Health Care Reform
I just read Matt Wittlief’s thoughts on Scott Brown, and since I have only tweeted about the Massachusetts special election and talked about it on the radio, I must be falling behind as a “political blogger” myself. I started this as a comment, but my opinions turned this into a post itself.
As I see it, the GOP needed solidarity in the Senate (41 votes) to derail ObamaCare, and Scott Brown is that 41st vote for ObamaCare in 2010. I have said it before, and I will continue to say it, Scott Brown is nothing more than a “short term compromise.” His positions are not that different from Coakley, when you compare them across the board for all three candidates that ran. He also supported RomneyCare in Massachusetts a few short years ago. His support of government intervention into the marketplace is unquestionable, and he confirmed it with his comments on Wednesday, that every libertarian that tweets or is on Facebook cited.
At the White House website, the biography of Bill Clinton illustrates the successes of his administration, most notably:
During the administration of William Jefferson Clinton, the U.S. enjoyed more peace and economic well being than at any time in its history.
It’s true. The Clinton years were some of the most prosperous years that the United States has ever seen. Was that the result of massive government spending and initiatives? Of course not. Clinton’s first major initiative - health care reform - failed, resulting in a Republican takeover of Congress and Clinton shifting to rhetoric such as ”the era of big government is over.”
The actual successes of the Clinton years were very right wing ones - welfare reform, free trade agreements and a robust innovative economy fueled by the ingenuity of software entrepreneurs. Spending was down, and Bill Clinton left office with a huge surplus. This was certainly the result of a lack of spending from the federal government, a foreseeable result of having two diametrically opposed political parties in power at once. The fact that the low-spending Clinton years (years in which the government actually shut down for nearly two months) resulted in economic prosperity, while high deficit eras like the pre-war terms of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Bush-Obama years resulted in depression and recession, makes one of the strongest cases for libertarianism.
In analyzing the data from the latest polls coming from Massachusetts with regard to the upcoming special election on January 19th, I have some things to note.
- Rasmussen polled 500 likely voters on January 4, releasing their results the following day.
- The Boston Globe polled 554 likely voters January 2-6, releasing their results this morning.
- Public Policy Polling polled 744 likely voters January 7-9, releasing their results last night. (full .pdf of the results available there)
Beginning linearly with the commencement of the polls, the Boston Globe began first, though it concluded on the 6th. It was not released until this morning, but I think that its results were not influenced by Rasmussen’s numbers, as Rasmussen conducted their poll in the midst, releasing the results toward the end. They also included Joe Kennedy as an option, whereas neither of the other polls did. Who knows why it took the Globe four days to release their results, but I think for the time their polling spanned, it is likely accurate.
Podcast: Medical Marijuana, Hate Crime Legislation, Fox News vs. Obama Administration, Health Care Reform, “War on Crime”
Together, they discuss these issues:
- The Obama administration and the Department of Justice changing course on medical marijuana.
- U.S. Senate approves expanding hate crime legislation.
- The Obama administration’s battle with Fox News.
- Health Care Reform: Baucus bill funding , the “right” to health care , House committee votes to repeal anti-trust protections for health insurers
- The “perception of crime” throughout the nation
After attending several Atlanta area health care town hall forums sponsored by legislators in support of HR 3200, I decided to participate in one hosted by MY Congressman, Representative Phil Gingrey (R-GA, 11th). I should note that I did not vote for or against Dr. Gingrey in 2008, as I lived in Georgia’s 13th Congressional District then. The convenience of the location of August 31st’s event could not have been better, unless it took place in my living room (the Cobb Civic Center is across the street from my neighborhood), however a 5:30 PM start time made it difficult for many constituents to attend.
I arrived at the Civic Center shortly after 5 PM to find a parking lot approximately half-full, some cars present as early as 3:30 PM. Outside the venue, there were a few individuals and groups handing literature to those entering, including members of GOP gubernatorial candidate, John Oxendine’s You Can Stop ObamaCare. I expected police-enforced restrictions that I encountered at previous town hall events, so my only tool to capture and share media of the event was my cell phone.
Once inside, I noted many of Rep. Gingrey’s older constituents in attendance, as I expected from reports of his previous forums on the subject. I also expected that most in attendance would be opposed to the health care reform bill known as HR 3200, also known as “ObamaCare,” like their Congressman, Rep. Gingrey. There were a handful of
Many Republicans are standing tough against President Obama’s proposed takeover of the American health care system; however, many prominent voices within the GOP are at the same time displaying an unprecedented level of hypocrisy when they oppose Democratic health care reform.
So there are two very disturbing new stories I came across today, and I just have to share them.
The first news story originated on The Drudge Report. Basically, on June 24th programming will indirectly (or directly, depending how you look at it) be given over to the Obama Administration for an hour to push the Democratic health care agenda. Charlie Gibson will be airing World News from the White House and it will be talking specifically about health care reform. Problem is, there will be no representation from a free market health care advocate, just the socialized health care side. Yikes! Luckily Lost (the best show on television) will not be back until winter so I can join in the boycott of ABC.
Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) had some choice words for Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), the man who both wrote and voted for ObamaCare.
During the Senate Finance Committee hearing on Wednesday, Baucus pressed DHHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on the Obama Administration’s implementation of the law and education efforts directed toward businesses and individuals. Baucus warned that this could become a “train wreck” and gave the administration a “failing grade” in its efforts.
The spectacle was one with which conservatives can agree. However, for Baucus, who is up for re-election in 2014, it may be too little too late.
In a letter made available yesterday on his House website, Pompeo expressed indignation toward Baucus, noting that “[n]o one in the country bears more responsibility for the complexity of this law” than Montana’s senior Senator.
“I was stunned, and also saddened, to read of your complaint that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is doing an insufficient job informing the public about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), otherwise known as Obamacare,” wrote Pompeo to Baucus. “My shock wasn’t because I disagreed: You’re right to say this legislation has led to great uncertainty for hard-working Americans, small business owners, and families.”
Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), who is up for re-election next year and voted for ObamaCare back in 2010, is warning that implementing the provisions of the law he helped write could become a “train wreck” because businesses and those who would be eligible for coverage under the law don’t understand it:
He told Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that people and businesses “have no idea what to do, what to expect” from the law.
“If the administration implements it correctly, millions more Americans will gain access to health care next year,” Baucus said. “I am concerned that not every state, including Montana, will have an insurance marketplace established in time.”
After the hearing, Baucus explained that the train wreck is “that consumers and businesses will just not have enough information. That it will be too confusing.”
He also expressed frustration that the White House and HHS are not providing details of its outreach efforts.
Last night, the Senate symbolically voted to repeal yet another part of ObamaCare — the medical device tax. This provision will imposed 2.3% tax on medical devices, which could lead to the loss of some 43,000 jobs:
By a vote of 79 to 20, the Senate moved to rescind the 2.3 percent tax on manufacturers and importers of medical devices. The tax will raise nearly $2 billion in new revenue in 2013 and $20 billion over the next seven years.
Thursday night’s vote was nonbinding since it was on an amendment to a Senate budget resolution which is not likely to result in a budget plan that Republican-controlled House would agree to.
The medical device tax is one of $24.6 billion in 2013 tax increases mandated by the Affordable Care Act which took effect on Jan. 1.
Click here to see how your Senators voted.
Not only would the medical device tax hit the medical industry and hurt innovation, consumers would have been hit with higher healthcare costs. The tax was even blamed for an increase in prices for pet owners at vet offices.