Thursday, March 11, 2010

Health Care Reform: Strike 2

The first strike was a fast ball right down the center with Scott Brown's victory as the 41st vote against HCR,

The second strike was a curve ball by the Senate Parliamentarian stating that Democrats can't use illegal substitutions under the rules.

Ruling Kills an Option for Moving Health Bill
The Senate Parliamentarian has ruled that President Barack Obama must sign Congress’ original health care reform bill before the Senate can act on a companion reconciliation package, senior GOP sources said Thursday.

House Democratic leaders have been searching for a way to ensure that any move they make to approve the Senate-passed $871 billion health care reform bill is followed by Senate action on a reconciliation package of adjustments to the original bill. One idea is to have the House and Senate act on reconciliation prior to House action on the Senate’s original health care bill.

Information Republicans say they have received from the Senate Parliamentarian’s Office eliminates that option. House Democratic leaders last week began looking at crafting a legislative rule that would allow the House to approve the Senate health care bill, but not forward it to Obama for his signature until the Senate clears the reconciliation package.

The administration, Pelosi and Reid, no friends of Hoyle, didn't see this one coming and just stared as it went over the plate.

Democrats Lie, Deny, Bribe, Blackmail And Extort For Health Care 'Reform'

Pay for play - The "Louisiana purchase" $300 million to bolster that state's Medicaid program to buy Sen. Mary Landrieu’s vote.

The "Cornhusker kickback" $100 million to Medicaid for Sen. Ben Nelson’s vote.
Florida's "Gator Aid" a Medicare deal potentially worth $5 billion, a hefty price for Sen. Bill Nelson's vote.

Billions in direct, indirect and kickbacks to unions who will also get to be part of the decision making process and will become even more powerful as work groups such as state reimbursed home health care workers would be forced to join unions and unions would get lucrative contracts to do training nationwide as a recruitment tool.

Vermont and Massachusetts $100s of millions to cover increased Medicaid costs
Connecticut will get $100 million for a hospital thanks to mortgage artist Chris Dodd.

Nebraska and Michigan nonprofit insurance companies will be exempt from having to pay for a $7 billion tax to pay for HCR thanks to Carl Levin and Ben Nelson.

Several states will see an increase in Medicare payments to hospitals and doctors, the NYT reports, “where at least 50 percent of the counties are ‘frontier counties,’ defined as those having a population density less than six people per square mile. And which are the lucky states? The bill gives no clue. But the Congressional Budget Office has determined that Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming meet the criteria.”

Via NYT: “Another provision of the bill would increase Medicare payments to certain “low-volume hospitals” treating limited numbers of Medicare patients. Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa and chairman of the Senate health committee, said this ‘important fix’ would help midsize Iowa hospitals in Grinnell, Keokuk and Spirit Lake. Another item in Mr. Reid’s package specifies the data that Medicare officials should use in adjusting payments to hospitals to reflect local wage levels. The officials can use certain new data only if it produces a higher index and therefore higher Medicare payments for these hospitals. Senate Democrats said this provision would benefit hospitals in Connecticut and Michigan.”

$300 million to increase federal Medicare payments to doctors in a wide swath of the state in response to complaints that low reimbursement rates have kept them from taking new patients. Rep. Sam Farr (D-Carmel).

Via Politico: “Three states – Pennsylvania, New York and Florida – all won protections for their Medicare Advantage beneficiaries at a time when the program is facing cuts nationwide.”
An increase in Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments for Hawaii, meaning 49 other states will pay more in taxes so that Hawaii can receive this special benefit.

Exempts Medigap supplemental insurance plans sold by Mutual of Omaha, headquartered in Nebraska, from the new tax on health insurance companies.

Via the Burlington Free Press: Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., scored a big victory, too, with the inclusion in the amendment package of $10 billion to expand community health centers across the country — including at least two more in Vermont.

“We are talking about a revolution in primary care here,” Sanders said. Funding community health centers in an additional 10,000 communities would extend primary care to 25 million more Americans. The $10 billion, added at Sanders’ request, would also ensure there would be medical professionals to provide primary care by expanding the National Health Service Corps by an additional 20,000 slots. Doctors, dentists, nurses and other medical professionals who agree to work in areas where there are limited medical services get help paying off their school loans. The House version of the health care reform bill contains $14 billion for these initiatives. Sanders said he was hopeful the final amount, which will be hammered out in negotiations between the House and Senate, would be closer to $14 billion.

AARP through Philip Klein: $18 million in stimulus money and the Medigap royalty/kickback scheme.

Abortion Lies - Pro abortion- Attorney Mary Harned of Americans United for Life, has also examined the abortion sections of Reid’s new measure, which she says “provides for an unprecedented expansion of federally-funded abortion. ”

“The bill includes pro-abortion language and mirrors the false compromise Capps Amendment from the House debate — it allows the public option to include abortion coverage and provides federal subsidies for private plans which cover abortion,” she said.

Change, ignore or break the rules – First the Massachusetts Demos changed the law to prevent Republican Mitt Romney from appointing a vacant Senate seat, then they did a 180 to get a temporary senator put in place to vote for HCR. The HCR vote didn’t happen in time and Republican Scott Brown won the seat so the Demos then tried to delay his being seated. Voters beat them in the election and then forced them to follow the law and seat Brown.

Ignore Congressional rules -- from the failure to appoint a "conference committee"
Break the rules and not negotiate differences between the House and Senate bills
Undermine the process using plans to use the reconciliation process to bypass a Republican filibuster.

Then there is The Slaughter Solution - House Rules Chairwoman Louise Slaughter is prepping to help usher the health care overhaul through the House and potentially avoid a direct vote on the Senate overhaul bill, the chairwoman said Tuesday.

Slaughter is weighing preparing a rule that would consider the Senate bill passed once the House approves a corrections bill that would make changes to the Senate version.

Bribery - Rep Jim Matheson (D-Utah) suggested that he might be willing to switch his vote and support the latest version of ObamaCare than his brother was nominated for a federal judgeship.
Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.) is also on the undecided list. And, purely by coincidence no doubt, the Justice Department just announced that it is dropping an FBI investigation that has been swirling about the congressman. Gosh, if only Charlie Rangel were one of the undecideds.

Democrat Rep. Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania admitted to veteran Philly newsman Larry Kane that Team Obama dangled a “high-ranking” position in the administration if he dropped out of the Senate race and left incumbent Republican-turned Democrat Sen. Arlen Specter alone, a HCR supporter.

In Colorado, the Denver Post reported last fall that Deputy White House Chief of Staff Jim Messina “offered specific suggestions” for an Obama administration job to far Left Democrat Andrew Romanoff if he withdrew his challenge to White House-backed incumbent Democrat Sen. Michael Bennet, a HCR supporter.

Blackmail - On-the-fence Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln is getting a primary challenger with some backing from the national Democratic machine.

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), whose opposition to abortion funding has become one of the bill's biggest hurdles, is now seeing attacks on his ethics. MSNBC host Rachel Maddow recently questioned the legality of the low rent that a conservative Christian group charges Stupak for his DC apartment. She even noted ominously that disgraced South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford stayed at the same building. The liberal blog Daily Kos has picked up on the charges and suggested that both the IRS and the House Ethics Committee investigate.

Gag the doctors - Senate Demos are only extending Medicare doctor payments at their current levels for one month instead of the usual year to silence doctors from opposing HCR. If the doctors oppose HCR they will suffer a 21% cut in payments. This is being used to keep the deplorable AMA in line and endorsing ObamaCare.

(Thanks to Michelle Malkin, WSJ, Politico, congressional sites, the NYT, various other sources. This is NOT a complete list, but it is a start.)

Massa Tickling Going On

Via Twitter from The Lone Republican

Matel has a new doll called Tickle Me Massa