partisanship sold the Rights of America on the cheap. A precedent has been made that Government has a Right above the people. If the Government can make everyone do one thing, it can make them do anything. Maybe not this Administration, or even the next, but eventually it will happen because absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Still, this is not the only example. Look at the Obama Stimulus, which was another speedy race to pass a law that few understood the scope of. In June of 2009 it was found, by the Associated Press, that food was literally being taken out of the mouths of the public.

“People are finding out that because of the extra $25 they cannot decline, calculations made including this money is placing Americans over the Government limits for food stamps and other forms of aid. The range of the loss is unknown (and likely to remain so), but the AP provided an example – costing a family $300 in food stamps they now cannot receive.”

Perhaps the best example is all the bluster about the national debt. Each side keeps talking about how devastating the cuts are and how big a cut is being made. Except they leave out that the cuts are reductions in the future increases in spending. And even then Congress tries to find ways to spend money it doesn’t have and evade laws it put in place to prevent spending more. If you think that anyone is being honest on the debt, try and find one person who has stated the impact of interest rates increasing to just the level since 1980′s (4.25%). You won’t find that in any plan of debt reduction – which is odd since it will nearly overnight add several trillions of dollars to the debt, assuming not another dime is spent.

The problem is that Government thinks it can fix it all. Congress thinks that enough short-term fixes will patch up any problem forever. More than a few elected officials are quite happy riding the fence on issue after issue, making a few well placed comments to keep constituents in the dark and their re-election secure; knowing full well that at some point it will be time to pay the reaper. Except that politician won’t be around to worry about it, apparently they hope.

If all you want are 30-second soundbites, the headline is all you need from this commentary. You can vote for whatever politician makes the best empty promise you like – such as Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s, ‘You need to pass it to find out what’s in it.’ If you think that Government is filled with people endowed by an election with knowledge that surpasses the norm, simply because they won, there are plenty of politicians that act as if they are nobility (like Sen. Schumer for one example) that you can vote for.

But be prepared. Voter apathy combined with the political ambitions of too many in Congress have led to consequences that we are really not able to kick down the road without consequence any more. Our credit rating is in danger, our energy independence is questionable, our freedoms are eroding, and our economic stability is in jeopardy. If you believe that simply fixing the bugs on a website will resolve the holes in Obamacare, you really won’t like what probably will happen over then next several years.

Politicians are not soothsayers, nor should they try to be. But reasonable attempts to think more than 1 election down the road, combined with taking the time to pass laws that are actually meaningful and what voters want isn’t too much to expect. Having a Congressman that can actually take a position and stand by it would be a nice change in the New York 22nd Congressional District as an example; and if that Representative could also try to pass a law that might benefit constituents and the nation, well that would be a night worthy of fireworks.

Until voters take on politicians and vote out those that are the worst in preserving their power at the cost of quick fix gimmicks and finger-pointing, dominoes will fall where we least expect them, leaving us a weaker and less great nation.

It doesn’t have to be like that. We can have better laws, better Representatives and Senators. We can have a better Government that is smaller and more controlled. All we need to do is vote.

***Michael Vasquez is exploring a run for the New York 22nd Congressional District in 2014.***

How can you add your support?

Recently I was asked by a few potential supporters out of the New York 22nd Congressional District how they might lend their support to my exploratory committee and the 2014 Congressional election. What were the top things that could help in this process?

It’s a good question that I have often heard as I have spoken to people across the NY-22. So here are a few of the current things that I would suggest at this time. Of course as donations, volunteers and supplies change so may the priority and nature of support.

1) Money. It does not get more simple than that. Elections and campaigns cost hordes of cash, no matter how grassroots the effort or how great the candidate. Donations provide the paper, signs, buttons, commercials, and pay for professionals like accountants that every campaign must have.

2) Word of mouth. From sharing some of my Youtube videos and Facebook/Twitter messages to likes, retweets, talking to friends, and sending letters to radio and television hosts, nothing is more effective than letting people you know what is going on and why you feel strongly about things.

3) Volunteer. I can’t be everywhere in a District that has 770,000 people and is 2 1/2 hours top to bottom and 1 1/2 hours across. Putting up signs, handing out flyers, showing up at events, making calls to let others know about me, and more. Working together we can make the powers in charge recall that the ultimate power of Government is held by the public and not politicians.

On more specific things that can be done:

  • Donating a 2 1/4″ button machine (and supplies)
  • Printer ink
  • Stamps/Envelopes
  • Creating petitions to have every radio talk host in the NY-22 interview me about what I plan to do
  • As stated above, share my website, videos and tweets/posts
  • Petitions to every television news organization serving the NY-22 to look into who I am and what I am doing
  • Set up voter meet and greets, like the one I just attended in Vestal NY, where people interested can meet me in person and get answers to their questions
  • Set up fundraising events – like bake sales, bands, and other events where even a few of the proceeds can go to our efforts (and hopefully charities like Wounded Warrior Project)
  • Call/Write letters to people and organizations of influence (like Carl Paladino, Herman Cain, Col. Allen West, Bob Duvall, Gary Sinise, Club for Growth, ect.) so they can decide if they too want to be involved

    There are tons of more things, and I am open to suggestions of course, so the best thing is to get in touch and ask what’s on the list today.

    The exploratory website is www.MichaelVasquezforCongress.com. The link for donations (secure via Paypal) is at https://electmichaelvasquez.nationbuilder.com/donations or checks/money orders can go to: Friends of Michael Vasquez – PO Box 515, Binghamton NY 13902

    As always, I am open and ready to speak to anyone with questions. I hope this helps.

    Sincerely

    Michael "Vass" Vasquez - President of M V Consulting, Inc

    Michael “Vass” Vasquez – President of M V Consulting, Inc

    Michael Vasquez

  • Meet and greet with voters and potential supporters Oct 26 2013

    I just wanted to publicly thank attorney James Sacco for putting together a meet and greet of potential supporters at his home in Vestal, NY. I also thank everyone that attended, for their time and questions about the 2014 New York Congressional election.

    It was a great night, speaking to a couple dozen voters, discussing their concerns and questions about how the representation for the New York 22nd Congressional District can be improved. The conversation covered everything from by background, experiences, and motivations; as well as where I stand on issues including immigration, the national debt, taxes, drones, the 2nd and 4th Amendment among others.

    meet and greet in Vestal NY, at home of attorney James Sacco

    coffee and doughnuts meet and greet in Vestal NY

    It was a great opportunity to hear from more of the public on what they really want to see address on the floor of Congress, and understand what they believe is not being done to represent their views currently. I continue to see a consistent theme of issues that neither Congress nor our current Representative are focused on.

    I look forward to speaking at several more meet and greets at the homes of supporters and potential supporters, as well as other events. It’s important to be connected to constituents, and this is a significant way to do so. If anyone would like to host a similar event for me to appear at, please contact me at Michael@ElectMichaelVasquez.com.

    That email can also be used for those that want to volunteer directly in helping spread the word about the 2014 NY Congressional race. Those that would like to donate $20, $50, or whatever amount up to the limit of $2600 for individuals can do so online via paypal at https://electmichaelvasquez.nationbuilder.com/donations
    or mail a check/money order made out to Friends of Michael Vasquez at PO BOX 515, Binghamton NY 13902.

    More news is coming in November!

    Sincerely

    Michael Vasquez

    Why I will vote NO on Prop 1 in the 2013 New York ballot

    There is nothing in politics as appealing as a quick fix. It sounds great, it looks like it will work, and it pushes the problem down the road to a time when hopefully no one is paying attention. In many ways Proposal 1 (Prop 1) on the New York Ballot for November 5th is just that.

    The first think to consider about Prop 1 is why it exists. Simply put, NY is the least business friendly State in the country, and has for decades governed under the theory that higher taxes and more entitlements will resolve all problems. This combination has resulted in a 60 year mass exodus of population and businesses. The result is a vortex of higher taxes on a dwindling middle class, with a growing poor.

    To redress this situation, the latest fix is casinos – Prop 1. The proposal is that by allowing 7 casinos to exist in the State, prosperity will flow. Taxes will be lowered, jobs created, and all will be right with the world. Which sounds great.

    But will casinos actually fix the business unfriendliness of NY? Will it really lower taxes, or create jobs, or improve the standard of living?

    I believe the answer is no. Ultimately, any casino does one thing well – they drain money from people. If they don’t they fail and close. So casinos net reduce income, not create it. While that may be fine (from a State perspective) if this is money from tourists, like Las Vegas, in general the more immediate effect is from populations closer to the casino, which for Prop 1 means the already over taxed residents of New York.

    Another problem facing Prop 1, improving the cities and counties the casino will be found in. Looking at Atlantic City, NJ we can see a possible result. If you have ever been to Atlantic City you may have noticed that 1 block from the casinos and the drop in quality is staggering. Few would call Atlantic City a prosperous town – if you exclude the casino strip.

    For all the jobs generated by 12 casinos, Atlantic City has a poverty rate of 29%. That’s in a business friendly State, with lower taxes, and generally warmer and better climate year-round. Unemployment is currently 15.3% as of July according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to City-Data.com there are 32.8 murders/100,000 people, 55.4 rapes/100,000 people, 1,443.7 burglaries/100,000 people, and has a crime rate 55.5% higher than the US average.

    Back in the business unfriendly, higher taxed, and mostly colder State of NY a comparison to a similar city in size and population is Binghamton, NY. With 7,000 more people, the poverty rate is 30%. Unemployment is 8.3%, murders/100,000 are 0, rapes 35.7, burglaries 872.1, and a mere 19% above US city average crime.

    So would having a casino improve the crime rate for Binghamton or make it worse? According to Atlantic City it will make it worse. Still that may be acceptable to some if the average resident gained. Thus in Atlantic City 33% own homes and have a median income of $28,526/year. In Binghamton, without a casino, 46% own a home and median income is $30,267.

    So based on a bigger, better, more planned out example of cities with casinos, New York’s plan sounds great – but lacks viability. The most reasonable outcome, over time, is worse than the reality without casinos. But it doesn’t sound sexy and exciting like the imagery a casino brings to mind.

    Lastly, even if casinos are allowed in New York State, is this the goose that lays golden eggs? No. Because New York will remain (at least in the foreseeable future) a business unfriendly, hyper-taxed, debt-ridden State. The casinos will not plug the hole that is Albany spending. Population and businesses will still leave the State, and the powers that be will resort to the one trick they know – raise taxes more.

    In the end, casinos are a great gimmick to distract from the invasion on freedoms and privacy (like the NY Safe Act) but it fails to address the real problems in New York State’s economy – politicians, taxes, and a lack of vision or will to do anything substantive.

    Sincerely

    Michael Vasquez

    Michael "Vass" Vasquez

    Michael “Vass” Vasquez

    ***Note – Mr. Vasquez is exploring a run for the NY-22 Congressional seat, currently held by fellow Republican Rep. Richard Hanna, in 2014***

    What do they say about first impressions?

    Like millions of Americans on Oct. 1, 2013, I took to the internet in the early morning hours to check out the truth about what Obamacare might mean to me. Not because of a need for health insurance which I already have, but out of a morbid curiosity akin to watching a racing car wreck at full speed live. It’s gruesome and horrifying but you won’t stop watching til its all done.

    After 3 years of discussion, planning, and political battles Obamacare – or the Affordable Care Act by its official and generally unused name – came to life in health care exchanges, at the cost of a Government shutdown. The result, for residents of New York State at least, can be summed up in the word underwhelming.

    Since 2:00 AM through 11:25 PM the result – that cost $1 trillion dollars, is arguably creating a trend of part-time work, and is rife with whispers of corporations big and small abandoning employees to the cumbersome indelicate micromanagement of the Government in an all to quickly approaching future – was nothing. The system, just less than a month earlier, that was rumored to fail and likely to expose the critical private data of average Americans to cybercriminals like bees to honey lived up to a single expectation… it collapsed immediately.

    No quotes for individuals and families. No miraculous savings on monthly premiums (with a penalty of extreme deductibles and out-of-pocket costs out of the range of the very people it was intended to help). Not even a flicker of the internal design of the pages that would lead to the fruition of the grand plan that was executed behind closed doors, with political deals just short of bribes for members of a supermajority that acted against the will of the public in the most partisan action to ever be ignored by the very people damning Republicans efforts to disembowel this Frankenstein’s monster as partisan.

    In business and life it is often said that the first impression is critical. It leaves a near indelible mark on the memory, and colors all future interaction with its residue. All to often, the first impression is the most clear observation of what is to come, and the ultimate expression of what will develop over time.

    Obamacare, in one fell swoop, has clearly stated what it is…a mess that cannot function even with billions of dollars and years of effort.

    Some will say, just as President Obama did before the on switch was flipped, that such a massive undertaking will have hiccups and errors at the start. That the initial steps of so massive a reform must stutter-step before taking grand strides forward. Then again, Dr. Frankenstein felt his monster was wonderous. An impression felt by him alone.

    Still, the unwritten rule of thumb may be wrong. The law of averages implies that eventually the Government must achieve success in micromanaging something. Yes, maybe even Billy Crystal’s Fernando might be proven wrong and something that looks bad and feels bad might actually wind up being really good. Then again, what entitlement programs has lived up to the long-term expectations it was created under?

    Maybe on day 2, or 3, or at some point in the not too distant future Healthcare.gov will work (at least for those in New York State). Possibly those that hang in there will find the pot of gold they were promised. We can only hope so, because the cost in debt, freedom, and growth in Government will NEVER be fully undone.

    Obamacare is hope, the final plague left in Pandora’s Box. At least that is the first impression it has given me.

    Government shutdown over Obamacare – is it worth it?

    The Government of the United States has officially shutdown as of 12:01 AM on Oct 1,2013. Well the discretionary spending portion of the Government anyway. Now come the blame game and dire finger pointing by the media and pundits alike. But was this shutdown over Obamacare worth it?

    The answer to the question depends entirely on why politicians sought the OK Corral showdown in the first place. But before I go there let’s get some perspective.

    The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, was presented as a non-tax that would provide everyone in America with health insurance if they wanted or needed it. For those that did not want to take part in the Government healthcare exchanges, they were told they could keep their existing plan and doctors. The best part, as the public was told, was that the cost of healthcare would go down, and it would save money from being added to the deficit. This was the promise of Obamacare.

    Since June 2009 the majority of Americans (that’s Democrats, Independents, and Republicans) has not bought into the above pitch. According to every poll, by anyone you want to select as far as I am aware, there has not been less that 51% opposition to Obamacare in over 3 years.

    In the meantime, the public has learned that Obamacare is a tax, which is why the Supreme Court did not strike it down. Chief Justice Roberts also made clear that the quality and repercussions of laws are not the responsibility of the Supreme Court, just the constitutionality.

    We have learned that the cost of healthcare has increased, and there is no cost savings. In fact Obamacare increases the deficit. Almost everyone in America is expected to be covered – just a pesky 10-15 million won’t be involved for reasons ranging from lack of knowledge, lack of income, dislike of the law, and in some cases the perceived lack of need.

    It gets better. As years have passed America has learned of hordes of flaws in the law, most unintentional and likely due to the fact that the law was passed without being read by the supermajority of Democrats that passed it (which oddly enough is not considered a partisan action by the media). We have learned that boat-loads of corporations from the smallest to international giants have chosen to bail on healthcare – eliminating the option of workers from keeping their plans and doctors.

    We have also learned that implementation of this law has been about as flawed as its creation, with serious questions on the safety of the data input by Americans that chose to explore the exchanges (whether they want to or now need to). At the same time one of the biggest parts of the law, and several smaller parts, have been pushed back at least a year due to complications – but not the mandate on the public.

    But the promise of cheaper monthly premiums for healthcare has been all the rage leading up to Oct. 1st. Still, in all that hoopla the math presented left out the costs of out-of-pocket expenses – like copay, deductibles, and what is or is not covered by the plans. The real world cost is not just a monthly premium, but you’d never know that from what has been presented so far.

    Thus, public opinion has remained negative. Even in the face of uncounted speeches by the spectacular orator President Obama. Even with the aid of multiple Hollywood supporters, members of the NFL and NBA, and a host of other marketing gimmicks meant to spur a positive response.

    So back to the question at the start. Is this partisan attempt to wipe out Obamacare worth shutting down the Government?

    If, as some on the far left have told me, it is an attempt to attack the Black President then no. But there is nothing in the language used by anyone over the past 3 years when discussing Obamacare to imply anything racial. That doesn’t stop some from suggesting it, but it’s an issue that doesn’t exist.

    If it is simply an attempt by the political party out of favor at the moment to confound the other side of the aisle, then no. But the pubic opinion and the problems above explicitly describe more than a political tug-of-war.

    If it is just an attempt by Republicans to preserve their ability to get re-elected by constituents who want to see a more principled and conservative representation, then no. While there is no doubt that more than a few Republicans, either with dreams of elections to higher office or looking to shore up a very moderate if not Democrat voting record, have voted to repeal or defund Obamacare just for the political gain that is not enough of a reason to shutdown the Government. Again, the public and the litany of problems, plus revelations on what Obamacare really is and does clearly states that this is more than mere political math.

    If this is an honest (or at least as honest as some politicians get) attempt to represent the views of the majority of Americans for more than 3 years, then it is worth it. It would mean that this has been an attempt to correct the initial partisan passage of the law, the failures of the law to address serious concerns (like malpractice insurance – a key factor in healthcare increases, and interstate competition for health insurance plans, ect), and the consistent refusal of Democrats to repeal a law the nation has not wanted (which in itself is a partisan reaction without the slightest concern for public opinion or representation).

    For me, I believe that a shutdown of the Government as an attempt to repeal or defund Obamacare as it is written is essential for a reason I believe is more important than everything else mentioned so far. Because it is a law that gives power to the Government over the public in a manner never seen before.

    Nothing is more terrifying than a Government that can tell its populace they must do whatever. Not that they can choose this or that, or if they elect to invoke this privilege they must comply with regulations and laws. Obamacare is the Pandora’s Box that leads to a far less free nation than has ever existed before. It is only a question of time before a new law – for the good of the public – is passed (possibly with great enthusiasm) the restricts and limits freedom in ways that generations 2 or 3 decades ago would have rioted over. This is the path that leads to Governments like Syria, Iran, the old USSR, and China to name just a few examples.

    IF, and only if, Republicans have taken this hard stance to represent the public and protect the freedoms they swore an oath to defend, then the Government shutdown is worth it. Anything less is just political grandstanding, and an attempt to ward off election challenges from the Right and the Left.

    Which reason, for each Representative, will be very clear is short order. Hopefully the public at large will notice.

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