Tag Archives: senate

CBO Says Dems Misrepresenting Future Medicare Deficits

The Democrats are playing hide the bean with future Medicare financing. Not only will the bill that passed the Senate today not increase the longevity of Medicare, it won’t come close to saving the money or benefits that Liberals have been touting.

Bloomberg.com posted an article that shines light on a letter from the CBO that is intended to correct the mistruths being spouted from the Congressional leadership.

What we’ve seen is a colossal manipulation” by Democrats “of the accounting scores of CBO” and the independent actuary of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid .. Nor could those savings be used to extend the solvency of Medicare, set to run out of money in 2017, the budget office said in a letter to Senate Republicans.

Senate Passes Health Bill

This year most Americans can add another gift to the list of things we didn’t really want. While fruit cake, socks, holiday themed ties and ugly sweaters have topped that list for decades, the U.S. Senate has placed a new present at the top of that infamous grouping: Health Care Reform.

The Senate passed the measure 60-39 with a pure party-line vote and only one non-voting member, Jim Bunning (R-Ky). This bill began its life as Max Baucus’ Chairman’s mark in the Senate Finance Committee. It has been amended to remove the public option, take out the extension of Medicare, and several changes that make Medicaid require more Federal funding.

Oddly enough, the Democrats are pointing out positives in this bill… that were in the Republican bill. They no longer want to talk about how it controls costs, because it doesn’t (and never did). The method by which the liberals chose to prevent undercoverage for those with pre-existing conditions will simply mean that premiums must go up or that services will have to be rationed.  Certainly, both will occur.  There are no protections in the bill to insure that premiums rise slower than they are today.  There are no mechanisms to do much of anything other than make more Americans reliant on an overbearing central government.

So what does the bill do?  It puts more Americans into Medicaid while failing to remedy a broken medical malpractice mechanism.  This will cause fewer Doctors to choose to work in Rural or underprivileged areas due to increased risk for little-to-no reward and insurance costs that will ultimately outweigh any income from those areas.  This will create a system of have and have-nots that will be fundamentally egregious.

Many Conservatives take solace in the fact that this bill has to be reconciled with the House version before it can make it to the President’s desk.  They shouldn’t.  Not only will that occur, but it will more-than-likely happen in a back room with Reid and Pelosi making all the decisions out of the public eye.  This Administration and Congress have been less transparent despite Obama’s broken promise (that pile is growing by the day).  Instead of an open Conference Committee to reconcile the two bills, C-Span coverage, and public debate, we’ll get shown the bill very shortly before it goes in-front of both houses for final passage.  There won’t be any time for informed dissent because no one will know what’s in the bill until it’s too late.

Opposition to the President: The Elephant in the Room

As the Senate health care bill nears a key vote, the noise is getting louder.  Americans are inundated with comments from the White House about how “everyone can agree” that a massive take over of health care by the government is the right thing.  We are told that there is a consensus that the earth is warming and the government can fix it, that we can spend our way out of a recession, that offshore drilling is unpopular, and that big government has only failed because it has not been made big enough.

The real trouble with all of this is that … not everyone agrees.  In fact, not only do most disagree, only 40% of Americans support the health care bill while over 56% oppose it according to a Rasmussen Reports poll.  It continues: 68% of Americans favor offshore drilling, only 34% believe that global warming is due to anything humans are doing, and more than half believe that more regulation of the financial system will be disastrous.

Public opinion is one thing, but President Obama and the radicalized-left are in denial.  Not only do they disbelieve that public opinion is against every one of there public policies, but they continue to ignore that the portion of the democrat party that is the most in-touch with the American people.  The part of the democrat party that is also fighting against the far-left agenda.

There are ultra-leftists like Senator Sheldon (D-R.I.) who believe that the only foes of the health care bill are birthers, militias and Aryan groups.  While those groups would probably oppose Obama’s policies, the real opposition to his policies is coming from his own party – none of whom are probably birthers, white-supremacists or members of a militia.  Joe Lieberman opposed the public option and the the expansion of Medicare.  Senator Nelson (D-NE) was opposed to the legislation unless clear restrictions against public money for abortion was put in – until … Harry Reid gave Nelson’s home state the money necessary to pay for all of its new Medicare recipients.  All of them covered directly by your tax dollars instead of Nebraskan’s as Medicaid is normally a State-funded program.

Many liberal Senators have been paid-off to keep quiet and toe-the-line, but oddly enough, the news hasn’t reported about the masses of G.O.P. Senators that have been paid to vote for the bill – perhaps because there aren’t any.  Chicago politics has been brought into D.C. to make the corrupt absolutely corrupt and they hope absolutely powerful.Obama for Socialism

Even though cap-and-trade doesn’t look like it will pass in the near-future, electric companies are reacting to the possibility that it might.  Levelling older electric generation plants to put in newer ones at costs that will certainly be passed on to their electric customers.  Refiners shutting down operations to avoid the huge expenses they believe are coming their way which will decrease supply and increase the price of refined petroleum (gasoline, tires, plastics… pretty much everything).

These moves are not and have never been about improving the condition of anyone’s life other than the bureaucratic elite.  Al Gore stand to make billion of dollars from the farcical and recently-debunked global warming movement, the members of Congress stand to benefit in new benefactors and a huge powerbase of newly-enslaved Americans, and the White House gets its Socialism.

The real question is what do the rest of Americans get?  Historic deficits for us and our children, inflationary pressures that will make the Carter years look like a walk in the park, changes in the job market that will keep 10% of Americans permanently underemployed and massive control of the lives of Americans by those that are supposed to answer to those citizens.

Is the Opt-Out Really an Option?

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has realized that a robust public option isn’t going to pass, mainly because he can’t even get liberals to agree that it’s a good thing.  So now he’s working to find out if a public plan that allows States to opt-out is passable.  The answer – no!

Moderate Democrats feel that it is not up to the federal government to sell health care insurance.  It may actually be a conflict of interest… but why would that stop a politician?

Senator Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) said that he would like to see plans that allow the states to determine their make-up, “not the federal government.”  This new opt-out option actually contains blackmail.  States that choose to opt-out will get lower Medicaid reimbursement from the government.  During tough economic times, state Congresses may actually be swayed by this maneuver.

Even the heavily-liberal Senate could not pass a plan through its finance committee that had a public option.  The only reason that liberals are figuring that they have a chance is that they see the weakness in the middle-seeking G.O.P.  More tugging from the majority rights is necessary.  More pulling from Conservatives.  More influence from us.

The only Constitutional health care reform must come from the states.  Health care is not an enumerated power of Congress.  They cannot enact anything that won’t get turned over by the Supreme court which is at least barely Conservative at this point.

Reform: It’s All About the Money – Yours

The Senate Finance Committee passed their health care reform bill.  Unfortunately, just as the other bills that have come out of House and Senate committees, it doesn’t fix health care at all – and it costs a fortune.

I’ve written numerous articles that compare and contrast, analyze and break-down how all of the different bills have approached the problem.   What we have to realize sooner rather than later is that this isn’t about fixing health care, it’s about making it the same for everyone.  It’s about making everything the same for everyone – bad.

What kind of  bad?  Well, just from perusing the internet today, it would appear that everyone should expect their paychecks to be bad (even middle-to-low income earners), taxes to be bad (middle-class especially), the dollar to go south, and health care to be mediocre – for everyone (once it actually shows up in 2013?).  Did I mention that the public option is still on the table (add extra bad-sauce for each of the points above).

Our taxes are going to get much larger under the concepts in the new Finance bill.  The Senate’s own Committee on Taxation ran the numbers on the 40% excise tax in the bill, and they aren’t pretty.  The tax is highly-regressive so it will hit low and middle-income earners hardest.  The committee’s analysis says that a family-of-four at 150% of poverty level will see a marginal tax rate of 48% while those who make are at 450% of the federal poverty level will see a marginal rate of 28%.  Not sure Baucus did the math before proposing this mess, but the report did and it also noted that it would push many earners into the next-higher tax bracket – congratulations.  To poor salt in the wound, that’s even after 12% of their premiums are subsidized by other taxpayers money.

Our paychecks are going to shrink.  Due to the excessive big-government taxation in the Senate bill, the Senate Committee on Taxation goes on the explain the wage pressures this plan creates.  Business owners will be forced shrink wages to cover for the increased costs.  If you own your own business, you’ll have to cut your own income, and that of all the people that work for you.  If you work for someone else.. congratulation, the government just cuffed the hands of the people that sign your checks.

The cost controls aren’t in these bills at all.  Sure there are mandated fee schedules, but that just controls how much hospitals and doctors can charge.  There are no fixes for excessive lawsuits, the bills create a ton of bureaucracy that the bills even admit will add at least 4% to insurance premiums, and by adding a middle-man between health insurance companies and patients, there have to be extra costs.  That is why Medicare’s administrative costs per claim are much higher than private insurance (read the first paragraph here – data supplied).

I did mention that the dollar will go south, but what does health care have to do with it?  $900Billion in costs just from the conceptual Finance bill (yeah, it doesn’t even have the real details in it yet).  That’s $900 billion to cover 94% of Americans which works out to roughly $31,000 per covered person, per year.  We are $1.4 Trillion in the hole, for just this year.  The only reason the government doesn’t go broke is because it can create money out of thin air.  Metaphorically-speaking, we print money.  Unfortunately, when we do that, each dollar in existence goes down in value and has weakened spending power.  That makes things much more expensive.

The only thing these bills do is to make sure that anyone that wants health care and can’t afford it, can have Medicaid… wait.. isn’t that a State-run plan?  Yup, so we rob the Federal government, bankrupt the State governments, shrink our paychecks, increase taxes, and kill the dollar.  I don’t think we could do more damage if we tried.

This debate has to be about fiscal discipline and individual rights.  And it has to get louder again.  Our children are going to have European-style health care and the double-digit unemployment, long wait times, oppressive taxation, and lack of providers to go with it.  So what will the last few months of Congressional work get us:

  • Decreased wages – Yes
  • Increase taxes – Yes
  • Decreased buying power – Yes
  • Decreased insurance premiums – No
  • Increased Health Care Quality – No
  • Increased insurance plan choice – No

And the real gift from Congress –  a lifetime of indebtedness for our children so that Congress could say they delivered health care to us (psst – we already had it).

Baucus’ Bill Passes Committee, Will be Merged With ‘HELP’ Bill

So much attention has been paid to H.R.3200 and the Baucus bill that the HELP bill has been largely ignored.  Now this other Senate bill becomes very important.

This afternoon, Olympia Snowe (R-ME) crossed the aisle and helped get the Senate Finance Committee bill (Baucus Bill) passed by a 14-9 margin.  So now what?   The Baucus Bill will now be merged with the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee bill, otherwise known as the Affordable Health Choices Act.

HELP, is basically combines the parts of H.R.3200 with parts of the Finance committee bill.  The real purpose for this bill is probably to smooth things over in conference committee once the Senate successfully merges the Finance and HELP committee bills.  By merging HELP into the Finance bill, we get everything in the Baucus bill but would now have Medicaid for everyone that is at or below 150% times the federal poverty level – up from 133% in the Senate Finance and House Bills.  This increase would put a much larger burden on the States as Medicaid is a State-run program.  The exemption for small employers would be changed so that instead of bypassing businesses with 50 or fewer employees, any business with more than 25 would be required to pay for insurance or pay a penalty.    The most striking change is that it would put a public option into the Senate bill.  This public option is phrased very-similarly to the H.R.3200 language.

When we look at the plan from a cost perspective, there seems to be an instant 4% increase to premiums built into the State “gateway” exchange framework.  The gateway will be paid for by a 4% surcharge on premiums.  That means that health plans now have a 4% increase in administrative costs simply due to participating in the government exchange.  The cost of these exchanges is in every bill.  The HELP bill actually bothers to spell out how much they expect it to cost.  Of course, when health insurance companies are asked to pay for the government framework, you know who will that will be passed on to.

In the coming weeks, the Senate will work to merge these two bills so that a vote before the full Senate can be held.  If the composite bill passes the Senate, it will be taken to Conference Committee to be merged with H.R.3200 and that compromise bill will be voted on in both houses.  Upon passage in both houses, all that is left is Presidential signature.

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