Pelosi's trillion dollar government takeover of healthcare a bad prescription for America (Rep. Frank Lucas)

The debate over health care has reached a fevered pitch in our nation's capital.  Over the last several months, millions of Americans have spoken out at town halls, have called and written in to the White House, and have even made personal visits to their members of Congress to express their strong opposition to government run health care.  Yet Speaker Pelosi has once again ignored their voices.

Speaker Pelosi's health care bill H.R. 3962 was drafted without committee hearings or markups behind closed doors by Speaker Pelosi and a very limited number of her inner-circle.  Weighing in at more than 2,000 pages, Pelosi's bill will cost the American taxpayers $1.2 trillion over the next ten years.


Secure free market competition and consumer choice in the healthcare reform debate

On October 19, the Committee for Economic Development sent a letter to the Business Roundtable concerning Sen. Ron Wyden's "Free Choice Amendment."  On October 23, the Business Roundtable responded.  Here are excerpts from the letter the Business Roundtable sent to the CED:

Business Roundtable CEOs agree with you on many points. As you know, we are taking a leadership role in the health care reform debate and are deeply committed to public policy changes that will improve our nation’s health care system.

Patchwork measures will not suffice and a market based system with competition and choice is imperative. Consumers must have health insurance options. We believe insuring members of society is the right thing to do, which is why our companies offer health coverage to our employees now, although there is no legislated obligation or mandated requirement to do so. However, we disagree with you as to the proper approach to existing problems and concerns.

While significant and substantial health care reform is critical, we continue to support employer based health care and find Senator Wyden’s approach to be contrary to competition, free market and choice. Although Senator Wyden’s amendment includes the words “free choice,” it imposes new government control on private business negotiations and decisions.


Medicare, on a strong foundation, has broader responsibilities

The responses to the latest Commonwealth Fund/Modern Healthcare Health Care Opinion Leaders survey indicate just how successful the program has been in achieving its basic mission, but just how far it has to go in realizing its potential as a key driver of improved health system performance. A vast majority of leaders in health care and health policy said they believe Medicare has been successful in providing access to care and stable coverage to the elderly and disabled individuals. Medicare has not, however, played an important role in achieving broader goals, like using its role as the country's largest purchaser of health services to improve quality, promote more coordinated care, or control costs. There is strong support for sweeping changes to Medicare that would help control program costs and also enhance health system performance.

Because of Medicare's unique position, it can be an important testing ground for cost and quality innovations. There is strong support for policies to encourage such development, including expanding the power of the Secretary of Health and Human Services to put payment pilot programs on a "fast track" and to work with private payers and providers to establish multi-payer initiatives. Similarly, there is strong support for creation of an independent Medicare advisory council with broad authority to develop, test, and implement payment reforms rapidly and flexibly, collaborate in multi-payer initiatives, and alter beneficiary incentives based on effectiveness of services, drugs, and devices.


Countdown to healthcare: Crossing the finish line on the public option (Rep. Anthony Weiner)

In just a few short weeks, the public option has moved from afterthought to center stage. This happened because the American people made their voices heard and overwhelmed the insurance companies and special interests.

And although we're close to the finish line on health care, now is not the time to relent. There are still those who oppose a public option and will stand in the way of once-in-a-lifetime reform. The prelude is over. The real battle has begun.

Those who support the public option will prevail, but only if we follow the formula that got us here.

Left for dead a few weeks ago, there are four reasons why the public option will survive this intense fight, despite millions of dollars in insurance industry money pushing in the opposite direction.


Healthcare update: Republican reading room (Rep. John Campbell)

Factoid of the day: President Barack Obama's economic recovery program saved 935 jobs at the Southwest Georgia Community Action Council, an impressive success story for the stimulus plan. Trouble is, only 508 people work there.

– Quote from an Associated Press Report on overstating of stimulus job creation by the White House.

Pelosi Health Care Update: Last night at 10:07 PM Eastern time, Speaker Pelosi released the latest version of her health care plan. This version added 42 pages to make the total bill now a whopping 2,032 pages. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) had pledged to have the final bill in print for 72 hours before it is voted upon. That means that the soonest the bill could be brought to a vote on the House floor is 10:07 PM on Friday night.

But by all accounts, they have not yet cajoled the necessary 218 votes to ensure the bill’s passage. It also appears clear that they may make more changes to the bill in order to secure more votes before Friday night or Saturday. But they have also been clear that they will not wait until 72 hours after any further changes.


The CLASS Act would add to the national deficit

Buried in the health care reform legislation is a proposal that attempts to help Americans with their long-term care needs. While the proposal’s goal is worthy, the program would amount to little more than a new entitlement program that will raise our nation’s deficit while doing little to help pay for long-term care.

The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act creates a new government-run program that would charge working Americans a premium, taken as a payroll deduction, and in exchange provide them with a daily benefit of $50-$75 to help pay for care. Advocates of the program estimate premiums to be between $120 and $123 per month.

Worker participation in the program is paramount to its long-term financial success. If too many workers opt-out of the program, the Health and Human Services Secretary would be required to raise premiums annually to maintain the program’s solvency. But analyses by several organizations show that the CLASS Act is unlikely to remain financially sound and could contribute billions of dollars to the national deficit.


Remember Medicare for All in the healthcare reform debate

We are in danger of losing the opportunity to bring Improved Medicare for All, a single payer plan, before the Congress.  Last July Congressman Anthony Weiner and six of his colleagues on the Energy and Commerce Committee attempted to substitute the real public option—HR 676, a single payer plan—for the healthcare reform in the House.  Speaker Nancy Pelosi assured them that if they withdrew the amendment in committee they would have an opportunity to bring it to the House floor for a debate and vote.  Now Pelosi is threatening to keep the Weiner Single Payer Amendment from seeing the light of day.

If we were able to get this plan really on the table and before the nation in a meaningful way, we could win this hands down.  Even Blue Dog Mike Ross, in an unguarded moment, asked why not just have Medicare for All.  HR 676, the national single payer legislation introduced by Congressman John Conyers, would cover everyone for all medically necessary care through an Expanded and Improved Medicare for All.  The bill and its advocates have been blocked, excluded, and beaten back in the current national healthcare reform debate.


Health care reform plans funded by new major tax, Medicare spending cuts

The two major health care reform proposals to emerge from Capitol Hill in recent weeks have similarities and major differences.

Both the House compromise unveiled by Speaker Nancy Pelosi last week and the version recently approved by the Senate Finance Committee rely on Medicare spending cuts, although the House plan would cut nearly $100 billion more, and both plans include one large new tax – a high-income surtax in the House version and a tax on high-value health insurance plans in the Senate version.

The $1.05 trillion House health care reform legislation includes net cuts to Medicare, which would save $472.8 billion, or 39 percent of the bill’s 10-year cost, and a 5.4 percent surtax on high-income individuals, which would generate $460.5 billion, or 38 percent of the bill’s cost, according to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation’s review of the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) analysis.


Republican calls for patient-centered wellness (Rep. Thaddeus McCotter)

Throughout the health care debate, the majority of Americans have expressed their opposition and frustration with the president and his Democratic Congress’ radical proposals. The public is opposed to the scheme’s practical harm; frustrated by the Democrats’ arrogant refusal to listen; and justified in its concern that willful Washington politicians will impose these unhelpful proposals despite the American people’s objections.
This is not how the sovereign citizens’ servant government is supposed to enact laws in our free republic. Especially when there is a far more sensible, affordable and contemporary path: patient-centered wellness for our people powered world.

Emulating the failure of their trillion dollar stimulus bill’s “wealth redistribution” that they assured Americans would stop unemployment from rising over 8.5%, the Democrats’ radical, nearly trillion dollar “health redistribution” will not work. For months, the case has been made and the public has concurred: government-run medicine’s cost, higher taxes, surcharges on employer provided benefits, Medicare cuts, rationing boards (such as the stimulus bill’s already appointed Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research) and personal mandates, will only increase the costs, decrease the quality and reduce the choices of Americans’ health care. Given such overwhelming and intense public opposition, why do the Democrats insist on imposing this scheme on the American people?   


A glimpse at the Pelosi healthcare bill (Rep. John Campbell)

Speaker Pelosi and President Obama are determined to socialize medicine and to permanently put 1/6th of the American economy in complete control of the government. But the American people don't want that, not a single elected Republican in Congress wants that, and a significant number of elected Democrats don't want that.

Pelosi needs to get 218 Democrats to vote for her bill. That means she can lose 39 Democrats, but no more. She is keeping Democrats in town "working" because she wants to keep trying to convince them to vote for her bill. She also knows that if they go home, most of them will hear the opposite message from their constituents. So, she keeps us all in town with busy work so that she can keep using carrots and sticks to get the votes for her awful bill. Don't underestimate the power of the Presidency and the Speakership to convince Members of Congress to vote their way.