Healthcare

Obama doubling down on health care reform; time to call his bluff (Rep. Joe Barton)

The president recently renewed his efforts to pass his version of health care reform and called on America to “make your voice heard.” Apparently he hasn’t been listening for the past year or just didn’t like what he heard.

From Town Halls to Tea Parties—people all over the nation stood up against the Democrats’ plan for a government take over of health care. You packed auditoriums and church halls and flooded congressional offices (including mine) with phone calls and letters—thousands of voices with one message, “hands off our health care!”

We turned that passion into results and the legislation stalled in Congress.

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Holding Lawmakers accountable on Healthcare (Rep. Fleming)

Over 3 million Americans in all 50 states have offered their support for my health care resolution which requires any Member of Congress who votes for the government takeover of health care to use the system as well. Americans are adamant about the resolution’s demand for accountability on the part of my fellow Congressional lawmakers. Right now, we’ve got 104 co-sponsors in the House but it hasn’t received a committee hearing or a vote.

This message continues to resonate across America for one simple reason – the people of this country are sick and tired of being the victims of bad laws while their elected representatives are exempt from the consequences of their actions.

The American people have rejected this government takeover of health care 2 to 1 and it is past time that we hold Congress responsible for the decisions its makes. If a Member of Congress says increased taxes, higher premiums and government run health care are good enough for American families, then it should be good enough for their families as well. I urge the President and Democrat Leadership to listen to this overwhelming uproar from the American public, scrap the current legislation, and go back to the drawing board to craft a real bi-partisan bill that increases access and quality of health care while driving down costs for American families.

Cross-posted from Townhall.com

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Once more unto the breach (Rep. Tom Price)

As you read this, President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and Senator Reid are lining up their troops to drag their government takeover of health care across the finish line. This is no easy task considering how strongly the American people have objected. Even so, they are absolutely determined to jam this through with an iron fist regardless of the electoral consequences.
 
Some of you may be worried by news reports that President Obama is again trying to appear bipartisan by giving lip service to ideas supported by Republicans. Don’t be. As long as the basis of his plan puts Washington in charge of Americans’ health care, there is nothing more to discuss. Don’t get me wrong. We’d love to see him support our ideas on their own merits. But the half measures he’s offered to toss on top of a trillion dollar bill are not a serious effort at bipartisanship.
 
While Republicans stand strong, however, the Associated Press reports that at least 10 House Democrats who voted against the Pelosi bill may be considering changing their vote if given the opportunity.
 

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The Big Question: What happens next on healthcare?

Some of the nation's top political commentators, legislators and intellectuals offer their insight into the biggest question burning up the blogosphere today. .

Today's question:

After President Barack Obama's bipartisan summit, what happens next on healthcare reform?

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Why I support question time for our democracy (Rep. Kendrick Meek)

On the occasion of today’s White House Health Care Summit, I would like to offer my full support for Question Time – a bipartisan effort to hold regular, unmediated, and open exchanges between the President and members of Congress, the direct representatives of the people.

Over 18,000 Americans, representing all political stripes, have joined the online movement for Question Time and many young supporters have approached me about getting behind the idea. After seeing the success of the President’s appearance last month at the House Republican retreat in Baltimore and his subsequent Q&A with Senate Democrats, I’ve become convinced that Question Time will both strengthen our governance and help revitalize our political process.

Democracy doesn’t take place in a vacuum. It requires commitment, energy, and openness. And, most importantly, it is not a solo act. Too often, we think of politics in a top-down, hierarchical sense instead of treating it as a two-way street. Holding regular, publicly-televised and webcasted conversations between the President and the people's representatives has the potential to combat hyper-partisanship and political stagnation.

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Eliminate the antitrust exemption for health insurance companies (Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson)

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Affordable Health Care for America Act on November 7, and the Senate passed its own health care reform bill on December 24. Our country faces so many challenges right now that in recent weeks, it seems that momentum for reforming health care has slowed as other issues have taken center stage, particularly the need for another jobs bill to build on the success of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. However, reforming our broken health care system so that every American has access to quality, affordable health care is as important now as it was in November, when I voted in favor of the House bill. In fact, as time passes, reform grows increasingly important -- in the coming months, we will see more and more Americans priced out of the health insurance market.

For example, Anthem Blue Cross of California recently announced that its individual market premiums would rise by as much as 39 percent in the coming months, and the company agreed to postpone the rate increases for two months only when California state officials and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius asked for a public justification from the company. In 2009, insurance companies in states across the country requested permission to increase rates by double digits -- a particularly shocking example occurred in Michigan, where Blue Cross/Blue Shield attempted to increase rates for plans sold on the individual market by 56 percent.

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ObamaCare returns: Time to send a clear message to Washington

Disgusted by President Obama’s liberal agenda, voters in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts went to the polls and replaced Democrats with Republicans to send a message to Washington. That message is: Stop.

Stop the rampant spending that threatens to send our country spiraling toward insolvency. Stop the rapid expansion of government that continues to encroach on our essential freedoms. And most of all stop trying to shove a radical health care “reform” bill designed to fundamentally restructure the U.S. economy down our throats.

The American people have spoken. The White House hasn’t heard their message.

Now Harry Reid is promising to pass a health care bill through the Senate in sixty days. President Obama is continuing to arrogantly push this radical legislation in the hope of creating a new entitlement program that will continue to nurture America’s dependency on Big Government. When America’s leadership has become so disconnected from Americans’ interests, the American people must stand up boldly in defense of their livelihoods and their liberties.


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The Big Question: Will Obama's new plan give health reform a boost?

Some of the nation's top political commentators, legislators and intellectuals offer their insight into the biggest question burning up the blogosphere today .




Today's question:

Will President Barack Obama's new health reform plan generate momentum for the stalled legislation?

(Read today's answers after the jump.)

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Now Obama discovers GOP healthcare proposals? (Rep. Tom Price)

Oh, the President must be really desperate

After repeating for months that Republicans have no solutions when it comes to health care reform, he now wants to discuss the very ideas he denied existed and has invited Republican leaders to the White House to find a “bipartisan” health care solution. How gracious of him.

You’ll have to excuse us for questioning the sincerity of the President’s newfound desire to work together. As Chairman of the Republican Study Committee, virtually every week in 2009, we requested to meet with the President to discuss health care and other central issues. Each time, a polite “thank you” email from the White House was the extent of our bipartisan discussions.  It’s interesting that only now – once his big-government dream is on political life support – does the President see a use for Republicans.  And it appears that use may be more political than rooted in policy goals.

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Assuring Medicare's seniors access to essential medical equipment

The uncertainty surrounding legislation to shape the future of health care in this country has imperiled an important provision that would benefit many seniors today.  Namely, a bipartisan proposal to exempt community pharmacists from a costly, time-consuming and redundant Medicare regulation that needlessly restricts patients' access to diabetes testing supplies and other essential health care products.  However, there's an easy solution within reach this month.

Congressional support for pharmacists on this issue is strong and bipartisan - and the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) deeply appreciates it.  Lawmakers recognize that:

  • Medicare Part B's Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics and Supplies (DMEPOS) accreditation requirements are costly and self-defeating when it comes to community pharmacies. Upfront compliance costs can run $7,000, in addition to substantial annual costs, and the process must be repeated every three years.
  • The requirements are unnecessary for pharmacists, who are already state-licensed health care providers and who have not been associated with the fraudulent billing targeted by Medicare.
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