Blindsided by ObamaCare?

More trickery: If Speaker Pelosi manages to get 216 members of the House of Representatives to walk the plank on Sunday and vote for her health overhaul — against the overwhelming will of the American people — President Obama plans to immediately sign the massive 2,700-page bill into law.

ObamaCare will be the law of the land, with its $2.4 trillion in new government spending, jobs-killing mandates, huge tax increases, Medicare cuts, and scores of new government bureaucracies.

Whether the Senate can pass the second 153-page bill released yesterday is an open question.

Too many people, including journalists and TV commentators, are saying that the whole package will then be sent to the Senate.

Wrong.

Only the 153-page fix-it bill goes to the Senate. That's the whole point of the deem-and-pass Slaughter strategy: Get the big bill passed and signed into law while the American people are focused on the narrow issue of what the Senate does or does not do to pass a second health reform bill through its narrow reconciliation pipeline. Will they all be blindsided if ObamaCare becomes law on Sunday night?

The trickery seems to know no bounds!

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Fix-it bill? This so-called "fix-it" bill, released yesterday at the behest of the House, makes a bad Senate bill even worse: It adds more entitlement spending and Medicare cuts, further increases taxes on the middle class, and double-counts savings in a way that would make Bernie Madoff blush.

It is pure fiction that the package of two bills will reduce the deficit by $138 billion over 10 years. As former CBO director Doug Holtz-Eakin said in a media conference call we hosted yesterday, "The numbers simply aren't plausible." I wrote about this here in my latest post for National Review, "A shell game of tax increases and Medicare cuts."

And it's clear that politicians just can't help themselves from putting new pork into legislation, even with the incredible outcry from the American people that they find the vote-buying schemes disgusting. The AP's Alan Fram and David Espo report:

"Bye bye, Cornhusker Kickback. Hello, special treatment for Tennessee and North Dakota. Democrats unveiling revisions Thursday to their health care overhaul bill decided to kill the extra $100 million in Medicaid funds for Nebraska that has become a symbol of backdoor deal making. But the 153 pages of changes to the massive health care package include extra money for hospitals in Tennessee that serve large numbers of low-income patients … Still alive is special spending for Louisiana, Connecticut, Montana and other states that was included in the health care bill that the Senate approved in December."

Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma put any House member on notice who switches from voting No last November to Yes on the final bill. They should be forewarned if they retire or are defeated at the polls in November and think they will then get an administration appointment that requires Senate confirmation (Rep. Bart Gordon, NASA Administrator?). He said he absolutely will put a hold on Senate confirmation of their nomination, assuming that the nomination was a pay-back for their vote for ObamaCare. And Dr. Coburn said that he and the staff of seven other senators will be scrubbing every future bill introduced to see if there is pork for any district as a payback for a yes vote.

Constitutional challenges to this legislation are inevitable and will tear the country apart as states pass laws refusing to comply, the Congress becomes paralyzed, and lawsuits abound challenging both the content of the law and the way it was "deemed" to have passed. Fred Barnes had a chilling piece in The Wall Street Journal yesterday called "The health-care wars are only beginning." This will be a terrible thing for our country to go through.

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Not giving up! We have been using every communications tool we can find to speak out about the dangers of ObamaCare. Some links worth following:

 

  • We have an ad running on satellite radio that you can listen to here.
  • We placed a full-page ad in this week's Weekly Standard magazine with a terrific graphic designed by our own Jena Persico.
  • I wrote an article in The Wall Street Journal, published on Wednesday, with a detailed look at the problems in Massachusetts that preview where the country will be headed if ObamaCare passes.
  • Another article on The Daily Caller website called "ObamaCare backers should get ready to play defense."
  • An article in National Review today about the fictional CBO numbers that Democratic leaders said made them "giddy." Blue Dog Democrats may well want to ask themselves whether the risk of this massive experiment in overhauling one-sixth of our economy and creating a huge new entitlement program would be worth taking the chance that these highly unlikely deficit savings will be achieved.
  • Countless radio interviews plus my latest interview on FOX Business' Stuart Varney Show today with guest host Connell McShane.

 

Finally, you have to watch this very short video! Americans for Prosperity asked volunteers to stand on the four corners of an intersection outside the district office of undecided Democrat Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Tucson, AZ. They hold signs asking people to honk if they oppose health reform. The sound is deafening as virtually every driver lays on the horn.

Why can't they hear us?!

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Upcoming conference: To bring some sanity to health policy discussions next week, we are sponsoring another in our series of conferences on the value of innovation in health care. Please join us this coming Thursday (March 25) in Washington, DC, for a conference on "Intelligent Health." This highly bipartisan topic will provide an opportunity to look ahead as we hope our health sector will continue to provide high-quality, innovative medical care.

Health technology guru Dr. David Brailer is our keynote speaker, and we have four fabulous panels of experts talking about personalized medicine, new technologies to connect physicians and patients, streamlining the process of drug development and approval, and the vital importance of intellectual property protection. Our luncheon speaker will preview the operating room of the future.

Please do register and join us. It is free and will be at the lovely Columbus Club at Union Station. This will be well worth your time. Here is more information so you can see the agenda and register.

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It's not over yet! And in the words of Winston Churchill: "Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty."

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CLIP OF THE WEEK

Rep. Paul Ryan criticizes the lack of transparency and the "Washington Way" mentality during health reform debate

Congressman Paul Ryan gives a powerful opening statement during a recent House Budget Committee meeting in which he rebukes the backroom deals
, abuse of legislative procedure, and the "Washington Way" of doing business that have dominated the health reform debate. Watch now »

HEALTH REFORM

Health Reform without Side Effects: Making Markets Work for Individual Health Insurance

Mark V. Pauly, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
Hoover Institution, 04/15/10

Pauly's new book argues that most health insurance reform proposals reflect an excessively simplistic view of insurance markets that leads to policies likely to have serious side effects, and they would do more harm than good by driving out some of the beneficial features of the present market. One of the most highly respected health economists, Pauly discusses how individual insurance markets currently fit into the overall pattern of health insurance markets, identifies what is distinctive about current performance in that market relative to the alternatives, suggests improvements in the individual market that build on what currently works well, contrasts those with alternative reforms, and offers a realistic assessment of how much improvement can be demanded and expected. Read More »

O's Middle-Class Squeeze

Scott Gottlieb, American Enterprise Institute
New York Post, 03/17/10

Middle-class families whose combined annual income is around $100,000 will be the hardest hit under ObamaCare, Gottlieb writes. These folks will be too "rich" to qualify for ObamaCare's subsidies, but probably too poor to easily afford the pricey insurance that the president's plan forces them to buy. Many of these $100K families will be obliged to buy a policy costing an average of $14,700 for the mid-level "silver" health plan, according to CBO estimates. After income taxes, they'll be spending almost a quarter of their net income for health insurance. Many of these middle-class families will probably opt to pay the federal fine, and go without health insurance until they get sick. Read More »

Reframing the Health Care Reform Debate: A Conservative Imperative

Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D.
The Heritage Foundation, 03/17/10

For conservatives in Congress, playing defense on the emerging regulatory regime is not enough, Moffit writes. President Obama has already surpassed President Clinton's success in expanding the role of the federal government in Americans' health care. Conservatives should instead advance a consequential health care agenda that would positively impact the lives of millions of Americans. This can be done by fixing the glaring inequities of the federal tax treatment of health insurance, giving millions of Americans new opportunities to secure affordable, portable private health insurance. We also should pursue aggressive state-based experimentation, with grants and waivers, which would unleash robust competition on health insurance markets while guaranteeing affordable, high-quality care for the poorest and sickest citizens who depend on the safety net. Read More »

What House Passage of the Senate Health Bill Means for America

Kathryn Nix and Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D.
The Heritage Foundation, 03/16/10

House enactment of the Senate bill means that it becomes the law of the land, regardless of further House efforts to craft a "sidecar" bill to make changes, Nix and Moffit write. It is quite possible that House action, followed by a presidential signature, simply ends this year's health care debate. Given the inherent difficulties in enacting complex legislative changes under the rules that govern reconciliation, the basic contours of the Senate bill would remain. This means new middle-class taxes and government spending, bunches of federal boards and bureaucracies, mandates and penalties, an entitlement expansion, and unprecedented taxpayer funding of abortion. And the relationship between the federal government and American citizens would increasingly be a relationship of dependence and, thus, subservience. Read More »

INTERNATIONAL HEALTH SYSTEMS

Access Delayed, Access Denied: Waiting for New Medicines in Canada

Dr. Brett J. Skinner and Mark Rovere
Fraser Institute, 03/17/10

Many Canadians are unable to take advantage of new prescription medicines as a result of Canada's slow drug approval process and delays in approving new medicines for reimbursement by provincial drug plans, according a study from the Vancouver-based Fraser Institute. In 2008, Health Canada took 388 days on average to approve new drugs for public use, while the provinces added another 316 days to approve new drugs for coverage under provincial drug plans. Alarmingly, the study found that only 23% of new drugs approved as safe and effective by Health Canada in 2004 had been approved for either full or partial reimbursement under provincial drug plans by the end of 2009. Read More »

GALEN IN THE NEWS

A Shell Game of Tax Increases and Medicare Cuts

Grace-Marie Turner, Galen Institute
National Review Online: Critical Condition, 03/18/10

The revisions to the Senate health-overhaul bill released yesterday would require future Congresses to increase taxes and cut Medicare even more deeply than required by the Senate bill if the advertised deficit reduction numbers are to be achieved, Turner writes. This article reports on the assessment of four budget experts — Doug Holtz-Eakin, Joe Antos, Jim Capretta, and Tom Miller — who analyzed the CBO analysis during a conference call sponsored by the Galen Institute yesterday. Read More »

ObamaCare Backers Should Get Ready to Play Defense

Grace-Marie Turner, Galen Institute
The Daily Caller, 03/18/10

If ObamaCare becomes law, Democrats will be placing a large albatross around their necks as the inevitable failings in our health sector surely will be blamed on this bill, Turner writes. President Obama's reassurances that the public's opposition to this massive overhaul legislation will turn to approval are pure fantasy. Members who vote for this bill, boasting of its benefits, should expect to find themselves perpetually on defense in explaining the cascade of problems it creates, as opponents of ObamaCare surely will not hesitate to point out its failings and who is responsible. Read More »

Events

REGISTER NOW!
Intelligent Health: Exploring the value of innovation in health care
Galen Institute Conference
Thursday, March 25, 2010
8:30am – 1:30pm
Washington, DC

Health Care Reform: The Way Forward
Cato Institute Capitol Hill Briefing
Monday, March 22, 2010
12:30pm
Washington, DC

Would Universal Coverage Improve Health?
Cato Institute Policy Forum
Thursday, March 25, 2010
4:00pm
Washington, DC

Compensating Bone Marrow Donors: Patients versus the Department of Justice
American Enterprise Institute Event
Friday, March 26, 2010
10:00am – 12:00pm
Washington, DC

2010 Disparities Forum with Dr. Atul Gawande
Massachusetts General Hospital Event
Monday, March 29, 2010
8:00am – 9:00am
Boston, MA

The Learning Healthcare System in 2010 and Beyond
Institute of Medicine of the National Academies Event
April 1-2, 2010
Washington, DC

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