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Senator Reid: Should You Opt-Out?

Posted Nov 20 2009 10:04pm

The press is singing the praises of Senator Harry Reid as an impresario of political tactics. Sadly, political tactics by the left and the right are what have most Americans most deeply upset these days.  It is clear that back room dealing is going on like never before and millions upon millions of tax payer dollars are being used by these “public servants” as their own personal poker chips.  Witness the pay off to Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, totaling perhaps as much as one half billion dollars. Not that Louisiana does not need help, especially after the twin insults of Katrina and Rita, but Senator Reid is essentially buying votes (anyone recall the word bribe) for his health plan.

The Senate bill in many respects resembles the House version with some nuanced differences. The most notable – and laughable – is the opt out provision for states.  Senator Reid knows full well that states will not be able to opt out of any federal plan of this magnitude, when it includes confiscatory and selective taxation of individuals and industries.  Instead of facing the fact that the tax code needs to be overhauled so that ALL citizens pay taxes, they are offering this fairy tale called the opt out option.  Well it is not an option and Senator Reid and his senatorial cabal know that.  Expansion of Medicaid without a means for states to cover their matching costs is also a ludicrous suggestion.   This provision will place heavy tax burdens on poorer states creating greater flight from those states among the entrepreneurial and business class, who are the job creators.

Additionally, the marriage of the federal government to abortion on demand, continues to fuel the subtle subterfuge of the political operatives in Washington DC as they attempt to find methods to slip tax  payer funding for abortions into the final bill.  This is creating a huge backlash from many religious groups who oppose abortion as a civil rights issue, thus adding an unneeded layer of opposition to any meaningful reform.

It is the belief of many, that the sole focus of both the House and Senate bills is in the end, to create untenable situations that many on the left think will lead to a single payer, federally controlled health insurance system and therefore, by default, a federalized health care system.  Unfortunately, none of this is necessary or needed.  The House and Senate could easily (and by now have done so) pass single focus issue reform to address the most egregious issues facing Americans.  Eliminate the ability of health insurers to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions.  Eliminate the ability of health insurers to drop persons who become ill.  Allow sale of health insurance across state lines to increase competition.  Force health insurers to rate based on ALL subscribers, not on subsets or isolated groups of individuals. Those four items alone would go along way to solving most of the problem faced by the uninsured.  Mandating personal responsibility for coverage would also be helpful with those persons refusing to buy personal coverage, being subscribed into Medicaid, but at a high premium/fee/penalty automatically.

Oh well, simple, common sense solutions are not what the political class is interested in, not when you can hide the pork and your true intentions inside 2,000 + pages of legalese and political doublespeak.  Americans, real health reform is not this complicated.  Wake up . . . obi jo

Now it is Senator  Harry Reid ’s health care bill.  The majority leader’s deep personal involvement in assembling the overhaul of the health care system — now on the brink of a historic Senate debate — has, for better or worse, conferred ownership of the legislation on Mr. Reid, Democrat of Nevada.  Should Mr. Reid shepherd the measure successfully through the Senate and meld it with the House version into final legislation that  President Obama can sign, it would be the biggest accomplishment of his career. Should the bill fall victim to the complex political, procedural and substantive fights raging around health care, it would be a stinging defeat for him, his president and his party — all while he faces a tough re-election fight at home.  Colleagues say Mr. Reid’s extensive knowledge of Senate tactics and well-honed understanding of what drives and divides his Democratic colleagues leave him well positioned to pull off a legislative coup that has eluded seasoned and determined lawmakers for decades.

Reid, as Legislative Tactician, Takes Ownership of Health Care Overhaul - http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/20/health/20reid.html?ref=us

Democratic leaders in the Senate on Wednesday unveiled their proposal for overhauling the health care system, outlining legislation that they said would cover most of the uninsured while reducing the  federal budget deficit.  Senator  Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, said at an evening news conference that the legislation, embodying  President Obama ’s signature domestic initiative, would impose new regulations on insurers, extend coverage to 31 million people who currently do not have any and add new benefits to  Medicare.  Mr. Reid said the bill, despite a price tag of $848 billion over 10 years, would reduce projected budget deficits by $130 billion over a decade because the costs would be more than offset by new taxes and fees and by reductions in the growth of Medicare.

Senate Says Health Plan Will Cover Another 31 Million – http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/19/health/policy/19health.html?bl

The Senate version of sweeping health legislation would cover five million fewer people than a companion bill passed by the House, but it would cost less, in part because Senate Democratic leaders felt they had to win support from fiscally conservative members of their party.   The Senate is expected to vote Saturday on whether to take up the legislation. The majority leader,  Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, refused to say Thursday whether he had the 60 votes needed to clear that procedural hurdle. While the guts of the Senate and House bills are similar, Mr. Reid came up with a new method of financing coverage, not found in any other major health bill. His proposal would significantly increase the  Medicare payroll tax for high-income people. The Senate and House bills would provide coverage to millions of the uninsured by expanding  Medicaid and subsidizing private insurance for people with moderate incomes.

Senate Health Care Bill Faces Crucial First Vote – http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/20/health/policy/20health.html?ref=policy

A coalition of Christian leaders — including the country’s Catholic bishops — put President Obama on notice Friday that it would vigorously fight any health care reform legislation that allows federal funding for abortions.  ”A health care bill can be a great, great blessing to our country,” Philadelphia Archbishop Justin Rigali said during a press conference Friday on Capitol Hill. “But we make a distinction between health care and killing.”  More than 150 Christian leaders, most of them conservative evangelicals and traditionalist Roman Catholics, issued a joint declaration reaffirming their opposition to abortion and gay marriage and pledging to protect religious freedoms. The 4,700-word document, called “The Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience,” was unveiled one day before the Senate is expected to consider it’s sweeping health care bill that includes a measure permitting abortion funding.  ”We’re counting on legislators to make sure that this is not part of what’s going to rule the lives of people,” Rigali said. “Any bill that has abortion in it has to be rejected.” New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, who is among 15 Roman Catholic bishops who have signed the document, forcefully opposes overturning the decades-long restriction on federal funding of abortions.

Bishops Press Obama to Strike Senate Provision Allowing Federal Abortion Funding – http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/11/20/christian-leaders-issue-conscience-pl

Sen. Reid’s health care legislation would expand Medicaid, but leave states with part of the additional cost. “We all know a sucker play when we see one,” said Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana. Digging in for a long struggle, Republican senators and governors assailed the majority Democrats’ newly minted health care legislation Thursday as a collection of tax increases, cuts in services for the elderly and heavy new burdens for deficit-ridden states. Despite the criticism, indications were growing that Democrats would prevail on an initial Senate showdown set for Saturday night, and Majority Leader Harry Reid, the top Democrat, crisply rebutted the Republican charges. He said the bill “will save lives, save money and save Medicare,” the main health program for the elderly. The legislation is designed to answer President Barack Obama’s demand to expand coverage, end insurance industry practices such as denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions, and restrain the growth of health care spending. Still, Republicans saw little to like Reid’s legislation awaiting the Saturday night Senate vote. ”It makes no sense at all and affronts common sense,” said Sen. Judd Gregg, one of several Republicans to criticize the measure. He added that a plan to expand Medicaid, the state-federal program for the poor, was a “bait and switch” with states as the victims. Republican governors, meeting in Texas, agreed. “We all know a sucker play when we see one,” said Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana. The bill would expand the Medicaid program, which provides health care for the poor, and leave the states with part of the additional cost beginning after three years. Medicaid is administered by the states.

Republicans Blast ‘Bait and Switch’ Health Bill– http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/11/20/republicans-blast-bait-switch-health/

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., remained mum Thursday on whether she will deliver a crucial vote Saturday night to enable the Senate to debate  health-care reform when it returns from the Thanksgiving holiday.But Landrieu has already succeeded in adding a provision to the 2,074-page  Senate version of the health care bill unveiled this week that would provide Louisiana between $100 million and $300 million in Medicaid funding in fiscal 2011. While the Republican National Committee immediately charged that Landrieu has made a “backroom deal with (Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid for her support of the government takeover of our health care system,” Alan Levine, Louisiana secretary of health and hospitals in the Jindal administration, said that even those who oppose the bill ought to be grateful that Landrieu used her leverage to try to fix the state’s so-called “FMAP” problem. ”Look,” said Levine, who has been lobbying the administration and Congress on the FMAP issue for eight months, “it’s good to have a senator in a position to be able to make demands like that.”
“While I don’t support the bill, she is doing the best she can to help the state, and she should be applauded,” he said.

Sen. Mary Landrieu holds off on taking health care stand, while pressing for aid for Louisiana – http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2009/11/sen_mary_landrieu_holds_off_on.ht

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