Senate Dems already panning their own bill

Healthcare Tea Party on the Las Vegas Strip today

Healthcare Tea Party on the Las Vegas Strip today


 The Senate has voted to begin debate on the Senate healthcare bill, by a party line vote.

As we wrote earlier today, even though we have been considering every vote to be “first and goal” there are still a number of plays left in the game, and will need your efforts now more than ever to win it.

Here’s what Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell just said:
“This bill may have been drafted behind closed doors but now it’s the American people’s turn to have their voices heard. ..”
1. Senate schedule
2. Senate proceedings
3. Democrats already panning their own bill
4. The “Big Picture” from here: “Forget the Trees, Look at the Forest” by Jane Orient, MD
5. What is Cloture?  from David Lowther, M.D.
Senate schedule & next steps
The Senate will begin formal debate on the healthcare bill after the Thanksgiving recess. At that time amendments may be introduced as well, which will likely number into the hundreds. Debate will probably take up to 3-4 weeks, so that brings us up to Christmas recess. Even if it passes the Senate then, it would have to be reconciled with the House bill, which is significantly different.
Please circulate the “Healthcare Turkey” one-pager to family, friends and colleagues during the next 10 days while the Senate is in recess.
Senate proceedings
First, let’s be clear – the vote tonight was only to proceed with formal debate. The bill can be filibustered, and some have indicated that they will do so. That means that the Senate would again have to invoke cloture to end that debate. The votes required for that are 60.
Those votes would come before we even get to a final vote on the bill. So when you hear that the Senate voted to pass the health care bill – THAT IS NOT CORRECT!
Democrats already panning their own bill
SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D-LA): “My Vote Today To Move Forward On This Important Debate Should In No Way Be Construed By The Supporters Of This Current Framework As An Indication Of How I Might Vote As This Debate Comes To An End.” (Sen. Landrieu, Floor Remarks, 11/21/09)
SEN. BLANCHE LINCOLN (D-AR): “I Am Opposed To A New Government-Administered Health Care Plan As A Part Of Comprehensive Health Insurance Reform, And I Will Not Vote In Favor Of The Proposal That Has Been Introduced By Leader Reid As It Is Written.” (Sen. Lincoln, Floor Remarks, 11/21/09)
SEN. BEN NELSON (D-NE): “If That’s Not Possible, I Will Oppose The Second Cloture Motion–Needing 60 Votes–To End Debate, And Oppose The Final Bill.” (Sen. Nelson, “Nelson: Nebraskans’ Views Must Be Heard In Health Care Debate,” Press Release, 11/20/09)
SEN. EVAN BAYH (D-IN): “At The End Of The Process, I’ll Avoid The Washington Two-Step Of Voting To Go Forward But Then Voting Against The Final Bill … But This Is Just A Starting Point, So At This Point I Do Think There’s A Difference.” (“Bayh To Support First Procedural Vote On Healthcare,” The Hill, 11/18/09)
The Big Picture
Forget the Trees; Look at the Forest on Healthcare
By Jane Orient, M.D
AAPS Executive Director
Various groups, on both sides of the issues, are squabbling over details: abortion, a “public option,” treatment of illegal aliens, size of penalties, distribution of subsidies, calculation of doctors’ pay, etc. Items are moved in or out of the bill as needed to capture just the right number of votes with the least electoral damage. None of it really matters. The rules will be written later — after they “get it done” and “something” passes and the next election is over.

What is Cloture?
Dr. David Lowther of Atlanta sent us this great email and we thought we’d share it:
 What is cloture?  if you’re like me, you’re learning new things about government every day with this administration…
“By 1915 (under President Woodrow Wilson), the Senate had become a breeding ground for filibusters.  In the final weeks of the Congress that ended on March 4, one administration measure related to the war in Europe tied the Senate up for 33 days and blocked passage of 3 major appropriations bills.  Two years later, as pressure increased for American entry into that war, a 23-day, end-of-session filibuster against the president’s proposal to arm merchant ships also failed, taking with it much other essential legislation.  For the previous 40 years, efforts in the Senate to pass a debate-limiting rule had come to nothing.  Now, in the wartime crisis environment, President Wilson lost his patience.  Calling the situation unparalleled, he stormed that the “Senate of the United States is the only legislative body in the world which cannot act when its majority is ready for action.  A little group of willful men, representing no opinion but their own (that would be the minority), have rendered the great government of the United States helpless and contemptible.”  The Senate, he demanded, must adopt a cloture rule.  
On March 8, 1917, in a specially called session of the 65th Congress, the Senate agreed to a rule that essentially preserved its tradition of unlimited debate.  The rule required a 2/3rds majority to end debate and permitted each member to speak for an additional hour after that before voting on final passage.  Over the next 46 years, the Senate managed to invoke cloture on only 5 occasions.  In 1975*****, the Senate reduced the number of votes required for cloture from two-thirds (67) to three-fifths (60) of the current 100 senators.”
*****interesting little side notes i noted trolling the web:
#1: Guess how many Democratic Senators there were in 1975? 60 (the same number needed for cloture as mentioned above).  
#2: During the 35 years from 1945 through 1981, the Democrats were the majority in Senate save for 8 years (1st 2 years of Eisenhower’s first term and the 1st 6 years of Reagan).  During late Eisenhower years through JFK and LBJ, the Democratic Senate majority numbers were as follows: 65, 64, 66, 68, and 64 (ie – total dominance).  When Nixon was elected, their majority slipped to 57, 54, and 56.  Once Ford was in place, they regained numbers to 60.  So after ceding their 2/3rds control of the Senate during Nixon, they changed the rules while still in the majority and suddenly 60 was the magic number for cloture.
#3: From the moment Cloture was first instituted during Wilson until the Cloture rules were changed from 67 votes necessary to 60 (1975), Cloture was invoked only 21 times.  In 1975 alone, it was used 17 times by the Democrat-controlled Senate. 
#4: During Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton and Bush II it was invoked an average of 12 times a session (6 times a year) and ranged from 3 (Carter) to 34 (Bush II).
#5: Since Democrats took control of Congress in 2007, it has been used 90 times.  90.
So, how do you feel about Harry Reid using a rule that was originally designed as a means of funding WWI by expediting war appropriations bills NOW being used to force Universal Health Care upon the public?  Keep in mind the following:
1. Obama’s approval rating is only 47%, his lowest since taking office when he was at 65%.  While his approval rating has dropped 18%, his disapproval rating has climbed from 30% to 52% in only 10 months.
2. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s approval rating in her own state of California is only 34%.
3. Senator Harry Reid is behind in his re-election campaign in NV by 10% (“Sue Lowden beating Reid by 10%, 50% to 40%. Lowden is chairwoman of the Nevada Republican Party and the preferred candidate of the Republican party establishment.  GOP hopeful Danny Tarkanian beats Reid by seven points, 50% to 43%”).
4. In the race for California’s next governor in 2010, Republican Meg Whitman and Democrat Jerry Brown are tied at 41% each.
5. After Pelosi’s bill passed the House, the public was against the bill 54% v. 42%.  Even CA comes in at 51%, down 4% since last week.
To pull a cloture vote on one of the largest entitlement programs in US history, federalize 17% of the economy, and to do it on a Saturday, off the regular news cycle, is an atrocity.

Americans need to take the view from 35,000 feet. That’s the view of the controllers, the global budgeters, and the folks who drop bombs without having to see the faces of the victims….

5 thoughts on “Senate Dems already panning their own bill

  1. p 27 line 5 and following
    Quality of health care is apparently being impeoved with “programs” that are potentially irrelevant to outcome. We need access to good drugs and procedures and assistive devices, not the abstract “quality” that is not explicitly defined and is a rationalization for a boondoggle. If everyone works in health care, then there is no unemployment. Also no food or housing.

    p 27 line 22 and following
    Who defines “best clinical practices”? The drug companies that want to push untested drugs? The insurance companies that want to proclaim systematic negligence of the elderly “good” and save themselves money? Risky!

    p 95 line 8 and following
    Insurers cannot discriminate based on private accreditations, such as being board-certified or having admitting privileges at a hospital. But they can refuse proviers arbitrarily. This is a setup for the equivalent of expelling “disruptive” physicians from hospitals after a farce of a trial.

    p 102 line 1 and following
    It looks as if all plans must be ERISA-covered. ERISA itself does not have a protocol for filing forms and being issued an official endorsement of being covered. This is a treasure trove for the lawyers. If the concept is a good one, then the criteria need to be spelled out here, not by reference to something VAGUE.

    p 104 line 1 and following
    Secretary shall determine the covered services by inquiring of employers, in a survey. It’s easy to pre-survey some employers and use the results of Survey One to choose a sample to do Survey Two, that will be the sample actually used. Results will be biased. Very vulnerable to lobbying and bribery.

    p 134 line 3 and following
    Rating system, as described, is very subjective and allows official disparagement of disruptive physicians and praise for government flunkies, instead of praise for rule-bending brilliance and hard work with proper demotion of those who follow rules strictly but harm patients in the process.

    p 147 lines 22-25 and preceding
    Guidelines as to quality to be determined by the Secratary. There is nothing above that suggests other than using resources as with superfluous screening, unnecessarily expensive drugs, etc. I see no effort to remove FDA impediments regarding vitmains and supplements, for example.

    p 329 line 24 and following (includes next page)
    Religious exemption from insurance. We who do our own preventive care can perhaps join the AAPS Ministry having withstood trial-by-fire f/k/a medical school. Very subject to abuse. No explicit exemption for self-insured preventive services–why not?

    p 1278 entire page and following Subtitle B)
    We do not need another commission. Activists with all imaginable viewpoints will praise and complain without such expense. A waste of money.

    p 659 between lines 5 and 6
    A good place to insert wording such as “The Secretary shall be required to arrange for all physicians or similarly qualified examiners to, when performing a medical examination to estblish eligibility for federal funds payable for disability, notify directly or indirectly the driver license registry that has jurisdiction over each examinee who claims or on examination has an impairment that interferes with safe driving. Consent forms that disability claimants sign shall include an explicit provision that driver license registries shall be notified of any relevant impairments and that driver licenses cna be revoked even if disability status is not awarded.” I do disabity examinations and have encountered many disability applicants who claim disability that, if it were real, would make driving dangerous or impossible. Many a malingerer would be deterred, saving millions of dollars annually. Revoking the licenses of genuinely disabled applicants would make our streets safer, too. WHERE IS THIS IN THE BILL? IS EVERY SENATOR STUPID?

    p 1001 lines 16-23
    As technology improves, expense will increase. What response can there be other than freeze benefits to the technology, drugs, etc. in effect in a specified, base, year and refuse to pay for anything new? Buy a more expensive and more fast car, and the insurable risk goes up and so do the auto insurance premiums. Same for buying a bigger house. Premiums MUST go up as insurable expense goes up due to new and expensive treatments. Only by denying care can premiums be kept steady: the bill needs to specify how.

    p 1118 sec 3509 in entirety
    Blatant gender discrimination. Men have health problems that women do not: prostate, impotence, etc.

    p 1119 lines 4-6
    Expert advice will be supplied free of charge by women’s groups, libertarian activists, AAPS, etc. Why pay for someone who might be corrupt?

    p 1228 and following, sec 4205
    Much ado about calories. No reference to the inefficiecy of digesting and using fat relative to carbohydrate. No reference to conjugated linoleic acid, found in cream and butter (and elsewhere) that helps burn off fat. Same for coconut oil. Counting calories is NOT the whole story regarding weight loss. This section straitjackets the restaurant industry and actually harms the unhappy obese.

    p 1240 line 6 and following; entire Subtitle D
    Needlessly expensive. Insurers have a motive to reduce cost and can be called on to do the work. This suptitle needs to be replaced with something that rewards insurers for creating a protocol that other insurers use, so as to stimulate research without impoverishing us taxpayers.

    p 1786 line 1 and following (entire section 6505)
    If health care is less expensive outside the USA, then as we import oil, electronics, etc. we should be able to import health care. If the market speaks and patients are willing to forfeit the possibility of large malpractice awards in exchange for significant savings, then let the market tell its story and make politicians listen. Having a foreign hospital pay for a USA inspector is reasonable; make sure such inspectors are not unjustly expensive.

  2. For the new committees, bureaus, agencies, or whatever, I suggest two names: Welfarites Advocating Stimulating The Economy and Fund Recipients Augmenting Unrepayable Debt. (Watch the acronyms.)

    Consider also a reference to the Medically Organized Relying On Nonsense.

  3. Pingback: Thank or Spank Your Senators :: Liberty Maven

  4. Medicare for everyone like most all major industrialized nations. Stop feedind the war profiteirs and start working for the people . My health care should not be reflected by someone’s bottom line of investments.
    We’ve come a long way from a government Of, By, and for the people…Now lets get back to it NOW!

  5. This “Healthcare” is total nonsense, it has nothing to do with our personal health care, it is designed to control the populace period. The U.S. has a great heath care recored and if we tweek it just a bit, it might be close to perfect: (1) keep government out of the healthcare system, (2) cap lawsuits, (3) allow competition by opening states’ borders.

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