Despite abandoning his secretary of health and human services nomination in disgrace in February 2009, the K Street tax cheat who evaded IRS rules for years remains a top White House confidante and policy strategist. In fact, he’s leading the drive to save Obamacare. He climbed up from under the bus back into the Oval Office and onto the sets of “Meet the Press” and “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” to offer his rescue plan.
“We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told us just weeks before Congress passed President Barack Obama’s health care plan. Well, the nation’s post-passage Obamacare education continued yesterday when the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) confirmed that the federal government will have to spend an additional $115 billion implementing the law, bringing the total estimated cost to over $1 trillion. The estimate had been requested before passage of the bill by Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA), but the CBO was too overwhelmed with the Democrats’ other constant revisions to the law to get back to Lewis before the final vote.
This is by far not the only nasty little surprise that has come back to bite Obamacare after passage. Shortly after it became law, U.S. employers began reporting hundreds of millions if dollars in losses thanks to tax changes in the bill. AT&T and Verizon alone pegged their Obamacare tax losses at around $1 billion each. At first, Democrats in Congress were outraged by the announcements and threatened to hold hearings persecuting these companies. But then the Democrats not only found out the companies were obligated by law to report their Obamacare related losses, but that the losses were a signal these companies might have to dump their employees’ and retirees’ health care coverage all together.
Then the Obama administration’s own Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released its final cost projections for Obamacare, finding that, contrary to White House claims, the legislation will increase national health care spending by $311 billion over the next decade. The CMS report also revealed that: 1) 18 million Americans will pay $33 billion in penalties for failing to comply with Obamacare’s individual mandate and still receive no health care; 2) U.S. employers will pay $87 billion in employer mandate penalties; 3) 14 million Americans will lose their current employer-based health coverage; 4) 7.4 million seniors will lose their current Medicare Advantage benefits; 5) 15% of all Medicare providers will be made unprofitable, thus “jeopardizing access to care for beneficiaries.”
Facing this onslaught of reality, the Obama administration has swooped into full spin mode, devoting the Weekly Presidential Address to explaining the “real benefits” Obamacare is “already delivering” to Americans. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius then sent letters to House and Senate leaders touting her “progress” in implementing the law. And then last night White House aides Nancy-Ann DeParle and Stephanie Cutter briefed the House Democratic Caucus on the “tangible benefits” of the law. The sales pitch for all three events were the same: 1) “adults” age 26 and younger can be added to their parents’ plan (never mind that this drives up their parents’ health care costs); 2) new high-risk pools for Americans with pre-existing conditions (never mind that 19 states have rejected working with HHS since Obamacare massively underfunded the pools); 3) supplementing insurance for early retirees (never mind that the Medicare Advantage cuts and tax changes mentioned above are a big reason why seniors will need supplemental coverage).
Democrats know that Americans simply are not buying what they are selling. Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) tells Politico: “It’s just like trying to explain the Encyclopedia Britannica.” And John Spratt (D-SC) adds: “You need to know what you’re talking about and this is extremely complex. It’s really difficult to remember, ‘was this in this bill, or was this in the bill Senate side.'” Maybe Spratt should have figured out what was and wasn’t in the bill before he voted for it.
Since the left can’t even figure out what is in the bill they are trying to defend, the latest Rasmussen Reports shows that 63% of likely voters now believe it will increase the federal deficit, and 56% now favor repeal. Not waiting for this November’s elections to change the leadership in Congress, states are leading the way on the road to repeal. According to The Washington Post 33 states have mounted legal and legislative challenges to the new law. Clint Bolick, litigation director of the Goldwater Institute, tells the Post: “This is going to be a long, protracted war of attrition and we haven’t even seen the first wave of regulations yet. … The initial challenges to McCain-Feingold were rejected. But since then, litigators found the vulnerabilities. Likewise, here I think you’re going to see a thousand flowers bloom in terms of lawsuits. I’m hoping that this will die a death of a thousand cuts.”
GOP lawmakers sent a clear message to thousands of anti-abortion activists gathered on the National Mall on Friday: The healthcare reform bill died because of the strength of the pro-life movement.
More than a dozen lawmakers remained in D.C. for Friday’s events organized by the March for Life Fund on the 37th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court ruling in favor of a woman’s right to choose in the case Roe v. Wade.
Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) rallied the crowd of anti-abortion compatriots, crediting those huddled together in the cold for keeping the pressure on Democrats to force a vote on a controversial amendment that would ban federal funding of abortion from government-run healthcare plans.
“You have changed hearts and minds. We have just won a debate on healthcare in that they are not going to have abortion funding in this bill and that’s because of your interest in it,” the longtime anti-abortion lawmaker said over loudspeakers.
The Stupak amendment, pressed into the House healthcare bill by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), has proven to be a sticking point for members of the House Democratic caucus as their leaders have attempted to gather the 218 votes needed to approve a Senate-passed version of healthcare reform that does not include the strict language on abortion.
Instead, the Senate bill has what was called the Nelson compromise, as in centrist Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), because it is a much watered-down version of the Stupak provision that would let states decide whether to allow funding for abortions.
After Tuesday’s “political rebellion” in Massachusetts, as House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) refers to the unexpected landslide victory of Republican Sen.-elect Scott Brown, House Democrat leaders scrambled on Wednesday to rally a majority of their 257-member caucus in favor of the Senate’s bill, since Brown vowed to be the 41st vote to filibuster a House-Senate conference report healthcare bill.
And on Thursday morning, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) conceded that despite her efforts, she didn’t have the votes to pass the upper chamber’s bill “as-is.”
Though a number of hot-button provisions including creation of a government-run insurance plan and taxing so-called “Cadillac” health plans proved difficult to negotiate, restricting abortion funding for those on both sides of the issue appeared insurmountable.
As it is, the House-passed version of healthcare reform was approved by a razor-slim vote of 220-215. Only one Republican voted for the bill: Rep. Ahn “Joseph” Cao (La.) supported the measure due to the Stupak prohibitions on abortion coverage. Without that language, however, Cao has indicated he would likely oppose the bill.
With the recent resignation of Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.), Pelosi could not afford to lose any other Democrats, which would be an unlikely outcome because of the abortion language, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins explained.
“She lost Cao (and Wexler) — she didn’t have the votes. And there were 37 Democrats who voted for the Stupak, who voted for the bill but have very strong pro-life records that I would be very surprised if you could get all 37 of them to vote for the Nelson language; you would probably have half of them peel off,” Perkins said in an interview late Friday.
Of those 37, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) indicated that at least 11 Democratic anti-abortion votes were in play.
Perkins said that without the phones calls, e-mails, rallies and “tea parties” on the part of the anti-abortion crowd, President Barack Obama’s healthcare bill would be law right now.
At an intimate gathering hosted by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) in the Capitol Visitor Center for out-of-towners bused in to D.C. to participate in the March for Life, Perkins told a group of weary Ohioans that they helped to kill the measure.
“You stopped it, and you took a stand on the most principled aspect of the healthcare takeover initiative and that was stopping your fellow Americans from enforcement pay of an abortion, that one issue, more than any other, stopped, derailed what was attempted on the other end of the city,” Perkins said.
Rep. Mike Pence, currently being courted to run for Senate against incumbent Democrat Evan Bayh in Indiana, standing next to his fellow GOP colleagues on the National Mall, proclaimed to the anti-abortion activists that “life may be losing in Washington, D.C., but life is winning in America.”
The anti-abortion movement has grown to represent a majority of Americans for the first time in more than a decade, according to the Gallup organization.
Last summer, a Gallup poll taken in May 2009, 51 percent of respondents identified as “pro-life,” compared to 42 percent identifying as “pro-choice.”
In a similar poll of 1,006 respondents taken in July following the slaying of a Kansas doctor who performed late-term abortions, the number of individuals identifying as “pro-life” dropped to 47 percent but remained higher than the 46 percent “pro-choice” respondents.
But abortion-rights groups claim they have made progress in 2009, despite the controversial role abortion coverage has played in the healthcare debate.
The newly released annual NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation study on reproductive rights legislation and courts cases showed that 2009 was a “roller-coaster ride,” according to NARAL President Nancy Keenan.
Keenan conceded, however, that the anti-abortion interests “still outnumber our pro-choice allies.”
According to NARAL’s analysis of the current 111th Congress based on votes taken related to reproductive issues, the House has 185 “pro-choice,” 203 “anti-choice” and 47 “mixed-choice” lawmakers. In the Senate, the breakdown is 41 “pro-choice,” 40 “anti-choice” and 19 “mixed-choice” senators. Obama is rated “pro-choice,” while Vice-President Joe Biden is “mixed-choice.”
Those numbers leave activists in the abortions-rights arena uneasy and vowing to fight tooth-and-nail in the upcoming year.
National Organization for Woman President Terry O’Neill said that “in Washington, after months of debate over health care reform, we find ourselves wondering whether the leadership in Congress and the president we worked so hard to elect in 2008 will ultimately stand up to the Catholic Bishops and other extremists bent on dismantling Roe and reject their demands for sweeping anti-abortion provisions in the reform bill.”
Regardless, social conservatives such as Pence, a former chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, intend to press ahead with their fight to limit abortion rights.
Pence introduced a bill late Thursday that would repeal funding for reproductive health providers such as Planned Parenthood. The bill, referred to the Energy and Commerce Committee, has 92 co-sponsors.
For the past few days, I’ve received loads of emails urging me to get active regarding the healthcare vote – most of which had a subject line similar to: “Last Chance to Stop National Healthcare!”
Editors note: Have you wondered what Sarah Palin is talking about when she refers to Obamacares “death panels”? Does government health care really mean rationing – which is to say, denial – of medical care for the elderly and infirm? What is it about Obamas health-care advisers that has critics up in arms? Following is an excerpt of a shocking investigative report published in the August edition of Whistleblower magazine, titled “MEDICAL MURDER: Why Obamacare could result in the early deaths of millions of baby boomers.”
President Obama has promised huge cuts in medical spending. In fact, he has warned that, if America fails to make such cuts, it will face financial Armageddon.
“Make no mistake: the cost of our health care is a threat to our economy…,” Obama told the American Medical Association in Chicago June 15. “It is a ticking time bomb for the federal budget. And it is unsustainable for the United States of America. … If we fail to act, one out of every five dollars we earn will be spent on health care within a decade. And if we fail to act, federal spending on Medicaid and Medicare… will eventually grow larger than what our government spends on anything else today.”
To avoid this catastrophe, America must make drastic cuts in health spending, says Obama. The size of his proposed cuts varies from speech to speech, but the figure cited most often by Obama’s advisers is 30 percent per year – up to $700 billion annually.
A 30-percent annual cut is going to take a big bite out of somebody’s health care. The only question is whose.
The numbers make clear that most of these cuts will have to come at the expense of those who need health care the most – the elderly, the disabled and the gravely ill.
“Older, sicker societies pay more on health care than younger, healthier ones,” Obama told the AMA.
He is right. According to a 2006 study by the Department of Health and Human Services, five percent of the U.S. population accounts for nearly 50 percent of health care spending in America. Who are those five percent? Most are people over 65 years of age with serious, chronic illnesses.
By contrast, the study notes, half of the U.S. population “spends little or nothing on health care… with annual medical spending below $664 per person.” These, of course, are mostly healthy young people – people without serious, chronic illnesses.
Obviously, Obama will not meet his cost-cutting targets by reducing care to healthy young people. They are already spending next to nothing. It is the old, the dying and the chronically ill whose health care he will cut. The numbers make this clear.
At present, the main vehicle of Obamacare is the so-called America’s Affordable Health Choices Act, introduced on June 9.
This law will force Americans to enroll in “qualified” health plans – that is, plans approved and controlled by the government. Americans will be invited to “choose” between “public” and “private” insurance plans, but will find little difference between them. “Public” or “private,” they will all follow the same rules, dictated by the Department of Health and Human Services – the same agency, incidentally, which issued the report, titled “The High Concentration of U.S. Health Care Expenditures, 2006.”
How will Obama cut costs? His June 13 radio speech gave some hints. Obama said his plan would provide “incentives” to doctors to “avoid unnecessary hospital stays, treatments and tests that drive up costs.”
And what sort of treatment does Obama consider “unnecessary?” In an ABC News special June 24, he implied medical treatment might be wasted on elderly people with grave illnesses, citing his own grandmother as an example.
Dying of cancer, with less than a year to live, Obama’s grandmother broke her hip. “[T]he question was, does she get hip replacement surgery, even though she was fragile enough they were not sure how long she would last?” asked the president.
It turns out that Obama’s grandmother did get the hip replacement – though he did not say so on ABC that night. Obama left the story about his grandmother unfinished, but went on to suggest that other people faced with such choices might do well to forget about surgery and settle instead for palliative or comfort care – treatment that helps you feel better while you are dying, but does not prolong your life.
“Maybe you’re better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller,” Obama concluded.
It’s already happening in Europe
In Europe, governments already ration health care, just as Obama plans to do here. The older and sicker people are, the less care they get.
In England, for example, bureaucrats determine a patient’s eligibility for health care using the QALY system (quality-adjusted life years). They divide the cost of treatment by the number of “quality” years the patient is expected to live. Older, sicker patients are expected to live fewer “quality” years, so why bother treating them at all? On this basis, British elders are routinely denied treatment for cancer, heart disease and other deadly illnesses.
Many die in filthy, overcrowded hospitals or nursing homes, rife with pestilence, including the deadly, antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” Clostridium difficile and MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). Each year in the U.K., nearly three times more people die from hospital infections than from traffic accidents.
In the nation where Florence Nightingale invented modern nursing 150 years ago, cleanliness has become a lost art. British newspapers reported in 2007 that patients in government hospitals were told to “go in their beds” when they had diarrhea.
In March 2009, British health inspectors reported that poor treatment at one hospital may have killed up to 1,200 people in three years. That’s 1,200 people at just one hospital.
Denied food, water and medicine, patients at Stafford Hospital in Staffordshire were left screaming in agony, drinking from flowerpots and lying helpless in their own waste.Many waited for operations which were repeatedly postponed.
British officials were quick to label the Stafford horror an “isolated incident.” But many health care professionals in England say it is typical. Unfortunately, dissenters have little voice in Britain’s National Health Service. The system is notoriously hostile to whistleblowers.
The following is a compilation of bill signings, speeches, appointments and other actions that President Barack Obama has engaged in that have promoted abortion before and during his presidency. While Obama has promised to reduce abortions and some of his supporters believe that will happen, this long list proves his only agenda is promoting more abortions.
During the presidential election, Obama selected pro-abortion Sen. Joe Biden as his vice-presidential running mate.
Post-Election / Pre-Inauguration
November 5, 2008 – Obama selects pro-abortion Rep. Rahm Emanuel as his White House Chief of Staff. Emanuel has a 0% pro-life voting record according to National Right to Life.
November 19, 2008 – Obama picks pro-abortion former Sen. Tom Daschle as his Health and Human Services Secretary. Daschle has a long pro-abortion voting record according to National Right to Life.
November 20, 2008 – Obama chooses former NARAL legal director Dawn Johnsen to serve as a member of his Department of Justice Review Team. Later, he finalizes her appointment as the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of the Legal Counsel in the Obama administration.
November 24, 2008 – Obama appoints Ellen Moran, the former director of the pro-abortion group Emily’s List as his White House communications director. Emily’s List only supported candidates who favored taxpayer funded abortions and opposed a partial-birth abortion ban.
November 24, 2008 – Obama puts former Emily’s List board member Melody Barnes in place as his director of the Domestic Policy Council.
November 30, 2008 – Obama named pro-abortion Sen. Hillary Clinton as the Secretary of State. Clinton has an unblemished pro-abortion voting record and has supported making unlimited abortions an international right.
December 10, 2008 – Obama selects pro-abortion former Clinton administration official Jeanne Lambrew to become the deputy director of the White House Office of Health Reform. Planned Parenthood is “excited” about the selection.
December 10, 2008 – Obama transition team publishes memo from dozens of pro-abortion groups listing their laundry list of pro-abortions actions they want him to take.
Pro-Abortion Presidential Record – 2009
January 5, 2009 – Obama picks pro-abortion Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine as the chairman of the Democratic Party.
January 6, 2009 – Obama chooses Thomas Perrelli, the lawyer who represented Terri Schiavo’s husband Michael in his efforts to kill his disabled wife, as the third highest attorney in the Justice Department.
January 22, 2009 – Releases statement restating support for Roe v. Wade decision that allowed virtually unlimited abortions and has resulted in at least 50 million abortions since 1973.
January 23, 2009 – Forces taxpayers to fund pro-abortion groups that either promote or perform abortions in other nations. Decison to overturn Mexico City Policy sends part of $457 million to pro-abortion organizations.
January 26, 2009 – Obama nominee for Deputy Secretary of State, James B. Steinberg, tells members of the Senate that taxpayers should be forced to fund abortions. Nominee erroneously says limits on abortion funding are unconstitutional.
January 29, 2009 – President Obama nominates pro-abortion David Ogden as Deputy Attorney General.
February 12, 2009 – Obama nominates pro-abortion Elena Kagan to serve as Solicitor General.
February 27, 2009 – Starts the process of overturning pro-life conscience protections President Bush put in place to make sure medical staff and centers are not forced to do abortions.
February 28, 2009 – Barack Obama nominates pro-abortion Kathleen Sebelius to become Secretary of Health and Human Services.
March 5, 2009 – The Obama administration shut out pro-life groups from attending a White House-sponsored health care summit. Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion business, made the invitation list as did other pro-abortion groups.
March 9, 2009 – President Barack Obama signed an executive order forcing taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research.
March 10, 2009 – Obama announces the creation of a new foreign policy position to focus on women’s issues. He names Melanne Verveer, an abortion advocate, to occupy the post.
March 10, 2009 – Reverses an executive order to press for more research into ways of obtaining embryonic stem cells without harming human life. The order Obama scrapped would have promoted new forms of stem cell research.
March 11, 2009 – Obama signed an executive order establishing a new agency within his administration known as the White House Council on Women and Girls. Obama’s director of public liaison at the White House, Tina Tchen, an abortion advocate, became director of it.
March 11, 2009 – Obama administration promotes an unlimited right to abortion at a United Nations meeting.
March 11, 2009 – Obama administration officials deny negative effects of abortion at United Nation’s meeting.
March 17, 2009 – President Barack Obama makes his first judicial appointment and names pro-abortion federal Judge David Hamilton to serve on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
March 26 – President Obama announced $50 million for the UNFPA, the UN population agency that has been criticized for promoting abortion and working closely with Chinese population control officials who use forced abortions and involuntary sterilizations.
April 7 - The Vatican has rejected three Obama ambassador nominees because of their positions in favor of abortions.
April 7 – Obama has named pro-abortion law professor Harold Hongju Koh as the top lawyer for the State Department.
April 7 – Put more abortion advocates on his White House advisory council for faith-based issues.
April 8 – Obama nominee for assistant attorney general for legislative affairs, Ron Weich, is pro-abortion.
April 14 – Obama administration releases document that claims pro-life people may engage in violence or extremism.
April 17 – Obama administration releases the proposed guidelines that implement his decision to allow taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research that involves the destruction of human life.
April 23 – Refused to appeal a ruling requiring the FDA to allow 17-year-old girls to purchase the morning after pill without either a doctor visit or parental involvement beforehand.
April 27 – Obama’s women’s ambassador Melanne Verveer touted Obama’s decision to send $50 million to the United Nation’s Population Fund.
May 5 – Details emerge about a terrorism dictionary the administration of President Barack Obama put together in March. The Domestic Extremism Lexicon calls pro-life advocates violent and claims they employ racist overtones in engaging in criminal actions.
May 8 – President Obama releases a new budget that allows the Legal Services Corporation to use tax dollars to pay for pro-abortion litigation.
May 8 – President Obama’s new budget calls for taxpayer funded abortions in the nation’s capital.
May 8 – President Obama’s budget eliminates all federal funding for abstinence-only education.
May 15 – Appointed pro-abortion New York City health commissioner Thomas Frieden as head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
May 17 – During his commencement speech at Notre Dame, Obama deceived listeners into thinking he wants a conscience clause, promoted embryonic stem cell research and misstated his pro-abortion record.
May 26 – Appoints appeals court judge Sonia Sonotmayor as a Supreme Court nominee. Sotomayor agrees that the courts should make policy, such as the Roe v. Wade case. Sotomayor is later opposed by pro-life groups and supported by pro-abortion groups and those who know her say she will support abortion on the high court.
July 2- Calls for an unlimited right to abortion at a United Nation’s meeting.
July 7- The Obama administration admits it ignored the majority of Americans who opposed the proposed guidelines that would implement Obama’s decision to force taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research.
July 14 – Obama science czar nominee John Holdren is revealed to have written before that he favors forced abortions.
July 30 – Awards several pro-abortion activists with the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom.
July 31 – Tells the National Institutes of Health to adopt rules that allow embryonic stem cell research.
August 4 – Information becomes public that Ezekiel Emanuel, an Obama advisor at the Office of Management and Budget and a member of Federal Council on Comparative Effectiveness Research, supports rationing health care for disabled Americans that could lead to euthanasia.
August 6 – Obama criticized for asking for people to “snitch” on groups and people who oppose the pro-abortion health care bills in Congress.
August 13 – Obama wrongly said a senator backed the pro-euthanasia components of the health care bill.
August 24 – Releases veterans guide promoting euthanasia.
September 13 – Obama waits two days to comment on shooting of pro-life advocate whereas he commented immediately on shooting of abortion practitioner.
September 15 – Senate confirms Obama’s new regulatory czar Cass Sunstein, who is pro-abortion.
October 5 – Selected pro-abortion lawyer and Georgetown University law professor Chai Feldblum for the EEOC.
October 5 – Anounces he will give the keynote speech for pro-abortion group Human Rights Campaign.
October 19 – Obama’s serve.gov web site promotes the Planned Parenthood abortion business.
October 21 – Obama administration web site promotes pro-abortion health care bills.
November 6 – Endorsed the House version of the health care bill that, at the time, contained massive abortion funding, rationing and assisted suicide promotion.
NOvember 26 – Copies Thanksgiving proclamation of President Bush but leaves out pro-life message.
December 2 – Authorized taxpayer funding for embryonic stem cell research that kills days-old unborn children.
December 3 – A pro-abortion Obama judicial pick, Louis Butler, is approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
December 7 – Announces his endorsement of the pro-abortion Senate health care bill.
December 16 – Obama administration forces Americans a second time to spend millions more on embryonic stem cell research that destroys human life.
December 17 – Signed a bill that overturned the 13-year-long ban on funding abortions with tax dollars in the nation’s capital.