Posts Tagged ‘Health Care’

9th March
2010
written by Sean Noble

Nancy Pelosi has hit new heights in craziness. Her definition of legislative debate is to pass a bill, then learn what it does. She actually believes that the Democrat health care bill needs to pass, so then the American people can find out what is in it.

Call it the “trust me, you don’t need to know what’s in this bill until after it passes” factor.

“But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy.”

So legislation shouldn’t be debated, because that can be, you know, really confusing… foggy, so to speak.

So Nancy is there to clear up the fog. Isn’t that nice of her?

The Democrat Dictionary version of transparency: read the bill after it passes.

UPDATE: Thanks to a friend of mine who posted it on Facebook, we have a clip of Pelosi’s quote.

1st March
2010
written by Sean Noble

Sometimes even I can be shocked by the hubris of Washington, D.C. politicians. It takes a lot, given that I have worked in the town in one way or another for the last 16 years. This quote from Nancy Pelosi about the health care reform issue even leaves me shaking my head.

“They’ve had plenty of opportunity to make their voices heard,” she said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday morning. “Bipartisanship is a two-way street. A bill can be bipartisan without bipartisan votes. Republicans have left their imprint.”

No, Madame Speaker, a bill cannot be bipartisan if it receives the votes of only one party.

Even if you bought her line that it’s bipartisan because “Republicans have left their imprint,” you would be hard pressed to see what imprint that might be. The truth is that there was no imprint on the House bill passed last November. The only imprint that was something that Pelosi did not want was the language banning federal funding of abortion. That was an amendment drafted by Democrat Bart Stupak. That was Democrat Bart Stupak.

This is how Democrat’s define issues. Call it the “Democrat Dictionary.”  Speaker Pelosi can maintain her delusional belief that the health care bill is bipartisan, but in doing so she greatly enhances the chances that “Speaker” will be dropped from her title after the elections in November.

1st March
2010
written by Sean Noble

President Obama’s “health care summit” last week broke very little new policy ground, but one thing is clear: Democrats are determined to pass their health care bill no matter what the American people want.

Some people have asked me why the Democrats would so willfully reject the will of the American people and push try to push this through. Obama and Democrat leadership know that with every passing day, reform becomes harder to pass because the closer we get to election day, the less likely moderate Democrats are to support it. Obama, Pelosi and Reid also know that if they don’t get it done this year, it will never happen, because they are going to lose seats in both the House and the Senate in November.

Another thing to consider is the dynamic of the 2012 election. Rahm Emanuel is the smartest Democrat operative in the nation. He knows politics, and he knows history and he recognizes that if Republicans capture the House in 2010, Obama’s reelection chances in 2012 at least double. Think about Clinton’s ability to “triangulate” with the Republican majority, thereby making him look more reasonable.

So, Rahm and Obama are willing to throw as many House members into the wood chipper as it will take to pass a bill, majority be damned, because a majority is actually bad for Obama after next year. The thing to watch is whether Democrat House members will be more influenced by White House pressure, or by pressure of constituents and voters back home.

In watching the summit, I was struck by a number of things. First, I was very impressed with the Republicans strength on the policy of health care reform. President Obama repeatedly tried to cut off any Republican who spoke about portions of the current plan with which they disagree. On several occasions, the President cut off the speaker and announced that he was interested in what they liked about his plan, not what they didn’t. In other words continuing his theme that bi-partisan reform consists of Republicans agreeing to Democrats ideas.

The Democrats also attempted to dominate the amount of speaking time. The Democrats/President spoke for 233 minutes, with Republicans getting 110 minutes of speaking time. However, the Republicans were very efficient with their time and Sens. Lamar Alexander R-TN), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and House members Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Paul Ryan (R-WI) stood out in particular as hitting the main points with devastating precision. spoke about the need to eliminate (or at least reduce) waste, fraud, and abuse in health care.

At first, the Democrats were somewhat successful in appearing to agree with Republican principles and claiming their bill did many of the things Republicans were proposing. For instance, many Republicans suggested allowing the purchasing of insurance across state lines. Several Democrats insisted that their bill did just that. They were attempting to claim that their “exchanges” would do that; they do not. However, as the summit progressed, Republicans made it clear they were better prepared and had mastered the facts better than the Democrats.

At one point Senator McCain (R-AZ) made a very effective speech, noting how corrupt the process of crafting the legislation had been, including the many sweetheart deals included in the bills to buy votes. This clearly stung Obama, and the best he could come up with was a remark that the election is over – as if McCain’s points were mere political talking points used in campaigns. This was a big win for Republicans.

Finally, President Obama ended the summit by declaring that he has come a long way towards the Republicans by offering his latest proposal (which is largely the Senate-passed bill) and that now it is up to Republicans to decide which Democrat proposals they could accept. He intimated that they had the next several weeks (he mentioned 6 weeks once) to help Democrats pass their bill or he will pull it and Americans will know that Republicans put their political interests before the best interests of Americans. And then, the President noted, “that’s why we have elections.”

The media has played this as having been a “tie, going to Republicans.” If that is the MSM take, than clearly Republicans gained the most out of the summit. As has already been discussed by many commentators, Republicans brought their “A” game, while Democrats came across as mostly parroting talking points, not actually discussing solutions. Even Rush Limbaugh has said that Republicans proved him wrong by how well they did.

Here is a sampling of some of the immediate reaction in the press.

CNN’S DAVID GERGEN: “Intellectually, The Republicans Had The Best Day They’ve Had In Years.  The Best Day They Have Had In Years.” (CNN’s “The Situation Room,” 2/25/10)

· CNN’s DAVID GERGEN: “The Folks In The White House Just Must Be Kicking Themselves Right Now. They thought that coming out of Baltimore when the President went in and was mesmerizing and commanding in front of the House Republicans that he could do that again here today. That would revive health care and would change the public opinion about their health care bill and they can go on to victory. Just the opposite has happened.” (CNN’s “Live,” 2/25/10)

NPR’S MARA LIASSON: “I Think That The Republicans Made Their Arguments Very Well.” (Fox News, 2/25/10)

CNN’S WOLF BLITZER: “It Looks Like The Republicans Certainly Showed Up Ready To Play.” (CNN’s “Live,” 2/25/10)

· CNN’S WOLF BLITZER: “And The Republicans Had Less Speaking Time, But They Took Full Advantage Of Every Minute They Had.” (CNN’s “The Situation Room,” 2/25/10)

THE HILL’S A.B. STODDARD: “I Think We Need To Start Out By Acknowledging Republicans Brought Their ‘A Team.’ They had doctors knowledgeable about the system, they brought substance to the table, and they, I thought, expressed interest in the reform.  I thought in the lecture from Senator John McCain and on the issue of transparency, I thought today the Democrats were pretty much on their knees.” (Fox News’ “Live,” 2/25/10)

CNN’s GLORIA BORGER: “The Republicans Have Been Very Effective Today. They Really Did Come To Play. They Were Very Smart.” (CNN’s “Live,” 2/25/10)

· BORGER: “They took on the substance of a very complex issue. … But they really stuck to the substance of this issue and tried to get to the heart of it and I think did a very good job.” (CNN’s “Live,” 2/25/10)

· BORGER: “They came in with a plan. They mapped it out.” (CNN’s “Live,” 2/25/10)

POLITICO: “By The Afternoon, However, Both Sides Took A More Substantive Approach That Played To The Republicans’ Benefit, given Democratic attempts to portray them as unreasonable and partisan.” (“Six Hours Later, Stalemate Remains,” Politico, 2/25/10)

FOX NEWS’ CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: “The Republicans Really Helped Themselves. The argument against them, it’s the party of no, they have no ideas, they are against anything, they’re nihilists. In fact, they spent seven hours, I think, presenting a very strong case. They’re knowledgeable. They have ideas. They are interested in reform, but they have differences. Lamar Alexander was dazzling, Paul Ryan was rapier sharp in rebutting all of the smoke and mirrors that the democrats had presented.” (Fox News, 2/25/10)

JAMES CARVILLE: “First, In General, You’d Have To Say, By The Most Part Most Of These People Were Pretty Knowledgeable, They Had Done Their Homework … I Thought That Senator Alexander And Senator Coburn Did Great…” (CNN’s “The Situation Room,” 2/25/10)

FOX NEWS’ BRET BAIER: “Republicans Had A Strong Day Making Their Points.” (Fox News’ “Live,” 2/25/10)

WASHINGTON POST’S MICHAEL GERSON: “The Democrats’ Health-Care Ambush Failed”(Michael Gerson, Op-Ed, “The Democrats’ Health-Care Ambush Failed,” The Washington Post, 2/25/10)

23rd February
2010
written by Sean Noble

The first question Republicans should ask Obama when they meet at the Blair House for the health care summit on Thursday is this: “If we turn to a government-run health care system like Canada, where will the Canadians go for their health care?”

As you may already know, Newfoundland’s Premier chose to come to the United States for surgery on his heart, rather than have it done in Canada.

Isn’t that everything we need to know about why we should have government-run health care?

11th January
2010
written by Sean Noble

This editorial in the Wall Street Journal is too good to not post in full. Dead on.

The 60th Senate Vote

The special election in Massachusetts and the Democratic agenda.

When Ted Kennedy died last August, Democrats said they’d honor him by finally passing the national health care he had long campaigned for. What an irony it would be if the race for Kennedy’s successor in Massachusetts denied Democrats the 60th vote to ram their federal takeover into law on a partisan basis.

That prospect isn’t as implausible as it once seemed in that most liberal of states, as Republican Scott Brown has closed to within striking distance of Democrat Martha Coakley in the January 19 special election. A Boston Globe survey released this weekend showed Ms. Coakley with a 15-point lead, but a survey by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling found the race a dead heat, with Mr. Brown up 48% to 47%. The scary prospect for Democrats is that the race is even this close on their home ideological turf, and turnout is always difficult to predict in special elections.

That’s especially true in midwinter and with a voting public that is increasingly opposed to the Democratic agenda in Washington. The Public Policy Poll found that likely Bay State voters oppose the Democratic health plans by 47% to 41% and that they give President Obama only 44% job approval. This in a state he carried by 26 points only 14 months ago. It also found Republicans much more motivated to vote than Democrats.

Mr. Brown, a state senator who is little known state-wide, has been running against Washington’s blowout spending and has called for a freeze on the wages of federal employees. “It’s not right that less-paid private sector workers suffering through a recession have to pay for expensive government salaries,” he says, noting Ms. Coakley’s many union endorsements.

He’s also hit on taxes, including Ms. Coakley’s comments in November that “We need to get taxes up.” One of his TV ads shows film of Massachusetts son John F. Kennedy describing his 1962 tax cut bill, saying that “The billions of dollars this bill will place in the hands of the consumer and our businessmen will have both immediate and permanent benefits to our economy.” It’s been a long time since any national Democrat said anything like that.

Regarding ObamaCare, Mr. Brown notes that 98% of the state is already insured so any national bill will hurt Bay Staters. He’s right, with the sweetheart Medicaid deal that Ben Nelson cut for Nebraska being Exhibit A. But more fundamentally, the Democratic bills would impose federally mandated rules and benefit limits that would strip states of regulatory flexibility.

Ms. Coakley is the state attorney general and ran to the left of other Democrats to win the Senate primary. She would be a reliable liberal vote for Majority Leader Harry Reid on every issue. These columns have a particular interest in Ms. Coakley’s judgment from her days as district attorney for Middlesex County when she inherited the child molestation case against Gerald Amirault long after it had been shown to be fictional.

When the Governor’s Advisory Board on Pardons and Paroles voted unanimously to commute Amirault’s sentence in 2001, Ms. Coakley went to great lengths to see that he remain in prison. The same woman who organized protest meetings to ensure that Amirault stay behind bars now argues that would-be underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab and other jihadists should not be held as enemy combatants. She is more zealous for politically correct causes than for national security.

The Democrat remains the favorite in such a liberal state, especially now that the unions and national Democrats have become alarmed by the polls. Bill Clinton will campaign for Ms. Coakley this week, and Mr. Brown can expect an assault linking him to George W. Bush, if not Herbert Hoover. But a sign of their worry is that Democrats are whispering that even if Mr. Brown wins, they’ll delay his swearing in long enough to let appointed Senator Paul Kirk vote for ObamaCare.

The mere fact that Democrats have to fight so hard to save Ted Kennedy’s seat shows how badly they have misjudged America by governing so far to the left.

21st October
2009
written by Sean Noble

I’m obviously no fan of MoveOn.org, but  the latest ad they have on health care is good.  It’s an effective message and uses a known Hollywood star.  What I like most about it is that for all intents and purposes, the “public option” on health care is dead in Washington, and every dollar they spend on this ad is completely wasted.  To that, I say, be good liberals and spend, spend, spend!

30th September
2009
written by Sean Noble

This was an email from a Senate staffer following a debate in the Senate Finance Committee mark-up of the health care bill.  Classic.

Senator Kerry just went on about the outrageous profits of health insurers who dominate the market and offer little choice to consumers.  That’s an interesting point considering that according to the website of Heinz ketchup, the company holds a 60 percent retail market share.  Heinz products enjoy #1 or #2 market share in more than 50 countries.  And according to Yahoo Finance, Heinz profits (8.6 percent) are more than double the health insurance industry (3.3 percent).   Government run Ketchup, anyone?

 

11th September
2009
written by Sean Noble

HT to Matt  Lewis at PoliticsDaily blog for this great nugget from comedian Adam Carolla’s on his Sept. 9 podcast.

Well, I know we’re in the middle of this health care debate. And I know the big drug companies have all of a sudden become Beelzebub. And I don’t know if there’s a way to balance this out, or work it out, but I like them getting rich. I like them motivated by greed. I love the fact that almost all the innovative drugs come out of this country because in other countries, they’re not motivated by greed because the government has gotten involved to such a point where there’s no entrepreneurship as it pertains to the companies. And I know these guys are greedy.

Like, it’s a weird thing. Like, if you sell cars and you’re greedy, that’s fine. And if you sell real estate and you’re greedy, that’s fine. But if you do something with drugs and you’re greedy, then you’re horrible. And my thing is like, look, AIDS is not a death sentence anymore because these guys are greedy. And I know no one likes it, but I like them greedy. I like them competing. . . .

And the second we tell you you can’t get filthy rich off of this stuff is the second they go, ‘You know what, eh, I’m not gonna put so much into R and D.’ . . .

Overall, when the dust settles, here’s what I want: I want the greediest guys in the world trying to cure cancer. I want the greediest guys in the world trying to make a car that goes 200 miles on a gallon . . . so it’ll get done.

Very well put.  Government run health care destroys innovation – which is why more than 80% of the medical innovation and drug innovation comes from the United States.

10th September
2009
written by Sean Noble

The President hoped to revive his health care proposal in a speech before a joint session of Congress last night.  He failed.

 

One of the problems Obama has is that he has stretched the truth so much in this debate that the American people no longer take his words at face value.  He remains enamored with himself, and seems to be baffled by the lack of trust the American people.  I predict that as polling is released by weeks end, we will see that support for him on health care will continue to slip. 

 

Below is a fascinating treatment of his speech by AP.

 

 

FACT CHECK: Obama uses iffy math on deficit pledge

Associated Press

Calvin Woodward And Erica Werner

September 9, 2009

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090910/ap_on_go_pr_wh/us_health_care_fact_check

 

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama used only-in-Washington accounting Wednesday when he promised to overhaul the nation’s health care system without adding “one dime” to the deficit. By conventional arithmetic, Democratic plans would drive up the deficit by billions of dollars.

 

The president’s speech to Congress contained a variety of oversimplifications and omissions in laying out what he wants to do about health insurance.

 

A look at some of Obama’s claims and how they square with the facts or the fuller story:

 

OBAMA: “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits either now or in the future. Period.”

 

THE FACTS: Though there’s no final plan yet, the White House and congressional Democrats already have shown they’re ready to skirt the no-new-deficits pledge.

 

House Democrats offered a bill that the Congressional Budget Office said would add $220 billion to the deficit over 10 years. But Democrats and Obama administration officials claimed the bill actually was deficit-neutral. They said they simply didn’t have to count $245 billion of it — the cost of adjusting Medicare reimbursement rates so physicians don’t face big annual pay cuts.

 

Their reasoning was that they already had decided to exempt this “doc fix” from congressional rules that require new programs to be paid for. In other words, it doesn’t have to be paid for because they decided it doesn’t have to be paid for.

 

The administration also said that since Obama already had included the doctor payment in his 10-year budget proposal, it didn’t have to be counted again.

 

That aside, the long-term prognosis for costs of the health care legislation has not been good.

 

CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf had this to say in July: “We do not see the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health spending by a significant amount.”

 

___

 

OBAMA: “Nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have.”

 

THE FACTS: That’s correct, as far as it goes. But neither can the plan guarantee that people can keep their current coverage. Employers sponsor coverage for most families, and they’d be free to change their health plans in ways that workers may not like, or drop insurance altogether. The Congressional Budget Office analyzed the health care bill written by House Democrats and said that by 2016 some 3 million people who now have employer-based care would lose it because their employers would decide to stop offering it.

 

In the past Obama repeatedly said, “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period.” Now he’s stopping short of that unconditional guarantee by saying nothing in the plan “requires” any change.

 

___

 

OBAMA: “The reforms I’m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.” One congressman, South Carolina Republican Joe Wilson, shouted “You lie!” from his seat in the House chamber when Obama made this assertion. Wilson later apologized.

 

THE FACTS: The facts back up Obama. The House version of the health care bill explicitly prohibits spending any federal money to help illegal immigrants get health care coverage. Illegal immigrants could buy private health insurance, as many do now, but wouldn’t get tax subsidies to help them. Still, Republicans say there are not sufficient citizenship verification requirements to ensure illegal immigrants are excluded from benefits they are not due.

 

___

 

OBAMA: “Don’t pay attention to those scary stories about how your benefits will be cut. … That will never happen on my watch. I will protect Medicare.”

 

THE FACTS: Obama and congressional Democrats want to pay for their health care plans in part by reducing Medicare payments to providers by more than $500 billion over 10 years. The cuts would largely hit hospitals and Medicare Advantage, the part of the Medicare program operated through private insurance companies.

 

Although wasteful spending in Medicare is widely acknowledged, many experts believe some seniors almost certainly would see reduced benefits from the cuts. That’s particularly true for the 25 percent of Medicare users covered through Medicare Advantage.

 

Supporters contend that providers could absorb the cuts by improving how they operate and wouldn’t have to reduce benefits or pass along costs. But there’s certainly no guarantee they wouldn’t.

 

___

 

OBAMA: Requiring insurance companies to cover preventive care like mammograms and colonoscopies “makes sense, it saves money, and it saves lives.”

 

THE FACTS: Studies have shown that much preventive care — particularly tests like the ones Obama mentions — actually costs money instead of saving it. That’s because detecting acute diseases like breast cancer in their early stages involves testing many people who would never end up developing the disease. The costs of a large number of tests, even if they’re relatively cheap, will outweigh the costs of caring for the minority of people who would have ended up getting sick without the testing.

 

The Congressional Budget Office wrote in August: “The evidence suggests that for most preventive services, expanded utilization leads to higher, not lower, medical spending overall.”

 

That doesn’t mean preventive care doesn’t make sense or save lives. It just doesn’t save money.

 

___

 

OBAMA: “If you lose your job or change your job, you will be able to get coverage. If you strike out on your own and start a small business, you will be able to get coverage.”

 

THE FACTS: It’s not just a matter of being able to get coverage. Most people would have to get coverage under the law, if his plan is adopted.

 

In his speech, Obama endorsed mandatory coverage for individuals, an approach he did not embrace as a candidate.

 

He proposed during the campaign — as he does now — that larger businesses be required to offer insurance to workers or else pay into a fund. But he rejected the idea of requiring individuals to obtain insurance. He said people would get insurance without being forced to do so by the law, if coverage were made affordable. And he repeatedly criticized his Democratic primary rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton, for proposing to mandate coverage.

 

“To force people to get health insurance, you’ve got to have a very harsh penalty,” he said in a February 2008 debate.

 

Now, he says, “individuals will be required to carry basic health insurance — just as most states require you to carry auto insurance.”

 

He proposes a hardship waiver, exempting from the requirement those who cannot afford coverage despite increased federal aid.

 

___

 

OBAMA: “There are now more than 30 million American citizens who cannot get coverage.”

 

THE FACTS: Obama time and again has referred to the number of uninsured as 46 million, a figure based on year-old Census data. The new number is based on an analysis by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, which concluded that about two-thirds of Americans without insurance are poor or near poor. “These individuals are less likely to be offered employer-sponsored coverage or to be able to afford to purchase their own coverage,” the report said. By using the new figure, Obama avoids criticism that he is including individuals, particularly healthy young people, who choose not to obtain health insurance.

31st August
2009
written by Sean Noble

Bill Clinton and Al Gore in an AP composite by POLITICO.

 

Al Gore says that we have “moral duty” to pass health care reform.

Bill Clinton says he “isn’t a very good politician anymore.”

Al talking about moral duty and Bill talking about not being a politician… the world has been turned on its head.

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