Thursday, 27 August 2009
The Death Book for Veterans
COMMENT: Now I ask you -- reading the information below, is there any doubt that the government would propose to 'counsel' seniors about 'end of life' choices. I have heard people call in on radio shows wondering what is wrong with this and that it is being done now. Yes, but..... What is being done now is between the doctor, the patient, and the family on an individual basis--it is NOT being required by nor paid for by the federal government that would have a vested interest in reducing the cost of health care toward the end of a person's life. There is a HUGE difference in that!!
Click here to read "Your Life, Your Choices" guide.
Specter Calls for Hearings on End-of-Life Care Guide for Veterans
The guide, called 'Your Life, Your Choices,' was suspended under the Bush administration but has been revived under the current Department of Veterans Affairs.
Sen. Arlen Specter on Sunday called for hearings to scrutinize a guide for veterans' end-of-life care which one former Bush official says sends a "hurry-up-and-die" message to injured troops.
The guide, called "Your Life, Your Choices," was suspended under the Bush administration but has been revived under the current Department of Veterans Affairs.
Jim Towey, former director of the White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, told "FOX News Sunday" that the document makes injured veterans feel like a burden, encourages the severely injured to die and should be tossed out.
Asked about the document, Specter, a member of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, said it raises "a lot of questions" and that he would call for hearings immediately.
"I think consideration ought to be given right now to suspending it pending hearings," Specter, D-Pa., told "FOX News Sunday."
Towey first wrote about the revival of the manual last week in The Wall Street Journal. Read more here.
The Death Book for Veterans
Ex-soldiers don't need to be told they're a burden to society.
By JIM TOWEY
If President Obama wants to better understand why America's discomfort with end-of-life discussions threatens to derail his health-care reform, he might begin with his own Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). He will quickly discover how government bureaucrats are greasing the slippery slope that can start with cost containment but quickly become a systematic denial of care.
Last year, bureaucrats at the VA's National Center for Ethics in Health Care advocated a 52-page end-of-life planning document, "Your Life, Your Choices." It was first published in 1997 and later promoted as the VA's preferred living will throughout its vast network of hospitals and nursing homes. After the Bush White House took a look at how this document was treating complex health and moral issues, the VA suspended its use. Unfortunately, under President Obama, the VA has now resuscitated "Your Life, Your Choices."
Who is the primary author of this workbook? Dr. Robert Pearlman, chief of ethics evaluation for the center, a man who in 1996 advocated for physician-assisted suicide in Vacco v. Quill before the U.S. Supreme Court and is known for his support of health-care rationing.
"Your Life, Your Choices" presents end-of-life choices in a way aimed at steering users toward predetermined conclusions, much like a political "push poll." For example, a worksheet on page 21 lists various scenarios and asks users to then decide whether their own life would be "not worth living."
The circumstances listed include ones common among the elderly and disabled: living in a nursing home, being in a wheelchair and not being able to "shake the blues." There is a section which provocatively asks, "Have you ever heard anyone say, 'If I'm a vegetable, pull the plug'?" There also are guilt-inducing scenarios such as "I can no longer contribute to my family's well being," "I am a severe financial burden on my family" and that the vet's situation "causes severe emotional burden for my family."
When the government can steer vulnerable individuals to conclude for themselves that life is not worth living, who needs a death panel?
One can only imagine a soldier surviving the war in Iraq and returning without all of his limbs only to encounter a veteran's health-care system that seems intent on his surrender.
I was not surprised to learn that the VA panel of experts that sought to update "Your Life, Your Choices" between 2007-2008 did not include any representatives of faith groups or disability rights advocates. And as you might guess, only one organization was listed in the new version as a resource on advance directives: the Hemlock Society (now euphemistically known as "Compassion and Choices"). Read more here.
Posted on 08/27/2009 8:25 AM by Bobbie Patray
Saturday, 15 August 2009
"AstroTurf"? Whatever, protesters are making a difference
COMMENT: There is an old debate trick -- if you can't defend your position on the merits of the issue, you attack and try to demean your opponent. The name-calling we are hearing now-- "AstroTurf" (as opposed to a genuine grassroots movement, which this is), evil-mongers, brownshirts--mean just one thing -- just one thing, we are making a difference. Check out the articles below and, by the way, don't forget -- whether or not you can see your law maker at a meeting of any sort, you can still contact him or her by email. The liberals are now preparing 'counter attacks' to those who oppose seeing the government take over 16% of the Gross Domestic Product.
Town hall protesters are "evil-mongers," says Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
Let's continue to contribute to House website overload!! For encouragement, just remember, no one thought the 2007 immigration bill could be stopped, but it was when THE PEOPLE continued to make their voices heard.
Out-of-state Subscribers, go HERE to find your Senator; go HERE to find your congressman.
Tennesseans: go HERE for phone numbers; go HERE to send emails.
1. Reid: Protesters are 'evil-mongers'
2. Grassley: Town halls could force senator to start over on healthcare
3. [Senate] Finance Committee drops end-of-life provision
4. E-mails from public overload House Web site
5. Town hall face-offs erode health support
6. Health care views take sympathetic tilt
Reid coined the term in a speech to an energy conference in Las Vegas this week and repeated it in an interview with Politics Daily. Such "evil-mongers" are using "lies, innuendo and rumor," to drown out rational debate, Reid said. Read more here.
The boisterous town hall meetings taking place across the country could possibly result in lawmakers starting over from scratch on healthcare reform, one key Senate Republican said Thursday.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee who has been locked in negotiations to craft a bipartisan health bill, suggested that, as the August recess plays out, the current reform legislation before Congress may have to be delayed or ditched entirely.
"We won't really know until we get back there the full impact," Grassley said in a news conference with Iowa reporters. "But it could have the impact of stalling it. It could have the impact of starting all over again." Read more here.
The Senate Finance Committee will drop a controversial provision on consultations for end-of-life care from its proposed healthcare bill, its top Republican member said Thursday.
The committee, which has worked on putting together a bipartisan healthcare reform bill, will drop the controversial provision after being derided as "death panels" to encourage euthanasia by conservatives.
"On the Finance Committee, we are working very hard to avoid unintended consequences by methodically working through the complexities of all of these issues and policy options," Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said in a statement. "We dropped end-of-life provisions from consideration entirely because of the way they could be misinterpreted and implemented incorrectly."
Read more here
4. E-mails from public overload House Web site
WASHINGTON (AP) - Amid a boisterous debate on health care reform, people flooded members of Congress on Thursday with so many e-mails that they overloaded the House's primary Web site.
Technical support issued a warning to congressional staff that the site - - may be slow or unresponsive because of the large volume of e-mail being sent to members.http://www.house.gov
Jeff Ventura, a spokesman for the House's chief administrative officer, which maintains the Web site, said traffic data was not available and could not be released without the lawmakers' consent.
But anecdotally, he said, the spike in e-mail volume was widely believed to be a result of the health care debate. "It is clearly health care reform," Ventura said. "There's no doubt about it." Read more here
5. Town hall face-offs erode health support
Analysts predict hill Democrats will pass a more 'modest' bill after return from recess
Public support for the Obama administration's sweeping government health care reforms is declining as opponents continue to pack congressional town-hall meetings with some analysts suggesting the president may have to settle for more modest legislation.
Public-policy analysts say that nearly two weeks of intense and often angry town-hall debate back home during August recess has thrown the White House on the defensive and turned its hopes for a full-blown overhaul of the health care system into a steeper climb.
"Publicity attached to town halls has kept the administration from framing the debate to its advantage. They have their work cut out for the rest of the month," said Thomas E. Mann, senior analyst in governance studies at the liberal Brookings Institution.
But Mr. Mann said he still believes "a modest health reform bill, passed exclusively by Democrats, with [Maine Sen. Olympia J.] Snowe the only possible Republican vote in support, will clear Congress by the end of the year. But there will be many ups and downs before getting there."
By "modest," Mr. Mann said he meant without Mr. Obama's proposal for a government program to cover the uninsured, "or at most a contingent, constrained, or nonprofit version."
White House health care czar Nancy-Ann DeParle suggested last month that the president may be willing to compromise on a public plan, though the White House said Mr. Obama still stood by his original proposal. Read more here
6. Health care views take sympathetic tilt
WASHINGTON — The raucous protests at congressional town-hall-style meetings have succeeded in fueling opposition to proposed health care bills among some Americans, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds — particularly among the independents who tend to be at the center of political debates.
BOEHNER VIEW: Americans aren't going to buy health care spin
DEBATE: Obama battles health care 'chatter'
In a survey of 1,000 adults taken Tuesday, 34% say demonstrations at the hometown sessions have made them more sympathetic to the protesters' views; 21% say they are less sympathetic.
Independents by 2-to-1, 35%-16%, say they are more sympathetic to the protesters now.
The findings are unwelcome news for President Obama and Democratic congressional leaders, who have scrambled to respond to the protests and in some cases even to be heard. From Pennsylvania to Texas, those who oppose plans to overhaul the health care system have asked aggressive questions and staged noisy demonstrations.
The forums have grabbed public attention: Seven in 10 respondents are following the news closely.
"No one condones the actions of those who disrupt public events," House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio said in an op-ed article published in today's USA TODAY. "But those in Washington who dismiss the frustration of the American people and call it 'manufactured' do so at their own peril."
White House adviser David Axelrod questioned the USA TODAY survey's methodology, saying those who report being more sympathetic to the protesters now were likely to have been on that side from the start. "There is a media fetish about these things," Axelrod said of the protests, "but I don't think this has changed much" when it comes to public opinion.
A study by the non-partisan Pew Research Center concluded that 59% of the airtime last week on 13 cable TV and radio talk shows were devoted to the health care debate.
In the USA TODAY Poll:Read more here.
Posted on 08/15/2009 5:18 AM by Bobbie Patray
Saturday, 15 August 2009
NEA Goes All-Out for Same-Sex Marriage
By Phyllis Schlafly
The National Education Association (NEA), which usually passes a dozen or more pro-homosexual resolutions every year at its annual national convention, this year in San Diego went all-out in support of same-sex marriage. This emphasis on advocacy for homosexuals was spelled out in a five-point New Business Item E.
Point #1 tells its union affiliates to support state legislation that registers same-sex couples in a way that mimics marriage. This registration would cover taxes, inheritance, adoptions, medical decisions, and even immigration.
Point #2 says that states can call this same-sex registration marriage or civil union or domestic partnership so long as same-sex relationships are treated like marriage.
In Point #3, the NEA promises to "support its affiliates" in opposing state constitutional amendments and laws that "could have the effect" of differentiating between homosexual and heterosexual couples. The NEA's California affiliate spent $1.25 million of teachers' dues money on the campaign to defeat Proposition 8 last year.
In Point #4, the NEA supports repeal of federal laws and regulations such as the very popular 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman. According to the Government Accountability Office's (GAO) list of laws that use DOMA's definition of marriage, repeal of this law would create new Social Security and joint income tax benefits for homosexual partners.
The NEA's only concession to those who disagree with these goals is Point #5, which acknowledges that churches have a First Amendment right not to perform same-sex marriages.
In the limited floor debate, delegates were booed if they mentioned that marriage should be between a man and a woman. New Business Item E was approved by a voice vote of about 60 percent to 40 percent.
The long list of policy resolutions approved by the nation's most powerful teachers union included many references to "sexual orientation," "gender identification," and "diversity." Since the NEA is the largest and most powerful teachers union, it is reasonable to assume that these attitudes will follow the teachers into the classroom.
Every year, the NEA convention passes a resolution endorsing "family planning, including the right to reproductive freedom," which everybody understands specifically means abortion. And every year, some pro-life delegates try to pass a motion stating that the NEA takes "no position on abortion."
The abortion-neutral motion has always been decisively defeated, never getting as much as 25 percent of the vote, and sometimes it is even ruled out of order by the chairman. This year, something remarkable happened.
The pro-lifers introduced their motion as a bylaw amendment instead of as a resolution, a procedure that calls for a secret, written ballot instead of a voice vote. Although the abortion-neutral motion failed, mirabile dictu, the secret ballot produced an amazing 39.4 percent voting for the abortion-neutral measure.
The swan-song speech of the NEA's retiring general counsel, Bob Chanin, showcased the NEA's animosity toward parents and others who don't agree with the NEA's leftwing views. Chanin, who served the NEA for 41 years, pitched his speech to respond to his own question: "Why are these conservative and right-wing bastards picking on NEA and its affiliates?"
Chanin answered, "NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power, and we have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of millions of dollars in dues each year."
Such arrogance! The NEA would have a small fraction of its power and bank account if it had to depend on teachers "willing to pay" dues.
In many states, teachers pay union dues because it is a condition of their employment. Many of the NEA's contracts require school districts to promptly fire any teacher who fails to pay dues.
Some of these "right-wing bastards" identified by Chanin included Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, and the Bush Administration's Department of Education. He added: "We are not paranoid, someone really is after us."
Chanin is correct. Conservatives are after the NEA. Since this powerful organization has effective control of the public schools, spends millions of taxpayers' dollars to indoctrinate schoolchildren, and spends millions of its own money to lobby for leftwing goals, the NEA deserves to be subjected to citizen surveillance and criticism.
For many years, the NEA nestled behind its status as a professional "association"; after all, that's its name. But Chanin now unapologetically played up the NEA as a union, saying, "NEA and its affiliates should never lose sight of the fact that they are unions."
One final Item of note: the NEA convention voted down New Business Item 66, which would have required the union to make public the salaries and benefits received by its executives.
See online: http://www.eagleforum.org/column/2009/aug09/09-08-07.html
Posted on 08/15/2009 5:14 AM by Bobbie Patray
Friday, 7 August 2009
Democratic Leaders Block 31 Common-Sense Changes to Health Care Bill
Dems Block GOP Amendments to Scrap Government Takeover of Health Care, Stop Job-Killing Employer Mandate and Small Business Tax
Washington, Jul 28 - The Democratic leadership in Congress appears determined to produce a costly, job-killing health care bill that few outside the Washington Beltway support. For evidence, one need only look at the long list of common-sense changes House Republicans proposed this month while the bill was being considered by the Ways & Means, Energy & Commerce, and Education & Labor Committees. These amendments, which were designed to make the health care bill more palatable to the American people, were unceremoniously crushed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and her committee chairmen with little public attention or debate. Here are 31 common-sense health care amendments that were offered by Republican legislators in committee, but killed by the Democratic leadership:
- Stop the government-run health plan. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) offered an amendment to improve the Democratic legislation by taking out the section of the bill that would create a government-run health plan to compete with private sector health plans. Reps. Phil Roe (R-TN) and John Kline (R-MN) offered similar amendments in the Education & Labor Committee. The GOP amendments were all killed in committee at the behest of Speaker Pelosi and her chairmen.
- Prevent bureaucrats from making personal medical decisions for patients. Rep. Phil Gingrey, M.D. (R-GA) offered an amendment in the Energy & Commerce Committee to bar federal political appointees and bureaucrats from intervening in patient treatment decisions. The Gingrey amendment would have ensured patients and doctors remain as the sole individuals responsible for making these critical decisions. Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) led Democrats in opposition to the amendment, which was defeated.
- Require all Members of Congress to get their health insurance through the proposed government-run plan. Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV) offered an amendment in the Ways & Means Committee that would have required Members of Congress to enroll immediately in the government-run health plan that would be established under the Democratic bill. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) offered an amendment to put his committee on the record in support of enrolling Members of Congress in the government-run plan as well. While the Wilson amendment was approved by voice vote in the Education & Labor Committee, the Heller amendment was killed in the Ways & Means Committee at the behest of Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Rangel.
- Establish a $1 trillion deficit cap. During Energy & Commerce Committee consideration of the Democrats’ government-run health care plan, Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) offered an amendment to delay “disease prevention” spending for items like municipal jungle gyms and bicycle trails until Washington’s budget deficit dips below $1 trillion. Democrats defeated the amendment, paving the way for more unchecked spending.
- Keep the federal government out of health care decisions. Rep. Wally Herger (R-CA) offered an amendment to prohibit the federal government from conducting so-called comparative effectiveness research, in which the federal government would ultimately help determine which medical treatments are administered to whom in America – otherwise known as government rationing of health care. The Herger amendment was killed at the behest of Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Rangel. Days later, in a July 22 prime-time press conference, President Obama told the nation the health care bill “will keep government out of health care decisions,” despite the fact that the comparative effectiveness language remains in the bill.
- Protect Americans from “hurry up and wait.” Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) offered an amendment that would repeal the government-run health plan if wait times exceed the average wait times in private plans. The Brady amendment was killed at the behest of Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Rangel.
- Stop the job-killing employer mandate. Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) offered an amendment in the Committee on Ways & Means to improve the Democratic legislation by taking out the section of the bill that requires American employers to provide health coverage for all of their employees, and Reps. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) offered similar amendments in the Committee on Education & Labor. Independent analysts agree this Democratic mandate on employers is likely to result in the elimination of millions of American jobs, and it could hardly come at a worse moment for the nation’s economy. The GOP amendments were killed in committee at the behest of Speaker Pelosi.
- Suspend the job-killing employer mandate if the national unemployment rate reaches 10 percent. Reps. Wally Herger (R-CA) and Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) offered amendments in their committees that would suspend the job-killing employer mandate in the Democratic bill if the national unemployment rate reaches or goes above 10 percent. (It is currently at 9.5 percent, with the new number expected to be released on Friday, August 7). The Herger and Hoekstra amendments were killed in both the Ways & Means and Education & Labor Committees at the behest of Speaker Pelosi.
- Waive the employer mandate if it will cause layoffs, worker salary cuts, or reductions in hiring. Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA) offered an amendment that would waive the employer mandate in the Democrats’ health care bill for any employer who certifies, under procedures developed by the Secretary of the Treasury, that it would pose a financial hardship resulting in layoffs of existing workers, reductions in salary of existing workers, or the inability to expand via hiring new employees. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) offered a similar amendment in the Education & Labor Committee, and it was adopted by voice vote. However, the Reichert amendment was killed in the Ways & Means Committee at the behest of Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Rangel.
- Protect employers from unfair taxation. Under the Democratic bill as written, if an employer offers qualifying health care coverage but an employee rejects it for any reason, the employer can still be slapped with an 8 percent tax on the value of that employee’s wages as a result of the job-killing employer mandate in the bill. Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY) offered an amendment to fix this problem and protect employers from such unfair penalization. The Davis amendment was killed in committee at the behest of Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Rangel.
- Protect employers who offer health care coverage to their workers. As written, the Democratic health care bill would gut ERISA (the Employee Retirement Income Security Act), the federal law that makes it possible for millions of American workers to receive quality health care benefits and other benefits through their employers. Rep. John Kline (R-MN) offered an amendment to fix this flaw and shield employers who offer health care coverage to their workers from being caught up in a web of legal liability systems that would vary from state to state. The Kline amendment was killed in committee at the behest of Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Miller.
- Create small business health plans. Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) offered an amendment that would modify the Democratic bill to allow the creation of small business health plans (also known as Association Health Plans) that allow trade, industry, professional, or other business associations to form and purchase health care coverage at a lower cost. The McKeon amendment was killed in committee at the behest of Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Miller.
- Keep unnecessary lawsuits from driving up health costs. Under the Democratic bill, Americans would be required to obtain their health care through a “national health insurance exchange” that is limited to “qualified” providers. In the Ways & Means Committee, Rep. John Linder (R-GA) offered an amendment that would keep the so-called exchange from operating in states that do not have reasonable limits on lawsuits relating to medical care. Unnecessary lawsuits have long been identified as one of the primary factors in rising health costs nationwide. Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) offered a similar amendment in the Education & Labor Committee that would prevent the creation of the so-called “exchange.” Both the Linder and Thompson amendments were killed at the behest of Speaker Pelosi.
- Prevent taxpayer-funded health benefits from going to illegal immigrants. Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV) offered an amendment that would increase safeguards to ensure taxpayer-funded benefits do not go to individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States. This amendment, too, was killed at the behest of Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Rangel.
- Prevent taxpayer funding of abortion. Reps. Sam Johnson (R-TX), Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Mark Souder (R-IN) offered amendments to remove language from the Democratic legislation that would result in American taxpayers subsidizing abortion-on-demand. A recent Zogby survey determined that more than 70 percent of Americans are opposed to taxpayer funding of abortion. Speaker Pelosi and her committee chairmen killed all of these amendments.
- Ensure states are not forced to provide abortion benefits. In the Energy & Commerce Committee, Rep. Nathan Deal (R-GA) offered an amendment to ensure that states are not required to provide coverage for abortion – or even procedures such as Botox injections and hair plugs. Under the Democrats’ legislation, the federal government could deny the states funding if such services are not provided. Democrats rejected Rep. Deal’s amendment in a party-line vote.
- Prevent health care providers from being forced into a government-run plan. Rep. Charles Boustany, M.D. (R-LA), a physician, offered an amendment to prevent American health care providers from being forced into the government-run plan established under the Democratic bill. The Boustany amendment was killed in committee by Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Rangel.
- Require the government-run plan to operate under the same rules as private health plans. Rep. Boustany offered an amendment to improve the Democratic legislation by requiring that the government-run plan established in the bill maintain reserves and other margins in amounts consistent with the standards that apply to private plans. Reserves would have to come from premiums, not federal subsidies. This amendment was killed at the behest of Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Rangel.
- Specify that Congress should read the health care bill before voting on it. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) offered an amendment expressing the sense of Congress that Members of Congress should read the health care bill before they vote on it. More than 80 House Republicans have signed a pledge vowing they will not vote to enact a health care bill they have not read and which has not been posted online publicly for at least 72 hours. Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), by contrast, reportedly scoffed at the notion of reading the bill before voting on it. The Brady amendment was defeated in committee at the behest of Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Rangel.
- Keep President Obama’s tax pledge not to raise taxes. Last year, in his campaign for the presidency, President Obama pledged he would not raise taxes on anyone making less than $200,000 ($250,000 for those filing jointly), but the health care legislation written by House Democrats would violate this pledge. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) offered an amendment that would keep the new taxes proposed in the Democratic legislation from applying to those with incomes under $200,000 ($250,000 for those filing jointly). The Ryan amendment was killed in committee at the behest of Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Rangel. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) offered a similar amendment in the Education & Labor Committee. It was not even allowed to come to a vote by Chairman Miller.
- Keep President Obama’s pledge that health care reform will not add to the deficit. Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) offered an amendment to prohibit the government-controlled health care system from taking effect unless the legislation is and remains “deficit neutral.” The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the nonpartisan “scorekeeper” for Congress, has determined that the bill as drafted will add hundreds of billions of dollars to the deficit. The McClintock amendment was killed in committee at the behest of Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Miller.
- Ensure that workers who like their current health plan can keep it. Reps. Judy Biggert (R-IL) and Tom Price (R-GA) offered an amendment to ensure that Americans who like their current employer-provided coverage can keep it by shielding such coverage from the costly and complex new mandates in the Democratic health care bill. Under the amendment, employer –based health plans that comply with ERISA (the Employee Retirement Income Security Act), the federal law that makes it possible for millions of American workers to receive quality health care benefits and other benefits through their employers, would be considered as having met all of the mandates specified in the bill. The Biggert-Price amendment was killed in committee at the behest of Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Miller.
- Ensure Americans cannot be forced into a government-run health care plan. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL) offered an amendment that would prohibit the federal government from automatically enrolling Americans in the government-run health plan that would be created under the Democratic health care bill, allowing Americans to choose whether or not they want to be enrolled in such a plan. The Brown-Waite amendment was killed in committee at the behest of Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Rangel. Similarly, Rep. John Kline (R-MN) offered an amendment to allow workers to choose to keep their current health care coverage by signing cards stating that they do not want their existing employer-provided coverage to be subject to the new mandates of the Democrats’ health care reform bill. This is modeled in the “card check” method Democratic leaders have advocated in conjunction with Washington-based union bosses. The Kline amendment was defeated at the behest of Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Miller.
- Stop seniors from being stripped of their health care choices. Rep. Brown-Waite offered an amendment that would remove portions of the Democratic health care bill that would cut the Medicare Advantage program. Such cuts would impact millions of seniors nationwide, taking away their choices and forcing them into a government-run health care plan with fewer options. The Brown-Waite amendment was killed in committee at the behest of Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Rangel.
- Prohibit unfair advantages for government-run health plan. The Democratic health care bill would create a government-run health care plan to “compete” with private sector plans that currently provide health coverage for millions of Americans. House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-IN) has warned that a government-run health care plan will compete with private sector health plans “the way an alligator competes with a duck,” and the legislation written by Democrats would allow the government-run health plan to have distinct advantages at the expense of taxpayers and private plan enrollees. Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) offered an amendment that would prohibit the Secretary of Health & Human Services from basing payment rates for the government-run health plan established under the Democratic bill on Medicare rates, and instead would require that they pay an average of what private plans in the market pay. The Roskam amendment was killed in committee at the behest of Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Rangel.
- Keep the federal government from choosing “favored” physicians. Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), a physician, offered an amendment to keep eliminate the flawed “tiered” payment structure in the Democratic health care bill, which would give preference to physicians who participate in the government-run health care plan. This provision would allow the government to reward physicians who play by its rules while financially harming those who do not. The Price amendment was defeated at the behest of Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Miller.
- Allow states to opt out. Bipartisan opposition to the Democratic health care bill has been expressed by governors and state legislators throughout the country. Rep. Price offered an amendment to permit states that have crafted their own health plans to apply for waivers from the Democratic legislation’s requirements. The Price amendment was killed in committee at the behest of Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Miller.
- Preserve Americans’ health care freedom and choice. Many Americans favor Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), which give individual Americans more direct control over their health care spending, but the Democratic bill as written would wreak havoc on HSAs and similar tools that empower individuals and consumers. Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) offered an amendment to improve the Democratic bill by ensuring that HSAs would not be shut down or gutted by federal mandates. Specifically, the Cantor amendment stated that HSAs tied to high deductible health plans are deemed to meet the “minimum benefit level requirements” under the Democratic bill, and struck changes to the bill’s “definition of allowable medical expenses” for HSAs and similar accounts. The Cantor amendment was defeated in committee at the behest of Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Rangel. Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) offered an amendment to provide greater portability and individual control over health care by allowing employers to contribute to “defined contribution” health care plans, which workers could use to purchase the coverage and services of their choice. The Price amendment was defeated in the Education & Labor Committee at the behest of Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Miller.
- Allow Americans to continue to enroll in private individual market health plans. Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA) offered an amendment to repeal the Democratic bill’s prohibition on new enrollees in private individual market plans. This amendment was killed at the behest of Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Rangel.
- Slow Medicare’s march toward bankruptcy. Concerned about the coming fiscal tsunami that will result from out-of-control spending on entitlement programs, the GOP-led Congress earlier this decade passed legislation specifying that if 45 percent or more of the Medicare program's funding came from general tax revenues for two consecutive years, the President had to submit to Congress legislation that would slow spending and make the program financially stable. Democrats gutted this rule as part of their rules package for the current Congress. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) offered an amendment to restore it. The amendment was killed in committee at the behest of Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Rangel.
- Prohibit new taxes until Medicare fraud rate is reduced to below 1 percent. Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) offered an amendment to improve the Democratic bill by specifying that the new taxes that would be imposed on Americans under the bill could not take effect unless the fraud rate in Medicare is reduced to below 1 percent of the amount of taxpayer money spent on the program. The Camp amendment was killed in committee at the behest of Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Rangel.
Posted on 08/07/2009 5:49 AM by Bobbie Patray