Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mt.) reconvenes his committee’s executive session this morning for a vote on passage of his amended concept language proposed health care outline. This is not a bill but a summary of vaguely-worded conceptual language created over time to manipulate the Congressional Budget Office scoring system. It is not the legislation either chamber of Congress will vote on. It is a charade, a rehearsal for the later consideration of a real bill that has yet to be drafted.
And the people are paying very close attention. The stakes couldn’t be higher.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) late last week effectively kneecapped the media-generated hype over nonsensical “preliminary CBO numbers” and today’s announced committee vote.
“The bill… will never see the light of day,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said. “What matters is that the final bill will cost about $1 trillion, vastly expand the role of government in people’s health care decisions and limit choice.”
What has become clear through the Democrats’ muddled process, however, is what Democrats intend to include in a final bill. One need only look at straightforward amendments offered by Republicans that were voted down by Democrats with, at best, senseless explanations.
For instance, in an effort to keep down the costs of government-run health care, Democrats have left absolutely no doubt in the mind of any thinking person that they plan institute widespread health care rationing to seniors. As every single one of us age, we naturally become more active consumers of health care which increases the federal budget under a government-run system. Under the Democrat schemes, aging human beings become a detrimental budget item.
During the Senate Finance Committee concept markup, Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl of Arizona exposed the latest in a long line of so-called cost-cutting measures hidden in the Baucus concept that would destroy access and availability of health care services to seniors through Medicare.
Under the Baucus proposal, for at minimum the first five years, the top 10 percent (per capita) of doctors offering services to seniors through Medicare reimbursement at the end of each year would be required to return five percent of said Medicare reimbursements to the federal government. The scheme assumes that the top 10 percent of doctors being reimbursed for services must have ordered unnecessary and excessive tests. This is what Democrats consider cutting waste.
Sen. Kyl offered an amendment in the Finance Committee concept markup to remove the provision. It was defeated by Democrats 13-10 on a straight party-line vote.
“[The] vote in the Senate Finance Committee should put America’s senior citizens on alert: if the death spiral provision actually becomes law, their Medicare providers will start a race to the bottom to avoid being captured in the top ten percent,” said Burke Balch, J.D., director of National Right to Life’s Powell Center for Medical Ethics. “Older Americans who rely on Medicare would be faced with fewer and less-effective treatment options. This is among the most insidious provisions for rationing in any of the health care bills before Congress.”
Medicare reimbursements to doctors and hospitals in most cases do not cover the provider’s own overhead costs for tests and treatments. A five percent return assessment at the end of the year on the top 10 percent would effectively drive doctors out of any government-run system.
Existing doctors could always be coerced into the government system through the force of government, but what effect does health care at the point of a gun have on the quality of that medical care?
Haven’t any Democrats read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged?
It has also become abundantly clear that Democrats intend to fund abortions with federal taxpayer dollars. Barack Obama is by far the most pro-abortion president ever to hold the office. Obama voted "present" as a member of the Illinois State Senate on bills that would have banned live birth abortion practices occurring in Illinois hospitals. Live birth abortion occurs when a viable baby survives a late-term abortion and is set aside to die, being denied food, water and medical care.
Let that sink in for a moment. Obama voted "present" on bills that would ban this barbaric infanticide.
Obama has made big promises to his Planned Parenthood supporters over the years that he fully intends to keep. Is there really any doubt that our Harvard Law School graduate president knows it takes specific legislative language to bar federal funding for abortion?
Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee, breaks down the deception.
“There is no current federal law that would prevent the new programs created by the pending health care bills from paying for abortion on demand — and the White House knows this full well. Only language written directly into the bills would prevent government funding of abortions — but such language has been blocked by the Democratic chairmen of five congressional committees, with White House cooperation, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is refusing to allow the House to even vote on adding a true Hyde Amendment to the health care bill.”
The Hyde Amendment was specifically added as a rider to the Health and Human Services (HHS) appropriations bill in 1976 by former Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.). The amendment, which must be renewed every year, explicitly bars federal funding of abortion through HHS appropriation. It would not apply to the new government-run health care scheme.
Be it rationing, abortion or even federal funding of health insurance for illegal aliens in government-run health care scenario, Democrats have blocked all specific language that would bar many things they keep telling us they’re not going to do. Why the deception?
Because today’s vote is a smokescreen. The Baucus bill will go from the Finance Committee today back to Majority Leader Harry Reid’s backroom. There, it will be melded together with the Health Committee’s bill by Baucus, Health Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Ct) and White House operatives under the direction of Rahm Emanuel.
Then and only then will a bill really be drafted and presented to the Senate for a vote.
What will be in it? What will it cost? Only Rahmbo knows for sure.
Gore Hit with “Inconsistency” Questions
In Madison, Wisconsin, last Friday, former Vice President Al Gore addressed the Society of Environmental Journalists at their global warming conference where he uncharacteristically agreed to take questions. In attendance was filmmaker Phelim McAleer, director of the upcoming documentary Not Evil, Just Wrong that debunks the “climate change/global warming” myth. McAleer asked Gore to clear up the questions raised by the British court case identifying nine significant errors in his film, An Inconvenient Truth. The British court barred screening the “documentary” film in their school system without a disclaimer.
Expecting a sycophantic crowd, Gore was caught flat-footed and tried to dodge the question, and when McAleer pressed for a straight answer, the Environmental “Journalists” cut power to his microphone.
Hat tip to Brian Johnson at Americans for Tax Reform. You can find the video of the exchange here on the ATR website.
Cartoon by Brett Noel