How Much Democrat Health Care Reform Is Really Going To Cost You

Report: Senate Health Bill Will Raise Costs

Republicans on Friday seized on a report by government actuaries that said the Senate health bill would cause national health costs to rise.

The report, compiled by the chief actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, estimated that total health costs in the U.S. would be $234 billion higher than if the bill weren’t passed. President Barack Obama has said Democrats’ health plan would reduce the growth of health-care costs.

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said Democratic lawmakers were spending large sums in the health-care bill “to make things worse.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said the report “confirms what we’ve known all along,” arguing that the bill would “increase costs, raise premiums and slash Medicare.” Democrats cited some parts of the report that were more favorable to the bill.

The report said measures in the bill to restrain Medicare costs and trim generous insurance plans “would have a significant downward impact on future health care cost growth rates,” but said those gains would be outweighed in the initial years as newly insured people sought to get more health care.

“This report is yet another clear indicator that we have to act, and act now,” said Sen. Max Baucus (D., Mont.), the chairman of the Finance Committee.

The report said 33 million more U.S. citizens and legal residents would be insured under the bill, resulting in 93% of Americans with health-insurance coverage. But it said the new demand for health care caused by the bill could prove “difficult to meet initially” because doctors and hospitals would charge higher fees in response to the new demand. The report also said the bill’s proposed cuts in Medicare spending “may be unrealistic.”

In addition to expanding coverage, the Senate bill creates a long-term-care insurance program that would provide a daily subsidy for those with disabilities and illnesses who require home-based care. The report cited a risk of “adverse selection,” saying people who were more likely to require care would be more likely to use the new insurance. That could cause insurance payouts to exceed premium revenue.

“There is a very serious risk that the problem of adverse selection would make the [long-term-care insurance] program unsustainable,” the report said.

See also:
CMS actuary warns Senate bill will cost more
A Blow to Health Reform? CMS Sees Cost Problems With Bill
Some Savings in Senate Reform Bill are Unrealistic, Says CMS Actuary
Report: Senate Bill’s Medicare Savings May be “Unrealistic
Roberts: CMMS study rebukes Reid health care bill
HHS Actuary Finds Senate Bill More Expensive Than “Unsustainable” Status Quo
Cost-saving reform measures questioned
Medicare cuts could hurt hospitals, expert warns
CMS Report Shows Reid Bill Is Worse Than Doing Nothing

So, let’s recap, Obama and the Democrats want to spend trillions of dollars to give us worse health care that costs more than not passing any health care legislation at all, what a deal!

/is there some rational reason for doing this or do Democrats just enjoy screwing the taxpayers and destroying our health care system?:

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One Step Closer To Socialized Medicine

Health Care Bill Moves Forward

Sweeping health care legislation has cleared its first hurdle in the full Senate on a party-line vote.

The 60-39 vote clears the way for a historic debate after Thanksgiving on the legislation. The measure is designed to extend coverage to an estimated 31 million Americans who lack it and crack down on insurance industry practices that deny benefits.

The White House released a statement saying, “The President is gratified that the Senate has acted to begin consideration of health insurance reform legislation. Tonight’s historic vote brings us one step closer to ending insurance company abuses, reining in spiraling health care costs, providing stability and security to those with health insurance, and extending quality health coverage to those who lack it. The President looks forward to a thorough and productive debate.”

The rare Saturday session amounted to a first round in the fight to pass the bill in the full Senate, with the remaining Democratic holdouts announcing they would support at least the measure to open debate on the bill, avoiding an early knockout by Republicans.

Sens. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana waited until Saturday to say they would vote yes for a floor debate. Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska announced Friday his support for moving the bill forward.

All three cautioned that their votes to start debate should not be construed a support for the bill in its current form.

“It is a vote to move forward to continue the good and essential and important and imperative work that is under way,” Landrieu said on the Senate floor. “I’ve decided that there’s enough significant reforms and safeguards in this bill to move forward but more work needs to be done.”

Lincoln said she still would support a filibuster if the so-called “public option,” a government-run insurance plan, remains in the health care bill.

“I along with others expect to have legitimate opportunities to influence the health care reform legislation that is voted on by the Senate later this year or early next year,” she said.

While the vote is only a procedural one, Republicans haven’t backed down.

“This is a vote about whether or not you want to fundamentally change the way health care is delivered in this country in a way which massively expands the size of government, the role of government and significantly increases the tax burden, especially for small businesses and cuts Medicare by a dramatic amount of money,” Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., told Fox News before Saturday’s session began.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called the bill “monstrous” and, citing the Congressional Budget Office, said it would not bring down costs.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, now Harry Reid’s passing out taxpayer funded bribes to jam this health care travesty through.

Sen. Landrieu flaunts purchased vote: “It’s not $100 million; it’s $300 million!”

Facing fallout from an apparent sale of her health care vote to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and the Democratic Caucus, Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) took a shocking approach in response to the payoff allegations: she flaunted it!

To help secure her vote, Reid included a provision in the bill sought by Landrieu to provide increased Medicaid funds for states recovering from major disasters such as 2005’s Hurricane Katrina that devastated New Orleans and parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. When the bill is closely examined, however, the provision provides immense financial support for only one state: Landrieu’s Louisiana.

Landrieu defended the inclusion of the provision and said Republican critics who accuse her of selling her vote for $100 million are wrong and that she has the support of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Then, in a statement sure to be repeated by Republicans endlessly over the coming weeks of Senate health care debate, the senator flaunted the inclusion of the provision. “I will correct something. It’s not $100 million, it’s $300 million, and I’m proud of it and will keep fighting for it,” Landrieu told reporters after her floor speech. “But that is not why I started this health care debate; I started this health care debate for all the reasons I just mentioned in my statement” on the floor.

The apparent purchase of the senator’s vote is already garnering significant response from Republicans as well as taxpayers footing the bill for this provision. The nickname for the provision? “The Louisiana Purchase.”

Unreal, this is just out of control. Never in U.S. legislative history have so many been screwed by so few, at such a high cost.

See also:
Historic health care bill clears Senate hurdle
Senate Health Care Reform Bill Vote, 60-39 Brings Reform Bill to the Floor
Healthcare bill advances in Senate, in 60-39 vote; it got ‘failing grade’ from healthcare experts
Biden says Senate handed Obama a big victory
Senator Corker Reacts to Senate Health Care Vote
Senate moves health care bill forward for debate
FACTBOX: Details of Senate healthcare reform bill
Landrieu votes in favor of health care debate
GOP hits Landrieu for $100 million ‘new Louisiana Purchase’
Thanks to100 million dollar bribe, Healthcare reform cloture passes Senate!

/trillions of taxpayer dollars, added to the national debt, so we can all pay more, to wait longer, for less health care, whee!

Another Major Campaign Promise Goes Under The Bus

Remember this widely hyped photo op?

Closing Guantanamo was one of Obama’s major campaign promises, along with making the war in Afghanistan a top priority, yet another major campaign promise he seems to be reneging on. Well, well, well, looky here, Obama says not so fast on that closing Guantanamo within a year promise.

Guantanamo prison not likely to close in January, officials say

The U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is unlikely to close by the Obama administration’s deadline of January 2010, two senior administration officials said late Friday.

U.S. military personnel walk a road at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in July.

They cited legal complications for the delay, but said they were still optimistic about shutting the detention facility for terrorism suspects soon.

The announcement represents a blow to the president, who signed an executive order and set the deadline with great fanfare during his first week in office.

During a signing ceremony at the White House on January 22, Obama reaffirmed his inauguration pledge that the United States does not have “to continue with a false choice between our safety and our ideals.”

The president said he was issuing the order to close the prison camp in order to “restore the standards of due process and the core constitutional values that have made this country great even in the midst of war, even in dealing with terrorism.”

The delay may provide fodder for Republicans such as former Vice President Dick Cheney, who has argued that shutting the Guantanamo prison would make the United States less safe. He said Obama should have had a detailed plan in place before signing the order.

“Even White House officials are now acknowledging that there is still no alternative that will keep Americans as safe as housing detainees at that secure facility off our shores,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said in a written statement.

“Americans and a bipartisan majority in Congress will continue to reject any effort to close Guantanamo until there is a plan that keeps Americans as safe or safer than keeping detainees in the secure detention center,” McConnell’s statement said.

See also:
AP sources: Guantanamo might not close by January
White House Regroups on Guantanamo
Guantanamo closure uncertain four months from deadline
Security issues set to thwart Obama’s bid to close Guantanamo by January
White House acknowledges it probably won’t meet self-imposed deadline to close Guantanamo Bay

Gee, maybe they should have actually had a plan before Obama shot his mouth off and set a deadline. But hey, it’s much easier to just blame Bush and the Republicans.

Even before the inauguration, President Obama’s top advisers settled on a course of action they were counseled against: announcing that they would close the facility within one year. Today, officials are acknowledging that they will be hard-pressed to meet that goal.

The White House has faltered in part because of the legal, political and diplomatic complexities involved in determining what to do with more than 200 terrorism suspects at the prison. But senior advisers privately acknowledge not devising a concrete plan for where to move the detainees and mishandling Congress.

To address these setbacks, the administration has shifted its leadership team on the issue. White House Counsel Gregory B. Craig, who initially guided the effort to close the prison and who was an advocate of setting the deadline, is no longer in charge of the project, two senior administration officials said this week.

Craig said Thursday that some of his early assumptions were based on miscalculations, in part because Bush administration officials and senior Republicans in Congress had spoken publicly about closing the facility. “I thought there was, in fact, and I may have been wrong, a broad consensus about the importance to our national security objectives to close Guantanamo and how keeping Guantanamo open actually did damage to our national security objectives,” he said.

. . .

Senior administration officials said the central roadblock during those early months was the condition of the detainee files, which had been left in disarray by the previous administration.

See? It’s Bush’s fault, the universal Obama excuse for everything! Nevermind the obvious fact that we’re still stuck with 225 of the world’s worst terrorists because we can’t find any other country, in their right mind, that will agree to take them, not even their home countries.

But don’t worry, the country is in the very best of hands, the arrogant Democrat children are in charge.

/is it just me or does Obama make a lot of bold promises that he can’t keep or has no intention of keeping?

Be Careful What You Wish For

So, does Eric Holder want to open this can of worms? Is giving a legal opinion now a criminal offense? Really?

Holder: Justice Department Will ‘Follow the Law’ in Probing Interrogation Tactics

The Justice Department will “follow the law” in investigating the Bush administration officials who cleared harsh interrogation techniques, Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday.

Holder reiterated his position a day after President Obama opened the door for potential prosecution against the lawyers who drafted memos that justified harsh interrogation tactics.

Obama has said the CIA operatives who employed those tactics using the legal guidance provided will be safe from criminal charges, but offered no such assurances to Bush administration lawyers.

“We’re going to follow the evidence wherever it takes us. We’re going to follow the law wherever that takes us,” Holder told reporters.

“No one is above the law,” Holder said.

Critics have said trying to prosecute lawyers for offering legal advice is a slippery slope toward criminalizing opinions.

“Will Democrats also investigate the members of Congress who were briefed on interrogation tactics in 2002 and raised no objection? If the lawyers are threatened with an investigation, why not the politicians who approved their actions?” asked Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas.

What about Congress?

Congress Debates Fresh Investigation Of Interrogations

Obama had hoped to put the whole matter behind him, first by banning those interrogation methods early in his presidency and then by releasing the memos last week with the proviso that no CIA official who carried out interrogations should be prosecuted.

Instead, the latest decision has stirred controversy on the right and the left. Obama has drawn sharp criticism from former vice president Richard B. Cheney, former CIA directors and Republican elected officials for releasing the memos. Those critics see softness in the commander in chief. He faces equally strong reaction from the left, where there is a desire to punish Bush administration officials for their actions and to conduct a more thorough investigation of what happened.

The controversy moved to Capitol Hill yesterday as lawmakers debated the wisdom of launching a fresh investigation into the Bush-era practices. Several top Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), withheld judgment, noting that the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has begun an inquiry.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), however, endorsed the idea and said witnesses should not be immune from prosecution.

Even Speaker Pelosi is on the bandwagon.

Pelosi backs anti-terror ‘truth commission’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed today the establishment of a formal “truth commission” to investigate Bush administration anti-terrorism policies, including an examination of former top Justice Department lawyers who crafted the legal justifications for what critics say was torture.

Such a probe could target UC Berkeley law professor John Yoo, a former deputy assistant attorney general in the Bush Justice Department who was instrumental in crafting the interrogation memoranda, and his former boss, Jay Bybee, now a judge on the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

Pelosi’s endorsement follows President Obama’s signal Tuesday that he was open to the idea. Obama’s shift, in tandem with last week’s release by the administration of past memos describing brutal interrogation techniques on terror suspects, has touched a match to the seething controversy over whether there should be a public or legal accounting for Bush administration policies on torture and detention.

But wait Nancy, didn’t you approve of these interrogation techniques, are you going to investigate yourself?

Top legislators knew of interrogations

The CIA briefed top Democrats and Republicans on the congressional intelligence committees on enhanced interrogation techniques more than 30 times, according to intelligence sources, who said those members tacitly approved the techniques which some Democrats in Congress now say should land Bush administration officials in prison.

Between 2002 and 2006, the top Republicans and Democrats on the House and Senate intelligence committees “each got complete, benchmark briefings on the program,” said one of the intelligence sources who is familiar with the briefings.

“If Congress wanted to kill this program, all it had to do was withhold funding,” said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about the closed-door briefings.

Those who were briefed included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia and Rep. Jane Harman of California, all Democrats, and Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, Sen. Richard C. Shelby of Alabama and Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, all Republicans.

See also:
Holding Pelosi Accountable For Torture
Opinion: Nancy Pelosi encouraged CIA water boarding

Oops! Hey Obama, still think opening this Pandora’s box was a good idea? If this gets any real traction, it will surely scuttle your presidency and you’ll never be reelected. Emotions are that strong on this issue.

Presidential Poison

Mark down the date. Tuesday, April 21, 2009, is the moment that any chance of a new era of bipartisan respect in Washington ended. By inviting the prosecution of Bush officials for their antiterror legal advice, President Obama has injected a poison into our politics that he and the country will live to regret.

Elections settle those battles, at least for a time, and Mr. Obama’s victory in November has given him the right to change policies on interrogations, Guantanamo, or anything on which he can muster enough support. But at least until now, the U.S. political system has avoided the spectacle of a new Administration prosecuting its predecessor for policy disagreements. This is what happens in Argentina, Malaysia or Peru, countries where the law is treated merely as an extension of political power.

If this analogy seems excessive, consider how Mr. Obama has framed the issue. He has absolved CIA operatives of any legal jeopardy, no doubt because his intelligence advisers told him how damaging that would be to CIA morale when Mr. Obama needs the agency to protect the country. But he has pointedly invited investigations against Republican legal advisers who offered their best advice at the request of CIA officials.

“Your intelligence indicates that there is currently a level of ‘chatter’ equal to that which preceded the September 11 attacks,” wrote Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee, in his August 1, 2002 memo. “In light of the information you believe [detainee Abu] Zubaydah has and the high level of threat you believe now exists, you wish to move the interrogations into what you have described as an ‘increased pressure phase.'”

So the CIA requests a legal review at a moment of heightened danger, the Justice Department obliges with an exceedingly detailed analysis of the law and interrogation practices — and, seven years later, Mr. Obama says only the legal advisers who are no longer in government should be investigated. The political convenience of this distinction for Mr. Obama betrays its basic injustice. And by the way, everyone agrees that senior officials, including President Bush, approved these interrogations. Is this President going to put his predecessor in the dock too?

Mr. Obama seemed to understand the peril of such an exercise when he said, before his inauguration, that he wanted to “look forward” and beyond the antiterror debates of the Bush years. As recently as Sunday, Rahm Emanuel said no prosecutions were contemplated and now is not a time for “anger and retribution.” Two days later the President disavowed his own chief of staff. Yet nothing had changed except that Mr. Obama’s decision last week to release the interrogation memos unleashed a revenge lust on the political left that he refuses to resist.

Just as with the AIG bonuses, he is trying to co-opt his left-wing base by playing to it — only to encourage it more. Within hours of Mr. Obama’s Tuesday comments, Senator Carl Levin piled on with his own accusatory Intelligence Committee report. The demands for a “special counsel” at Justice and a Congressional show trial are louder than ever, and both Europe’s left and the U.N. are signaling their desire to file their own charges against former U.S. officials.

Those officials won’t be the only ones who suffer if all of this goes forward. Congress will face questions about what the Members knew and when, especially Nancy Pelosi when she was on the House Intelligence Committee in 2002. The Speaker now says she remembers hearing about waterboarding, though not that it would actually be used. Does anyone believe that? Porter Goss, her GOP counterpart at the time, says he knew exactly what he was hearing and that, if anything, Ms. Pelosi worried the CIA wasn’t doing enough to stop another attack. By all means, put her under oath.

Mr. Obama may think he can soar above all of this, but he’ll soon learn otherwise. The Beltway’s political energy will focus more on the spectacle of revenge, and less on his agenda. The CIA will have its reputation smeared, and its agents second-guessing themselves. And if there is another terror attack against Americans, Mr. Obama will have set himself up for the argument that his campaign against the Bush policies is partly to blame.

Above all, the exercise will only embitter Republicans, including the moderates and national-security hawks Mr. Obama may need in the next four years. As patriotic officials who acted in good faith are indicted, smeared, impeached from judgeships or stripped of their academic tenure, the partisan anger and backlash will grow. And speaking of which, when will the GOP Members of Congress begin to denounce this partisan scapegoating? Senior Republicans like Mitch McConnell, Richard Lugar, John McCain, Orrin Hatch, Pat Roberts and have hardly been profiles in courage.

Mr. Obama is more popular than his policies, due in part to his personal charm and his seeming goodwill. By indulging his party’s desire to criminalize policy advice, he has unleashed furies that will haunt his Presidency.

See also:
Obama’s torture memo two-step
Obama pressed to back torture investigation
Torture Cases Would Face Legal Hurdles
Prosecuting Heroes

And hey, what about our extraordinary rendition programs? You know, where we send bad people to countries like Egypt to undergo real torture. Are we going to investigate that too?

/wasn’t Bill Clinton the one who first authorized extraordinary rendition, are we going to persecute the Clinton administration too, as long as we’re at it?