Thursday, September 3, 2009


This just in From The Heritage Foundation

112,622 Americans signed the petition sent to The Dear Leader by The Heritage Foundation to keep the administration from gelding our military.




September 3, 2009 | House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) | Permalink

Democrats continue to claim that their health care legislation will not increase the federal deficit, even though the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has revealed the truth: the bill actually increases the deficit by $239 billion. One of the reasons it’s so expensive is the plethora of new federal government programs it would create. House Republican Leader John Boehner offered the following comment:

“The American people’s number one concern about health care is controlling cost, so it is baffling that Democrats have put together a $1.5 trillion bill that actually increases the deficit in order to create 53 new government programs. We need to throw away this 1,000-page monstrosity and start over, this time focusing on real, bipartisan reforms that lower costs and expand coverage.”

The House Democrats’ bill creates a massive new federal bureaucracy littered with new federal agencies, new programs, and new bureaucrats. Here they are, as identified by the House Republican Conference, chaired by Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN):

Health Benefits Advisory Committee (Section 123, p. 30)
Health Choices Administration (Section 141, p. 41)
Qualified Health Benefits Plan Ombudsman (Section 144, p. 47)
Program of administrative simplification (Section 163, p. 57)
Retiree Reserve Trust Fund (Section 164(d), p. 70)
Health Insurance Exchange (Section 201, p. 72)
Mechanism for insurance risk pooling to be established by Health Choices Administration Commissioner (Section 206(b), p. 106)
Special Inspector General for the Health Insurance Exchange (Section 206(c), p. 107)
Health Insurance Exchange Trust Fund (Section 207, p. 109)
State-based Health Insurance Exchanges (Section 208, p. 111)
“Public Health Insurance Option” (Section 221, p. 116)
Ombudsman for “Public Health Insurance Option” (Section 221(d), p. 117)
Account for receipts and disbursements for “Public Health Insurance Option” (Section 222(b), p. 119)
Telehealth Advisory Committee (Section 1191, p. 380)
Demonstration program providing reimbursement for “culturally and linguistically appropriate services” (Section 1222, p. 405)
Demonstration program for shared decision making using patient decision aids (Section 1236, p. 438)
Accountable Care Organization pilot program (Section 1301, p. 443)
Independent patient-centered medical home pilot program under Medicare (Section 1302, p. 462)
Community-based medical home pilot program under Medicare (Section 1302(d), p. 468)
Center for Comparative Effectiveness Research (Section 1401(a), p. 502)
Comparative Effectiveness Research Commission (Section 1401(a), p. 505)
Patient ombudsman for comparative effectiveness research (Section 1401(a), p. 519)
Quality assurance and performance improvement program for skilled nursing facilities (Section 1412(b)(1), p. 546)
Quality assurance and performance improvement program for nursing facilities (Section 1412 (b)(2), p. 548)
Special focus facility program for skilled nursing facilities (Section 1413(a)(3), p. 559)
Special focus facility program for nursing facilities (Section 1413(b)(3), p. 565)
National independent monitor pilot program for skilled nursing facilities and nursing facilities (Section 1422, p. 607)
Demonstration program for approved teaching health centers with respect to Medicare GME (Section 1502(d), p. 674)
Pilot program to develop anti-fraud compliance systems for Medicare providers (Section 1635, p. 716)
Medical home pilot program under Medicaid (Section 1722, p. 780)
Comparative Effectiveness Research Trust Fund (Section 1802, p. 824)
“Identifiable office or program” within CMS to “provide for improved coordination between Medicare and Medicaid in the case of dual eligibles” (Section 1905, p. 852)
Public Health Investment Fund (Section 2002, p. 859)
Scholarships for service in health professional needs areas (Section 2211, p. 870)
Loan repayment program for service in health professional needs areas (Section 2211, p. 873)
Program for training medical residents in community-based settings (Section 2214, p. 882)
Grant program for training in dentistry programs (Section 2215, p. 887)
Public Health Workforce Corps (Section 2231, p. 898)
Public health workforce scholarship program (Section 2231, p. 900)
Public health workforce loan forgiveness program (Section 2231, p. 904)
Grant program for innovations in interdisciplinary care (Section 2252, p. 917)
Advisory Committee on Health Workforce Evaluation and Assessment (Section 2261, p. 920)
Prevention and Wellness Trust (Section 2301, p. 932)
Clinical Prevention Stakeholders Board (Section 2301, p. 941)
Community Prevention Stakeholders Board (Section 2301, p. 947)
Grant program for community prevention and wellness research (Section 2301, p. 950)
Grant program for community prevention and wellness services (Section 2301, p. 951)
Grant program for public health infrastructure (Section 2301, p. 955)
Center for Quality Improvement (Section 2401, p. 965)
Assistant Secretary for Health Information (Section 2402, p. 972)
Grant program to support the operation of school-based health clinics (Section 2511, p. 993)
National Medical Device Registry (Section 2521, p. 1001)
Grants for labor-management programs for nursing training (Section 2531, p. 1008)

The Morning Bell

From The Heritage Foundation

The Morning Bell


Job Creation Not Happening

Today, the Department of Labor reported that 570,000 Americans filed initial claims for jobless benefits last week. This follows news from ADP Employer Services on Wednesday that private employers cut 298,000 jobs last month. As bad as these numbers sound (and they are bad) the real threat facing our nation’s economy is that, as Gallup’s Chief Economist Dennis Jacobe puts it: “job creation in August is just not taking place in the U.S. economy.” Why is job creation more important than job loss numbers? Heritage fellow James Sherk explains:
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The American economy is highly dynamic. Industries continually expand and contract while entrepreneurs create new companies and uncompetitive firms go out of business. Workers move between jobs frequently as this occurs. … Recent research shows that an increased likelihood of layoffs is not the main reason that unemployment rises during economic slumps. … The main reason unemployment rises during economic downturns is that job creation falls while the labor force continues to grow, making available jobs scarcer. As a result, many without work stay unemployed longer, driving up the unemployment rate.

If our economy is going to avoid double digit unemployment, the private sector is going to have to start hiring people again. Unfortunately, every agenda item emanating from the White House will only hamper, not allow for, private sector job growth.

The Stimulus: President Obama’s $787 billion stimulus has been a boon for public sector unions and the economy of Washington, DC but it has completely failed to spur private sector job growth. The Wall Street Journal reports: “Dave Anderson, chief financial officer of Honeywell International Inc., said the stimulus package actually froze business activity at first as firms tried to figure out how they could benefit from the government spending. The $787 billion package ‘created actually a slowdown in order activity in terms of the flow that we would normally have anticipated.’”

Health Care: Our nation needs health care reform that lets Americans reduce their exploding health care costs. The best way to do this is to reform the tax code and remove regulations that are preventing a true health insurance market from functioning. But the President only wants to expand the status quo by building off the failed models of Medicare and Medicaid that got us into this mess in the first place. Worse, President Obama is set to fund his massive expansion of government-run health care on the backs of businesses. The employer mandates used to fund Obamacare will cost businesses at least $49 billion per year and put 5.2 million low-wage workers at risk of unemploy­ment or reduced working hours. The prospect of fewer job opportunities in the future will put another 10.2 million workers at risk of slower wage growth and cuts in other benefits.

Cap and Trade: President Obama continues to try and sell his cap-and-trade plan as a job creation bill, but the more honest in his own party have admitted otherwise. During a committee hearing on cap-and-trade this year, Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) explained: “Nobody in this country realizes that cap-and-trade is a tax — and it’s a great big one.” According to a Center for Data Analysis study, the economic costs of the Waxman-Markey energy tax bill include net job losses approach 1.9 million in 2012 and could approach 2.5 million by 2035.

Higher Taxes: President Obama wants to raise taxes on U.S. companies by: 1) limiting the ability of American business to defer U.S. tax on their foreign income and 2) reducing the credit American businesses receive for foreign taxes paid. These higher taxes will be a big competitive disadvantage for American firms. Punishing U.S. companies for competing overseas will ultimately kill jobs here at home. For every worker employed by a U.S. subsidiary in a foreign country, 2.3 Americans are employed in the U.S. And a 10 percent increase in foreign investment by businesses has been associated with a 2.6 percent increase in investment in the businesses’ home countries.

Trillion Dollar Deficits: Last week, the Office of Management and Budget released numbers showing that under President Obama’s budget the public national debt–$5.8 trillion as of 2008–is projected to double by 2012 and nearly triple by 2019. Looking at these budget forecasts, investors are demanding higher interest rates to soak up the tremendous flows of debt coming out of the Treasury. This will mean higher interest rates for consumer loans, mortgage loans, business loans, etc. Sherk concludes:

American businesses and the American economy need time to recover and heal from this deep recession before facing new threats from massive government intervention in the economy. Presented with a more certain path forward, businesses will regain their optimism for the future, and will resume making the investments they need in order to expand and to compete in the global marketplace.

Cap And Trade Calamities

From The Heritage Foundation

Energy Efficiency is Good - Except When It’s Not
Waxman-Markey proposes a new national tax of historic proportions
Related Links
National Security Not a Good Argument for Global Warming Legislation
Cap and Trade: A Comparison of Cost Estimates
Heritage's Research on the Cap and Trade Global Warming Bill

Just as renewable energy can be a good thing if the market can provide it at an affordable rate, products designed for greater energy efficiency is a good thing. But not when the government gets in the way. Federal laws dictating how much energy home appliances are allowed to use have frequently harmed consumers, and the Waxman-Markey bill introduces a host of new ones.

Improved energy efficiency is a worthwhile goal, but not when Washington tries to mandate it with arbitrary requirements. Consumers who think the resultant energy-efficient appliances will save them money in the long run may be disappointed. These standards almost always raise the purchase price of appliances, in some cases to the point that the extra upfront costs are never recouped in the form of energy savings. For example, the Department of Energy conceded that its most recent air-conditioner standard would be a money loser for many consumers, but went ahead with it anyway.

Efficiency standards can also adversely affect product performance, features, and reliability. For example, Consumer Reports noted that several high-efficiency clothes washers meeting the latest federal standard “left our-stain soaked swatches nearly as dirty as they were before washing” and suggested that “for best results, you'll have to spend $900 or more.”

Some standards also restrict consumer choice. For example, the 2007 energy bill effectively phases out the traditional incandescent light bulb in favor of more efficient compact fluorescent bulbs. Compared to the old-fashioned, but still-popular incandescent lights, compact fluorescent bulbs are more expensive, have a light quality some find inferior, do not fit into certain fixtures, and contain small amounts of mercury, which can be a health and safety concern if the bulbs break. Whether it’s a $1 light bulb or a $1000 washing machine, consumers are clearly better off when they have a choice, not when government steps in and decides what is best.

The Waxman-Markey proposal contains a host of new standards for everything from household lamps to portable electric spas. The new legislation makes it easier to place more requirements on appliances like air-conditioners that are already subject to stringent regulations. The overall effect would be higher costs, compromised quality, and restricted choice for homeowners with a negligible impact on the environment.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The White House Minning Social Networking Sites

To go along with the Rockefeller-Snow bill now it seems the White House wants to have social networking sites minned for dissenting views
Could this be another tie in? Could this mean all the people who have blogs speaking out against these people will be marked for.....Reeducation sometime in the future? Lets hope not. It could be I've had to much coffee and feeling a little edgy. But if you ever look at the main entrance of the Rockefeller Building in New York City you will see a worker with a hammer and a farmer with a cycle.....I think I've seem those symboles somewhere before.

Obamas Five Flaws

From The Heritage Foundation

September 2, 2009 | By Amanda Reinecker

Obamacare’s five flaws
There is little disagreement among liberals and conservatives that America's current health care system needs serious reform. But the Left's plan is seriously flawed.

Heritage Foundation expert Nina Owcharenko dissects "five major faults with the health care bills" being pushed in the House and Senate.

The public "option." Both proposals would create a government-run insurance plan which proponents claim would foster honest competition among private insurers. But how can there be fair competition when one of the players -- Washington -- is both writing the rules and playing the game? What's more, this scheme could lead millions of Americans to lose their private health insurance.

Centralized regulation. Both the House and Senate bills would result in sweeping and complex federal regulation of health insurance. This would take oversight away from states and concentrate it in Washington -- and this oversight is best left at the state level.

Greater dependency on government. Both bills would expand existing government health care programs and introduce massive new taxpayer-funded subsidies to buy health insurance. This would leave millions of Americans dependent on government for their health care.

Employer mandate. The plans would force employers to provide coverage for all employees or face a massive tax. These "play-or-pay" mandates will raise prices, stifle economic growth and particularly hurt low-wage earners.

Individual mandate. Both bills require that all Americans purchase health insurance. Those without coverage or whose plans don't meet the new federal standards would face tax penalties. Special interests are sure to "lobby intensively to expand the legally mandated health benefits, medical treatments and procedures, and drugs that all Americans must buy under penalty of law."

Taken together or individually, these flaws would inflict serious damage on an industry that represents one-sixth of our nation's economy.

Instead, Owcharenko suggests the government refocus its efforts on incrementally introducing real, cost-effective reform. Such a reform would grant more autonomy to individual states; extend tax relief to everyone who purchases private health insurance, regardless of employment; and rein in runaway spending on programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

"Policymakers need to proceed slowly and deliberately," advises Owcharenko, "making sure that the initial steps they take are not disruptive of what Americans have and want to keep, actually work, and do not result in costly and damaging and unintended consequences." So far, they're on the wrong track.

School choice is a safe choice
The Washington, D.C. public school system is among the most dangerous in the nation, according to a recent Heritage Foundation study.

"Many students living in the District of Columbia attend schools where they are too often exposed to crime and violence," explains the report, coauthored by Heritage's David Muhlhausen and Dan Lips with Don Soifer of the Lexington Institute.

In 2009, 11.3 percent of D.C. high school students reported being "threatened or injured" with a weapon while on school property during the previous year--a rate well above the national average.

One way out is to allow parents to choose safer schools for their children. "All children should have the opportunity to attend school in a safe learning environment," the authors argue. The editors of the Washington Post apparently agree. "No wonder many parents cite school safety when explaining why they want choice in where their child goes to school," they wrote in an editorial citing this Heritage study.

That is why school-choice initiatives like the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program are so valuable. This program allows 1,700 low-income students to attend private schools in the District. Because of its impact on both academic achievement and school safety, Congress should look into expanding the program. But earlier this summer, Congress put the program on the brink by passing an appropriations bill that would prevent any new students from receiving the scholarships.

The Heritage Foundation has long promoted school choice programs across the country. Our experts provide in-depth analyses of how they give parents the ability to choose safe and effective schools for their children.

» Learn more about school choice programs in your state

> Other Heritage work of note
Proponents of Obamacare repeatedly claim that there are 46 million uninsured individuals in the United States, but few can explain the origin of this number. Heritage health policy analyst Dennis Smith looks at the facts and finds that this number inflated. "The number of Americans who are poor, sick, and uninsured for a lengthy period of time is a relatively small number, about 4 million individuals," he concludes, adding that there the 46 million figure also includes about 12 million illegal aliens.
The $787 billion stimulus isn't working the economic miracle the Left promised. "Unemployment remains high, consumer confidence and spending remains low, and the politicians in Washington are borrowing and printing money at record levels," writes Heritage Senate Relations expert Brian Darling. But instead of adopting truly stimulating economic policies, Washington remains mired in politics as usual.
Heritage national security expert James Carafano warns: "America is returning to the 19th century, a world where it will be incapable of producing the instruments needed to defend itself." Both the House and Senate have passed a defense authorization bill that drastically cuts funding for programs and equipment essential to our national security.
President Obama and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev may soon begin negotiating a replacement for the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. But Heritage national security expert Peter Brookes recalls that past arms deals have often involved Russian shirking. Brookes advises the President to hold his Russian counterpart accountable for his country's non-compliance. "If we don't, the Russians will have little if any incentive to correctly implement any new treaty -- and every reason to find clever ways to cheat, as it looks like they're doing now, further jeopardizing our national security."
> In other news
President Obama has decided to ease up on his push to include a public "option" in the health care reform plan. While the Left insists on its inclusion, the President, whose approval ratings have plummeted lately, seems open to its removal.
The AFL-CIO, a powerful union ally of the liberal Congressional leadership, is lobbying for a tax on every stock transaction. Penalizing investment hardly seems like a good way to encourage economic recovery.
Debate on the controversial cap-and-tax climate change legislation has been postponed to the end of September to allow Senators to focus on health care.
Under the government's cash-for-clunkers program, dealers were to offer car buyers the subsidy out-of-pocket and be reimbursed by Washington within ten day. But even though the program has ended, many dealers have yet to receive their promised reimbursement.
Vermont began to recognize same-sex marriages on Tuesday. To celebrate, ice cream chain Ben and Jerry's announced it would temporarily rename its "Chubby Hubby" flavor to "Hubby Hubby."
Canada's Liberals have announced their intention to undermine the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and force an election. Harper's party does not hold a majority of seats in the parliament.

The Morning Bell

From The Heritage Foundation

The Morning Bell


Mandates Are The Opposite Of Choice

August has been a brutal month for advocates of government-run health care. According to a new CNN poll, for the first time in his presidency, a majority of independents (53%) now disapprove of how President Barack Obama is handling his job. And a majority of all Americans (53%) also disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling health care. Responding to these new facts on the ground, senior Obama officials are now telling Politico that when Obama does finally detail the specifics of what he wants to see in a health care bill, the public option will not be included.
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Instead, according to Obama senior adviser David Axelrod, President Obama will focus on health reform that will “create competition and choice.” Axelrod’s focus groups must love that phrase, because the White House has been selling Obamacare as “choice and competition” for some time now. Unfortunately, even without the public option, the other pillars of Obamacare (federal regulation of health insurance, massive new taxpayer-funded subsidies, and employer and individual mandates) will all decrease, not increase, Americans’ health care choices.

Federal Regulation of Health Insurance: Both the pending House health care bill and Senate HELP Committee bill include provisions that would, if enacted, result in sweeping, complex, and highly discretionary new federal regulation of health insurance. Taken together these provisions would make the current situation worse by driving costs higher and by encouraging more employers and individuals to drop coverage.

Massive New Taxpayer-Funded Subsidies: Both the House and Senate would expand eligibility for Medicaid, and create new taxpayer-funded subsidies to the middle class. Such commitments would result in scores of Americans dependent on the government to finance their health care.

Employer Mandate: Both the House and Senate bills would impose an employer mandate for employers who do not offer coverage and for those whose benefits do not meet a new federal standard. An employer mandate would hurt low-income workers the most and would also stifle much-needed economic growth. Employer mandates are passed on to workers in the form of reduced wages and compensation. This is exactly the wrong prescription for businesses, especially during a recession.

Individual Mandate: According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), a federal individual mandate for health insurance would be unique and unprecedented because it would “impose a duty on individuals as members of society” and would “require people to purchase a specific service that would be heavily regulated” by the government. According to President Obama HHS nominee Dr. Sherry Glied: “Developing a system to promptly identify and penalize scofflaws will take effort and ingenuity, particularly in our diverse and mobile country. It may require a degree of intrusiveness and bureaucracy that some will find unpalatable.” In fact, it was jut last year that then-candidate Obama also opposed individual mandates.

Conservatives have been for increased “choice and competition” in health care long before David Axelrod discovered the phrase was popular with the American people and commandeered it to push Obamacare. Such pro-competition reforms include giving individuals the freedom to purchase coverage from trusted sources and not be restricted by where they happen to live, equalizing the tax treatment of health insurance purchases, and putting Medicare and Medicaid on a fiscally sustainable path.

Heritage Center for Health Policy Studies Deputy Director Nina Owcharenko concludes: “Instead of continuing to protect the status quo, Congress should advance improvements that put the health care system on a path to reform. Such improvements should be focused on increasing choice and competition not by turning control over to Washington but by empowering individuals and families to control their health care dollars and decisions.”


GOP Leader Alert

September 2, 2009 | House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) | Permalink

Democrats’ number one talking point about health care is that if you like your current health coverage, you can keep it. That would be reassuring if it were true, but it is not. In fact, their legislation would undermine the Employee Retirement Security Act (ERISA), putting government bureaucrats in charge of decisions that should be made by small businesses and other employers working with their employees. House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH), who worked on ERISA-related issues for years as Chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, made the following comment:

“Real health care reform should start with the Hippocratic Oath: first, do no harm. But the Democrats’ government takeover legislation will undermine the law that has guaranteed American workers quality retirement security and health coverage for decades. We can do better. We need to hit the ‘reset’ button, scrap this leviathan of a bill, and work together on bipartisan reforms that make sense.”

Here are just a few examples of how the House Democrats’ bill erodes the ability of small businesses, other employers, and workers to exercise their rights and obligations under ERISA:

Section 142 – The House bill says that after a five-year grace period all ERISA insurance offerings will have to win government approval—both by the Department of Labor and a new “Health Choices Commissioner” who will set federal standards for what is an acceptable health plan. The commissioner can fine employers that don’t comply and even has “suspension of enrollment” powers for plans that he or she has vetoed, until “satisfied that the basis for such determination has been corrected and is not likely to recur.”
Section 261 – This section, included in the Chairman’s Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute at the Education and Labor Committee markup, provides for automatic federal waivers to ERISA for states that enact single-payer health care systems. Waivers to ERISA would preclude employers from offering consistent benefits. The practical effect of this section is that workers receiving health coverage from the same employer in different states could have wide disparities in coverage.
Sections 132 and 151 – These two sections provide for unlimited state law remedies for employer-sponsored health coverage obtained through health insurance exchanges. Litigation will increase under this provision, further driving up the cost of health insurance for millions of Americans.
Section 165 – This section, included in the Chairman’s Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute at the Education and Labor Committee markup, prohibits one of the core principles of ERISA, the voluntary nature of employee benefits, by imposing a prohibition on modifications to retiree health plans.
We can do better, and the American people deserve better. Let’s toss the Democrats’ government takeover in the dustbin, and work together on the common sense reforms they want and need

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Road To Government Run Healthcare

From Th Heritage Foundation

The Morning Bell

TUESDAY, SEP 1, 2009

The Road To Government-Run Health Care

Illustrating how proponents of Obamacare “lost the month of August,” Politico notes that while Rep. Vic Snyder (D-AR) claimed health care would be transformed “under President Obama’s leadership” in late July, by mid-August he had been humbled, telling a 1,000 person townhall: “I’ve never been a big fan of this public option.” How are Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) planning on bringing the likes of Rep. Snyder back in line? Again from Politico:
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Cap and Trade Sentence of the Day

Leaders say their strategy is to convince members that nothing is set in stone and that they are more than open to negotiations. And they’re engaging in a softer sell, prioritizing health insurance reforms while pitching the public option as something that’s way, way down the road.

The American people have done a tremendous job this August educating their elected leaders on the fact that they have no desire for government-run health care. And they have every right to believe that President Obama’s “public option” will achieve exactly that. Earlier this year, The Lewin Group released a study showing that under the July 15th draft of Obamacare, enrollment in the public option would reach 103.4 million people including about 83.4 million people who would lose their private insurance and be nudged onto the public plan. But also in July, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) then released their own analysis showing that only 11 million people would enroll in the public plan. How can these numbers be off by a factor of ten? The answer demonstrates just how dangerous the creation of any public plan really is, no matter how small it is initially.

Explaining the gap between the CBO and their own numbers, the Lewin Group’s John Sheils and Randy Haught write: “There are two reasons for the difference in the CBO and Lewin Group estimates for the July 15th draft. The first stems from the fact that the bill does not specify which size companies ultimately would be allowed to enter the exchange and thus the public plan. The bill requires that the exchange be open to individuals and small firms with less than 20 workers by the second year of the program and gives a newly established “Commissioner” the authority to extend eligibility to all employers in subsequent years. … The second area of difference is over premium levels in the public plan.”

Sheils and Haught then detail how by fiddling with eligibility and premium level assumptions (details that under any public plan will be imminently changeable by Congress and the new healthcare “Commissioner”), the CBO and Lewin numbers largely match up. Defending their own assumptions on premium levels, Sheils and Haught then recount Congress’ constant fiddling with Medicare Advantage concluding: “In fact, the Medicare Advantage experience actually demonstrates that private health plans can not compete with the Medicare fee-for-service program, at least not without subsidies or some other type of overpayment rates.” And remember, President Obama wants to cut Medicare Advantage entirely to help pay for the rest of his plan.

The bottom line is that a public plan will grant the federal government unprecedented power to constantly tinker with the healthcare sector in ways that will make one sixth of our entire economy completely dependent on decisions made in Washington, DC. This is not the way free societies operate.

Documenting the rise of central planning in 1944, Friedrich von Hayek wrote in The Road to Serfdom in 1944: “The question was not longer one of making competition work and of supplementing it but of displacing it altogether.” As Hillary Clinton’s Chief Strategist Mark Penn writes in today’s Politico: “The subsidized “public option” was always meant as a transition to single payer, not merely as an aid to competition with private insurers.”

Cap And Trade Calamities

From The Heritage Foundation

Don't Forget About Renewable Energy Mandates
Waxman-Markey proposes a new national tax of historic proportions
Related Links
Waxman-Markey's Effect on Gas Prices in Your State
Cap and Trade Sentence of the Day
Heritage's Research on the Cap and Trade Global Warming Bill

It’s easy to forget that the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill is not just about cap and trade. There are a number of other problematic provisions buried in the 1,427 pages of legislation. Cap and trade should receive the most attention because it’s the most economically devastating part of the bill, but Waxman-Markey also includes a renewable electricity standard that mandates 6 percent of the nation’s electricity come from renewable sources, chiefly wind energy but also others like biomass and solar, by 2012. The mandate increases each year until it reaches 25 percent by 2025. It’s a provision that’s had a difficult time moving through Congress in previous bills.

Wind and solar power are promising ideas. They are renewable and clean, and parts of the U.S. are very rich in solar and wind resources. But right now it costs far too much money to generate energy from these sources. Established energy sources like nuclear, coal, oil, and natural gas are far more efficient. If any renewable energy source is economically competitive (free of government subsidies that create government dependence), it will have its place in the market, but it’s not up to the government to pick winners and losers among energy sources. Doing so could crowd out energy sources we haven’t even discovered yet.

Government subsidies for renewable energy are only necessary because renewables are too expensive to compete in the market otherwise. In effect, the government is forcing costlier energy options on electricity consumers. Since renewables are lavished with substantial tax breaks, a national mandate will mean higher taxes and higher electric bills for Americans.

This isn’t just a game of estimates; we can learn from example. Britain’s renewable energy plan will cost 11 to 17 times more than the economic benefits it will bring. In Spain, electricity bills are 10 times higher because of renewable mandates.

Right here at home, Austin, Texas, electricity providers gave consumers a choice to purchase renewable energy. The problem is people aren’t buying it because it’s too expensive and now utility companies are spreading the costs to all the consumers. Moreover, in West Texas, wind suppliers are actually paying people to take their energy.

Renewable energy and other innovative ideas to create energy have potential, but their fate should be decided by the market—not Members of Congress.


From The GOP Leader Alert


September 1, 2009 | House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) | Permalink

One of the most potentially frightening – and little understood – concerns about House Democrats’ government takeover of health care is the unprecedented power given to a new federal bureaucrat, the “Health Choices Commissioner.” As the name implies, rather than giving more choices to the American people, the Democrats’ bill lets a government employee make choices that should be made by families and doctors. House Republican Leader John Boehner made the following comment:

“The American people want two things from health care reform: lower costs and more choices. Yet Democrats have done exactly the opposite, coming up with a bill that actually raises costs – increasing the deficit by $240 billion – and letting a new federal bureaucrat make health care decisions that should be left to patients and their doctors. President Obama should make it clear he doesn’t support this ill-conceived legislation, and work with Republicans to craft a bipartisan bill that accomplishes the American peoples’ goals.”

The House Democrats’ bill gives unchecked power to a new “Health Choices Commissioner” who will be so powerful that his or her title is referenced 182 times in the House Democrats bill. This bureaucrat would have the power to:

Pages 84-87; Section 203 - Decide which treatments patients could receive and at what cost.
Page 42; Section 142(a)(1) - Decide which private plans would be allowed to participate in the Exchange.
Page 40; Section 134 - Regulate all insurance plans, both in and out of the Exchange.
Page 80; Section 202(e) - Determine which employers would be allowed to participate in the Exchange.
Page 82; Section 202(f) - Determine how many and which Americans will be allowed to choose health coverage through the Exchange.
Page 90; Section 204(b) - Decide which physicians and hospitals participate in the government-run plan and in private plan provider networks.
Page 111-115; Section 208 - Determine which states are allowed to operate their own Exchange and to terminate a previously-approved State Exchange at any time.
Page 87; Section 203(d) - Override state laws regarding covered health benefits.
Page 42; Section 142(a)(2) - Determine how trillions of taxpayer and employer dollars would be spent within the Exchange.
Page 42; Section 142(a)(3) - Determine who qualifies for premium assistance.
Page 97-99; Section 205 - Automatically enroll Americans into the Exchange if they don’t have coverage, including potentially forcing these individuals into the government-run plan.
Democrats should stop ignoring the will of the American people. They need to scrap this government takeover and work on common sense reforms to lower health care costs and increase access. Let’s hope after a long, hot summer back in their Congressional Districts, Democrats will be willing to do just that.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Old Bait And Switch

The Heritage Foundation

Cap and Trade’s Bait and Switch
Posted August 28th, 2009 at 12.38pm in Energy and Environment.
This morning we reported on a recently-leaked document from the G20 Climate Finance Experts Group detailing that while Congress has promised to give Waxman-Markey’s energy tax revenues to Americans, Obama administration negotiators are promising to give that very same money to the governments of China, India and a host of other countries.

But that is just the beginning of cap and trade’s duplicity exposed by the documents. Page 10 of the document shows that those working to give our income away know they can’t be straight forward:

“A second question is how to address funding sources that might not be included in a contributor’s up front commitment. In particular, carbon markets are likely to provide a large fraction of financing for some contributors yet may be difficult to pledge.”

Translation: “If taxpayers [contributors] know that cap and trade commits America to sending hundreds of billions of dollars per year to foreign governments for decades to come, they might not like it so much.”
Who decides how much the rich countries need to transfer to the rest of the world? This group of finance experts offers two options with one being strongly preferred. The trick, here, is that “contributors” means “decision-makers” more than it actually means “contributors.”

Option 1: “Only developed countries contribute. While this has been the dominant model in the past (although some developing countries have contributed to the GEF), among other things, it ignores the dynamic nature of development and the common feature of the climate change challenge.”

Option 2: “All countries except the least developed countries (LDCs) contribute, but developing countries remain net recipients. By engaging all but the least developed countries, this creates global ownership in the process and further incentives for mitigation.”

Question: If you put a dollar in the homeless person’s cup, the homeless person puts in a nickel but keeps it all, are you both contributors? If you said “yes,” you are well on your way to being a climate finance expert.

Next question: Should you and the homeless person vote on how much you put in the cup? Say “yes” to create “global ownership.” See how easy it is to be a climate finance expert?

In other words, there will be “global ownership in the process” that determines how much money gets taken from energy-consumers in the U.S. and given to third-world bureaucracies.

In stunning ignorance of the cost to those who pay, this group sees a bigger problem with the third-world’s ability to spend the money than with our ability to pay:

“The rate at which public funding can be scaled up as a practical matter is limited by the absorptive capacity of the recipient country, the efficacy of delivery channels, and potential constraints in contributing countries.”

The constraints on spending are definitely there, while the constraints on taxing are only “potential” constraints. That is, so long as they can spend it, we can pay it!

This leaked document is a litany of proposals for stripping financial sovereignty from the U.S. and other well-functioning economies for transferal to international organizations where the inept and kleptocratic get access to the wealth they prevent their own citizens from producing.

Supporters of cap and trade, and carbon taxes have some more explaining to do.

Politics before Justice

From The Heritage Foundation

The Morning Bell

MONDAY, AUG 31, 2009

Politics Before Justice at Obama’s DOJ

On Friday of last week, following the announcement that Attorney General Eric Holder would appoint a prosecutor to re-investigate the CIA’s treatment of detainees, former Vice President Dick Cheney taped an interview with Fox News. During the interview, which aired yesterday on Fox News Sunday, Cheney describes Holder’s decision as an “outrageous political act” that will have “devastating” consequences within the CIA.

Cheney is dead on. But unfortunately Holder’s political CIA witch hunt is just the latest example of a troubling pattern of politicization of the Justice Department under Holder.
Recent Entries

Obama’s Tripling of the National Debt in Pictures

Cap and Trade’s Bait and Switch

The ABCs of the Health Care Debate Bias

Rigging the System with New Regulation

A Slap in the Face to Poland?

Voter Intimidation: On Election Day 2008, members of the New Black Panther Party dressed in military-style uniforms were filmed standing outside a polling place in Philadelphia. According to a complaint filed by career lawyers at the Justice Department, the New Black Panther Party violated section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act by engaging “in coercion, threats, and intimidation” of voters, including “racial threats and racial insults” as well as brandishing “a deadly weapon.”

One of the defendants named was Jerry Jackson, a Democratic Committeeman of the 14th Ward in Philadelphia. The front-line career lawyers in the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division recommended that Justice seek sanctions against the party and three of its members after the government had already won a default judgment in federal court against the men. But then Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli, the politically appointed No. 3 official in the Obama Justice Department, intervened. Instead of following through and getting an injunction to prevent this behavior in future elections, the suit was dismissed against all defendants, but Jackson, who received a watered-down injunction to prevent him from carrying a weapon in a polling place. But only in Philadelphia and only until 2012!

Public Corruption: In 2008, a federal grand jury began an investigation into a possible pay-to-play scheme in which lucrative work on New Mexico bond deals went to a Gov. Bill Richardson (D) donor. But then just last week, news leaked that that no one would be charged in the investigation with sources telling the Associated Press: “It’s over. There’s nothing. It was killed in Washington.” Heritage senior legal fellow Hans von Spakovsky explains why this is so troubling: “For anyone familiar with internal Justice Department procedures, this is particularly suspicious. The DOJ has a manual called “Federal Prosecution of Election Offenses” (I helped edit the latest edition when I was at Justice) that sets out the rules and procedures for U.S. attorneys when they are investigating these types of public-corruption cases. It is the U.S. attorney in New Mexico who would normally make the final call on a local public-corruption case, not ‘top Justice Department officials’ in Washington.”

Undermining National Security: In 2004 the CIA Inspector General issued a report documenting alleged detainee abuse by CIA interrogators and contractors. The DOJ’s career, not political, prosecutors then examined that document and other incidents from Iraq and Afghanistan for legal accountability. In one case, the DOJ decided to prosecute, and has already obtained a criminal conviction of a CIA contractor. Furthermore, the CIA has also taken their own disciplinary action against others involved in the incidents. As Heritage senior fellow Peter Brookes explains, Holder’s decision to re-investigate the CIA will have a chilling effect on the morale at the agency and will leave officers in the field wondering whether they should be more concerned about getting terrorists or getting lawyers.

Anyone familiar with Holder’s history should not be surprised by the politicization of the Justice Department under his leadership. In 1999, Holder promoted clemency for 16 members of FALN and Los Macheteros, terrorist organizations linked by the FBI to more than 130 bombings and six murders. Then in 2000 Holder played a prominent role in the pardon of Marc Rich, whose ex-wife gave considerable sums to the Democratic Party ($867,000) and the Clinton Library ($450,000).

Now, as the head of DOJ, Holder’s political decisions are undermining core rule of law concerns including the integrity of elections, ethical governance, and national security. Holder reports directly to his boss, President Barack Obama. Someone needs to be held accountable.


The GOP Leader Alert
This is a must read.



August 31, 2009 | House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) | Permalink

If a government takeover of health care at the expense of America’s seniors, middle class and small businesses wasn’t enough, Democrats also decided to load up their costly bill with special-interest giveaways to help their labor union, trial lawyer, and ACORN friends. It’s no wonder the American people increasingly oppose the proposal put together by President Obama, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and House Democratic leaders. House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) responded today:

“Chock full of liberal special-interest giveaways, it’s no wonder public support for the Democrats’ government takeover of health care is plummeting. American seniors, families and small businesses should not be sacrificed at the expense of trial lawyers, unions, and even ACORN. It’s time to scrap the current bill and start working together on a common-sense plan to lower costs and increase access to quality health care.”

Written in a backroom, it’s easy to understand why the House Democrats’ bill provides numerous giveaways to special-interest groups and their allies. Here are just a few examples:

Page 95; Section 205 – The bill directs the “Health Choices Commissioner” to conduct outreach activities, including through the use of outside organizations such as ACORN and others, to reach out and enroll exchange-eligible individuals and employers.
Page 31-32; Section 123(a)(5) – The bill requires that the Health Benefits Advisory Committee include labor unions. This advisory committee would be charged with recommending covered benefits for essential, enhanced, and premium plans. Although the reference to ‘labor’ does not necessarily require a union representative or a unionized employee on the committee, the choice of that word as opposed to ‘employees’ suggests that organized labor would likely be assured a position on the advisory committee.
Page 53; Section 154 – The bill ensures that the new federal health care program will set a floor (but not a ceiling) for health care negotiations for unionized employers. The legislation cannot be construed to excuse them from good-faith bargaining over health care benefits. Furthermore, it will not permit unionized employers to unilaterally drop health coverage of its employees in favor of shunting them into the government-run plan or simply paying the penalty associated with not offering health care benefits to workers.
Pages 533-551; Section 1412 – The bill requires the Comptroller General of the U.S. to conduct a study examining: “(A) the extent to which corporations that own or operate large numbers of nursing facilities … are undercapitalizing such facilities; (B) the effects of such undercapitalization on quality of care, including staffing and food costs, at such facilities; (C) options to address such undercapitalization, such as requirements relating to surety bonds, liability insurance, or minimum capitalization.” This provision primarily benefits trial lawyers who sue nursing homes.
Pages 551-569; Section 1413 – The bill requires HHS to include certain kinds of information about nursing home facilities and skilled nursing facilities on its website, including staffing, turnover, and tenure data for each facility. It also requires the HHS Secretary to consult with labor unions representing workers at the facility in reviewing the information. By giving labor unions a voice in deciding what information will appear on the website, the bill creates an opportunity for the unions to drive their staffing or other agendas.
Pages 1007-1017; Sec. 2531 – The bill establishes labor union grants for the training of nurses through a partnership grant program that would award grants for collaborative programs between staff nurse organizations, health care providers, and accredited schools of nursing. Except for nursing schools, entities must work with labor unions in order to meet the eligibility requirements for receiving grant funds. Not only do these grants have to go to joint union-run programs (unless they go directly to nursing schools), but the bill further restricts eligibility for the grants to health care employers, which pay prevailing wages and subsidize the costs of their employees’ participating in these training programs. To the extent the grant program is effective, nursing shortages will become worse in non-unionized hospitals than in unionized hospitals. These training programs will also provide unions with access to future nurses before they even complete their training, which could make it easier for the unions to organize those nurses in the future—either because of gratitude for the union’s involvement in providing their training, or else simply due to their early access to the employees.
The American people shouldn’t be sacrificed to line the pockets of liberal, special-interest groups; they don’t want a government takeover of their health care; and they want common sense reforms to lower health care costs and increase access for those who don’t currently have health care coverage. Shouldn’t Democrats work with Republicans on common sense solutions to deliver on the reforms the American people expect and deserve?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

AG Holder And The ACLU

The Justice Department last week announced that it was putting togather evidence against CIA personel for a trial. If that's not bad enough they might be hoping to hand them off to an international tribunal.
Michelle Malkin posted an editorial in my local paper on 8-28-09 about the ACLU spying and taking pictures of CIA personel to be Id'd by prisoners at Gitmo.
It all seems to be comming togather now. AG Holder is trying to give the far left supporters of the Dem Party what they want.Not that it bothers him much considering his own past.
The Link For The Malkin Article.