Two Days Before Christmas

Here we are just two days before Christmas and the U.S. Senate is still debating health care reform with the final vote for passage coming around 8:00 am tomorrow morning. Harry Reid keeps saying that the reason they are debating the bill in the middle of the night and right up to Christmas day, is because of the Republicans. He forgets that we all know he, as Majority Leader, sets the Senate schedule, and he alone decides when legislation hits the floor. In other words, this is his way of punishing everyone because he thinks the Republicans are pooping in his Post Toasties. Grow up Harry.

Just thinking about the health care bill makes me angry, which is exactly why Scary Harry made sure that debate on the bill ran right up to the Christmas holiday. Too many people are traveling to visit family. They’re trying to enjoy the season, and they don’t want to listen to all this negativity or even think about the horror that will come if this bill actually makes it through the entire process.

On a more optimistic note, Rich Lowry writes about five reasons the health care bill might not pass. Personally I think there are a few more reasons than the ones he chose to focus on. His five include public revulsion (which hasn’t stopped Scary Harry, Nanny State Nancy, or The Failed One® yet), the abortion funding issue, and more.

Some other reasons the bill might not make it include the fact that Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), the chairwoman of the House Rules Committee has gone on the record to state that Congress should scrap the bill and start over. It turns out Democrats aren’t supporting the bill either. As their base erodes, so will any effort to pass the horrific legislation. It’s already a given that most Democrats up for re-election in 2010 (in the House and the Senate) face an uphill battle because of their support for the bill.

To make matters worse for every Democrat in the House (as the entire House is up for reelection in 2010) is the fact that The Failed One® is now thinking about postponing health care talks until February. This will keep health care reform on everyone’s mind well into the months leading up to the election. Those opposed to this bill and running for office couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas present from President Obama.

That’s it from me tonight. I have a few things I need to get done around here, and I need to get up early tomorrow for the senate vote (although I am pretty sure we all know the outcome of the vote).

— Posted with Stuffr! —

Cash 4 Cloture More Successful Than Cash 4 Clunkers

As expected, debate continued on the Senate floor until late into the evening. After taking a small break the Senate was back in session at midnight at just after one o’clock this morning, Scary Harry and the ‘Cash 4 Cloture’ Democrat Party voted for cloture on the health care bill.

As I mentioned last night, there is no such thing as a moderate Democrat, nor one that keeps their word, not in the U.S. Senate anyway. They say that everyone has a price and we learned tonight that several senators can be bought with little to no out of pocket expense (for some anyway).

Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) made sure his state received a Medicaid expansion “kickback” that will save his state, as well as Vermont and Massachusetts (because of deals with their Senators too), roughly $1.2 billion, which will be passed on to the citizens of 47 other states.

Senators Chris Dodd (D-CT), Carl Levin (D-MI), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT), all made sure to get a little honey in added to their pot before the vote took place.

One Senate Democrat, Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) thinks that anyone against the health care reform bill hates President Obama, yet he fails to see that 60% of the American people are against this health care reform bill.

They are desperate to break this president. They have ardent supporters who are nearly hysterical at the very election of President Barack Obama. The birthers, the fanatics, the people running around in right-wing militia and Aryan support groups, it is unbearable to them that President Barack Obama should exist. That is one powerful reason. It is not the only one.

Does he actually think that sixty-percent of the American people are members of Aryan support groups or right-wing militias? Seriously? Talk about a fanatic.

Are you still wondering why Scary Harry called the Senate into session in the wee hours this morning? Maybe it has something to do with the numerous new tax hikes the Senate Democrats are forcing on their constituents.

Medicine Cabinet Tax (Page 1997/Sec. 9003/$5 bil/Jan 2011): No longer allowable to use health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement (HRA) pre-tax dollars to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines (except insulin)

HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike (Page 1998/Sec. 9004/$1.3 bil/Jan 2011): Increases additional tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent.

FSA Cap (Page 1999/Sec. 9005/$13.3 bil/Jan 2011): Imposes cap on FSAs of $2500 (now unlimited). Indexed to inflation after 2011 (added on page 363 of manager’s amendment)

Does he really think passing a bill in the middle of the night will keep people from learning what they’re up too?

The vote tonight does settle one thing. This health care reform bill is owned 100% by the Democrats. Anything printed in the bill, anything passed into law, is on their shoulders, and we the people of the United States of America will remember exactly what they have done.

Passage, Productivity, Procedures, & Praise

Another day, another tumultuous day where DSL is concerned. Although the weather cleared up enough so it wasn’t foggy and the sun was trying to break through the clouds, a dark cloud hung over my internet connection. It’s okay though, because they will fix it. Eventually.

Today, for the first time ever, we saw Sandhill Cranes flying in formation. First we saw a group of 21 over the interstate and then farther down the road we saw approximately 300 of them flying on their journey south for the winter. They were too high in the sky for decent photos, but it sure was nice watching them.

Thought #1

If, and that’s a big if, this health care bill passes the Senate, how exactly does Harry Reid expect to reconcile the Senate version with the House version?

The Senate version doesn’t prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, the House version does. The Senate version might not contain a public option, the House version does. These are some pretty big obstacles to overcome in the road to reconciliation in conference.

It might not matter though, since Democrat support for the bill is waning as well.

Former Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean argued Wednesday that the health care overhaul bill taking shape in the Senate further empowers private insurers at the expense of consumer choice — a claim the White House rejected.

“This is an insurance company’s dream,” the former Democratic presidential candidate said. “This is the Washington scramble, and it’s a shame.”

Dean argued that the Senate’s health care bill would not prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage for preexisting conditions and he also said it would allow the industry to charge older people far more than others for premiums.

Oops. Where is Scary Harry going to find the 60 votes now?

Hat Tip: Vinny

Thought #2

Speaking of Vinny, you need to watch his latest episode of IT.tv.

 
Thought #3

The debate over the heath care bill got interesting today when Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced a 767 page single-payer amendment to the bill. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) exercised his prerogative in the Senate and insisted that the bill be read, in its entirety, on the Senate floor.

The Senate clerk began reading the bill at noon and three hours later they were less than 150 pages into the bill. Realizing his amendment lacked the votes to pass, he withdrew the amendment and then berated Republicans for bringing Senate business to a halt.

I applaud the Republicans, especially Tom Coburn for doing so. Without their dedication to stopping this bill, the Democrats would be rolling through with steam rollers killing the American way of life and ushering an era of socialism that would destroy our country forever.

Thought #4

When the author of the bill insists that no Senator can understand the health care bill, you know you have issues.

 

Max Baucus (D-MT) insulted every member of the Senate by claiming they do not have the mental capacity to understand the bill they are debating. What a moron.

Tom Coburn is one of only two doctors who serve in the U.S. Senate. Max Baucus is one of almost 60 morons who do the same.

Thought #5

Once again, Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) makes me wish I lived in the 11th district of Michigan.

 

What a great summary of the Democrat controlled Congress. “Too costly, too crazy, too quickly…”

Thought #6

Time for my final thought of the day. Actually, it’s a question. What did you see or hear today that made you smile? This is what I saw.

 

Hold fast to your dreams, for without them life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.
Langston Hughes

And You Thought Nixon Was A Crook

As you may have heard by now, the Senate voted in favor of cloture, and to send their version of health care reform to the Senate floor for debate. The vote for cloture was 60-39.

Before you panic too much, please remember that the bill must still pass the a final vote in the Senate, then, if it does, it must be reconciled in conference with the House version that passed and then the final bill must then pass another vote of the House as well as a cloture vote and final passage within the Senate.

The fight is far from over, but let’s look at the vote which took place this evening. In order to invoke cloture, sixty Senators must for it. As you see above the vote was just 60. To tell the truth, I was shocked. I thought for sure at least one Democrat would defect, or at the very least, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) would.

Sen. Lieberman has stated, more than once, that he would support a filibuster of the bill if it contained a public option. The bill tonight contained that option, so I was very upset with Mr. Lieberman. I still am. He made it clear, or at least made it seem that way, in many media outlets that he would not vote the way he did tonight, yet his communication with his constituents tells a completely different story.

Some have asked about my remarks regarding votes on health care reform on the Senate floor. When the bill comes to the Senate floor, I am planning to vote to allow debate to begin on the bill, which in this instance will require 60 votes. I very much look forward to debating the various aspects of this critical legislation and voting on proposed amendments. If, however, when the subsequent motion to limit debate time on the bill is voted on, with a 60-vote requirement for that motion to succeed, I will not vote in favor of that motion if the bill at that time includes a public option, for the reasons stated above.

It seems he was straight up with his constituents, which is good, but he sure misled the remainder of the American people, didn’t he?

A few Democrats had indicated that they would not support the bill if it contained a public option as well, and every single one of them toed the party line. I don’t know why any Senator would vote to begin debate, let alone vote to support this bill, when a vast majority of Americans do not want this bill to pass.

The approval rating for this bill is far below that of President Obama, which just happens to have dropped below 50% this week also.

It’s just a shame that Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Ben Nelson (D-FL) and every other Democrat in the Senate put their loyalty to Harry Reid over their loyalty to their constituents tonight. That action alone speaks volumes.

With the success of this cloture vote, Harry Reid accomplished two tasks. He showed the people of Nevada (which is my home state) how much he listens to and appreciates their opinions, and he showed the rest of the United States that he is better at bribing, and coercing his party members in the Senate than Nancy Pelosi is with her members in the House.

4.9 Trillion Reasons To Contact Your Senator

In the same fashion as the House version of health care reform, the Senate version eliminates lifetime and annual limits on the benefits for any participant or beneficiary, dependent coverage is extended until children turn 26 (although they are very much NOT children by this point), and it prohibits the discrimination of coverage based on salary.

I don’t really get that last one, because employers will be terminating their own health care plans because the government fines and fees for not providing coverage will be much lower than the cost of the plans themselves.

The Senate version provides for immediate access to insurance for those individuals with a pre-existing condition, sets up the “health benefit exchange”, and like the House version, creates so many layers of bureaucracy in health care that you’ll be lucky to make it through the red tape to see an actual doctor.

While reading the Senate’s “amendment in the nature of a substitute” to HR 3590, I realized that even though they worked on it behind closed doors and kept the whole process hush-hush, we’ve seen much of this bill before. Most of the provisions of the Senate version of the bill have been seen twice before, even three times, in the previous versions of the House bills as well as the first Senate bill that was “tossed out there” for all of us to see.

And just like the House version(s), this bill stinks, and it stinks bad. The Senate debated the bill all day today and they are scheduled to debate again all day tomorrow. You can watch the proceedings on CSPAN2, but make sure you contact your senators before you do anything else and tell them to vote against cloture on this bill. A vote for cloture (remember, they need 60 votes to proceed) is a vote for the bill (since they only need 51 votes to pass the bill).

Rather than go section by section (which would take me a couple days to post again) I thought I would cover some of the more pertinent and dangerous portions of the bill. If you read my posts on HR3200 or HR3962 then you are pretty much up to speed with this Senate bill, with a few exceptions.

The Senate bill weighs in at 2,074 pages (the largest one yet) and 20.8 pounds. The average staple weighs roughly 32 milligrams, average paper clip weighs 1 gram, and the average stethoscope weighs about 5 ounces. The Senate bill weighs more than 294,835 staples, 9,434 paper clips or 66 stethoscopes. That’s one heavy bill.

When Medicaid was created years ago, the original estimates put the cost of the bill at $238 million, yet the cost of Medicaid hit $1 billion and have been rising ever since, so let’s get real about the cost of this (or any) health care bill presented thus far by the Democrats.

James Capretta, the Ethics and Public Policy Center fellow for NRO, estimates the true cost of the bill (with the “doc fix” included) to be $4.9 trillion over 20 years with Democrats raising $2.2 in tax hikes and recovering more money by making cuts to Medicare coverage.

At a cost of $2.5 trillion, which is turning out to be a very conservative number itself, the Senate bill will cost us $1.2 billion per page, or $6.8 million per word.

The Senate bill includes provisions which will impose an additional taxes and fees which borderline on ridiculous. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said it best when he said,

If you have insurance, you get taxed. If you don’t have insurance, you get taxed. If you need a life-saving medical device, you get taxed. If you need prescription medicines, you get taxed

There is a new marriage penalty which will hit many couples right in the pocketbook, and will increase the federal deficit, which President Obama promised he would not support doing. Of course, when was the last time you heard an honest word come out of his mouth, seriously?

The non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation released it’s own report which estimates how much revenue taxes in the bill are likely to generate. According to the JCT,

  • Tax on high-end health insurance plans: $149.1 billion
  • Capping flexible spending accounts at $2,500: $14.6 billion
  • Fees for drug makers: $22.2 billion
  • Fees for medical device makers: $19.3 billion
  • Fees for health insurance companies: $60.4 billion
  • Higher floor for deducting medical expenses: $15.2 billion
  • Higher payroll tax for top earners: $53.8 billion
  • Tax on cosmetic surgery: $5.8 billion

The report goes on to list all of the different taxes and fees, which total much more than this initial list which comes to $340.4 billion in new taxes paid by you and me. Notice that last one which reflects the new 5% excise tax on elective cosmetic surgery. Nancy Pelosi is not going to like that provision at all. How much you want to bet that entire paragraph gets stripped in conference if this bill passes the Senate?

One fee not mentioned, until now, is the monthly abortion fee that everyone under the government-run plan will be paying for. According to Section 1303 of the Senate bill, the Secretary of Health and Human Services will have the authority to determine when abortion will be allowed under the government run health plan, and all premiums paid under the government run plan will be paid into the U.S. Treasury account which will be used to pay for abortion services.

HR 3590, “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” will also allow the government to enter your home under “home visitation programs”. Section 2951 will allow the government to send officials into your home to check the “wellness” of your children, to make sure you are parenting your children properly and otherwise taking care of them at some standard which will be set by the government.

Those officials will be checking on low income families, women under the age of 21 who become pregnant, families with a history of substance abuse, families that have members who use tobacco products, families with children who have low student achievement, families with children who have learning disabilities or developmental delays, and families with individuals who are serving or have served in our armed forces.

Just think of the ramifications of section 2951 which is a clear example of invasion of privacy, and that section alone is enough reason not to support the passage of this bill.

There is no doubt that our health care system needs an adjustment, or even reform if you want to call it that, but this bill, as well as all of the other Democrat bills presented thus far is not what we need, or want. We cannot allow this bill to be forced upon us by Barack Obama, with help Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.

Remember to take some time out of your day tomorrow to contact your senators and tell them to vote no on cloture. One vote could literally save our country from the downward spiral known as government run health care.

It’s Time To Pick Up The Phone

I’m afraid you’re going to have wait one more night before I start my review of the Senate health care bill. I had a busy day today, an image group meeting tonight, and I just haven’t had time to finish reading the bill. Did you get a chance to read it?

I should be far enough along in the bill by tomorrow to begin my review. Word has it that the vote to proceed, or cloture vote, will be held around 8pm on Saturday evening. It’s time to contact your senators and tell them that a vote for cloture is a vote for the bill, plain and simple.

It’s not difficult to see the difference between liberals and conservatives in the Senate, even on Twitter, take these two tweets for example:

While the rest of us debate health care reform, and most of us (yes the majority of Americans are against this version of health care reform) fight to make sure this bill is not passed into law, Democrats like Claire McCaskill (D-MO) seem to be obsessed with Sarah Palin.

It seems to me that Senate Democrats are using smoke screens and diversions in an attempt to keep you, yes you, and everyone else from learning what’s really in the bill, or even when the bill will be voted on.

Keep in mind that Harry Reid is already up to his old dirty tricks, and this newest version of the bill contains a required monthly fee to fund abortions to those who seek them.

That’s it for tonight, I have some reading to do.