President Obama is the opposite of Hamlet—he is desperately eager to do something on health care reform, right this minute, but he doesn’t particularly have any idea what it should be.
Obama spent most of July insisting that Congress pass a bill for him to sign before they went on August recess, in case they didn’t have enough political momentum for it by the time they got back. Privately, Congressional Democrats fumed that Obama was offering them no details on his preferred plan and was simply telling his spokespeople to assure them that he would not rule anything out that they decided.
Just before the August recess, Obama got on TV for a Wednesday night address to the nation to “explain” the “details” of his “plan.” The public’s reaction to his vague answers to reporters’ questions revealed as much frustration at his lack of specifics as Congress felt.
Since then, Obama has played “good cop, bad cop” with an unwilling Congress: that is, Obama gets to make flowery promises—everyone who’s happy with the status quo can keep things as they are, everyone who’s unhappy can have everything completely different—while Congress is forced to work out the ugly details like who’s going to pay for the plan.
At some point, Obama shifted away from his push for “health care reform” and began hinting that what he really wanted was “health insurance reform.” However, he was too cowardly or indecisive to state his altered intention outright. read more »
In anticipation of the humiliating defeat of their socialized medicine scheme, Democrats are feverishly working to get their legislation passed by cheating.
Their plan, known as “budget reconciliation,” works as follows: (1) have Senate committees expand Medicaid, cut Medicare, force individuals to buy and businesses to offer insurance, give subsidies to low-income people and tax credits to small businesses, levy new taxes, and do everything else Democrats wanted to do in their health care bill but knew would never pass; (2) lump it all into a budget reconciliation bill; and (3) pass it with 50 votes and no filibuster.
The bill would also contain language to support enactment of a health care overhaul, but because provisions unrelated to the budget cannot legally be included, the Senate parliamentarian will likely strike these from the bill. According to the New York Times, which favors the reconciliation swindle, it is unclear whether two key elements will be allowed in the bill: the requirement that insurance companies accept all candidates and charge the same regardless of condition, and the creation of a government health insurance exchange.
The Times eggs Democrats on to declare that these two provisions, while irrelevant to the budget, “are so intertwined with other reforms that they are [necessary] for other provisions that do affect spending or revenues.”
If that ruse doesn’t work, the Times notes, then the process could “leave the reform package riddled with holes—perhaps providing subsidies to buy insurance on exchanges that do not exist, for example.” In this eventuality, Democrats would pass a second bill, subject to filibuster, that fills in gaps where budget-irrelevant provisions were removed. read more »
The new test of liberal political ideology seems to be, not whether you favor Obama’s health care plan, but how long it takes you to realize what a disaster it is.
The American people were, as usual, first out of the gate to demonstrate their common sense. Although a slim majority voted for Obama in November, a growing preponderance has been telling pollsters they disapprove of Obama and his handling of health care. On Sunday, Rasmussen reported that Obama had reached a new low in their Presidential Approval Index, with health care one of his lowest-rated issues.
Like a teacher indulging a failing student’s pleas to find a way to give him extra points on his test, the Congressional Budget Office has spent all summer admonishing Obama for presenting legislation that will be more expensive than advertised, produce no savings, and yield expanding and unsustainable deficits for the next 10 years. (“Now, Barry, we’ve already given you all the credit we can—next time you’ll just have to try harder.”)
The Mayo Clinic, which Obama cites as a model for cost-cutting measures, called the Medicare payment model proposed by Congress a “catastrophe.”
Seven state medical associations banded together with private medical societies and two previous American Medical Association presidents in a letter to the President opposing the legislation. The American Hospital Association is imploring hospital directors to counter Congress’s bill, as are specialty associations such as the American College of Physicians. read more »
The pile of victims President Obama has thrown under the bus to try to get health care reform passed is growing so large that just treating their internal injuries is going to bankrupt the national health care system.
First it was the insurance companies. When Obama realized early on that Americans weren’t chomping at the bit for socialized medicine, he subtly changed his language to imply that he was seeking “health insurance reform.” Insurance companies, to remind Obama, by definition have a vested interest in not covering costly treatments for people with a 100% risk of having a particular medical condition. But the administration nobly promised to go after, as the New York Times put it, “unpopular insurance industry practices, like refusing patients with pre-existing conditions”—also known as “providing insurance.”
Nancy Pelosi swore to oppose the “shock and awe, carpet-bombing by the health insurance industry to perpetuate the status quo”—as opposed to the couple, two-three homemade signs proffered by paid armies for Health Care for America Now, Organizing for America, SEIU, and ACORN. Obama promised to “reform the insurance companies so they can’t take advantage of you.” Pelosi slandered insurance companies as “villains.”
Surprisingly, insurance executives didn’t take kindly to being called monsters. Karen Ignagni, CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans, seethed, “Attacking our community will not help get anyone covered… We have to… correct the record.” read more »
The speaker was Nancy Pelosi. The date was January 17, 2006. The setting was a town hall meeting in San Francisco, captured on video and available at a Breitbart TV near you. The subject was the Iraq War. The president was George W. Bush. The surgery was Botox.
The authors are Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer. The date is August 10, 2009. The context is an editorial in USA Today. The subject is protestors at health care townhall meetings across the country. The president is Barack Obama. The surgery is still Botox.
Pelosi passionately spoke of free speech rights and the necessity of hearing all viewpoints: “I say to the President, ‘Mr. President [Bush], if you think that our troops in Iraq are there to fight for democracy, do not destroy it at home by cutting off our freedom of speech.’”
She highlighted the critical, historical role of townhall meetings and the importance of face-to-face confrontations between congressmen and the voters they represent: “Democrats and Republicans… are starting to speak out [about the war]. And you know why? Because they’re hearing from home. There’s nothing more articulate, more eloquent to a member of Congress than the voice of his or her own constituent.”
Most importantly, she reminded listeners of the strengths of our uniquely American system of representative democracy, and advised them that there is no higher patriotic calling than standing up for what you believe in: “So I thank all of you who have spoken out for your courage, your point of view, all of it—your advocacy is very American and very important… So let’s not question each other’s patriotism when we have this very honest debate that our country expects and deserves.” read more »
Senator Barbara Boxer recently declared that, before the current round of town hall meetings on health care reform, the last time she had seen such suspiciously well-dressed protestors was during the 2000 Florida election recount. Well, yes—until Obama’s presidency, that’s the last time Republicans showed up en masse to get really angry about something; screaming and chanting are political tactics more naturally suited to the left.
As for the couture angle—here’s a newsflash for Boxer: Republicans have higher standards than Democrats. A typical left-wing protest involves twenty-somethings in ratty T-shirts and shredded jeans breaking windows at a local Starbucks during the midmorning rush.
The typical right-wing protest—invariably held in the evening, since attendees have jobs in the daytime—involves adults who dress as though they would like to elevate community standards, not degrade them. Participants address their concerns directly to those in power, such as legislators, rather than assailing defenseless third parties, such as coffee franchise employees. The fact that most conservative protestors come directly from work may explain why they wear suits and skirts. But apparently Senate Democrats believe opinions are valid only if expressed by people sporting “Kill Bush” buttons and Birkenstocks.
When Boxer and other Congressional Democrats realized that Americans don’t see “well-dressed” as an epithet, they moved in the opposite direction: they claimed that the protestors were scruffy rabble-rousers after all. House Leader Nancy Pelosi insisted that demonstrators have been “carrying swastikas and symbols like that to a town meeting on healthcare.” Translation: One protestor had a swastika with a slash through it, and others were displaying American flags and ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ banners—you know, symbols like swastikas. read more »
Thanks to the Obama administration’s new Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS), known as Cash-for-Clunkers, American taxpayers are now subsidizing car owners to do what they would have done eventually—scrap their old cars and buy new ones.
CARS is perversely profligate in numerous ways, among them the fact that car dealers must waste time filling out onerous paperwork to get reimbursed by the government and adding legal riders to contracts with car buyers regarding liability for rebates. Mechanics must squander effort draining each car’s oil, then donning protective suits and carrying out a dangerous procedure involving pouring sodium silicate on the engines to make them “seize up” and cease to function.
This government-mandated engine genocide is a huge problem for auto parts sellers, who earn the bulk of their income reselling engines, motors, and transmissions—all of which must be intentionally damaged and made unsalable to comply with program rules. Government inspectors will go around making sure engines have been properly desiccated, a precondition for dealers and car buyers to claim refunds.
More disturbingly, for those who can barely afford to buy a used car, the reduced supply of used engines will lead to increased, often prohibitive costs for used cars that, having been decommissioned by mechanics, cannot be resold to potential buyers. That’s looking out for the little guy!
For those concerned about the “environmental impact” of the program, the plan unfortunately won’t help on that front, either. According to the director of Columbia University’s Center for Climate Change Law, the energy required to produce a new car more than offsets any fuel savings from driving a used car for a few more years. Without the program, car buyers would have ended up buying more fuel efficient vehicles anyway, because most vehicles are made to be more fuel efficient nowadays. read more »
President Obama has invited Sergeant James Crowley and Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. to the White House for a beer to clear up hard feelings over Crowley’s arrest of Gates for disorderly conduct two weeks ago.
Notice how, now that the facts have come out, no one is taking Gates’ side anymore; those who initially sided with Gates are arguing that both men are at fault and that we should all “learn from this incident” and move on.
If anyone still cares, the fact is that both sides are simply not at fault.
Here are a few myths and misunderstandings about Crowley’s arrest of Gates:
Crowley overreacted in arresting Gates.
Not according to the Cambridge Police Department; the Cambridge Police Patrol Officers Association; the Massachusetts Municipal Police Coalition; the Cambridge Multicultural Police Association; mixed-race police unions across the country; Sgt. Leon Lashley, the black cop who accompanied Crowley; or black public figures such as Bill Cosby and Juan Williams. Other than that, the experts are unanimous—he overreacted!
Gates’ behavior was not an arrestable offense; Crowley should have walked away after establishing his identity.
According to police protocol in such an incident, you leave the scene only once all actors are quiet and issues have been resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. You do not slip away while one party is still unhinged, screaming like a lunatic, insulting a police officer’s mother, badgering officers, and frightening neighbors who have gathered out of concern. If the object of investigation shows no signs of calming down, it is not police procedure to leave such a raving maniac poised to cause additional mayhem. The police have seen plenty of cases in which angry residents have gone on to cause further trouble; it’s foolish for anyone to second-guess the cops and pronounce that they should have known what Gates would do next. Gates had dozens of opportunities to cooperate with Crowley’s attempts to defuse the situation and back away, and every time he chose not to. That is why he was arrested. read more »
The eagle-eyed sleuths at Investor’s Business Daily recently dug up a nefarious provision in the House’s 1,018-page health care bill that prohibits you from keeping your current private insurance if any changes are made to it.
On p. 16.
This, in a bill whose table of contents and “general definitions” run to p. 14. So the House has written a bill whose key, most egregious proviso is hidden so poorly that the authors apparently assumed the public couldn’t be bothered to click two pages to get to it.
Evidently this was too much work for President Obama, whose response during a news conference on Monday at Children’s Hospital to a concerned caller from Maine asking if he was interpreting the stipulation correctly was, “You know, I have to say that I am not familiar with the provision you are talking about.” What part of the bill is Obama familiar with—the cover?
But don’t worry—Obama says, “If you like your health plan, you can keep it.” He sure doesn’t know any differently!
In Section 102—that is, the second part of the first section, two pages into the bill—ironically titled, “Protecting the Choice to Keep Current Coverage,” the bill puts the following limitation on those who wish to eschew government-approved options and keep their own coverage: “[T]he individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage [must] not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day of Y1.” read more »
In light of Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings this week, in which the controversial nominee must face tough scrutiny from senators of both parties on her judicial philosophy, temperament, and fidelity to the rule of law, political commentators on the left are naturally busy suggesting harsh, delegitimizing questions for… Frank Ricci! The lead New Haven firefighter in the Ricci v. Destefano racial discrimination lawsuit, who will testify in the hearings, has been attacked by Slate magazine, among others, for having previously brought lawsuits against former employers for discriminating against him due to his dyslexia and for firing him for being a whistleblower against his department.
Ignoring the fact that Ricci’s earlier lawsuits have zero legal bearing on the arguments in the Ricci v. Destefano case and that the Supreme Court recently overturned Sotomayor’s ruling against Ricci, why should the other 17 firefighters in the lawsuit suffer if it so happens that Ricci was lawsuit-happy with his previous employers?
Speaking of those firefighters, Lieutenant Ben Vargas, who will also testify at Sotomayor’s hearings, is the Hispanic firefighter who joined 17 white firefighters in filing the lawsuit against the New Haven fire department. Vargas shares some superficial similarities to Sotomayor: both are Hispanic; both were born and raised in the U.S.; both have Puerto Rican parents who came here because they were poor. Both grew up in troubled, high-crime, urban neighborhoods in the Northeast; both found a way out of their circumstances through hard work in their chosen career paths. read more »