Obama’s Health Care Comedy Tour

Obama’s Health Care Comedy Tour

Posted By Duane Lester On April 10, 2010 @ 12:00 am In Column 1, Health Care, US News | 16 Comments

George Carlin once said, “I believe you can joke about anything. It just depends how you construct the joke, what the exaggeration is. Every joke needs one exaggeration; every joke needs one thing out of proportion.”

That’s really the key to humor. The exaggeration.

On March 25, President Obama began his American Health Care Comedy Tour in Iowa City, Iowa. In his speech, he spoke [1] about the fears vocalized by those opposed to health care reform:

There’s been plenty of fear-mongering, plenty of overheated rhetoric. You turn on the news, you’ll see the same folks are still shouting about there’s going to be an end of the world because this bill passed. (Laughter.) I’m not exaggerating. Leaders of the Republican Party, they called the passage of this bill “Armageddon.” (Laughter.) Armageddon. “End of freedom as we know it.”

So after I signed the bill, I looked around to see if there any — (laughter) — asteroids falling or — (applause) — some cracks opening up in the Earth. (Laughter.) It turned out it was a nice day. (Laughter.) Birds were chirping. Folks were strolling down the Mall. People still have their doctors.

The crowd of Obama myrmidons found this to be hilarious. Obama nailed Carlin’s rule. No one opposing health care reform called it “Armageddon” or suggested the Earth would be destroyed.  That’s the exaggeration.  He took the concerns of those against the Democrats’ “reform” and blew them way out of proportion.

On April 1, Obama again repeated the asteroid joke, but added a new bit to his standup [2]:

Every single day since I signed the reform law, there’s been another poll or headline that said “Nation still divided on health care reform — polls haven’t changed yet!”

We’ll yeah. It just happened last week. It’s only been a week!

Can you imagine if some of these reporters were working on a farm? They planted some seeds and they came out next day and they looked “Nothings happened! There’s no Crop! We’re gonna starve! Oh NO! It’s a disaster!”

It’s been a week folks. So before we find out if people like health care reform, we should wait to see what happens when we actually put it into place. Just a thought.

If he is writing this comedy, he’s good.

It’s interesting to note that in one comedic bit, he’s saying nothing negative happened after he signed it and the concerns of the opposition were therefore foolish. Yet in another bit, he says it’s foolish to think that anything positive would really happen this soon after signing it. He’s essentially saying: “See. Nothing bad happened. You guys are idiots.” Then he follows this up with: “What did you expect? Rainbows and unicorns right out of the gate? This thing hasn’t even really started yet, so nothing good is going to happen for a while. But when it does, you’ll love it.”

There seems to be a pretty big flaw in his logic. How can he honestly say bad things aren’t going to happen with this health care reform when he openly admits it hasn’t been fully implemented yet?

The answer is, he doesn’t have to. This isn’t about logic or forming a coherent argument. This is about ridicule, “man’s most potent weapon.”

Those are the words of the granddaddy of community organizers, Saul Alinsky. In his book Rules for Radicals [3], Alinsky wrote: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counteract ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.”

On this, he’s right. Ridicule is a very potent weapon. In his book Fighting the War of Ideas like Real War: Messages to Defeat the Terrorists, J. Michael Waller explains why ridicule is such an effective weapon against one’s enemies [4]:

  • It sticks;
  • The target can’t refute it;
  • It is almost impossible to repress;
  • It spreads on its own and multiplies with each re-telling;
  • It boosts morale at home;
  • Our enemy shows far greater intolerance to ridicule than we;
  • Ridicule divides the enemy, damages its morale, and makes it less attractive to supporters and prospective recruits; and
  • The ridicule-armed warrior need not fix a physical sight on the target. Ridicule will find its own way to the targeted individual. To the enemy, being ridiculed means losing respect. It means losing influence. It means losing followers and repelling potential new backers.

By mocking the concerns of the opposition, Obama rebrands them as fools. He puts his opponents on the defensive. While they spend time trying to use sound logic and facts to refute Obama’s claims, he simply shrugs it off and moves on to the next joke.

Rather than try to refute Obama’s ridicule, Republicans leaders need to help every other American worried about health care reform recognize that he is ridiculing them as well.

Polling shows that after just a week, over half of Americans want the health care bill repealed.

Obama is mocking them.

Nearly 50 percent think the new plan will lower the quality of health care.

Obama is mocking them.

Over 80 percent feel the plan will fail to lower the cost of health care.

Obama is mocking them.

A majority of people think the plan will increase the cost.

Obama is mocking them.

The purpose of Obama’s tone is to neutralize all opposition. If he can intimidate people into not speaking out because they fear being ridiculed, he makes his propaganda campaign that much easier. His American Health Care Comedy Tour is as much about shutting people up as it is about firing up his base. He tames one while galvanizing another.

The opponents of tyranny have to recognize this tactic and neutralize it by shining a light on his contempt for the everyday American’s strongly held beliefs. In this instance, Obama’s greatest strength, his ability to communicate, can be used against him.

Healthcare aftershocks

Healthcare aftershocks

Politics | Returning to D.C., Democrats prepare to capitalize on the passage of Obamacare | Emily Belz

WASHINGTON—Members of Congress returning in mid-April from Easter recess face a traffic jam of legislation awaiting passage—and pressure from the White House to pass it. Democrats want to turn the momentum they feel from the passage of healthcare reform into more legislative successes before the end of the year. Passing certain measures could help Democrats in the November elections, too.

Campaign finance

During President Obama’s January State of the Union address, he delivered a stern condemnation of a Supreme Court decision on campaign finance and urged Congress to pass legislation to counter the decision. The court’s Citizens United decision allows corporations to spend money in favor of candidates or political issues—but corporations are still forbidden from directly contributing to a campaign. A majority of Americans, according to various polls, opposed at least the principle of an expanded role of corporations in elections. Democrats undoubtedly see political opportunity in passing campaign finance laws to counter the court’s decision.

Financial reform

Almost two years have passed since the financial crisis hit full force, and the Senate has just finished sweating out a financial regulation bill, which initially had input from one Republican, Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee. The lead Democrat on the issue, Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, bypassed Corker in final negotiations over the bill as it became clear that Senate Republicans would oppose the bill. Corker called the Republican strategy an “error” because he believes the measure will become law and find popular support. Wall Street is an easy target in a hurting economy and an election year. The Senate could vote on the measure in coming weeks, and since the House has already passed its own version, the country could see new financial regulations by the summer.

Immigration

A bevy of groups have held rallies in Washington calling for immigration reform—something President Bush attempted without success—but the issue probably won’t appear on the top of the congressional agenda this year. An election year is no time to be passing something as controversial and with so little political payback as immigration reform. President Obama said recently that his commitment to passing comprehensive immigration reform is “unwavering.” 

Cap-and-trade

News articles have marked the death of climate change legislation—”cap-and-trade”—numerous times, but it’s one issue that doesn’t appear to be going away. The cap-and-trade tool itself, in which companies would pay a tax on their emissions, is defunct in Congress, but other measures to address emissions and energy are still alive and kicking. All eyes are on the Senate, since the House passed a cap-and-trade bill last summer. Forty-four Democrats voted against the House bill, so if Congress has any chance of passing a final bill into law, it would have to be substantially different and the vote will need to happen before November elections, when Democrats could lose a number of seats.

Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., have been scheming up their own bill, which they plan to release in coming weeks. Their collaboration, dubbed “KLG,” is perhaps the measure that has the most possibility of passing at this point. Sens. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, have also introduced a bill regulating emissions that could gain bipartisan support in the Senate.

The unspoken worry is that if Congress does nothing to address climate change, the administration will take action on its own, giving the Environmental Protection Agency a long leash to impose regulations. By next year the EPA will begin requiring the country’s largest emitters to buy permits for their greenhouse gases. The KLG bill would replace the EPA’s regulating authority on that issue. President Obama has lately also announced plans to expand nuclear energy and offshore drilling. 

Deadly Obamacare Kills Businesses, Jobs

Pamela Geller

Deadly Obamacare Kills Businesses, Jobs

by Pamela Geller You think Obama has been a nightmare? You ain’t seen nothing yet. That was just the preview.

American business, the motor of the global economy, was dealt a deathblow by the Marxist putsch that the Democrat Party delivered in the form of the healthcare bill. Why wasn’t this made public before the vote? The numbers are staggering. It was revealed Friday that AT&T, the largest telephone company in the country, will take a one-billion-dollar hit in the current quarter as a result of this economic attack on America. The farm-equipment company Deere is looking at $150 million in new healthcare-related charges this quarter, and Caterpillar is facing  $100 million.

obama

Who do you think will pay for this? We will pay. According to Reuters, “Verizon Communications, the second biggest U.S. phone company, told employees that tax burdens under the new law would likely filter down to employees.” Business is not something in the abstract, or the evil force the leftists and the communists deceptively smear it to be — business is work, business is people, it is jobs, it is production. When business pays, we pay. Jobs pay. Consumers pay.

And we will pay for more than that as well. Have you seen the commercials yet for people who have maxed out their credit cards, and have loans over ten thousand that they can’t pay back, urging them to apply for stimulus dollars? Are you one of those who played by the rules, worked hard, did the right thing? If so, you’re screwed. The man has you and your wallet and your kids’ wallet by the throat. Welcome to the era of the degenerate: they will be sucking your blood and your children’s blood and your children’s children’s blood for decades to come, or however long America lasts.

Notice how Obama bad news always drops on Friday nights. But the Democrats will not forever be able to keep quiet the reality and the consequences of Obama rule.

Meanwhile, as the health care putsch continues, the world goes to hell in handbasket. The sinking of the South Korean warship near the North Korean border Friday was almost certainly an act of war, even as South Korean officials played down that possibility. Nonetheless, it reeks of the North Koreans. North Korea never would have pulled something like this under Bush. Never. But they know Obama will do nothing and that South Korea is on her own. Barack Hussein Obama ain’t Harry S Truman.

With Obama at the helm, expect hell to break loose. Iranian nukes? Yawn. Pakistan jihadis with nukes? Crickets chirping. Abandonment of Israel? Check! Socializing healthcare? Job 1!

And as they take over seventeen percent of the American economy, how cocky the Democrats are — full of contempt for the hard-working American. In order to fund Obama’s counter-insurgency in America, the enemy must be cut off of supplies, succor and support. And who is the enemy? He is us. The U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, has ordered the closing of numerous fast-food outlets on bases. Command Sgt. Maj. Michael T. Hall explained that “some of the morale, welfare and recreation facilities throughout Afghanistan” for troops would be cut: “In the coming weeks and months, concessions such as Orange Julius, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Dairy Queen and Military Car Sales will close their doors.”  

Trillions on the backs of our kids, but no cheezboigers for the troops. But there is plenty of money for Kobe steaks for King O. Date nights in Manhattan with Michelle for a million. $600 sneakers for her as well. And remember that taxpayers footed the $101,000 bill for in-flight parties on Air Force jets arranged by Nancy Pelosi: according to journalist Bob Unruh at WorldNetDaily, “it reads like a dream order for some wild frat party: Maker’s Mark whiskey, Courvoisier cognac, Johnny Walker Red scotch, Grey Goose vodka, E&J brandy, Bailey’s Irish Crème, Bacardi Light rum, Jim Beam whiskey, Beefeater gin, Dewars scotch, Bombay Sapphire gin, Jack Daniels whiskey … and Corona beer.”

This is so off the charts. There is no decency on the left. They are hypocrites who are destroying American businesses and stealing from hard-working, struggling Americans.

Could the parties be more different, the differences more stark? Say what you will about the Republicans, but they were disciplined. The Democrats are increasingly fascist in their tactics, statist in their policy, anti-Israel, anti-America, and anti-military. The Republicans are pro-small government, pro-Israel, pro-individual rights, pro-business, pro-America.

I don’t know how any clear-thinking, rational, decent human being could vote in November 2010 for the corrupt statist collectivists.

AP: Say, guess what we just found in ObamaCare!

AP: Say, guess what we just found in ObamaCare!

posted at 10:55 am on March 26, 2010 by Ed Morrissey
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Congress passed the bill without knowing what was in it. Barack Obama signed it without reading it.  Now it looks as though the Associated Press reported on ObamaCare without comprehending its content.   Readers will have to scroll far down to discover that the elimination of a key tax break that kept retirees on company prescription-medication plans will mean dumping millions of seniors onto Medicare — and that the AP ignored it until now:

The health care overhaul will cost U.S. companies billions and make them more likely to drop prescription drug coverage for retirees because of a change in how the government subsidizes those benefits.

In the first two days after the law was signed, three major companies — Deere & Co., Caterpillar Inc. and Valero Energy — said they expect to take a total hit of $265 million to account for smaller tax deductions in the future.

With more than 3,500 companies now getting the tax break as an incentive to keep providing coverage, others are almost certain to announce similar cost increases in the weeks ahead as they sort out the impact of the change.

Figuring out what it will mean for retirees will take longer, but analysts said as many as 2 million could lose the prescription drug coverage provided by their former employers, leaving them to enroll in Medicare’s program.

Over the past year, I’ve repeatedly warned about the dangers of static tax analysis.  That process considers changes in tax policy without considering its impact on behavior.  The closure of this “loophole,” as Robert Gibbs called it yesterday, is a perfect example of this stunted thinking.

The Democrats in Congress argued that they would gain $5.4 billion in revenue by eliminating the tax break enacted in the 2003 Medicare Part D program as an incentive for businesses to keep their retirees out of the Medicare system.  Instead, they have given businesses a reason to dump their retirees out of the private networks and into the Part D system now.  Not only will the expected tax revenues never appear, but now we will have to spend a lot more money covering those prescriptions out of public funds.  The seniors in these programs will suffer most of all, as the Part D coverage is vastly inferior to the private plans offered by businesses in the private sector.

Who could have foreseen this?  Well, businesses have been trying to get attention to this problem for months, as the AP somewhat belatedly reports:

Industry groups say they lobbied hard against the change in the tax rules before it was added to the health care law over the winter.

“It was in all of our letters and communications that went up to the Hill, and the companies were heavily involved in that,” said Dena Battle, a tax specialist with the National Association of Manufacturers.

Nationwide, companies would take a $14 billion hit on their financial statements if all of the roughly 3,500 companies receiving the subsidies continued to do so, according to a study by Towers Watson, a human resources consulting firm.

For months, businesses have warned about the problem, and for months, Democrats have claimed this clause as a $5.4 billion revenue source.  One might think that the media would be interested in puncturing some bad assumptions.  Apparently not.

The Demcare control freaks are partying hard

Lead Story

The Demcare control freaks are partying hard

By Michelle Malkin  •  March 24, 2010 10:15 AM


Image credit: Reader Rachel in Kentucky

GOP Sen. Jim DeMint went head to head against Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin on NBC’s “Today Show” and MSNBC this morning. DeMint noted that the “American people are very angry”. Durbin’s response? Essentially: Shut up and pay the price of Democrat majority rule.

Watch Durbin justify the massive cost of Demcare and the taxes it will impose as “the cost of having the kind of America we want to have:”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkVhz_Am23s&feature=player_embedded

Writes Sen. DeMint: “What kind of America do we want to have? One where people are free to live their lives as they see fit, or one where Washington controls nearly every aspect of our lives?”

We know what kind of America Democrat dinosaur Sen. John Dingell wants: “The harsh fact of the matter is when you’re going to pass legislation that will cover 300 [million] American people in different ways it takes a long time to do the necessary administrative steps that have to be taken to put the legislation together to control the people.”

Yes, he said it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bK62MQ_OIEI&feature=player_embedded

Welcome to Nancy Pelosi’s vision of taking America in a “new direction”.

***

What’s happening in the Senate: Debate will continue all day on the Senate wreckonciliation “fixes,” with the GOP offering a plethora of amendments and procedural motions. GOP Sen. Judd Gregg is taking aim at the student loan nationalization power grab, via the CSM:

Senate Democrats emerged from a caucus luncheon Tuesday resolved to block any changes in the House fixes.

“This is just going to be parliamentary games,” says Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) of Missouri. “It will be death by gotcha votes – dozens of them. We have to stand up and be strong and say: Sorry, we are not going to play.”

This companion bill – the promise of which was the only way to secure passage of the unpopular Senate bill through the House – increases subsidies for low- and middle-income Americans and it adjusts funding to lower deficits. It also includes a measure that makes the federal government the exclusive provider of student loans.

Sen. Judd Gregg (R) of New Hampshire wants to focus public attention on the student loan provisions. The nationalization of the student loan industry, quasi-nationalization of the financial system, nationalization of the auto industry, and quasi-nationalization of the health industry will “drive this country down a road towards a European-style government,” he says.

The Foundry reports: “Reconciliation Bill Adds Even More Taxes.”

***

And behind closed doors, where they are no doubt assuring each other that the whole charade is meaningless: Obama to sign abortion order behind closed doors.

Sarah Palin: Out-of-touch Congress Sounds Our Clarion Call to Take a Stand

Sarah Palin: Out-of-touch Congress Sounds Our Clarion Call to Take a Stand

Out-of-touch Congress Sounds Our Clarion Call to Take a Stand
 Today at 9:03am
We’ve been remind many times that elections have consequences. Yesterday we saw the consequence of voting for those who believe in “fundamentally transforming” America whether we want it or not. Yesterday they voted. In November, we get to vote. We won’t forget what we saw yesterday. Congress passed a bill while Americans said “no,” and thousands of everyday citizens even surrounded the Capital Building to beg them not to it. Has there ever been a more obvious exhibition of a detached and imperious government?

In the weeks to come, we can expect them to try to change the subject, but we won’t forget. Don’t let them move on to further “transformational” steps while forgetting what Congress just did against the will of the people. Though Obamacare will inflict billions in new taxes on individuals and employers, at least it creates some jobs: the IRS might have to hire as many as 16,000 new employees to enforce all the new taxes and penalties the bill calls for! And that doesn’t include all the other government jobs from the 159 new agencies, panels, commissions and departments this bill will create. As the private sector shrinks, we can count on government to keep growing along with the deficits needed to keep it all afloat. (Is this the kind of “change” Americans asked for?)

In the end, this unsustainable bill jeopardizes the very thing it was supposed to fix – our health care system. Somewhere along the way we forgot that health care reform is about doctors and patients, not the IRS and politicians. Instead of helping doctors with tort reform, this bill has made primary care physicians think about getting out of medicine. It was supposed to make health care more affordable, but our premiums will continue to go up. It was supposed to help more people get coverage, but there will still be 23 million uninsured people by 2019.

Though they’d like us to forget, we will remember the corrupt deals, the corrupt process, the lack of transparency, the deceptive gimmicks to game the CBO score, and the utter disregard for the will of the American people. Elections have consequences, and we won’t forget those who promised to hold firm against government funding of abortion, but caved at the last minute in exchange for a non-binding executive order promised by the most pro-abortion president to ever occupy the White House.

All along we’ve said that we want real health care reform, but this isn’t it. We mustn’t be discouraged now. We must look to November when our goal will be to rebuke big government’s power grab, reject this unwanted “transformation” of America, and repeal dangerous portions of Obamacare that will bury us under more Big Government control.

This is just the beginning of our efforts to take back our country. Consider yesterday’s vote a clarion call and a spur to action. We will not let America sink into further debt without a fight. We will not abandon the American dream to government dependency, fewer freedoms and less opportunity. Change is made at the ballot box. If we work together, we can renew our optimistic pioneering spirit, revive our economy, and restore constitutional limits.

Stand tall, America. November is coming!

– Sarah Palin

Obama’s Abortion: Full Text Of Executive Order

Obama’s Abortion: Full Text Of Executive Order

March 21st, 2010 Posted By Pat Dollard.

protestphoto3

White House issues statement on executive order

The White House has released the text of the executive order prohibiting federal funding of abortion. The order was crafted as part of a deal to win the votes of pro-life House Democrats unhappy with the Senate’s restrictions. White House spokesman Dan Pfeiffer said:

While the legislation as written maintains current law, the executive order provides additional safeguards to ensure that the status quo is upheld and enforced, and that the health care legislation’s restrictions against the public funding of abortions cannot be circumvented.

The President has said from the start that this health insurance reform should not be the forum to upset longstanding precedent. The health care legislation and this executive order are consistent with this principle.

In a press conference moments after the executive order was released, Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) announced “an agreement with the speaker to protect the sanctity of life in the health care reform,” and that he and other anti-abortion Democrats would support the health care bill, giving party leaders the votes they need to pass it.

Full statement and text of the order after the jump.

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary

_____________________________________________________________________________

For Immediate Release March 21, 2010

STATEMENT FROM COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR DAN PFEIFFER

Today, the President announced that he will be issuing an executive order after the passage of the health insurance reform law that will reaffirm its consistency with longstanding restrictions on the use of federal funds for abortion.

While the legislation as written maintains current law, the executive order provides additional safeguards to ensure that the status quo is upheld and enforced, and that the health care legislation’s restrictions against the public funding of abortions cannot be circumvented.

The President has said from the start that this health insurance reform should not be the forum to upset longstanding precedent. The health care legislation and this executive order are consistent with this principle.

The President is grateful for the tireless efforts of leaders on both sides of this issue to craft a consensus approach that allows the bill to move forward.

A text of the pending executive order follows:

Executive Order

– – – – – – –

ensuring enforcement and implementation of abortion restrictions in the patient protection and affordable care act

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (approved March ­­__, 2010), I hereby order as follows:

Section 1. Policy.

Following the recent passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“the Act”), it is necessary to establish an adequate enforcement mechanism to ensure that Federal funds are not used for abortion services (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered), consistent with a longstanding Federal statutory restriction that is commonly known as the Hyde Amendment. The purpose of this Executive Order is to establish a comprehensive, government-wide set of policies and procedures to achieve this goal and to make certain that all relevant actors—Federal officials, state officials (including insurance regulators) and health care providers—are aware of their responsibilities, new and old.

The Act maintains current Hyde Amendment restrictions governing abortion policy and extends those restrictions to the newly-created health insurance exchanges. Under the Act, longstanding Federal laws to protect conscience (such as the Church Amendment, 42 U.S.C. §300a-7, and the Weldon Amendment, Pub. L. No. 111-8, §508(d)(1) (2009)) remain intact and new protections prohibit discrimination against health care facilities and health care providers because of an unwillingness to provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions.

Numerous executive agencies have a role in ensuring that these restrictions are enforced, including the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

Section 2. Strict Compliance with Prohibitions on Abortion Funding in Health Insurance Exchanges. The Act specifically prohibits the use of tax credits and cost-sharing reduction payments to pay for abortion services (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered) in the health insurance exchanges that will be operational in 2014. The Act also imposes strict payment and accounting requirements to ensure that Federal funds are not used for abortion services in exchange plans (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered) and requires state health insurance commissioners to ensure that exchange plan funds are segregated by insurance companies in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, OMB funds management circulars, and accounting guidance provided by the Government Accountability Office.

I hereby direct the Director of OMB and the Secretary of HHS to develop, within 180 days of the date of this Executive Order, a model set of segregation guidelines for state health insurance commissioners to use when determining whether exchange plans are complying with the Act’s segregation requirements, established in Section 1303 of the Act, for enrollees receiving Federal financial assistance. The guidelines shall also offer technical information that states should follow to conduct independent regular audits of insurance companies that participate in the health insurance exchanges. In developing these model guidelines, the Director of OMB and the Secretary of HHS shall consult with executive agencies and offices that have relevant expertise in accounting principles, including, but not limited to, the Department of the Treasury, and with the Government Accountability Office. Upon completion of those model guidelines, the Secretary of HHS should promptly initiate a rulemaking to issue regulations, which will have the force of law, to interpret the Act’s segregation requirements, and shall provide guidance to state health insurance commissioners on how to comply with the model guidelines.

Section 3. Community Health Center Program.

The Act establishes a new Community Health Center (CHC) Fund within HHS, which provides additional Federal funds for the community health center program. Existing law prohibits these centers from using federal funds to provide abortion services (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered), as a result of both the Hyde Amendment and longstanding regulations containing the Hyde language. Under the Act, the Hyde language shall apply to the authorization and appropriations of funds for Community Health Centers under section 10503 and all other relevant provisions. I hereby direct the Secretary of HHS to ensure that program administrators and recipients of Federal funds are aware of and comply with the limitations on abortion services imposed on CHCs by existing law. Such actions should include, but are not limited to, updating Grant Policy Statements that accompany CHC grants and issuing new interpretive rules.

Section 4. General Provisions.

(a) Nothing in this Executive Order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect: (i) authority granted by law or presidential directive to an agency, or the head thereof; or (ii) functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b) This Executive Order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c) This Executive Order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity against the United States, its departments, agencies, entities, officers, employees or agents, or any other person.

THE WHITE HOUSE,

Can Nancy Pelosi Get the Votes?

The Wall Street Journal

MARCH 11, 2010

Can Nancy Pelosi Get the Votes?

The Senate bill’s abortion language is not the House Speaker’s only problem.

By MICHAEL BARONE

Are there enough votes in the House to pass the Senate’s health-care bill? As of today, it’s clear there aren’t. House Democratic leaders have brushed aside White House calls to bring the bill forward by March 18, when President Barack Obama heads to Asia. Nevertheless, analysts close to the Democratic leadership tell me they’re confident the leadership will find some way to squeeze out the 216 votes needed for a majority.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has indeed shown mastery at amassing majorities. But it’s hard to see how she’ll do so on this one. The arithmetic as I see it doesn’t add up.

The House passed its version of the health bill in November by 220-215. Of those 220, one was a Republican who now is a no. One Democrat who voted yes has died, two Democrats who voted yes have resigned, and one Democrat who voted no has resigned as well. So if everyone but the Republican votes the way they did four months ago, the score would be 216-215.

Chad Crowe

Barone

Barone

But not everyone is ready to vote that way. The House bill included an amendment prohibiting funding of abortions sponsored by Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak. The Senate bill did not. Mr. Stupak says he and 10 to 12 other members won’t vote for the Senate bill for that reason. Others have said the same, including Minnesota’s James Oberstar, chairman of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and Dan Lipinski, a product of the Chicago Democratic machine.

Mrs. Pelosi may have some votes in reserve—members who would have voted yes if she needed them in November and would do so again. But we can be pretty sure she doesn’t have more than 10, or she wouldn’t have allowed the Stupak amendment to come forward at the last minute the first time. She also might get one or two votes from members who voted no and later announced they were retiring.

But that’s not enough—and there are other complications. Voting for the Senate bill means voting for the Cornhusker kickback and the Louisiana purchase—the price Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid paid for the votes of Ben Nelson and Mary Landrieu. It’s not hard to imagine the ads Republicans could run attacking House members for sending money to Nebraska and Louisiana but not their home states.

To be sure, Democratic leaders say they want to repair the Senate bill by subsequent legislation that could be passed with 51 votes in the Senate under the reconciliation process. But they have yet to produce such a bill. It can’t include the Stupak amendment, which experts say doesn’t qualify for the reconciliation process. And there’s no way they can credibly promise the Senate will pass it. Senate rules allow many forms of obstruction. The reconciliation process is littered with traps.

There is also the House’s historic lack of trust in the Senate, which is on display by Democrats who voted yes in November. “No, I don’t trust the U.S. Senate,” Wisconsin’s Steve Kagen told WLUK-TV in Green Bay, this week. New York’s Dan Maffei was quoted in the Syracuse Post-Standard on Monday that “I will trust the president, but I will not trust the Senate.”

“I am not inclined to support the Senate version,” Nevada’s Shelley Berkley told the New York Times last week. “I would like something more than a promise. The Senate cannot promise its way out of a paper bag.” Her district voted 64% for Barack Obama.

Other Democrats who voted yes seem to be wavering. “I don’t think reconciliation is a good idea,” Indiana’s Baron Hill was quoted recently in Bloomberg News. New York’s Michael Arcuri says he’s a no for now. “There would have to be some dramatic changes in it for me to change my position,” he recently told the Utica Observer-Dispatch.

“I think we can do better,” California’s Dennis Cardoza told the New York Times last week. “If the Senate bill is not fixed, that”—voting no—”is not a flip-flop,” Nevada’s Dina Titus told the Las Vegas Review-Journal last week. “I see that as standing by your convictions.” Most of these members represent districts which went Republican some time in the past decade—and could easily do so again if national polls are an indicator.

There’s a more fundamental problem for the Democratic leadership: Their majority is not as strong as their 253-178 margin suggests.

A Democratic House majority tends to have fewer members with safe seats than a Republican majority. Consider that in 2005 Speaker Dennis Hastert had 214 Republican members elected in districts Mr. Bush carried, just four seats short of a majority. Today Speaker Nancy Pelosi has 208 Democratic members elected in districts Mr. Obama carried, eight seats short of a majority.

The Democratic bedrock is actually slightly smaller than the Republican bedrock was four years ago, even though the Democrats have 31 more members. That’s partly because of Republican gerrymandering earlier in the decade, but it’s more because Democratic voters tend to be bunched in relatively few districts. Mr. Obama carried 28 districts with 80% or more; John McCain didn’t reach that percentage in any district.

A lot of Democrats—most Black Caucus members and many “gentry liberals” (to use urban scholar Joel Kotkin’s term) like Mrs. Pelosi—are elected in overwhelmingly Democratic districts. This means there aren’t that many faithful Democratic voters to spread around to other seats.

As a result, more than 40 House Democrats represent districts which John McCain carried. Most voted no in November and would presumably be hurt by switching to yes now. Moreover, Mr. Obama’s job approval now hovers around 48%, five points lower than his winning percentage in 2008. His approval on health care is even lower.

 

Another 32 House Democrats represent districts where Mr. Obama won between 50% and 54% of the vote, and where his approval is likely to be running under 50% now. That leaves just 176 House Democrats from districts where Mr. Obama’s approval rating is not, to borrow a real-estate term, under water. That’s 40 votes less than the 216 needed.

“If there is a path to 216 votes, I am confident the Speaker will find it,” writes Bush White House legislative strategy analyst Keith Hennessey on his blog. “She has a remarkable ability to bend her colleagues to her will.” True, but perhaps that ability has led Democrats in the White House and on Capitol Hill to embark on what will be remembered as a mission impossible.

Mrs. Pelosi, whom I have known for almost 30 years, may turn out to be even shrewder than I think. But she may be facing a moment as flummoxing as the one when Democratic Speaker Thomas Foley lost the vote on the rule to consider the crime and gun control bill in August 1994, or when Republican Speaker Dennis Hastert saw the Mark Foley scandal explode on the last day of the session in September 2006. Both were moments when highly competent and dedicated House speakers saw their majorities shattered beyond repair.

That moment, if it comes, will occur some time between now and the Easter recess. The Democrats’ struggle to get 216 votes is high stakes poker.

Mr. Barone is senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and co-author of “The Almanac of American Politics 2010” (National Journal).

 

GOP senator: Democratic health care deals ‘sleazy’

GOP senator: Democratic health care deals ‘sleazy’

 



Dec 22, 7:38 AM (ET)

WASHINGTON (AP) – A Republican senator who has opposed President Barack Obama’s health overhaul effort said Tuesday that the deals Democratic leaders have cut to round up the votes they need to push the measure through the Senate have been “sleazy.”

Speaking Tuesday on NBC’s “Today” show, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina cited concessions won by Nebraska Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson, whose support gave Democrats the 60th and final vote they need. Among other things, Nelson won an agreement that the federal government will pay to expand Medicaid services in Nebraska.

Said Graham: “That’s not change you can believe in. That’s sleazy.”

Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa defended the concessions, saying: “The one that’s being talked about for Nebraska, it also benefits other states. It’s not just Nebraska.”

He also said he would vote for the package even if it didn’t contain concessions for Iowa. “The principle of this bill overrides everything,” Harkin told CBS'”Early Show.”

Graham rejected criticism leveled by some Democrats that GOP opposition to Obama’s health care effort is being driven by extremists.

“I’m not a member of a militia, I’m not a birther,” he said, referring to those who have questioned, inaccurately, whether Obama is an American citizen. “I’m a senator who wants to reform health care, but I’m not going to allow my country to become a socialized nation when it comes to health care.”

Harkin described the debate as “a demarcation line.”

He explained: “On one side is health care as a privilege. On the other side is health care as a right. With these votes, with the vote that we’ll take before Christmas, we will cross that line finally and say that health care is a right of all Americans.”

The Senate had procedural votes Tuesday morning on the overhaul bill and Democrats are pushing for final passage before Christmas.

GOP senator signals fading hopes on health care

GOP senator signals fading hopes on health care

By JIM KUHNHENN (AP) – 5 hours ago

 

WASHINGTON — A leading GOP negotiator on health care struck a further blow to fading chances of a bipartisan compromise by saying Democratic proposals would restrict medical choices and make the country’s “finances sicker without saving you money.”

The criticism from Sen. Michael Enzi, R-Wyo., echoed that of many opponents of the Democratic plans under consideration in Congress. But Enzi’s judgment was especially noteworthy because he is one of only three Republicans who have been willing to consider a bipartisan bill in the Senate.

In the Republicans’ weekly radio and Internet address on Saturday, Enzi said any health care legislation must lower medical costs for Americans without increasing deficits and the national debt.

“The bills introduced by congressional Democrats fail to meet these standards,” he said.

Enzi, together with Republican Sens. Charles Grassley of Iowa and Olympia Snowe of Maine, has held talks with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont. But the chance of a bipartisan breakthrough has diminished in the face of an effective public mobilization by opponents of Democratic proposals.

“I heard a lot of frustration and anger as I traveled across my home state this last few weeks,” said Enzi, who has been targeted by critics for seeking to negotiate on legislation. “People in Wyoming and across the country are anxious about what Washington has in mind. This is big. This is personal. This is one of the most important debates of our lifetime.”

He called for more competition among health insurers, for the ability of small businesses to band together across state lines to negotiate for lower-cost insurance plans, for tax breaks to help people buy insurance and for reducing malpractice lawsuits.

The debate over health care will resume in Washington after Labor Day, just two weeks after White House budget officials projected that deficits would total a staggering $9 trillion over the next 10 years. Though President Barack Obama has said he wants the total health care bill paid for without adding to the deficit, congressional budget officials have estimated that House health care proposals would cost the government more.

“The Democrats are trying to rush a bill through the process that will actually make our nation’s finances sicker without saving you money,” Enzi said.

Democrats also are calling for cuts in Medicare spending, using some of the savings to help uninsured workers. A House bill would result in a net reduction in Medicare of about $200 billion, though Obama has insisted the reductions would not cut benefits in the health program for the elderly.

But Enzi said: “This will result in cutting hundreds of billions of dollars from the elderly to create new government programs.”

He repeated Republican accusations that the Democrats’ plans would result in less access to certain medical treatments, citing a proposed government board that would research the most effective medical practices.

“We’re a nation of people who want the ability to choose what will best fit our families’ needs and it should be that way with health care, too,” Enzi said.

  • GOP weekly address: http://www.youtube.com/user/gopweeklyaddress