ISAAC NEWTON FARRIS JR

American Citizen

Category: Law Page 1 of 15

A Shiny Object That Deserves Attention

Now that Democrats are about to get their hands on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russia /Trump collusion, some of President Trump’s critics claim the Dept. of Justice’s (DOJ) reversal in a pending legal case is meant to be a shiny object to draw attention away from Mueller’s report. Even if the critics are right it’s a shiny object that deserves EVERYONE’S attention.

On Monday the DOJ sent a 2 sentence letter to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals stating that the entire Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) should be invalidated. This is the shiny object because this was a sudden reversal, prior to the letter DOJ opposed Texas Federal District Court Judge Reed O’Connor’s 2018 ruling in Texas v. United States that Obamacare was unconstitutional. Texas v. United States was a lawsuit filed by Attorney Generals and Governors of Texas, Wisconsin, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and Maine.

President Trump is once again trying to destroy healthcare for 20 million people, his latest attempt is to have the U.S. courts to declare Obamacare unconstitutional

The states argued Obamacare relies on the individual mandate that requires everyone to buy health insurance. The Supreme Court upheld the Obamacare individual mandate as a tax. Now that a Republican-controlled House and Senate eliminated the individual mandate penalty beginning in 2019, the mandate is no longer enforceable as a tax and thus is no longer valid. They further argued that without the mandate Obamacare is unconstitutional.

The first thing President Trump did to try to kill Obamacare was to stop making Cost-Sharing-Reduction (CSR) payments to insurance companies. CSR payments offset the cost to insurers of offering affordable plans to poor Americans.

Despite the fact that prominent conservatives like the National Review editorial board are critical of this legal argument, “The Department of Justice has determined that the district court’s judgment should be affirmed,” three Justice Department lawyers wrote to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is now considering the case.

This is literally what Republicans have been doing to Obamacare from day 1 of its inception, doing any and everything they can to sabotage it.

As usual with President Trump, his actions are contrary to his words. He campaigned saying that he would come up with a healthcare plan that would be better than Obamacare, plans that would be cheaper, provide better care and would cover people with pre-existing conditions. With this move by his Justice Dept. to invalidate Obamacare President Trump is making a lie of his campaign promises.

In fact, if President Trump gets his way and Obamacare is ruled unconstitutional, American healthcare would return to the days when healthcare was truly controlled, not by false government control Republicans lie about, but control by corporations who cared only about their profit and not our health. These were the horrible days of the penny-pinching Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO). Horrible days when Doctors had to call insurance companies to ask for permission to give us treatment. Horrible days when Pharmacist would call insurance companies to get guidance on whether to fill our prescriptions with the brand name or generic drug, Obamacare stopped all of that and gave control of our healthcare back to our Doctor’s.

People rightly think health insurance premiums are high, but they would be even higher than they are now without Obamacare

Giving control of our healthcare back to our Doctors was not the only good thing Obamacare brings to life. It also brings the following 4 good things to life for American citizens that President Trump never mentions:

1) The rate of rising healthcare cost for most people has slowed considerably.  In 2014 there was a 3% increase, in 2015 a 4% increase and in 2016 a 3% increase. The 25%, or the cases like Arizona’s 2017 100% premium increases with the high deductibles, affect the 10 million plus people buying insurance through Obamacare State exchanges.  85% of these people are not affected by the increases because they receive federal subsidies. So we are left with approximately 2-3 million people who make too much to qualify for the subsidies but don’t make enough to afford the insurance premiums. Democrats have just announced legislation to give those 2-3 million people the help they deserve.

 

According to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, the bill unveiled last Tuesday would make more middle-class people eligible for subsidized health insurance through Obamacare, while increasing aid for those with lower incomes who already qualify. And it would fix a longstanding affordability problem for some consumers, known as the “family glitch.”

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, said in 2017 he wasn’t worried about 22 million Americans losing health insurance but he still couldn’t support the Senate health care bill because it didn’t go far enough to dismantle Obamacare and he specifically cited his opposition to guaranteeing health coverage to people with preexisting conditions.

2) Rebated premiums Prior to Obamacare annual double digit premium increases hit everyone but since Obamacare, some have had their premiums rebated. Obamacare requires insurance companies to rebate consumers if the amount they spend on the policy holder’s health benefits and quality of care is too low. The insurance company must spend 80% of the premium they collect from the policy holder on their healthcare, and cannot spend more than 20% of it on the insurance company’s administrative cost. Since this requirement was put in place in 2011 through 2014, more than $2.4 billion in total refunds have been paid to policy holders.

This is the kind of healthcare coverage President Trump wants those who can’t afford health insurance to have, the kind that will put them 6 feet under

3) Obamacare prevents insurance companies from offering any plan that does not cover a minimum of 60% of actual healthcare cost. This requirement goes away with a repeal of the law meaning premiums and deductibles for everyone’s current health insurance plan will increase. President Trump tries to hide this fact by saying that people will have increased access to health insurance. What he really means is insurance companies will be able to offer many cheap plans that provide barebones healthcare coverage. With no requirement that insurance cover 60% of healthcare cost companies can design and sell any plan they want, regardless of what type, what quality and how much healthcare the policy holder actually receives.

This is how President Trump and Senate Republicans want to proceed leaving millions with no health insurance, guaranteeing many of them will die due to lack of healthcare

4) Obamacare is not a job-killer it has helped create jobs. Obamacare has led to 20 million people gaining health insurance and that’s created a great demand for healthcare workers to provide it. Since 2012 over 500,000 jobs were added to the health-care sector.  Private sector job growth has occurred every single month since Obamacare passed in March 2010. The healthcare sector created 234,600 jobs in the first half of 2016, including 39,000 new jobs in June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The 2016 growth outpaced the 225,300 healthcare jobs created in the first six months of 2015, a year that finished with a record 471,600 new jobs in the healthcare sector, according to BLS data. Nearly one in four jobs created in 2016 were in the healthcare sector.

If President Trump’s true intent is to provide a shiny object to divert attention away from the Mueller report, his marketing genius has struck again! He was smart to pick killing Obamacare as that shiny object and Democrats are equally smart to allow their attention to be diverted to it, especially now that the Mueller report has made it clear that President Trump didn’t collude with Russia. Now for Democrats, it’s damn and forget the impeachment torpedoes, its full speed ahead to save and fix Obamacare!!!

Should One Person One Vote Be Real???

In the 2000 election, the winner George W. Bush won 5 more Electoral College votes than the loser Al Gore, but Al Gore won 543,895 more Election Day people votes than George W. Bush. In the 2016 election, the winner Donald Trump won 77 more Electoral College votes than the loser Hillary Clinton, but Hillary Clinton won 2,868,686 more Election Day people votes than Donald Trump. The results of both these elections raise the question should we get rid of the Electoral College and make one person one vote real in America?

The short and logical answer is no. Believe it or not in America, the world’s freest democracy, when it comes to electing the President and the world’s most powerful person, one person one vote should NOT be real. It’s currently not real by design. The founding fathers established the Electoral College in the Constitution as a compromise between election of the President by a vote in Congress and election of the President by a popular vote of the citizens.

The Electoral College works a lot like Congress: The U.S. is divided into 435 congressional districts, each of about 710,000 people. Each district elects one person to the House of Representatives. Every state elects two senators. Electoral College votes are allocated the same way. (The District of Columbia is the exception; it doesn’t have representation in Congress, but it gets three electoral votes.) There are 538 total electors, each with one vote

The Electoral College is made up of 538 electors who meet in December following the national election and cast the ACTUAL votes that determine who is elected President. A person must receive 270 electoral votes to be elected. The 538 electors come from all 50 states and Washington D.C., each state’s number of electors is equal to the number of Congresspersons and Senators they have. One elector for each Congressperson and one for each Senator and Washington D.C. gets 3 electors making the total 538.

On Election Day citizens of America symbolically vote for the candidate of their choice but actually vote for a pre-chosen slate of state electors who will then cast the actual votes to elect the President. State electors meet in their respective state capitals in December to cast their votes. Once the results are certified by the states and D.C. they are then sent to Congress, where they are tabulated nationally in the first week of January before a joint meeting of the Senate and House of Representatives. In the event that no candidate received the necessary 270 Electoral College votes, the House without the Senate would themselves vote to decide the election.

The founding fathers designed the Electoral College because they didn’t think that citizens could be trusted to elect a President for the right reasons due to ignorance, gullibility, or manipulation of citizen’s emotions and passions. Alexander Hamilton writes in “The Federalist Papers,” The point of the Electoral College is to preserve “the sense of the people,” while at the same time ensuring that a president is chosen “by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice.”

James Madison worried about what he called “factions,” which he defined as groups of citizens who have a common interest in some proposal that would either violate the rights of other citizens or would harm the nation as a whole. Madison’s fear – which Alexis de Tocqueville later dubbed “the tyranny of the majority” – was that a faction could grow to encompass more than 50 percent of the population, at which point it could “sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest both the public good and the rights of other citizens.”

Unfortunately its true that one of the reasons the founding fathers created the Electoral College was to aid slave states, but the principle of making a state with a small population equal to a state with a large population is correct

The ignorance and gullibility concerns of Hamilton’s 18th century America have been muted by America’s 21st-century technology, a better-educated citizenry, a robust mainstream media, and the internet. Madison’s 18th century “the tyranny of the majority” concerns are not muted and are still valid in 21st century America. There are plenty of 2018 examples of the tyranny of the majority at work in States throughout the country. From partisan majority gerrymandering, partisan majority legislatures passing repressive voting laws, the majority manipulating the rules for both registering to vote and casting a vote, and the majority manipulating the rules that determine who stays on the list of registered voters and who is removed. But his “factions” concerns could become a threat to democracy in an unforeseen way if the Electoral College is removed from the election process.

The last time a presidential candidate got over 50% of the popular vote was 2008 when Barak Obama got 52.9% of the popular vote, a feat he repeated in 2012 when he was reelected with 51.1%. Before 2008 it was over 30 years ago in 1988 when George H.W. Bush (the father) got 53.4% of the popular vote. 4 years later in 1992, Bill Clinton defeated him winning only 43% of the popular vote to Bush’s 37.4% and independent candidate Ross Perot’s 18.9%. Clinton was reelected in 1996 winning 49.2%.

In 2000 George W Bush lost the popular vote but won the Electoral College vote and in 2004 was reelected winning 50.7% of the popular vote. In 2016 Hillary Clinton won the popular vote with 65 million plus votes but lost the Electoral College vote to Donald Trump. Clinton’s popular vote win was only 48% of the total of all votes cast because independent candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein were also in the race. In each instance where the winner of the popular vote did not win a 51% majority of all votes cast, there was a 3rd party candidate in the race.

Barak Obama is the only President to win a 51% majority of the popular vote in the last 30 years, if the Electoral College is removed he might be the last

If America abandoned the Electoral College and adopted a system in which a person could win the presidency by only winning a plurality of the popular votes cast, would make the current situation worse. Because the more candidates there are in the race the fewer votes one candidate needs in order to have the most votes to win the race. In theory, a single issue candidate in a race with 10 other candidates could win the race by winning only 25% of the total votes cast. No person elected with only 25% of the votes cast could ever claim to have any mandate from the voters to truly lead and would start from day one as a very weak President.

Another problem that eliminating the Electoral College would create is the prospect of presidential campaigns ignoring states to a much greater degree than they do now. Over half (177,869,320) of America’s 329,093,110 population live in the 10 most populous states of California, Texas, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, and Michigan. A campaign could decide that a state like Wyoming with a population of less than a million people isn’t worth the effort. That it should focus only on the 10 most populated states and win the election without having to campaign in the other 40 states. In other words, millions of citizens would never have their votes sought after meaning their voices on the issues of the day would not be heard.

The only reason Iowa gets so much attention with such a small voting population and only 6 electoral votes is because traditionally its been the very first primary contest

The main rationale for keeping the Electoral College is that states like Iowa get the attention they would not in a true one person one vote election, but in reality, nobody goes to Iowa after the primaries for general election campaigning. The only reason people campaign in Iowa is because it’s the first primary contest and winning it can give a campaign early momentum. Once the general election campaign starts no campaign is heard saying that it needs to make stops through Iowa or Wyoming?

Because any campaign in search of votes, be they people votes or state elector votes, is going to where the greatest number of those sought after votes are gathered. Wyoming with only 3 electoral votes and Iowa with only 6 will lose out every time to the other 21 double digit electoral vote states. But one tweak of the Electoral College could change all that and make the problem of any state being ignored a true thing of the past.

If the Electoral College was removed from the election process it would give heavy populated states like California and New York an unfair advantage under a one person one vote election process

Currently, the District of Columbia and 48 states have a winner-takes-all rule for the Electoral College. In these States, whichever candidate receives a majority of the popular vote, or a plurality of the popular vote (less than 50 percent but more than any other candidate), takes all of the state’s Electoral votes. This aspect of the Electoral College is not mandated by the Constitution and therefore it’s up to each state’s discretion which is why Nebraska and Maine, do not follow the winner-takes-all rule.

Because Democrats have won the popular vote but loss the election twice the vast majority are in favor of getting rid of the Electoral College

If each state would follow the lead of Nebraska and Maine by allocating Electoral College votes to the candidate that wins the Congressional district within the state, would make all states viable hunting grounds for all candidates looking for Electoral College votes. No longer would campaigns focus only on battleground states, a state like Wyoming or Kansas with its 6 electoral votes would no longer be overlooked, to the contrary they would be viewed as places where 1 or 2 votes could be picked off regardless of whether it’s a blue or red state.

It would make it worth it for a campaign to expend the time and resources in non-battleground states to attract the votes which could lead to 1 or 2 Electoral College votes. In both the election campaigns of Al Gore and Hillary Clinton for President, had all 50 states allocated Electoral College votes based on who won the Congressional districts within the states instead of winner take all, American history would have recorded a President Al Gore and a President Hillary Clinton.

The Electoral College is currently configured for an 18th century America which can deny the will of the people’s popular vote. But a tweak in how Electoral College votes are awarded to candidates can make it a 21st century inclusive process that reflects the will of the people’s popular vote.

Like the rest of that grand document the founding fathers conceived over 200 hundred years ago, there’s logic in the concept and principle of the Electoral College that they designed. All it needs now is for 48 states to make a methodology tweak in how its Electoral College votes are awarded, which will make it as effective for electing the President in the 21st century as it was for the founding fathers when they elected the President in the 18th century.

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