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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)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Today in Washington D. C. - Oct 23, 2009 - No Transparency Offered by Court Jester Harry Reid

The Senate is in recess until Monday afternoon but Reid's secret meetings continue - more later. On Tuesday, the Senate plans to vote on another district judge nomination and on cloture of the motion to proceed to a bill to extend unemployment insurance, H.R. 3548.

Yesterday, the Senate voted 64-35 to invoke cloture on the conference report for the fiscal year 2010 Defense authorization bill, H.R. 2647. The bill was then passed by a vote of 68-29, thus clearing it for the president’s signature. The bill authorizes $680 billion in defense programs, including $130 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan. It also includes an unrelated provision extending federal hate crimes laws to cover gender identity and sexual orientation. Such is the way of duplicitous elected officials who embed a law which cannot stand on its own in the open within another bill which must be passed - in this case to support our troops.

Sen John Thune (R, SD) shared on the record with bloggers about the Democrat's lack of transparency in addressing and developing a health care bill and the associated financial cost to the American people.  He encouraged that when the Democrats reveal their final bill, "We are going to need the engagement of the American people .. the bill is going to move fast and furious." Thune also addressed the failure of promised transparency, "Contrary to assertions made by the Presidents, this has been anything but a transparent process. Republicans have not been included, have not had amendments accepted, the deliberations that are going on right now are going on in the majority leader's [Reid's] office behind closed doors along with White House staff and a few of the democratic leaders.  So this whole idea that the President promised that his health care plan would be televised on C-SPAN and open to the American public is just a bunch of hot air.  This is a very closed and secretive process and we won't know until it's over what that bill will look like." He also shared about the cost impact as revealed by the Senate Finance Committee bill. "Almost 90% of the taxes in the Senate Finance Committee bill would fall on wage earners UNDER $200,000 a year. Remember the president promised that nobody's taxes are going to go up if you make under $250,000 a year. According to the joint tax committee and the Congressional Budget Office, about 90% of the higher taxes are going to hit people who make UNDER $200,000 a year and the joint tax committee went so far to say that over 50% of the tax burden will fall on wage earners who make UNDER $100,000 dollars a year.  So, higher taxes on the middle class, higher premiums and we would argue that is not health care reform. Another way it is financed is through cuts to medicare.  All this to pay for a $1.8 TRILLION expansion of the Federal Government creating a whole new entitlement program that doesn't do anything to drive cost down.  More Spending, more Taxes, Medicate Cuts, additions to the Federal Debt and ironically under the Senate Finance Committee bill 25 million people still don't get insurance. This is not true health care reform!"

As Democrats in the Senate and House huddle behind closed doors to put together health care reform bills to bring to the floor, there is a lot of news today about the possible inclusion of a so-called “public option,” which is a Democrat euphemism for a government-run insurance plan. With some news outlets featuring headlines that make it sound like there is momentum for such a plan, it’s worth recalling that many Democrats remain opposed to the idea and just why it’s such a bad idea.

Despite The Washington Post’s headline, “Lawmakers warm to the public option,” reading the article shows moderate senators remain opposed to the idea. “Liberals, led by Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), are seeking support for an ‘opt-out’ provision that would create a government plan but allow states not to participate. . . . Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (Maine), the only Republican to support any of the Democrat-sponsored health-care legislation, opposes the Schumer alternative and told reporters Thursday that she would vote against a measure that includes it. Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) also criticized the opt-out approach and urged Reid to leave the public plan out of the bill. ‘I applaud his effort,’ Nelson said of Reid's attempt to find common ground. ‘But it's too risky.’”

And The New York Times reports, “As word of [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid’s intention [to include a government-run health insurance plan in the health care bill] spread Thursday, centrist senators from both parties said they had come together in an informal group to resist creation of a uniform nationwide public insurance program.” The Times writes, “One of the centrists, Senator Mary L. Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana, said: “I am pressing to get a government-run, taxpayer-supported public option out of the bill. I want to rely on a reformed private marketplace.” The story also notes that Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) said he currently opposes including a government-run plan in a health care bill. And other Democrat senators have also previously expressed their opposition to the idea.

So, why is there such bipartisan opposition to a government-run insurance plan? In June, both the Congressional Budget Office and the Lewin Group studied Democrats’ proposals and found that millions would lose their private health care insurance if a government-run plan was implemented. At the time, George Will had an excellent column explaining all the problems with this idea. Will wrote, “Conservatives say that a government program will have the intended consequence of crowding private insurers out of the market, encouraging employers to stop providing coverage and luring employees from private insurance to the cheaper government option. . . . Assurances that the government plan would play by the rules that private insurers play by are implausible. Government is incapable of behaving like market-disciplined private insurers. Competition from the public option must be unfair because government does not need to make a profit and has enormous pricing and negotiating powers.”

Various associations representing major health care stakeholders cite many of the same concerns. Back in March, The New York Times reported, “‘Medicare has systematically been underpaying for services,’ said Dr. Denis A. Cortese, the chief executive of the Mayo Clinic, the highly regarded health system in Minnesota. If more patients are enrolled in a Medicare-like program, he predicted, ‘your very best providers will go out of business’ or stop seeing patients covered by the government plan.”

Sen. McConnell previously explained in June, “By drawing on the experience of countries that have already adopted these government-run systems, I’ve pointed out the serious problems government-run health care creates for millions around the world. I’ve noted that a common defect of these government-run plans is that they deny, delay, and ration health care. And I’ve noted that the primary culprit in almost every case is the so-called government board that these countries have established to decide which treatments and medicines patients in these countries can and cannot have.

It’s little wonder, then, that the Public and therefore many Democrats cannot support including a government-run insurance plan in a health care reform bill. However, Sen.Harry Reid as the "court jester" for the Obama administration and a few other liberals (including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi) keep pushing regardless of the reasons Democrats, Republicans, and many in the health care industry have previously rejected the idea. Reid, Pelosi, Emanuel and Obama do not care that their kind of reform is what most Americans want.

Tags: government healthcare, Harry Reid, John Thune, 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 11:34 AM - Post Link


Blogger Ron Russell said...

I hope this trend continues, but I'm afraid of what a senate-house conference committee might do.


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