Posts Tagged ‘Cornhusker Kickback’
Health Care News
The Senate’s health care bill became law earlier this week, but that does not mean the fight against a government overhaul of our nation’s health system is over. This week, the Senate will consider amendments to the reconciliation bill passed by the House alongside the Senate health bill, H.R. 3590. This process will provide a chance to ameliorate the numerous shortcomings of the passed legislation, and will provide Americans with a glimpse at the true intentions of their elected officials as they are forced to take a stance on difficult questions regarding changes to the bill. Here, we outline some of the amendments put forth and the Senate’s verdict:
Protecting Medicare Savings. Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) offered an amendment to protect new savings from Medicare from being used to fund new entitlements. The passed legislation and the reconciliation package would create a combined $529 billion in cuts to Medicare spending over ten years. Lawmakers claim these cuts will be applied to increase the program’s solvency, which will otherwise cause $38 trillion in unfunded liabilities to the taxpayers. (more…)
Health Care News
The U.S. Senate is currently debating H.R. 4872, which amends the Obamacare bill passed by the House Sunday evening and signed into law by the President on Tuesday. This second piece of legislation is advertised as necessary to “fix” problems with the basic Obamacare legislation — such as by deleting the notorious “Cornhusker Kickback” and by altering the timing and scope of the new penalty tax on “high-cost” health insurance plans.
However, other parts of H.R. 4872 actually make the original bill worse — for example, the provision that would increase the separate, new premium tax on commercial health insurance coverage and the one that expands the new tax on medical devices.
Yet another provision would change the federal Medicaid funding formula such that Obamacare will cost taxpayers in 28 states and the District of Columbia even more money. That means that 56 senators will have yet another opportunity to once more vote against the interests of their constituents back home by approving H.R. 4872. (more…)
Health Care News
The pending health care legislation would cover the uninsured mainly by dumping most of them into the federal/state Medicaid program. Not surprisingly, many states have objected to the additional costs that such a Medicaid expansion would impose on their taxpayers. Indeed, that was the motivation behind the infamous “Cornhusker Kickback” in the Senate bill, under which the Federal government would pick up all of Nebraska’s Medicaid expansion costs in perpetuity.
In response to complaints from governors and state lawmakers, coupled with public outrage over the “Cornhusker Kickback,” section 1201 of Speaker Pelosi’s reconciliation bill amends the Senate bill to have the federal government cover all of the extra Medicaid benefit costs for all states in the first three years (2014-2016) with the federal share then declining so that from 2020 onward the Federal government would pay 90 percent of the costs with state taxpayers covering the remaining 10 percent. (more…)
Health Care News
The public doesn’t trust Washington politicians—and those politicians don’t trust each other. Those two truths could doom President Obama’s health care bill even if it weren’t an unaffordable behemoth.
The final health debate merges multiple story lines into one, just as March Madness does for an assortment of college basketball teams. Some of these themes are:
– The Ugliness of Today’s Washington. Trust in elected leaders is collapsing into a hole deeper than Alice ever fell into. It deepens with every disclosure of the process. “Deeming” a bill to pass; avoiding votes to avoid accountability; buying votes with taxpayers’ money, etc. “Louisiana Purchase” and “Cornhusker Kickback” are only visible symptoms of a wayward system that long ago went amok.
Health Care News
Yesterday the White House circulated a memo by pollster Joel Benenson. It was designed to create momentum for Obamacare by convincing wayward House Democrats that support for the President’s plan has been building since the State of the Union. As with everything else that comes out of the White House on health care these days, the memo is nothing but pure fantasy.
This Tuesday, Gallup released its latest poll showing that by a 48%-45% margin Americans would tell their representative in Congress to vote against President Obama’s health plan. Compare that to the last time Gallup asked the question in January, Americans supported the President’s plan 49%-46%. That’s a net six point loss in support for the President’s plan since the State of the Union. That is momentum. Against Obamacare.
And Gallup isn’t alone. The Associated Press released a poll this week showing that 68% of Americans believe the President and Congressional Democrats shouldn’t pass their health care plan without Republican support. “Nothing has been more disconcerting than to watch Democratic politicians and their media supporters deceive themselves into believing that the public favors the Democrats’ current health-care plan,” Democratic pollsters Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen add in today’s Washington Post, “A solid majority of Americans opposes the massive health-reform plan.” (more…)
Health Care News
Another day, another stream of health care fantasy from the White House. A quick look at two health care events from yesterday, one in Glenside, Pennsylvania, and the other in Tawas City, Michigan, clearly exposes the yawing gap between the Obama administration’s health care rhetoric and cold hard legislative reality. First in Glenside, President Barack Obama turned up the volume on his already tired “final push” for health care reform. In addition to the usual litany of false claims about the legislation in Congress (in fact, you don’t get to keep your doctor, it isn’t paid for, it doesn’t reduce costs) President Obama also repeated his new line from his doctors-in-lab-coats address last week:
“We have now incorporated almost every single serious idea from across the political spectrum about how to contain the rising cost of health care … Our cost-cutting measures mirror most of the proposals in the current Senate bill…”
But, as we pointed out last week, there is one not-so-minor difference between the Senate bill and the President’s new proposal: the Senate bill actually exists. Now, Democrats may be telling their conservative counterparts that they will have reconciliation legislative text in front of the Budget Committee by tomorrow, but don’t hold your breath. The “fixes” that the White House is promising wavering House Democrats they will make all sound easy at first glance: 1) scaling back the tax on high-end health insurance policies; 2) closing the Medicare D loophole; 3) boosting insurance subsidies; 4) increasing Medicaid payments; and 5) fixing the Cornhusker Kickback. But when you take a second look, you see that all of these “fixes” will cost more money. Just look at the Cornhusker Kickback which the President chose to address, not by taking away Nebraska’s special Medicaid payments, but by extending those extra Medicaid payments to every state! Every single item in the President’s proposal either increases spending or reduces new revenues. And he didn’t put forward any way to pay for them. If passing health reform were as easy as giving away free candy, Obamacare would be law already. Finding a way to pay for all these fixes is going to be just as difficult as every earlier effort to pay for this bill. So don’t expect any solutions anytime soon. (more…)
Health Care News
Amidst all the intense speculation about quickly passing the President’s health care agenda through the Budget Reconciliation process before the Easter Recess, ordinary Americans should remember one thing: the House of Representatives must first pass the 2,700-page, $2.5 trillion, Senate health bill. So, the next big step in the national health care debate is floor action in the House of Representatives, where House Speaker Nancy Pelosi must round up at least 216 votes.
Heritage analysts have conducted some extensive research and analysis of the provisions of the giant Senate bill. If the House passes the Senate bill and it goes to the President’s desk for signature, it then would become the law of the land. For all intents and purposes, the legislative debate would then be over.
Regardless of Administration or Senate leadership promises to “fix” the new law (the Senate bill) through the Budget Reconciliation process, there are no guarantees. Any “fixes”– if they did come about — would have to survive another round of Senate floor action. So it is worth recalling what the Senate bill would mean for Americans were it to become law. (more…)
Health Care News
Flacking for President Barack Obama’s “new” health care plan, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters assembled for yesterday’s press briefing: “The president posted ideas of his on the White House website today. We hope Republicans will post their ideas either on their website, or we’d be happy to post them on ours, so that the American people could come to one location and find out the parameters of what will largely be discussed on Thursday.” And this might have been a small bit of successful Obama administration gamesmanship on health care and transparency in government except for one small problem: reality. Not only do House Republicans already have their own health care plan, not only is it already available online, but the White House’s own website already links to it!
And speaking of the President’s behind-closed-doors plan, don’t believe any of those headlines showing a $950 billion price tag. That is an Obama administration-created number that should not be afforded any more credibility than Gibbs’ grasp of the contents of his own website. In fact, the independent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) published this about the President’s new plan yesterday:
“Preparing a cost estimate requires very detailed specifications of numerous provisions, and the materials that were released this morning do not provide sufficient detail on all of the provisions. Therefore, CBO cannot provide a cost estimate for the proposal without additional detail, and, even if such detail were provided, analyzing the proposal would be a time-consuming process that could not be completed this week.”
In other words, even with over a year to prepare for the moment they would finally release their own plan, the White House could only manage to obtain an “incomplete” grade from the official budget scorekeeper in Washington. So every time you hear the President say “my plan is paid for” or “my plan reduces the deficit,” just remember you are going to have to take his word for it.
And where the President’s plan is more firm than fuzzy, it only makes the scheme worse: (more…)
Health Care News
In the run-up to his proposed health care summit, President Barack Obama this morning unveiled an 11-page outline of his health care proposal. Within the outline, there are 33 specific policy changes. Of course, there is no legislative text yet, so the full impact of what the President is proposing will not be known for some time.
The President’s revisions are based on the Senate bill, as amended by Senate majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and passed last Christmas Eve. According to the February 22, 2010, edition of Congress Daily, on paper, at least, the President’s outline would increase the cost of the Senate bill from $871 billion to $950 billion over ten years. Of course, the real costs depend upon the years of implementation, counting both the revenues and the benefits together.
Bridging the Gap between House and Senate Liberals. The President describes his proposal as a set of policy changes that would “ bridge the gap” between the unpopular House and Senate health care bills. The President stresses that his proposal “… adds new provisions to crack down on waste, fraud and abuse.” He also says that his proposal “puts American families and small business owners in control, of their own health care.” This latter claim is, in point of fact, disingenuous. Americans would have less control over health care decisions today, what kind of plans and benefits they get, and Washington would exercise even more control over health care financing and delivery than it does today.
Health Care News
In July of last year, the American people were mostly undecided about Obamacare: equal numbers opposed and supported the health care bills that the White House was shepherding through Congress. But then August happened and informed Americans turned out at townhalls across the country to express their strong disapproval of Obamacare. The larger American public noticed and pluralities of the American people began to oppose Obamacare. The White House concluded they had a “communications problem” so they scheduled a prime time speech in front of a rare Joint Session of Congress. But the President’s speech arrogantly dismissed the concerns of the American people and after a brief uptick in support (from the low 40s to the mid 40s), opposition to the President’s plan grew.
Then in November, liberals lost governor’s races in New Jersey and Virginia as opposition to President Obama’s signature policy priority inched towards 50%. Again the White House concluded that nothing was wrong with their policy agenda and they dismissed their setbacks in two states that had voted for President Barack Obama as local elections with weak candidates. Instead of rethinking their policies and procedures the White House doubled down and pushed for a speedy passage of Obamacare with as little debate as possible. Over the next two months the White House bought support for their health care plan with the Louisiana Purchase, the Cornhusker Kickback, and big labor tax breaks. And their behind-closed-doors, backroom-deal tactics almost worked … until Massachusetts happened. (more…)
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