by Richard H. and Jayne D. Frank
If you had the intestinal fortitude to watch at least one hour of the health care summit, it should be clear as to what the President’s agenda really is. President Obama’s hope is that he can persuade enough Republicans to support his plan to offset the Democrats in the House and Senate that had not used their majority to pass the Senate Bill currently stuck in Congress.
My wife and I thoroughly listened to most of the 7- hour session and the Republican’s position, that although they do support reform, they DO NOT want the 2,700 pages of bureaucratic intervention by the Government with a system that cannot be paid for. They recognize that there is, logically, no way to add 30 million people to the system without increasing costs. Their position is in incremental change in lieu of scrapping a health care system that the majority of Americans are happy with and that amounts to 17% of our economy.
The President arrogantly tried to steer the discussion away from the House and Senate Bills. He interrupted many of the speakers if they challenged specifics contained in his proposal, most importantly Lamar Alexander, Eric Cantor and John McCain. By noon, he had usurped over 45 minutes of the Republicans alloted time to try to contradict the facts that the Republicans had laid before the American public. If nothing else, his body language displayed anger, disapproval, condescension and outright dismissal of facts presented by the opposition. His definition of finding a common ground appears to be “Sit down and shut up.” No matter what President Obama says, he views passage of health care legislation as his personal legacy. Before the lunch break, he even tried to “summarize” that the Summit members had already come to agreement on the issues of preexisting conditions and not dropping individuals from their insurance coverage.
The democrat’s assertion that the Republicans have no plan or have not contributed to the debate was shown to be untrue by Obama’s own admission that he had reviewed many of the plans and proposals submitted by the Republicans, some of which he says are contained within his plan. Having read his proposal we could not find these Republican items.
Two of the most articulate and substantive comments were given by the Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn) who indicated that the American people and the Republicans wanted Congress to “start over” with a better idea and to shelf the current (Senate) bill”. He also indicated directly to the President that if he it did not renounce “jamming it (healthcare) through in a partisan way” for 17% of the country’s economy, that “the rest of what we do today will be irrelevant.” Over the next few hours Obama mentioned this “reconciliation” process several times, but did not renounce it, and stated that the “American people are not interested in the process”. He also stated that if there were too big of a gap between the parties that they would have to address the (reconciliation) issue later. It was refreshing to hear President Obama say for the first time that “this is real insurance” and DOES COST MORE, per the CBO, as the Republicans have previously contended.
John McCain (R-AZ) emphasized in his portion of this morning session that the American people and Republicans are most disturbed by the process which involved crafting the bill “behind closed doors”, involving “unsavory dealmaking” such as the LA purchase, and exempting only some senior citizens in the country and treating different states and citizens differently. He was immediately slapped down by Obama with a comment that “the campaign was over.” Mr. Obama should heed his own advice.
The President and the Democrats tried to treat the American People not only as stupid but as dispassionate as well, as “story after story” was told of people who had health crises and got caught up with insurance coverage problems. They tried to leave the impression that Republicans and Independents don’t care about sick people.
After both parties adjourned for a “house vote” which obviously both parties used as for a “half time” pep talk by their peers, discussions proceeded.
Biden once again lives in his own world and spouted numbers and facts which are not supported. He falsely indicated that the Senate bill and the President’s proposal don’t cut medicare benefits, they close the donut hole and put the Medicare Trust Fund back on a solvent footing. On the other hand, the elimination of Medicare Advantage further shifts the burden upon seniors, does nothing to address the waste in the system, part of which is funded by the Government paying a 15% incentive to companies providing Medicare Advantage.
In today’s meeting, Congressmen and Senators spouted statistics using the CBO as the ultimate authority to back up whatever points they wished to make. The old adage is that statistics don’t lie; only statisticians. Every American should feel extremely uncomfortable when Congress begins to dabble in 17% of the nation’s economy where there isn’t an expert among them able to measure the true impact of the laws they are proposing, let alone unintended consequences of Government intrusion.
The real truth according to Paul Ryan is that Medicare today has a $38T unfunded liability and is growing at 21% per year. This bill, whether it’s the President’s Proposal or the Senate’s version is still a new entitlement. Ten year’s funding against 6 year’s expenditures results in an artificially created surplus to be applied against a growing deficit. Likewise, double counting Medicare savings and cuts and applying them equally to the Trust Fund and Medicaid spending is smoke and mirrors. The reality is the true costs of affordable health care is $2.3T and totally disregards the doctor’s fix of $371 billion which is removed from the bill and as a result does not bend the cost curve down but bends it upward by $222 billion. There must be a more fiscally sound and manageable approach taken to controlling the upward spiraling costs associated with healthcare.
We find it very telling that the President refers to “poll-tested” language when describing the exchange and subsidies contained in his Proposal as that used to convince Americans to support the plan. The most important issue facing America today is our growing deficit. By continuing to pass legislation that cannot be paid for with existing current revenues, we risk total financial collapse in America. An incremental approach to modifying existing health care law is the only means by which we can contain our growing deficit. As with many situations, 80% of the solution is found by addressing 20% of the issues. Congress and the President need to adopt the incremental approach to solving the health care problem.
President Obama summarized the meeting, conveniently when many people were just getting home from work, with a statement that said “I know that most of your Republican voters” don’t want this (Senate) Bill.” Let us be clear, Mr. President, it is the Independents, true Democrats, and yes the Republicans in this Country that don’t want this Senate bill-the Majority of the American People.
Filed under: Health Care Legislation, Uncategorized | Tagged: 2/25 summit, Blair House summit, Health Care Bill, Health Care Reform, Results of 2/25 Health Care Summit | 1 Comment »