Tag Archives: California

To Sing or Not to Sing in Church, That is the Question for the Gilroy High School Choir

4efb31eb4f085.imageChoir practice in a church makes sense, unless it is the Gilroy High School choir, which was told it was no longer allowed to utilize church buildings for practices or performances as mandated by the Superintendent, according to Jeremy Tedesco of Alliance Defending Freedom.

Senior Legal Counsel, Jeremy Tedesco, disagrees, “Gilroy Unified School District is wrong to end its longstanding tradition of allowing choir groups to perform in acoustically superior churches, hurting both the musicians and the local community. The choirs are not performing in the churches for any religious reason.”

Gilroy High School choirs have been performing for years in acoustically superior facilities, ranging from a variety of church buildings,  to the South Valley National Bank and the Elks club, to showcase their exceptional talent in the best facilities. The district is updating their facilities and talking to acoustic experts to make their own facilities a better place for the choir to practice, according to Jaime Rosso, Board President of Gilroy Unified School District. The board says it desires the students to use the facilities that are available in the school district.

Yet in the mean time, the choirs miss out on great sounding venues due to a few misguided complaints, and a Superintendent who does not understand the Establishment Clause. In a letter written by Jeremy Tedseco to the School board, he states that the nature of choosing a variety of neutral venues, based on the excellent acoustics upholds the Establishment Clause, and by denying the choir access to these venues, the School District may very  well be violating it.

Rosenberger, 515 U.S. at 839 ( “[A] significant factor in upholding governmental programs in the face of Establishment Clause attack is their neutrality towards religioñ’); see also Gaod News Club, 633 U.S. at 114 (“For the `guarantee of neutrality is respected, not offended, when the government, following neutral criteria and evenhanded policies, e~ttende benefits to'” religious and secular beneficiaries alike).

The board is re-evaluating their decision according to Central Coast News and will allow the choirs to practice in whatever facility they desire until the school buildings are renovated and the acoustics meet a higher standard.

Advertisements

The School Success and Opportunity Act aka California’s Transgender Student Bill

ab-1266-dunk3Once again, my dear state of California has stepped out in what some call ground breaking legislation, paving the way for other states to follow.  It is ground breaking for certain, even earth shaking, which is apropos, coming from earthquake prone California.  Governor Brown has signed AB1266 into law, which “gives students the right “to participate in sex-segregated programs, activities and facilities” based on their self-perception and regardless of their birth gender.” This K-12 legislation will take effect in January 2014, but will face many lawsuits stemming from it implementation.

“They will be able to participate in activities, consistent with their gender identity…. rather than singling kids out specifically who are transgender identified, this is a way for them to feel like, they are just like their peers. They are treated exactly the same way” stated an advocate on a Foxnews.com interview.  Yet, this legislation, which helps such a small minority in comparison to the overall population of school children, does not in fact treat the students exactly the same but creates a legislative niche for the few, amongst the majority, whose voice has been muffled over the din of the organizations which have supported it.  For the transgender student who has had to deal with the struggle of which bathroom to use, the individual school district should make arrangements and not make it a big government mandate.

Proponents claim that this legislation will help with bullying, yet I submit that we have only seen the beginning of bullying that this legislation will ultimately foster.  Because the language of the legislation does not require bona fide evidence that one is transgender, any student may decide to be transgender for the day, giving them license to enter the opposite sex’ bathroom and locker room at will.  Bullying at it’s worst will happen.  I can imagine initiations and hazings to benefit from this law, where the perpetrators can cry protection under it’s umbrella, while the victim will be forever violated by what was supposedly meant to protect students.  Imagine showering after physical education, or a track meet with your fellow athlete, only to discover one’s body parts don’t match.  Imagine the junior high girl who has just gotten her period, walking out to find a junior high boy washing his hands in your once private sanctuary.  Imagine the 7th grade boy, hormonal, confused and naked with a bunch of girls, eager to humiliate the kid they are forced to shower with. The restroom, a place of escape and privacy, is now a facility of discomfort and embarrassment for all who don’t embrace this law. Bullying will take on an entirely new meaning.

According to Foxnews.com, Randy Thompson of savecalifornia.com, says the law would “damage” kids.

“This radical bill warps the gender expectations of children by forcing all California public schools to permit biological boys in girls restrooms, showers, clubs and on girls sports teams and biological girls in boys restrooms, showers, clubs and sports teams,” Thomasson said. “This is insanity.”

The very kids which this legislation was intended to “help”, will ultimately hurt all and the indoctrination of the youngest child “protected” by this law is perhaps the most heinous aspect.   What parent really supports telling their kindergarten boy that his gender identity, his penis, doesn’t matter now, and that if a little girl comes into his bathroom, he is just to be polite and ignore her?  The confusion that will occur at school for the elementary age child, a place where learning and play should be the priority, cannot be understated.  No longer is grammar school about reading, writing and arithmetic, but for the promotion of extreme propaganda, with the intent to inoculate young children to this radical agenda.

Parents of public school kids must have a new conversation with their children.  No longer is the golden rule enough, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, but rather the new rule, “avert your eyes when your transgender peer comes into your locker room or bathroom”.   “It’s not polite to stare” takes on a new meaning under AB1266.  No longer does the benign question, “how was your day at school” have an equally benign answer, as parents could have in response “fine, until a six foot tall man walked into the bathroom while I was changing.”  This is what progress looks like?

The supporters of this law have cataracts that cloud their mental vision and ultimately their ability to see the unintended consequences of the legislation.  They blindly lead their followers to the answer the seems to be the best, without regard for the whole of society.  It is “all about them” and their desires, without reflecting on how to meet the need they represent with the least amount of damage and disturbance to the rest of society.  If the need is a bathroom for the transgender student, then give them a bathroom, like a family restroom one finds at a department store.  If the transgender student wants to play on the opposite sex’ sports team, then allow the districts to work it out at the local level.  The organizations that have pushed for this legislation don’t want to take into account the whole of society, but want to force society to revolutionize from the top down, in a mass power grab.

The majority is without a voice in California.   We speak, and the liberal courts over turn, at the beckoning of the radical few who scream the shrillest.  We protest and we are labeled as haters. The good of society as a whole is no longer what drives the legislature here, but rather the radical ideas propagated by the loudest and many times most politically connected voices.  Our school kids suffer for it, and ultimately, the fate of California lies in the ayes of it’s liberal leaders.


I Voted

As I voted today, a little old man wandered into the Registrar of Voters, escorted by his son. His hat caught my eye, as it proudly displayed “Pearl Harbor Survivor“.   The son sat his elderly father down in a chair and went to retrieve the voting documents, as the war hero sat, quietly smiling and observing his surroundings.

After voting, I walked over to the men and thanked the war hero for serving his country. It struck me that this patriot, who survived a terrorist attack almost sixty-nine years ago, giving his all for his country, was still fighting the good fight and voting. What a tremendous example to us today.

What would those who have given their lives for our country, spanning the last two hundred thirty-four years,  think of the morals and politics of 2010?  Is the blood that was shed for freedom and liberty crying out in praise or pain over the direction of our Nation?

So many times we must settle for the better of two evils, because the best has not risen to the top of the candidate heap; but what are we doing daily to promote morality that will have a lasting effect on America?  Getting the best candidates in office, voting for or against propositions and being involved in this great democracy to steer it in the direction of freedom and liberty is crucial, however, our daily choices as citizens have a greater effect on this nation, than one man or woman elected to a political office.  The politician may be our voice, but “We the People” are the arms and legs that move this nation toward or away from its moral foundation.  Our movement has been at a sprint like speed, away from morality and religion, so we must make an effort to return to the heights from which we have fallen.

‎”Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” ~ John Adams

We are no longer a moral and religious people.  We are religious in name only and because of this, we have no moral compass.  If what John Adams says is in fact true, then our Constitution is inadequate for this nation.  So do we re-write the Constitution, a document that has been the example for so many countries around the world, or do we change the people?

Daniel Webster (1782-1852) — United States Senator from Massachusetts and Secretary of State stated:

No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.

To preserve the government we must also preserve morals. Morality rests on religion; if you destroy the foundation, the superstructure must fall. When the public mind becomes vitiated and corrupt, laws are a nullity and constitutions are waste paper.

Vote, for it is one’s civic duty;  but live a life that demands morality and upholds religion, for this is in fact what will secure “the rights and privileges of a free people.”


Free Speech In California

CALIFORNIA CONSTITUTION
ARTICLE 1 DECLARATION OF RIGHTS
SEC. 2. (a) Every person may freely speak, write and publish his or
her sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of
this right. A law may not restrain or abridge liberty of speech or
press.

When does it become acceptable for an establishment to limit a private conversation?  According to FOX NEWS, “That’s what happened to California resident Matthew Snatchko in 2006 when the youth pastor initiated a conversation about God with three shoppers at the Roseville Galleria mall.”  The article goes on to explain that he was arrested by the mall security station, but that charges were not pressed.

According to the article, Snatchko and the Justice Institute challenged the constitutionality of the mall’s restriction on speech and are now seeking the state’s 3rd Appellate District in Sacramento to hear the case, after a 2008 Superior Court found the Westfield Mall’s Courtesy Guidelines not an infringement on one’s freedom of speech.

The mall requires a permit four days in advance and in a designated area for speaking about ‘one’s political, religious or other noncommercial purpose’.  Snatchko, however, would approach people and ask if he could share with them about his faith in a private conversation, giving them the opportunity to say no.

It is detrimental to every citizen if private conversations, in public places, must meet neutral speech standards. Imagine not being allowed to talk over lunch about a political news story, or one’s religious views with a friend, because it violates a  private or public establishments regulations.  Though I don’t find the right of privacy at all a Constitutional right, I will throw the right of privacy into this argument, as private conversations about religion, politics and other hot topics must be protected speech everywhere in the United States.

Pacific Justice Institute President Brad Dacus commented, “Singling out religious speech for punishment violates our most basic principles of free expression. If anyone can be arrested for wearing a Christian t-shirt or mentioning God in a shopping mall, we have lost not only our freedom, but our sanity as a society.”

Speech, even speech that may ruffle our feathers, must be protected.  There are very specific areas in which speech has been limited and rightfully so. Walls that have been erected, especially in the arena of obscene speech, have been breached in the name of the First Amendment and this must not be accepted as the standard norm.  Ironoically, speech such as religion and politics, that the Founders intended to protect, is under attack; while speech that would have been found obscene and criminal is now protected.

“The federal Comstock Law of 1873 criminalized the transmission and receipt of “obscene”, “lewd”, or “lascivious” publications through the U.S. mail. U.S. courts looked to the English case of Regina v. Hicklin, 3 L.R.-Q.B. 360 (1868), for a legal definition of obscenity. The Hicklin test was “whether the tendency of the matter charged as obscenity is to deprave and corrupt those whose minds are open to such immoral influences, and into whose hands a publication of this sort may fall.” (http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/obscenity)

Diligence, my friends, is not a matter of choice these days.  We must stand up for our Constitutional rights whenever and however they are breached.  We must raise the standard to excellence and not apathetically accept that we have to put up with the base rulings set forth by the secular courts across America.  Set the bar high, demand society to reach for a higher standard of behavior. Expect a fight  from those who cry out in the name of tolerance, but never back away when the political correct card is played. Let’s be bold and take back America for our children.


A Letter From Senator Feinstein

I contacted Senator Feinstein about the Senate Health Care Bill and shared my thoughts, adamantly asking her to listen to her constituents. I know that many Californians have called her office, written letters and emails to express to her what they desire to see done about this legislation. I called many times, but her voice mail was full, so I wrote an email instead.

Here is the response I received from her office this past week.

Dear Mrs. Selby:

Thank you for writing to me to express your concerns about healthcare reform. I appreciate the time you took to write to me, and I welcome this opportunity to convey my opinions on how we should reform our health care system.

I support reforming our healthcare system. The key is to find a healthcare plan that will provide coverage to the millions of uninsured Americans and keep premium costs affordable, while not adding to our nation’s unsustainable federal budget deficit. On December 24, 2009, I joined 59 of my colleagues in voting to pass healthcare reform legislation. The “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” passed by a vote of 60-39. The differences between the Senate bill and the version passed by the House of Representatives must now be reconciled.

I voted for the legislation because I believe it makes several important improvements while preserving the parts of our system that work well. Some important changes will occur immediately and others will be phased in. It will provide immediate assistance, including tax credits for small businesses and $5 billion to help subsidize coverage for some people who have been denied due to preexisting conditions. And the legislation would shrink the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap by $500. As these health reforms take place, Congress will be able to assess and adjust the programs to improve healthcare for all Americans. All of this is accomplished in a fiscally responsible manner, reducing the budget deficit and preserving the solvency of Medicare.

I am enclosing my statement on the final passage of the Senate bill. I understand that we may disagree on this issue, but please know that I will keep your comments in mind when this legislation comes before the Senate for a final vote.

Again, thank you for writing. If you should have any further comments or questions, please feel free to contact my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 224-3841. Best regards.

Senator Dianne Feinstein

Statement on Health Insurance Reform
December 23, 2009

Mr. President– I rise in support of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009, which will reform our nation’s health care system.

This is our chance to fix a broken system. We tried in 1993 and 1994, and failed. Over 15 years have passed since our last effort. This may be our last, best opportunity before we are forced to wait another 15 years for real reform. And our country cannot afford to wait another 15 years. Our system is simply unsustainable.

Now this bill is not perfect, and without question, there are items I would like to change. I believe it is a work in progress. However, it accomplishes several important objectives.

o The bill is incremental. There will be time to make needed adjustments before it is fully effective.
o It expands insurance coverage and provides new consumer protections from insurance company abuses.
o It does all this in a fiscally responsible way, reducing the deficit and prolonging the solvency of the Medicare Trust Fund.

Bill is incremental:
Throughout this process, I have argued that health reform should be incremental. I believe that in many ways, this bill is incremental. It leaves the best of our health care system in place. The majority of Americans with coverage continually say they are happy with their insurance. Under this legislation, they can keep what they like. The bill also will be phased in over the next several years. People in need of coverage will receive immediate help in many forms.

o Beginning in 2010, next year, the federal government will spend $5 billion to establish a high risk pool, which will provide subsidized coverage for those who have been denied private insurance on account of a pre-existing condition.
o Young adults will be able to remain on their parents’ health insurance until age 26. Many young adults currently lose their coverage as soon as they graduate from college; this will allow them to maintain their coverage while they find a job.
o Seniors enrolled in the Medicare prescription drug benefit will receive an additional $500 in drug coverage before they encounter the so-called “donut hole” coverage gap. This is the coverage gap that occurs after seniors spend $2,830 on prescription drug costs. They are then required to pay the full amount out of pocket, until their costs total $4,550. This additional $500 of coverage means that seniors will encounter a small gap in their drug coverage, and pay less out of pocket.
o There will be new limits on the amount of premium dollars that can be spent on non-health care expenses by all health insurance companies. This is very important. I have long worried that insurance companies spend too much on administrative expenses, like medical underwriting, claims processing, overhead, and profits and salary, and not enough on actual medical care.

(How is the government not going to have the same problem? Who will regulate them?)

Starting next year:
o Plans sold in the individual and small group markets must devote at least 80% of premium dollars to health care expenses.
o Plans sold to large groups must spend at least 85% of the premium funds they collect on health care services. This provision will give people the assurance that most of their premium dollars go to pay for care.
o Also next year, small business can receive tax credits to help cover the cost of covering their employees. These credits will be available on a sliding scale to employers with 25 or fewer employees, with average annual wages of $50,000 or under.
o Expansion of Community Health Centers. Beginning in 2011, the federal program that supports community health centers will begin to receive significant additional funding, totaling $10 billion through 2015.
This expansion of community care helps guarantee that we are providing not just coverage for medical care, but also access. A health insurance card does no good if no physician will accept it. These clinics provide care for all, and in many places, will be the backbone of a reformed health care system.

Finally, in 2014, the full scope of the reform effort will come in place. People will be able to compare their coverage options in newly created Exchanges, and in many cases, they will receive tax credits to help them purchase coverage.

This allows plenty of time to see how reforms are working, and if necessary, for Congress, the Administration, and states to make adjustments to ensure that health reform is effective.

Insurance Reforms and Exchanges:
The bill contains several critical insurance industry reforms that will help cover 31 million additional Americans. I am convinced that our country’s for-profit health insurance industry operates with profits, not people, in mind. And this legislation will contain a number of new standards that this industry will need to meet.

o They will not be allowed to discriminate based on gender.
o They will not be able to take away coverage once a person gets sick.
o They will not be able to charge more, or deny coverage entirely, based on an individual’s health history or preexisting conditions.

Insurance will be sold in regulated markets called Exchanges, where consumers can easily compare their different insurance options. Websites allow Americans to easily compare prices when shopping for airline tickets, and this will extend the idea to health insurance.

These Exchanges will work on behalf of consumers, to negotiate lower prices and to ensure that participating plans meet high standards. Consumers will receive clear information about what is covered and how much it will cost. They will have several different levels of coverage from which to choose.

Every Exchange will also offer two national plans, overseen by the federal Office of Personnel Management. This office ensures that federal workers and members of Congress have good health plan choices. One of the included plans will be offered by a non-profit company. For consumers in highly concentrated markets with only a few choices, these national plans will provide a new option for quality coverage.

Most importantly, these Exchanges will consider the previous behavior of insurance plans. If a company raises rates unfairly over the next several years, Exchanges will consider this, and decide whether or not they should be allowed to sell in these new markets.

This is a strong incentive for plans to treat consumers fairly.

Fiscally Responsible:
All of this is accomplished in a fiscally responsible manner. The bill saves money, and it saves Medicare.
It is clear that we cannot afford to continue on our current path.

It expands coverage to an additional 31 million Americans while reducing the federal budget deficit by $132 billion by 2019. Deficit reduction increases in the second ten year period that the bill will be in effect.

(How in heaven’s name can we spend so much on this program and reduce the deficit? Where is the logic?)

Now this is a major point of contention. I continue to hear the other side say that this bill will cost $2.5 trillion over 10 years. Even the Republicans’ own analysis shows that the bill will reduce the budget deficit. The Budget Committee’s Minority staff released an analysis that examines the bill’s net cost and savings over the next several decades.

o The Republican staff projects that the bill will reduce the deficit by $176 billion from 2014 to 2023.
o This number grows to $1.032 trillion from 2020 to 2029.
o The total net deficit reduction, according to Republicans, is $1.165 trillion from 2010 to 2029.

Let me say it again: these are partisan estimates, produced by Republican staff. And they show significant, meaningful deficit reduction.

The bill also takes a first step at prolonging the solvency of the Medicare program. Without action, Medicare will be insolvent in 2017. That is 9 short years from now.

(The government that wishes to fix our healthcare system has destroyed the one they have had their hands on, Medicare. Insolvent in 9 short years? And somehow we are to believe this new bill will not face the same demise?)

This bill extends Medicare’s solvency by approximately 4 to 5 years. Make no mistake, more must be done. The Chief Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid estimates that it extends solvency to 2026. And I believe this bill lays the groundwork to help make Medicare more sustainable.

(More sustainable, but not corrected. This bill only pushes the problem back to 2026, for another generation to fix.)

o It contains a Medicare Commission, which will examine the program and make recommendations to Congress on an expedited basis.
o Creates Accountable Care Organizations, in which physicians work together to provide more efficient care for patients, while sharing in some of the savings they generate for the Medicare program.
Controlling Entitlement spending must be a priority, and I believe this is an important step in the right direction.

California Concerns:
Throughout the health reform process, I have emphasized the importance of a health reform bill that meets the needs of large and complex states like California.

My state, without question, has one of the largest and most complex health care systems. As a result, we face some of the most complex challenges.

Over 6.6 million Californians are uninsured. The state is experiencing an unprecedented budget crisis. And even after health reform, the state will still have as many as 2 million undocumented, which will continue to strain public hospitals, emergency rooms, clinics and other providers.

(We in California are paying for 2 million illegal aliens, carefully disguised in politically correct language as the undocumented. These are, according to Mrs. Feinstein, a strain on our “public hospitals, emergency rooms, clinics and other providers.” We in California now want to invite the entire nation to subsidize our illegal alien nation. Welcome aboard!)

California’s public hospitals play a key role in meeting these needs and care for the poorest of the poor. These hospitals rely on payments called Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) funding to cover their costs, both for the uninsured that they cover, and the very low reimbursement rates their receive from the Medicaid program. DSH funding accounts for, on average, 40% of public hospitals’ total funding.

I am pleased that the managers’ amendment has slightly reduced the annual cut to Medicaid DSH funding that California and other states that use their full allotments will receive.
Under the original bill, California would have received a 50% cut in Medicaid DSH once the rate of the uninsured in the state dropped by 45%.

o Under this version, the state’s allotment will only be cut by 35%.
o This reduces a $550 million cut to $385 million, for a savings of approximately $165 million per year to California.

States are now guaranteed to keep at least 50% of their current Medicaid DSH allotments, which will provide long-term stability to this critical program.

I am grateful to Senator Reid for making these adjustments, and I will continue to work with my colleagues in the House to keep as much of this critical funding intact as possible as the process moves forward.

The cost to California from the expansion of Medicaid remains a serious concern.
The bill will cover the full cost through 2016 generated by opening the program to all adults who earn less than $14,400 per year, which is 133% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). However, California will need to maintain this expansion, and will also have to find a sufficient number of doctors willing to take patients newly eligible for Medicaid.

This will cost money. Health reform should not bankrupt large states like California. Ensuring that health reform works for my state will be a top priority as this legislation moves to conference.
I am also concerned that the structure of the annual tax on the health insurance sector may have unintended consequences that will have a disproportionate impact on California. This tax will generate roughly $60 billion over the next 10 years.

The impact of this provision would be disproportionate on states such as California, which have a high proportion of fully-insured coverage. For example, 77 percent of the commercially enrolled population in California is enrolled in fully-insured health plans. This includes public employee plans such as CalPERS and the City and County of San Francisco.

The net result is that California would pay upwards of one-third more than the average state on a per capita basis. Many integrated non-profit health plans, some of which have been cited as models of efficiency, would face additional expenses and consumers would be impacted through higher premiums and limited choices.

(Article I, Section 9, (4) states: “No capitation, or other direct tax shall be laid unless in proportion to the census or enumeration herein before directed to be taken.” In other words, Congress can not levy a direct tax that is not equal for all citizens. Is this not then unconstitutional for the citizens of California?)

Now, an exemption is provided for non-profit insurers in the managers’ amendment. For example, non-profits with an overall medical loss ratio of 90 percent or better, or non-profits in a state which regulates premium increases could be exempt from the tax.

But, this would have a limited impact in California and our two largest non-profit insurers (Kaiser Permanente and Blue Cross/Blue Shield) may not qualify for the exemption. And, because California lacks an entity to regulate premium increases, the only way non-profit insurers in our state will likely qualify for an exemption is by meeting the medical loss ratio requirements (set at 90 percent overall in the bill). This is a high hurdle to meet and I worry these additional costs could appear in the premiums paid by Californians.

Need to Control Premium Increases:
The most important component of successful health reform remains controlling health insurance premium increases. I remain concerned that companies will attempt to take advantage of the period of time between the passage of legislation, and 2014, when Exchanges are up and running with new consumer protections. We have seen this with credit card companies since credit card reform legislation passed, and I fear health insurance will be no different.

I proposed an amendment to create a Medical Insurance Rate Authority, and to ensure that all insurance companies are subject to some type of rate review.

The amendment asks the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to produce a report, detailing the rate review laws and capabilities in all 50 states. The Secretary of HHS will then use these findings to determine which states are capable of doing sufficient rate reviews to protect consumers.

o In states where Insurance Commissioners have authority to review rates, they will continue to do so.
o In states without sufficient authority or resources, the Secretary of HHS will review rates, and take any appropriate action to deny unfair requests.
o This could mean blocking unjustified rate increases, or requiring rebates, if an unfair increase is already in effect.

This will provide all American consumers with another layer of protection from an unfair premium increase.
The amendment would also require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish a Medical Insurance Rate Authority as part of the process in the bill that enables her to monitor premium costs.

The Rate Authority would advise the Secretary on insurance rate review and would be composed of seven officials that represent the full scope of the health care system including:
o At least two consumers.
o At least one medical professional.
o And one representative of the medical insurance industry.
o The remaining members would be experts in health economics, actuarial science, or other sectors of the health care system.

Unfortunately, this amendment was not included, at the insistence of one member of our caucus. I look forward to working with conferees to find some way to ensure that more Americans are protected from unfair premium increases.

Conclusion:
With all the debate over offsets, CBO projections, premiums and matching funds, it is easy to forget that at the end of the day, we are talking about people. The bill we are debating, I believe, will save lives.

A lack of health insurance is more than an inconvenience, it can be deadly. Americans age 64 and under who lack health insurance have a 40 percent higher risk of death than those who have coverage (Dr. David Himmelstein/ Harvard Medical School Study, September 2009).

These are real people, who die earlier than they need to because of problems getting coverage, and problems with our health care system. Expanding health coverage is a moral issue, one that, I believe, reflects the character of our nation. In the richest country in the world, no one should die because they cannot afford health coverage.

(Mrs. Feinstein, give us one example of someone dying because they could not afford health coverage. In America, the uninsured get treated and the dying get needed medical help. The illegal aliens even get medical treatment, as you so clearly stated above. Don’t use the “Appeal to Pity” tactic, it does not become your position.)

For all of this bill’s imperfections, I am convinced that it will mean the difference between life and death for some people. And it is not every day that we can say that about a piece of legislation. We cannot pass up this opportunity. I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this bill.

Also, may I take this opportunity to wish you a happy and healthy holiday season. And may 2010 be a good year for us all.

Sincerely yours,
Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

Just a few thoughts to chew on, while the President continues to sell us this “Bill of Bads” during the State of the Union address this week.