Sunday, March 21, 2010

Breaking News: YES WE DID! Healthcare Bill Passes House!

Thanks to the support of President Obama the Democrats in Congress approved legislation tonight extending health care to tens of millions of uninsured Americans and cracking down on insurance company abuses. Nancy Pelosi just announced this Senate-passed bill cleared the House on a 220-211 vote. The Republicans were unanimous in opposition, joined by 33 Democrats. President Obama watched the vote in the White House's Roosevelt Room with Vice President Joe Biden and about 40 staff aides. A rejoicing president exchanged high-fives with his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel.

The bill will now go to the Senate, where Democratic leaders said they have the votes to pass it. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the legislation awaiting the president's approval will extend coverage to 32 million Americans who lack it, ban insurers from denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions and cut deficits by an estimated $138 billion over a decade. The expansion of coverage will include 95 percent of all eligible individuals under age 65.

This is a historic success for the American People! Thank you Mr. President! Thank you Speaker Pelosi! Thank you Democratic Congress! You showed your Courage, your Bravery and your support for the American People!

Meanwhile, Republicans and many Teaparty members are angry, crying, swearing, blustering and upset that the bill has passed. It is time for them to get over their wish for our President and our Country to fail. It is time for them to show respect for our President and our Country and once and for all STOP the racial epithets, threatening violence (on their signs) and spitting on our Congressmen! Minority Leader John Boehner has asked all GOP members to "Behave Like Grown-Ups" now that the bill has passed. For the sake of all of America, I hope they take his advice!


Vicente Duque said...

Americans like winners. They tend to vote for winners and last night, the Democrats looked like winners - Nancy Pelosi in History : Great Deserved Power

Nancy Pelosi deserves the power that she has earned with Hard Work and Great Intelligence - She is the most powerful Woman that America has ever seen. She also deserves a great place in History Books.

Why Nancy Pelosi Deserves the Credit for Health Care Reform

By Japhy Grant
Japhy Grant is an adopted Californian, web TV producer and journalist living in Los Angeles. He has written for Salon, Out, The New York Observer, The Advocate and has directed music videos for bands like Grizzly Bear, as well as creating ads for BCBG/ Max Azria.
March 22, 2010

Why Nancy Pelosi Deserves the Credit for Health Care Reform

Some excerpts :

Whether you agree with the Health Care reform package passed by the House or not, there’s no denying that its passage makes Obama, whose been in office a little more than a year, the greatest President in the past 50 years. It is by far the most sweeping legislation of a generation.

Americans like winners. They tend to vote for winners and last night, the Democrats looked like winners. Among all the Democrats smiling, none was happier than Pelosi. At an early morning press conference following the vote, Pelosi kept talking about “this evening”. When a reporter pointed out it was now technically morning, she smiled broadly, swung her finger in exclamation and declared, “Not in California!”, which the punch drunk press corps lapped up.

When the history books are written, it’ll be Pelosi’s cajoling, wrangling, consoling and corralling of the fractious big tent Democratic majority which will get the credit for passing Health Care reform. House Democratic Whip Jim Clyburn puts it simply, ”If she’s not the best (Speaker) to do this job, she’s certainly in the top two or three in history.”

White House insiders privately admitted last month that they thought they’d lost the chance to pass the bill, with Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel arguing the bill should be broken up into easier to pass individual pieces. It was Pelosi who argued for keeping the bill together. As Democrat Rep. Anna Eshoo said, she “kept the steel in the President’s back.”

While Pelosi shares many of the same values as the progressive movement, she never showed any qualms about keeping the perfect from being the enemy of the good. She practiced her own brand of Obamian pragmatism; recognizing that when you’re the leader of a big tent, consensus is key and so is recognizing that if you’re at ‘A’ and you want to get to ‘Z’, there’s a whole bunch of letters you need to deal with along the way first.

As someone whose watched the Speaker a lot these past few months, I’m struck by her style. She’s unflaggingly polite, yet never wavers. When Rachel Maddow interviewed her before Rep. Stupak had agreed to sign on to the bill, Maddow tried to get her to publicly put the heat on Stupak. Pelosi demurred, praising the Congressman and making a point of saying she respected where he was coming from, all the while dismissing his concerns as an inaccurate reflection of the bill.

Youth, Minorities, Politics :

Vicente Duque

Anon-az said...

Let the new taxes begin.

While Americans in the down economy are in an "eat the rich" fervor, maybe they should stop to see what economic impact the bill will have on 'average' Americans.

Own a rental property?

"The top tax rates on interest and rental income would rise to as high as about 44 percent, assuming other Obama tax increases on high-earners are enacted."

"Other provisions likely to affect higher-income individuals would scale back tax preferences associated with paying out-of- pocket medical expenses. Starting in 2013, Americans under 65 won’t be able to deduct medical expenses until they exceed 10 percent of income, up from 7.5 percent now; retirees would keep the lower threshold."

"And the legislation for the first time would place a $2,500 limit on what can be contributed to employer-sponsored flexible spending accounts, another type of account funded with pre-tax dollars that can be used to pay for medicines, co-payments, and other expenses.

Employers currently set their own limits, typically between $3,000 and $5,000 in the absence of a government cap."

One of my favorites:

"Consumers who frequent tanning salons would pay a 10 percent excise tax, and those who buy devices such as wheelchairs would pay a 2.9 percent excise tax. Drugmakers may pass on a $3 billion annual fee."

Tax people wanting to be tanned, or the ability to move around, but pass on the drug industry? Maybe 'tanners' and the handicapped should have better lobbyists.

"Under the reconciliation bill, individuals who don’t purchase insurance would be subject to a fine of $325 in 2015 and $695 in 2016. Individuals may be subject to a charge equal to as much as 2.5 percent of their income in 2016, if the total is greater than the flat payment.

Employers with 50 or more workers would pay $2,000 per worker if they don’t offer health insurance."

This means I will be losing my health insurance. A fine of $2,000 per working is cheaper than paying for health insurance (I personally pay $4680 a year for insurance through my employer, which is a small percentage of what my employer pays).

ultima said...

From my observations I would say Pelosi is the most hated woman in America. They were able to achieve passage of this bill only through strongarm tactics and corruption like the Louisiana Purchase.

The CBO has to price out whatever assumptions and conditions are given to them. They cannot comment on them or even suggest how unrealistic or optimistic those assumptions are. Does anyone really believe a massive new program like this one will reduce the deficit? We don't need to conjecture about that because we have several federal programs already of that nature that are going broke or which require greater and greater appropriations for support: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid respectively. All those who believe Obamacare will be different must be on weed.

At the bottom line this is just a redistribution of wealth scheme.

Study Anon's comments. They are worth a close read.

ultima said...

Conservative and neoliberal arguments against property redistribution consider the term a euphemism for theft, and argue that redistribution of legitimately obtained property cannot ever be just. Public choice theory states that redistribution tends to benefit those with political clout to set spending priorities more than those in need, who lack real influence on government.

ultima said...

In the United States, some of the founding fathers and several subsequent leaders expressed opposition to redistribution of wealth. Samuel Adams stated: "The utopian schemes of leveling [redistribution of wealth], and a community of goods, are as visionary and impracticable as those which vest all property in the Crown. [These ideas] are arbitrary, despotic, and, in our government, unconstitutional."

ultima said...

In a capitalistic society, success is largely measured by a person's wealth. The more useful to society you are, the more you are allowed to take from society. If you discover a "need" in society and find a way to fill that need, you can count on being rewarded handsomely. On the other hand, if you can't find a way to contribute to society, society will reward you accordingly. People that don't find a way to be useful to society can expect to receive very little in return for their labors, while those who take on greater responsibilities are allowed to reap greater rewards.

ultima said...

All men are equal, but some are more equal than others. Orwell's observation of the equality of man is as true today as when he wrote it over half a century ago. All men may be created equal, but they sure don't seem to stay that way for long. Some people meet with success, and are permitted to amass great wealth. Some take comfort in mediocrity, and are permitted to life comfortably. And still others embrace failure, and have a hard time making ends meet. It's a simple fact of life that most people accept - the fact that some people have more stuff than others.

ultima said...

There are various levels of socialist thought, from the die-hard communists to democratic socialists to progressive liberals. The methods for achieving economic utopia vary from group to group, but they all employ the same basic principles. They all want to use the power of government to take goods and services from the 'haves', and transfer their plunder to the 'have-nots'. They all strive towards the same goal - economic equality. They only differ in the level of government supremacy they believe will be required in order to achieve their goal.

Every nation of the world has toyed around with socialist concepts. Some of the poorer nations of the world decided to base their entire government on Marxists theory - we call them communist. In these countries, there is no "private" ownership of property - everything is owned by the state. The only businesses that weren't owned by the state were small shops run by "tradesman" - bakers, blacksmiths, etc. - any business that could be run by one person or a small family. These business had to remain small, since it was illegal for any private citizen to "enslave" a fellow citizen through employment.

ultima said...

Socialism dominates the political discussion in virtually every free society. As a result, there exists in each country two political parties - One that favors increasing the number of such programs, and another party that opposes them. Of course, the particular politics of each nation may vary, but versions of these two parties can be found in every democratic country - A "conservative" party that seeks to maintain the capitalistic system, and a "liberal" party that pushes the system slowly towards socialism. This is the crux of the argument between the two prevailing economic theologies. The "left" (socialist) believes that the poor deserve more, and the "right" (capitalist) believes that those who do the most work deserve the most profit.

ultima said...

The Democrat's programs will succeed in shifting wealth from the top to the bottom - but there is no thought given to how this will effect the economy as a whole. These programs take money from the middle & upper classes, and hand it over to the lower caste. But by stealing money from the "haves", they will in effect be punishing people for success. Economic expansion will be hindered in the absence of the "profit motive" that is lies at the heart of most business ventures. And without entrepreneurs the economy cannot expand, and in the end everybody suffers.

But apart from the economic consequences of socialist policies, there lies several social consequences as well. Such programs by their very nature require the forcible taking of wealth - A policy that is anathema to most democratic principles. Theft does not cease to be theft simply because an elected body is the entity which is perpetrating the act. "Forced Charity" is not charity at all - it is theft.

And in the end, such policies cause a large segment of the population to become somewhat "dependant" on the government - another concept shunned by cultures which cherish freedom.

Vicente Duque said...

Huffington Post : Republicans are like the spoiled child taking away the ball after losing a game - They apply George W. Bush's "strategery". Wimps and Whiners - Laugh at Republicans

I love everything that Profesor Robert L. Borosage writes - Now in this article he is very caustic, acid and vitriolic against the Republicans and their foolishness. Strongly sarcastic.

Laugh at a party without intelligent plans and lots of complaints and protests about everything

Huffington Post
Will Americans Reward the Party of "Hell No?"
March 24, 2010

By Robert L. Borosage
Co-Director of the Campaign for America's Future
Mr. Borosage writes widely on political, economic and national security issues for a range of publications including the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Philadelphia Inquirer. He is a contributing editor at The Nation magazine, and a regular contributor to The American Prospect magazine. He is a frequent commentator on television and radio, including Fox Morning News, RadioNation, National Public Radio, C-SPAN and Pacifica Radio. He teaches on presidential power and national security as an adjunct professor at American University’s Washington School of Law.

Will Americans Reward the Party of "Hell No?"

Some excerpts :

The perils of policy are clear. A leading Republican conservative, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, has had the courage to step up and offer an alternative "Roadmap" for America's future. He decided it was important to show Republicans had the policies to lift us from this crisis.

His plan, like Rubio's speech, features steep tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans, elimination of corporate tax while raising taxes on middle income Americans through a value added tax, a hidden sales tax on consumers. He would cut and privatize Social Security, terminate Medicare, Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program, replacing them with vouchers of decreasing value over time. He'd move to supplant employer based insurance with a refundable tax credit so individuals can experience the delight of bargaining with insurance companies on their own for coverage -- without any of the protections in the health care reform bill. He'd freeze domestic discretionary spending for a decade. This would reduce federal spending to a level not seen since the 1950s when Medicare and Medicaid did not exist and the poverty rate among the elderly was at 50 %.

In Ryan's world, millionaires would pay taxes at a lower rate than middle income earners. More seniors would end in poverty. The healthy might afford health insurance; the sick would go without. The nation's sewers and bridges would continue to collapse. Its schools remain unrepaired and overcrowded. And, after all that, the national debt would still soar to 175% of GDP by 2050, adding literally trillions in deficits.

House minority leader John Boehner said he couldn't think of anything to disagree with this program, but noted not all Republicans support it. Once analysts got a hold of it, Boehner disavowed it as "Ryan's plan." So Republicans will follow Davis' advice. Offer a protest, not a choice, and hope Americans don't look behind the curtain.

The logic of the Republican strategy is clear. With unemployment high, incomes stagnant, and Wall Street cashing million dollar bonuses, voters have much to be mad about. And they generally discount complaints about the minority's obstruction; voters sensibly expect the president and the governing party to deliver and punish them if they don't.

Youth, Minorities, Politics :

Vicente Duque

ultima said...

Here's the pig in the poke that you are celebrating.

smoke and mirrors

ultima said...

Nancy is smiling because she knows she and her cohorts snookered the American public.

What big government entitlement program has ever:

• Reduced the deficit?
• Only cost what it says it will and lowered the costs of goods and services?
• Improved quality?
• Enhanced efficiency?
• Decreased delays?
• Fostered more choice and competition?
• Featured competent bureaucracy?
• Operated with honest accounting?
• Avoided fraud, abuse, waste, maddening red tape, and higher taxes?

Answer: never!

ultima said...

Why does Obamacare exempt some in Congress and the White House from having to buy the same health care plans that the law forces other Americans to purchase: President Obama, Vice President Biden, Cabinet members, top White House staff, congressional committee staff and leadership staff, such as those who work for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)?

ultima said...

How will we deal with a doctor shortage caused by Obamacare, particularly when doctors are being asked to treat 32 million more Americans now insured by the new law?

ultima said...

How will patients—particularly senior citizens—feel when their doctors and even hospitals tell them, “Sorry, but we’re only taking on non-Medicare patients who pay privately, in full”?

How many of the readers of this blog will be approaching their Medicare year soon?

ultima said...

How can President Obama claim that insurance premiums will go down when the very same nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office he quotes, selectively, has said that Obamacare will cause the average family’s premiums to go up by as much as 13 percent by 2016?

ultima said...

Remember the “jobs saved or created” canard regarding Obama’s economic stimulus?

The president is repeating that fantasy by applying it to Obamacare. However, the nonpartisan Lewin Group estimates that as many as 600,000 people will lose their jobs due to the onerous new employer health care mandates in Obamacare.

ultima said...

Do you realize that Obamacare turns Medicare into what should really be called "Medi-pare"?

Obamacare slices $528-billion from Medicare, including $136-billion carved out of Medicare Advantage. As The Washington Examiner’s Susan Ferrechio has reported, “The Medicare Advantage cuts will force 4.8 million seniors off the popular plan by 2019. An additional $23 billion in cuts to Medicare will come from a panel charged with slashing Medicare spending.”

These are a few of the gut-wrenching questions that Obamacare's supporters should have been asking before they leaped into the abyss.

ultima said...

And what is this business about extending the new higher Medicare tax to so-called "unearned" income?
Isn't this one of those taxes on the Middle Class that Obama said would never happen under his plan?

Has anyone really thought about what paying the Medicare tax on interest, dividends, and capital gains will mean? Sounds like another redistribution of income scheme a la Lenin. And people wonder why some think Obama is a Socialist/Communist -- the difference is only a matter of degree. This is another page out of the Alinsky playbook!

Dee said...

I am disappointed in you. You recite the usual right wing talking points. Nothing new. Same ole rhetoric.

The reality is, the vast majority of the American people, as witnessed in "after the signing" polls, approve of the passage of the Healthcare Bill and of our President. The reality is, Americans were more disappointed in the Dems not doing anything vs the passage of the bill. You all have your polls so confused.

The reality is:
. Americans WANT Healthcare Reform.
. Americans wanted President President Obama and the Dems to stand up and defeat the right wing extremists.
. Americans want the Violence advocated by the teapartiers and the right wing extremists to STOP!!!!

The polls say it.
Even Prez Bush's speechwriter Frum said so.

You repubs can't HANDLE THE TRUTH!!

March 25, 2010 6:50 PM

Dee said...

Jobs will be created by the bill. Remember, Billing, Testing, etc. will be automated and shared. THINK of the jobs created due to the automation of the system. This is GOOD! The duplication of testing, the duplication of meds, the fraud in medicare that occurs, THIS WILL ALL BE CAUGHT through the automation!! Imagine the savings. Jobs created. Fraud reduced. What more could be asked for?

My question is, why do Repubs support all of the abuse, fraud, and Million Dollar Bonuses of the good ole boy Healthcare Providers????

Anon-az said...

Today it was discovered that the bill still allows Insurance companies to deny children with pre-existing conditions.....

I thought the Dems campaigned on this?

Anon-az said...

"Jobs will be created by the bill."

Starting with 12,000 new IRS agents to enforce the personal mandate....
to monitor your medical records....
to garnish wages for 'unapproved' procedures....

Or did you not know the IRS was involved in this bill?

Vicente Duque said...

POLITICO.COM : How Democrats can win next elections with health care - The best strategy is simple. Health care is personal. - Make it personal

How Dems can win with health care
March 25, 2010

By Tony Coelho
Former Rep. Tony Coelho was chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee from 1981 to 1986 and House majority whip from 1987 to 1989.

How Dems can win with health care

Some excerpts :

The best strategy is simple. Health care is personal. It’s personal to Obama. It’s personal to the Democratic Party. It’s personal to those who are uninsured and can’t afford it or are denied access to quality coverage.

It is now also the law of the land.

Health care is a moral value, and Democrats should frame it that way. They can win the argument and keep the majority by personalizing this issue for their constituents. If Republicans run a campaign strategy based on repealing this law, they do so at their peril.

Democrats need to get their opponents on the record now, while they are still caught up in the euphoria of their opposition battle.

Democratic candidates must make this a debate about the bill’s individual components. Where does your opponent stand? Does he or she want to repeal the reform?

What exactly do Republicans plan on taking away from the American people?

Will they tell small-business owners in their districts that tax credits to provide health care for their employees will be repealed? Are they going to ask senior citizens to give back rebates for prescriptions not covered under Medicare? Will the Republicans throw the young people in their district to the wolves and take away their coverage? Will they tell those who were uninsured or denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions before this reform law passed that they are taking away their new coverage?

Democrats should seize the moment: Go to your base. Be proud of what you have done and tell your constituents what is in the bill. Don’t let your opponent frame the debate.

Youth, Minorities, Politics :

Vicente Duque

ultima said...

Obamacare will cost $2.6 trillion in its first decade of operation and is built on Madoff-style financing. For example, it double counts Social Security payroll taxes, long-term care premiums, and Medicare savings in order to make it appear more fiscally responsible. In reality, ObamaCare isn't $143 billion in the black, as Democrats have claimed, but $618billion in the red. And giving the IRS $10 billion to hire about 16,000 agents to enforce the new taxes and fees in ObamaCare will drive small business owners crazy.

We've been had!

ultima said...

Good news, Obama and all those supporters of health care reform! Today the New York Times had a shocking story: this year the Social Security Trust Fund will pay more out in benefits than it takes in in revenue. There are several reasons this is an important story.

First, it is important because it reminds us that our country is on the edge of a fiscal precipice. The baby boomers will begin retiring next year. Indeed, with the recession some have started to retire early. As the story notes, “payments have risen more than expected during the downturn, because jobs disappeared and people applied for benefits sooner than they had planned.”

Congress added to this crisis this week by passing ObamaCare. The left has argued that we can afford this $1 trillion spending program because, with the taxes, it will actually reduce the deficit. That’s what CBO says! But to be fair, the CBO didn't have all the facts, like the "doc fix", that by itself will swing the deal into the red. Then when you add in all the other smoke and mirrors and double counting, the health care bill is just what we said it was all along, something past experience has shown is not something we can afford at this time.

But, and this is the second point, CBO got Social Security wrong. They didn’t see this coming.

From NYT:

This year, the system will pay out more in benefits than it receives in payroll taxes, an important threshold it was not expected to cross until at least 2016, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Just at the moment that we our entrusting our countries fiscal future on guesstimates on the health care bills from CBO, it turns out that they completely failed us on Social Security. Maybe all those who can should quickly apply for SS because soon there will be nothing left in Mother Hubbard's cupboard courtesy of the profligate spenders in the Democrat party. It's amazing how many were duped into thinking they could get something for nothing. We should ask them to voluntarily give up their ss so those of us who knew better can get ours.

ultima said...

Those who are still celebrating are soon going to get a dash of cold water in the face when they realize what they have done to themselves and everyone else by endorsing the spending of money we don't have and won't have when the chickens come home to roost.

ultima said...

Another sobering thought from the Russian perspective in 2009.

Page Hits