Wednesday, March 10, 2010

DemCare Closing In On Final Chapter

The biggest DemCare development in the past 48 hours is that of Eric Massa's explosion against the DemCare Democrats.  Here's a good summary:

Congressman Eric Massa (D-NY) gave us a glimpse into the inner workings of the House Democrat Caucus.  Massa voted against ObamaCare when it came up in the House last year.  He alleged on a New York radio station that he is being forced out of Congress because of his stance on ObamaCare.  Aside from the validity of the allegations against him, Massa gives us a glimpse into a fight within the Democrat Caucus on the political viability of the President's health care reform proposal.  Massa shows us that there are some Democrats pleading with Speaker Pelosi (D-Ca) to back away from ObamaCare. 

According to Politico:

Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) says the House ethics committee is investigating him for inappropriate comments he made to a male staffer on New Year's Eve — and that he's the victim of a power play by Democratic leaders who want him out of Congress because he's a "no" vote on health care reform.

If this is true and Democrat Leaders are forcing Massa out of Congress to help pass ObamaCare, this something that should be investigated by the House Ethics Committee.  When did Democrat Leadership know about the allegations against Massa?  Was the timing of the disclosure of the allegations part of a plan to help pass ObamaCare?  Massa claims that the Democrat Leadership will "stop at nothing" to get what they want.  More Politico:

And this administration and this House leadership have said, quote-unquote, they will stop at nothing to pass this health care bill.

Were they willing to force a member out of Congress to pass ObamaCare?  Much of this story came from a radio broadcast of Massa on WKPQ (TH to  Massa claims that one pressure point that Dems used was to have union leaders threaten him to vote for ObamaCare or get no union money.  

I have had union leaders tell me point blank we are not going to contribute to your campaign unless you vote for this health care bill.  Is that or is that not a bribe?

I don't know.  It seems unethical.  The promise of campaign contributions for a vote for health care may be considered a quid pro quo bribe under current law.  A bigger question is whether this threat was made at the behest of Members of Congress or Obama Administration officials.  Massa alleges that Democrats have lost their way.  They railed against Republicans for using strong arm tactics to pass bills, like the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit, yet now they are engaging in unethical behavior to pass health care reform.

The leadership of the Democratic party have become exactly what they said they were running against they have become exactly what we all ran against.

This anger and rage is coming from an elected member of the Democrat party.  This is a member that attended closed door meetings with leaders.  One of the points Massa made is that Democrats are ignoring Republican claims that the American people do not like ObamaCare and have repeatedly rejected it.

You can not effectively govern this country without the consent of governed.   The entire nation has said let's rewrite the health care bill.  Let's find what we can agree upon. No. No. No.  We are going to ram this down the throats of the American people.

Consent of the governed is an important concept and the Democrats have ignored the polls calling for Congress to start over and people of Massachusetts who sent Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) to the Capitol to kill ObamaCare.  Massa, a Democrat, was a voice in the caucus saying to rewrite the bill and listen to the American people. 

The American people have lost faith in this piece of legislation and if we pass this bill using reconciliation it will tear this country to pieces. It will rip this country asunder.  And I have made this argument over and over and over and over again with House Leadership. 

And the House leadership ignored him and others saying that reconciliation, the Health Care Nuclear Option, will destroy our nation politically.  The people will be very angry and our populace will become more polarized.

I have said we are supposed to be as democrats the party of unity.  We are supposed to be the party that builds consensus.  We are supposed be the part that governs equally without malice towards anyone.  We are supposed to be the ones that find the solutions. 

The promise — the covenant Democrat leadership had with the American people has been broken.  They have not been the party of unity, nor the party of consensus, nor the party that governs without malice, nor the ones that find solutions.  They have been the party of a faction that ignores broad based solutions in favor of using strong arm tactics to force through a left wing approach to health care reform.

But instead of actually trying finding the solutions and writing a piece of legislation that will get you a 90 percent solution with 70 percent agreement among the American people.  They are going to ram this bill down the throats of this country and it is going to rip this nation to pieces politically and it will be a generation for this nation to recover.

These are strong words from Congressman Massa, but, his words give us some evidence that elements of the Democrat party are pleading for ObamaCare to be shelved.  One may be skeptical of his claims of innocence, yet still give credence to his strong claims of unethical behavior on the part of Dem Leadership.  ObamaCare is taking on some water and the bill may yet stink because of the dangerous tactics Dems have used to railroad the bill through Congress against the will of the American people.

Whoa!  Talk about lighting a fire!  Apparently, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel verbally attacked him in the House shower room, so maybe that added a bit of extra tender to the fire.  Massa is clearly ticked off at being squeezed and forced out, but it seems to me that this is pretty typical of elected Dems - it's okay to lie, cheat, and destroy, as long as you're doing it to Republicans or the American people.  Touch them, however, and it's a horrendous injustice.  Regardless, it is certainly very interesting to see a Dem throw such a visible and vicious hissy fit in public.

But he's not wrong.

It appears as though Pelosi's short of the votes she needs, and is in danger of losing control of her troops.  It doesn't help for her to say mind-bogglingly stupid things like, "we have to pass the health care bill to find out what's in it."  Truth is stranger than farce sometimes.  But don't worry...more bribery and extortion are unfolding fast.  I'm sure we'll hear more in the next few days.

One of the main Democrat hold-outs, Bart Stupak, is now suddenly more 'optimistic' that a deal can be reached.  Er, well, depending on who you ask.  Regardless, if Stupak's pro-lifers fall in line (as at least one already has), that's the end of it.  I'd be more surprised if that didn't happen than if it did.  This is as I've always said - the only thing you can really count on an elected Democrat standing for is compromising on his 'principles' in the end.  Don't for a minute hold out real hope that these Dems will hold against the tremendous pressure Obama, Pelosi, and the unions are bringing to bear, at least not without getting even more pressure from constituents.  That's where this battle will be won or lost.

Here's what the House would have to swallow if they agreed to the Senate bill:
  • Failure to address the drivers behind rising spending in health care. The Senate bill attempts to control costs by imposing heavy new federal regulations and punitive taxes on high-ticket medical expenditures such as medical devices, prescription drugs, and high-cost insurance plans. This top-down approach focuses on the symptoms, rather than the causes, of increasing health spending. Health insurance premiums, particularly in the individual market, will go up.
  • An individual mandate with disastrous unintended consequences. To expand coverage, the bill includes guaranteed issue of coverage combined with an individual mandate. However, rather than encourage "young invincibles" to carry insurance, the mandate, which would be less expensive than insurance coverage, would create incentives for young and healthy adults to pay the penalty rather than buy and carry a costly health plan. This would destabilize the insurance market by reducing the spread of risk, leaving the elderly and sickly in insurance risk pools. Premiums would thus skyrocket—further discouraging healthy individuals from obtaining care.
  • Stringent federal requirement push private insurers towards insolvency. The combination of an excise tax on high-cost insurance plans, a federally-defined minimum medical-loss ratio, and federally-defined required benefits could push private insurers to going out of business, should they be incapable of meeting all three requirements and simultaneously covering the cost of enrollees' care. Alternatively, it could mean that health insurers, "too big to fail", would become the next big industry recipients of taxpayer bailouts.
  • A public option in disguise. The Senate bill requires the Office of Personnel Management to establish and manage health plans in the state exchanges to compete against private health plans. The bill expands the powers of this federal agency. This could lead to a de facto public option with federally defined premiums, benefits, etc: private insurance in name only. Of course, if the government sponsored health plans do not effectively compete against the other plans, it is likely that they will also be eligible for future federal bailouts at the taxpayers' expense.
  • Government subsidies which penalize marriage. The structure of the subsidies offered by the Senate bill to purchase insurance are inequitable, offering more financial assistance to non-married couples than to a married couple with comparable income. This is bizarre social policy.
  • Trillions in new federal spending, questionable savings. Congressional liberals claim that their health care proposals are deficit neutral. In fact, they are based on budgetary gimmicks and hidden costs. When these are accounted for, the real cost of the Senate bill skyrockets, further augmented by the implausibility of the many promised savings in the bill.
  • A special Medicaid deal for Nebraska. The Senate bill would force all federal taxpayers to cover the extra cost of expanding Medicaid in Nebraska. It is worthy to note that the President's proposal would extend the taxpayer subsidies to all states, increasing the total cost of the bill.
  • Expanding Medicaid on the states' budgets. Though the federal government would initially cover most of the cost of expanding Medicaid, states would eventually have to pick up a portion of the cost. This comes at a time when states are cutting spending in Medicaid and other areas to accrue savings and avoid increasing debt. In fact, we show that states could save significantly if they were to drop their Medicaid programs altogether, which could become an appealing option after adoption of the Senate bill.
  • Encourages employment discrimination. The structure of the bill's employer mandate would discourage employers from hiring workers from low-income families and from offering insurance to all employees if a large portion of a firm's workforce consists of low-income workers.
  • Disparate federal assistance for families of comparable income. The generous subsidies available to purchase insurance in the exchanges would be available to only a select few of the millions that fall within the eligible income bracket. This would result in thousands of dollars in additional federal assistance for some individuals and little to no assistance for others, regardless of equal income.
  • Taxing families' health benefits. An excise tax on high-cost insurance plans is included in the Senate bill with the intention of lowering premiums. However, this tax on insurers would be passed down to the consumer, further raising premiums.
  • Numerous new taxes—and not just for the wealthy. President Obama has promised not to introduce new taxes that would affect the middle-class, but the Senate bill would impose several new punitive taxes on to Americans of every financial background.
This is why it's going to be tough to muster the votes to pass the Senate version.  It will be far tougher to actually pursue and achieve any kind of reconciliation after that, not only because of the fury of the American people, but also because the Senate is just as strongly opposed to 'fixing' these things as the House is desperate to fix them.

It's quite a catch-22.

By the way, more and more businesses are coming out to publicly oppose DemCare.  That could be partly because more and more people -- 57% to be precise -- believe DemCare will cause severe damage to the economy.  Even more importantly, people are realizing that DemCare is the key gateway to socialized control of America.  That's not coming from any current day pundit, either...that's what Vladimir Lenin said decades ago while he was solidifying control of Communist Russia.  Interesting company that our current Democrat leaders have, don't you think?

And how about that transparency?  Obama has said a lot about transparency, but do his actions agree?  Once again, no:

President Obama is coming to St. Louis on Wednesday to push his "angry mob unpopular" nationalized health care bill. But, you won't get to see him.

President Obama and Missouri Democrats including Senator Claire McCaskill, Governor Jay Nixon and Russ and Robin Carnahan want to ram their toxic health care bill down your throat but THEY DON'T HAVE THE GUTS TO FACE THE PUBLIC!

As we've said over and over.

Finally, perhaps equally as bad as DemCare actually becoming law is the precedent that the process of 'passing' DemCare will have set.  You see, it won't stop with DemCare:

Everyone knows Democrats are planning to use the budget reconciliation process to get ObamaCare through the Senate. Less well known is that Democrats are plotting add-ons to that bill to get other liberal priorities enacted—programs that could never attract 60 votes.

One of these controversial measures rewrites the Higher Education Act to ban private companies from offering federally guaranteed student loans as of this July. Congress has already passed laws in recent years discouraging private lenders from making loans without a federal guarantee. But most college financial-aid departments still want private companies to originate and service the guaranteed loans. That's because the alternative—a public option run by the Department of Education—has been distinguished by its Soviet-style customer service. The Democratic plan is to make this public option the only option mere

Hey, if it works for DemCare, and if it works for student loans...well, it'll work for just about anything.  Of course, if DemCare becomes law, I'm not sure how much anything else will matter, but I guess we'll find that out the hard way in time.

The liberalism creep is about to sludge itself off the ground and take to the air, and if that happens, more damage will be done to the fundamental fabric of this nation in one presidential term than in the past half century.

This one is for all the marbles.  The only chance of stopping DemCare from becoming law is to sufficiently influence Democrats in the House so that they will not pass the Senate version of DemCare.  See how yours stands here, then PICK. UP. THE. PHONE.  Nothing less than the future of America depends on it.

There's my two cents.

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