Planning, Parties, Payments, & Planning

Just a few quick thoughts tonight, as I am still working on a couple projects.

Thought #1

Have you marked your calendar yet?

The Douglas County TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party announced Friday that it’s brewing up another mass rally for June 4 to protest big taxes and big government.

“We’re hard at work organizing the next big event,” Maureen Miller, group spokesperson, said Friday in a news release. “We plan more great local speakers, an awesome keynote celebrity and lots of fun surprises in the works.”

The group has not determined the location of the June 4 TEA Party but listed the time on its Web site as 6-9 p.m.

Organizers have also announced they will hold what they call an “Instant TEA” on April 15, federal tax filing deadline day, at the intersection of Chapel Hill and Timber Ridge roads from 5:30-7 p.m.

Read more at the Douglas County Tea Party website, developed and maintained by yours truly.

Thought #2

It seems Scary Harry Reid doesn’t really know how to throw a party. It seems only 100 supporters showed up for his campaign kickoff.

Wow. 100?!? With his poll numbers in the tank the way they are, I am surprised that many showed up.

Thought #3

The bills have to be paid somehow. This is just one (real) possibility, so keep your eyes on Washington and be ready for that fight too.

Even before the bill became law, many economists — and this writer — argued that only one tax could raise the giant revenues needed to escape a ruinous rise in debt: a European-style Value-Added Tax, or VAT. “The healthcare bill makes the logical case for the VAT stronger, because it’s not clear that Congress will make the difficult spending reductions the bill mandates,” says William Gale, an economist with the Brookings Institution. “The Fiscal Commission will give significant support for a VAT,” says Brian Riedl of the conservative Heritage Foundation.

Thought #4

I want to do a much more in-depth article one day about dryer sheets, but for now I am going to post some links which address the toxic danger of those nice little static cling eliminators.

The following chemicals are found in most dryer sheets:

  • ALPHA-TERPINEOL- Causes CNS (Central Nervous System) disorders and is highly irritating to mucus membranes.
  • BENZYL ACETATE- Carcinogenic (linked to pancreatic cancer).
  • BENZYL ALCOHOL- Causes CNS disorders. It is irritating to the upper respiratory tract” causing “headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drop in blood pressure, CNS depression, and death in severe cases due to respiratory failure.
  • CAMPHOR- Causes CNS disorders.
  • CHLOROFORM- Toxic. It is an anesthetic and carcinogenic.
  • ETHYL ACETATE- Narcotic. This product is on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list. Irritating to the eyes and respiratory tract.
  • LINALOOL- Narcotic. Causes DNS disorder, respiratory disturbances.
  • PENTANE-”Danger-Harmful if inhaled; extremely flammable.

Dryer sheets are added when you dry your clothes. The chemicals listed above are spread on your clothes before you pull them out of the dryer, fold them, and put them away. Nothing else touches them (or rinses the chemicals out) until after you have worn them.

As I said, I need to do more research on this, but for now, you might want to find an alternative to using something laced with any known harmful chemicals.

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Lies, Lies, And More Lies

Obama says if we want to repeal ObamaCare, we should go for it. He better be careful. He may just get what he asked for.

During the 2008 campaign, Barack Obama made a pledge not to increase taxes on any households earning less than $250,000.

“I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increases,” the Illinois senator told a crowd in Dover, N.H. on Sept. 12, 2008. “Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.”

He lied.

During his address to the joint session of Congress in February of 2009, he repeated his pledge.

“If your family earns less than $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat: not a single dime,” the president said.

He lied again. How many times has he lied? Let’s count the ways (just with the health care bill).

All legal U.S. residents will be required to purchase health care beginning in 2014. The plan will require a single person to pay 2.5% of their income or $695 if they don’t purchase health care. If you make more than $30,000 you pay the 2.5%, if you make less, you pay $695. Either way, it’s an additional “health care” tax you were not paying before.

Businesses will be required to provide health care to all employees (even part-time) even if their revenues are below $250,000 per year. If the business does not provide the insurance, they will pay a tax of $750 per employee.

My wife runs her own business. I run my own business, together we will be paying much more than we were before this crap from ObamaCare hit the proverbial fan.

The old rules for HSA (health savings accounts) and FSA (flexible spending accounts) will no longer apply. Americans could use pre-tax dollars from those accounts for over the counter medicines. They will not be allowed any longer, which adds additional taxes to their income.

I could go on all day with each of the new taxes. It turns out there are more than a dozen of them, but then again, if you read the bill you already knew that.

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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.

Two Thousand Seventy Four Pages

Scary Harry Reid released the brand new Senate health care reform bill. I’ve added it to the source document list to the left, and I will begin reading it sometime tomorrow. According to early reports, the bill will cost $849 billion over 10 years, and will reduce the deficit by $127 billion over that same 10 years.

$127 billion dollars sounds like an awful lot, except it’s not. Not really. The federal deficit for October 2009 alone, was $176 billion. Think about it. The Senate version of health care reform will reduce the deficit by $1.058 billion per month for 10 years. If we have more months like October 2009, the deficit will still rise by more than $174 billion every month.

The next time you hear someone brag about this bill “reducing the deficit” just slap them in the face with the facts and watch the blood drain from their face.

The Senate health care bill is being introduced as an amendment, in the form of a substitution, for House Resolution 3590. HR 3590 had absolutely nothing to do with health care before this substitution.

Early reports indicate that this substitute HR3590 contains a 40% excise tax on health care plans which are in excess of $8,500, an additional 0.5% Medicare tax on wages in excess of $106,800, and additional fees for manufacturers of certain drugs and medical devices. The bill also raises taxes by $370 billion over 10 years, and it doesn’t stop there. The Senate health care reform bill allows for taxpayer-funded abortions through the public health insurance plan and the health insurance “exchange”.

In short, the Senate bill will raise premiums, raise taxes, and cut benefits. You can read the Congressional Budget Office score of the bill (PDF), for more information on the costs of this version of health care reform but remember one thing. The bill they scored for this report (HR 3590) will not be the same bill (therefore their score of the bill will no longer be valid) once it passes. It is sure to “evolve” before any final vote comes to the Senate floor.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, I will begin my review of the substitute to HR3590 tomorrow evening. Until then, get reading. Don’t make me do it alone.

HR3962 : Division D

So far, the contents of HR3962 have been absolutely insane. From the transition to the single payer system and federally funded abortions to the tight regulation of neighborhood obesity, restaurant menus, and vending machines, it’s been quite a ride.

This final section, Division D, pertains to Indian Health Care Improvement, but just wait until you see some of the items Nancy Pelosi and the gang feel will improve Indian health.

Section 3101 of HR3962 amends the Indian Health Care Improvement Act. In addition to numerous other sections, it also amends section 301, by stating,

Congress finds the following:

(1) The provision of sanitation facilities is primarily a health consideration and function.

(2) Indian people suffer an inordinately high incidence of disease, injury, and illness directly at attributable to the absence or inadequacy of sanitation facilities.

The bill states “sanitation facilities” several times in this section, and Congress reaffirms the primary responsibility and authority of the Service to provide the necessary sanitation facilities and services, yet they never really state which sanitation systems will be further regulated, and there is no mention about the authority of the local tribes that will be affected by this legislation. What if they have existing standards, infrastructure and systems? Shouldn’t they have some say about how these facilities will be serviced and monitored? Is clean drinking water part of the plan for these “sanitation facilities”?

In the previous post we saw the return of involuntary servitude and discrimination so it only makes sense that “Indian Health Care Improvement” would involve the taking of Indian land… again… right?

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and all other agencies and departments of the United States are authorized to transfer, at no cost, land and improvements to the Service for the provision of health care services. The Secretary is authorized to accept such land and improvements for such purposes.

Something tells me this isn’t going to go over well either. Health care services or not, they may take offense to the fact that the Secretary of Health and Human Services now has the right to take any land he/she wants as long as she justifies it in the name of improved health care.

This section continues to erode tribal sovereignty by assigning control of any and all grants and/or contracts between Tries and any health care, education, disease prevention, wild life preservation, land preservation, land purchases, and anything else covered by the Snyder Act.

Under authority of the Act of November 2, 1921 (25 U.S.C. 13) (commonly known as the ‘Snyder Act’), the Secretary, acting through the Service, shall enter into contracts with, or make grants to, urban Indian organizations to assist such organizations in the establishment and administration, within Urban Centers, of programs which meet the requirements set forth in this title. Subject to section 506, the Secretary, acting through the Service, shall include such conditions as the Secretary considers necessary to effect the purpose of this title in any contract into which the Secretary enters with, or in any grant the Secretary makes to, any urban Indian organization pursuant to this title.

For more information on this blatant encroachment of tribal sovereignty, make sure you read all of the pages from 1805 through 1877.

The bill authorizes the Secretary to decide what constitutes mental illness for the Indian community.

The purposes of this section are as follows:

(1) To authorize and direct the Secretary, acting through the Service, to develop a comprehensive behavioral health prevention and treatment program which emphasizes collaboration among alcohol and substance abuse, social services, and mental health programs.

(2) To provide information, direction, and guidance relating to mental illness and dysfunction and self-destructive behavior, including child abuse and family violence, to those Federal, tribal, State, and local agencies responsible for programs in Indian communities in areas of health care, education, social services, child and family welfare, alcohol and substance abuse, law enforcement, and judicial services.

and also provides for the conversion of existing hospital beds (for medical treatment) to be used in psychiatric wards as needed.

Mental Health Care Need Assessment- Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act Amendments of 2009, the Secretary, acting through the Service, shall make an assessment of the need for inpatient mental health care among Indians and the availability and cost of inpatient mental health facilities which can meet such need. In making such assessment, the Secretary shall consider the possible conversion of existing, underused Service hospital beds into psychiatric units to meet such need.

Why would American Indians need more psychiatric beds anyway? Does the government know something we don’t or are they preparing for something bigger? When it comes to HR3962, it doesn’t get much bigger than this.

The bill makes reference to treatment programs specifically for women,

The Secretary, consistent with section 701, may make grants to Indian Tribes, Tribal Organizations, and urban Indian organizations to develop and implement a comprehensive behavioral health program of prevention, intervention, treatment, and relapse prevention services that specifically addresses the cultural, historical, social, and child care needs of Indian women, regardless of age.

funding for a Fetal Alcohol Disorder Task Force,

The Secretary shall establish a task force to be known as the Fetal Alcohol Disorder Task Force to advise the Secretary in carrying out subsection (b).

and the establishment of a Native American Health and Wellness Foundation.

As soon as practicable after the date of enactment of this title, the Secretary shall establish, under the laws of the District of Columbia and in accordance with this title, the Native American Health and Wellness Foundation.

And with that, I wrap up my quick summary of House Resolution 3962, Affordable Health Care for America Act.

Make sure you read the pertinent parts of this bill. It was a much tougher read than the previous bill, which I think was intentional on the part of Nancy Pelosi and the gang. Almost every provision of HR3962 makes an amendment to some other legislation or act which is already in place, so learning the true intention of many sections was quite painstaking.

I shudder to think what the final Senate version of the bill will look like, if we’re ever allowed to see it, and once the two are merged, it’s going to be completely ridiculous, I am sure.

That’s it for tonight, I’m going to sleep now.

HR3962 : Division C

Once again, I apologize for the brevity of each summary post, but I am hoping I’ll have a little time during the debate on the House floor to discuss some of these provisions in more detail. Here we go with Division C.

Section 2201 establishes the National Health Service Corps, just like HR 3200 did, which will require any member of the Corps to perform “half-time” clinical practice as a contractual obligation under the new scholarship program and/or loan repayment program. There’s nothing like involuntary servitude to make a country stronger.

Not only does HR3962 hail the return of involuntary servitude, but it also opens the door to health care discrimination on a wide-reaching scale in Section 2301.

The term ‘health disparities’ includes health and health care disparities and means population-specific differences in the presence of disease, health outcomes, or access to health care. For purposes of the preceding sentence, a population may be delineated by race, ethnicity, primary language, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, socioeconomic status, or rural, urban, or other geographic setting, and any other population or subpopulation determined by the Secretary to experience significant gaps in disease, health outcomes, or access to health care.

In other words, the Secretary of Health and Human Services will be permitted to use race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, age, and any other criteria he/she wants while determining your access to health care. Every other government entity is prohibited from discrimination, yet HR3962 doesn’t just open that door, it props it open with a 1,990 page bill.

Section 2502 states,

A hospital described in subparagraph (L), (M), (N), (R), (S), or (T) of paragraph (4) shall not obtain covered outpatient drugs through a group purchasing organization or other group purchasing arrangement.

If hospitals are not permitted to participate outpatient drugs in group purchasing organizations, does this mean they have to do so independently, and if so, why? What is the purpose or motive for disallowing such participation?

Section 2502 also sets the requirements for improvement in the 340B program integrity. The 340B program is the drug pricing program which resulted from enactment of Public Law 102-585, the Veterans Health Care Act of 1992, which is codified as Section 340B of the Public Health Service Act. Section 340B limits the cost of covered outpatient drugs to certain federal grantees, federally-qualified health center look-alikes and qualified disproportionate share hospitals. Significant savings on pharmaceuticals may be seen by those entities that participate in this program.

This section of the bill authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services

to verify the accuracy of ceiling prices calculated by manufacturers under subsection (a)(1) and charged to covered entities

Nothing in this section will prohibit the Secretary from abusing their power to make this decision, and nothing in this section provides for any type of oversight to ensure that the Secretary is acting in the best interest of the American taxpayer.

School based health clinics will be established using grants defined in Section 2511.

Funds awarded under a grant under this section–

(1) may be used for–

(A) providing training related to the provision of comprehensive primary health services and additional health services;

(B) the management and operation of SBHC programs, including through subcontracts; and

(C) the payment of salaries for health professionals and other appropriate SBHC personnel; and

(2) may not be used to provide abortions.

While section 2511 clearly prohibits “in school abortions”, it does not prevent or prohibit the distribution of materials regarding abortion or access to information on accessing facilities which provide abortions.

Why exactly do we need school based health clinics anyway? Shouldn’t schools teach children, and medical facilities treat them?

Section 2513 requires “FEDERALLY QUALIFIED BEHAVIORAL HEALTH CENTERS” to offer a wide range of services.

Make available to individuals served by the center, directly, through contract, or through linkages with other programs, each of the following:

(i) Adult and youth peer support and counselor services.

(ii) Family support services for families of children with serious mental disorders.

(iii) Other community or regional services, supports, and providers, including schools, child welfare agencies, juvenile and criminal justice agencies and facilities, housing agencies and programs, employers, and other social services.

(iv) Onsite or offsite access to primary care services.

(v) Enabling services, including outreach, transportation, and translation.

(vi) Health and wellness services, including services for tobacco cessation.

In other words, these newly named “federally qualified behavioral health centers” will be required to offer counseling services, family support for families of children with serious mental disorders, access to schools and a wide range of other public services, as well as access to primary care services and health and wellness services including services for tobacco cessation.

Which health and wellness services would be offered that wouldn’t be covered by a primary care service provider? Is this an implication of some other health service that normally isn’t performed inside hospitals and other medical facilities? And since when is smoking a mental health issue?

Section 2534 allows community organizations to provide services to low-income and uninsured patients and nothing in the section prevents a community-based collaborative care network from providing care to individuals.

Section 2525 establishes the “Community Based Overweight and Obesity Prevention Program which will be administered by eligible entities which will be awarded grants to run the program.

(a) Program- The Secretary shall establish a community-based overweight and obesity prevention program consisting of awarding grants and contracts under subsection (b).

(b) Grants- The Secretary shall award grants to, or enter into contracts with, eligible entities–

(1) to plan evidence-based programs for the prevention of overweight and obesity among children and their families through improved nutrition and increased physical activity; or

(2) to implement such programs.

These grants will be awarded to “representatives of public and private entities that have a history of working within and serving the community. Think ACORN.

As if this bill wasn’t painful enough, Section 2562 actually deals with pain research. Apparently HR3962 establishes an Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee. Just thinking of the bureaucracy of this new committee is painful. You may want to read this section to learn how the committee will be comprised, because this committee will be making decisions that could affect your treatment if you have chronic pain.

Just what you need when you’re in pain. A committee deciding if you have had enough medication, whether or not your pain threshold has changed, and whether or not your treatment protocol needs to be changed. You know, for your well-being, since you’re in pain and all.

Believe me, the fun does not stop there. Under Section 2572, the Secretary of Health and Human Services will be regulating every menu in America.

The Secretary shall establish by regulation standards for determining and disclosing the nutrient content for standard menu items that come in different flavors, varieties, or combinations, but which are listed as a single menu item, such as soft drinks, ice cream, pizza, doughnuts, or children’s combination meals, through means determined by the Secretary, including ranges, averages, or other methods.

In addition to menus, vending machines will also be tightly regulated.

In the case of an article of food sold from a vending machine that–

(I) does not permit a prospective purchaser to examine the Nutrition Facts Panel before purchasing the article or does not otherwise provide visible nutrition information at the point of purchase; and

(II) is operated by a person who is engaged in the business of owning or operating 20 or more vending machines,

the vending machine operator shall provide a sign in close proximity to each article of food or the selection button that includes a clear and conspicuous statement disclosing the number of calories contained in the article.

But that’s not all. In addition to deciding which information should be required to appear on menus and next to vending machines, the Secretary of Health and Human Services will also be responsible for the standardization of recipes, methods of preparation, serving size, menu items, space on menus, menu boards, and even human error. Read it if you don’t believe me.

In promulgating regulations, the Secretary shall–

(aa) consider standardization of recipes and methods of preparation, reasonable variation in serving size and formulation of menu items, space on menus and menu boards, inadvertent human error, training of food service workers, variations in ingredients, and other factors, as the Secretary determines; and

(bb) specify the format and manner of the nutrient content disclosure requirements under this subclause.

That Secretary of Health and Human Services must be a talented person. In addition to administering the entire Health and Human Services department of the government, they will also need to know everything there is about health care, pharmaceutical drugs, food, recipes, menus, vending machines, and who knows what else by the time we get done here.

Getting back to health care, yeah I know, it’s such a stretch now isn’t it? Section 2581 amends the Public Health Service Act by requiring the automatic enrollment of employees into a health care plan by the employer, and the inability to disenroll except once per year during an annual enrollment period. If I remember correctly, this same provision appeared in HR 3200.

It’s getting late and my mind is turning to mush, but I’m almost done with this review of HR3962. All that remains is Division D, which will be following this post within the next couple hours. We’ll pick up with Division D, “Indian Health Care Improvement” on page 1635 then.