“I’m going to have all the negotiations around a big table. We’ll have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN, so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies.” –Barack Obama, August, 2008
As we write, a small group of White House officials and three senators are huddled in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) office deciding what kind of health care you and your family will be allowed to have.
Major policy decisions, such as whether or not there will be a government run “public” option, are being made. Backroom deals are being cut – all in secret. No C-SPAN cameras allowed.
If you think you should have a voice in this process, there is a place to make your voice heard. Just visit healthtransformation.net.
What Did Liberals Learn From the Townhalls? Shut Out the Troublemakers
It’s not like Americans have been apathetic about the future of our health care. Since this process began, we’ve demanded to know what is happening.
Last summer, Americans filled townhall meetings, many armed with copies of the 1000+ page bill that had been filed in the House — a bill that most lawmakers had never read.
And the more we learned, the less we supported the Pelosi Plan.
But what did Speaker Pelosi and the other supporters of liberal health care reform learn? How did they decide to use this input from the American people?
After August, Liberals Were More Determined Than Ever to Ram Through a Bill
Some began cancelling town hall meetings. Others actually carded people in the audience to make sure they lived in their district. Still others began verbally chastising the citizens who asked questions.
Upon their return to Washington, it was clear that they had discounted what they heard at the town hall meetings. It was as if their meetings with the American people had never happened.
They were more determined than ever to ram through legislation.
Democrats Blocked an Attempt to Require That Bills Be Posted Online
In the Senate, the Finance Committee decided to pass a vague proposal — containing no legislative details or cost analysis — and allow no opportunity for the American people or their elected representatives to know what was being considered until after it was done.
During the process, Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) introduced an amendment to require that all bills be publicly available for 72 hours with legislative text and an official budget analysis from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) prior to being considered.
The Democrats blocked the amendment, never allowing it to get fair and full consideration by the Senate, even though eight Senate Democrats supported the requirement. Senators Bayh (Ind.), Lincoln (Ark.), Pryor (Ark.), McCaskill (Mo.), Landrieu (La.), Nelson (Neb.), Lieberman (Conn.) and Webb (Va.), should be commended for later contacting the leadership urging them to support the change.
“When We Come Back In September, I Will be Available to Answer Any Question That Members of Congress Have”
It appears clear that the decision has been made to ignore the promise President Obama made to worried Americans in the summer of 2008 and again last July when he declared:
“So I just want everybody to know, Congress will have time to read the bill. They will have time to debate the bill. They will have all of August to review the various legislative proposals. When we come back in September, I will be available to answer any question that members of Congress have. If they want to come over to the White House and go over line by line what’s going on, I will be happy to do that.”
It is unfortunate that the Democratic leadership has decided it would be easier to rush their legislation through rather than honoring the people’s right to know.
Then again, maybe that choice is all Americans need to know when judging the Democrats’ healthcare bill.
Go to healthtransformation.net to Make Your Voice Heard
President Obama has failed to deliver on his repeated promises of transparency and openness.
But that doesn’t mean that we have to silently accept a government health care bill that was negotiated in secret and paid for with deals cut with special interests using our tax dollars.
Please sign the Center for Health Transformation’s (CHT) petition here, to tell Washington that We The People demand that all bills be publicly available, including legislative language and accurate budget analysis, at least 72 hours prior to any vote by Congress or committees in Congress.
There’s still time to make your voice heard.
“60 Minutes” Takes On Medicare and Medicaid Fraud
The correspondent announced the report with the warning that “it might raise your blood pressure.”
He was right. Last Sunday night, CBS’s “60 Minutes” ran a not-to-be-missed expose of something that the Center for Health Transformation has been warning about for months: The unbelievable amount of fraud taxpayers are footing the bill for in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
“60 Minutes” estimates that an amazing $90 billion in spending on these programs each year is due to fraud. That’s right in line with what CHT’s Jim Frogue and I report in our book Stop Paying the Crooks.
For more on CHT’s campaign to fight Medicare and Medicaid fraud, go here.
To watch the “60 Minutes” report, go here.
Newt Gingrich and Nancy Desmond
Newt Gingrich is the Founder of the Center for Health Transformation and Nancy Desmond is the Center’s Chief Executive Officer and President.
Newt’s Quick Links:
• We had a great launch week for To Try Men’s Souls, our new book telling the tale of Washington leading his men across the Delaware and attacking the Hessian outpost in Trenton, with book signings in Long Island, Dallas, and Naples as well as a live reenactment of the Battle on Twitter (a “twitternactment”).
• Today, I’m in Greensboro, N.C., for a book signing and Newport Beach, Calif., tomorrow. Visit www.totrymenssouls.com to learn find out where and learn more about the book.
• The Americano was invited to a bloggers bunch on CNN.com to discuss Latino in America. Watch and tell us what you think www.TheAmericano.com.