Showdown At The Supreme Court Corral

The sooner this Obamacare abomination is declared unconstitutional, the better for the country, the economy, and the American people. It’s a huge, bloated beached whale that will add trillions to the national debt and increase the cost and lower the quality of health care, forcing people to pay more to wait longer for less.

Supreme Court could rule on health care law in months

The Obama administration set the stage Monday for the Supreme Court to rule early next year on the constitutionality of the president’s health care law by declining to press for a full appeal in a lower court.

The Justice Department announced it will forego an appeal to the full 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. Such an appeal to the 10-member court could have taken months and delayed a final decision from the high court until at least 2013.

In August, a 2-1 panel of the 11th Circuit became the first appellate court to declare unconstitutional the new requirement that all Americans have health insurance.

Now, the administration can appeal directly to the Supreme Court and ask the justices to schedule the case to be heard and decided during the term that begins next week and ends in June. If the court follows that schedule, the justices will hand down a ruling on Obama’s signature legislation just as the election campaign moves into high gear.

See also:
‘Obamacare’ Closer to Supreme Court Review After Administration Declines to Appeal Latest Ruling
Unconstitutional Obamacare? Supreme Court battle is on in 2012
It’s On: Health Care Reform is Going to SCOTUS
Health reform lawsuit appears headed for Supreme Court
Administration Lets Case Go Forward Against Health Reform Law
Obama Won’t Seek Hearing on Health Law, Setting Stage for High Court Case
Health Law Path to High Court Clears
Health Case Closer to High Court
No Appeal for Health Care Law in Atlanta
Obamacare Headed for Supreme Court
Obama Administration: No Challenge to Health Care Ruling

Over the centuries, the Commerce Clause has been bent and warped to justify all manner of Federal government intervention in people’s lives, but Obamacare is a bridge too far. You simply cannot force U.S. citizens to affirmatively purchase a product against their will. And, if the Federal government can force people to buy health insurance, what product can’t they make them buy?

/Obamacare is blatantly unconstitutional and if the Supreme Court agrees and strikes it down, in the middle of the run up to next year’s Presidential election, it will blow Obama’s already dwindling reelection chances clear out of the water

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Syria Circling The Drain

So far, we’ve seen varying degrees of serious Muslim unrest in Pakistan, Lebanon, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Algeria, Bahrain, Libya, and Oman. Now, it appears that Syria is also on the verge of descending into chaos.

Thousands continue protests in Syria

Thousands of people took to the streets in the southern city of Dara, chanting “Syria, Freedom,” a day after a deadly crackdown on protests there, human rights activists said.

The demonstrations Thursday occurred at the funerals for some of those killed when government forces opened fire on protesters the previous day. Initial reports put the death toll at 15, but Reuters news agency, citing a hospital source, said more than 25 people were killed.

. . .

No additional violence was reported Thursday, but human rights activists said a number of Syrian writers and journalists who reported on the unrest in Dara had been arrested.

. . .

Presidential advisor Bouthaina Shaaban pledged to consider ending the emergency law in place since 1963 that has allowed the government to detain anyone without a warrant or a trial.

She said the government was also drafting a law that would allow political parties other than the ruling Baath party to operate, and loosen restrictions on news media. She also promised wage increases and health insurance for public servants.

But the human rights activists noted that the promises were not binding and pledged to move forward with their plans for Friday protests.

See also:
Syria’s Bashar al-Assad faces most serious unrest of his tenure
The Syrian revolt
Syria: patience of people running thin
Thousands Protest At Syrian Funerals
Thousands of Syrians chant “freedom” at Deraa mosque
Reports of bloodbath in Syria
Syrian Police Kill at Least 15 Protesters
Syria changes tack, promises reform
Syria offers reforms to calm violence
Syria crisis: Can reforms appease protesters?
Obama administration condemns Syria crackdown
2011 Syrian protests

Like Libya, here’s another revolt that I can heartily root for. Bashar al-Assad has buckets of American and Israeli blood on his hands and I would thoroughly enjoy watching his corpse being dragged through the streets. Tomorrow’s planned Day of Rage, after Friday prayers, could be a tipping point as to whether the Syrian government will fall or brutally repress the protesters. Stay tuned.

/of course, the Muslim country government that I would most like to see circle the drain is the Iranian regime, directly responsible for well over 90% of all the terrorism on the planet, maybe, hopefully, soon

Not Yet

/Michael Ramirez

Dem House vote-counter lacks health care votes now

The House’s chief Democratic headcounter said Sunday he hadn’t rounded up enough votes to pass President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul heading into a make-or-break week, even as the White House’s top political adviser said he was “absolutely confident” in its prospects.

The administration gave signs of retreating on demands that senators jettison special home-state deals sought by individual lawmakers that have angered the public.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs predicted House passage this week, before Obama travels to Asia, a trip he postponed to push for the bill.

“This is the week where we will have this important vote,” Gibbs said. “I do think this is the climactic week for health care reform.”

Political strategist David Axelrod said Democrats will persuade enough lawmakers to vote “yes.” The House GOP leader, Ohio Rep. John Boehner, took up the challenge, acknowledging Republicans alone can’t stop the measure, but pledging to do “everything we can to make it difficult for them, if not impossible, to pass the bill.” Republicans believe they may get help from Democrats facing tough re-election campaigns.

Axelrod said it will be a struggle, taking aim at insurance industry lobbyists who “have landed on Capitol Hill like locusts” and Republicans who see being on the losing side of the vote as a political victory.

“I am absolutely confident that we are going to be successful. I believe that there is a sense of urgency on the part of members of Congress,” given recent news about insurance plan rate increases, Axelrod said.

A dose of reality came from Rep. James Clyburn, the third-ranking House Democrat and main vote counter. “No, we don’t have them as of this morning, but we’ve been working this thing all weekend,” said Clyburn, D-S.C.

See also:
UPDATE 1-US House Democrat says still short on health votes
House Dem whip: We don’t have the votes yet
Health Care Bill Held Up by Uncertainty, Mistrust
Axelrod: Health Care Effort Is ‘A Struggle’
Boehner determined to kill Dem health care bill
Axelrod Says Health Bill to Pass, Boehner Skeptical (Update4)
Health Care Bill ‘Still a Jump Ball,’ White House Official Says
Thousands rally at State Capitol to kill health care bill
Why Health Bill Makes No Sense

/keep up the pressure

And In The Senate Corner . . . Weighing In At 2074 Pages . . . The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

From behind the closed doors of Harry Reid’s office, submitted for your perusal . . .

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Put on your hip waders, this jabberwocky assault on American health care is longer than the first four Harry Potter books combined, only without the magic or entertainment value.

Senate Health Bill Is Outlined by Reid

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid outlined for Democrats Wednesday a ten-year $849 billion bill that would overhaul the nation’s health-care system and extend insurance to 31 million Americans without coverage.

The legislation represents the Nevada Democrat’s first attempt to build consensus among Senate Democratic liberals and centrists, as well as the two independents allied with the party.

A senior Senate Democratic leadership aide said the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated the bill, after it is implemented, would ensure that 94% of those living in the U.S., not counting unauthorized immigrants, have insurance coverage. CBO has previously estimated that about 83% of Americans now have insurance.

The aide said the CBO estimated that the Senate measure would reduce the federal budget deficit by $127 billion over the next decade, and by $650 billion over the second ten years of the program. In part, the bill achieves that reduction through new taxes on Medicare and high-value insurance plans.

The 10-year price tag comes in below the $900 billion limit set by the White House and below the $1.055 trillion cost of the health-overhaul passed by the House earlier this month.

The $849 billion figure and the prospect of deficit reduction cheered Democrats. But the figures aren’t likely to win over Republicans, who say the bill adds costly new benefits for some Americans when the federal budget deficit is reaching new heights.

“We’re going to do everything we can to defeat this monstrosity,” said Sen. John Thune (R., S.D.).

Among other things, the Senate legislation would create a new government-run health insurance plan to compete with private insurers, while allowing states the option not to participate. That is a nod to centrists worried about the federal government’s growing footprint in the private sector.

The bill would also create government subsidies to help individuals and families comply with a mandate to buy insurance, and would sharply expand Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for the poor.

Mr. Reid’s decision to unveil a bill sets the stage for a pivotal vote, perhaps Friday or Saturday, that will determine whether the Senate can formally open debate on the bill. Mr. Reid, who met Wednesday with Vice President Joseph Biden, has voiced optimism that he can secure the votes needed to overcome Republican opposition and move to the debate. But with the outcome uncertain, the coming vote looms large as the first of several over the next month that will test Mr. Reid’s ability to hold together liberals and centrists.

See also:
Senate Democrats introduce $849 billion healthcare reform bill
Reid Unveils Senate Healthcare Bill
Senate Democrats’ Health Care Bill Will Cost $849 Billion
Senate’s health care bill cost: $849 billion
Senate health bottom line: $849 billion overhaul
Senate healthcare bill hits Obama cost target
Reid bill would cost $849B, expand coverage to 31 million people, aide says
Senate Health Plan Seeks to Add Coverage to 31 Million
$849 billion health bill sets up historic debate
Johnson, Thune On Senate Health Care Reform
New Senate Healthcare Reform Bill Features Public Option With Opt-Out
US Senate health plan includes public option-senator
Senate Health Care Bill: $370+ Billion Tax Hike
2,074-page health bill includes surgery, payroll tax hike
Stupak Abortion Measure Stopped…for the Moment
Senate Democrats backing down on tough anti-abortion measure
Senator: Pro-Life Side Lacks Votes to Stop Abortion Funding in Health Care
Stupak: I have votes to defeat health bill
DeGette says Stupak won’t have the votes to keep his amendment
Senate, House Democratic health bills compared
In The House Corner . . . Weighing In At 1990 Pages . . . The Affordable Health Care For America Act

/here we go, pass the popcorn

In The House Corner . . . Weighing In At 1990 Pages . . . The Affordable Health Care For America Act

From behind the closed doors of Nancy Pelosi’s office, submitted for your perusal . . .

Affordable Health Care for America Act

If you start now and read several hundred pages a day, you might be able to get through it by the time they start to debate it on the House floor next week. As with all these bills, written in legislative gibberish that would make a challenging read for a lawyer, pack a lunch and leave a trail of bread crumbs.

Oh look, PBS has already posted a summary of the bill only a few hours after it was unveiled. I wonder who they got that from, Pelosi and the Democrats? PBS staffers certainly haven’t had time to read the bill for themselves yet.

Bill Summary: Affordable Health Care for America Act

House Democrats on Thursday unveiled the Affordable Health Care for America Act. The 1,990-page legislation is a combination of bills passed by three House committees earlier this year. Key tenets include:

· New regulations | New insurance industry regulations would prohibit insurers from rejecting customers based on pre-existing conditions. The regulations would also prohibit annual or lifetime caps on benefits.

· Insurance exchange | The bill would set up a new national health insurance exchange, a marketplace where individuals who do not have employer-sponsored insurance would be able to shop for plans. The exchange would also be open to small businesses, and more would be able to join each year. Companies with 25 or fewer employees would be able to join in 2013, companies with 50 or fewer employees could join in 2014, and companies with fewer than 100 employees could join by 2015.

· Public insurance option | The health insurance exchange would include a government-run public plan. Federal officials would negotiate payment rates with doctors and hospitals that accept the plan.

· Employer mandate | Employers with annual payrolls greater than $500,000 would be required to either provide health insurance for their employees, or contribute 8 percent of their payroll to a federal fund to help subsidize employees who purchase coverage through the exchange. Employers with payrolls less than $500,000 would be exempt from the mandate.

· Individual mandate | Individuals will be required to purchase health insurance, or pay a penalty fee. Some people would be eligible to apply for a hardship waiver.

· Medicaid expansion | Medicaid would be expanded to cover everyone whose income is below 150 percent of the poverty line, or about $33,000 per year for a family of four.

· Affordability subsidies | People who earn between 150 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level would be eligible for subsidies on a sliding scale to purchase insurance through the exchange. Those subsidies would ensure that people who make 150 percent of the poverty level would not have to pay more than 3 percent of their income in premiums, while those who make 400 percent of the poverty level could pay up to 12 percent of their income in premiums.

· Out-of-pocket expenses caps | New regulations would cap yearly out-of-pocket medical expenses for individuals at $5,000 and families at $10,000. Those who earn less than 400 percent of the poverty level would have lower caps, on a sliding scale.

· Tax surcharge | The bill would help pay for itself by imposing a 5.4 percent tax surcharge on individuals earning more than $500,000 per year and families earning more than $1 million.

· End-of-life counseling | The bill retains a controversial provision that allows Medicare to pay for voluntary end-of-life counseling

Oh yeah, and did you catch the part where Pelosi said that the House bill would cost less than $900 billion? Would it surprise anyone to know that she’s lying her ass off through her Botox induced permagrin teeth?

CBO: House Bill Costs $1.055 Trillion

The Congressional Budget Office is out with its analysis of the House Democrats’ health care bill. The headline number — likely to be widely cited in media accounts — is that the bill costs $894 billion over 10 years. But in reality, the CBO says that the gross cost of the bill will be $1.055 trillion. The $894 billion number reflects the taxes being paid by individuals who don’t have insurance and employers who don’t provide insurance.

In addition, the bill relies on some of the same budgetary gimmicks as the Senate Finance Committee’s bill. Once again, we see that the Democrats backload the spending provisions into the final six years of the CBO’s 10 year budget window to make it appear cheaper. Specifically, the CBO says the bill’s gross spending will be $60 billion in the first four years, and $995 billion in the next six years (or 94 percent of the total).

Also, while the CBO says that the bill will reduce deficits by $104 billion over 10 years and keep reducing the deficit (albiet slightly) beyond that, it cautions that these estimates assume that proposed budget cuts will actually get enacted by future members of Congress. “These longer-term projections assume that the provisions of H.R. 3962 are enacted and remain unchanged throughout the next two decades, which is often not the case for major legislation,” the CBO director Douglas Elmendorf wrote. “The long-term budgetary impact of H.R. 3962 could be quite different if those provisions generating savings were ultimately changed or not fully implemented.”

The CBO estimate doesn’t include the more than $200 billion it will cost to prevent scheduled cuts to doctors’ payments under Medicare, which Democrats intend to pass through separate legislation.

The bill would also add 15 million people to the Medicaid rolls, costing states an additional $34 billion over 10 years.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the CBO report doesn’t say anything about whether the bill actually bends the health care cost curve. To be clear, while it estimates — with caveats — that the bill will reduce deficits, that isn’t the same thing as reducing national health care expenditures, which is how people derive all those statistics about how high of a percentage of GDP we spend on health care compared with other countries. If you hike taxes high enough, you can get the CBO to say it reduces deficits on paper, but that’s a lot different from bringing down the actual costs of health care to our nation.

Wait a minute, it’s not just Pelosi who’s lying about the 2000 page path to socialized medicine . . .

See also:
House Democrats announce health-care bill
Statement from President Obama on the Affordable Health Care for America Act
House health bill clocks in at 1,990 pages
House Dems unveil health care bill
House Democrats unveil healthcare legislation including public option
House Dems announce health bill
Pelosi Unveils House Health Care Bill
House takes another step on healthcare reform
Details on health care bills in House, Senate
A 1,990-Page Medical Monstrosity
It’s alive! End-of-life counseling in health bill
Clyburn: ‘Cadillac tax’ in healthcare would violate Obama’s pledge
House Healthcare Bill Longer Than ‘War and Peace’
Democrats’ Unhealthy Reform Plans
1502 Pages Of Senate Deficit Deepening, Health Care Razing Gibberish

Of course, this monsterous sham has to be passed by the House and then Reid has to come out from behing his closed office doors and unveil the Senate’s gigantic mockery of health care “reform”, which will have to be passed by the Senate. Next, Pelosi and Reid will have to take the ~4000 pages of both bills behind closed conference doors, to conjure the final bloated shamockery bill, that’ll need to pass both houses of Congress.

/hopefully, there’s still enough hoops to jump through and divisions between Democrat factions that, somewhere along the line, they’ll come up short on needed votes and the entire national debt boosting travesty will collapse under it’s own socialist weight

1502 Pages Of Senate Deficit Deepening, Health Care Razing Gibberish

Submitted for your perusal by the Senate Finance committee. But don’t get too attached to this particular heaping helping of nonsense, the Senate Democrats are writing the real bill in secret, behind the closed doors of Harry Reid’s office. And don’t expect to get to read the final version of the health care “reform” bill before the Senate votes on it. The Democrats realize they need to try and ram this travesty through the Senate before the public gets a whiff of all the malodorous [expletive deleted] that’s crammed into it.

Mr. BAUCUS, from the Committee on Finance, reported the following original bill; which was read twice and placed on the calendar.

Read twice, really? I bet it wasn’t even read once all the way through. Here, see if you can wade through this tsunami of legislative jabberwocky.

America’s Healthy Future Act of 2009

Good luck, bring a lunch, leave a trail of bread crumbs.

Finance Committee bill has been filed

Senate Finance Committee members have been notified that the committee’s health reform bill was filed today. S. 1796 weighs in at 1,502 pages, according to a Senate Republican leadership source. It’s still not up yet on the Finance Committee website or Thomas.gov. We’ll post a link as soon as we get one.

UPDATED:

Read the entire 1,502 page Finance bill.

Read a document outlining the concerns of Sens. Kerry, Schumer, Menendez, Stabenow and Rockefeller that the tax on high-end plans will hit plans that are not overly generous.

Read Sen. Rockefeller’s expanded views on reform.

UPDATE 2: The Senate Finance Committee filed its sweeping health care reform bill Monday and its release served largely to highlight the divisions among Democrats over the direction of reform.

The massive, 1,500 page bill is expected to serve as the backbone for Democratic reform efforts going forward and five senators expressed concerns about one of its main provisions, a 40 percent tax on high-end insurance plans.

The tax is designed to pay for reform and lower costs by making the so-called Cadillac plans less attractive for insurers to offer. Under the bill, a plan that costs an individual more than $8,000 and a family more than $21,000 annually would be subject to the tax.

But Democratic Sens. John Kerry, Chuck Schumer, Robert Menendez, Debbie Stabenow and Jay Rockefeller are concerned that the threshold that defines a Cadillac plan is too low and will whack middle-class people.

“We remain concerned that the thresholds are too low and will impact plans that are not overly generous and that in 2019 far too many plans will be impacted by the excise tax. We plan to continue to work with Chairman Baucus on this issue to ensure that provision bends the cost curve, but not at the expense of middle-income Americans,” the senators wrote in a one-page “additional views” document that was released with the bill.

The document is reminiscent of a dissent that is filed with the majority opinion in a court case.

Rockefeller filed his own 13-page additional views document that spelled out his concerns, many of which he aired during the eight-day mark up of the bill. The West Virginia Democrat remains concerns that the bill does not contain a public option; that it does not uniformly apply insurance market reforms and that state-based exchanges designed to help people buy insurance will not be as effective as a single national one.

UPDATE 3: It’s important to remember that the bill won’t exist in this form for long. Senate Majority Leader Reid and Sens. Max Baucus and Chris Dodd along with senior White House aides are merging the Finance and Health Committee legislation into one bill that will be considered on the floor of the Senate. The behind-closed-doors dealings have drawn criticism from Republicans, particularly because President Obama had promised a transparent process and pledged to negotiate the health care bill on C-SPAN.

See also:
Health Care Bill Language Is Now Online
A Little Light Reading From the Senate Legislative Counsel’s Office
CEOs Tally Health-Bill Score
Healthcare merger
The Democrat-Only ‘Bipartisan’ Health Care Bill
RAW DATA: Palin Critique of Senate Finance Committee Health Care Bill
Health Care Progress Report: October 19
Hatch “No” on Senate Finance Health Bill
Be The First On Your Block To Gaze Into The Crystal Ball Of Health Care’s Future

/the only thing we know for certain at this point is that, whatever rancid health care “reform” sausage finally extrudes out the other end of the Congressional grinder, we’ll all be paying more to wait longer for lower quality health care and trillions of additional dollars will be tacked on to our national debt

Be The First On Your Block To Gaze Into The Crystal Ball Of Health Care’s Future

House Committee Approves Health-Care Package

The House Energy and Commerce Committee Friday night approved a sweeping package of health-care measures, clearing a critical hurdle that sets the stage for a five-week battle for both Democrats and Republicans to define the legislation in voters’ minds before the full House votes next month.

The final pieces of an intense two-week negotiation came together Friday morning, when rank-and-file liberals on the committee struck a deal with conservative Democrats that could lead to larger subsidies for lower-income workers to pay for health insurance. The committee then approved its portion of the House’s health-care bill on a 31 to 28 vote, with five Democrats joining all 23 Republicans opposing the measure.

The committee’s vote on the bill was the last thing keeping the House from adjourning for its August recess.

While lawmakers return home to their districts, Democratic leaders in the House plan to spend the next month weaving together what three committees — Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, and Education and Labor — have passed on health care, preparing the 1,000-page bill for a post-Labor Day vote.

See also:
House panel OKs sweeping health care bill
House Committee Approves Healthcare Bill
Key House committee passes health care bill
Final House Panel Approves Health Reform Bill
Obama hails action on healthcare bill
For Pelosi, Recess Means Selling Health Plan

So, what’s all this fuss about which your very life may hang in the balance? Well, here’s the latest published version, weighing in at 1017 pages. Hey, look at the bright side, just like Congress you have the entire month of August to read it. If you pace yourself at 50 pages per day, you’ll have plenty of time to scare yourself silly before Congress gets back and makes your nightmare a reality.

H.R.3200 America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009

Oh wait, you wanted to see the final version of the bill, the one they’ll actually vote on, the one that’s already been marked up by three separate House committees? Well, um, the haven’t quite gotten around to publishing that version for us to read, let alone finished putting it together. Hell, the American public, not to mention the entire U.S. House of Representatives, will be lucky if they get five hours to read the final version of the bill before a final passage vote out of the House is taken. So, I suggest you get busy with this version, it’s the only version you’ll probably get to read, no pressure, it’s not like your life may depend on it.

Just remember, Obama says, “It is not government’s takeover of health care. It’s not a single-payer system like Canada. It’s just not. “

Really? I think he means, not yet.

If you, can’t get it in the front door, sneak it around back.

/hell of a way to run a country, eh?