Democrats & Liberals Archives

Enzi: A Man of (Republican) Principle

Senator Mike Enzi is a Republican senator from Wyoming. He is also chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which approved the Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act. The Senate will vote on it soon. This bill demonstrates that Enzi believes in 2 broad Republican principles: states rights (in reverse) and taking care of special interests.

This bill would allow business or trade associations to band their membership together across
state lines to shop for health insurance. The bill would nullify all the regulations of the 50 states and make only national - MINIMUM - requirements applicable to everyone. Forty six states have higher requirements today than the bill would allow.

This bill is the opposite of reform. It's a downgrade. Naturally, many enlightened states such as California, oppose this bill. California Attorney General Bill Lockyear said:

"As you are aware, there is a proliferation of health plans that do not cover maternity, basic and preventative services such as annual physicals, mammograms, colonoscopies, diabetic care service and supplies and other documented positive therapies.... All of these, and other preventative health care protections [assured in California], are guarantees that consumers in California and nationwide will lose if (the bill) is passed."

States will have nothing to say about healthcare insurance. As a good Republican, you would suppose Enzi believes in that great Republican principle of states rights. Sure he does. But not in this case.

This business with healthcare is a rerun of the business with net neutrality. States rights Republicans do not want telecoms negotiating with individual states; let them talk to the FCC.

Are Republicans throwing away their principle of states rights now that it hurts their implementation of a much more important principle of taking care of special interests?

Maybe you haven't noticed but practically every important piece of legislation Congress has adopted recently was for the benefit of some special interest: bankruptcy bill for the credit industry, energy bill for the oil industry, Medicare drug bill for the pharmaceutical industry.......... And now Republicans are pushing the Enzi bill for the health insurance industry and the small business association. Also, the net neutrality bill for the telecom industry.

Small businesses will benefit, says Enzi. How about employees of small businesses? According to a Zogy poll, by a margin of 2-to-1 (61% verses 28%), small business employees do not think that Congress should pass a law that would allow health insurance companies and small businesses to avoid state regulations that protect the healthcare consumer. A huge majority of these employees - 70% - say that older people should not be charged more than younger and supposedly healthier people. They are afraid the Enzi bill would bring this about.

While Enzi and his fellow Republicans are going all out pursuing their number-one principle of helping their special interests, you if you want decent health care must fight for it. Call or write your legislators and tell them you don't want Enzi's healthcare but real healthcare, the kind that is available and helpful to all of us - public-interest healthcare.

Posted by Paul Siegel at May 8, 2006 5:46 PM
Comment #146335

Nice guy…

Is he up for election this year?

Posted by: tony at May 8, 2006 7:27 PM
Comment #146379

My nomination for a “Glass Navel” award!

Posted by: Rocky at May 8, 2006 9:25 PM
Comment #146381

Sometimes… I look at my life and see lots of little problems, things I wish I could change. Then I consider those who call themselves (support) the current REP party…

LA DA DA LIDI DA DA !!!! WHOOPEE! (Sometimes, all you need is look at things from the proper perspective.)

Posted by: tony at May 8, 2006 9:37 PM
Comment #146401

Good article, Paul. The Bush administration is doing something similar in California. We voted to mandate higher fuel efficiency standards for vehicles, but the Bush administration is throwing legal roadblocks in front of us by claiming it’s the EPA’s job to set (lower) federal standards.

Posted by: American Pundit at May 8, 2006 11:24 PM
Comment #146413

I just read something interesting on Drudge. Rupert Murdoch is heading a fundraiser for Hillary.

I guess we know who owns America.

Posted by: gergle at May 9, 2006 12:14 AM
Comment #146427

Well, here’s another aricle where the black and white hats are issued at the door. Only a true blackgusrd would deny health care to Amricas workers just to save a few bucks. In the absense of the economic justification for this bill, I know that runaway health care costs are a huge impediment to small businesses. I also know that some states like California are particularly troubled by the higher cost of their mandated minimums. It is unrealistic to expect that rising costs will not affect employer provided insurance.

The issue with trade unions is a member/union issue. That is why they pay dues. I would first suggest disbanding the provisions that force membership in unions and see if the unions became more responsive.

I found it interesting that American Pundit commented on Californias desire to implement fuel efficiency standards. When I read the article, I was struck by the similiarity between the dispute about this bill and the problems caused by multiple designer fuels. State by state designer gasoline requirements played a significant part in the current gasoline price increases by exsascarbating our refinery capacity shortage.

When issues impact a large enough part of the nation, they by necessity lose their status as state issues. Unless states are willing to assume all costs for implementing individual regulations, the cost to the larger society demands federal supervision.

Posted by: goodkingned at May 9, 2006 3:07 AM
Comment #146450

The only time Conservatives are for “States’ Rights” is when it involves something like abolishing Slavery or Segregation. The Scaliquist Supreme Star-Chamber demonstrated this in Bush v. Gore. (By the way, let’s take moment to remember that noted Conservative, William H. Rehnquist):

Isn’t that Special?

Anyway, back to the Topic - whenever “States’ Rights” is inconvenient to them, Conservatives scurry to Heap More Government On Our Backs: laws against (certain people) Getting Married; laws against Having (certain kinds of) Sex; laws against Free Expression (of certain kinds) and (certain forms of) Dissent; laws against pulling the plug on your long-brain-dead Wife; laws against what you can do with your own body. The list goes on and on…

So much Hypocrisy; so much Evil; so many Rigged Elections - how long, America? How long before the Tree Of Liberty is to have its thirst quenched again?

It is a mighty Thirst…

Posted by: Betty Burke at May 9, 2006 7:56 AM
Comment #146483

Thank-you Paul for enlightening me on this issue. Lets face it, republicans are not for state rights, not for American rights and not for human rights. p.s. betty burke, you do have a way with words that hits the nail on the head. i love reading your posts

Posted by: wheredemballs at May 9, 2006 11:45 AM
Comment #146500

Mike Enzi Senate seat is up for reelection in 2008 for those who are interested.

Posted by: steve smith at May 9, 2006 12:07 PM
Comment #146536


I think the Democrats are planning to present an alternative proposal, possibly later today.

While this is somewhat off-topic I wish everyone would take a look at this USA Today article about Medicare Part D. It’s fairly representative of what I’ve heard talked about among local seniors. Really a good indication of what to expect from the Republicans when it comes to health care reform:

Tough choices can be side effects of Medicare plan

As I’ve said the Medicare Scrip Plan has helped me but those who seem to have really suffered under the plan are the poorest among us. Just doesn’t seem fair in any sense of the word.


Posted by: KansasDem at May 9, 2006 1:51 PM
Comment #146594

What will you all have to say if your dream does not come true this coming November?

Posted by: Cliff at May 9, 2006 4:51 PM
Comment #146602

“What will you all have to say if your dream does not come true this coming November?”

Your kidding, right? How about the same as always.
- Its Bushs’ fault
- Racism
- Its not that the people don’t agree with our agenda, its that the people are dumb
- Its Bushs’ fault
- The voting machines were rigged
- The Reps cheated
- Its Bushs’ fault
- That damn, evil Rove!

Posted by: kctim at May 9, 2006 5:20 PM
Comment #146620

What will you all have to say if your dream does not come true this coming November?
Posted by: Cliff

We will be very disappointed, and have to take the long view, and keep on working. Problems do not vanish overnight. No matter what happens in November, it will take a lot of time and effort to repair the damage that Bush and co have done to this country and to the World.

Posted by: dana at May 9, 2006 7:11 PM
Comment #146693

Why thank you, wheredemballs, and let me return the compliment by saying I admire your Balls!

(Would that more Democrats had some - then we would see Progressives swept back into power. That’s all the American People are waiting for: someone to Lead them out of the Conservative Malaise. No one wants to live in Mordor, under the shadow of Dark Lord Cheney, forever. They just haven’t seen a Hero emerge yet…)

Of course, it doesn’t matter; if Aragorn of Numenor were to stride forth tomorrow to take up the Banner Of Liberty - Karl Rove would just Swiftboat him…


Posted by: Betty Burke at May 9, 2006 10:46 PM
Comment #146696

>>Your kidding, right? How about the same as always.
* It’s Clinton’s fault
* Indecisiveness
* It’s not that the people don’t agree with our agenda, it’s that the people are dumb
* It’s Clinton’s fault
* The dress had a stain on it
* The Dems are immoral
* Its Clinton’s fault
* That damned, evil Hillary!

Posted by: kctim at May 9, 2006 05:20 PM

Posted by: Marysdude at May 9, 2006 10:51 PM
Comment #146726

Kctim and Marysdude: singing in point-counterpoint :)

I watched some of the debate today on Enzi’s bill. What a crock! They keep saying it’s better than nothing, and that it’s a start. Hogwash. He said it had been tried in other states and worked. Too bad he didn’t listen to the one member who’s state tried it and it created unintended consequences that made things worse.

Kansas Dem:

I’ve heard from some seniors that they are paying less for their medications, but someone in the senate today said that there is a cap, and then you go back to paying full price? Something like $2000.

Another senator said even his lawyer son couldn’t understand the medicare scrip plan enough to help his father (the senator) choose which one would be best for him to choose.

And now there is going to be some kind of penalty on seniors who don’t sign up in time? What the hell is that?

Posted by: womanmarine at May 10, 2006 12:04 AM
Comment #146880


What you’re talking about is the “donut hole”. Here’s a cut-n-paste from WebMD that explains it pretty well:

“Under the standard Part D benefit, once someone’s total drug costs have reached $2,250, they reach what is called the “donut hole” or the coverage gap, which is when Medicare’s (the plan’s) coverage stops temporarily. At that point, people with Medicare are responsible for 100% of their next $2,850 in drug costs. After they reach what you call “Step 3” in your post — when they have spent about $3,600 out-of-pocket or $5,100 in total drug costs, then Medicare (their plan) begins to cover them again.”

In theory the “donut-hole” will effect very few people. The poor are supposed to be eligible for “additional help” which will eliminate both the “donut-hole” and the deductible as well as reduce the premium or, in some cases, pay the premium in full.

Also since there are a large number of plans competition has created some really good plans for people that can afford a higher premium. I opted for one of the most expensive plans because I have a chronic illness and I’d rather not have any big surprises.

The problem I’ve heard the most about locally is that many seniors who are living on about $600 to $800 per month, and who were previously getting most of their meds paid for by Medicaid, were used to paying only $1.00 or $2.00 per scrip, and they’re now finding that they have to pay 20%. It just doesn’t make sense to me that the poorest among us should get the worst deal. Hopefully this is just a “fluke” and it will be straightened out in the long term.

And yes. There is a May 15 deadline. If you’re not signed up by May 15 you’ll have to wait until open enrollment again which is November 15th thru December 31st. And you’ll pay a higher premium because you waited. This is not really something new. A similar penalty applies to Medicare Part B.

Given the confusion and complications related to Medicare Part D I think an extension of the deadline is quite reasonable but Bush says no way.


Posted by: KansasDem at May 10, 2006 1:02 PM
Comment #146991

The government gets to take its time correcting Part D, but old folks have to meet a deadline…go figure.

Posted by: Marysdude at May 10, 2006 5:53 PM
Comment #147141

In fairness, it should be noted that the Democrats have spent the entire time since the announcement of the proposed prescription coverage till now, encouraging eligible participants not to sign up for the program. It is somewhat disingenuous to suggest that Bush is responsible for anyone not meeting the scheduled deadline.

Posted by: goodkingned at May 11, 2006 2:39 AM
Comment #147504

So, if I “encourage” a Cow not to enter the Slaughterhouse by way of that Ramp - it’s my “Fault” that the Cow gets to live?

Posted by: Betty Burke at May 12, 2006 2:20 AM
Comment #149045

Only if you are going to complain to the grocer that there are not steaks today.

Posted by: Rob at May 17, 2006 7:06 PM
Comment #214329

All medications have side effects. Even taking too many Naturopathic vitamins or drinking too much water results in death. WBR LeoP

Posted by: John Medicine at March 29, 2007 4:24 PM
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