Students wary about new health care bill

By , Reporter  |  Monday, March 22, 2010 2:57 PM

Some St. Thomas students are wary of the universal health care bill that President Barack Obama is expected to sign as early as Tuesday.

House Democrats sent the legislation to Obama after a 219-212 vote Sunday. All 178 Republican lawmakers opposed the bill, as did 34 Democrats.

The bill establishes a 10-year, $938 billion program to extend coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans. The bill also outlines a plan to reduce deficits and prohibit insurance companies from charging more based on sex and denying coverage to individuals with pre-existing medical conditions.

Former U.S. Sen. David Durenberger, R-Minn., is the chair of the National Institute of Health Policy at St. Thomas. He said this bill could change health care at St. Thomas, especially in the long run when more opportunities are available to large employers and educational institutions.

“I am surprised and quite pleased by [the bill’s passing],” said Durenberger, who served in the Senate from 1978 to 1995 and spent three terms as a health policy expert.

“We will have access for the first time in a long time where people can make informed choices,” he said. “The biggest thing, however, for young people and others is that we are finally on the verge of changing the cost curve in health care.”

The bill addresses the lack of universal coverage by proposing American citizens purchase mandatory insurance. The money generated by the bill would go toward subsidies, which would help families with incomes of up to $88,000 a year pay for insurance premiums.

“I’m definitely not happy they passed it,” senior Zach Neugebauer said. “I think a lot of people in this country want health care reform, but I think the bill they passed is not what the people want. I am in favor of health care reform. I just wish that this bill wouldn’t have gone through.”

Neugebauer, who owns a small business, said the new bill will take away the incentive of a good health program he offers to his employees.

“I can’t afford to pay my employees maybe what bigger businesses can, but one of my big benefits was that I had a really good health program,” he said. “Well, now that that is going to be open to everyone, that’s no longer a bargaining trick I can use to attract good employees … that takes my incentive away to provide decent health care to my employees.”

Senior Adam Johannsen, who wants to be a doctor, agreed.

“I think our system’s essentially broken as it is and we need change but I don’t know if this is the best way to go about this change.”

Freshman Austin Kammerer doesn’t support the new bill either. Taxing affects his family because they make a high enough income to be considered “wealthy.”

“The bill costs a lot of money … and the main way to pay for it is taxing,” Kammerer said. “I don’t like it because of the repercussion it’ll have on my family, and people like my family.”

Ben Katzner and Stephani Bloomquist contributed to this report.

Ben Katzner can be reached at

This item was posted in News and has 88 comments so far.


  1. Stefan Wolf
    Mar. 22, 2010 6:24 PM

    Yes, the bill will cost more money for families in the upper tax bracket.  But an increase in taxation of high income families seems a small price to pay when the result is health care for millions of people who cannot afford it right now, including children.  What’s more important here, money or the health of our nation’s citizens?  The answer seems pretty easy to me.

  2. Emily Ross
    Mar. 22, 2010 7:00 PM

    I agree whole heartedly with Stefan. Incentive for employees? Look around and step outside of the St. Thomas bubble. Our country is suffering. Desperately. Even people in our own community. Maybe it’s because I work with some of the people who suffer most from our current system– I see their faces and hear their stories. I’d be more than happy to give up some of my paycheck to help someone in dire need of services. In fact, as someone who has been blessed with an education and steady income, I believe it to be my responsibility. I find that far more fulfilling that funding the war we’re fighting.

  3. Zach Neugebauer
    Mar. 22, 2010 7:43 PM

    Social Security… broken, Medicare…broken, Post Office… broken! The government has proven they can’t run anything effectively and people think they now should run 1/3 of our economy… that seems crazy to me. I agree that people deserve to have their basic health needs met in a country as grand as ours. However, having the government take over this sector will raise taxes year after year (just like every other program) and it will eventually burden the middle class as well. Why does every decision have to be so drastic? The President campaigned on group rates, holding insurance companies accountable, and stronger competition…not on a massive government takeover! This bill was wrong in every sense of the word. Votes were bought and the best interest of the American people was not taken into consideration. There were many other simpler ways to fix our current health care problems without a government take over. This is a sad day in our country.

  4. Justin Scharpen
    Mar. 22, 2010 9:11 PM

    I think people need to realize that bill wasn’t the answer to our nation’s health care. I agree with Mr. Neugebauer in that our government should not, or ever run healthcare. It’s too big a task. Miss Ross, people ARE suffering, but passing a bill that will cost almost a trillion dollars to help 32 million people (about 11% of our population) is outrageous. The reason people are “suffering” is due to insurance companies hiking up their prices. Reform of the insurance industry is more in line in my eyes. As college students, we have no idea what living in the “real world” entails. When we start paying roughly 40% of our income in taxes on our hard earned money, then we can be having this conversation. Miss Ross and Mr. Wolf, I am not criticizing your comments, but I will respectfully disagree by saying raising taxes is not the answer to everything in this country.

    Please re-evaluate your views. Our governemment just hasn’t been successful in taking over programs in the United States. Is this really a victory? The one thing about this bill you should know is that health care costs MAY increase. This will depend on whether the gains from increased efficiencies and increased competition is outweighed by the cost of providing additional benefits.

  5. Matthew Plese
    Mar. 22, 2010 9:39 PM

    Why should upper income families who have worked for their money lose their investment and hard work because some people in our country won’t work hard enough to take care of themselves?

  6. Emily Ross
    Mar. 22, 2010 10:23 PM

    Oh my. Matthew, your comment is ridden with ignorance and is absolutely offensive. If you think people who are poor aren’t “working hard enough”, you’re living in a dream world. I hope one day you are able to humble yourself and step into the lives of those who aren’t as fortunate to live the life you and I are living. Educate yourself. Read statistics. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    I’ll honor anyone’s opinion if it’s based on facts. Your statement, Mr. Plese, is not grounded in reality.

    I am a huge advocate of healthcare reform. I believe this bill is imperfect. This is certainly not the last step, but it is the first. And for that I am tremendously thankful. Ultimately we all want each other to be happy and healthy, regardless of our political preference.

  7. Daniel Carptener
    Mar. 22, 2010 10:32 PM

    Bottom line is the bill is unconstitutional. Where in the Constitution does it say you must buy something in order to be a citizen? Under Obama care, you will be punished with fines if you don’t follow the Government mandate and buy healthcare. 10 states have already stated they will sue the federal government if Obama signs the bill. I sincerely hope more states follow their example.

  8. Rose Miron
    Mar. 22, 2010 10:43 PM

    I agree with Emily and Stefan, the American citizens who will be taxed as a result of this bill are only families who make over $250,000 a year, or individuals who make over $200,000 a year. So is asking them to pay a small 3.8% of their income so that everyone in our country has the opportunity to have healthcare really too much to ask? I don’t think so. In fact, as Emily previously stated, I believe it’ s our duty as American citizens to help out those who are less fortunate if we have been fortunate enough to be provide with healthcare. And Mr. Plese, the people who you are referring to that “won’t work hard enough to take care of themselves” are mostly small business owners and those who have been laid off as a result of the recent economic downturn and are currently looking for a job. I’m pretty sure they’re some of the hardest working people in our country and shouldn’t be denied something as valuable as healthcare just because of the fact their their line of work makes less money.

  9. Matthew John Eldred
    Mar. 22, 2010 10:54 PM

    Last night during the health care debate, Republicans acted like the Saviors of Medicare and Medicaid, programs that they opposed when they were first passed. Like these programs which have become a staple in American society, it is only a matter of time before this historic health care reform law becomes part of American folklore. When polled, a majority of Americans say they do not like the health care reform law, however, when asked about the specific provisions in the bill, a majority of Americans support every one. This has been a fantastic lies and fear campaign by the GOP, but I guess, who expected anything different from the party of ‘no’? Finally, to respond to Mr. Plese: Who expected anything different from the privileged elite of St. Thomas. I’m sorry you may have to spare your next North Face jacket or UGG slippers so that people can get regular check ups and can be covered in the case of catastrophic illness.

  10. Stefan Wolf
    Mar. 22, 2010 11:46 PM

    Mr. Plese, 

    Does someone being poor mean that they have not worked hard?  Does it mean that they are lazy?  Of course not.  There are many people who work 60+ hour weeks at hard labor jobs to attempt to pay the bills, yet they still can’t make enough.  This is obviously not laziness nor unwillingness to work.  We need to get away from the American “me first” mentality.  Why should well off families give a little more to help out those who aren’t as well off?  Why shouldn’t they is the question.  There is no reason not to sacrifice a little bit of luxury so other people can meet basic needs.  Hard work and achievement is not measured in monetary value…it’s measured in relationships that one builds and the kind of person that one turns out to be.

  11. Nick Kor
    Mar. 23, 2010 1:46 AM

    Matthew–I challenge you to visit a homeless shelter, a kitchen soup, or a social services center, and I challenge you to look those people in the eye and ask them why they won’t work hard enough to care for themselves.

  12. Michael Blissenbach
    Mar. 23, 2010 8:24 AM

    I support some sort of healthcare reform, and there are things that I like about this bill, such as making it illegal to deny people coverage based on pre-existing conditions, and making it illegal for insurance companies to cancel someone’s healthcare coverage if they get very sick. However, I am very concerned about several things about this bill. First and foremost, President Obama’s executive order extending the Hyde Amendment to the healthcare bill does not alleviate my concerns about public funding of abortion being allowed under this bill, as the executive order can be rescinded at any time, and I don’t think it would survive an expected court challenge. Secondly, I am concerned about giving the government an unprecedented amount of power over the healthcare system. That power is extended to the government with good intentions, but I’m worried that in the future that medical decisions could be made by government bureaucracies rather than a patient and his/her doctor. Thirdly, I think taxing other peoples’ health insurance plans in principle is wrong, and the whole prospect of doing that disgusts me. Taxing candy, fine, taxing tanning beds, fine, but healthcare coverage for anyone should be off limits for taxes.

  13. Michael Blissenbach
    Mar. 23, 2010 8:25 AM

    I think we can all agree that making healthcare affordable for all is a great need. I think what we disagree on, though, is how to do it.

  14. Bob Douglas
    Mar. 23, 2010 9:01 AM

    Reading the responses to this article from students in favor of the health care bill, I find it curious that Ben Katzner only quoted three UST students who all happened to be opposed to the bill. It does makes me wonder if there was an agenda in your article, Mr. Katzner.

  15. Rob Gharrity
    Mar. 23, 2010 9:19 AM

    The Original constitution also doesn’t say the word “Democracy” not once. in 4,440 words “Democracy” does not appear. Are you going to tell me that calling the U.S. a democracy is unconstitutional? The State of Minnesota requires that every automobile on the road be insured. Is that unconstitutional? It saves money, and minimizes complication. Every person who I have ever heard complain about “having to buy insurance” already has insurance… if health insurance is so terrible… drop yours and see what happens when you need a doctor.

  16. Zach Neugebauer
    Mar. 23, 2010 9:26 AM

    This bill is not about poor people and rich people; we shouldn’t get catch up in that. This bill really should be about health care and health care only. Yes, there are many Americans that are having a hard time affording health care. However, health care prices are only a very small part of the problem. The overall economy is a big part of our current problem, which this bill will hurt and not help. Daniel brought up a really important part that people need to pay more attention to. THIS HEALTH CARE BILL IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL! Government cannot force the hand of the private sector in the manor they have. I am involved in my local government back in South Dakota and our attorney general spoke on this very matter. There will be 20+ states that will be filing a lawsuit against the Federal Government for breach of our constitution. They’re not fighting the health care bill because of a “Republican–Democrat” thing, solely because as attorney generals they were sworn in to protect the United States constitution. Americans need to re-think this Health Care bill. We are going down a road that will lead to many more Government run programs and over a period of time we will lose our American innovation and freedoms.

  17. Teron Buford
    Mar. 23, 2010 9:26 AM

    I am, in no way, a politically minded person (and I will not pretend to be). However, I know that hundreds of thousands of peoeple die each year because they don’t have access to good healthcare facilities. And I know that many more people fall into outstanding debt because of high medical bills. How can we place a dollar value on someone’s wellbeing? Is it easier to do so because you’ve never been exposed to poverty? Or is it because, somewhere down the line, we lost sight of what’s truely important: human life. How can we sit back and say that it is unfair to have to pay for this bill when there is a mother sitting next to her daughter’s hospital bed wondering how she’s going to pay for her child’s treatments? THAT’S unfair. If this bill means that I have to pay extra in order to support my brothers and sisters, I’ll do it. I can sleep better at night knowing that my money went towards helping those in need rather than collecting in a bank, not being of service to anyone. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matthew 16:25-27). The answer: Nothing. At the end of life, we are not able to take any of our earthly belongings with us. We will be judged based on our deeds, not…

  18. Teron Buford
    Mar. 23, 2010 9:28 AM


  19. Zach Neugebauer
    Mar. 23, 2010 9:36 AM

    Please use some common sense… you don’t have to by car insurance because you don’t have to buy a car. Only people that choose to drive on state and federal roads have to buy insurance… that is quite a big difference that forcing everyone to have it. For the first time in U.S. history the American people are being forced to buy something or get penalized. Find that power in our constitution.

  20. David Dahl
    Mar. 23, 2010 9:41 AM

    I think it’s a little extreme to say that the government can’t run anything correctly. There are a lot programs that we take for granted everyday. The link below showcases a few of those programs for the naysayers.

  21. Justin Scharpen
    Mar. 23, 2010 9:50 AM

    One note on this bill: As stated in the Preamble, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    I would like to point out that it says, we the people… must secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity. The Posterity is us. Future generations. This bill costs almost 1 trillion dollars. Is this protecting future generations? Our generation is being attacked with this huge debt burden to pay back. BTW, Promoting general welfare is not providing health insurance to people that qualify for it if they make less than a certain amount of money. This bill isn’t right. It goes against what our Constitution so perfectly says.

  22. Michael Blissenbach
    Mar. 23, 2010 9:55 AM

    I mentioned the piece about opposing taxing healthcare plans because that’s what finances this bill, beginning in 2018. There will be a tax on so-called “cadillac” healthcare plans, and I think that’s wrong.
    Taxing healthcare plans is like taxing food, clothing, water, shelter, because healthcare is a basic need, and taxing basic needs, I feel is unethical. I agree that universal access to healthcare is a good thing, and I want those that don’t have healthcare to have it, but I oppose this bill because it could provide for public funding for abortion and it is financed by taxes on healthcare plans and cuts to healthcare for the elderly (Medicare). These three things, I feel, are unethical. Universal healthcare is a good end, but unjust means should not be used to achieve that end, This bill uses unjust means to achieve a good end, but because those means are unjust, I oppose this bill.

  23. Mary Dorner
    Mar. 23, 2010 10:55 AM

    I agree with Emily that this bill is not perfect. I also agree that it was the first step taken and not the last. But since when should healthcare be a privilege? Excluding people from receiving services is more problematic and reinforces the “individualism” of our country. We need to stop being greedy and selfish and think of others wellbeing and not just our own.

  24. John Rouleau
    Mar. 23, 2010 10:58 AM

    The question really is not whether or not the Health Care needs to be reformed, obviously something needs to be done. The problems are with the Health Care bill (HR 3590), and the Reconciliation bill (HR 4872) passed on Sunday evening. The Health Care bill is flawed as written. One such problem is the blatant disregard for the 10th amendment to the Constitution regarding rights of states, the end result of one such previous case where this issue came up was The Civil War occurring. Another issue that is involved is the use of an executive order by BHO promising to make sure the bill does not intend to use Federal funds for abortions except in cases which already exist i.e where the mothers health is a cause for concern. For reference of what executive orders are or how they have been viewed in the past please view this video of BHO discussing them in ’08 The final issue I will bring up is that reconciliation is being misused, this is a violation of liberty. To avoid a failed vote where Democrats no longer hold a super majority in the Senate this trick is being used in the guise of a “fix it” bill usually used to fix the budget of an accepted bill, not to force a bill through! Yes something needs to be done, but at what costs to…

  25. Michael Blissenbach
    Mar. 23, 2010 11:15 AM

    “Excluding people from receiving services is more problematic and reinforces the “individualism” of our country.”

    I agree that the rampant individualism in our society is extremely problematic, and that universally accessible healthcare is a need and ought to be pursued, but this bill uses unjust means to achieve a good end. Because it uses unjust means to achieve that end, albeit a good end, the bill is unethical.

  26. Brett Brakefield
    Mar. 23, 2010 11:35 AM

    Mr. Carpenter et al., your use of the term “unconstitutional” without any citation to support your claim is actually quite comforting. As a supporter of this bill, or should I say law now, and its constitutionality opposition based on a knee-jerk reaction to its passing affords me great comfort. As for your question, Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of the Constitution allows for Congress to regulate commerce among the states. If you are thinking something along the lines of “this doesn’t apply, because you can’t buy out-of-state insurance,” think again. Gonzales v. Raich was a Supreme Court case which maintained that under the same clause Congress may ban the use of cannabis, even when permitted by for medicinal use by the states. This law is constitutional because Congress was within its enumerated powers and/or the Supreme Court interpretations of said powers. There is a “substantial effect” on interstate commerce with health insurance activities which supports this law’s constitutionality.

    One may disagree to their hearts content about the value of the current law, in fact, I encourage it. However, the constitutionality cannot be intelligently debated without some semblance of thought. Fortunately, the naysayers have to contend with 70 years of legal precedence.

  27. Kathryn Pogin
    Mar. 23, 2010 11:55 AM

    For everyone who keeps referencing the cost as an objection: “Would reduce the deficit by $143 billion over the first ten years. That is an updated CBO estimate. Their first preliminary estimate said it would reduce the deficit by $130 billion over ten years. Would reduce the deficit by $1.2 billion dollars in the second ten years.”

    One of the points of this bill is to prevent paying for emergency care for people who can’t afford it, by paying subsidizing preventative care. You can’t legally be denied emergency care- so you if don’t have health insurance, don’t get a minor problem taken care of because of it, and end up in the hospital, that cost gets passed on. The same principle applies to medicare- subsidize preventative care so people don’t have massive health problems that are far more expensive to treat when they qualify for medicare.

  28. Kathryn Pogin
    Mar. 23, 2010 12:15 PM

    Sorry, forgot- John R.- since the executive order affirms what’s already in the bill- I don’t think that clip is relevant.

  29. Leann Deal
    Mar. 23, 2010 12:46 PM

    I agree that the health care reform is not perfect. but I also do not see how is it not an improvement. People who have suffered will be given the right to health care…isn’t that enough? I agree with everyone who would said they would be more than willing to share some their paychecks for an effort that is helping someone who needs it. Why wouldn’t you? They are your brothers and sisters of this country who are suffering. It is not by choice, use your heads and take off your blindfolds. If that is what you truly think, I would suggest you to look a little deeper and realize where those thoughts and ideas come from.

  30. Justin Scharpen
    Mar. 23, 2010 1:08 PM

    What is the logic that we need to spend money to save money? This isn’t an investment. It’s a redistribution of wealth. It’s socialism. I am for the reform of the healthcare insurance industry, but it should not take a redistribution of wealth to do it. What it should take, in my eyes, is putting an emphasis on keeping insurance companies in check. It will be a glorious election day for the GOP this November.

  31. Solome Tibebu
    Mar. 23, 2010 2:57 PM

    I totally agree with Matthew Eldred. Years ago, when Medicare was being introduced, what were the GOP saying? “No! Its a totalitarian take over!” and now? Its broken, Zach? Ask any senior citizen. Hannity often rants about how “Medicare is bankrupt, how can we trust the government with our health care?” Reality check: In the last ten years, health insurance companies more than doubled their premiums. So the insurance companies massively increased their revenue stream. Have Medicare taxes doubled? No. Have appropriations for Medicare doubled? No.

    Michael Blissenbach, “That power is extended to the government with good intentions, but I’m worried that in the future that medical decisions could be made by government bureaucracies rather than a patient and his/her doctor.” The only thing you EVER talk about is your hope to ensure that the most important, personal decisions women and their doctors need to make (reproductive choices) are taken over by government bureaucracies!!! And c’mon, Hyde hasn’t been touched for decades, and nor will it be with this HC bill, so don’t you worry.

    Rob, I have to LOL when I see the whole “unconstitutional” thing

    Matthew Plese :’( :’( :’(

  32. Kathryn Pogin
    Mar. 23, 2010 3:01 PM

    The logic is that we pay for it either way (via medicare and emergency treatment that isn’t paid back by patients who can’t afford it) so pay for preventative care to reduce costs overall (i.e. insure that health concerns are treated quickly, because the longer they go on, the more costly the are to treat). And there are a number of measures in the bill meant to keep insurance companies in check.

  33. John Gummerson
    Mar. 23, 2010 3:12 PM

    If you all have a minute, take a look at this interesting article from The Atlantic magazine. It address the possibility that lack of health insurance is not a cause of death in this country. Quote: “But we should have had a better handle on the case for expanded coverage—and, more important, the evidence behind it—before we embarked on a year-long debate that divided our house against itself. Certainly, we should have had it before Congress voted on the largest entitlement expansion in 40 years. Unfortunately, most of us forgot to ask a fundamental question, because we were certain we already knew the answer. By the time we got around to challenging our assumptions, it was too late to do anything except scream at each other from the sidelines.” Take a look…

  34. John Gummerson
    Mar. 23, 2010 3:16 PM

    One more thing…I haven’t read the entire huge string of comments above so I don’t know if this has been addressed already. Many are not aware that this bill provides only 6 years of benefits for 10 years of medicare spending cuts and increased taxes. What will happen in 2020 after that 10 years and $1 trillion is gone? That is a mystery…democrats would have you believe that in future periods, the bill will be able to run “balanced” year to year. This seems pretty unrealistic, however, given that for the first 6 years benefits are extended, they are only funded to 60%.

  35. Michael Blissenbach
    Mar. 23, 2010 4:01 PM

    Ms. Tibebu, for you abortion and contraception, which you call “reproductive health”, are part of healthcare. However, if one defines the purpose of healthcare as improving and saving lives, then I would argue that neither abortion nor contraception would accomplish those goals. Abortion destroys at least one life every time it is performed, and contraception has helped cheapen sex into something as casual as handshaking rather than its intended purpose of an expression of self-sacrificial love between a man and woman given to each other completely in marriage. Both have weakened human dignity and have made lives worse for many people, and do not belong in the domain of healthcare.

  36. Matthew Plese
    Mar. 23, 2010 4:07 PM

    I do believe that anyone – even the poorest of people – can become the most successful if they work hard enough and study hard enough. This bill will support people that have “used” the welfare and public services systems for decades. Many of these people simply do not want to work hard as they prefer to get a free ride. And thanks to this new law, those of us who work hard (like those of us here at UST) are still giving them a free ride. This law is an affront to capitalism!

  37. Zach Neugebauer
    Mar. 23, 2010 4:11 PM

    After reading all of the comments I am starting to wonder why we even have a private sector. Wouldn’t it just be easier to have the government run every sector of our economy and we could all just go to work from 8am to 5pm? That way we could all be treated the same, limit our risk, and reward everyone equally regardless of their individual efforts. I have 62 employees currently and I work many long weeks in attempt to keep every last one of those jobs in our company. What people forget is that entrepreneurs take enormous risk everyday to create jobs and there are only two outcomes of that risk; 1) go bankrupt and lose everything (or) 2) your risk pans out and you make a larger profit than the average person for your efforts. If you continue to mock, tax, and redistribute the profits of those who take the risk they will eventually give up and quit; aka no new jobs or innovation that built this country. At that point I guess the governments will just employee us and we can follow a completely different model than what our fore fathers have provided us.

  38. Solome Tibebu
    Mar. 23, 2010 4:28 PM

    Michael- Well I guess we will just have to agree to disagree because I think that is the farthest from the truth. Would be interesting to hear from HIV/AIDS survivors and those who couldn’t gain a safe & legal abortion (if they survived the illegal ones) about your statement, “However, if one defines the purpose of healthcare as improving and saving lives, then I would argue that neither abortion nor contraception would accomplish those goals.” Too bad that you think its just a handshake now, because some people still value sharing a self-sacrificial, loving experience yet in a safe way. Made lives worse?! And I would argue it has made lives much better!
    Matthew- Haha I think that is an all-time low for TM comments! Good job.

  39. Emily Ross
    Mar. 23, 2010 5:04 PM

  40. Dan Carptener
    Mar. 23, 2010 5:11 PM

    Now that the deed is done, we know which of the politicians’ brilliant ideas will become law. Here is one of the most harmful: Mandates will raise costs. The bill forces all insurance plans to cover “at least… maternity and newborn care… Mental health and substance disorder services… behavioral health treatment… preventative and wellness services and chronic disease management… pediatric services, including oral and vision care.” In the real world, some people want these and some don’t. By requiring insurance companies to pay for all, we guarantee vast increases in wasteful spending. Also, the future offers endless new mandates — the bill gives the Secretary of Health and Human Services the power to create them. [Page 105.]

    With problems like those, the disgusting earmarks in the bill – like the $100 million “Cornhusker Kickback” and the $300 million “Louisiana Purchase” seem barely worth a footnote.

    The New York Times editorial board says that the bill “has some imperfections but is worthy of support.”

    Give me a break.

  41. Paul Ziezulewicz
    Mar. 23, 2010 5:19 PM

    Neugebauer: It’s unfortunate that a big employee incentive of yours is no longer a perk for your employees. However, many would say it’s a good thing that healthcare is now a right, and not a privilege. I see your situation as similar to bar owners, that used to rely on smokers being able to smoke in their bars for significant business. After the no smoking ban, the whiner bar owners that wouldn’t change were run out of business, whereas, those that were able to evolve given their new set of circumstances survived. Will you be a whiner, or a survivor?

    Plese: “Many of these people simply do not want to work hard as they prefer to get a free ride.” Please provide evidence to substantiate your conclusion. I have worked for a number of non-profits that serve the poor, and the type of people you describe were not “many,” but very few. That’s just my experience. I dont claim to know these people’s work ethics. You seem to, so, if you have evidence to back your assumption, please provide.

  42. Nick Odil
    Mar. 23, 2010 5:29 PM

    What happened to personal responsibility? Men and women died fighting for our freedoms and rights guaranteeing us the pursuit of happiness – I don’t believe they gave everything so I can be guaranteed happiness regardless of my actions. The entitlements have to end or debt and mediocrity will destroy or country. Behaviors have consequences. I hope America does the right thing and votes for a smaller Government in November.

  43. Paul Ziezulewicz
    Mar. 23, 2010 5:31 PM

    Blissenbach: you’re a one issue guy, huh? That’s fine. Whatever floats your boat. But how can you still be worried about this bill funding abortions? The language in the bill says that EVERY person having their healthcare subsidized by gov’t funds must pay for all of the abortion out of their own pocket. Plus, obama signed the exec. order. Exec. orders are not repealed by the presidents that order them. The only possibility of repeal would be by one of Obama’s successors. Repeal of exec. orders are still very rare, so you’re trying to hang your hat on something that probably wont happen. But even if it was repealed, the plain language of the bill bars federal funding for abortions. So you have double protection on what you worry about most, but you’re still worried? Seems irrational. I’m guessing you just cant go against the party that generally has been anti-abortion, despite the fact that most catholic groups, except for the council of bishops, acknowledge that this bill will in no way fund abortions, and have thereby lent their support to the bill. So, where does your loyalty lie? is it with the Church or with the party? They are in disagreement over the bill.

  44. Paul Ziezulewicz
    Mar. 23, 2010 5:45 PM

    Mr. Carpenter,
    The enumerating of powers in section 8 of the constitution does not limit congress’ powers as much as one might think. This is because of the catch-all phrase at the beginning of the section. Somehow the tea-baggers forgot to read the first, and most important line in the section. It reads, “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.”

    Do you see the term ‘general welfare’ in there? This basically allows congress to tax 4 anything, so long as they claim it is for the “general welfare” of the US. So, the enumeration made it look like the framers were trying to limit congress’ powers. But the clause above negates the effect of enumeration. Admittedly, this broad interpretation of “welfare” is subjective interpretation. However, “welfare” is objectively defined in the const. dictionary as ‘health, happiness, or prosperity; well-being.” See that? The first word defines “welfare” as “health,” so it appears congress can enact law that provides health to the people. And I’ll go out on a limb and assume that we passed healthcare to…

  45. Paul Ziezulewicz
    Mar. 23, 2010 5:48 PM

    provide just that.

  46. John Gummerson
    Mar. 23, 2010 7:11 PM

    To add to this debate about people benefiting from the bill not being hard-workers, etc…
    The bill provides some level of assistance to all families earning less than $88,000 per year. This is not just homeless or poverty stricken folks. How can you make $88,000 and not be able to support your family with necessities including health insurance?

  47. Michael Blissenbach
    Mar. 23, 2010 8:03 PM

    Mr. Ziezulewicz, The United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is the only voice that matters to me, because, unless the Holy Father or Roman Curia personally weigh in, the bishops and the bishops alone are the voice of the Catholic Church in the United States, by virtue of the teaching and governing authority proper to the sacred office of the episcopacy. So, if the USCCB says that the bill funds abortion, after careful analysis, then I trust their judgment.

  48. Matthew Plese
    Mar. 23, 2010 8:41 PM

    This bill forces American taxpayers to act as a charity. Charities exist for the reason to provide for those in “need” and citizens who feel compelled to give to them have the option. I as a taxpayer should not be forced to give my money to assist those who do not heath care. “He who does not work should not eat.”

    Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamp Programs, etc, etc are socialist policies that destroy truly American principles. They should be removed.

    I’m not against people giving to charities to help the poor and those without insurance but neither the government nor anyone else should force me to give a dime.

  49. Emily Ross
    Mar. 23, 2010 9:00 PM

    And how exactly would you suggest they get tuition to go to college, Mr. Plese? How can they fill out a FAFSA if their school was so poor it couldn’t afford computers of technology educations? And if they are plagued by a mental or physical illness, how could they possibly be successful in college? If they choose not to pursue further education, how can they cover their living expenses with a full time job that pays minimum wage? And what about the constant ridicule they must endure from individuals who discriminate and ridicule tirelessly, with minimal experience or facts to back up their bigoted statements?
    St. Thomas has certainly done you a disservice then, Mr. Plese, if you cannot find it in either your moral compass or your brain to actually consider the things you are asserting. You’re statement is simply incorrect. Numbers and common sense can show you that. For resources to educate yourself on the REALITIES of poverty, see below.
    Unfortunately, it is these same selfish and ignorant views, based in arrogance and greed that will prevent our world from truly eliminating poverty and insuring the health and wellness of all Americans.”

  50. Matthew Plese
    Mar. 23, 2010 9:26 PM

    “And how exactly would you suggest they get tuition to go to college, Mr. Plese? How can they fill out a FAFSA if their school was so poor it couldn’t afford computers of technology educations?” Answer: simple. We have public libraries that have computer access. They can go there

    How do we eliminate poverty? We eliminate it when everyone works to his full potential in a free market. Making me give them a hand-out is a disservice to them since it gives them no incentive to work harder. And it is a disservice to me since it does not motivate me to continue working harder and taking risks in the free market. This new law is socialism incarnate.

  51. Daniel Mortensen
    Mar. 23, 2010 9:27 PM

    It sounds like you would rather live your life in a bubble than face the harsh reality of the everyday American. I implore you to find some compassion for your fellow man, otherwise you’ll receive none.
    Americanism is not the same thing as capitalism. Democracy is not the same thing as capitalism. I urge you to find in the constitution where it declares us capitalists. The concept of socialism is not far off from the ideals of equality of opportunity.
    Your messages are confusing to me because of the lack of relevance the bill itself. Is affordable insurance “charity” as you so disdainfully name it?
    If you believe that people who use these necessary programs are enjoying every minute of it and lazing around, you are quite simply living in a fantasy world.

  52. Dylan Wallace
    Mar. 23, 2010 9:40 PM

    Plese-Jeeze man…you are not making a good case. Even if that is what you feel, rule number one of making a point is to never write off the impoverished! Blissenbach- The US Bishops did address concerns with it. I think this is rather minor though, but he is right. Overall, I feel that I am in the middle…like the rest of America. I am not fully edcated on this topic, and I can see the pros and cons. I am all for making sure people have healthcare, but at this time, we just dont have the money! Taxing the upper class is not enough! This is a really huge deal, and I believe that all taxes should be raised! We have massive amounts of debt, we spend more then we take in, and in the end this will end badly. Can anybody say hyperinflation? We owe China billions of dollars! When they make some big mistake with their economy or something, they are going to want some money. Either we give it to them or not. If we do, we just print off a whole bunch of one’s,put it in a 747, throw in some 500’s from Monopoly and hope to God that they dont realize that they only have a million. I dont want Vinny knockin on the White House door lookin to break thumbs! But seriously, if we do then its hyperinflation, if we dont then we look bad and have interntional conflict.

  53. Matthew Plese
    Mar. 23, 2010 10:03 PM

    Affordable health insurance is not a basic right.

  54. Stefan Wolf
    Mar. 23, 2010 10:05 PM


    The ignorance you are exhibiting is simply beyond my comprehension.  Have you ever tried to support yourself on minimum wage?  Have you ever actually experienced what it’s like to be poor?  I’m going to guess no.  Has it ever crossed your mind that these people may simply be in a position where they cannot get out of poverty?  College is not an option to a person who has no money to afford it and has no credit to get a loan.  It is our duty as fellow humans to help those who try their hardest but simply cannot help themselves completely.  You have obviously been blessed with a life where your needs are met.  I have too, as have many people at St. Thomas.  However, this in no way entitles us to scoff at those who were not so fortunate.

    “A theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.”  That is the definition of socialism.  I do not see any of the aforementioned programs as fulfilling this definition.  Before you make ignorant, unfounded claims, do your research.

  55. Emily Ross
    Mar. 23, 2010 10:14 PM

    Ohhh I see. So someone who can’t read can definitely find their way around a library, right? And if they sit at a computer, they’ll be able to navigate the internet. You’re right. Why don’t we all just pull ourselves up by the bootstraps, huh? Easy enough, right?

    It’s so sad how utterly ungrateful you are for the life you’ve lived. A life that is a rarity. Look around, Mr Plese. Our world is suffering. And you think it’s because people just aren’t trying hard enough? You need a reality check.

    Read a newspaper, Mr. Plese. Your ignorance is offensive. And so blatantly inaccurate, it’s difficult to even respond to.

    Your comments are uneducated and based on your personal opinions, not reality. As someone who has assisted individuals in applying for welfare and medical assistance, I can guarantee you that the statements you make are ridden with error. Have you even taken the time to step into the systems to denounce?

    I hope for your sake you never have to face the harsh realities of poverty in America. Although I fear that’s the only thing that could truly remove the blindfold you have over your eyes. Despite the gift of education you have been given, you have neglected to use it for the betterment of the society we ALL live in. What a waste.

  56. David Hackworthy
    Mar. 23, 2010 10:16 PM

    I would just like to say that whether or not you agree with the provisions of the bill, you have to admit its quite the feat. This is the largest social reform in the past 40 years, and given the track record of Congress and Executive branches lately, I think we should all at least applaud the fact that something is being done in DC. And if y’all are feeling so worked up about it, maybe you should write your congressional leader instead of wasting time demeaning each other’s values. Or use the time to just research such topics and become a responsible citizen before making such rhetorical statements that our government leaders love to use; quite successfully might I add given more than a few of the above comments. .

  57. David Hackworthy
    Mar. 23, 2010 10:16 PM

    put that in your juice and sip on it :)

  58. Kathryn Pogin
    Mar. 23, 2010 10:23 PM

    Matthew- The notion that those who are poor don’t work hard (and the other side of the coin is that those who are not poor do work hard) doesn’t reflect the reality of everyone who is poor. What about Hmong refugees in our own community (who are refugees because Hmong fought alongside our soldiers, but then we left) but don’t speak english well enough to get well paying jobs? Or don’t speak english at all, and can’t find work until they learn? Or how about my neighborhood, in which property values fell since I-94 was built through it, yet property values on the other side of the highway rose, because there was a barrier between “us” and “them”? (And these highways that were built through primarily black communities are across the nation.) Or how about peole with disabilities? Or how about me, who got her first job working for her Dad. And her second job, because her mom’s friend already worked for the company. Or who’s more likely to get hired over an equally qualified competitor of color, purely because I’m white. The thing is, some people work hard, some people don’t- but largely, our economic situations are influenced by things other than our work ethic.

  59. Matthew Plese
    Mar. 23, 2010 10:43 PM

    Stefan Wolf, I am not “scoffing” at those in worse economic conditions. I am just saying that it is not my responsibility to provide for them. I should not be forced to pay higher taxes for their healthcare.

  60. David Dahl
    Mar. 24, 2010 12:01 AM

    Upon reflection of this debate, I feel that Washington needs to think outside of the box in order to permanently fix health care. I propose the Don’t Get Sick Act. If you get sick, you go to jail. Problem solved.

  61. Michael Blissenbach
    Mar. 24, 2010 8:28 AM

    I think Chesterton and Belloc are right. Capitalism and socialism are both fundamentally flawed. Read Chesterton’s book “What’s Wrong With The World” if you want to know more about why they’re both fundamentally flawed.

  62. Joe Cronin
    Mar. 24, 2010 1:41 PM

    @Matthew: “Answer: simple. We have public libraries that have computer access. They can go there.” What is this socialist idea Matthew? Public libraries? Why should I have to pay taxes to my government to fund public libraries? I’ve spent my whole life working hard to support myself and my family. I have saved up money and spent wads of dollars at Barnes and Noble and Amazon to build my collection of books to a respectable level and now you tell me that the government is going to take money from me to provide these same books for free to people who haven’t worked as hard as me. Making me give them a hand-out is a disservice to them since it gives them no incentive to work harder. And it is a disservice to me since it does not motivate me to continue working harder and taking risks in the free market. Public libraries are socialism incarnate! Free books are not a basic right. People should not have the ability to waltz in and check out Harry Potter whenever they feel like it. I am just saying that it is not my responsibility to provide for them. I should not be forced to pay higher taxes for their reading pleasure.

    So Matthew, bring your socialist agenda elsewhere and let me read in peace.

    Good day sir!

  63. Matthew Plese
    Mar. 24, 2010 3:58 PM

    Joe, I know that you say that in jist but you have a point. I shouldn’t have to pay taxes to support someone else’s reading. If I want to read something, I should have to pay for it myself. Good point.

    Let’s ask Congress to stop funding to libraries.

  64. Corey Dahl
    Mar. 24, 2010 6:31 PM

    Well, this conversation has certainly spiraled out of control since I last saw it.

    I think people glanced over what Mr. Hackworthy said: this is some sort of effort. While that is certainly not a justification for all the facets of the reform, it is still something. For too long politicians have been fumbling with this issue while Americans have sought reform. Congress has been paralyzed by gridlock for about four years now, and finally we are seeing something happening.

    Certainly, the bill is imperfect. That is why there is a reconciliation bill ready to be passed. This is just the start of something. Just like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was one major step toward racial and ethnic equality, there is still plenty of work to be done in that respect.

    The real problem is that Americans (and yes, UST students too) are uninformed. I don’t claim to know everything about the bill, but here is a nice, concise summary: The ballot box this November will serve as a referendum, probably on this issue. Let’s just hope voters have their facts correct and are not spewing useless one-liners, slogans, or talking points. Trust me, I heard the word socialism one too many times. Frankly, this is not socialism…

  65. Corey Dahl
    Mar. 24, 2010 6:34 PM

    I challenge anyone to look up the word “socialism” and try to ascribe it to this bill. It’s not that. If you don’t have access to a dictionary, your local library would have one.

    We must be very careful, as a society, how we evaluate complicated issues. Health care cannot be summed up in a few words, nor can cyclical poverty. I challenge everyone at UST, not just those of us on this forum, to raise the tenor of this debate. It will be a lot more productive if we stop throwing around simplistic ideas because this issue is anything but simple.

  66. Brett Brakefield
    Mar. 24, 2010 7:01 PM

    Mr. Plese, I believe that you and the other commenters would agree that one shouldn’t have to pay taxes to support others. Personally, I would enjoy it if everyone was able to pay for everything out-of-pocket and that the government maintained a surplus in the trillions. What is your point? I sincerely hope there is a deeper interpretation of your comments that precludes the understanding that you are an “ungrateful,” “ignorant,” and “selfish” person as others have called you.
    To address your comments: your logic is non-existent. You (and your family) have enjoyed the benefits provided by the government to reach whatever level of success you currently hold. Since you feel the health care law forces you to pay more taxes, that puts you in the same tax bracket that Bush provided cuts for not too long ago(through reconciliation by the way). Which means you benefited from the same democratic process that is now in favor of helping others and you have the audacity to argue against it over what exactly? The laws of capitalism? Socialist similarities? There is no feasible way anyone in this country would be where they are without any governmental assisstance and it does not make sense to refuse such assisstance to others on such ridiculous notions.

  67. Tyler Petersen
    Mar. 25, 2010 5:04 PM

    You know, this is kind of fun to read…

  68. Brian Osende
    Mar. 25, 2010 9:22 PM

    Some people claim that its not their job to help those who are poor, well, thats right.
    But at the sametime, you didn’t get where you are without other people’s help. America was built on both slavery and genocide, and I know its coming out of history, but so do all of us. Those who got rich off the original America still enjoy those benefits, or should I say their children, same goes for the offspring of the slaves and victims of genocide. Where do you think these people are going to start when they have nothing? This is where we all have to come in and help these people get on their feet. We should hand feed them, create the environment that helps get up. Healthcare is one way, because this a right and not a priviledge. Mr. Plese, am sorry to hear someone like you express such uninformed views towards other people.
    For those that are against gov’t controlling this, what do you say about roads, Social security and education? Is it my job to pay for someone’s kid to go to school thru taxation, NO, but I do it. How about the people who don’t own cars, they still pay taxes for the roads too. Why does the gov’t force you to save for the future? All these are not unconstitutional because you directly gain, right? Lets all remember that the constitution changes with the…

  69. Matthew Plese
    Mar. 25, 2010 10:15 PM

    My views remain clear – the government can not force individuals to purchase health insurance. The government is not in the business and does not have the power to force people to live healthy lives.

    Health care is not a basic human right – it is a privilege.

  70. Kathryn Pogin
    Mar. 26, 2010 12:03 AM

    The government requieres you to buy car insurance if you drive. It requires you to have a savings plan if you work. Everyone engages in the healthcare industry at some point- seeking treatment when you get sick, getting vaccines required to attend school, legal right to emergency treatment, Medicare, etc. Just like the government can require you to buy car insurance to protect those you might hit, why couldn’t it require you to buy health insurance to protect those who your health impacts (i.e those who pay taxes that contribute to Medicare, hospitals in the case you might not be able to cover your bills, etc.)?

  71. Michael Blissenbach
    Mar. 26, 2010 8:30 AM

    “Health care is not a basic human right – it is a privilege.”

    I disagree, I think that basic healthcare is a basic human right, but you can go about providing basic healthcare for the poor in different ways. I would tend to favor grants from the federal government to each state, based on the number of uninsured citizens living in the particular state, to come up with a system to provide basic healthcare for those uninsured citizens. Such a system would be more compatible with the principle of subsidiarity, which is one of the foundations of Catholic social teaching, outlined in Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical “Rerum Novarum”.
    Similarly, I would be in favor of replacing social security with tax credits or subsidies to the caregiver of each elderly person. Such a system would favor the children or close friend or relative of each elderly person providing care and shelter for them, and I think such a system would be more family-centered rather than the individual-centered Social Security program .
    I also think that Medicare should cover at-home hospice care if a senior citizen would prefer that to going to a hospital or nursing home, so that they can stay with their family rather than being forced to spend their last days in a nursing home or hospital.

  72. Michael Blissenbach
    Mar. 26, 2010 12:09 PM

    I also think that the Democrats and the GOP are both equally corrupt and that neither party works for or legislates what’s best for America’s families or what’s best for American society. I end up voting for whichever candidate I feel would do less damage to the country’s moral fabric.

  73. Matthew Plese
    Mar. 26, 2010 12:17 PM

    “Just like the government can require you to buy car insurance to protect those you might hit, why couldn’t it require you to buy health insurance to protect those who your health impacts.” Kathryn, there is a fundamental difference between car insurance and health insurance. You are only legally required to have enough car insurance to protect the OTHER party. The government requires you to have insurance to cover the other individuals’ injuries and damages. With health insurance, the government is forcing you to care for yourself. It is legalizating health and wellness. Such a policy is illegal – it interferes with basic human rights and liberties. Don’t think that I am a Republican as I am in neither party. I stand for basic rights for individuals to live each live his/her own life as that person sees fit. For that reason, I stand proudly with the Democrats on social issues and proudly with the Respublicans on matters of fiscal policty.

  74. Michael Blissenbach
    Mar. 26, 2010 12:55 PM

    “For that reason, I stand proudly with the Democrats on social issues and proudly with the Republicans on matters of fiscal policy”

    I’m conservative on most social issues (except capital punishment, the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and environmental policy) and center-left on fiscal issues (although I don’t agree with deficit spending).

  75. Michael Blissenbach
    Mar. 26, 2010 1:04 PM

    “For that reason, I stand proudly with the Democrats on social issues and proudly with the Republicans on matters of fiscal policy.”

    So you’re a libertarian, then? You would probably like Michael Bloomberg and Ron Paul.

  76. Kathryn Pogin
    Mar. 26, 2010 1:29 PM

    Matthew- that’s actually my point about protecting other people. Say you don’t have health insurance, you get seriously injured, a hospital treats you, you can’t pay your bill back. The hospital then is out a lot of money. That cost gets passed on to other patients through higher prices, or to tax paying citizens if it’s a public hospital. You having health insurance protects me from having to pay more in the case that you can’t pay your bills. Likewise, it protects tax payers from having to make up for increased Medicare costs in the case that someone previously without health insurance, hasn’t been getting the treatment they should have, and now has higher medical costs.

  77. Matthew Plese
    Mar. 26, 2010 4:18 PM

    Kathryn – Here is a better solution: If someone does not have insurance and does not have the money to pay for a hospital, we don’t treat them. That saves us money and does not force any of us to purchase insurance or pay higher taxes. You might think this is too harsh, but think about it this way: do grocery stores give food away if you are hungry and don’t have the money? no. Do universities give you classes for free if you are poor and can’t pay for your classes? no. Let’s stop pretending that health care should be a charity because it isn’t; it is a billion dollar industry with the purpose of making money.

  78. Kathryn Pogin
    Mar. 26, 2010 5:58 PM

    Matthew, there are a couple things here… but here’s a hypothetical situation. Say you witness a shooting. You call 911 and ask that they send paramedics. The dispatcher asks you if the victim has health insurance. You go to ask the victim, but they’re unconscious. You tell the dispatcher this. The dispatcher responds, “Sorry! We only treat people who have health insurance.” Are you really ok with that?

    You’re right that in this country health insurance is a business, but it’s also not just a business. If it were just a business, no one would purchase health insurance– why spend money on premiums then? Everyone would just pay out of pocket.

    The fact is that health insurance is a sort of social contract. We pay in, knowing there’s a possibility we might someday face medical expenses that exceed our resources. We also might not, but we pay in anyway; if you get sick and can’t pay for it, the money the rest of us have paid insurance companies covers it, and vice versa. You don’t just get back what you put in; but we all agree to share the cost in return for financial protection in case we need it.

  79. Michael Blissenbach
    Mar. 26, 2010 8:08 PM

    “Kathryn – Here is a better solution: If someone does not have insurance and does not have the money to pay for a hospital, we don’t treat them. ”
    That’s immoral and that smacks of social darwinism.

    “do grocery stores give food away if you are hungry and don’t have the money? no” Actually, some do. Money doesn’t rule the world, that’s God’s domain.

  80. Michael Blissenbach
    Mar. 27, 2010 10:05 AM

    Matthew, I agree with you that forced redistribution of wealth destroys charity, and I agree with you that the government should not have the power to force people to purchase something they don’t want to buy. However, I think that unregulated laissez-faire capitalism is just as dangerous as the socialism that President Obama is advocating. Capitalism is centered around the individual, and socialism is centered around the community, and I think both extremes are dangerous. What I would support is something called distributism, which is centered around the family and based off of Pope Leo XIII’s encylical “Rerum Novarum”. G.K. Chesterton’s critique of capitalism is that the problem with it is that there aren’t too many capitalists, but too few, because property ownership gets concentrated in large corporations.
    Chesterton lays out what distributism is in his book “What’s Wrong With The World”. You can read more about distributism here:, and here: Enjoy!

  81. Emily Ross
    Mar. 29, 2010 10:11 AM

    Mr. Plese, it’s clear from reading this thread of comments that there are significant disparities in regards to the facts that surround the concept of poverty and your personal opinions. I’d like to invite everyone, but you in particular, to an event that I and some other students are organizing.

    Beta Epsilon is the UST/SCU chapter of Phi Alpha– the national social work honors society. We have created an event called “End Poverty: Stand Up for Your Community”. We are hosting a presentation and experiential learning opportunity from ‘A Minnesota Without Poverty’.

    It will be held on April 15th from 6:30-8:30 in the Carondelet Center, on the St. Kate’s campus. This event is co-sponsored by the Justice Commission of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Caroldelet and Consociates.

    The event will feature live music, local and student poets, and refreshments.

    It would be great to have you there, Mr. Plese. I would look forward to meeting you and having an accurate discussion on the realities of poverty… including dialogue about how to eliminate it. I know you have some proposals of your own.

  82. Emily Ross
    Mar. 29, 2010 10:14 AM

    Furthermore, this event is great opportunity for ANYONE to educate themselves about poverty. My hope is that we can use this educational arena to expand our knowledge about the realities of poverty so we can work TOGETHER to find solutions to the significantly complex and devastating challenges our country (and our world) is facing. These challenges simply cannot be denied or ignored. And that is something we all agree on.

    If you would like more information on this event, please feel free to contact me at

  83. Michael Blissenbach
    Mar. 29, 2010 11:06 AM

    Ms. Ross, while I think we should work to alleviate poverty as much as possible, I think it is impossible to eliminate poverty. Christ himself says right in the Gospels that “the poor you will always have with you”. Matthew 26:11. It’s noble to do the best we can to alleviate poverty and suffering, but we will never be able to eliminate either of them.

  84. Michael Blissenbach
    Mar. 29, 2010 11:59 AM

    Btw, I think private charities are the best way of alleviating poverty to the greatest extent possible. This article explains why:

  85. Michael Blissenbach
    Mar. 29, 2010 1:07 PM

    However, I also think distributism is a fairer economic system than capitalism or socialism, and would be more just than either. Here’s an article explaining why that is.

  86. Emily Ross
    Mar. 29, 2010 10:04 PM

    Michael, the non-profit organization we are working with, “A Minnesota Without Poverty”, has a tag-line that says they will “seek to eliminate poverty by 2020″. That’s where my statement comes from. One of the reasons I have dedicated myself to the field I am in, is because I will always STRIVE to eliminate injustice, however possible. You are certainly right, it will not be eliminated. But many use that saying and that mind-set to represent the previously stated concept.

    Again, this is an educational opportunity. It’s not a debate or a forum for opinions. It would be great to have you there. I’m sure you would be able to contribute actively to our discussions.

  87. Paul Milner
    Mar. 30, 2010 1:30 PM

    Though your points may be valid, their presentation needs some work. The use of buzzwords alone is annoying, but insisting on capitalizing them is just redundant.

  88. Matthew Plese
    Mar. 31, 2010 1:16 PM

    Emily: Thank you for the invitation. I will highly consider attending.

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