Saturday, July 7, 2012

ACA Anti-Tax Protest Rally - Bilbray Also Speaks - UPDATE

I attended the Anti-Tax Rally today in downtown San Diego held in front of the County Administration Building. Brian Bilbray was clearly the most famous speaker invited. He is in a competitive district, as I have previously discussed. The rally started with doctors in white lab coats speaking about the harm done to health care under the law. Doctor Gary Gonsalves led off the doctors segment. (It seems that Obama's stunt at the White House has made it de rigueur to put the docs in lab coats.

Among the issues raised by the doctors were the further insertion of bureaucracy between doctors and patients, the stripping of medicare, and the imposition of more regulations that will discourage doctor and exacerbate a doctor shortage. The last doctor to speak was Dr. Gina Loudon, who was the most exciting doctor speaker, befitting her role as radio personality. She pointed out that the GOP has not always been consistent in opposing an expansion of government which led her to work in the tea party movement, as opposed to mere Republicanism. (I agree.)

Dr. Gina Loudon talks about her tea party experience.

Many of the argument about health care proffered by speakers have been covered in some of my previous posts. But I also heard some new ideas for reforming health care and health insurance.
  1. Let credit card companies manage Health Savings Accounts (that use pre-tax dollars) because they are good at detecting fraud. Further, allowing HSAs to roll from year to year would encourage people to shop around and reduce health costs. As a current user of a flexible spending account for some of my health care, I like this idea. But, the current system pushes me to spend all my eligible funds in one year, leading to some wasteful spending.
  2. Get the states and the AMA out of nursing licensing. Doctors and hospitals are capable of judging the quality of nurses, this just restricts supply.
  3. Get the AMA out of limiting doctor licensing and medical school accreditation, because they have a vested interest in decreasing the supply of doctors.

I was very interested to hear Brian Bilbray's take on the law. He made great points. I know he has offended some purists who believe that nothing in the law should be retained because it is an affront to freedom. I agree, but politics is the art of the possible. Bilbray makes the very good point that right now, coverage for pre-existing conditions and children to age 26 are very popular parts of the legislation. But he made the point that those good ends could still be achieved without the monstrosity of so many new taxes and fees in the law. He hammered at the tax theme. He also pointed out that the law is a sop to to lawyers and insurance companies who wrote the law at the expense of the American people. His opponent, Scott Peters, is fully supportive of the law, so even if you challenge Bilbray for not being tough enough in standing against the law, his vote will be for repeal, but a Peters vote would not be. More prominent members of the tea party do not agree with my assessment of Bilbray, you can read the opinion here.

Brian Bilbray addresses tea party rally against ACA taxes.

Nick Popaditch, was a much more dynamic and absolutist opponent of the bill. I cannot do justice to his speaking style. However, he made this great point. When the leftists like Obama and Pelosi argue their positions they attack their fellow Americans. In arguing that the reason for the mandate is because of "free riders," they are attacking their fellow Americans who have exercised their God-given right not to purchase health insurance. The attacks on Americans exercising their rights is a hallmark of this administration, my opinion. (My answer for the free rider issue? Allow insurance to offer catastrophic coverage and allow hospitals to be aggressive in collecting from dead beats who can pay.)

Nick Popaditch decries the attacks on Americans by supporters of the ACA.

A few other thoughts. Chief Justice Roberts came in for more than a little criticism. His logic that the law is a tax, does not square with the Congressional language. That is legislating from the bench, as some speakers pointed out. All in all, it was an inspiring rally that is one small piece of the larger movement to limit government.

Frequent commenter arhooley also attended; she had this to say.
I just got back from it, and although it was great, I'd like to see one change at these Tea Party rallies: a secular or agnostic Tea Party speaker. Maybe even an ex-liberal. There are plenty of us out here, and we don't always feel we're being addressed or included in speeches laden with calls to religion. An added bonus is that we're not all preaching to the choir; we know how to talk to liberals about the supposed generosity of Obamacare and similar laws and movements.
I agree about not preaching to the choir, but have to say that many of the doctors couched their discussion in non-partisan, less political terms.


Shane Atwell also blogged about the event. He reminded me of a point made by Popaditch that I forgot to include. We can't protect people from making bad economic choices. (He used the decision to buy a Chevy Volt as an example, to much laughter.) This is a big part of the leftist argument for government regulation of health care. If people were required to suffer the consequences of poor choices, like going bankrupt as a result of foregoing health care insurance, then they might make better choices.

The U-T's Craig Gustafson has an article about the event as well. He quotes the Scott Peters campaign's insistence that somehow Bilbray is a tea partyer now. For better or worse, that is patently untrue.


  1. Great wrap-up. While walking back from the rally, I was reflecting on what a charmed/nine lives existence OCare has led. Surviving through bribes, kickbacks, Christmas eve votes, Stupaking and now, through one of the great twisting, double-pump-in-the-air judicial dodges of all time. As the home team, we've got last ups in November - we better make it count.


    1. Obama's opponents have for four years been too late with too little. I expect it will be the same in November. Obamacare is a fait accompli. People need to focus on exposing and removing Obama. Unfortunately, the Republicans nominated someone who is non-electable, in my opinion. I cannot in good conscience vote for Mitt Romney.

    2. Roger, sorry to hear about your opinion of Romney. I will be voting on a narrow set of issues, the biggest being my calculus over how to best repeal the ACA. I believe Romney will keep his campaign promise of repeal if elected. Since my vote in California won't make much difference, I will be donating to his campaign and trying to elect Republicans in tough races like Brian Bilbray. I have never given so much money in an election year before this one, but the need to roll back government overreach has never been greater.

  2. I agree in general with arhooley, but in this case religion actually didn't come up that much. Hardly at all. There was the singing of God Bless America, which I don't actually take as an endorsement of religion. Other than that, I don't remember a single reference to God. There was a stress by the audience on "under god", when we did the pledge, but that was spontaneous.

    Thanks for the write-up.

  3. Thanks for the detailed wrap up! After you guys took off, I got to promote at the very end of the rally and remind everyone that we are letting the world know about their efforts to save the country!

  4. Shane, the "God Bless America" and "under God" are fine with me. Sorry I can't remember specific examples, but I recall some of the remarks assumed religious faith on the part of the listeners, and as I was leaving the 912 folks were fairly ranting about God and churches. Nick Popaditch and some of the doctors seemed to assume we were all there because we are, among other things, anti-abortion. I don't want to fund abortions with my taxes, but I want them to be legal.

    I wouldn't necessarily want a speaker to stand up and preach about legal abortion or even to identify themselves as being in favor of it, but I would like to get some acknowledgment that the Tea Party is a safe place for social liberals and secularists. George Bush and Marco Rubio have both specifically included us nonbelievers in their messages.

  5. I think the religious freedom folks need a home of their own and to be allies of the Tea Party, not trying to take it over.