Sunday, November 8, 2009

Is ObamaCare DOA in the Senate?

So, the House squeaked out enough votes to pass their horrendous healthcare bill against the wishes of the majority of Americans. I had assumed it primarily had to do with the fact that the uber-liberals were just hell-bent on pushing through their agenda based upon their socialistic ideals, or that they were running on the stale "mandate" of 2008 Obama campaign. However, the polls suggest that Americans have changed their mind on Obama's change!

So, that gave me pause to think, why would so-called "intelligent" people and large organizations be in favor of this vastly aggressive bill. I happened on to an article that Dick Morris and his wife, Eileen McGann, wrote on The Hill. Now, I'm not necessarily a big fan of Dick Morris. I'm always suspicious of someone who changes political allegiances, and especially when they change back again. In this case Dick was a republican who went over to the left to work for Clinton, and now is on the right again. In fact, I have about as much respect for him as I do Arlen Specter.

However, in their article, Morris and McGann did shed some light on that nagging questions. They claim that there was some "bribery" involved. I must say that makes sense. But, isn't that "business as usual" that Washington is known for and what Obama vowed to change? Oh, but no, it wasn't that kind of Washington change he meant, was it? He meant that he would have a sub-cabinet that that was neither elected or approved, that wasn't answerable to Congress, and that had no restrictions upon them - but that's for another time.  In today's blog I'm dealing with why would groups like AMA and AARP be in favor of Obamacare. Morris and McGann pointed out that there was a little wheeling and dealing in a back room at the White House.

Morris and McGann stated that the AMA,, under the current law, was facing a 21% cut in physicians' Medicare reimbursements that have accumulated over year after year rather than being repealed by Congress. Obama promised to kill the cut if they would endorse his bill. (Ah, now that makes some sense.... and perhaps why the trustees okayed the endorsement without the support of the membership.)

Likewise, AARP apparently got a financial windfall for their support as well. It appears that they are doing like some of the non-banks that are now banks. That is to say, they dabbled in insurance through their subsidiary company, so they are morphing from an advocacy group into a full-fledged insurance. They had their own Medi-gap insurance which is costly for seniors. This Medi-gap picked up where Medicare left off... but Bush passed Medicare Advantage program. It did the same thing, but at a lower cost. (And where was it now that Obama was going to cut Medicare to pay for his plan? Oh, yeah, Medicare Advantage! Hmm. That eliminates competition for AARP, doesn't it?)

But there's one other entity that I had questions about and not a lot has been said about it. That is the negotiated deal between Obama and the drug companies. So, what kind of deal did Obama do for them? Well, let's see... Morris and McGann say in their article that for backing his ObamaCare bill, the drug industry could get a 10-year limit of something in the neighborhood of $80 billion on prescription drug costs, plus there would be a ban on imported Canadian drugs, and the drug industry was to also make their huge advertising budget available to the Obama Administration.

So, who are the other winners? How about the Insurance industry itself. I haven't heard them screaming bloody murder about this governmental competition. Perhaps that because they will have potentially 40 million new customers whose premiums will be paid by the government. But wait, they were perhaps a little premature in their elation. It appears that the honeymoon with ObamaCare ended when the Senate Finance Committee bill lowered the penalty from $3,500 to $1,500. That meant that the penalty was more affordable than their insurance premiums.

Among the losers in this scenario is the industry that makes medical devices. They wouldn't go along with ObamaCare and it's cost them. The BaucuScare bill imposed a tax on their devices. These include arterial stents, prosthetics, hip and knee joints, pacemakers, and automated wheelchairs.

Now that these facts have come to light, people are becoming better informed than ever before and the Senate needs to understand that when Americans say they don't want ObamaCare, they mean it! If they don't listen, the American people will be the real losers here. They will lose the quality of care that is the envy of the whole world. They will lose the right to choose their insurance coverage, to choose their doctor, and to choose the type of medication and/or treatment.  Is ObamaCare DOA in the Senate?  I hope so!

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