Obamacare

Healthcare headlines (or, what's up with ObamaCare)

Some of today's ObamaCare headlines...

Washington Post -- Obama stays on offense with health-care proposal

There had been rampant speculation that the White House would narrow
its ambitions for health-care legislation after the loss of the
Democrats' filibuster-proof
Senate majority last month. Instead, the president's proposal is
striking for the extent to which it hews to the basic scale and
framework of the bills on which Congress has toiled for months.

That decision -- to go big one last time, rather than small -- emerged quickly inside the White House after senior advisers to President Obama concluded privately that his goals for comprehensive changes to the health-care system could not be done piecemeal....

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Democrats Still Want to Push Public Option Via Reconciliation

Congressional Democrats have not given up on the idea of passing government run health care - despite the overwhelming opposition of the American public.

Senate and House liberals are co-signing a letter urging Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to use the budget reconciliation process to push the so-called "public option" through the Senate.  Now that Republicans have the 41 votes necessary to sustain a filibuster, the Democrats want to get around the filibuster all together by using the budget process to pass legislation that would alter 1/6th of the American economy.  Which the majority of the American public do NOT want.

Via CNN:

The fight over health care reform burst back into public view Tuesday as four Democratic senators asked Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to hold a vote on a government-run public insurance option.

New poll shows majority favor states being able to "opt out" of federal programs

Over the course of the past year as the Obama administration and Congress have been busy proposing and debating the creation of new, bigger government programs, the public resistance to bigger and more expensive government has increased, which also translated into more state legislators introducing legislation to have their states opt out of such programs (like ObamaCare).

A recent Rasmussen poll would seem to confirm the resurgence of public support for federalism.  The survey found that 59% of voters agree that states should be able to opt out of federal programs that they oppose.  (Only 25% disagreed, and 15% didn't know)

Sixty-three percent (63%) of voters also think
states should have the right to opt out of federally mandated programs
if the federal government doesn’t help pay for them. Seventeen percent
(17%) say states should not have the right to opt out of federally
mandated programs. ...

Seventy-six percent (76%) of Republicans and 67% of
voters not affiliated with either major party say states should have
the right to opt out of federal programs with which they don’t agree.
Just 37% of Democrats agree.

ObamaCare 2.0?

Despite numerous polls that clearly demonstrate that the American people don't want the type of health care "reform" that the Democrats have proposed, Obama has indicated (yet again) that he's undeterred and will push forward to try and get it passed.

As for that pesky public opinion, Obama continues to attribute it to a "lack of understanding" on the part of the public.  They just need to do a better job of communicating he says.  Of course, this is the President who has "communicated" with the American people more than any other President in history at this point in an administration, (with at least 29 high profile speeches dedicated to his health care plans).

At a New Hampshire town hall meeting (yet another in the record number of communication attempts), Obama stated:

“We just have to make sure that we move methodically and that the American
people understand what’s in the bill,” Obama said.

“What I will not do is to stop working on this issue because it is the right
thing to do for America,” Obama said. “You got to let your
members of Congress know they shouldn't give up.”

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Single payer health care not good enough for Canadian Premier

This story serves as a wonderful example of what conservatives have said about the Democrats favorite notions of how to "fix" health care in America.  That being to have the government just take the whole thing over in what is known as a "single payer system"...which means the government pays all the bills.

As conservatives have pointed out, when the government pays all the bills, it eventually moves to control the costs by rationing care.  And, with the profit motive gone, advances in medicine and the overall quality of care soon suffer.

During the course of the debate, both sides have held out countries such as Canada and England as representing what was "right" or "wrong" with this approach.

Well now comes this story from CBC News:

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams is set to undergo heart surgery this week in the United States.

CBC News confirmed Monday that Williams, 60, left the province earlier in the day and will have surgery later in the week.

The premier's office provided few details, beyond confirming that he
would have heart surgery and saying that it was not necessarily a
routine procedure. ...

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States rebelling against idea of insurance mandates

One of the byproducts of the intense debate over ObamaCare and the proposed entre' to a government takeover of about 1/6th of our economy is a renewed interest on the part of state legislators in the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution.  The amendment states:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor
prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States
respectively, or to the people.

In other words, the scope and power of the federal government is (supposed to be) limited, therefore it can't be construed to extend to allowing Washington DC to mandate that private citizens purchase a specific consumer product.  In this case, a health insurance policy.  (via the AP)

Although President Barack Obama's push for a health care overhaul has stalled, conservative lawmakers in more than two-thirds of the states are forging ahead with constitutional amendments to ban government health insurance mandates.

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What's Ben Nelson up to?

As everyone knows by now, Republicans now have 41 seats in the US Senate, which means that they can sustain a filibuster on issues such as ObamaCare, if they stick together.  And it's this change in Capitol dynamics that has led Democrats to entertain thoughts of trying to pass ObamaCare by getting around the filibuster rule and use what are known as "reconciliation" rules...which would only require a simple majority for passage.

In order for that to happen however, the Democrat leadership would have to get  at least 51 of 59 Democrats go along with the extraordinary measure and, as you can imagine, some of the more "moderate" Democrats are a little skittish about doing anything that blatant - especially since the election results in Massachusetts.

But now comes word that Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson may be thinking about going along with the scheme...

Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson has flip-flopped again -- this time saying that he can back the controversial reconciliation process that the Senate may use to railroad the pro-abortion health care bill through the chamber. Nelson first flip-flopped on abortion funding.

Nelson drew the ire of the pro-life movement when he changed his mind on supporting a firm ban on all abortion funding under the bill and compromised with Harry Reid to force some taxpayers to fund abortions. ...

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Democrat leadership to try and push ObamaCare through the House

Here it comes!

In the wake of last week's Senate upset in Massachusetts, Democrats seemed to be backpedaling away from ObamaCare, but yesterday came word from Nancy Pelosi and other leading House Dems that they plan to keep trying.  Their plan is to try and push the Senate's version of health care "reform" through the House (with some changes), and then get the Senate to pass the bill in that chamber with a simple majority vote by using "reconciliation" rules to avoid needing 60 votes to break a Republican filibuster.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said last week she does not
have the votes to pass the Senate bill without changes. Democratic
congressional aides, speaking on condition of anonymity because the
issue is in flux, said the latest strategy involves using a special
budget procedure to revise the Senate bill.

The procedural
route _ known as reconciliation _ would allow a majority of 51 senators
to amend their bill to address some of the major substantive concerns
raised by the House. That would circumvent the need for a 60-vote
majority to hold off Republican delaying tactics.

In other words, they're going to try and "get around" the rules of the Senate, now that Scott Brown's there.

So why the sudden push?

Paul Krugman Wants Democrats to "Do the Right Thing"

Yes, the Democrat lost that race up in Massachusetts, but that's no excuse for not going full speed ahead and passing Obamacare. That's the message Paul Krugman in sending in his column today.

According to Krugman:

"This is your moment of truth. You can do the right thing and pass the Senate health care bill. Or you can look for an easy way out, make excuses and fail the test of history."

And they can also fail the test of political viability, which is, (I think), the one they are a little more concerned about right now. Krugman further proves he's out on Planet Insanity in declaring:

"The fact is that the Senate bill is a centrist document, which moderate Republicans should find entirely acceptable."

Centrist? One can't help but wonder just where does the "center" appear to be from Krugman's vantage point way out there on the margins...

Krugman also echos Rham Emannuel by suggesting that the House Dems simply have to pass the Senate's version, because that's the only way they can overcome the stigma that would otherwise be attached to them for having voted for it so far and failed to get it passed. (Yes, I know that
doesn't make sense). He says that not passing the bill:

Senate version of health care RAISES the deficit

Not as though this should be a shock to anyone, but over the weekend the government's Chief Actuary for Medicare and Medicaid gave their official estimate of the impact of the Senate's version of health care reform on the government's balance sheet.

The result?  Red ink.  Two-hundred and eighty billion worth over the coming decade.

Via Human Events:

Regarding “Coverage,” CMS estimates that the measure will “reduce the
number of uninsured from 57 million under current law to 23 million”
primarily by increasing eligibility for Medicaid.  What this does is
shift the cost burden from the federal government to cash-short states.
It’s an accounting gimmick, not a cost savings.
...

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