What about health care?

Not to buy into the savvy-bloggers-versus-clueless-MSM trope. But it does appear that the mainstream media might have missed one of the most significant aspects of yesterday’s vote by the Legislature to advance the anti-gay-marriage constitutional amendment. By their omission, the media may have helped create the false impression that legislators were acting on principle rather than expediency.

Both the Globe and the Herald today cite last week’s Supreme Judicial Court ruling that legislators must vote up or down on citizen initiatives as the main reason that the amendment was not killed through a parliamentary maneuver, as has happened on several occasions in the past.

In the Globe, Frank Phillips and Lisa Wangsness write:

[T]he vote marked a dramatic shift in fortune for social conservatives and Governor Mitt Romney, who just weeks ago had little hope the petition would move forward. Both they and same-sex marriage advocates said the Supreme Judicial Court’s ruling was the major factor that shifted the political ground in favor of the proposed amendment.

In the Herald, Casey Ross puts it this way:

[State Sen. Richard] Tisei and other observers said [Gov.-elect Deval] Patrick, who called a press conference to explain his opposition in the morning, did not seem to understand the impact of a Supreme Judicial Court ruling last week that unambiguously stated that lawmakers had to take an up-or-down vote.

WBZ-TV (Channel 4) political analyst Jon Keller writes this on his blog:

[T]he SJC’s ruling that legislators were obligated to vote today was cited by everyone involved in the con-con, from [Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus co-chair] Arline Isaacson to Trav [that would be Senate President Robert Travaglini] to Mitt Romney, as a key factor in what occurred. The same SJC that infuriated so many with the gay-marriage ruling has now restored its legitimacy in the minds of all but the most obtuse.

So there you have it — reluctant legislators obey the court and uphold their oath of office by voting to advance an amendment that only 31 percent of them support. Let’s give them a hand.

But wait — wasn’t there another constitutional amendment the legislators were supposed to vote on yesterday? Uh, the answer to that would be “yes.” A citizen initiative to amend the state constitution by guaranteeing everyone health care (Media Nation is not clear on the details) was supposed to be voted on yesterday, just like the anti-gay-marriage amendment. And guess what? It wasn’t. I can find virtually no mention of this in today’s coverage — but several bloggers picked up on it immediately.

Most prominent was Blue Mass Group, which has taken a pounding from its liberal readers for insisting that the Legislature vote on all constitutional amendments, including the gay-marriage ban. Last evening, Blue Mass Group blogger David Kravitz, coming off as sadder but wiser, wrote:

The results are in: the legislature took a vote on the merits of the anti-marriage amendment, and advanced it to the 2007-08 session, but did not do so on the health care amendment, so it died on the vine. So they have — no question — violated their oaths of office. And they’ve made those of us who asked them to follow the law on the marriage amendment, even though we suspected the results would be disappointing, look pretty silly. Thanks guys.

The Outraged Liberal, who had urged the Legislature to engage in “civil disobedience” by refusing to vote on the anti-marriage amendment, opined last night:

Process liberals may have also learned a very hard lesson — particularly with the Legislature’s refusal to vote on the health care amendment. Next time there may be a better understanding that principle of the question is more important than the principle of the process.

Universal Hub wraps up blogger comment this morning — again, acknowledging the hypocrisy of the Legislature for upholding the constitution by voting on gay marriage but then thumbing its nose on health care.

The sole mainstream-media reference to the health-care amendment I could find this morning in my admittedly less-than-comprehensive search was in this story, by David Kibbe of Ottaway News Service. His lengthy account of the gay-marriage debate ends with this:

In other action yesterday, the Legislature bottled up a proposed ballot question for universal health care by sending it a committee. Opponents of the question said it would hamper the state’s efforts to establish a landmark health care law to greatly expand health coverage. But those who backed it said it would help the state achieve its goal.

That seems pretty straightforward, doesn’t it? The legislative session expired yesterday, so the health-care amendment can no longer be considered for the 2008 ballot. Thus it would appear that the Legislature explicitly ignored the SJC’s vote-or-else decree, making a mockery of the supposed respect for the process it demonstrated by advancing the anti-marriage amendment.

The media’s failure to point out this prime example of constitutional hypocrisy seems so mind-boggling that I keep thinking I must be missing something; that for some technical reason perhaps the Legislature was not obligated to vote on health care. If I’m wrong, let me know — not that you need to be told.

Update: Laura Kiritsy of Bay Windows gets it right. Kiritsy also reports that legislators went ahead and voted despite a legal opinion from the Senate counsel that they didn’t have to.

Update II: Good editorial in the MetroWest Daily News.

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24 thoughts on “What about health care?”

  1. It seems obvious to me, The Globe is all gay marriage all the time and the Herald has four reporters putting out the whole paper. I am not sure which is worse!!!!!

  2. Bay Windows, which (unlike the Globe) really is “all gay marriage all the time” got it right. See BayWindows.com.

  3. Mr. Kennedy – Please note – the entire House GOP Caucus DID vote to advance the Health Care amendment, even though they did not ALL vote to advance SSM.So perhaps some of them WERE committed to the process in a way the Democrats were not!

  4. Dan,For what it’s worth, the online version of the MetroWest Daily News editorial on the constitutional convention was updated last night to reflect the health care amendment vote, though I was a little queasy about basing it on reporting by bloggers while the professional reporters were asleep at the switch.The edit is at http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/opinion//

  5. First things first, so Happy New Year to Dan & family and Media Nation’s regulars as well as its silent watchers.While we are at it, best wishes to two main critcism targets on these forums, The Globe and the Herald; may it be a year of recovery for both.I have largely stayed away from weigning in like many others on this subject because again, like many others, I have many dear friends and close aquaintances that are gay+lesbian we dearly love and wish the best for even if this hobbesian horserace is threading on many thorny, emotional and controversial traps. I could layout a no nonsense deconstruction on the pro side’s argument, but I won’t, instead simply sound a couple of cautionary signals:1- Stay away, Dan from this “they didn’t vote for the Health Care amendement” argument. It is a very very different problem. The Marriage issue carries no fiscal cost. The Health care does and before they enshrine such a costly measure or right, they have to figure out how to pay for it, and that is not obvious. So it is the height of ignorance to entertwine both for the sake of your argument’s convenience. Stick to the Marriage issues. It is easy for someone who gets paycheck to side either way and wish for universal covergae. For the rest of us who have to pay people, having a law forcing you to pay for high healtchcare bills is silly especially since many small business owners themselves don’t even buy the covergae for themsleves to spare the cost. Unversal coverage is a great aim to work towars and govermnet, local and federal shold cut the waste and inefficiencies that are staggering in this multi billion dollar segment and not pass the cost to small employers – or large for that matter, like it has brought down some Fortune 100 companies like GM for instance.For now, we need to work out the solutions before we act so hastily: that’s what the Hillary task force agonized about and failed in, many moons ago and that what the Mass legislature did, proceed carefully on a costly matter.2- There is a trend taking shape to try to bring the Governor into this debate by putting his back against the wall and Eileen Mac has already started .Now there are many pols -nationally+locally- that are caught between a rock and a hard place and cannot be outspoken passionately about this issue either way because they themseleves are torn apart. Many notable dems are AGAINST it publicly because that is the only way they can get elected nationally from Dean to Kerry to Rodham and many others. Call it cynical, hypocritical, disingenuous, dishonest ,whatever you will, but that’s the way it will be for the foreseable future. Patrick is being put on the spot and he needn’t be, even if I am not a big fan of the guy. He wasn’t elected on that platform, if he was, it was by default otherwise, Ross would have been the one inaugurated tomorrow. So keep the Governor out of it so he can maitain strength to govern on a whole host of state issues and not force him to publicly advocate ignoring a Supreme Court Ruling. That is insane and unamerican. Be smart about this.Let’s also remind everyone that a majority of the African-American community is in favour of G M and many of its religious and civil rights leaders reject the parallels drawn. That is a major constituancy of his and we should respect his tough spot – or tapdance if you wish.3- The 800 pound gorilla in the room is obviously religion whose spirit underpins most of this debate and judgment call. Yet no one in this debate is approaching that, as if it were a third rail. Very interesting. If it were up to faith, the call is very easy: an obvious no. But this matter is not to be judged in the pews: religion has no business deciding government policy -anywhere- yet we know that the big undercurrent in the room IS religion and the media seems to be fumbling this delicate aspect. It’s “relevant” but “not relevant,” how do you play that? Ignore it seems to be one solution, not a wise one since it is part of the equation and ultimately of the solution. This debate has fractured many main religious organizations like Episcopelians and Conservative Judaism etc as well as our political discourse and federal social policy, yet we remain silent about it. Something is missing from the picture. Someone give the MSM a hand, please. Give them tips how to give the big picture without shifting the debate.3- Susan RV aruments are very very weak and could be cast aside very easily by common sense and examples in History and previous procedural experience in Legal History. We won’t go there now. Still, a couple of side remarks:First to respond to your “unlike the Globe” jab, Thank God they are not to one person -yourself- but are to another or many others, ironically. (Ask Carr & Co) That’s their job. Not advocacy like Bay Windows’ full right to identify with, but open and diverse debate and prodding that is not 100% wedded to one side. If a paper is upsetting people on both sides on an issue, they’re doing something right.Secondly, Your use of a picture with your children is the height of cynicism. A lot of people on your side from the mild to the ardent like the whiney Andrew Sullivan and Jacques and many others will slime average decent moderate people -often dems actually- all day long as “bigots” just because they won’t easily go along on this issue yet who is going to go after you when you have your sweet picture with your kids up there. It is a smart PR move for your cause, I concede, but it would be fairer and more honest to leave the children out it.The image that comes to my mind is that of Dusty Baker holding his young child to deflect criticism from those rabid Chicago media hounds after a horrid season.By all indications, you are a decent good person and a lot of people want the best for you and have no problem enshrining respect for you and your fellow disenfranshised in the Law of the land, but you have to stop with this name calling and come to the debate with an open heart and mind. Changing that picture would show you can debate. Credit goes to your critics holding their tongues and showing you deference on this forum given the intensity of the debate.4- Picture in the 1990’s the image of a gay man being savagely dragged behind a pick-up truck down South and the ensuing drive to uphold GBLT’s rights and protections following that for a few healing years. Fast forward to today and picture a bunch of angry anti-gay protests with harsh slurs hurled around.That is the price of the counter-productive atmosphere this debate has caused and the many achievements that have been undone due to this stone throwing contest. Couple that with the flurry of states that have written into law gay marriage bans, including Calif and you have to admit this Mass fight has been very counterproductive on the whole and not very smartly conducted. The Goodridge decision is not as helpful as many would like to think. It was only a precursor for what many have feared would happen as a backlash and a pre-mature catalyst for what the nation is not 100% ready for, unfortunately. Heck, even France and Chirac after the Goodridge decison and ensuing Federal Ban debates a couple of years ago openly sided against gay marriage and with defining marriage as a man-woman ‘affair.’This has been bungled unfortunately, to your detriment and that of many gays and lesbians who still have to fear for their safety and fight for employment and other basic rights. I wish we were smarter, more civilized, eloquent, sensible and magnanamous in conducting these debates in such a pivotal moment.The Bakery has stopped making AbrahamLincolns, sorry to say, and if there are some left out there, they are too afraid to be fundraising 365 days a year.N.

  6. N.: One statement demands a response. If the health-care amendment appears on the ballot, I will probably vote against it. The question is whether the legislators had a constitutional obligation to vote up or down. As best as I can tell, they did.

  7. Correction:Let’s also remind everyone that a majority of the African-American community is in NOT favour of G M and many of its religious and civil rights leaders reject the parallels drawn.NOT in favour, that isApologies.N.

  8. (1) While I’m very glad the Cowards On The Hill finally had a vote on the gay marriage amendment, I’m disappointed it met the 25% threshold.(2) While I am dead set against the universal health care amendment, the Cowards On The Hill should have voted on it.

  9. In the wake of the stunning vote to restore the ban on homosexual marriage, does anyone care to apologize for calling the Herald irrelevant here, just a few short weeks ago?For a newspaper apparently held together with baling wire and bubblegum, kudos to Patrick Purcell and company for demanding (and getting) an up or down vote on maintaining some semblance of societal normalcy in these parts. One can only imagine how different the result would have been if our normally submissive legislators only had to answer to the fawning Globe or the obscene Brookline Avenue throw-away.Thumbs-up to unsung Herald cartoonist Jerry Holbert for his dead-on two panel sketch (on today’s pg. 18) of Deval Patrick at once delcaring to uphold the Constitution, while burning the precious document at the same time. Meanwhile, Howie Carr has merely 362 days left in 2007 to top today’s potentially award-winning column, “Deval sticks nose in, but can’t close deal.” His one-liner to Mass teachers association exec. and homosexual marriage cheerleader Arline Isacacson, “Three million bucks just doesn’t buy what it used to, does it, Arline?” must have made tens of thousands of “progressives” wince this morning.Lastly, today’s Globe whines about our overwhelmingly Democrat legislature failing to follow the Globe’s strict orders yesterday. If the Herald is so irrelevant, what pray tell, is the “influential” Globe?

  10. Dear anonymous “N.”:Thanks for your post, which literally made my skin crawl. It prompted me to immediately delete the photo associated with my blogger account (which was created a few years ago when I had a personal blog). I didn’t delete the photo for fear that others would view it as cynical. I did so because I had literally never given any thought to how many anonymous cretins are out there projecting their phoby prejudices onto me because of what I do for a living. I don’t want such people to know what I look like, to say nothing of my kids.

  11. i’m a big herald reader and fan and while i support gay marriage i support free expression and a mix of media voices in this state far more. i take my cue from the US constitution, which enshrines speech above all else. i register disapproval of mr. fish’s mean-spirited comments about bay windows and his overall smug tenor. but he’s absolutely right ab. the globe’s bossy, peevish tone and the dire need for an alternate voice to counter that marmish publication. i also love carr because he is a fabulous writer and wit and wondrous piercer of b.s., although his homophobia is a lousy attribute. let me address dan’s argument: the other day dan noted that being unconstitutional and illegal are 2 different things … he’s right. the sjc said they have no power to enforce the mandate for a concon vote. so legislators have the ability to disobey (not vote) without facing criminal or civil consequences — merely the political consequences of losing office (as the court itself said). in the gay marriage case they obeyed, in the health care case they did not. dan’s previous logic made either option a legit one — civil disobedience and constitutional obedience. both choices exist side by side.So: it is not hypocricy for legislators to choose obedience in one case and disobedience in the other. it is … wait for it … A POLITICAL decision. that means that the Legislature and its members responded the the INTENSE POLITICAL PRESSURE surrounding the gay marriage matter (reinforced in recent days by the SJC and yes, the herald) and chose to vote. where was the concommittant INTENSE POLITICAL PRESSURE on the health care initiative? nowhere. it was simply not as animating an issue. so the pols made a political call at the concon to vote on the marriage ban and dump the fiscally irresponsible universal health care mandate. the practical result: AN UNWISE unfunded mandate on health care will not make the ballot. and an equally unwise but highly politicizing issue like banning gay marriage will have to face the churn of politics for another year, and then another vote by a concon, and then — if it passes the next concon, which is not assured — a statewide campaign and popular vote. There is NO BETTER TEST for an issue as vital as gay marriage than this churn of politics. gay marriage is a revolutionizing concept — one that tests america’s psychic foundations. to grow strong, it has to SURVIVE the slings and arrows of the POLITICAL system — debate, attacks, counter-attaacks, the recognition that gay households are solid and loving and great environments for kids, the realization that all of us have a family member (cheney even!) or good friend or workmate who just wants to settle down into monogamy knowing their partner is equal under the law. i submit that gay marriage is strong enough and vital enough to survive this churn and emerge as a popular privilege on a par with hetero marriage (remember: marriage is not a right but a privilege under the Const. — it can be regulated state by state — while speech/expression is a right). all this despair and parsing and knuckle-gnawing about one legislative move contradicting another one is just so much horseplop by the roadside. gay marriage has to win in the POLITICAL arena (as it will) for it to become what we want — integral and permanent.

  12. anon 1:07 said: “i register disapproval of mr. fish’s mean-spirited comments about bay windows and his overall smug tenor. but he’s absolutely right ab. the globe’s bossy, peevish tone and the dire need for an alternate voice to counter that marmish publication.”—–Thank you for the kind words. “Overall smug tenor” may be me, but I was not commenting on Bay Windows at all. I was commenting on the obscene “Phoenix” at 126 Brookline Ave. where readers are at once encouraged to support homosexual-marriage, then a few pages later they’re asked to “(expletive deleted)and abuse me while my father watches.” Perhaps not the best advocate to persuade “undecideds” to support a drastic change in societal norms. The “irrelevant” Herald, a lone voice in the wilderness on this issue, has won big. Kudos, Mr. Purcell and (skeleton) crew.

  13. anon1:07,You’re right. O-fish-l is more than your run of the mill homophobe. He’s intolerant and pompous as well. It’s a shame that angry bigots like N, o-fish-l, and Cynthia Stead are the voice of the Republican Party on this blog.

  14. Dear Susan, ( And this is not a sardonic ‘Dear,’ it is a real one)You really hit me out of left field with that weird, neurotic and totally, absolutely unexpected reaction and shrewd ploy to deflect conversation.I am not sure if you hadn’t had your coffee or you willingly wanted to turn my point on its head and run away with in a direction no one in their reasonable mind would ever conceive of.Who cares about looks or anyting else here? You are a member of the media, a public person and a lot of people already know what you look like, and still I couldn’t care less. All I am responding to is your writing and your strategy.So is it that you can’t engage and respond in a civil manner -and win- that you choose to slime critics in this childish way and try to eliminate any chance readers might side at all with my point?That was desperate, especially toward someone who is on your side and wants you to win in a stronger way and not with these weak little tactics that you obviously are not good at.If your “skin crawls” that easily, what business do you have publicizing your family pictures when most public personalities do their best to shelter their family’s privacy?You don’t make sense and you make my point by showing that “people show you deference” you may not deserve after all. I had always avoided responding to you, suspecting a certain style and attitude back from you, so now I will never respond to your posts ever again. I suspect many won’t either. Best of Luck to you and your family!And to Anon 7:59 You and Susan have just driven my point that you can’t effectively make your case and debate your fellow Americans effectively but resort to labels rather than thoughtful debate.Me a “voice of the Republican Party” ? You obviously haven’t read my posts before. I call things as I see them and on behalf of no side at all. I just want people to get along and respect each other; without that you can’t get people to change stances and go along with changes you see vital for yourself. YOu could gain more support if only you’d stop being so vain.Best of luck to you as well!N.

  15. N,Yeah, right. Blaming Mathew Sheppard’s death on gays speaking out is the height of civil discourse.I don’t care if you add “some of my best friends are gay” to every hate filled rant you post. You’re still an angry bigot. I suppose I should add “delusional” and “incoherent” based on that last post, but I stand by my statement. I’ll post refutations to your arguments once you come up with something other than “don’t be uppity.”

  16. It’s ALWAYS an anonymous poster who accuses people of things, sometimes by names which have never been on the blog, isn’t it? A courageous and perceptive person, indeed.

  17. “Blaming Mathew Sheppard’s death on gays speaking out is the height of civil discourse”Where did I ever assert that or even mean it or blame it on gays?Are you schizo?I juxtapozed his picture being salvaged by two bigots and that moment in our nation’s History and the then-sense of urgency to address GLBT discrimination and full acceptance, contrasted with the fact that in the last couple of years, a lot of people and groups have no qualms about publicly insulting and intimidating Gays because of this zealous and ill-strategized marriage drive.That doesn’t begin to pin anything on gays and no gays were cause of such savagery. That’s desperate and insane for you to try and fabricate.The contrast, for your dense mind, is about the degredation of response and ease of legislation of GBLT causes for the last couple of years.Get off the meds…or rather seek some meds. You are seeing double just about now.So by your standard Traviglini is a bigot.Tom Finneran is a “bigot.”Howard Dean is a “bigot.”Hillary Clinton is a “bigot.”Bill Clinton is a “bigot.”John Edwards is a “bigot.”John Kerry is a “bigot.”Chris Dodd is a “bigot.”Joe Lieberman is a “bigot.” Barack Obama is a “bigot.”Bill Bradley is a “bigot.”Shannon O’Brien is a “bigot.” (well she eveloved and flipped but still..sort of like Tom Reilly)All social conservative democrats and republicans are without exception “bigots.”That’s outrageous. (Apologies to all the decent people I used as example above to illustrate the depravity of this smear.)I’ll say it again, you saint of all saints, your approach and smears are pathetic, not to mention deadenders.CheersN.

  18. N.You can disparage me all you want. Your point was clearly that gays brought this on themselves by advocating gay marriage. I’ve no idea how you managed to link Tom Finneran to Barack Obama. Susan is right. You make my skin crawl.

  19. Gang up there, with your cute and malicious phrase. You still can’t respond coherently and to the point.The names are of people who are/were publicly against GM, contrasted to my position where I am open and approving of it, the only thing that bothers me, is the insults and smears, which seems to be the only thing you are good at, powerless and numbheaded you. (not towards irrelevant me but in public and towards public figures)With your tactics and language, you make Archie Bunker and Rush sound like geniuses.Your extreme left wing nut style makes more than half the country’s and the Dem party itself “skin crawl” and we have many lost elections to prove it. You have a great gift of turning allies into foes.Let me repeat it again:You.Have.No.Class.Learn how to treat others in public (and enjoy your paycheck from BayWindows, obviously you are a close friend of SMV coming to her defense. What is disappointing is the majority of people that echo my opinion and are silent and not joining the debate and letting it look like yours is a dominant position. But then again, having more people soeak up about misdeeds is another issue for another day. Everyone wants to close the door behind them and close their ears.)Get real, will ya?…Final response … won’t dignify your little game any longer.N.

  20. Health Care HypocritesWhen the Legislature failed to vote on the Health Care Amendment it violated the state constitution. The week before the SJC made it crystal clear holding that every legislator has a duty to vote up or down on the merits of every constitutional amendment submitted by the people.That brands them as hypocrites. They felt free to pick and choose when to vote. It had absolutely nothing to do with principle.The Globe has a significant supporting role in the Legislature’s decision to duck a vote on the health care amendment. It has consistently refused to provide coverage on an issue that would have affected the health and welfare of every man, woman and child in the Commonwealth as well as our economy – for good of for ill. Why? It’s a newspaper of insiders and the political insiders and big players in the medical indutrial complex oppose the amendment because it would have required them to find a way to cut the 25-30% of health care spending that is wasted each year.The Amendment was designed to change a political dynamic based on deals with hospitals and insurers for expanded access paid for by taxpayers and premium payers. That’s what this year’s reforms were and the Legislature itself projects a $200 million deficit by 2009. By contrast, the Health Care Amendment Campaign put a [plan on the table http://medianation.blogspot.com/2007/01/what-about-health-care.html%5Dthat would have cut health care spending by over $2 billion in the first year of implementation and over $30 billion over 10 years.I’m glad Dan picked up on the Legislature’s hypocrisy. But I’m disappointed that he would decide to vote against a proposal that he almost certainly can’t know anything about since there has been virtually no mainstream coverage of it.It is a simple proposal to lock in progress as we make it and make sure that eventually we get to affordable, comprehensive coverage for every Massachusetts resident. It doesn’t tell the Legislature how to do it – the year’s reforms would do just find if they could cut and contain costs. There are dozens of other options as well.We spend more person on health care than any state in the US and any nation in the world. We don’t have universal coverage and we don’t have the health outcomes to show for it. 30 nations have universal health care systems that spend 30-50% less than we do and get better results. 28 do it with substantial participation by private insurance companies and without rationing or waiting lines.A proposal ordering the Legislature to sit down with the players and figure out what the Massachusetts plan for covering everyone and paying for it by getting those kinds of savings should not be dismissed lightly. That’s what the proposed amendment would have done – no more, no less.Check out our website and get more information if you’re interested. http://www.healthcareformass.orgBut more important, think a little about why it was so important for the Legislature to kill something that made them accountable for representing health care consumers and what prompted the Globe to provide virtually no coverage of the Amendment for three long years? Barbara Waters Roop, PhD, JD,CoChairHealth Care Amendment Campaign

  21. Barbara: Thank you for posting. I was too flip. If the health-care amendment were going to be on the ballot, I would learn a lot more about it before deciding how to vote.

  22. Barbara, Thank you for carefully laying out your case from your viewpoint.I don’t think anyone disagrees with you about the need to have decent coverage for all legal residents. That would indeed be the definition of responsible government. God only knows how also many of us have railed against the health care inefficiency costs run-amok.Also agreed on the need of legislators to stop ducking the issue and addressing it to finally start solving it.The only thing you fail to address is timing: please don’t tell us you’d expected the legislators in the closing hours of one session to rule by fiat about such a complicated issue that is very technical and cumbersome with numbers and issues that have to be detangled before you force such a monumental change.Two issues were up for vote. One was on principle and didn’t need any fiscal legislation. The other – healthcare- is a LOT more technical and daunting. Big difference given the time frame we are looking at and amount of detail involved.When you order new spending on a new law, as soon as it kicks in, the tab starts running. When you order waste cuts and efficiency work, you have to wait years before you see real money saved. Big lag in time there and we have to do that part first, before ordering more spending.One thing worth looking at is the strength of lobbying from health care insurance companies and the influence of its execs/contributions among the ritzy circles that have a much more powerful say and effect on where policy goes than your organization or any other group of concerned citizens. ( Auto insurance reform, anyone??…5% income tax anyone??)One favor asked during a golf round or gala dinner can go a long way to wrankle your efforts. That’s just the reality of it.There is no lack of will from Patrick or a number of pols and reps to get it done. Legwork has to be done first so that if it is implemented, it isn’t a big chaos nor ends up being a burden on small/big businesses and ultimately, the state economy’s growth.I might add, it may be a great place to start to stop the much publicized demographic and brain drain, in order to retain/attract people to the state.N.

  23. N wrote:The only thing you fail to address is timing: please don’t tell us you’d expected the legislators in the closing hours of one session to rule by fiat about such a complicated issue that is very technical and cumbersome with numbers and issues that have to be detangled before you force such a monumental change.Umm, N.We’re talking about the health care amendment. The vote was on letting it move forward, not putting it into law.As you anti-gay rights folks are so fond of pointing out, the SJC ruled the legislature is required to have an up and down vote on amendments.

  24. Anonymous N wrote:”Picture in the 1990’s the image of a gay man being savagely dragged behind a pick-up truck down South and the ensuing drive to uphold GBLT’s rights and protections following that for a few healing years.”I’m still trying to picture it, because such a thing never happened, unless James Byrd was gay. You also might want to consult an atlas, because last time I checked Wyoming isn’t the South if you are referring to Matthew Shephard. You really should be little more sure of your facts. If you can’t even get the little things right, how are we supposed to trust you with the larger issues?

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