Botox Queen, Aka Princess Pelosi aka The Mouth – Goes Off on Obama and the Senate


Is Pelosi now 100 votes short on Obamacare?
By: Mark Tapscott
Editorial Page Editor
02/12/10 5:48 PM EST

Even if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are able to pull their legislative hat trick on Obamacare, as reported earlier this week by Congress Daily, it looks like support for such a measure among House Democrats is crumbling.

Note this statement today in a Politico piece on a “seething feud” between Pelosi and President Obama:

“Though Pelosi and other House Democrats have made it clear that they’re angry with the Senate, they’re also frustrated with the president, upset that he hasn’t come to terms with the problems of getting legislation through the upper chamber — or done enough to overcome them.

“’He wants a jobs bill, we get a jobs bill,’ the official said. ‘He wanted health care, we got health care. Then the answer is, ‘You just need to twist enough arms to pass the Senate bill.’ You can twist arms if you’ve got a handful of them to twist. You can’t twist over 100 arms. There needs to be some reality check there.’”

Taken literally, that statement suggests that more than 100 House Democrats are potentially ready to walk away from Obamacare if given the opportunity.

Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/TapscottsCopyDesk/Is-Pelosi-now-100-votes-short-on-Obamacare-84258422.html#ixzz0fY3i5IBC

A Summit Primer
By Grace-Marie Turner
100 votes short? One of the more telling comments about the prospects for final passage of health reform came from a top House Democratic official quoted in a Politico article today entitled, “Family Feud: Nancy Pelosi at Odds with President Obama”:

“Though Pelosi and other House Democrats have made it clear that they’re angry with the Senate, they’re also frustrated with the president, upset that he hasn’t come to terms with the problems of getting legislation through the upper chamber — or done enough to overcome them.

“He wants a jobs bill, we get a jobs bill,” the official said. “He wanted health care, we got health care. Then the answer is, ‘You just need to twist enough arms to pass the Senate bill.’ You can twist arms if you’ve got a handful of them to twist. You can’t twist over 100 arms. There needs to be some reality check there.”

So that must mean the House is a long, long way from having enough votes to pass the Senate bill. And the path to reconciling the differences is as difficult as driving the streets of Washington in this week’s crippling snowstorms. Clearly the February 25 health care summit is a desperate effort by the White House to save the health overhaul effort.

The leaders should step back and look for the path that is possible. There are things that Congress could do but the changes need to be targeted as part of a step-by-step approach to reform, as I outline in my latest National Review commentary.

A summit primer: But the Democratic leadership nonetheless presses forward. The latest tactic is to convince people that health care in America is so broken that the Congress has a duty to pass the Senate bill “to get something done” — even if it means using a process that would throw any pretense of bipartisanship out the window.

Speaker Pelosi has outlined yet another tortured parliamentary scenario to get the measure passed before Easter, using the 51-vote reconciliation process in the Senate. That would be an admission that they don’t even have enough Democratic Senate votes to get a bill passed!

The scheme won’t work.

A parade of independent studies shows that the legislation before Congress fails to achieve its most basic goals, and it would create an avalanche of unintended consequences throughout the rest of the health sector and economy.

Here is a refresher with some points that defenders of patient-centered medical care could make at the summit to answer those who insist the Democratic leadership’s bills must be passed:

Overall health costs will continue to rise: The Congressional Budget Office says health insurance premiums will continue their steady upward climb under the Reid bill. Families purchasing insurance in the individual market would see an increase of $2,100 in the year 2016, over and above increases they already will be facing as health insurance premiums continue to rise at about twice the rate of general inflation.

That means those families would be paying $15,200 for health insurance if the Senate bill passes, and $13,100 if it doesn’t. Families who get health insurance through small businesses will be paying $19,200 in six years, and those working for large firms, $20,100.

PricewaterhouseCoopers released a study, commissioned by America’s Health Insurance Plans, which showed the cost of a family plan in 2019 would be $4,000 a year higher if reform passes.

Federal health spending will increase: Chief Medicare Actuary Rick Foster estimates that under the Senate bill, “Federal expenditures would increase by a net total of $279 billion” between 2010 and 2019.

People will lose the coverage they have today: Steep cuts in Medicare Advantage would mean that at least one-third of seniors likely would lose their comprehensive Medicare Advantage coverage as their plans withdraw from the program, cut their benefits, or raise their premiums.

And as for people with employer-sponsored insurance, CBO says 10 million of them could lose their current coverage. Independent studies by The Lewin Group found that earlier versions of the legislation could mean 83 million Americans would lose private coverage.

Taxes will increase … on the middle class: The bills call for nearly $500 billion in new taxes, including taxes on insurance companies, Cadillac health plans, medical devices, and “the rich” — taxes that will hit the middle class and increase prices and health insurance costs for consumers.

And the mandate that all individuals must carry health insurance comes with tax penalties for non-compliance. And that is indeed a tax, according to top congressional tax expert, Thomas Barthold. He told the Senate Finance Committee that the penalty for not complying with the requirement to buy health insurance is an excise tax that will hit the middle class.

The bills just don’t work: The American Academy of Actuaries, in a 21-page letter to Congress, critiqued the House and Senate bills and said major changes must be made to avoid a series of damaging consequences.

As just one of many examples, the actuaries described the significant problems with the new long term-care entitlement program the legislation would create, called the CLASS Act. The actuaries said that “given the way the program is structured, severe adverse selection would result in very high premiums that are likely to be unaffordable for much of the intended population, threatening the viability of the program.”

Medicare actuary Rick Foster also concludes that “there is a very serious risk that the problem of adverse selection would make the CLASS program unsustainable.”

The deficit will increase: Former CBO Director Doug Holtz-Eakin concludes the bills “can claim to be deficit-neutral only because during its first decade it offers 10 years of taxes compared with six years of subsidies, making it look far cheaper initially than it really is (while still costing more than $800 billion).

“The Republican staff of the Senate Budget Committee estimates that, fully implemented, Democratic legislation would cost $2.4 trillion over 10 years, nearly three times the cost projected by the Congressional Budget Office.”

Further, the Congressional Budget Office shows the Senate bill double-counts Medicare savings. Savings to the Medicare program “would be received by the government only once … they cannot be set aside to pay for future Medicare spending and, at the same time, pay for current spending on other parts of the legislation or on other programs.”

Rick Foster makes the same point: A series of accounting maneuvers makes it appear that Medicare’s Part A trust fund would be in better shape under the Reid bill, but that’s not so. “In practice, the improved Part A financing cannot be simultaneously used to finance other Federal outlays (such as the coverage expansion under [the Reid bill]) and to extend the trust fund,” Foster writes.

Further, Foster says that making the cuts to Medicare that Reid’s bill requires would “represent an exceedingly difficult challenge.”

Doctors and hospitals will become insolvent: Achieving deficit neutrality depends upon Congress making massive cuts to physician and hospital Medicare payments which Congress has virtually no will to do. But if the cuts are implemented, Foster says that in a decade, one out of five hospitals and nursing homes would become unprofitable, threatening patient access to Medicare services. The 21% cut in Medicare payments on March 1 is the next death-defying cliff the Congress must figure out how to avoid.

Job creation will suffer: The new taxes on businesses and individuals will further retard jobs creation and the recovery, and the higher health costs will discourage small businesses — the engine of job creation — from hiring. US Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue said: “Congress, the administration and the states must recognize that our weak economy simply could not sustain all the new taxes, regulations and mandates now under consideration. It’s a sure-fire recipe for double-dip recession, or worse.”

WellPoint mined its own actuarial data to model the basics of the plan incorporated in the House bill, using data from 14 states where it runs Blue Cross plans. In all 14, it found that the legislation would drive up premiums for small businesses and individuals — the very people who get economies moving.

Just a reminder of the damage these bills would do. The problem is not the marketing. The problem is the substance of these bills, Mr. President. This is the wrong prescription.

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