American Elephants

Nancy Pelosi Tells C-Span: “There Has Never Been A More Open Process” by The Elephant's Child

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA),  responding to C-Span’s letter to congressional leaders asking to film the debate on the health care bills in which the President’s promise of “transparency” was quoted, said firmly — when she emerged from the secret meetings behind closed doors:

“There has never been a more open process for any legislation.”

Do write that on a 4 x 5 card and tack it up where you can see it every day until the next election.

She also “hinted” that holding informal negotiations — likely without TV cameras — might be the “most practical” way to push the legislation through.

“We will do what is necessary to pass the bill.

Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-Md), assistant to the Speaker said the healthcare bill had been “subjected to unprecedented level of public scrutiny.”

“We don’t even know if there’s going to be a conference committee,” he said, alluding to the likelihood that Democrats will reconcile the two bills behind closed doors.


Study: Government Run Healthcare Denies Twice as Many Claims as Private Market by American Elephant

Once again, the truth is exactly the opposite of what Democrats claim. For months they have been telling us that we need government run care to protect people from big, bad insurance companies denying their claims.

The problem is that medicare denies nearly twice as many claims as the private market:

According to the American Medical Association’s National Health Insurer Report Card for 2008, the government’s health plan, Medicare, denied medical claims at nearly double the average for private insurers: Medicare denied 6.85% of claims. The highest private insurance denier was Aetna @ 6.8%, followed by Anthem Blue Cross @ 3.44, with an average denial rate of medical claims by private insurers of 3.88%

In its 2009 National Health Insurer Report Card, the AMA reports that Medicare denied only 4% of claims—a big improvement, but outpaced better still by the private insurers. The prior year’s high private denier, Aetna, reduced denials to 1.81%—an astounding 75% improvement—with similar declines by all other private insurers, to average only 2.79%.

Maybe there’s something to be said for the need to keep your customers satisfied in order to make that profit after all.

(h/t Say Anything via Hot Air)

Republican Senators Need Your Help by American Elephant
December 19, 2009, 3:48 pm
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Health Care, Politics, Socialism | Tags: , ,

Republicans in the senate are doing an excellent job opposing Obamacare. They are united against this attempt to seize control over your health decisions. Even the most liberal Republicans like Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins are standing united in opposition. Republicans will continue to do all they can, they will use every parliamentary trick they have to block this vote, including forcing the entire bill and all amendments to be read aloud on the senate floor, but as we saw earlier this week, Democrats are even willing to break senate rules and destroy all precedent in order to cram this deeply unpopular bill down American’s throats.

But Republicans can only do so much. Democrats have reportedly reached an agreement with Ben Nelson which gives them the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster. Current plans are for the bill to be brought to a vote by Christmas eve.

It’s up to us.

Less than 35% of Americans support this bill, a solid majority oppose it — 61% according to CNN — and many Democrats are very nervous about voting for it. They can be swayed.

Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) just watched a conservative landslide in his home state. He says he still hasn’t decided how he will vote. Call him and let him know he will lose his job if he votes for cloture on this bill, even if he later votes against it. (phone calls are more effective than email, but do both)

Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas also says she wont decide how she will vote until she sees what score the CBO gives the latest incarnation, and has said previously that she wont vote for a bill that ads to the deficit. CALL her and tell her you know that ALL these bills add to the deficit and that any claims to the contrary are nothing but dirty accounting tricks. (In order to say the bill is “deficit neutral” Democrats have to start taxing for the bill immediately, and postpone any benefits pay outs by several years. Which is like saying you can pay your rent for one month if you can have a rent free year to save up for it.)

Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri has also said she is waiting to see the CBO score.

Call your senators, and then call these senators and tell them you dont want this bill, Americans dont want this bill, and that if they vote for cloture you will devote your time, your money, your effort, your voice and your vote to ensuring they lose their jobs.Tell them it will do them no good to vote for cloture and then vote against the bill, that they must vote against cloture or they lose their jobs.

At least that is what you can still do to prevent this bill which, even without a public option, is designed to make health care so much worse, so much more unaffordable, that Democrats believe it will lead to people to conclude the only way to cheaper care is to let them take over the industry. THAT is what Democrats game plan has been all along. To constantly add more and more people to the government rolls, and constantly drive up the costs in the private market with regulation after regulation, until freedom in health care becomes too expensive for anyone to afford.

Don’t let them steal your freedom like that. Call your senators, and call these senators, and tell them they must vote against cloture on this bill.

A Tax-and Spend Bill of the Very Highest Order! Affordable Care Indeed! by The Elephant's Child

It looks as if Harry Reid has the 60 votes he needs to pass his health care bill to the floor.  This is a procedural vote, but an important one, and Republicans may not be able to keep the bill from passing.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has used every trick in the book to get the votes he needs. Scheduling the vote for a Saturday night when all the senators were anxious to be off on their Thanksgiving vacation provides an extra bit of urgency.   Bribes for reluctant Blue Dog Democrats ((moderates) like the $100 million for Louisiana Senator Landrieu’s constituents written into the health care bill show how it is done.

I would dearly love to see a quiz ordered, on the senate floor, to see just what the  senators know about the bill that they are voting for.  I suspect not much.  After all it has only been available for a couple of days, and it is 2074 pages long. No one has had time to read the whole thing, understand it and analyze its consequences.

The gimmicks (cheats) used to get a favorable rating from the Congressional Budget Office are quite amazing.  The “Doc-Fix” is a big one.  They cut the Medicare reimbursements to physicians for their services, and right now the payments to doctors are far under the doctors costs.  What happens when you do not reimburse doctors fairly?  They quit accepting Medicare patients.  (Same thing for Medicaid).  Senators know this, so will pass a separate bill putting back the reimbursements they removed.  Since only the cut is part of the bill, the CBO will find that it cuts costs. (Lie, Cheat, Fraud).

The CBO estimates costs over a ten-year period.  So the taxes and fees commence next year, but the bill doesn’t take full effect until 2014 when the costs begin.  That’s how you make it seem cheaper.  Over 20 years, the true costs will be $4.9 trillion, though every health care bill anywhere, Medicare, Medicaid, the States’ plans have all cost far more than estimated — except for the Medicare Drug Plan.  That came in costing less than the estimates because of the “donut hole” provision which encouraged seniors to make wise choices to keep the cost of their prescriptions down. The Democrats, of course, plan to eliminate the “donut hole.”  There is no end to their folly.

How about this bit:  according to Keith Hennessey, 16 million uninsured Americans  pay a penalty tax.  8 million uninsured illegal aliens will not have to pay a penalty tax.

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) have been increasingly popular. In 2006 only about 1% of adults with private insurance had HSAs, by this year it is up to 4%.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, whose members dominate the HSA market, says that enrollees are more likely than those with traditional insurance to be better consumers. They’re more likely to track expenses (63% to 43%), save for the future (47% to 18%), and search for information on physician quality (20% to 14%). They’re also more likely to participate and see results from wellness programs like weight loss, fitness and smoking cessation. This makes intuitive sense: They’ve got skin directly in the game.

David Goldhill, a media executive, recently wrote in the Atlantic Monthly that if a 22-year-old starts at his company today earning $30,000 and health costs grow at 3%, by the time he retires he’ll have paid out $1.77 million in premiums, lower wages, out-of-pocket costs and both sides of the Medicare payroll tax.

If all that money were instead available via an HSA, including by borrowing against future contributions, “wouldn’t you be able to afford your own care?” Mr. Goldhill asks. “And wouldn’t you consume health care differently if you and your family didn’t have to spend that money only on care?”

About 40% of tax-filers with HSAs earn under $60,000 a year.  Naturally the Democrats eliminate Health Savings Accounts.  And of course, the Reid bill subjects all private health insurance (you didn’t think you would escape this, did you?) to detailed Federal regulation.  Those clever bureaucrats (who can’t even read the bills they vote for) know better than you or your doctor what health care you should be allowed to have.

The Republican plan would shrink the deficit by $61 billion at least, without accounting gimmicks. Can’t have that!

ADDENDUM:  The National Federation of Independent Business has come out in full force against the Senate health care bill.  It does not address their number one problem: the unsustainable cost of healthcare.  They oppose it due to the amount of new taxes, the creation of new mandates, and the establishment of new entitlement programs.  The costs far outweigh any benefits that businesses might have reallized.  Why are they speaking up only now?  The bill has just become available — all 2074 pages.

Dan Mitchell Explains the Health Care Train Wreck by The Elephant's Child
November 20, 2009, 12:49 pm
Filed under: Economy, Health Care, Law, Socialism | Tags: , , ,

The Cato Institute’s Dan Mitchell does an excellent job of explaining the problems and costs of the health care bills before Congress. The Democrats have wanted government-run health care for so long (why I do not understand) that they are willing to resort to all sorts of subterfuges to accomplish it.They are buying votes, reducing the Congressional Budget Office’s cost estimates by raising taxes for five years before the costs start to kick-in in 2014.

They are planning to force a vote on Saturday night when the Senate wants to leave for their Thanksgiving break in order to add urgency.  (Don’t you wish we got all the vacations Congress gives themselves?) The bill just appeared yesterday and they will have to once again vote without reading or understanding what is in the bill.

We have the best health care system in the world.  Their big ideas do nothing to improve it, but only start breaking it down. Do take the time to listen to Daniel Mitchell, you will be glad you did.

How Do You Pass a Bill that The Majority of Americans Don’t Want? by The Elephant's Child
November 19, 2009, 11:20 pm
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Health Care, Statism, Taxes | Tags: , ,

If you desperately want to pass a bill nationalizing one-sixth of the economy, destroying the best health-care system in the world, raising the costs of health insurance for everyone in the country, and raising taxes on everything that moves — and you have some reluctant blue dog Democrats that might not go along — what do you do?

In the case of Mary Landrieu (D-LA),and you need her vote,  if you are Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), you add a little section on page 432 of your health care bill to increase Medicaid subsidies for “certain states recovering from a major disaster.”

The bill takes two pages to define which states would qualify, as those stated during the preceding seven fiscal years have been declared a “major disaster area.” All of which manages to apply to just one state — Louisiana, the home of said blue dog reluctant Democrat Mary Landrieu, and presents Louisiana with a Medicaid subsidy of $100 million taxpayer dollars.

That’s how you buy votes.

ADDENDUM: Mary Landrieu didn’t want to be known as aavailable so cheaply. It cost $300 million to buy her off.

Most Overhyped, Unaccomplished Celebrity in History Wins World’s Most Meaningless Award by American Elephant
October 9, 2009, 4:59 am
Filed under: Humor, Liberalism, News | Tags: ,

Free in every box!

Nobel Prize

Two years after awarding the “prize” to Al Gore for his propaganda film, the Nobel committee has awarded the once coveted waste of precious metal to a man whom even Saturday Night Live recognizes has done squat.

But before that mildly rebuking skit was even finished, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer had started work furiously “fact checking” the comedy sketch and, apparently, half a world away, the Nobel committee had decided their purported prestige was urgently needed to prop-up a prostrate presidency as well.

Seriously, what is the rush?

Why not wait until next year, the year after, or God forbid at least ’til the end of his term when Obama has actually (ostensibly) accomplished something…anything?!

Could it be that the SNL skit made them realize that Obama’s presidency is in desperate trouble of becoming a joke? With nothing under his belt but a skyrocketing deficit, climbing unemployment, and a deeply unpopular health care catastrophe, perhaps these leftist organizations are simply trying to resuscitate Obama’s failing presidency.

But their plan has backfired; rather than lifting up Obama with their unwarranted accolades, CNN and the Nobel Committee have simply made themselves into laughingstocks as well.


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