Posts Tagged ‘transparency’
Health Care News
A freshman congressman has offered legislation that would make the extensive federal rulemaking process associated with the new Obamacare law dramatically more transparent. The bill would also give Congress a stepped-up oversight role as federal agencies begin drafting rules to implement the law, which will go fully into effect by 2014.
In fact, both the purpose and letter of the Creating Sunshine, Participation, and Accountability for Our Nation Act (H.R. 1432) align well with President Obama’s stated concern for transparency in federal rulemaking. (Read the rest on The Foundry…)
In 2006, the Dutch government implemented a universal insurance mandate. Many American policy makers are looking to the Dutch experiment as a model to fix America’s complex and costly health care system. Given the narrow, partisan enactment of Obamacare, America appears to be on a similar path. In a recent paper, Heritage experts Ryan Lynch and Eline Altenburg-van den Broek explain why patients in the Nehterlands do not have a significant choice among the health insurance companies nor can they access sufficient information about the health system and different options. Click here to read about why this system would not benefit patients in America, either.
Health Care News
Health care is a life-and-death matter. It’s also a huge part of our economy (one-sixth, to be exact).
With so much at stake, it makes sense to “go slow,” when it comes to reforming the system. But rather than take the time to get it right, the liberal leaders of Congress rammed through a wholesale restructuring of the system without giving their rank and file enough time to read—much less comprehend—what they were up to.
The rush to “reform” didn’t stop there, either. The Obamacare bill imposed a host of short-term implementation deadlines on the Department of Health and Human Services. Turns out that HHS can’t make ‘em. (more…)
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…)
Health Care News
On February 25th, the White House has proposed a bipartisan, half-day televised summit on health care. It is unclear as to whether this is a publicity stunt by the Obama Administration or a good faith effort to negotiate with Republicans to come up with a bipartisan health care reform bill. The Washington Post reports today many Republicans are pushing back and urging the White House to scrap Obamacare as a precondition to any negotiation. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) sent a letter to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel objecting to the House and Senate versions of Obamacare being the base line bills of the negotiations. Hopefully, this summit meeting is more than the President checking off a campaign promise to have all health care negotiations on C-SPAN.
If this summit is a genuine start to bipartisan negotiations, then a few issues need to be settled before the meeting: (more…)
Health Care News
Imagine watching the biggest game of the year—the Super Bowl—only to have the broadcast cut off as the fourth quarter begins.
The same outrage should apply to President Obama’s broken promise to have C-SPAN televise the entirety of health care negotiations. Just as we reach the crucial moment–the final resolution between the House, the Senate and the White House–public access goes black.
(For those who remember, it’s like 1968 when NBC provoked outrage when it broke away from a critical game between the New York Jets and the Oakland Raiders to air a showing of “Heidi.”)
Presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs tried to laugh off today’s controversy, telling reporters the President’s broken promise doesn’t matter because we’ve already had a “thorough, robust, two-year debate on health care” as the bill moved through committee and each house of Congress. (more…)
Health Care News
When Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) emerged from a closed-door meeting with top House Democratic leaders yesterday, the press asked her about C-SPAN CEO Brian Lamb’s request that she permit cameras to televise the final health care negotiations between the House and Senate. After Pelosi first demurred, a reporter reminded Pelosi about President Barack Obama’s frequent promises to the American people throughout 2008 that he would ensure C-SPAN was allowed to televise exactly such negotiations, to which Speaker Pelosi quipped: “There are a number of things he was for on the campaign trail.”
Speaker Pelosi is right: President Obama’s broken health care promises are legendary. According to reports, Speaker Pelosi wasn’t even referring to Obama’s whopper from last month that he never campaigned on the public option. No, Speaker Pelosi is apparently most upset with Obama’s support for the Senate’s tax on high cost health plans, which she believes is a violation of Obama’s promise not to raise taxes on the middle class. But really, President Obama’s current health care plan breaks so many of his previous health care promises, there is no need for Pelosi to have to name just one. Here are just some of the other major promises President Barack Obama has broken:
Individual Mandate: There were not a lot of actual policy fights in the 2008 Democratic Presidential primary, but one of the few major policy disagreements between then-Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) was over the individual mandate. Clinton was for it and Obama was against it. On January 31, 2008, Obama made the case against mandates in a Los Angeles, CA, debate: “Now, under any mandate, you are going to have problems with people who don’t end up having health coverage. I think we can anticipate that there would also be people potentially who are not covered and are actually hurt if they have a mandate imposed on them.” Both the House and Senate bills now contain an individual mandate. According to the President’s own Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, under the Senate plan, 19 million Americans would pay $29 billion in taxes/fines and still receive no health care in return.
You Will Not Lose Your Doctor: On June 15, 2009, President Obama promised the American people: “No matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people. If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.” Again, the President’s own Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services confirms that the current Senate health bill breaks this promise. Seventeen million Americans will be forced out of their existing health insurance. Worse, the CMS explains that continued Medicare cuts will encourage more doctors to stop seeing Medicare patients entirely, and the 18 million people added to Medicaid will also make it next to impossible for those already on Medicaid to find a doctor who will treat them.
No Tax Hikes for People Making Less than $250,000: On February 24, 2009, President Barack Obama promised the American people: “if your family earns less than $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat: not one single dime.” Speaker Pelosi believes the Senate bill’s excise tax on insurance plans breaks this promise, and she is right. But it is not the only way that Obamacare shatters the President’s no-middle-class-tax-hike pledge. There are a slew of new taxes in the Senate bill, many of which will hit the middle class, including taxes on medical devices, tanning beds, insurance user fees, and brand name drugs (not to mention the individual mandate which is enforced by a tax or the employer mandate which kills jobs and punishes the poor).
Your Health Premiums Will Be $2,500 Lower: On October 15, 2008, then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) promised the American people: “The only thing we’re going to try to do is lower costs so that those cost savings are passed onto you. And we estimate we can cut the average family’s premium by about $2,500 per year.” According to the Congressional Budget Office, Americans in large-group employer-sponsored plans would, on average, see their premiums remain flat, while individuals who purchase insurance in the non-group market would see much higher premiums in 2016 under Obamacare than they would under current law. And many believe those estimates are optimistic. According to the Lewin Group, once fully implemented, health care spending per worker will increase for all employers who do not currently offer coverage — $316 per worker under the Senate bill and $800 increase per worker under the House bill.
Health Reform Reduces the Deficit: On September 10, 2009, President Barack Obama promised the American people: “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits – either now or in the future. Period.” Even the President’s most ardent supporters are now admitting the Senate bill is full of budget gimmicks to make it appear Obamacare will reduce the deficit. When the true cost of Obamacare is considered, the final tab comes to $2.5 trillion with an honest accounting of Medicare reimbursement rates netting a $765 billion deficit all by itself.
Tax Payer Funded Abortion: On September 10, 2009, President Barack Obama promised the American people: “No federal dollars will be used to fund abortions.” While the House bill’s Stupak amendment language fulfills this promise, the Senate’s Nelson compromise does not. If the Senate language were to become law, it would overturn the precedent set by the Hyde Amendment, the FEHBP (Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan), Military insurance through TRICARE, and the Indian Health Service. Your taxdollars most definitely would be paying for elective abortions.
No one expects a President to fulfill 100% of his promises. But when the failures to live up to your past pledges pile so high, it shouldn’t be any surprise that the American people have turned so strongly against President Obama’s health care plan.
Health Care News
Speaking at a town hall meeting on August 21, 2008, in Chester, Virginia, then-candidate Barack Obama promised the American people: “I’m going to have all the negotiations around a big table. We’ll have doctors and nurses and hospital administrators. Insurance companies, drug companies … what we will do is, we’ll have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN, so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents … And so, that approach, I think is what is going to allow people to stay involved in this process.” The participants around Obama’s fictional big table may have changed depending on where he was speaking, but throughout his campaign the essential promise was always there: “negotiations televised on C-SPAN.”
Of course, Obama already broke this promise to the American people months ago. According to PoliFact, the backroom deals Obama cut with drug companies and hospitals last July already violated this pledge. But those were just preliminary negotiations. Surely when it came time for the final health care bill passage in Congress, Obama and his allies would welcome some transparency into the process? No such luck. (more…)
Health Care News
How does Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) plan to move Obamacare past the House, despite some highly-controversial, lingering issues? Clues are beginning to appear in the progressive blogosphere:
– Firedoglake is reporting that Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) is returning to Washington this week to begin closed-door negotiations with Senate Democrats and the White House. From FDL: “Discussions are beginning early on the health care bill, although the House is not returning to session until January 12, and the Senate not until a week later. This will not be a traditional conference committee, Waxman said, because the motions to select and instruct conferees in the Senate “would need 60 votes all over again.” Instead, whatever agreements made could be packaged in an amendment to the bills passed by the House and Senate.”
– The New Republic reports that “according to a pair of senior Capitol Hill staffers, one from each chamber, House and Senate Democrats are ‘almost certain’ to negotiate informally rather than convene a formal conference committee. Doing so would allow Democrats to avoid a series of procedural steps–not least among them, a series of special motions in the Senate, each requiring a vote with full debate–that Republicans could use to stall deliberations, just as they did in November and December.”
– TPMDC reports: “‘This process cuts out the Republicans,’ said a House Democratic aide. Republicans will ‘not have a motion to recommit opportunity’–a procedural trick the minority can use to scuttle legislation in the House at the last minute.”
Health Care News
It has been one week since the Senate Majority Leader announced that he had sent his health care bill to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the American people still have not seen Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) version of Obamacare. Last week 40 Senators signed a letter asking Reid to make all materials he sent to the CBO public. Yesterday, Senator Reid finally responded, but not with transparency. Instead he wrote a Dear Colleague letter to all Senator in response:
We are now working to take these publicly available-provisions and meld them together into a single bill. Apart from my decision to include a public option from which states may opt out, no final decisions have been made – and none can be made until we get more information about how CBO would score different combinations. In other words, there is no bill to release publicly – it does not exist.
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