Saturday, February 27, 2010

"The Way Forward" -- On US Health Care Reform

This morning, in his weekly address, the President began to outline what he thinks should happen next, to reform US health care delivery (at about 2 minutes in):

Next week, President Obama's concrete, detailed blueprint for passage will be available -- but what is already clear is that Senator Harry Reid, Chairwoman Nancy Pelosi (and a host of others) will be formally "green-lighted" by President Obama to move a reconciliation bill through the US House -- based mostly on the already-passed Senate bill's provisions, but including a newly-created federal insurance rate setting authority, and hardening the repeal of antitrust exemptions for insurers.

The time-line for, and ability of the Republicans to come forward, and join the process constructively is about wink out, leaving them behind. That will leave them to explain -- on the campaign trail, this coming fall -- why they [in-]effectively attempted to block many of the very same measures they campaigned for just last year.

As we all now know, Republicans passed Newt Gingrich's "Contract With America" (what many subsequently referred to as the "Contract ON America" -- for its oppressive takings from the lower ranks of society, and its many generous gifts, to the wealthiest one percent) with 51 Senate votes -- through reconciliation. That was every bit as fundamental a re-ordering of the way we govern, at the federal level, as this health care package is. So it will ring ironic, and hollow, if the opponents of reform now complain that reconciliation is not an appropriate mechanism to enact important packages.

Next, up? Once again -- in a second curtain call -- Harry Reid and the Blenders!


Anonymous said...

Comon Condor;

Stick to what you actually can be effective towards reporting.

Your post within it's context makes NEWT look as though he was majority leader in the Senate and passed a Senate bill En Masse. The CwA was what, 8 items the HOUSE Republicans promised to "DEBATE" if elected in 1994. If memory serves me correctly, the house only needs 51% of the vote to pass any legislation. Educate me if I am worng, but I remember that the Senate at that time did not pass some of the provisions of the CwA passed in the house due to the Nuclear Option of Dems. If the Sen Republicans had used the 51% vote reconciliation method then, people like yourself would have been crying Foul from the top of Lincoln's head in Washington. Not to mention when Sens Clinton, Reid Schumer, and Biden all cried when the Sen Republicans threatened to use the reconcilation process to confirm judges....

Secondly, the provisions within the CwA were truly budget related items that changed rates within the tax code and provided for a changes in the inner office rules of the Legislature.

As stated, the CwA in 1994 promised;

1) Require all laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply to Congress;

2) Select a major, independent auditing firm to conduct a comprehensive audit of Congress for waste, fraud or abuse;

3) Cut the number of House committees, and cut committee staff by one-third;

4) Limit the terms of all U.S. Congressmen and U.S. Senators;

5) Ban the casting of proxy votes in committee;

6) Require committee meetings to be open to the public;

7) Require a three-fifths majority vote to pass a tax increase;

8)Implement a zero base-line budgeting process for the annual Federal Budget.

Blue dogs Dems in the House supported a majority of these provisions. Pres Clinton at the time sign some of these provisons into law. The line item veto was one of them. Supremes struck that down. Clinton signed in Welfare reform that all you progressives credit with starting the largest growth period in our history.

As noted, A November 13, 2000 article by Edward H. Crane, president of the libertarian Cato Institute, stated, "... the combined budgets of the 95 major programs that the Contract with America promised to eliminate have increased by 13%." [1] However, since the Contract only promised to "bring to the House Floor the following bills, each to be given full and open debate, each to be given a clear and fair vote and each to be immediately available this day for public inspection and scrutiny" [2], the Contract did accomplish its promises, even if some bills failed in votes or fell to presidential vetoes.

So to make the CwA appear as if it was one large bill that was passed by 51% of the votes in the Senate is MIS-leading at its best and Dis-Ingenious on the surface.

One can Wiki this topic so easily to see the truth.

Have a great day..

U know my URL

Condor said...

Thanks for your input.

Not that this should be about the CwA, or CoA, as it were -- but oyu neglect to mention the decreases in all social program budgets as a result of the CwA.

We're probably too far apart to ever see eye to eye on this -- and that is truly okay by me. I am no libertarian, FYI.

Thanks for the perspective, just the same.


Condor said...

Not to get too far-afield, here, but this US (i.e., out of the Republicans' own mouths) source lists some of the other initiatives of the Contract With America:

". . . .prohibiting welfare to minor mothers. . . .

Mothers under the age of 18 may no longer receive AFDC payments for children born out of wedlock and mothers who are ages 18, 19 and 20 can be prohibited by the states from receiving AFDC payments and housing benefits. . . . ."

So -- punish the children of the these irresponsible, young parents, who are scarcely more than children, themselves -- right? Puuuurfect!

". . . .states must begin moving welfare recipients into work programs if they have received welfare for two years. States are given the option to drop families from receiving AFDC benefits after they have received welfare for two years. . . ."

That is the dropping of aid for CHILDREN, if the family has had benefits for two years. Sweeet.

". . . .provides a 50 percent capital gains rate cut. . . increases the value of investment depreciation to equal the full value of original investment;
allows small businesses to deduct the first $25,000 worth of investment each year. . . ."

Not bad in a vaccum, and in the abstract (by itself), but it represented a clear transfer of the money spent on children, in aid, to the capital accounts of already wealthy investors.

Shameful -- even twenty-six years on. Okay -- I'll let it go, now.


Pharma Conduct Guy said...

Nice post and follow up comments!

Anonymous said...

You're correct, it is shameful. In a country with the wealth we have to 'punish' children for essentially being born...