Friday, January 06, 2012

And Speaking of the Iowa Caucuses

This is then Senator Obama's final message to Iowans just before the 2008 Iowa Caucuses.

I think it holds up pretty well: Health care reform and tax relief for working families delivered as promised with more on the way; completing the drawdown of troops in Iraq completed as promised; college loan reforms accomplished as promised. The promise to move toward energy independence is still pending, as is repairing the divide with Republicans in Congress — who, in fairness to the President, appear to have fled into their bedroom and slammed the door. 

Seems to me, citizens can be delighted or dismayed, but it we can hardly deny Mr. Obama pursued and substantively delivered what he promised Iowans four years ago this week.


Anonymous said...

health care reform? i have lost my job in the past year and a half. mr obama was errr president. i have also lost my house in the past 8 months. i applied for loan mods 7 times in that 8 months only to be denied. it was a lot of work and a drain on my wife and my children. it wasnt until i talked with HUD folks under obamas watch that i found out that if i had more than 8k in assets i would never receive help. i own 2 used cars, a 05 chevy truck and an 03 saturn ion. have 1500 in the bank. that put me over the 8k. then i find out the only real help is going to those that got the bogus loans and should never even been able to qualify to buy a home. i owned mine for 23 years, never had taken any money from the equity and never refinanced. i could afford it. at least i was able for 23 years. then i lost my health care, unless i wanted to pay the 800 a month for cobra. i opted out in order to get something cheaper. its taken me 6 months to "qualify" for some crummy insurance that i'm not sure really is worth paying for. getting kicked out of iraq really qualifies for withdrawl? you must have a job? glad my hope is in the king of glory, the one who has my life in his hands and has promised me eternal life where no tears, pain or sin will ever enter. hope in government of any kind is for those that have no hope but in man. go obama!

Anonymous said...


oh and tax relief, really, for 2 months? we'll be back here again, real soon. i dont think theres been a president that ever compared with jimmy carter until now.

dave t.

Jim Hancock said...

Dear Anonymous,

I'm sorry you lost your job and home and health coverage. I can't think of a single way in which that doesn't suck.

I'm sure you're aware that Republicans in Congress, and a few Democrats, have fought tooth and nail to block the President from extending and expanding loan modification programs. Or maybe you're not aware of that, but it's in the public record. And your family is paying the price very directly. Again: Sorry.

I don't have a job. I quit my last day job a dozen years ago to operate a one-person company. I've been on my own for health coverage since June 2000. If you think things are bad now -- and they still are -- you would have soiled your trousers over the last decade.

When my COBRA coverage timed-out, the insurer I'd been with for most of a decade said they would be happy to extend the same plan to me for $6,000 a month. In case you think that's a typo, let me say it differently: My insurance company said they would cover me going forward for a premium of $72,000 a year. I was so shocked by that number that I just laughed at the young woman on the phone -- so loud that I felt like I needed to apologize. She didn't make up that number. Someone making a whole lot more money than either of us did.

Allow me to make a partial list of benefits extended under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 -- which is, frustratingly, phased in between 2010 and 2018. You can read the list and then tell me if you think it represents significant reform. The Act:

- sets a cap on our total out-of-pocket expenses
- ends lifetime coverage limits
- ends annual coverage limits
- extends coverage under family insurance to our children until their 26th birthday
- sets minimum standards for health plans
- prohibits insurers from declining coverage due to preexisting conditions
- ends copayment for preventive care and screenings
- establishes clear apples-to-apples comparisons of plan costs and benefits
- prohibits insurers from dropping us if we get sick
- requires a minimum of 80% of premiums go to medical services or we get a rebate
- extends medicare to small and rural medical facilities
- prohibits insurers from charging us higher premiums based on health risk
- expands Medicaid eligibility to more low-income citizens
- subsidizes premium coverages for low- and middle-income citizens
- all but ensures an end to U.S. families losing their homes because of medical misfortune

Is it perfect? Of course not. But the law already beats the heck out of what we had and what we were going to get without it, and it's being refined and improved as the elements are activated and tested in real world applications. There's more on all this at and other nonpartisan sources.

Every potential opponent in the 2012 presidential election wants to take all that back and leave us hanging out to dry.

As for Iraq, without going into the bigger story, I'm sure you know that the general terms of the withdrawal were set by the Bush Administration in 2008. No one doubts the capacity of of the U.S. military to project power in such a way as to change the terms of that departure -- and a lesser Commander in Chief might had been baited into such a move. But by what authority, at what cost, and to what end? I think this withdrawal was about as dignified as it could have been under the circumstances.

Please don't get me wrong: I don't place my hope in the U.S. government. I merely have expectations about what we should be able to expect from each other and for each other, and how government should operate to deliver those results as nearly as possible for our mutual benefit. I don't see anyone in the presidential race whose vision about that overlaps with mine nearly as much as President Obama.

I really am sorry for your pain. I hope you find great healing and restoration for your family very soon.



Jim Hancock said...

Dear Dave T,

What with Christmas and all, perhaps it escaped your notice that a two-month compromise was put in place last month to head off House Republicans who wanted an immediate end to the tax break for middle-income Americans that put around $1000 back in the pockets of 160,000,000 working Americans in each of the last two years (you may remember that tax break being extended through 2011 in a 2010 budget showdown).

Of course we'll be back here again in February. That was going to happen no matter what. The compromise you're dismissing saves people like me and perhaps you, something like $40 per pay period in January and February. I find I'm able to think of several things I can do with that money; how about you?

If you want to ensure that we don't have to revisit this again in May and July and September, tell your Members of Congress to stop screwing around and take care of the people's business.

While we're at it, let's send solid Democratic majorities to Washington for the 113th Congress and see if we can make some progress together.