Obama may unveil new healthcare bill this weekend

Gird your loins.
obama healthcare, abortion.JPGThe following February 17 CQ Online piece (available online only by subscription – posted here on page 2), states Obama may release a new healthcare bill this weekend. It will be a compilation of the House and Senate versions with Obama’s own flavoring added.
No mention of abortion, but you know it’s in there.
I’ve been hearing the term “tone deaf” a lot the past several days to describe Democrats still stuck on socialized healthcare and wild spending. Here’s another example. These people just don’t get it.
Or they do get it but have a bigger, more important agenda at stake, worth losing popularity and congressional seats over. Scary….

White House could reveal health care bill this weekend
The White House is preparing to release what it hopes will be the final version of health care overhaul legislation as early as Feb. 21, according to a lobbyist who has spoken to officials involved.
“That’s going to be the WH version of the deal between House and Senate leaders on what they think the bill should look like,” said John Rother, director of policy for the AARP. The influential organization, which represents people age 50 and older, is one of several lobbying groups that have been closely involved in negotiations on the bill.
“That will in effect be the starting point for the conference on the 25th,” Rother said, referring to the bipartisan health care summit that President Obama intends to hold on Feb. 25 with congressional leaders.
A union official familiar with the administration’s plans also said the bill will likely be released Feb. 21.
Asked about the timing of the bill, an Obama administration aide said, “We are still working out the details but will post it in plenty of time for people to review it.”
A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, would not confirm the proposal’s release date and referred queries to the WH.
Top House Democrats involved with negotiations with the Senate said Wednesday that they are close to a deal and that the summit will give Republicans a chance to participate before they move forward.
“The House and the Senate have been very close to completing an agreement, but the president wanted to take this opportunity to circle back with our Republican colleagues and give them one more chance,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-MD. He serves as assistant to the Speaker and has been a regular at leadership negotiations on a health care package. He also heads the House Democrats’ campaign committee.
It seems unlikely that the summit will usher in any new era of bipartisanship, however. Republicans have been working to set expectations and terms for the meeting, insisting that Democrats scrap their current bills and start over with new legislation.
The proposal the WH is expected to post Feb. 21 will not include a procedural path forward, said AARP’s Rother.
“It’s not going to be about the process,” he said. “It’s not going to be about reconciliation. Instead they’re going to talk about what they’d like the final bill to look like, and the congressional folks will figure out how to get there.”
Quiet effort to keep overhaul in play
Senior House and Senate Democrats have been working quietly to get a health care deal since Jan. 19, when Republican Scott Brown of MA captured a Senate seat held by Democrats for decades. His victory left Democrats with control of 59 Senate votes – 1 shy of the number needed to cut off a filibuster.
It also prompted a scramble by the WH and Democratic leaders for a new path to completing the health care overhaul.
On a conference call Wednesday, Van Hollen – along with of Connecticut and other House Democrats – strongly implied that the House and Senate had been very close to striking a deal before the MA election. Sen. , D-IA, has also acknowledged publicly that Democrats essentially had a bicameral agreement before the election.
The loss of the 60th vote in the Senate, and the refusal of any Republican in that chamber to endorse the Democrats’ bill, has necessitated a new procedural course. It also has altered the contents and structure of the pre-election deal, which included compromises on revenue-raisers.
The most likely way forward is for the House to clear the Senate’s health care bill (HR 3590) and for the Senate to pass a package of changes to it, using the filibuster-proof budget reconciliation process. That set of changes would incorporate the deals struck with the House, which would then send the new package to the WH.
Obama would first sign the original Senate bill, then the “corrections” package. The last measure signed into law would be the one that dictates the final shape of the overhaul.
Provisions kept quiet
Asked if deals on credits to help people pay for insurance coverage and a tax on high-cost insurance plans were involved, DeLauro said they were under consideration.
“Those are issues that we’re working toward,” she said.
“It would seem to me that the agreements that were being reviewed and looked at would follow the same path,” she added, while emphasizing that she had not participated in many of the meetings where provisions were being decided.
That could mean changes to at least one major revenue-raiser in the legislation, a Senate-proposed tax on “Cadillac” insurance. It would impose a non-deductible excise tax on insurance companies that offer plans costing more than $23k for a family or $8,500 for an individual. It would effectively end the tax-free status of employer-provided insurance, discouraging employers from offering expensive plans and encouraging them to shift more compensation into wages.
House Democrats largely oppose the tax, which labor unions have fought vigorously. Some moderate Senate Democrats and the WH have urged its inclusion, however, arguing that it would put downward pressure on health costs.
But if Senate Democrats use the reconciliation strategy and need only 50 votes (plus a tie-breaker from Vice President), the votes of moderates who had favored the plan may not be as critical as the need to nail down enough House Democratic votes to clear the Senate-passed bill.
According to 1 labor lobbyist who has had recent conversations with many moderate senators, Senate Democratic leaders have not briefed those lawmakers on the contents of any new package.
That may not say much about what’s emerging, however. “Unless you’re in the total inner circle, nobody knows what’s happening,” the lobbyist said.

35 thoughts on “Obama may unveil new healthcare bill this weekend”

  1. Oh they get it alright. They just haven’t found a way to get around the American people and pro-lifers yet!

  2. Hal,
    Just watch them. If anyone can fail to do anything meaningful, its the Obama administration and its minions.
    Hal, have you even begun to realize how you have been taken in by this sociopath/narcissist?

  3. Or they do get it but have a bigger, more important agenda at stake
    Yep, this is what I think. Remember that Obama was a member of the New Party, whose agenda was to move the Dem party radically left. Isn’t this the moment he’s been living for?
    worth losing popularity and congressional seats over.
    They still have the census to manipulate to their advantage and our tax dollars to dole out to ACORN and ilk before the 2012 election.

  4. Please pray for our politicians. If you are so inclined, here is a link to today’s Mass readings (from the Bible).
    http://Dt 30:15-20 / Lk 9:22-25
    The theme is LIFE.

  5. “Lots of people are demanding action of universal health care.”
    Umm…lots more people are not. Do you think the Tea Party people were there in Washington just for a casual stroll? The senator from my state refused to say she would not vote for a health care bill and is not trailing in the polls to a Republican by double digits, and Arkansas has only elected ONE republican senator IN ITS ENTIRE HISTORY! Hal, you’re delusional.

  6. I’m so sorry, it’s a really serious topic but I just had to laugh when I saw “Gird your loins”.

  7. Hoping and praying that we can get some meaningful health care reform in this country. With the near collapse of the US automakers (drug down by health care costs) – the recent news of the double digit hikes in insurance across the nation – and with the number of uninsured people in this country – it is obvious that reform is needed. The longer we wait, the more we pay in the future in regards to lost life, rationing, and bankrupt families.
    Rational people can disagree on how to best achieve reform. Rational people cannot come to the conclusion that we don’t need reform.
    Let’s hope that this does not become about “winning”, but this is about what is best for the American people.

  8. nearly everyone expects the government to give them everything: food, shelter, health care.
    How many who WANT universal health care could PAY FOR IT THEMSELVES but say “i don’t want to”?
    Why are their Canadians coming to the USA for care (like this one guy who came here for Heart Surgery) if they have such a great health care system?

  9. Liz – I think an interesting question would be in regards to a health care system that people would fly into the country to be involved in, but folks within the country don’t have realistic access to. There’s something morally odd with that.
    Regardless – there’s two issues with your post:
    1) I have seen no proposal to date that would put a US health care system anywhere in the same ballpark as Canada.
    2) Every year, you can find stores in 60 minutes and such regarding people who fly from the US to other countries for surgeries. Does that mean our health care sucks and there’s is great? Certainly not. It means some people have a lot of money and can go wherever they want for services.

  10. How many who WANT universal health care could PAY FOR IT THEMSELVES but say “i don’t want to”? Posted by: LizFromNebraska at February 18, 2010 9:07 PM
    Great point, Liz. Just look at the role of unions in the “near collapse of the US automakers (drug down by health care costs).”
    Rational people cannot come to the conclusion that we don’t need reform.
    Posted by: Ex-GOP Voter at February 18, 2010 8:16 PM
    Rational people can conclude that reform need not be this nation’s #1 priority. And that the current Congress is so beholden to special interests that it cannot be trusted to draft reform legislation that puts people above politics.

  11. xalisae,
    “Arkansas has only elected ONE republican senator IN ITS ENTIRE HISTORY!”
    Arkansas has elected 5 Republican Senators in its entire history. Fact check, fact check, fact check. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_Senators_from_Arkansas
    The desire to see everyone, regardless of income, receive the same standards of healthcare is one of the most basic of “pro-life” positions. What I hear coming out of the pro-life camp and the Tea Party movement is instead an “I got mine, you get yours” selfish, extremely Un-Christian rhetoric.

  12. livelightly,
    Hardly. What you will find is people who agree reform is needed but do not view government takeover as the answer. We view competition and free market forces as a way to contain costs.

  13. Also livelightly,
    I’m certain you will agree that bribery (can we say Senators Landrieu and Nelson)and special concessions to unions so as their members will not have to shell out like the rest of us, is quite Un-Christian as well.

  14. “That’s going to be the WH version of the deal between House and Senate leaders on what they think the bill should look like,”
    OK..so now, Obama wants to tell ALL the Congres and Senate folks: “Here’s what your compromise on the HC reform should look like…???”
    Is this guy a Dictator or what?

  15. EGV 9:12PM
    1) The Canadian gov’t may beg to differ considering they have contracted with U.S. hospitals to provide medical care to Canadian citizens. Did a prominent Canadian, I believe a provincial governor(?) recently come to the U.S. for heart surgery?
    2)Sure, these countries perform the surgery at a cut rate and throw in a vacation as well. A great package deal including the flight. You might get a safari along with your facelift. Its called free market forces and competition.

  16. And people who want ADULT STEM CELL treatments have go ALL THE WAY to China because the US government is so obsessed with Embryonic stem cells and finding a “cure” that they don’t want to support alternative treatments.
    One such person was a little boy from my state who traveled with his family to China to help treat his optic nerve hypoplasia (a type of Blindness).
    China is horrible when it comes to human rights violations (including massive forced abortions and murder of unborn baby girls) but they have adult stem cell treatments that Americans have to fly 1000s of miles to receive.
    And health care should **include** pre-natal care for mother since there are TWO patients in a pregnancy: the mom and her baby (or babies in the case of multiples).
    Abortion is NOT Health Care.
    Euthanasia is NOT Health Care.
    Starvation is NOT Health Care.
    Assisted Suicide is NOT Health Care.

  17. Mary, don’t forget sub-standard conditions and taking a huge risk with both the quality and safety of your operation. I don’t know about you, but I am JUST DYING to have our quality of care sink low enough to be comparable. 9_9
    And, LOL, FACT-CHECK! As if your side has ever been concerned with facts. How about the “facts” that you presented which state “Arkansas has elected 5 Republican Senators in its entire history.” Only problem with that is, the only Republicans other than the one I cited were “elected” due to post-Civil War reconstruction efforts. If you actually bothered with facts, you’d notice that after Reconstruction, Republican pickings are mighty slim.
    Instead of trying to make Arkansas look like California, why don’t you just move there? They’d love you, and you can take Blanche with you.

  18. Mary –
    Again, it’s neither here nor there. To suggest the end result is the Canadian system is to essentially say you have no understanding of the issue. I know that you personally understand the situation more than many on these boards – I’m just continuing to say – those who bring up Canada to make some sort of point are doing quite the opposite.

  19. Mary – read through the posts.
    Liz: “Why are their Canadians coming to the USA for care (like this one guy who came here for Heart Surgery) if they have such a great health care system?”

  20. EGV said, “Rational people can disagree on how to best achieve reform. Rational people cannot come to the conclusion that we don’t need reform.”
    The reform that’s needed would result in less government, not more government. Anything that the Democrats are proposing will result in more government. In other words, the status quo is better.
    The government can’t provide health care; government only provides bureaucracy. In effect, the government reduces access to health care. Being put on a waiting list, for example, is not meaningful access.
    Anyway, it’s not the civil government’s job to provide health care. Parents are responsible for the health care of their children, and churches are perhaps responsible (to a degree) for the health care of their members (and historically have shown the love of Jesus Christ to many others outside of the church). So socialized health care is both wrong in principle and counterproductive in practice.

  21. Livelightly said, “What I hear coming out of the pro-life camp and the Tea Party movement is instead an ‘I got mine, you get yours’ selfish, extremely Un-Christian rhetoric.”
    Nonsense! Communism is not Christian. The giving exhibited by the newly formed Church–not the state–shortly after Pentecost was
    voluntary. Actually, I believe that a tithe (10% to the Church) is both a requirement and a privilege, but that’s obviously not the free-will offering referred to in the book of Acts.
    The apostle Paul gave us this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat” (2 Thess. 3:10). He was speaking to Thessalonians who used readiness for the Messiah as an excuse for indolence (perhaps actually a form of un-readiness).
    The apostle Paul also wrote to Timothy that “[i]f anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1 Tim. 5:8)
    Health care has to do with mercy, not justice. The Christian (or American) who trusts in God will find His mercy shown not by the state but by the church. The office of deacon was specifically established as part of church government (Acts 6) in order to demonstrate the mercy of Christ on a physical level.
    Anyway, even the pearl of great price is to be fought for. In praising the rough-and-ready John the Baptist, the Christ said, “The kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force” (Matt. 11:12). However, the social-gospel types who praise President Obama are more concerned with reducing the level of the oceans than finding the pearl of great price. They do not even know what (let alone who) the Christ is: “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10).
    Seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness, and all the other things (food, clothes, health care; Matt. 6:33) will be given to you as well. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. Let Christians keep their priorities straight.
    Finally, unlike Timothy Geithner (apparently), I do give to Caesar what is Caesar’s. My heart and soul, however, do not belong to Caesar, and I refuse to worship him. In fact, I will pay him no more than I absolutely have to. And if I have any extra money–after paying taxes and tithes and supporting a family–then I personally will give it to truly needy individuals. I will not give it to Caesar; he will only waste it and use it for himself.

  22. Jon –
    Then let’s eliminate social security, medicare, and TriCare. In fact, the whole VA system. We’ll just put people on their own for medicine in general.
    Furthermore – you are scared of more government regulation? After the near collapse of the financial industry, you think we’re best off leaving the forces of greed to things?

  23. Ex-GOP, your first recommendation seems worthwhile if done responsibly (gradually, I guess). However, it also seems impossible. Democracies only become more and more socialized and mired in domestic concerns. Look at Europe.
    Getting the civil government out of health care–axing the programs you mentioned–does not have to mean the abandonment of all government regulation. The civil government has regulations on all sorts of industries without taking control of them.
    With regard to the second recommendation then, I am not necessary for allowing the “forces of greed” to have their way. However, it’s my impression that the collapse of the financial industry was in large part due to crippling government regulation. The government required banks to act irresponsibly when giving loans. And didn’t Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae themselves have to be bailed out? So maybe what I would argue for is responsible government regulation–and, yes, probably less of it.
    The civil government, as I’m sure you’re well aware, is not immune from the “forces of greed.” Government is itself force, as George Washington said, and as Lord Acton said, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Big government is bad.

  24. Also, please do not lump TriCare in with everything else. The people getting TriCare are military personnel. They are working for the government to defend the country. That is their job, and the government is their employer. They are getting TriCare partly in exchange for doing their job, as anyone else who gets their healthcare through their employer now is doing.

  25. x –
    It’s a fair comment because Jon said the government “can’t” provide healthcare, which I disagree with. I’m quite familiar with TriCare and think it is a good system. I don’t think Tricare should be eliminated just because the government is handling it.

  26. No, I would probably agree with Xalisae for the reasons that Xalisae gave. I didn’t know what Tricare was and had just assumed it was the same type of thing as social security and Medicare.

  27. Jon –
    So you wrote: “The government can’t provide health care; government only provides bureaucracy.”
    But now you think Government CAN provide health care?
    Just not sure where this leaves you.

  28. Ex-GOP, I don’t think I’m being inconsistent. According to Xalisae, the Tricare program is for the soldiers. Not only do tax-payers provide them with health care, they also provide them with food, ammunition, education, etc. The government is in this sense an employer, and I have no problem with it being an employer in this very limited sense. When we get to the very nuts and bolts of what the civil government is, we are talking about soldiers and police officers. The purpose of the civil government is to exercise justice and keep order, not to provide health care. Tricare is health care, but it is health care for the soldiers who protect Americans from evil-doers outside of America. Maybe there is a better way than Tricare–I hardly know what Tricare is–but I’m not being inconsistent.

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