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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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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)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Today in Washington D. C. - Jan 12, 2010 - Bad News on Reid, Health Care and the Economy

While the US House is back in session the US Senate is still on recess. On January 20th, the Senate will reconvene for legislative business and begin consideration of the nomination of Beverly Baldwin Martin to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. This does not mean the Senators have not been meeting. Of course the Democrats led by Pelosi and Reed have transformed the activity of the Congress into backroom parlor sessions where the Republicans are barred from attending unless they were to sell their souls.

As posted elsewhere, Senate Majority Harry Reid is not only very unpopular with a majority of American voters, but he finds himself in the news for harboring racism. Reid's comments are being dismissed by President Obama who needs Reid to prove his worth by delivering the unpopular government health care bill. Reid's latent racism is explainable after his years of mentoring by Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV), a former KKK member whom Reid has openly praised. Byrd is known for his effort with other Democrats filibustering the Civil Rights Act of 1964. While Byrd has with old age has reportedly sought redemption, Reid has continued his stellar career of unprovoked derogatory comments.

CMS Report: On Friday, the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency that oversees Medicare and Medicaid run by the Obama administration, released a new analysis of the 2,700 page health care bill that Democrats rammed through the Senate at Christmastime. The analysis finds once again that despite Democrat rhetoric the bill will increase federal health care spending, could hurt existing coverage, and finds that Medicare and Medicaid access could be hurt.

The New York Times summarizes that CMS “found that the Senate version of major health care legislation would increase total national health spending from 2010 to 2019 by $222.3 billion, or 0.6 percent, more than projected under current law. . . . A sharp increase in demand, the report said, could lead to even higher health care prices than currently anticipated and could encourage some health care providers to accept more patients who have private insurance, with higher payment rates and fewer patients covered by Medicare or Medicaid, which pay less.”

Concerning Medicare, the CMS report finds, “[P]roviders for whom Medicare constitutes a substantive portion of their business could find it difficult to remain profitable and, absent legislative intervention, might end their participation in the program (possibly jeopardizing access to care for beneficiaries).”

Further, the report notes that more than half of the newly insured under the bill will be on Medicaid, but “it is reasonable to expect that a significant portion of the increased demand for Medicaid would be difficult to meet, particularly over the first few years.” The Time's noted on Friday, “Both House and Senate bills would pay the states’ share of the cost of the new patients over the first two years and up to 95% after that. But states would still face an enormous new financial obligation.” Democrat Tennessee Governor Phil Bredeson said, “It is a huge load on the states at a time when we are still climbing out of the recession.” And The Sioux Falls [SD] Argus-Leader reported, “The Senate’s Christmas Eve health care bill will cost South Dakota at least $53.7 million during the next nine years by expanding the state’s Medicaid population by 45 percent, [Republican] Gov. Mike Rounds said Thursday. . . . [I]n his criticism Thursday, Rounds joined a chorus of other governors - both Democratic and Republican - who say the bill will saddle the states with large, unfunded mandates. The governor also criticized the Senate bill because it doesn’t account for inflationary increases in Medicaid and because its passage was greased with special deals.”

With a steady stream of reports like this showing the health bill does not live up to Democrats’ promises, it’s little wonder that Americans in swings states such as Colorado and Nevada continue to be skeptical of the bill. According to The New York Times, “People [interviewed in Denver and Fort Collins] from both sides of the political spectrum — and apolitical consumers — said they were deeply skeptical about the health care bill being put together by Congress and the White House.” And a new poll from the Las Vegas Review Journal found that “[s]upport for the health care reform package moving through Congress continues to drop among Nevadans . . . .” Only 1% think their health care premiums will go down (58% think they will go up) and only 6% think the quality of their health care will increase (50% think it will decrease. And 77% think their taxes will go up if the bill passes. Overall, 54% of Nevadans disapprove of the Democrat health care bills, while 60% disapprove of the efforts of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to pass them.

The CMS report confirms what Republicans have been saying all along about the problems with the Democrats’ health care bills. As summarized by Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell: “Republicans uniformly, without exception, believe that cutting a half a trillion dollars out of Medicare, raising a half-trillion in new taxes, and an actual increase in health insurance premiums for everybody else is not reform.” Americans seem to agree.

CBS Poll: A new poll from CBS News, which is not very conservative and has been part of the Obama cheer leading section, released last night shows once again that as Democrats continue to wrangle over health care reform, Americans’ support for those proposals continues to drop. The CBS poll finds that only 36% approve of President Obama’s handling of health care, down from 42% just last month, which is a new low in this poll. Fifty-four percent disapprove of the president’s handling of the issue. Only 29% approve of how Democrats in Congress have handled health care, while 57% disapprove. Given Senate Democrats’ back-room deals with taxpayer money, midnight votes, complete lack of transparency, and disregard for public opinion on health care reform, they may be lucky that the disapproval isn’t even higher.

On Obama’s approval ratings, CBS writes, “Domestic issues appear to be driving the President’s approval rating downward. Just 41% now approve of his handling of the economy, the nation’s most pressing issue; 47% disapprove. And his marks on handling health care, with reforms still under debate in Congress, are even lower – just 36% approve, and 54% disapprove. Both of these approval ratings –- the economy and health care -- are the lowest of Mr. Obama’s presidency.”

Frustrated Americans: Two newspaper editorials today give some insight into why Americans are so frustrated with the policies of the Obama administration.

On health care, The Wall Street Journal points to the latest CMS report on the Senate bill, writing, “Among the astonishing things about the ObamaCare debate—or lack thereof—is that Washington is inundated with warnings about the destructiveness of this plan, and it doesn’t matter. The agency that runs Medicare rung the latest alarm bell on Friday, and good luck finding any media mention. Richard Foster, the chief actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, reports that under his analysis national health spending will rise under the bills by $222 billion over the next 10 years. In other words, ObamaCare really does ‘bend the cost curve’—up.”

On the economy, The Detroit News writes, “Policies have more impact on job creation than pronouncements. President Barack Obama promised over the weekend to be "unrelenting" in putting Americans back to work, a pledge that should have encouraged the 10 percent of the country’s workers who are unemployed. But the policies of his administration often work against that goal.” The editorial goes on to point out costly EPA mandates and regulations and restrictions placed on lenders. The editorial also notes, “It’s hard to see how higher taxes on job creators fits into the strategy of job growth.”

Asked about health care reform at a press conference this morning, Sen, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) responded, “The polls continue to recede in support for this proposal. I have great hope that enough Democrats are going to wake up and say, ‘We should not thumb our noses at the American people and cram this down their throats no matter what they think.’ . . . I think the majority gets it. I think they know how unpopular this is. I think they know how much the American people don’t want to do it. And so I have some hope that they will have difficulty ramming this massive restructuring of one-sixth of our economy, that cuts Medicare by half a trillion dollars and raises a half a trillion in taxes down the throats of the American people.”
Tags: CBS, CMS, government healthcare, poll, 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 1:32 PM - Post Link

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