Tag Archives: Health Care Reform

Georgia Attorney General Faces Impeachment Threat

Posted by: Bluedog89

Georgia Attorney General refuses to sign a multi-state lawsuit blocking the new health care bill. Now Georgia lawmakers are calling for his impeachment. (AP Photo/Ric Feld)

HP~Georgia lawmakers reacted to Wednesday’s news that their Attorney General, Democrat Thurbert Baker, would not sign on to a multi-state lawsuit to block the health care bill in his state by filing papers to have him impeached.

The blog Peach Pundit reports that the resolution to impeach Baker, also a candidate for Georgia governor, now has at least 30 signatures and is still going forward.

Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, a Republican, petitioned Baker to sign on to the joint lawsuit filed by more than a dozen attorneys general across the country earlier this week that seeks to shield states from the effects of the new health bill, including the so-called “individual mandate,” which forces most people to buy insurance.

“I cannot justify a decision to initiate expensive and time-consuming litigation that I believe has no legal merit,” Baker wrote in a two-page response to Gov. Perdue. “In short, this litigation is likely to fail and will consume significant amounts of taxpayers’ hard-earned money in the process.”

On Thursday Gov. Perdue said he would appoint a “special attorney general” to sign on to the lawsuit challenging the health care bill since Baker would not do it himself, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Perdue made the announcement a day after state Attorney General Thurbert Baker, a Democrat running for governor, told Perdue, a Republican, he would not pursue a lawsuit.

Though the impeachment process appears to be in motion, some see it as a futile distraction that will not succeed because the threshold for impeachment is so high. It requires a vote of one-half of the State House and two-thirds of the State Senate.

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What the Health Care Bill Does for Average Americans

Posted by: Bluedog89

President Barack Obama addresses doctors at the White House.

HP~After months of fierce debate around the country and after an intense day of voting on Capitol Hill, a health care reform bill is on its way to President Obama’s desk.

Once Obama signs the bill into law, as he is expected to do on Tuesday, it will mean an end to the current health care system as we know it.

Pundits on the right and left have been reacting to passage of the legislation, but what does the bill actually mean for the average American?

The immediate effects of the health care bill as well as some that will take effect in the first year of implementation are as follows:

1. Health Insurers cannot deny children health insurance because of pre-existing conditions. A ban on the discrimination in adults will take effect in 2014.

2. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees will get tax credits covering up to 50% of employee premiums.

3. Seniors will get a rebate to fill the so-called “donut hole” in Medicare drug coverage, which severely limits prescription medication coverage expenditures over $2,700. As of next year, 50% of the donut hole will be filled.

4. The cut-off age for young adults to continue to be covered by their parents’ health insurance rises to the age 27.

5. Lifetime caps on the amount of insurance an individual can have will be banned. Annual caps will be limited, and banned in 2014.

6. A temporary high-risk pool will be set up to cover adults with pre-existing conditions. Health care exchanges will eliminate the program in 2014.

7. New plans must cover checkups and other preventative care without co-pays. All plans will be affected by 2018.

8. Insurance companies can no longer cut someone when he or she gets sick.

9. Insurers must now reveal how much money is spent on overhead.

10. Any new plan must now implement an appeals process for coverage determinations and claims.

11. This tax will impose a 10% tax on indoor tanning services. This tax, which replaced the proposed tax on cosmetic surgery, would be effective for services on or after July 1, 2010.

12. New screening procedures will be implemented to help eliminate health insurance fraud and waste.

13. Medicare payment protections will be extended to small rural hospitals and other health care facilities that have a small number of Medicare patients.

14. Non-profit Blue Cross organizations will be required to maintain a medical loss ratio — money spent on procedures over money incoming — of 85% or higher to take advantage of IRS tax benefits.

15. Chain restaurants will be required to provide a “nutrient content disclosure statement” alongside their items. Expect to see calories listed both on in-store and drive-through menus of fast-food restaurants sometime soon.

16. The bill establishes a temporary program for companies that provide early retiree health benefits for those ages 55‐64 in order to help reduce the often-expensive cost of that coverage.

17. The Secretary of Health and Human Services will set up a new Web site to make it easy for Americans in any state to seek out affordable health insurance options The site will also include helpful information for small businesses.

18. A two‐year temporary credit (up to a maximum of $1 billion) is in the bill to encourage investment in new therapies for the prevention and treatment of diseases.

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Conservatives Ridicule Child Over Health Care

Posted by: Bluedog89

HP ~ Conservative talk show hosts and columnists have ridiculed an 11-year-old Washington state boy’s account of his mother’s death as a “sob story” exploited by the White House and congressional Democrats like a “kiddie shield” to defend their health care legislation.

Conservative talk show hosts and columnists attack child whose mother died after losing her job and health insurance benefits.
Photo courtesty of Rod Lamkey Jr. / MCT.

Marcelas Owens, whose mother got sick, lost her job, lost her health insurance and died, said Thursday he’s taking the attacks from Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Michelle Malkin in stride.

“My mother always taught me they can have their own opinion but that doesn’t mean they are right,” Owens, who lives in Seattle, said in an interview.

Owens’ grandmother, Gina, who watched her daughter die, isn’t quite so generous.

“These are adults, and he is an 11-year-old boy who lost his mother,” Gina Owens said. “They should be ashamed.”

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., told Marcelas Owens’ story to President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden at the White House health care summit last month. Murray also has spoken about it on the Senate floor. Last week, Owens was in the nation’s capital to speak at a health care rally and to meet with Senate Democratic leadership.

Limbaugh, Beck and Malkin are skeptical about the story, saying there were other forms of medical help available after Owens’ mother, Tifanny, lost her health insurance. They lambasted Democrats for using the story.

“Now this is unseemly, exploitative, an 11-year-old boy being forced to tell his story all over just to benefit the Democrat Party and Barack Obama,” Limbaugh said on March 12, according to a transcript his show. “And, I would say this to Marcelas Owens: ‘Well, your mom would still have died, because Obamacare doesn’t kick in until 2014.'”

Beck, according to a transcript of his March 15 show, pointed out that Owens’ recent trip to Washington was paid for by Healthcare of America, a group that has been lobbying for a health care overhaul.

“That’s the George Soros-funded Obama-approved group fighting for health care,” Beck said. “Since all of the groups are so concerned and involved now, may I ask where were you when Marcelas’ mother was vomiting blood?”

Beck, who’s from Mount Vernon, Wash., said there were plenty of programs in Washington state that could have helped Tifanny Owens.

Malkin dismissed Marcelas Owens as “one of Obama’s youngest lobbyists” who has been “goaded by a left-wing activist grandmother,” promoted by Murray and has become a regular on the “pro-Obamacare circuit.”

Malkin also suggested there were other programs that could have helped Tifanny Owens, adding, “It’s not clear that additional doctors’ visits in the subsequent months would have prevented her death.”

Tifanny Owens died in June 2007 of pulmonary hypertension, which is described as high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs that can lead to heart failure. The disease is considered rare. While there’s no cure, it can be treated.

The treatments can cost as much as $100,000 a year and must be “consistent and constant,” said Katie Kroner, the director of advocacy and awareness for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association.

“It’s extremely important to have health coverage,” she said.

Owens was an assistant manager at a fast food restaurant when she became sick in September 2006. As she became sicker, she missed work and was eventually fired, leaving her without health insurance. She was treated twice in an emergency room and died at age 27 after a week of unconsciousness. Gina Owens has custody of Marcelas and his two younger sisters.

Gina Owens said her daughter didn’t qualify for Medicaid. State officials said that without knowing the details, it was impossible to speculate on whether Tifanny Owens would have qualified.

Tifanny Owens might have been eligible for Washington state’s basic health care plan, which is aimed at the working poor. The plan has had a long waiting list for some time, said Sharon Michael of the Washington state Health Care Authority.

“Right now, we have 100,000 people on the wait list,” Michael said.

Limbaugh has gone after young people before. In 2007, he told listeners that Democrats were exploiting an 18-year-old Yup’ik Eskimo and that her congressional testimony of global warming made him want to “puke.”

Murray said she was appalled at how vicious the health care debate has become.

“The mom in me is getting really mad,” she said. “You don’t tear apart an 11-year-old because his mom died.”

Marcelas Owens said he’ll never know if his mother might have lived if she had health insurance.

“At least if she had it she would’ve had a fighting chance,” he said.

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“Dear Wavering House Democrats” an open letter on Health Care Reform

cross-posted from T-Time

“I am your worst-case scenario…  I voted my conscience, and it cost me. And I’d do it all again.”

By Mary Margolies-Mezvinski

Dear wavering House Democrats,
I feel your pain. Eighteen years ago, I was elected on the coattails of a popular young Democratic president who promised a post-partisan Washington. A year later, with partisan gridlock capturing the Capitol, there was a razor-thin vote on the House floor over legislation that Democrats said would remake the country and Republicans promised would bankrupt it.

I was pressed on all sides: by constituents opposed, my president needing a victory and Republicans promising my demise. I was in the country’s most Republican district represented by a Democrat. I had repeatedly said, “I will not be a ‘read my lips’ candidate,” when asked if I would promise not to raise taxes, I voted my conscience, and it cost me…

… Simply put, you could be Margolies-Mezvinskied whether you vote with or against President Obama. You will be assailed no matter how you vote this week. And this job isn’t supposed to be easy. So cast the vote that you won’t regret in 18 years.

Read the full letter here: ‘VOTE YOUR CONSCIENCE’

Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinski is a former member of Congress and co-founder of, Women’s Campaign International.


RELATED STORIES:

CBO Score On Health Care Bill Released: Boosts Democrats’ Hopes Of Passing Reform

From: Ryan Grimm HP
Comprehensive health care reform will cost the federal government $940 billion over a ten-year period, but will increase revenue and cut other costs by a greater amount, leading to a reduction of $130 billion in the federal deficit over the same period, according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, a Democratic source tells HuffPost. It will cut the deficit by $1.2 trillion over the next ten years.

The source said it also extends Medicare’s solvency by at least 9 years and reduces the rate of its growth by 1.4 percent, while closing the doughnut hole for seniors, meaning there will no longer be a gap in coverage of medication. The CBO also estimated it would extend coverage to 32 million additional people.

The CBO score is the last piece House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was waiting on before putting the puzzle together on the House floor. A contingent of Blue Dogs has been holding out support, insisting that the bill be fully paid for and not increase the deficit. The numbers give a major boost to Pelosi and her leadership team, which can now begin the whip count in earnest and can specifically point to the cost savings.

Read the scoring : CBO(pdf)


WASHINGTON (AP) – House Democrats are on track for a Sunday vote on sweeping health care legislation that will expand coverage to millions of uninsured while also reducing the federal deficit, leaders said Thursday. The bill delivers on President Barack Obama’s top domestic priority by providing coverage to more than 30 million people now uninsured at a 10-year cost of $940 billion. It does so through a combination of tax credits for middle class households and an expansion of the Medicaid program for low income people.

House Dems on track for vote on $940B health bill

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Kucinich says “Yea” to Health Care Reform

BREAKING:  Health bill gains ground; weekend vote likely

President Barack Obama’s sweeping health care legislation won precious support from a longtime liberal holdout in the House on Wednesday and from Catholic nuns representing dozens of religious orders, gaining fresh traction in the run-up to a climactic weekend vote. “It’s a good sign,” said Obama, two weeks after taking personal command of a campaign to enact legislation in what has become a virtual vote of confidence in his still-young presidency.

Cross-posted from T-Time

Rep. Dennis Kucinich has announced his intention to vote yes for passage of President Obama’s Health Care Reform legislation…

Kucinich Will Vote ‘For’ Democrats’ Health Care Overhaul

One of the most liberal members of Congress, Democrat Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, just dropped his opposition to the health care overhaul legislation being championed by his party and President Barack Obama.

“I have taken this fight fa rther” than any other member who supports the so-called public option and other measures that aren’t in the legislation, Kucinich just declared at a Capitol Hill news conference.

“This is not the bill I wanted to support,” Kucinich continued. “However, after careful discussions with President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, my wife Elizabeth and close friends, I’ve decided to cast a vote in favor of the legislation.

One of the most liberal members of Congress, Democrat Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, just dropped his opposition to the health care overhaul legislation being championed by his party and President Barack Obama.

“I have taken this fight fa rther” than any other member who supports the so-called public option and other measures that aren’t in the legislation, Kucinich just declared at a Capitol Hill news conference.

“This is not the bill I wanted to support,” Kucinich continued. “However, after careful discussions with President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, my wife Elizabeth and close friends, I’ve decided to cast a vote in favor of the legislation.

more here:  Kucinich to vote ‘yes’ on healthcare, giving a boost to Democrats

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Dems near accord on health care bill

Reconciliation on the Table

WASHINGTON (AP) – The White House and congressional leaders are preparing a detailed health care proposal designed to win passage without Republican support if GOP lawmakers fail to embrace bipartisan compromises at President Barack Obama’s summit next week. A senior White House official said Thursday that Democratic negotiators are resolving final differences in House and Senate health bills that passed last year with virtually no Republican help. The White House plans to post the proposals online by Monday morning, three days ahead of the Feb. 25 summit, which GOP leaders are approaching warily.

The comments signal that Obama and Congress’ Democratic leaders still plan to use assertive and sometimes controversial parliamentary powers to enact a far-reaching health care bill if no GOP lawmakers get on board.

source:

Senate support growing for public option via reconciliation
It began two days ago as a four-senator campaign urging Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid , D-Nev., to tap the budget reconciliation process to create a public health insurance plan that would compete against private companies. Now 16 upper-chamber Democrats have signed their names in support of that strategy, according to boldprogressives.org, a liberal group that launched the campaign.

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President Obama rumbles with House GOP

Cameras Roll As Obama Schools Republicans


BALTIMORE — President Barack Obama on Friday accused Republicans of portraying health care reform as a “Bolshevik plot” and telling their constituents that he’s “doing all kinds of crazy stuff that’s going to destroy America.”

Speaking to House Republicans at their annual policy retreat here, Obama said that over-the-top GOP attacks on him and his agenda have made it virtually impossible for Republicans to address the nation’s problems in a bipartisan way.

“What happens is that you guys don’t have a lot of room to negotiate with me,” Obama said. “The fact of the matter is, many of you, if you voted with the administration on something, are politically vulnerable with your own base, with your own party because what you’ve been telling your constituents is, ‘This guy’s doing all kinds of crazy stuff that’s going to destroy America.’ ”

Obama’s comments came in the midst of an extraordinary back-and-forth with Republican House members – a scene straight out of the House of Commons that played out live on cable TV.

Read more: POLITICO

From: Huffington Post
President Obama traveled to a House Republican retreat in Baltimore on Friday and delivered a performance that was at once defiant, substantive and engaging. For roughly an hour and a half, Obama lectured GOP leaders and, in a protracted, nationally-televised question-and-answer session, deflected their policy critiques, corrected their misstatements and scolded them for playing petty politics.

“So effective was the president that Fox News cut away from the broadcast 20 minutes before it ended”

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Today the President did something unusual in American politics – initiated an open dialogue with members of the opposite party. Visiting the House Republican retreat, he took questions on anything they wanted to talk about. He heard them out, acknowledged where they were right, and gave a genuine explanation where he felt they were wrong.

It’s worth noting that the President is looking to answer your questions as well. That’s why immediately after the State of the Union, we partnered with YouTube to give you an opportunity to ask questions of the President. Go and ask whatever you want, or just vote on other questions that your fellow citizens have submitted, and the President will answer some of those questions in a unique live event on Monday at WhiteHouse.gov.
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Watch the video of President Obama with House Republicans, then submit your own question or just vote on the questions that you’d like to see him answer on Monday.

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