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Archive for the ‘healthcare’ Category

Give Me Liberty TV Interview with Governor Heineman

Posted by Dan Draney on September 4, 2010

Nebraska Governor David Heineman sits down with GML-TV’s W. A. Mitchell. The Governor talks about the state budget, federal spending, illegal immigration, the Cornhusker Kickback, and the states’ lawsuit against the ObamaCare “individual mandate.” Will he challenge Sen. Ben Nelson in 2014? He doesn’t say so, but he sounds like someone who’s thinking a lot about what a Nebraska senator needs to do.

via Give Me Liberty TV.

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Posted in GML-TV, government spending, healthcare, Nebraska, Senate, taxes, tea party | Leave a Comment »

Trust in Government

Posted by PLaplace on April 22, 2010

Daniel Henninger has an excellent column in the Wall Street Journal today about a new Pew Research Center poll on the people’s trust in the government at both the national and state level.  Henninger likens the results to a “no confidence” vote in government, and I’m inclined to agree with him.  The whole article is well worth reading.

Digging deeper into the numbers though, I made an interesting discovery.  Throughout the long and continuing health care debate, many comparisons have been made to both LBJ’s Great Society programs and FDR’s New Deal with regards to their unrepealability.  While the Pew Data doesn’t go all the way back to FDR, it does include some statistics for LBJ.  In particular, during the “Kennedy/Johnson” administration, as Pew labels it, public trust in government averaged 68%.  For comparison, public trust in government during the first year of the Obama administration averages 22%.  One doesn’t need a background in statistics to see that this is significant.

What interests me about these numbers is that throughout the debate there has been the fear/hope, depending on which side of the aisle you’re on, that if the Democrats could just ram through health care reform, it would be impossible to repeal.  The evidence presented for this was almost always Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, all products of either the New Deal or the Great Society.  I would argue that the Pew’s polling data undermines this claim fairly severely.  With an electorate where almost four out of five people distrust the government, I don’t think repeal of the health care bill will be nearly as difficult a proposition as feared.  If the GOP can embrace its limited government principles, tap into this general distrust of  intrusive government, and tie it all together to health care, taxes, and spending, then they may have a strong, winning combination on their hands come November.

Posted in healthcare | 2 Comments »

Individual Mandate Toothless by Design?

Posted by Dan Draney on March 29, 2010

PLaplace remarks below on the bizarre lack of teeth in the ObamaCare “Individual Mandate.” I find it impossible to believe that no one noticed before the bill became law that the “mandate” is a nullity. This is not like the failure to actually cover children with pre-existing conditions that came out last week, which involves somewhat ambiguous language. This is right at the core of a key provision of the bill in language that appears to rule out enforcing the “mandate” by any means other than “pretty please with sugar on it.”

Now watch this peculiar performance by Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), wherein he bobs and weaves in an apparently pointless, incomprehensible dance around the question of who enforces the mandate.

On the other hand, what if Weiner already knew a week ago about the “joke” enforcement provisions of this non-mandate.  Then he is laughing at O’Reilly and the Fox News audience, baiting them, and his behavior makes perfect sense (at least in his world).

So what did the Democrats know, and when did they know it? I assume this provision is right out of the Senate bill, so the text has been known since Christmas Eve. It’s possible that in the crazy rush to ram that through within hours of finalizing it, that this language was an error that slipped through. However, it’s unlikely to have been undetected in the intervening three months.

So, if they knew the effect of this language before passage, why wouldn’t they have “fixed” it? First of all, the House had to pass the Senate bill exactly, or it would go back to the Senate subject to filibuster, never to re-emerge. Of course, just getting the Senate bill through the House was already touch and go. As Nancy Pelosi was heard to say, “These things must be done delllllicately, or else you harm the spell.”

Of course, the individual mandate was never popular with the redistributionist crowd. It was one of those “conservative” ideas, they were forced to include, like making it look like they actually intend to pay for this. The foreseeable effects are as described by PLaplace: healthy people won’t buy insurance until they get sick. Rates will skyrocket, providing more evidence of the evil nature of insurance providers and another excuse for more federal intervention. It might have been inconvenient explaining that before the bill passed, but, afterwards, what’s not to like?

Posted in government spending, healthcare | 3 Comments »

The Individual Mandate and You

Posted by PLaplace on March 29, 2010

A fascinating tidbit came my way today (from more than one place) regarding the recently and regrettably passed health care bill.  Tucked away on page 33 of the recent Joint Committee on Taxation report on said bill comes this enticing nugget in regards to the penalty applied to those not maintaining “minimum essential coverage”:

“The penalty applies to any period the individual does not maintain minimum essential coverage and is determined monthly.  The penalty is assessed through the Code and accounted for as an additional amount of Federal tax owed.  However, it is not subject to the enforcement provisions of subtitle F of the Code. The use of liens and seizures otherwise authorized for collection of taxes does not apply to the collection of this penalty.  Non-compliance with the personal responsibility requirement to have health coverage is not subject to criminal or civil penalties under the Code and interest does not accrue for failure to pay such assessments in a timely manner.”

In short, though the bill does stipulate a tax of $695 or 2.5% of income, whichever is greater, on those without health insurance, there is no real mechanism in place for enforcement of this tax.  Many writers have already commented on how this is a possibly catastrophic flaw in the Obamacare machinery, for without any teeth the mandate will have no real effect.  If it has no effect people will not buy into the insurance risk pool, and as a result insurance premiums will soon begin an upward death spiral of sorts.

What interests me more is whether this omission was intentional, or simply a blunder.  While I always seek to credit ignorance over malfeasance, Morgen Richmond at BigGoverment.com makes the point (in the final paragraph) that this built in self-destruct provision could have been inserted with the intention of insuring the eventual death of the private insurance industry.  After all, it would most likely be easier to slip in a public option or single payer system somewhere down the line if the insurance industry had been jacking up prices in response to the last effort at “reform.”  This line of argument however presumes an incredible amount of attention to detail on the part of this bill’s architects, and while that is a possibility, my cursory observations of Washington lead me to believe it is highly unlikely.  Moreover, it seems that though this provision might make it easier to demonize the insurance industry, it would be even easier to point out how Democrats had set themselves up for failure in their own bill; a point which would provide a strong case against letting them do it again.  In that case we are left with ignorance on the part of the Democrats.  Given the size, scope, and general murkiness of the 2700 page bill itself, I find the explanation of ignorance highly plausible.

On a final note, for all of President Obama’s repetition that the mandate penalty is not a tax, even the Joint Committee on Taxation doesn’t buy it.  They title the section on the mandate as “Excise Tax on Individuals Without Essential Health Benefits Coverage.”

Posted in healthcare, taxes, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Hey, Dems: You Broke It. You Own It.

Posted by Dan Draney on March 21, 2010

Liberals are basking in the glow of their “victory” tonight in destroying the most innovative, most responsive healthcare system in the world. Time will tell, but we may have just witnessed the end of the Democrat Party. It’s now Pottery Barn Time, and the Dems have definitely broken another 1/6th of the economy to add to their previous work destroying the federal budget. With the possible exception of between now and November, I can’t imagine seeing this kind of display of political arrogance again in my lifetime.

At the corners of a square are: a fiscally conservative Democrat; a pro-life Democrat; the Easter Bunny; and a paralyzed veteran. In the middle of the square is a $1 bill. Which of the four will get to the $1 bill first. Answer: the paralyzed veteran, because the other three are figments of the imagination.

Large majorities of Americans strongly oppose runaway government spending, ever more government interference into our livers and government funding of abortion. This bill is hugely unpopular now, and, like the Stimulus, it will get less popular as people learn they have been lied to at every turn. Every Democrat Congressional seat is now in play.

Here’s the closing of an excellent article from Mark Steyn on the Democrats’ Brave New World: Welcome to Deemocracy – Mark Steyn – National Review Online. You should read the whole thing.

Look around you, and take it all in. From now on, it gets worse. If you have kids, they’ll live in smaller homes, drive smaller cars, live smaller lives. If you don’t have kids, you better hope your neighbors do, because someone needs to spawn a working population large enough to pay for the unsustainable entitlements the Obama party has suckered you into thinking you’re entitled to. The unfunded liabilities of current entitlements are $100 trillion. Try typing that onto your pocket calculator. You can’t. There isn’t enough room for all the zeroes, and, even if they made a pocket calculator large enough, and a pocket large enough, you’d be walking with a limp. To these existing entitlements, Obama and his enforcers in Congress propose to add the grandest of all: health care, on a scale no advanced democracy has ever attempted.

Posted in Ben Nelson, Constitution, crazy leftists, government spending, healthcare, Obama | 1 Comment »

It’s Over

Posted by Ryne McClaren on March 21, 2010

What will likely go down in history as the most egregious expansion of government ever seen, Congressional Democrats tonight paved the way for the future bankruptcy of every American who hasn’t even been born yet.

Obama watched the vote in the White House’s Roosevelt Room with Vice President Joe Biden and about 40 staff aides. When the long sought 216th vote came in — the magic number needed for passage — the room burst into applause and hugs. An exultant president exchanged a high-five with his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel.

Yes, high fives all around.  From two men who will likely never spend a single day of their lives in the system they just created.

And Bart Stupak, who has spent the last couple of months misleading the American public into thinking he just might be virtually the only Democrat in Congress with any morals or spine, was purchased for a mere $726,429.

Sickening.  Positively sickening.

The only positive that I can extract from today’s events are that in eight short months we’re going to get to find out exactly what the American people think of this.

Posted in crazy leftists, healthcare, Obama, socialism | 1 Comment »

The Eye-Are-Ess

Posted by Ryne McClaren on March 20, 2010

It’s almost April 15th, people!  Get cracking on those tax returns if you haven’t already, because Comrade Pelosi is depending on you to pay for a lifetime membership to her favorite Botox warehouse.

Oh, and one more thing: If you think you love the IRS now, just wait until America gets put in a stranglehold by the perverted “vote” that may or may not occur this weekend in re the government takeover of health care.

“If the Democrats’ health care bill becomes law, the IRS could have to hire more than 16,000 additional agents, auditors and other workers just to enforce all the new taxes and penalties,” said Ways and Means Ranking Member Dave Camp (R-MI).  “It is a dangerous expansion of the IRS’s power and reach into the lives of virtually every American.”

Highlights of report, which is entitled “The Wrong Prescription: Democrats’ Health Overhaul Dangerously Expands IRS Authority,” include:

  • IRS agents verify if you have “acceptable” health care coverage;
  • IRS has the authority to fine you up to $2,250 or 2 percent of your income (whichever is greater) for failure to prove that you have purchased “minimum essential coverage;”
  • IRS can confiscate your tax refund;
  • IRS audits are likely to increase;
  • IRS will need up to $10 billion to administer the new health care program this decade;
  • IRS may need to hire as many as 16,500 additional auditors, agents and other employees to investigate and collect billions in new taxes from Americans; and
  • Nearly half of all these new individual mandate taxes will be paid by Americans earning less than 300 percent of poverty ($66,150 for a family of four.)

Posted in healthcare, Obama, socialism, taxes | 3 Comments »

Demon Pass

Posted by Dan Draney on March 17, 2010

That’s what I hear when they talk about the Pelosi/Slaughter plan to “deem and pass” the takeover of 1/6th of the economy without actually voting on a bill. Instead they will vote on a “self-executing rule” to deem the bill passed with a bunch of amendments sneaked in at the last minute without debate or even reading. Anyone have a problem with that? You must be a racist homophobe hypocrite, according to the anointed ones. Not to worry, though, because, as Pres. Obama tells us, “Well, a lot of those folks, your employer it’s estimated would see premiums fall by as much as 3,000 percent [sic], which means they could give you a raise.”

We are heading into a Demon Pass of sorts, as the “progressives” try to outdo themselves on who can show the greatest disregard for the rule of law and the Constitution. Just a few other straws in the wind from today alone:

Reason Magazine: Oregon police SWAT teams surround a law-abiding citizen’s house, arrest him, confiscate his guns. All without a crime, a threat, a warrant or even probable cause.

The House Judiciary Committee thinks you must be a racist if you point out that the feds can’t legally force the states to let felons vote. The members think they’ll just have to find some way to get around those pesky, explicit Constitutional provisions that reserve that decision to the states.

Eric Holder “explains” how we have to give terrorists civilian trials by jury and the best legal team leftist money can buy, because Osama bin Laden is really just like Charles Manson. But don’t worry, we’ll never Mirandize bin Laden, because we’ll just kill him.

For the first time in recorded history, Dennis Kucinich spoke and a few people were actually interested in what he had to say, which amounts to, “I’m a much cheaper date than Landrieu or Nelson,” and “I’ll vote for this bill no matter how bad it is, and believe me, it reeks.”

Demon Pass dead ahead.

Posted in Constitution, crazy leftists, gun control, healthcare, Obama | 2 Comments »

Obama’s Anti-Democratic MO

Posted by Dan Draney on March 17, 2010

I’m not a big fan of Americans for Prosperity. Like some other groups, they seem to want to muscle their way to the front of the TEA Party parade so they can claim to be leading it. They got this one right, though, with this diagram via ObamaChart.Com showing how regularly the administration goes around Congress to get what it can’t get by normal processes.

Whether it’s CapnTrade, the Healthcare Takeover, regulating the internet, or the Orwellian-named “Employee Free Choice Act,” Obama is more than willing to impose through the regulatory bureaucracy that which he can’t get through Congress. The ability of these regulatory agencies to write new law, enforce it, and adjudicate cases all within the Executive Branch has always held the potential for tyranny. President Obama is not the kind of guy to let that potential go untapped.

Posted in healthcare, Obama, regulation | Leave a Comment »

All the World Is A Stage

Posted by Ryne McClaren on March 16, 2010

How bad are things going for Nanny State Pelosi and crew?

So bad that even the (formerly!) smoking hot Carla Bruni slapped on a Tragedy Mask.

So bad that even the Massachusetts state treasurer, a guy who’s never seen anything that can’t be taxed or subsidized, thinks that ObamaPelosiCare will bankrupt the entire freaking nation in a few short years.  [ed — But I’d distrust his opinion, since he’s running for MA governor right now.  Obama and Company have essentially bankrupted the nation in just one year, and they haven’t even passed HCR yet.]

This would have all the makings of a great (but comical) farce, if our country wasn’t on the verge of ruin.

And yes, I know, all of today’s bits were ripped straight off of Drudge.  To explore the news any more than that today would probably land me in an insane asylum.  So y’all are on your own.

Posted in healthcare, Obama | 2 Comments »

Open Letter to Rep. Stupak

Posted by Dan Draney on March 14, 2010

Dear Rep. Stupak,

First I want to thank you and those who have stood with you for your opposition to the federalization of healthcare and subsidization of abortion. Please pass this message on to the others as, well.

I’m writing now to urge you to hold fast against this bill. Since I live in Nebraska, I’ll let you know a little more about what his vote in favor of the exact bill you are considering has done for Sen. Ben Nelson. He was one of the most popular political figures in this state over the past 25 yrs, but he will never be elected to anything in Nebraska again. He can barely go out in public without being booed and heckled by our fellow Nebraskans.

Everyone is aware of the so-called Cornhusker Kickback, and certainly Nebraskans are mad about that. We don’t like to be seen as cutting a special, dishonest deal at the expense of the rest of the country. However, the distaste for Sen. Nelson is much broader than that.

  1. The bill allows federal funding of abortion. After claiming he would not vote for subsidized abortions, he broke his word. Pro-life groups and leaders in the state who have long supported him rightly viewed this as a betrayal of fundamental principles. These former supporters will never be back, regardless of the ultimate fate of this bill.
  2. The bill itself is deeply unpopular. The more people know about this bill the less they like it. Just as the massive, wasteful, ineffective “stimulus” bill has become even less popular as people see what is in it, so it will be with this healthcare bill if it ever becomes law. It will be a millstone around the neck of every politician who supports it for the rest of his/her career.
  3. He failed to notice that the political ground has shifted under his feet. Sen. Nelson thrived as a senator by bringing home pork from the federal trough. Today Americans can see that Congress and the President have dropped all pretense of fiscal discipline. We know that this path leads to disaster, and people are paying attention. No one believes the healthcare “reform” bills will save money. We are not stupid. We know the existing entitlements are already bankrupting the country.

Senator Nelson thought the subterfuge embodied in the abortion clauses of the Senate bill would protect him from pro-life backlash. It did not. He thought it was business as usual, and he could sell us a bill that we don’t want and can’t afford by sweetening the deal with the “Cornhusker Kickback.” He was stunned to discover that the juicy pork he brought home just made things worse for him politically instead of better.

Do not vote for this bill or for any phony “self-executing rule” and/or reconciliation shenanigans. It is political poison. It is bad policy. It is fiscal insanity.

Addendum: I attempted to post this with Rep. Stupak’s web form. However, it states that he is “unable to reply to any email from constituents outside of the 1st District of Michigan.” I was not expecting a reply, but it appears that also means he is not accepting any emails from outside his district. If anyone reading this is in Rep. Stupak’s district, please pass this along to him.

Posted in government spending, healthcare, Nebraska, socialism | 2 Comments »

 
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