House health-bill event closed to public

House health-bill event closed to public

October 30th, 2009

By Kara Rowland, Washington Times

Boehner: says this is 1,990 pages of bureaucracy, the bill will cost $2.2 Million per word

House Democrats blocked the public from attending the unveiling ceremony of their health-care bill Thursday morning, allowing only pre-approved visitors whose names appeared on lists to enter the event at the West side of the Capitol.

The audience at the crowded press conference included Hill staffers, union workers, health care providers and students, according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who thanked them for attending.

Mrs. Pelosi and other Democratic leaders announced the chamber’s long-awaited version of a health care overhaul, which would expand insurance coverage to 36 million uninsured Americans, costing less than $900 billion over 10 years.

Read More:

Doctors To Face Massive New Taxes And Fees Under Congressional Health Bill

Doctors To Face Massive New Taxes And Fees Under Congressional Health Bill

October 30th, 2009 Posted By Pat Dollard.


WASHINGTON (AP) — The health care overhaul bill produced by House Democrats would impose an array of new taxes, fees and government mandates on major players in the health industry, including insurers, doctors and drugs and medical devices makers.

In most cases, the pain has been meted out with an eye toward raising the money needed to finance President Barack Obama’s plan for reshaping the health system but also with careful regard for gaining the votes that will be needed to pass a final bill.

Democrats hope to vote next week on the measure, which would extend health coverage to tens of millions of Americans who don’t have it, impose sweeping new restrictions on private insurers and create a government-run insurance plan to compete with them.

Among the industries targeted in the bill are medical device makers — one of the few that failed to cut an early behind-the-scenes deal with Obama and Democrats to help pay for an overhaul. The House added $20 billion in taxes on sales of medical devices like artificial hips and heart stents to the legislation Democratic leaders unveiled Thursday.

That’s more than the industry wants to pay, but it’s a substantial reprieve from an earlier plan in the Senate to slap a $40 billion fee on medical device makers. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has agreed to slash the fee, in part to win cooperation from fence-sitting Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana.

Bayh, whose state is home to prominent medical device makers, including Zimmer Holdings Inc., Biomet and DePuy Orthopaedics Inc., is one of a handful of wavering Democrats whose support will be vital to getting to the 60 Senate votes necessary to advance the health overhaul. That means he and other holdouts have disproportionate power to cut deals on behalf of favored industries that are bracing for major costs under the new system.

Stephen J. Ubl, the president of AdvaMed, the trade group representing large medical device makers, said the group appreciates House leaders’ decision to include the smaller version of the tax and is “grateful for the efforts” of Bayh and others to do the same in the Senate. In a statement, Ubl seemed to indicate that his group was willing to go along if Congress helped cushion the blow.

“We look forward to working with Congress and the administration on critically important implementation issues,” Ubl said, including seeking AdvaMed priorities such as delaying the tax until 2013 — which the House measure does — tying it to specific products, exempting small companies with less than $100 million in annual revenue and making it deductible.

The measure is less kind to drug makers, an industry that did strike a deal with Obama and key senators to hold down its costs. Pharmaceutical companies agreed to cough up $80 billion in the health overhaul. While precise figures were not immediately available, it appeared the House legislation would target the industry for much more. And it would give the government power to negotiate drug prices on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries.

Ken Johnson of the trade group the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America said lawmakers were being “unrealistic in their expectations of what our industry can contribute to health care reform without triggering catastrophic job losses and driving innovation and business overseas.”

The $80 billion figure “is a huge amount of money — it’s not loose change we found sitting around in the sofa,” said Johnson, who added that the drug makers would be busy in the coming days contacting House and Senate leaders “trying to educate them” on how damaging further cuts would be.

On the other hand, the industry managed to come away with a provision worth billions: 12 years of market protection for high-tech drugs to combat cancer, Parkinson’s and other deadly diseases.

Health insurers, who would gain tens of millions of new customers under the health plan, nonetheless would be ensnared by some potentially costly new measures, including eliminating their long-standing antitrust exemption.

They voiced particular concern about Democrats’ inclusion of the government-run insurance plan. Karen Ignani, the chief of the insurers’ main trade group, America’s Health Insurance Plans, said the so-called public option would “bankrupt hospitals, dismantle employer coverage, exacerbate cost-shifting from Medicare and Medicaid, and ultimately increase the federal deficit.” She said the result would be that many people, including seniors, would lose coverage or face higher costs.

The measure also drops a reprieve for doctors from scheduled pay cuts for treating Medicare patients, which House leaders now plan to pursue separately from the broader health bill. The Senate last week turned back an attempt to pass the pay-raise on its own at a cost of $247 billion over the next decade — sidetracking what the American Medical Association has made a key priority in the health overhaul negotiations.

But doctors, hospitals and other providers won a key concession that would let them negotiate rates with the Health and Human Services Department for services provided in the government insurance plan. Key Democratic moderates whose votes were needed to pass the plan insisted on that approach, at the urging of hospitals in their districts. Liberals wanted rates to be dictated by the government, which would have been less costly.

Chip Kahn, the president of the Federation of American Hospitals, cheered the bill, saying it moves toward “a market-based health system.”

Clunkers: Taxpayers paid $24,000 per car

Clunkers: Taxpayers paid $24,000 per car

By Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNNMoney

Cash for clunkers was a colossal waste of money

A total of 690,000 new vehicles were sold under the Cash for Clunkers program last summer, but only 125,000 of those were vehicles that would not have been sold anyway, according to an analysis released Wednesday by the automotive Web site

Still, auto sales contributed heavily to the economy’s expansion in the third quarter, adding 1.7 percentage points to the nation’s gross domestic product growth.

The Cash for Clunkers program gave car buyers rebates of up to $4,500 if they traded in less fuel-efficient vehicles for new vehicles that met certain fuel economy requirements. A total of $3 billion was allotted for those rebates.

The average rebate was $4,000. But the overwhelming majority of sales would have taken place anyway at some time in the last half of 2009, according to That means the government ended up spending about $24,000 each for those 125,000 additional vehicle sales.

Read More:

Culture of Corruption: Obama U.S. Attorney nominee clams up

Michelle Malkin 

Lead Story

Culture of Corruption: Obama U.S. Attorney nominee clams up

By Michelle Malkin  •  October 28, 2009 10:23 AM

What is this woman hiding?

Two weeks ago, I pointed you to the festering corruption scandal involving President Obama’s US Attorney nominee in Colorado, Stephanie Villafuerte.

Villafuerte is entangled in the railroading of Denver ICE agent Cory Voorhis — whom federal prosecutors tried to punish after he blew the whistle on sweetheart deals for criminal illegal aliens during the 2006 gubernatorial campaign. A jury acquitted Voorhis of all federal charges. He’s trying to get his job back. At least one of his supervisors has admitted lying.

Villafuerte served on Democrat gubernatorial candidate Bill Ritter’s campaign team while on leave from the Denver D.A.’s office and from all local news accounts was deeply involved in the witchhunt against agent Voorhis.

But she refuses to answer any questions about her role in the case.

And now she is poised to take over as US Attorney.

Transparency? Ethics? Accountability? Anyone?

From the Denver Post, unresolved contradictions and double standards:

President Barack Obama’s nominee as Colorado’s next U.S. attorney told the FBI two years ago that she never spoke to anyone in the Denver District Attorney’s Office about an illegal immigrant who became a controversial figure in the 2006 gubernatorial race.

FBI interview summaries describe Stephanie Villafuerte as saying she had “no conversations” with anyone at the DA’s office about the illegal immigrant, Carlos Estrada-Medina.

But the FBI apparently never asked Villafuerte, the former chief deputy DA who was then working for Bill Ritter’s campaign, why she left a phone message for DA spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough that Kimbrough noted was about Estrada-Medina. The FBI also apparently never asked her about the nature of a series of phone calls she exchanged over the next two days with Kimbrough and First Assistant DA Chuck Lepley. Those calls came both before and after an order by Lepley to a subordinate to run a criminal history check of Estrada-Medina in a restricted federal database.

It can be a crime to access the National Crime Information Center computer for a non-law-enforcement purpose.

In 2006 and 2007, the FBI was investigating who ran a check on Estrada-Medina’s name through the database after Bob Beauprez’s gubernatorial campaign ran a television ad confirming that Estrada-Medina, a suspected heroin dealer and illegal immigrant, had once received a plea deal under the name Walter Ramo while Ritter was Denver’s district attorney.

Eventually, a federal immigration agent named Cory Voorhis was charged with running an NCIC check on Estrada-Medina and providing the result to the Beauprez campaign. He was later acquitted at trial.

But the 10-year veteran, who maintained he accessed the NCIC with his supervisor’s permission because Voorhis was upset over plea deals made by Ritter’s office with deportable immigrants, lost his job and is now fighting through an administrative proceeding to get it back.

Law enforcement authorities were aware that the Denver DA’s office and a Texas investigator had also run Estrada-Medina’s name through the NCIC. No one in those offices was charged with a crime.

Team Obama’s rotten Justice Department is going with the full evasion strategy.

The Colorado GOP wants answers — and so should you:

Colorado GOP chairman Dick Wadhams on Monday asked the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington to demand answers from Colorado U.S. attorney nominee Stephanie Villafuerte about whether she may have acted inappropriately during the 2006 gubernatorial campaign.

“Colorado deserves better than a U.S. attorney who apparently might have used her former employer, the Denver district attorney’s office, for blatant partisan political purposes to help Gov. Ritter in violation of the law,” Wadhams wrote in a letter to committee chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and ranking Republican Jeff Sessions of Alabama.

Villafuerte, currently Bill Ritter’s deputy chief of staff, has declined to answer questions from The Denver Post about what types of conversations she had with representatives from the Denver DA’s office in the days before and after a restricted federal database was accessed and whether that information was obtained to help Ritter’s campaign. FBI interview records do not indicate that she ever was asked about the access by the investigating agent.

Villafuerte, then a chief deputy Denver district attorney, had taken a leave of absence to work on Ritter’s campaign. Ritter is the former Denver DA.

The Post reported Friday that statements by Villafuerte and other DA representatives — as described by an agent in recently obtained FBI interview summaries — do not always comport with available records, and the summaries portray the witnesses offering conflicting explanations on some key points.

Villafuerte has declined to speak about the issue over the past two years, and last week, Ritter spokesman Evan Dreyer said the U.S. Department of Justice has asked her not to talk to the media until after the nomination process is over.

And whaddya know? Voorhis has now been conveniently gagged by an administrative order.

The Denver Post editorial board wants answers from the Senate Judiciary Committee — and so should you:

Over the past two years, Villafuerte has declined requests from The Post to describe her contact with former colleagues at the Denver District Attorney’s office around the time the database was accessed.

But the Senate Judiciary Committee needs to ask her about it. The public deserves to know more details about the incident before Villafuerte gets any closer to becoming the state’s top federal prosecutor.

Post reporter Karen E. Crummy obtained FBI records about the incident, which took place when Villafuerte was working for Bill Ritter’s gubernatorial campaign. The controversy began when Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez ran an ad that said Ritter, the former Denver district attorney and the Democratic candidate for governor, had given an illegal immigrant a lenient plea bargain. That immigrant went on, the ad said, to commit a sex crime in California.

The Ritter camp contended that in order to link the criminal, Carlos Estrada-Medina, to crimes in both Colorado and California, a restricted federal criminal database would have to have been accessed. Ritter’s campaign was incensed, and called for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to investigate.

Eventually, Cory Voorhis, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent, was charged with improperly accessing the database. He was found not guilty at trial, but lost his job anyway.

Meanwhile, we had other questions that quickly arose. How did Ritter’s campaign know the dots could only be connected by accessing the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database? And what to make of a series of phone calls that Villafuerte, then working for Ritter’s campaign, made to the Denver district attorney’s office around the time the DA’s office accessed Estrada-Medina’s records?

What precisely was the nature of Villafuerte’s interaction with the DA’s office when the NCIC was accessed? Did Villafuerte ask her former co-workers in the DA’s office to access it to confirm the Estrada- Medina information?

Villafuerte, according to FBI interview summaries, said she had “no conversations” with anyone about Estrada-Medina. But Lynn Kimbrough, a DA spokeswoman who got a phone message from Villafuerte at the time in question, noted the message pertained to Estrada-Medina.

Why was Villafuerte calling Kimbrough about Estrada-Medina? And what was the content of the phone conversations or messages that Villafuerte had with or left for Kimbrough and First Assistant DA Chuck Lepley during the following days?

Call the Senate Judiciary Committee:

United States Senate
Committee on the Judiciary
224 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Majority Office
Fax:202-224-9516 Minority Office

Minority Office

Democrats’ Healthcare Scheme Is Pure Insanity

Democrats’ Healthcare Scheme Is Pure Insanity

By Kyle-Anne Shiver

Whole industries and banks are biting the dust; unemployment lingers close to double-digits; government deficits rise like a mountain of nuclear waste; the communist Chinese are buying up our debt in anticipation of God knows what kind of future demands; and more soldiers die needlessly while the President dithers with his golf game. Purely mad social engineers — Obama, Pelosi, & Reid — are on a determined march toward nationalizing one sixth of the entire American economy. Their scheme will have far-reaching effects on one hundred percent of the men, women and children in this country. The whole idea is patently ridiculous, especially in light of the host of other impending disasters.
But the fact that these Democrat power-mongers are attempting to foist upon us a system already tried-and-failed so many times in so many places pushes the current national healthcare debate into the realm of pure lunacy.
As one of Einstein’s most oft-quoted bits of genius reminds us, doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results, is insanity.
In his determined efforts to persuade a resistant public, President Obama has offered exaggerated horror stories about our own healthcare system. He has cited phantom doctors amputating healthy limbs for profit, doctors unnecessarily removing children’s tonsils, as well as a few sordid stories about the failure of health insurance companies to deliver on their promises. But turning doctors into greedy villains and insurance companies into monsters has proved a bit difficult, since more than 80% of Americans consistently report satisfaction with both.

It’s much easier to find horror stories from the medical delivery systems being touted by Democrats as the far warmer and fuzzier “options.” These oft-cited models include Canada, Great Britain, Australia, Japan, and New Zealand. Amy Ridenour and Ryan Balis of the National Center for Public Policy Research highlighted one hundred individual nightmares rendered by these failing healthcare systems in their book, Shattered Lives.     
Babies born at home, in hospital linen closets, and in parking lots without medical assistance due to bed shortages occurs in the highly touted British system. A full six percent of Britons have engaged in do-it-yourself dentistry, including tooth extractions, due to the dentist shortage. A 54-year-old smoker was refused surgery for accidental multiple fractures to his ankle because doctors said he wouldn’t have as high a recovery rate as a non-smoker. British citizens are routinely denied expensive cancer-fighting drugs because they’re the wrong age or live in the wrong district. As if these horrors weren’t bad enough, the medical care denials are dictated by a sort of “death panel” coined by Orwellian bureaucrats to spell NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence).
The elephant in the room with these touted healthcare models, of course, is the size of population served. None of the countries studied by Ridenour and Balis comes even close to America’s 300-million-plus population. The largest of these national healthcare systems is the United Kingdom, with a little less than 62 million people served. This is the rough equivalent of the combined population of California and Texas alone. Canada has just under 34 million citizens, which is nearly 3 million less than the single state of California.
Democrats tout Medicare as the test model, but Medicare is on a financial collision course with reality. The Massachusetts model, used by Mitt Romney to boost his presidential bid, is taking the state under water so fast that the Red Cross should send the citizenry life preservers. The Democrats are trying to take an already failing business model from mom-and-pop-small-town-corner-size to national mega-franchise overnight, and they seem not to even see the nitwit nature of that.  
If anything positive can be said about the countries now experiencing the disasters and “shattered lives” rendered by full-tilt, single-payer healthcare delivery models, it is that they didn’t know any better when they started down this road. There weren’t clear failures marking every turn.
But the United States has no such excuse. Democrats are on a hell-bent tear to take American taxpayers straight off the proverbial cliff in their purely insane insistence to follow a path strewn with catastrophe. Why on earth would they expect a better result, especially when they have hundreds of millions more people to please? 

Insanity. It’s just pure insanity.

Perhaps instead of sending all those don’t-do-it petitions to the folks in charge up there in D.C., we ought to try shipping them straitjackets and Valium. That might help them get a better handle on what we think of their national healthcare schemes.
Want a real fix? Two things in less than fifty pages: tort reform and a national competitive market for insurers. I think I’ll run for President.
Copyright 2009 Creators Syndicate. Published by special arrangement.

Page Printed from: at October 30, 2009 – 09:29:04 AM EDT

House Leader Calls Health Bill “1,990 Pages Of Bureaucracy”

House Leader Calls Health Bill “1,990 Pages Of Bureaucracy”

Rep. John Boehner says Republicans “continue to have better solutions.”

VIDEO: Pence: Pelosi Bill The “Freight Train of Big Government”