Harry Reid Compares GOP Senators Who Oppose Health Care Reform To Supporters Of Slavery

Harry Reid is losing it.  This is a new low even for him.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took his GOP-blasting rhetoric to a new level Monday, comparing Republicans who oppose health care reform to lawmakers who clung to the institution of slavery more than a century ago.

The Nevada Democrat, in a sweeping set of accusations on the Senate floor, also compared health care foes to those who opposed women’s suffrage and the civil rights movement — even though it was Sen. Strom Thurmond, then a Democrat, who unsuccessfully tried to filibuster the Civil Rights Act of 1957 and it was Republicans who led the charge against slavery.

Senate Republicans on Monday called Reid’s comments “offensive” and “unbelievable.”

But Reid argued that Republicans are using the same stalling tactics employed in the pre-Civil War era.

“Instead of joining us on the right side of history, all the Republicans can come up with is, ‘slow down, stop everything, let’s start over.’ If you think you’ve heard these same excuses before, you’re right,” Reid said Monday. “When this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery, there were those who dug in their heels and said ‘slow down, it’s too early, things aren’t bad enough.'”

Desperate much?  Keep it up, Harry.  You are digging your own political grave

Palin Fires Back At White House

Via Hot Air

Earlier today the White House responded to Palin’s WSJ op-ed with this:

On Gov. Palin’s Attacks

Every non partisan organization that has looked at her claims say they are false. And the ideas in her op-ed are both scary and risky. Eliminating Medicare and giving our seniors vouchers instead is a bad idea that we shouldn’t adopt.

Palin responded and is not backing down a bit:

I’m pleased that the White House is finally responding to Republican health care ideas instead of pretending they don’t exist.[1] But in doing so President Obama should follow his own sound advice and avoid making “wild misrepresentations”.[2] Medicare vouchers would give everyone on Medicare the chance to decide for themselves which health plan to use, rather than leave that decision to government bureaucrats. Such proposals are the kind of health care reform that Republicans stand for: market-oriented, patient-centered, and result-driven.

The White House talking points leave the rest of my arguments unanswered. They don’t respond to the idea that all individuals should get the same tax benefits received by those who get coverage through their employers; that we must reform our tort laws; and that we should allow Americans to buy insurance across state lines. The White House also fails to respond to the Nyce/Schieber study indicating that wages will fall if the government expands coverage without reducing health care inflation rates.

One last thing: after President Obama’s speech tonight, listen for which pundits use the words “false”, “scary”, and “risky” in describing the proposals I put forward. That’s how you’ll be able to tell who the White House counted as “allies” worthy of receiving its talking points.

I’d say that round went to Palin.

Senate panel approves health care bill without one Republican vote

The vote was 13 to 10.

Voting on strict party lines, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee approved a bill on Wednesday to revamp the nation’s health care system, as Democrats said that the legislation held the promise of more universal health coverage and more effective and affordable medical care while Republicans argued that the measure was unaffordable and would lead not to better care but to the denial of it.

The committee vote was 13 to 10.

The acting committee chairman, Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, had made clear from the start that his panel would bend little when it came to the top priorities of Senate Democrats and the Obama administration, including on a provision to create a government-run health insurance plan to compete with private insurers that Republicans insisted was a deal-breaker.

In the end however, Republicans held their ranks. In his closing statement, Senator Michael B. Enzi of Wyoming said that Republicans had been forced to offer more than 100 amendments to the bill because Democrats had largely shut them out of the drafting process. And he said that the $1 trillion, 10-year cost of the measure would simply drive the nation further into debt, while denying many Americans the choices for health care providers that they now enjoy.

Mr. Enzi, with a hint of sarcasm, noted that the bill’s title was the “Affordable Health Choices Act.”

“With its trillion-dollar price tag,” Mr. Enzi said, “this bill is anything but affordable.”

Committee Chairman Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, thanked Mr. Dodd and other committee members in a quickly issued statement that commended the bill’s passage and urged for bipartisanship going forward.

“It is a cause that can and should unite us all as Americans,” he said in a statement issued from Hyannis Port, Mass., where he is battling brain cancer. “As we move from our committee room to the Senate floor, we must continue the search for solutions that unite us, so that the great promise of quality affordable health care for all can be fulfilled.”

How nice for Ted Kennedy to have the luxury of extolling the virtues of a health care system under which he would have been told to go home and die with his diagnosis at age 77 .  This coming after he received the best possible treatment on the planet with a health care plan that members of Congress will not have to worry about losing should this nightmare of a bill ever pass.

CBO: Healthcare bill will cost over $1 trillion

And that’s without the public option.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report late Monday estimating the cost of a leading healthcare reform proposal at more than $1 trillion, but that figure looked only at a portion of the bill.

The analysis falls just within the most expensive cost scenario sketched out by Democratic leaders in recent days, but does not include an estimate for a highly contentious government-run insurance plan that would compete with private insurers.

Senate Republicans are sure to use the data as ammunition to oppose expensive Democratic plans to subsidize healthcare for low-income families, as well as what is not included in the estimate.

The CBO report raises doubt as to whether Democrats will be able to keep the cost of healthcare reform under $1 trillion, as leaders have predicted.

The analysis estimated the net impact of a bill sponsored by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) at $1.04 trillion over the decade spanning 2010 to 2019.

But CBO officials warned the cost of the Democratic plan would likely increase if lawmakers expanded the eligibility of Medicaid or otherwise subsidized health insurance for people earning below 150 percent of the federal poverty level, or $22,000 for a family of four.

Keep in mind that CBO estimates are historically low and we all know how the Democrats plan to pay for this.

Healthcare legislation includes billions for jungle gyms and streetlights

They call it an effort to improve the nation’s “health infrastructure.”  I call it pork.  Didn’t someone mention something about lipstick on a pig awhile back?

WASHINGTON – Sweeping healthcare legislation working its way through Congress is more than an effort to provide insurance to millions of Americans without coverage. Tucked within is a provision that could provide billions of dollars for walking paths, streetlights, jungle gyms, and even farmers’ markets.

The add-ons – characterized as part of a broad effort to improve the nation’s health “infrastructure’’ – appear in House and Senate versions of the bill.

Critics argue the provision is a thinly disguised effort to insert pork-barrel spending into a bill that has been widely portrayed to the public as dealing with expanding health coverage and cutting medical costs. A leading critic, Senator Mike Enzi, a Wyoming Republican, ridicules the local projects, asking: “How can Democrats justify the wasteful spending in this bill?’’

But advocates, including Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, defend the proposed spending as a necessary way to promote healthier lives and, in the long run, cut medical costs. “These are not public works grants; they are community transformation grants,’’ said Anthony Coley, a spokesman for Kennedy, chairman of the Senate health committee whose healthcare bill includes the projects.

Pretty soon Queen Nancy will be shrieking from the House floor that this bill is all about JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS.

Axelrod dances around Obama’s no tax-hike vow

Who can forget Obama’s campaign pledge not to raise taxes on families making less than $25o,ooo?  It was part of every stump speech, all of the debates and was oft repeated by his surrogates.

Now Obama seems to be backing off of the pledge as proposals to tax health care benefits to pay for health care reform are considered.

Under persistent questioning from ABC’s George Stephanopoulos Sunday, Obama senior adviser David Axelrod declined to restate the vow and left open the possibility that the president might sign health care reform legislation that taxes high-cost, employer-provided insurance plans which some middle-class families currently receive tax free.

“The president had said in the past that he doesn’t believe taxing health care benefits at any level is necessarily the best way to go here. He still believes that, but there are a number of formulations and we’ll wait and see,” Axelrod said on ABC’s “This Week.” “The important thing at this point is to keep the process moving, to keep people at the table, to the keep the discussions going. We’ve gotten a long way down the road and we want to finish that journey.”

When Stephanopoulos asked why Obama hadn’t drawn a “line in the sand” over his tax pledge, Axelrod suggested that kind of ultimatum is at odds with the president’s effort to being a new tone to politics.

“One of the problems we’ve had in this town is that people draw lines in the sand and they stop talking to each other. And you don’t get anything done. That’s not the way the president approaches this,” the White House adviser said.

What makes this especially odious is that while Obama is hedging on his campaign promise not to tax below the $250,000 level, he is considering adopting something that he vilified John McCain for daring to propose.

Obama: Actually you may not get to keep your insurance and your doctor after all

The president has repeatedly stated that if you like your doctor and you like your insurance plan, you will be able to keep it.

Today he clarified.

When asked by Jake Tapper how he can keep that promise if employers opt to offer a public plan to its employees, Obama replied:

“When I say if you have your plan and you like it,…or you have a doctor and you like your doctor, that you don’t have to change plans, what I’m saying is the government is not going to make you change plans under health reform,”

So in other words, if your employer opts for a public plan (and why wouldn’t they if it is cheaper?)  all bets are off.

Insurance groups to Senate: public option will dismantle employer coverage

The letter came from America’s Health Insurance Plans and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

“A government-run plan no matter how it is initially structured would dismantle employer-based coverage, significantly increase costs for those who remain in private coverage, and add additional liabilities to the federal budget,” said the letter from AHIP chief Karen Ignagni and Scott Serota, the head of Blue Cross.

“We do not believe that it is possible to create a government plan that could operate on a level playing field. Regardless of how it is initially structured, a government plan would use its built-in advantages to take over the health insurance market,” added the industry letter.

Obama was asked about this at his presser.  He proclaimed that their statements “defy logic.”

You know what defies logic in my book?  Paying $1 trillion to insure only one third of the uninsured.

(stay tuned for more on the presser)

Ted Kennedy, Jr. uses family name to influence Congress

Nothing shocks me about this family, but it is disturbing to learn that Ted Kennedy, Jr. may have used his family name to influence key health care decisions and policies given that his father is the face of health care reform in Congress and has a direct line to the White House.

The Boston Herald was given an advance copy of Dick Morris’ new book and found an entire chapter on the son of Ted Kennedy’s activities.

U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s son, Teddy Jr., is a Washington, D.C., “rainmaker” who “has been boldly exploiting” his family name to rake in fees from health care corporations and government pension investors, a new book by pundit Dick Morris claims.

The tome, an insider’s look at Washington that hits bookstores today, includes a chapter on Ted Kennedy Jr. that claims he took advantage of lax lobbying rules in the early 2000s when his company, Marwood Associates, worked to help pharmaceutical giant Bristol Myers Squibb keep a monopoly on a diabetes drug.

A former adviser to President Clinton, Morris writes that BMS made $3 billion off the drug in 2000 and hired the younger Kennedy solely to land a meeting with his powerful father, who sits on the Senate health care committee, according to book excerpts provided exclusively to the Herald.

Ted Kennedy Jr. did not return a call yesterday. A spokeswoman for the Bay State senior senator did not respond to several messages.

New lobbying laws ban lawmakers’ spouses and immediate family members from working for companies with business before legislators. But Morris argues that Marwood remains a behind-the-scenes player in the high-stakes world of health care.

“(Ted Kennedy Jr.) has unique access to the only person besides President Obama who will decide which provisions will be in the health care reform package,” he says of Sen. Kennedy. “Whether or not he’s a lobbyist,Ted Jr. is still a player in the Washington information game.”

I’m sure Obama will give him an exemption if he wants a job with the administration.

CBO: Obamacare will cause 23 million to lose private insurance

So much for this being a scare tactic by Republicans.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reports that a government overhaul of America’s health care system would cost at least $1 trillion and would mean the loss of private coverage for an estimated 23 million Americans, according to a preliminary analysis issued Tuesday.

Not to worry, say Democrats.  They have a solution….taxing sugar.

Leading Democrats, however, say the CBO’s numbers do not take into consideration the savings that the plan apparently would create. They say some of the costs could be covered by taxing certain “unhealthy” foods, such as sugar.

A Twizzler Tax?