Category Archives: Healthcare Reform

Implausible Deniability: Who is President Obama kidding?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.”

Two questions:

1. Would any of us who believed in and voted for President Obama thought that he would have allowed or even endorsed the deals struck by Senator Harry Reid to procure the votes of hold-out Democrats for the Senate’s healthcare legislation?

Exempting Nebraska from paying its share of expanded Medicaid… forever …for Senator Ben Nelson’s vote, saving Nebraska an estimated $45 million over the next 10 years.

$10 billion (with a “b”) for community health centers in Vermont for Senator Bernie Sander’s vote.

A $300 million increase in Medicaid for Louisiana for Senator Mary Landrieu’s vote.

Not to mention the deal President Obama, himself, struck with representatives of American pharmaceutical manufacturers earlier this year, the price of which was the failure of Senate Democrats to approve the importation of prescription drugs from Canada – this from a candidate, now President who has persistently denounced the influence of lobbyists.

2. Do any of us really believe that President Obama was, in fact, unaware of these deals being struck? …that Senator Reid made these arrangements – the first 3 I’ve listed above, among others – without the prior knowledge of key Administration insiders, including the President to whom those insiders report?


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Perverse proof Senate Democrats aren’t serious about bi-partisan healthcare reform

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

For the record, so you don’t misinterpret these comments, I’m not a Republican. I’m just a guy, a registered independent, who likes to write.

There’s a country admonition that says you should never buy anything from a salesman who’s out of breath. The salesmen I’m talking about in this case are Senator Harry Reid and President Barack Obama.

In a desperate, eleventh hour attempt to pass healthcare legislation regardless of the quality of that bill or its costs, Senate Majority Leader Reid made a deal with Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska, the one Democrat holdout. To pay for Senator Nelson’s vote, Senate Democrats agreed, on our behalf mind you, to exempt Nebraska – and only Nebraska – from its share of the costs of Medicaid expansion forever, for the life of the Republic. It was only the latest in a number of deals Democrats have struck with their more greedy colleagues, costing the American people billions of dollars.

As to the lack of bi-partisan support which Democrats and the President have argued is all the Republicans’ fault, I offer three comments:

The first is an impression, that the Democrats’ idea of bi-partisan cooperation is unilateral acceptance by Republicans of what the Democrats have proposed. Yes, the Republicans have a different concept of government than the particular philosophy that President Obama has encouraged his Democrats in Congress to endorse. And yes, election politics is running rampant in Washington. Even so, it’s important to ask ourselves what Republic proposals or perspectives have been incorporated in the Senate legislation in the spirit of bi-partisan cooperation by the Democrats?

Forget about bi-partisan support, these egregious deals struck by Senator Reid are proof positive that he and President Obama didn’t even have partisan (unanimous Democratic) support for their own legislation – without the need to bribe some of their own.

And here’s the perverse observation… Not one such deal was offered or at least accepted by any Republican Senator. I know it sounds bizarre, but if the Democrats are so interested in bi-partisan support, why not buy a couple of the 40 Republican votes in the Senate by making them the same offers they made to their Democrat colleagues who held their own legislation hostage?


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Healthcare Legislation Interview of the Day: “This ‘beat the clock’ is really overruling legislative sanity.”

Monday, December 21, 2009

That headline quote is from Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine from her appearance yesterday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” You’ll have to skip by the commercial which I couldn’t edit out, but it’s worth watching. If you prefer, I’ve included a similar print version of her remarks from the Senator’s website.

“Legislative sanity” is exactly what this is about. The President and most Democrats in the Senate and House are proceeding to pass healthcare legislation according to arbitrary deadlines in reckless disregard for due process and for the quality and costs of they are accomplishing. It’s nuts and, to be blunt, they deserve to be thrown out of office the very first chance the American people get, President Obama included.

Senator Snowe is no obstructionist, no partisan Republican hell bent on denying the President and Democrats a political victory. She is, quite to the contrary, a very intelligent, experienced state and federal legislator who is committed to meaningful, affordable healthcare reform. If you remember, Senator Snowe was the only Republican to vote for an earlier version of the Senate’s bill when it came to a vote on the Senate Finance Committee. What she is, is a voice of clarity in a democratic process overwhelmed by the worst kind of politics. I encourage you to listen to her brief interview or read her comments, and to judge their value for yourselves.


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Healthcare Legislation: Two’s family, three should be illegal.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The American people – you and me – are struggling to change the way they buy medical services. It’s about nothing less than the quality of our lives and how long we live. We’re doing this through our elected representatives in the House, the Senate and the Oval Office. The inexperienced and naïve “phenom” we elected President has mismanaged the legislative process. A superfluous Senate, vestigial remnant of the origins of our democracy, has re-affirmed its uselessness. And the House… Well, the House is what it is, way too many people (495) treading water between elections.

What can we do but sigh, remind ourselves that, in the world of our politics, they – the President, Senate and House – are “family,” let them do their thing and hope for the best. They are, after all, us.

Healthcare Legislation: Blowing Off 15 Million Americans

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

“In the beginning…” Sounds biblical, doesn’t it? In the beginning, going way back to January 20 of this year, the day Barack Obama took office, there were two reasons for healthcare reform legislation. They were, in no particular order: (1) Because the costs of healthcare are spiraling out of control; and (2) Because there are an estimated 46 million Americans who have no medical insurance at all and who, because they can’t afford it, are not receiving adequate healthcare. This piece is about the second of these reasons, the need for universal healthcare, for a system, a program that would ensure that all Americans would have access to the quality healthcare they need.

To his credit, President Obama wasted no time telling Congress to get its collective ass in gear to devise and pass healthcare reform legislation of, once again, biblical proportions. Easier said than done.

Healthcare Reform: Preoccupation with the grandiose at the expense of the American people

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

All this time Congress and the President have been arguing about healthcare reform in a desperate attempt to make history in one sweeping piece of legislation, the details and costs of which not even they fully understand, think of what they could have accomplished without it costing us a dime.

1. Pass a law – a relatively simple, standalone piece legislation – preventing any medical insurance company from charging individual applicants more for coverage than what they charge groups of only 2 or more.

$2.03 Trillion: How much are we willing to pay because some Americans need to smoke?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

If ever there was a no brainer, this is it. The only thing missing are the Congressional and Presidential balls to do it. The ill-health that smoking causes costs this country a fortune. According to the CDC (“Smoking and Tobacco Use” from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), smoking costs the United States – you and me — $97 BILLION PER YEAR in lost productivity, plus $96 BILLION PER YEAR in avoidable healthcare expenses — plus another $10 billion per year associated with secondhand smoke. For those of you too stunned to do basic math, that’s a total of $203 BILLION PER YEAR.

The President and Congress like to talk about healthcare reform in terms of a 10 year period. Okay, $203 billion per year, times 10, is $2.03 TRILLION. (My apologies for the excessive use of capitalization, but I’m frustrated about this beyond belief.)

It’s time the American people, on behalf of those of our countrymen and women who can’t help but smoke, for reasons of fiscal responsibility, and to better enable us to afford healthcare reform for all of us… It’s time we demand that Congress make the sale and consumption of cigarettes illegal – as illegal as any narcotic or other controlled substance that threatens the health of its constituents.

Would some of you please e-mail, call or write your Representative, Senator and President Obama and tell them that no healthcare reform legislation is acceptable unless it includes a national, comprehensive ban on smoking and on the sale of tobacco for that purpose? If you’re too busy, just e-mail them the link to this posting or, if you like, leave a comment, including the state where you live, and I’ll do my best to get it to them for you.

Thank you.


For additional reading… “Making Cigarettes Illegal” posted on the Wordfeeder, August 30, 2009.

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