President Obama asserted that he and Democratic leaders in the Senate were "on the precipice" of achieving the government takeover of health care that would mandate taxpayer funding of abortions and provide the failing abortion industry with a massive bailout.
PRECIPICE: [pres-uh-pis] noun.
1. An overhanging or extremely steep mass of rock, such as a crag or the face of a cliff.
2. The brink of a dangerous or disastrous situation: on the precipice of defeat.
An appropriate word choice. Today -- even as a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll revealed that now only 32% of Americans support the abortion-laden health care takeover -- it is clear that our nation is indeed "on the brink of a dangerous or disastrous situation."
While campaigning for President, Obama promised that "we'll
have negotiations televised on , so that people can
see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents."
Yet , CEO of C-SPAN, is now bitterly complaining that
his service has been denied ANY access to the crucial meetings
taking place to determine ObamaCare's final form.
The BIG Lies
"We will have a public, uh, process for forming this plan. It'll be televised on C-SPAN.... It will be transparent and accountable to the American people." --Barack Obama, November 2007
"That's what I will do in bringing all parties together, not negotiating behind closed doors, but bringing all parties together, and broadcasting those negotiations on C-SPAN so that the American people can see what the choices are, because part of what we have to do is enlist the American people in this process." --Barack Obama, January 2008
"[T]hese negotiations will be on C-SPAN..." --Barack Obama, January 2008
"We're gonna do all these negotiations on C-SPAN so the American people will be able to watch these negotiations." --Barack Obama, March 2008
"All this will be done on C-SPAN in front of the public." --Barack Obama, April 2008
"I want the negotiations to be taking place on C-SPAN." --Barack Obama, May 2008
"[W]e'll have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN, so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents, and who is, who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies." --Barack Obama, August 2008
"We will work on this process publicly. It'll be on C-SPAN. It will be streaming over the Net." --Barack Obama, November 2008
After much bribery and arm-twisting, the Senate managed just before Christmas to pass its version of ObamaCare by a 60-39 vote (amazingly, without a single GOP "aye"). Now, the bill heads for conference deliberation televised by C-SPAN, just as the cable channel offered and Barack Obama promised numerous times.
Democrats let slip this week that there would be no typical conference committee on the competing House and Senate versions of the health bill, as "leaders" opted instead for private negotiations with "key" congressmen and senators, none of whom is Republican. Once an agreement is reached, each legislative chamber will vote again and send the unified bill to the president.
Without a conference committee, a rule requiring public access to the conference report for at least 48 hours before a vote would conveniently not apply. That means even more liberty-stealing treachery can be slipped into the bill with little notice. Funny how the "public option" doesn't mean that the public gets to know what's in the bill.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) nevertheless had the gall to declare, "There has never been a more open process for any legislation in anyone who's served here's experience." In response, Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto mocked, "Has a more false or awkwardly worded statement ever come out of anyone who has served as speaker of the House's mouth?"
In spite of Democrats' best efforts at "transparency," there are many extra-special things that we actually do know about the bill. For example, on page 1,020, the Senate bill states: "It shall not be in order in the Senate or the House of Representatives to consider any bill, resolution, amendment or conference report that would repeal or otherwise change this subsection." In other words, the bill creates an eternal law by prohibiting future elected Congresses from making changes to this subsection.
What's in the subsection in question? The infamous "death panel" -- the Independent Medicare Advisory Board (IMAB), whose objective will be to "reduce the per capita rate of growth in Medicare spending" (read: to ration health care).
Meanwhile, the bill contains what amounts to a marriage penalty worth $2,000 or more in insurance premiums each year. The Wall Street Journal explains, "The disparity comes about in part because subsidies for purchasing health insurance under the plan from congressional Democrats are pegged to federal poverty guidelines. That has the effect of limiting subsidies for married couples with a combined income, compared to if the individuals are single."
Finally, Obama signaled this week that he's willing to break another campaign promise: The "no tax increases on the middle class" pledge. He threw his support behind the Senate's tax on higher end "Cadillac" insurance plans, something unions and House Democrats oppose.
The more the public learns about this continuing saga, the more vigorously opposed they become to "reform." No wonder Democrats want the process to remain secret. --The Patriot Post
"Democratic leaders reportedly plan to forge a final reform bill behind closed doors. They should not be able to get away with hiding public policy from the public it will adversely affect. Both the House and Senate must pass identical bills before the president can sign the legislation into law. When differences pop up, as with separate health care bills, the legislation traditionally goes to a conference committee where lawmakers iron them out. The committees are made up of members from both chambers and often from both parties. The committee meetings have typically been conducted in public, as they should be. They can be moved out of public view only when a majority of conferees, in a vote in an open session, agree to hold closed meetings. House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, has called the Democrats' plan to bypass a conference committee a 'shady backroom deal.' An overstatement? Hardly. One House Democratic aide told a blogger that 'this process cuts out the Republicans.' The Democrats fear that if they follow the traditional route, the GOP could use the Senate filibuster rule to shut down the process of organizing the committee. Bypassing a conference committee also cuts out a public that will suffer losses from whatever monstrosity is produced by the cover of darkness. Americans stand to lose their power of choice over health care decisions and be stripped of a significant portion of their earnings to pay for a plan most don't want. They deserve to see in an open forum what is being done to them. Instead, they're likely to get whatever the Democrats want to force on them." --Investor's Business Daily
Harry Reid's 383-page amendment and its 2,074-page underlying bill (H.R. 3590) are unconstitutional because:
1) Congress has NO authority to force every American to carry insurance coverage, and,
2) Congress has NO authority to fine employers whose policies do not have the mandated coverage.
Where in the Constitution is the authority to mandate that Americans buy health insurance?
"Well, I just think the Constitution charges Congress with the health and well-being of the people." --Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)
And according to Nancy Pelosi's staff, "nobody questions that."...When asked where the authority to mandate that Americans buy health insurance -- that they be forced under penalty of fine or imprisonment to engage in a particular commercial enterprise -- is located in the Constitution, Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) answered, "Well, I would assume it would be in the Commerce clause of the Constitution. That's how Congress legislates all kinds of various programs."
Congress too often uses this clause to do whatever it wants to do (the legislative target might, just might, some day engage in interstate commerce, don't you know,) but this incorrect interpretation certainly doesn't make this legislation constitutional. -- The Patriot Post
"America's founders intended the federal government to have limited powers and that the states have an independent sovereign place in our system of government. The Obama/Reid/Pelosi legislation to take control of the American health-care system is the most sweeping and intrusive federal program ever devised. If the federal government can do this, then it can do anything, and the limits on government power that our liberty requires will be more myth than reality." --Wall Street Journal op-ed by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT).
Here are just a few of the Reid bill's details:
- 2,409 pages (by comparison, the legislation that created Social Security was just 82 pages long)
- $518 billion in tax increases (Joint Committee on Taxation and the Congressional Budget Office)
- $466 billion in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid (CBO)
- Many costs of the legislation won't begin until 2014, but taxes will be imposed immediately (CBO)
- Federal outlays for health care would increase by about $200 billion between 2010-2019 (CBO)
- $26 billion of unfunded mandates to states over the next 10 years that will likely result in higher taxes (CBO)
- Would increase non-group premiums by $300 per individual and $2,100 per family (CBO)
- Up to 10 million people will lose their current health insurance coverage under the bill (CBO)
- Adds a 10% tax on indoor tanning services (Section 10907)
Reid is handing out cash for cloture votes like Santa Claus handing out candy canes during the Macy’s Day Parade.
Reid’s is using bribes, extortion, threats, and secrecy to ram through Obama’s socialized medicine plan – at a time when most Americans are thinking about the celebration of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem.
Reid has handed out $300 million to (D-LA) for her vote; $100 million in Medicaid assistance for ’s (D-NE); a sweetheart insurance deal for Nebraska and Michigan insurance companies to benefit Nelson and (D-MI); Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) gets $100 million for a hospital; Sen. (D-IL) gets money for ACORN; Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) gets $10 billion for ; (D-FL) gets a special deal in Florida for Medicare Advantage Recipients; (D-MT) gets extra Medicare benefits for Montana residents; Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) wins Medicare funding for Iowa hospitals; Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) gets higher Medicare payments for rural hospitals.
How many more bribes will he offer to get ? He’s clearly willing to do anything to get it done.
Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) claimed he was not going to vote for the Reid bill unless there were prohibitions against the use of federal dollars to kill unborn children. Nelson sold us out and voted for cloture last week, which gave Reid the 60 votes needed to push for a vote on Christmas Eve. --Traditional Values Coalition
There may not have been any smoke-filled rooms, but there were plenty of shady deals.THIS BILL STILL FUNDS ABORTION
The most egregious were those for Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska. He was the final holdout. Without his support, the bill would have been stopped. But Ben buckled under the pressure.
He was particularly pliable on his demands that no federal funding go to cover abortions. Instead he accepted a watered down compromise that allows individual states to prohibit plans that cover abortion services—a compromise that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and numerous pro-life groups denounced as paving the way for federally funded abortions.
But when Harry Reid needed his vote, Sen. Nelson took the money and ran -- $100 million to be exact. Nebraska will be the only state in the country where the full costs of Medicaid expansion will be covered by the federal government. Specialty hospitals in Nebraska will be exempted from new regulations. The state's largest insurers will be shielded from new regulations. Here are the details of the Nebraska Exemption:
But Sen. Nelson wasn't the only senator to be bought off by Majority Leader Reid. More than a dozen other states received special goodies, including:
- Federal government fully finances Medicaid expansion for two years and then increases its matching funds (known as FMAP) thereafter to 100% -- in perpetuity (Section 10201), totaling about $100 million
- Reid bill specifically identifies Nebraska for higher federal matching funds, fully funding its expansion for an additional year
- Carve outs for physician-owned hospitals in Nebraska
- Physician self-referral exemptions within Nebraska
- Nelson's abortion compromise: a state may elect to prohibit abortion coverage in qualified health plans offered through an exchange if the state enacts a law to prohibit it
- Shields two Nebraska insurers from taxes that other plans will pay: Mutual of Omaha and Blue Cross/Blue Shield (language crafted so it only affects these two in Nebraska)
$300 million in additional Medicaid funding
2.2% FMAP increase for 6 years for Vermont Medicaid program
$600 million in additional Medicaid funding (CBO)
0.5% FMAP increase for 3 years for their entire program
$500 million in additional Medicaid funding (CBO)
Restores DSH funding eliminated in the past to expand Medicaid eligibility
Adjusts payments to hospitals according to local wage levels, which when adjusted aids Michigan Exemption for non-profit insurers in the state from large excise tax
$100 million earmark for construction of a University of Connecticut hospital
Medicare coverage for individuals exposed to environmental health hazards in or around the geographic area of Libby, Mont., subject to an emergency declaration as of 6/17/09
- South Dakota , North Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana
Adds 1% hospital wage index
Adds 1% practice index for physicians to cover geographic cost difference --Newt Gingrich
The abortion coverage is still in the bill. It’s just hidden, and has no "conscience clause"
for those who object to abortion coverage! The National Right to Life Committee and many other pro-life groups immediately condemned Reid's bill.
The fact is, NO ONE wants this bill! Conservatives hate the bill. Progressives and liberals hate it, too, although for different reasons. And every credible poll shows that the general public strongly opposes this destructive and dangerous bill.
ObamaCare is facing more unlikely opponents every day, including former DNC chief Howard Dean, a medical doctor. "You're going to be forced to buy health insurance from a company that is going to take an average of 27 percent of your money," Dean said, "and there is no choice about that. If you don't buy that insurance you are going to get a fine."
And Dean wasn't done. "This bill I think is more likely to make the crisis worse than it is better because it's so expensive," he said. And as a result, he concluded, "[H]onestly the best thing to do right now is kill the Senate bill." He even penned an op-ed in The Washington Post expounding on his opposition.
Granted, Dean wants something even more leftist than what the Senate is grinding out, but sometimes the enemy of your enemy is your friend. -- The Patriot Post