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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Today in Washington D. C. - Oct 19, 2009 - Cards Are Stacked for Single-Payer System

The Senate reconvene at 2 PM today. At 4:30 PM, the Senate will resume consideration of S. 1776, a $247 billion bill to prevent cuts in Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors. An agreement on amendments to the bill is being negotiated, but no votes are scheduled for today. Later in the week, the Senate could return to the fiscal year 2010 Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill or take up the conference reports for the FY 2010 Homeland Security appropriations bill or the FY 2010 Defense authorization bill.

The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend, “The Treasury said the U.S. ran its biggest budget deficit since World War II, a record that promises to complicate Democrats’ efforts to enact their agenda. The Treasury Department reported that the deficit for the 2009 fiscal year ended Sept. 30 came in at about $1.4 trillion, or about 10% of the U.S.’s gross domestic product.”

Yet in the face of a record budget deficit, the highest in 64 years, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is planning on pushing through a $247 billion bill to prevent doctors’ Medicare reimbursement rates from being cut—financed entirely through deficit spending. As The New York Times noted last week, “Under the bill, which came as a surprise to members of both parties, none of the cost would be offset or paid for.”

Even some Democrats can’t stomach heaping another quarter trillion dollars onto America’s mountain of debt. According to The New York Times, Sens. Evan Bayh (D-IN) and Kent Conrad (D-ND) said they were opposed to this approach. Bayh said, “It’s not fiscally responsible. . . . I could not vote for a bill that raises the deficit by $240 billion, not at a time when we are already hemorrhaging red ink. The physicians’ issue needs to be addressed, but not in a way that increases the deficit.” And Conrad told The Times, “I don’t agree with just adding that amount to the debt. . . . I won’t vote for it.”

In a must-read editorial today, The Washington Post criticizes Reid for another problem with the bill. “In the world according to Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), setting Medicare payment levels for doctors has nothing to do with health reform. Really. . . . The so-called doc fix is being rushed to the Senate floor this week in advance of health reform not because it has nothing to do with health reform but because it has everything to do with it. The political imperative is twofold: to make certain that Republicans don’t use the physician payment issue to bring down the larger bill and to placate the American Medical Association. This latest maneuver only heightens the fiscal irresponsibility of what already was a fiscal sleight of hand.”

Indeed, in a conference call with bloggers on Friday., Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) identified it as “a shell game” designed to hide the full costs of Democrats’ health care reform plans. The American Spectator’s Philp Klein explains, “By passing the bill separately, Democrats will try to claim that their larger health care bill costs less than $1 trillion and is deficit neutral.”

The Washington Post recalls in its editorial that “President Obama has vowed that health reform will not add a single dime to the deficit,” but notes that this Medicare payments bill amounts to “2.47 trillion dimes.” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said on Friday, “As the deficit grew under this administration, we all thought it would set off alarm bells, and that a $1.4 trillion deficit would set off the sirens. Instead, Democrats in Washington are now calling for adding yet another quarter-trillion dollars to the deficit on health care spending alone. Congress simply can’t continue acting like a teenager on a spending spree with his parent’s credit card and no regard to who pays the bill.”
As Senator Reid cobbles together a health care bill behind closed doors, we might as well consider a feature where in the Obama administration will be playing the "biased referee." Here is one very big specific example, Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is the point person to establish the “level playing field” between the government plan and private coverage. Sebelius was picked by President Obama because Sebelius could be called upon to "eventually" deliver a single-payer system. The cards are already stacked. How do we know this? In 2007, speaking at Harvard University, Sebelius made it very clear she was for a single payer system “eventually.” View the following video:

Tags: government healthcare, Kathleen Sebelius, Single payer system, single-payer, US Congress, US House, US Senate, Washington D.C. To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 3:59 PM - Post Link


Blogger Matt said...

Another video to add to the collection. Well said.

I don't usually plug my own stuff on other people's places, but I did find Obama's website from his Senate Run. It's archived. I posted links and screencaps here:

He states being a leader in supporting single payer while on the Illinois Senate.

Blogger Ron Russell said...

We could very well be on the road to a single payer system. Those on the left are very determined and are dragging moderate members of Congress to their party. Action is always, and I mean always started by forces on the fringes and never originates in the middle and this time the forces on the left may very well carry the day.

Anonymous MAS1916 said...

Time to light up the Senate telephone system again.


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