Our Professional Prevaricating President

As I stated in the third post in this series, an employer who does not provide health care coverage for their employees will be subject to an 8% fine to help cover the cost of their coverage anyway.

President Obama said,

And that’s why under my plan, individuals will be required to carry basic health insurance — just as most states require you to carry auto insurance. Likewise — likewise, businesses will be required to either offer their workers health care, or chip in to help cover the cost of their workers.

And once again I need to point out that many employers pay far more than 8% of their employees salaries toward health care coverage, so it doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a tax cheating Treasury secretary to figure out that employers will be dropping health care packages before the ink from the President’s signature dries on the paper.

He continues,

…given all the misinformation that’s been spread over the past few months, I realize — (applause) — I realize that many Americans have grown nervous about reform. So tonight I want to address some of the key controversies that are still out there.

You may not believe me, but most of the ‘misinformation’ out there is coming from the White House and the democratic leaders in Congress. Almost everything they have said in public since the end of July has been a lie or an attempt to distract people from the truth.

A good example of this comes in the very next paragraph from the President.

Some of people’s concerns have grown out of bogus claims spread by those whose only agenda is to kill reform at any cost. The best example is the claim made not just by radio and cable talk show hosts, but by prominent politicians, that we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens. Now, such a charge would be laughable if it weren’t so cynical and irresponsible. It is a lie, plain and simple.

When people started reading the bill back in late July / early August, they noticed some suspicious wording in the bill which included end-of-life care. For those who keep denying this was even part of the bill, here is the text.

“(A) An explanation by the practitioner of advance care planning, including key questions and considerations, important steps, and suggested people to talk to.

“(B) An explanation by the practitioner of advance directives, including living wills and durable powers of attorney, and their uses.

“(C) An explanation by the practitioner of the role and responsibilities of a health care proxy.

“(D) The provision by the practitioner of a list of national and State-specific resources to assist consumers and their families with advance care planning, including the national toll-free hotline, the advance care planning clearinghouses, and State legal service organizations (including those funded through the Older Americans Act of 1965).

“(E) An explanation by the practitioner of the continuum of end-of-life services and supports available, including palliative care and hospice, and benefits for such services and supports that are available under this title.

“(F)(i) Subject to clause (ii), an explanation of orders regarding life sustaining treatment or similar orders, which shall include—

“(I) the reasons why the development of such an order is beneficial to the individual and the individual’s family and the reasons why such an order should be updated periodically as the health of the individual changes;

“(II) the information needed for an individual or legal surrogate to make informed decisions regarding the completion of such an order; and

“(III) the identification of resources that an individual may use to determine the requirements of the State in which such individual resides so that the treatment wishes of that individual will be carried out if the individual is unable to communicate those wishes, including requirements regarding the designation of a surrogate decisionmaker (also known as a health care proxy).

“(ii) The Secretary shall limit the requirement for explanations under clause (i) to consultations furnished in a State—

“(I) in which all legal barriers have been addressed for enabling orders for life sustaining treatment to constitute a set of medical orders respected across all care settings; and

“(II) that has in effect a program for orders for life sustaining treatment described in clause (iii).

“(iii) A program for orders for life sustaining treatment for a States described in this clause is a program that—

“(I) ensures such orders are standardized and uniquely identifiable throughout the State;

“(II) distributes or makes accessible such orders to physicians and other health professionals that (acting within the scope of the professional’s authority under State law) may sign orders for life sustaining treatment;

“(III) provides training for health care professionals across the continuum of care about the goals and use of orders for life sustaining treatment; and

“(IV) is guided by a coalition of stakeholders includes representatives from emergency medical services, emergency department physicians or nurses, state long-term care association, state medical association, state surveyors, agency responsible for senior services, state department of health, state hospital association, home health association, state bar association, and state hospice association.

And for those who may be losing something in translation, “end-of-life” equals death. There is no other option at the end of life.

Honestly, I don’t know why the President even brought this up in his speech. Politicians on the Hill denied the text was in the bill, but when confronted with that very text, they moved to remove it from the bill. How do you remove something from a bill that was never there? Why would you talk about something in a speech to a Joint Session of Congress if it never existed? Yeah, that’s a gotcha, isn’t it?

Of course, the President does not stop there. He proceeds to put his foot in his mouth one more time.

There are also those who claim that our reform efforts would insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false. The reforms — the reforms I’m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.

The reforms which have been introduced on the Hill send a mixed message but in no way prevent someone who is here illegally from obtaining health care.

Section 152 states,

Except as otherwise explicitly permitted by this Act and by subsequent regulations consistent with this Act, all health care and related services (including insurance coverage and public health activities) covered by this Act shall be provided without regard to personal characteristics extraneous to the provision of high quality health care or related services.

Health care will be delivered regardless of “personal characteristics extraneous to the provision”. If it doesn’t pertain to the care you will be receiving, it will not be considered relevant in the decisions made pertaining to that treatment.

The bill does prevent “affordability credits” for illegal immigrants. Section 246 states,

Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.

So, basically, illegal immigrants will be able to obtain health care just like the rest of us, but the government won’t be giving them a credit toward the cost of that care. The terms “illegal immigrant”, “illegal alien” cannot be found in the bill. The only reference to citizens or citizenship is in reference to those living abroad, and disregarding citizenship of parties involved in whistleblower protection.

H.R. 3200 does not contain any text that would prevent illegal immigrants from obtaining health care in the United States.

Rep. Nathan Deal (R-GA) offered an amendment in the Energy and Commerce Committee, which stated,

This Amendment requires that the millions of new people who will be “automatically enrolled” in Medicaid under this legislation demonstrate that they are American citizens.

That amendment failed in a vote of 29-28, so the amendment died in committee.

Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV) offered an amendment in the Ways & Means Committee, which stated,

Increasing safeguards to ensure benefits do not go to individuals not lawfully present in the United States.

That amendment failed in a vote of 26-15, and it too died in committee.

If the bill contained text which prevented illegal immigrants from obtaining health care, these Representatives would not be introducing amendments which would implement such a rule.

When President Obama made that statement, and Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) called him a liar, he knew he was lying. Joe Wilson said so, the Congressional Research Service said so, and Senators Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Max Baucus (D-MT) said so.

We really thought we’d resolved this question of people who are here illegally, but as we reflected on the President’s speech last night we wanted to go back and drill down again

In other words, the text was not in the bill, but they are going to make sure there is something providing for “proof of citizenship” added to the bill.

That seemed a bit too easy, didn’t it? I can’t help but wonder what’s next. Amnesty for all, so every illegal immigrant will suddenly have no need to provide proof of citizenship?

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