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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Cuccinelli defends Virginia's suit against health reform at event in Annandale

At a “meet and greet” at the Northern Virginia Jewish Community Center in Annandale Wednesday evening, Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli defended his lawsuit against the federal health care act and his subpoena challenging the research of a former University of Virginia professor on climate change.

The audience at the JCC was decidedly mixed, in terms of their opinion of the controversial Republican attorney general whose outspoken statements have made him a polarizing figure in Gov. Robert McDonnell’s administration. The moderator, Ron Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, urged those in attendance to be civil and respectful.

According to Cuccinelli, his suit against the health reform act is based on the state statute that “insulates Virginians from having to purchase health insurance.” He says there will be a summary judgment hearing Oct. 18 on the suit and a hearing in mid or late November on whether any part of the bill is unconstitutional. 

If the mandate requiring individuals to purchase health insurance is thrown out, everything else in the health reform act would be nullified, too, because the act lacks a “severability clause,” he says. That means provisions that prohibit insurers from canceling people’s policies when they get sick and that allow children to stay on their parents’ health plans until age 26 would be tossed out, too.

In response to the argument that the mandate in the health act is similar to requiring car owners to have auto insurance, Cuccinelli says, “States have more extensive powers to order their citizens around” than the federal government. “The federal government does not have the power to require an individual to buy a product.”

“Where does that leave people in Virginia who need health care?” a member of the audience asked. Cuccinelli’s answer: States should be allowed to consolidate health plans, so people could shop around and purchase plans from other states. When someone else contended that universal health insurance is long overdue, noting that the United States is the only Western country without a national health plan, Cuccinelli countered that “we are freer than those other countries. That has to be the trade-off.”

In response to a question about why the state is pursuing legal action against Prof. Michael Mann after other universities affirmed his research methodology on global warming, Cuccinelli said “no other entity in Virginia other than the attorney general addresses the misappropriation of federal dollars.” Cuccinelli, no fan of environmental regulations, has complained that Mann had falsified data to show how global warming is caused by human activity, such as industrial air pollution.

After Cuccinnelli’s earlier attempts to subpoena Mann’s research documents were blocked by a judge, the attorney general now is attempting to gain access to just the documents dealing with research funded by state grant money. Cuccinneli says he wants to review the documents to see if they are fraudulent and whether “false statements were made to get the grant.”

The attorney general told the audience his other priorities are a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency’s greenhouse gas standards, Medicaid fraud, and mental health services for prisoners.


Anonymous said...

We're in the middle of one of the worst economic downturns in our history and this asswipe is conducting a witchhunt with our tax money.

Anonymous said...

Having young healthy people insured will mean that they get regular health exams and they won't wait till they are really sick and go to the emergency room, where their bills are paid by all taxpayers. It will spread out the insurance risk by incorporating healthy young people into the system who are paying premiums. It is difficult to tell if Cuccinelli is merely a moron or if he is a mindless tool of the big insurance companies. I lean toward the former opinion.

Anonymous said...

Mr Cuccinelli likes history. He better think twice about his place in history. His name will go down in the books with other opposition, with those who opposed ending slavery 150 years ago and those who opposed integration 50 years ago.

Anonymous said...

Anon said - "Having young healthy people insured will mean that they get regular health exams and they won't wait till they are really sick and go to the emergency room, where their bills are paid by all taxpayers."

Healthy young people don't need regular health exams and, by definition, are healthy and won't need to go to the ER (except for actual emergencies for which the ER is designed for). In any case, it is up to young healthy people to decide for themselves whether they should buy insurance, not the government. It is a travesty that the gov is forcing anybody to buy insurance. "spread out the insurance risk" is another way of saying forced separation of the earned income from the hard-working people that earned it.

Anonymous said...

What sort Tea Party of idiocy is this? Young people don't need health exams???? That's how they stay healthy, exams to check! And having non insured people in the ER drives up the bill for the insured! More insurance spreads the risk. Take an economics class!

The travesty is that some greedy pig could start a business without insuring the people that make him money. And that Virginians could elect a fool like Cuccinelli. How bizarre it is that the primary potential beneficiaries of healthcare reform have a paranoid fear of it!

There's that "socialism" boogeyman again.

Anonymous said...

Young people stay healthy because statistically they are less likely to get medical issues that require a lot of care. They are more likely to get sent to the hospital for a car accident than cancer. There are studies that show that yearly checkups for people that don't have chronic health problems, especially young people, are a waste of money and health resources. Additionally, it would be cheaper for a young person to pay out of pocket for these checkups than to pay for health care premiums. From the time I was 15 till I turned 30, I probably visited the doctor a half dozen times and the hospital once. I feel safe in saying that the insurance companies made out on that deal.

But more importantly, it is none of yours or the governments business if I have health insurance or not. I don't have a fear of healthcare reform. I do have a fear of the government thinking it can do a better job at making healthcare decisions for me than I can. There are other ways to solve this problem than stealing the money of people to pay for insurance that many don't need or want.

Interestingly, when I was on an HMO plan and going to the doctor was virtually "free" for me, I went often, even though in retrospect, most of my visits were not really needed. Any ache, any pain, I was there because it did not cost me anything. Was that a good use of resources? Obviously not. The more something appears free, the more we will use it. The further we remove the cost of medical care from people, the more problems we will have with obtaining the best use of our limited medical resources. Or as I learned in econ, there is no free lunch.

And finally, in a time when jobs are scarce and unemployment is high, it take some moxie to call someone who can directly help fix this a "greedy pig". Wow.

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