Saturday, November 7, 2009

11-7-09 - Liability and Health News ALERT - House Debate TODAY, Call House Reps NOW

11/7/09 - Liability and Health News Update
House Debate TODAY, Call House Reps NOW

by Donna Baver Rovito, Editor, "Liability and Health News Update"
Author, "Pennsylvania's Disappearing Doctors"

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I am not employed by any physician or health care reform advocacy or liability reform organization, political party or candidate, although I volunteer for several. I am a quality health care, physician and patient advocate, breast cancer survivor, physician's spouse, journalist, political noisemaker, mom, and freelance writer. I am not nor will I ever claim to be unbiased, unlike many in the mainstream media.

Most information in this newsletter is copied and pasted from other sources, and will always be identified with links. Opinions and clarifications are my own, and do not reflect the official position of any physician or patient advocacy organization, tort reform, or health care reform group unless stated as such. My opinions are placed in double parentheses (("my opinion")), italicized and appear in blue. This Update is emailed to health professionals, physician and patient advocates, and others interested in ensuring access to quality medical care. It also appears on the following BLOG:

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House Opens Debate on Health Bill

The House worked until almost midnight last night working out "rules" for debate and the debate is currently taking place on the House floor. Here are some details on what will take place in the House today:

Pelosi's bill gets 4 hours of debate.
Rep. Stupak's abortion amendment gets 1 hour.
GOP bill gets 1 hour.
The "Doc fix" gets 20 minutes.
The Pelosi bill was not changed to prevent illegal-immigrants from purchasing in the public option.
Obama addresses Dems at 11:30 am in Cannon House building. The debate on health care will begin after this pep rally.

They still don't have the votes.

Pelosi's bill will be the last vote, which, if it is going to happen on Saturday, will be in the evening.

Here are lists of important Blue Dog Democrats and others to contact:

We are getting reports that it is difficult to get through to some of these offices by phone due to the huge volume they are receiving, but keep trying! Reports are that faxes are getting through. If you are able to fax, click here for a source for fax numbers for the targeted House members.

If you need talking points, go to , but the message today is simple: "Vote 'NO' on H.R. 3962!"

If you are in or near DC Saturday. JOIN THE RALLY at US Capitol which started at 1 pm. Meet on the East side of the Capitol.

Other information of interest:Joint Commission on Taxation Confirms Failure to Comply with Democrats’ Mandate Can Lead to 5 Years in Jail!Section 501 (pg. 296) of H.R. 3962 (download bill) provides for "a tax on individuals without acceptable health care coverage."Existing IRS code details the penalties, and possible criminal charges for not paying this new tax.

You may recognize the below chart from earlier this summer. It is now even bigger! This updated chart details additions to the health care bureaucracy contained in the new version of the Speaker’s bill (H.R. 3962) that were not previously listed in the H.R. 3200 version. The chart was created by the Joint Economic Committee (JEC) House Republican staff.

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Targeted House of Representative Members
Saturday, November 7, 2009 at 01:48PM

Rep. Michael Arcuri, New York 24th Office Number: (202) 225-3665, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-1891Local Office Number: (315) 252-2777/2778, Local Fax Number: (315) 252-2779

Rep. John Boccieri, Ohio, 16th Office Number: (202) 225-3876, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-3059Local Office Number: (330) 489-4414, Local Fax Number: (330) 489-4448

Rep. Allen Boyd, Florida, 2nd Office Number: (202) 225-5235, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-5615Local Office Number: (850) 561-3979, Local Fax Number: (850) 681-2902

Rep. Christopher Carney, Pennsylvania, 16th Office Number: (202) 225-3731, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-9594Local Office Number: (570) 585-9988, Local Fax Number: (570) 585-9977

Rep. Gerald "Gerry" Connolly, Virginia, 11th Office Number: (202) 225-1492 DC Fax Number: (202) 225-3071Local Office Number: (703) 256-3071, Local Fax Number: (703) 354-1284

Rep. Henry Cuellar, Texas 28th Office Number: 202-225-1640, DC Fax Number: 202-225-1641Local Office Number: (210) 271-2851, Local Fax Number: (210) 277-6671

Rep. Steve Driehaus, Ohio, 1st Office Number: (202) 225-2216, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-3012Local Office Number: (513) 684-2723, Local Fax Number: (513) 421-8722

Rep. Chet Edwards, Texas, 17th Office Number: 202-225-6105, DC Fax Number: Fax: 202-225-0350Local Office Number: (979) 691-8797, Local Fax Number: (979) 691-8939

Rep. Brad Ellsworth, Indiana, 8th Office Number: (202) 225-4636, DC Office Fax: (202) 225-3284Local Office Number: (812) 465-6484, Local Fax Number: (812) 422-4761

Rep. Bob Etheridge, North Carolina, 2nd Office Number: (202) 225-4531Local Office Number: (919) 829-9122

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Arizona, 8th Office Number: (202) 225-2542, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-0378Local Office Number: (520) 881-3588, Local Fax Number: (520) 322-9490

Rep. Deborah "Debbie" Halvorson, Illinois, 11th Office Number: (202) 225-3635, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-3521Local Office Number: (815) 726-4998, Local Fax Number: (815) 726-8024

Rep. Paul W. Hodes, New Hampshire, 2nd Office Number: (202) 225-5206, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-2946Local Office Phone: (603) 223-9814, Local Fax Number: (603) 223-9819

Rep. Jay Inslee, Washington, 1st Office Number: (202) 225-6311, DC Fax Number: (202) 226-1606Local Office Number: (360) 598-2342, Local Fax Number: (360) 598-3650

Rep. Paul Kanjorski, Pennsylvania, 11th Office Number: 202-225-6511, DC Fax Number: 202-225-0764Local Office Number: 570-825-2200, Local Fax Number: 570-825-8685

Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Ohio, 9th Office Number: (202) 225-4146, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-7711Local Office Number: (419) 259-7500, Local Fax Number: (419) 255-9623

Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, Arizona, 1st Office Number: (202) 225-2315, DC Fax Number: (202) 226-9739Local Office Number: (928) 226-6914, Local Fax Number: (928) 226-2876

Rep. Ron Klein, Florida, 22nd Office Number: (202) 225.3026, DC Fax Number: (202) 225.8398Local Office Number: (561) 544-6910, Local Fax Number: (561) 544-2864

Rep. Suzanne Kosmas, Florida, 24th Office Number: (202) 225-2706, DC Fax Number: (202) 226-6299Local Office Number: (407) 208-1106, Local Fax Number: (407) 208-1108

Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich, Ohio 10th Office Number: (202) 225-5871Local Office Number: (216) 228-8850

Rep. Jim Langevin, Rhode Island, 2nd Office Number: (202) 225-2735, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-5976Local Office Number: (401) 732-9400, Local Fax Number: (401) 737-2982

Rep. Stephen Lynch, Massachusetts, 9th Office Number: 202-225-8273, DC Fax Number: 202-225-3984Local Office Number: 617-428-2000, Local Office Fax: 617-428-2011

Rep. Daniel B. Maffei, New York, 25th Fax Number: (202) 225-3701, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-4042Local Office Number: (315) 423-5657, Local Fax Number: (315) 423-5669

Rep. Ed Markey, Massachusetts, 7th Office Number: 202-225-2836Local Office Number: 781-396-2900

Rep. Alan B. Mollohan, West Virginia, 1st Office Number: (202) 225-4172, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-7564Local Office Number: (304) 292-3019, Local Fax Number: (304) 292-3027

Rep. John Murtha, Pennsylvania, 12th Office Number: (202) 225-2065, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-5709Local Office Number: (814) 535-2642, Local Fax Number: (814) 539-6229

Rep. Glenn C. Nye III, Virginia, 2nd Office Number: (202) 225-4215, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-4218Local Office Number: (757) 326-6201, Fax: (757) 326-6209

Rep. Tom Perriello, Virginia, 5th Office Number: (202) 225-4711, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-5681Local Office Number: (434) 293-9631, Local Fax Number: (434) 293-9632

Rep. Gary Peters, Michigan, 9th Office Number: (202) 225-5802, DC Fax Number: (202) 226-2356Local Office Number: (248) 273-4227, Local Fax Number: (248) 273-4704

Rep. Nick Rahall, West Virginia, 3rd Office Number: (202) 225-3452Local Office Number: (304) 325-6222

Rep. Laura Richardson, California, 37th Office Number: (202) 225-7924, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-7926District Office Number: (202) 225-7924, District Fax Number: (202) 225-7926

Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, Texas 23rd Office Number: (202) 225-4511, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-2237Local Office Number: (830) 757-8398, Local Fax Number: (830) 752-1893

Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, Maryland, 2nd Office Number: 202-225-3061, DC Fax Number: 202-225-3094Local Office Number: 410-628-2701, Local Fax Number: 410-628-2708

Rep. Linda Sanchez, California, 39th Office Number: (202) 225-6676Local Office Number: (562) 860-5050

Rep. Kurt Schrader, Oregon, 5th Office Number: (202) 225-5711, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-5699Local Office Number: (503) 588-9100, Local Fax Number: (503) 588-5517

Rep. David Scott, Georgia, 13th Office Number: (202) 225-2939, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-4628Local Office Number: (770) 210-5073, Local Fax Number: (770) 210-5673

Rep. Adam Smith, Washington, 9th Office Number: (202) 225-8901Local Office Number: (253) 593-6600, Local Fax Number: (253) 593-6776

Rep. Peter Visclosky, Indiana, 1st Office Number: (202) 225-2461, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-2493Local Office Number: (219) 795-1844, DC Fax Number: (219) 795-1850

Rep. David Wu, Oregon, 1st Office Number: (202) 225-0855, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-9497Local Office Number: (503) 326-2901, Local Fax Number: (503) 326-5066

Rep. John Adler, New Jersey 3rd Office Number: (202) 225-4765, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-0778Local Office Number: (732) 608-7235, Local Fax Number: (732) 608-7268

Rep. Jason Altmire, Pennsylvania 4th Office Number: (202) 225-2565, DC Fax Number: (202) 226-2274Local Office Number: (724) 378-0928, Local Fax Number: (724) 378-6171

Rep. Brian Baird, Washington 3rd Office Number: (202) 225-3536, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-2478Local Office Number: (360) 695-6292, Local Fax Number: (360) 695-6197

Rep. John Barrow, Georgia 12th Office Number: (202) 225-2823, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-3377Local Office Number: (706) 722-4494, Local Fax Number: (706) 722-4496

Rep. Melissa Bean, Illinois 8th Office Number: (202) 225-3711, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-7830Local Office Number: (847) 517-2927, Local Fax Number: (847) 517-2931

Rep. Marion Berry, Arkansas 1st Office Number: (202) 225-4076, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-5602Local Office Number: (870) 972-4600, Local Fax Number: (870) 972-4605

Rep. Rick Boucher, Virginia 9th Office Number: (202) 225-3861, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-0442Local Office Number: (276) 628-1145

Rep. Dennis Cardoza, California 18th Office Number: (202) 225-6131, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-0819Local Office Number: (209) 383-4455, Local Fax Number: (209) 726-1065

Rep. Travis Childers, Mississippi 1st Office Number: (202) 225-4306, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-3549Local Office Number: (662) 841-8808, Local Fax Number: (662) 841-8845

Rep. Jim Costa, California 20th Office Number: (202) 225-3341, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-9308Local Office Number: (559) 495-1620, Local Fax Number: (559) 495-1027

Rep. Artur Davis, Alabama 7th Office Number: (202) 225-2665, DC Fax Number: (202) 226-9567Local Office Number: (205) 752-5380, Local Fax Number: (205) 752-5899

Rep. Joe Donnelly, Indiana 2nd Office Number: (202) 225-3915, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-6798Local Office Number: (574) 288-2780, Local Fax Number: (574) 288-2825

Rep. Parker Griffith, Alabama 5th Office Number: (202) 225-4801, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-4392Local Office Number: (256) 551-0190, Local Fax Number: (256) 551-0194

Rep. Baron Hill, Indiana 9th Office Number: (202) 225-5315, DC Fax Number: (202) 226-6866Local Office Number: (812) 288-3999, Local Fax Number: (812) 288-3873

Rep. Steve Kagen, Wisconsin 8th Office Number: (202) 225-5655, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-5729Local Office Number: (920) 437-1954, Local Fax Number: (920) 437-1978

Rep. Daniel Lipinski, Illinois 3rd Office Number: (202) 225-5701, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-1012Local Office Number: (312) 886-0481, Local Fax Number: (773) 767-9395

Rep. Jim Marshall, Georgia 8th Office Number: (202) 225-6531, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-3013Local Office Number: (478) 464-0255, Local Fax Number: (478) 464-0277

Rep. Jim Matheson, Utah 2nd Office Number: (202) 225-3011, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-5638Local Office Number: (801) 486-1236, Local Fax Number: (801) 486-1417

Rep. Michael E. McMahon, New York 13th Office Number: (202) 225-3371, DC Fax Number: (202) 226-1272Local Office Number: (718) 351-1062, Local Fax Number: (718) 980-0768

Rep. Michael Michaud, Maine 2nd Office Number: (202) 225-6306, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-2943Local Office Number: (207) 942-6935, Local Fax Number: (207) 942-5907

Rep. Harry Mitchell, Arizona 5th Office Number: (202) 225-2190Local Office Number: (480) 946-2411

Rep. Collin C. Peterson, Minnesota 7th Office Number: (202) 225-2165, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-1593Local Office Number: (218) 847-5056

Rep. Mike Ross, Arkansas 4th Office Number: (202) 225-3772, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-1314Local Office Number: (870) 881-0681, Local Fax Number: (870) 881-0683

Rep. Ike Skelton, Missouri 4th Office Number: (202) 225-2876Local Office Number: (816) 228-4242

Rep. Bart Stupak, Michigan 1st Office Number: (202) 225-4735, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-4744Local Office Number: (906) 786-4504, Local Fax Number: (906) 786-4534

Rep. Gene Taylor, Mississippi 4th Office Number: (202) 225-5772, DC Fax Number: (202) 225-7074Local Office Number: (228) 864-7670, Local Fax Number: (228) 864-3099


From Marsha Blackburn, Member of Congress - R, Tenn-7th
Health Care: Weekend At Nancy's

As I write this, Members are being informed that the health care debate is likely to extend through the weekend. A final vote may not come until Tuesday. The Rules Committee, the body that decides what amendments will and not be considered on
H.R. 3962 is meeting now. I am waiting my turn to offer a series of amendments that would make H.R. 3962 a better bill.
Perhaps the most important amendment prevents unfunded mandates from being passed on to the states. This bill expands Medicaid to 150% of the Federal Poverty Level and then sticks Tennessee with part of the bill in the out years. That means that Tennessee would have to find another $1.4 billion by 2019. That's money we just don't have.

I have listed my other amendments at the end of this note.

This morning I was on C-Span's Washington Journal. The host asked me if I agreed with Leader Boehner's assessment that this health care bill is a threat to our freedom.
As I answered on C-Span:
"I think people are looking at what has transpired since the first of the year, the philosophical change where there is more government control of most sectors , whether it is investment banking, whether it is consumer credit, whether it is auto manufacturing, student loans, health care. They’re looking at what is happening with energy, when we talk about having cap and tax. They’re looking at what is happening with communication, with what I call 'fairness doctrine for the Internet' They call it net neutrality. It’s not very neutral. People are growing deeply concerned about the shifting of philosophy in this government.”
Yesterday, dozens of Tennesseans were in Washington to express their outrage at this bill. I was inspired by their sacrifice. They know, as do I, that there is a better way, and there are far better bills to fix health care in this country.
My Best,

Unfunded Mandates: Prohibits the federal government from imposing unfunded health care mandates on the states.
Health Care Rationing: Prevents the federal government from passing any law that would ration health care for the American people.
Preserving Coverage You Like: Prohibits the public option and health care exchange programs from being established until the Secretary of Health and Human Services certifies that the establishment of the government plan and exchange will not (either directly or indirectly) cause the cost of the average price of private health insurance premiums to increase.
Defending The Coverage You Have: Suspends the operation of the government plans unless the HHS Secretary certifies that no American will lose access to his or her current health insurance due to the establishment and operation of the government plan. This will be an annual certification.
Health Savings Accounts: Ensures that nothing shall prevent an individual from purchasing or maintaining insurance qualifying for Health Savings Account deposits and that nothing shall interfere with an individual’s ability to continue to make deposits according to the schedule created in the 2006 HSA legislation.
Federal Budget Protection: Prohibits excess spending in H.R. 3962. When the cost of the reforms made under the bill consume 25% of the federal budget, then the bill is repealed and return to the system was in place before this bill was enacted.

From Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn
Health Care: Weekend At Nancy's 2

Friends, At noon on our Saturday session, debate on Speaker Pelosi's health care bill is in full swing. We understand that Democrats may have as many as 205 votes to pass this bill. They need 218. As I write this, President Obama is on the Hill trying to bring Democrats over the finish line.
I said on MSNBC this morning, as I have here many times, that there are better ways than H.R. 3962 to fix what is wrong with health care in this country. The Speaker is facing bi-partisan opposition to her bill, perhaps it is time she turn to some of the Republican alternatives that could earn bi-partisan support.

My Best Marsha


((Rep. Holden has always been a GOOD friend to medicine....))
Holden: House health care bill is "bad public policy"
BY DUSTIN PANGONIS (STAFF WRITER Published: November 7, 2009

Congressional Democrats are trying to gather enough votes to pass a health care reform bill through the House of Representatives as early as today, but U.S. Rep. Tim Holden, D-17, said he cannot support the proposed legislation.
"It's a trillion-dollar program at a time when we're at the highest deficit and debt that our nation has ever accumulated, and the bill they're proposing, is, in my opinion, bad public policy," Holden said in a telephone interview Friday.
Holden said he is for health care reform - "the rising cost of it, the pre-existing conditions, the doughnut hole, all that needs to be addressed" - but he plans to vote against the current bill, and he also doubts the bill would pass through the Senate.
Holden further explained some of his concerns with the bill in a written statement.
He said he does not like that the bill would offset costs by cutting $500 billion from Medicare and Medicaid. Holden said funding cuts would be particularly hard on rural hospitals and nursing homes.
Holden said the House bill does not contain provisions to ensure illegal immigrants will not be able to access taxpayer-fund health care services.
He wants the House to be able to vote on the issue of federal funding for abortion, which he opposes.
Holden also said he does not want health insurance companies to be exempt from antitrust laws.
"If private citizens or any other industry behaved in the way insurance companies share information and set prices, they would be held responsible for breaking the law," Holden said. "The health insurance industry should not receive any special treatment as millions of Americans are unable even to afford health insurance."


From Congressman Charlie Dent (R, PA-15) to constituents:

As the U.S. House of Representatives prepares to vote on the latest version of health care legislation, I appreciate the opportunity to share my thoughts with you.
I have been reviewing the 1,990 page health-care bill -- H.R. 3962 -- that was introduced last Thursday and an additional Manager's Amendment that was filed late Tuesday night. I do not believe that H.R. 3962 addresses the many concerns that my constituents raised about H.R. 3200 during my town hall meetings in August and throughout the Fall. A vote on the bill may take place this weekend. I oppose H.R. 3962
Some of my specific concerns with the new legislation are the same as with the previous bill, H.R. 3200. It includes the same devastating cuts to Medicare - nearly half a trillion dollars - that will mean seniors have less choices for their care and will pay increased premiums. Like H.R. 3200, the new bill will not reduce health care costs and it will cause millions of Americans to lose their current coverage. Just as the previous bill, H.R. 3962 includes a job-killing surtax on small businesses, which will hurt our already flagging economy. And just like H.R. 3200, the new bill will spend more than $1 trillion in taxpayer money.
As one might expect in a bill twice as large as its predecessor, new problems arise in H.R. 3962. I have always been a strong proponent for medical liability reforms that reduce the practice of defensive medicine, promote greater patient safety, and ultimately, lower the cost of care. The original bill that was introduced, H.R. 3200, included nothing on medical liability reform. Just three of the 1,990 pages of H.R. 3962 address the issue. Tragically, the language in the new bill would actually discourage states from making the medical liability reforms that the Congressional Budget Office has said will save $54 billion. This is politics at its worst - protecting trial lawyers at the expense of patients.
The new bill also includes a $20 billion tax on medical devices that will stifle innovation and increase the cost that consumers pay for medical devices -- everything from bed pans to wheelchairs. And for our district, which has thousands of workers in the medical device industry, this tax means lost jobs.
Interestingly, while the new bill includes the word "shall" 3,425 times, it says Members of Congress MAY enroll in the government plan. What's good for the public apparently isn't all that good for the bill's authors.
These are just a few issues in this massive bill. I encourage you to read the bill yourself. You may download it from my website at:
Everyone in America understands the need for health care reform and so do I. Cutting Medicare benefits for seniors, taxing small businesses and increasing health care costs in order to create an unsustainable entitlement program that will bury our nation in debt is not the way to do it. Fundamentally, the House legislation moves the United States in the direction of a European style welfare state which is accompanied by much higher European style tax rates, slower economic growth and structurally higher unemployment rates. The bottom line is that this legislation will lead to fewer opportunities for our children and grandchildren.
I hope that the Majority allows an open process when the House considers the bill so amendments and alternatives can be considered by the full House. Unfortunately, I'm not encouraged that will be the case.
Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions or comments you may have involving health care reform or any other federal issue.
With best wishes,
Charles W. Dent
Member of Congress


Committee Confirms: Comply With Pelosi-Care Or Go To Jail
by Publius
From the House Ways and Means Republicans:

Today, Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee Dave Camp (R-MI) released a letter from the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) confirming that the failure to comply with the individual mandate to buy health insurance contained in the Pelosi health care bill (H.R. 3962, as amended) could land people in jail. The
JCT letter makes clear that Americans who do not maintain “acceptable health insurance coverage” and who choose not to pay the bill’s new individual mandate tax (generally 2.5% of income), are subject to numerous civil and criminal penalties, including criminal fines of up to $250,000 and imprisonment of up to five years.
In response to the JCT letter, Camp said: “This is the ultimate example of the Democrats’ command-and-control style of governing – buy what we tell you or go to jail. It is outrageous and it should be stopped immediately.”

Key excerpts from the JCT letter appear below:
“H.R. 3962 provides that an individual (or a husband and wife in the case of a joint return) who does not, at any time during the taxable year, maintain acceptable health insurance coverage for himself or herself and each of his or her qualifying children is subject to an additional tax.” [page 1]

“If the government determines that the taxpayer’s unpaid tax liability results from willful behavior, the following penalties could apply…”

“Criminal penalties
Prosecution is authorized under the Code for a variety of offenses. Depending on the level of the noncompliance, the following penalties could apply to an individual:
• Section 7203 – misdemeanor willful failure to pay is punishable by a fine of up to $25,000 and/or imprisonment of up to one year.
• Section 7201 – felony willful evasion is punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment of up to five years.” [page 3]
When confronted with this same issue during its consideration of a similar individual mandate tax, the Senate Finance Committee worked on a bipartisan basis to include language in its bill that shielded Americans from civil and criminal penalties. The Pelosi bill, however, contains no similar language protecting American citizens from civil and criminal tax penalties that could include a $250,000 fine and five years in jail.
“The Senate Finance Committee had the good sense to eliminate the extreme penalty of incarceration. Speaker Pelosi’s decision to leave in the jail time provision is a threat to every family who cannot afford the $15,000 premium her plan creates. Fortunately, Republicans have an alternative that will lower health insurance costs without raising taxes or cutting Medicare,” said Camp.
According to the
Congressional Budget Office the lowest cost family non-group plan under the Speaker’s bill would cost $15,000 in 2016.


Prescriptions for disaster
The true costs of the health-care bills
Last Updated: 2:49 AM, November 5, 2009
Posted: 12:41 AM, November 5, 2009

Don't buy the claim that the Sen ate health-care bill is substantially more moderate than the House measure. While Speaker Nancy Pelosi's legislation is even more onerous than the package created by Sen. Max Baucus and now championed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the larger story is how similar the two Democratic bills are.

First, we need to get past the misleading accounting games. Each bill is routinely "scored" for its 10-year costs from 2010-19. Yet this includes several years when the spending wouldn't yet have kicked in. According to the Congressional Budget Office, fully 99.9 percent of the Pelosi bill's costs would hit from 2013 onward. Similarly, 98.3 percent of Reid's spending would come after 2014.

If you start the tally when the bills' spending would actually start (in 2013 for the House bill and 2014 for the Senate bill), then the bills' real 10-year costs become clear -- and are remarkably similar.
The CBO reports that, in their true first 10 years, the House bill would cost $1.8 trillion, and the Senate bill would cost $1.7 trillion. Pelosi would raise Americans' taxes by $1.1 trillion over that period, while Reid would hike them by $1 trillion.

And the House bill would siphon about $800 billion from Medicare to spend it elsewhere, while the Senate bill would suck out about $900 billion.

So the financial bottom lines are almost the same.
And if we discount the bills' claims to divert hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicare (which is already on the edge of insolvency), the CBO says the House bill would raise our national debt by about $650 billion in its real first decade, while the Senate bill would up it by $740 billion.

So, the bills would either sock older Americans by taking huge sums of money from Medicare -- or hit future generations with huge tax hikes to cover the shortfall.
Whether it's our grandparents or our grandchildren, someone is going to pay.
To give an idea of how much $1.7 (or $1.8) trillion is, let's compare it to private insurance companies' profits. The 10 largest insurance companies in America (according to the Fortune 500) last year had combined profits of $8 billion. You could double that, and it still would be less than 1 per cent of $1.7 trillion.
The House and Senate bills are similar in another important way. Each seems to mandate that insurers cover all comers at any time, at only nominal added cost for waiting to sign up.
This would provide a perverse incentive for young, healthy people to avoid carrying insurance -- knowing that they could just wait until they're sick or injured and buy it then. Without question, that would cause premiums to skyrocket for most Americans who now have insurance.
Recent studies by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Oliver Wyman and Wellpoint all support this conclusion. Top Democrats in Congress dispute those findings -- so they should agree to let the CBO do an independent study of the question, before any floor vote on the legislation.
Yes, the House and Senate bills differ in many ways, with the Senate approach being generally a bit less regulation- and bureaucracy-heavy. But it's really just a question of degree -- and either one is more than capable of sinking our already badly leaking federal budget.

Benjamin E. Sasse, a former US assistant secretary of health, advises private-equity cli ents and teaches at the University of Texas. Jeffrey H. Anderson, director of the Benjamin Rush Society, is a senior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute.

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November 06, 2009
MoveOn Threatens to Push Primary Opponents to Dems Voting Against Health Plan
((So those of us who OPPOSE government-run healthcare will just have to scare them MORE....)) has reportedly raised $3,578,117 in contributions to fund primary challenges against 'any Democratic senator who blocks an up-or-down vote on health care reform with a public option,' according to an e-mail sent to group members on Thursday.
A civil war is threatening to erupt within the Democratic Party as liberal advocacy group looks to punish moderate Democrats opposed to the sweeping health care overhaul proposed by party leaders.
MoveOn has reportedly raised more than $3.5 million in contributions to fund primary challenges against "any Democratic senator who blocks an up-or-down vote on health care reform with a public option," according to an e-mail sent to group members on Thursday.
The e-mail warned that any Democratic House member who joins Republicans to filibuster the health care reform measure will "face an enormous backlash from the grassroots."
The group also highlights a letter from Democracy for America, the nation's largest progressive political action founded by former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, which urges Senate Democrats to strip committee chairmanship from "any Democrat who filibusters health care.", which has 5 million members, has become increasingly vocal in its threats against conservative and moderate Democrats who remain opposed to the health care bills laid out by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Several Democrats, including Rep. Ike Skelton of Missouri, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and Rep. Artur Davis of Alabama, have expressed resistance to Pelosi's $1.055 trillion measure in recent days -- underscoring the intra-party rift over President Obama's top domestic priority.
Obama had planned a rare visit to the House Friday morning to persuade wavering Democrats, but was forced to reschedule it until Saturday as delays push back a vote on the measure.
Among the most heated disagreements among rank-and-file Democratic lawmakers are issues related to abortion and illegal immigrants.
Democratic opponents of abortion -- under pressure from Catholic bishops -- want stronger provisions written in the bill that no federal funds would be used to finance abortion in coverage bought in the government-run exchange.

The Associated Press contributed to this report


'Pittsburgh tea party' in D.C.
Friday, November 06, 2009
By Daniel Malloy, Post-Gazette Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON -- Dale McCoy is sick of being called right-wing.
The 48-year-old Hopewell electrician stood with several thousand flag-waving protesters yesterday on the West Lawn of the Capitol to denounce health care reform and a government they claim has spiraled out of control.
"We're dead center," he said. "Those people up in the Capitol went left. We didn't move."
Mr. McCoy, a union member and registered Democrat, came down with four busloads of Pittsburgh-area residents in a trip organized by Jeff Steigerwalt of Franklin Park. Mr. Steigerwalt -- wearing a red, white and blue lei -- estimated that about 200 people, wearing American flag pins that said "Pittsburgh tea party," paid the $49 for a bus ride down -- and they only started organizing the trip Monday.
The noon rally featured speeches from Republican members of Congress and celebrities, and chants of "Kill the bill" and "No you can't," a play on President Barack Obama's chief campaign slogan.
Another popular proclamation: "You lie!"
Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., the man who shouted the phrase at Mr. Obama during an address to Congress, was among yesterday's speakers.
Though the topic of the day was health care, the tea partiers' grievances were many: climate change legislation that would create a cap-and-trade pollution market, bailouts for banks and the auto industry, and out-of-control national debt. The protesters accused Mr. Obama and Congress of leading the nation down a path to communism.
"Things are not right in this country," said Larry Thomas, 60, of Cranberry. "We're going to wake up one of these days and the lights are going to be on and it will be like, 'Where did my country go?' "
Dan Rush, 36, a coal miner from Washington, Pa., is shipping off to Afghanistan soon with the Pennsylvania National Guard.
"I took an oath to stand up for the Constitution against our foreign enemies," he said. "I'm here today to stand up against our domestic enemies."
The rally was trumpeted by Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., a high-profile conservative voice, as a cry to lawmakers not to pass the health care bill. The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote tomorrow on a bill that would attempt to provide health coverage to millions of uninsured Americans, reform insurance industry practices and create a controversial government-run insurer, dubbed the "public option."
Many of the protesters said this constitutes a government takeover of health care, as the public option will gradually push private insurers out of business. They expressed concern about spiraling health costs but urged against the path of the Democrats' legislation.
"To upset the whole system for a few people who don't have health care is just ridiculous," said Bobbie Gick, of Dormont.
She disputed claims of the plights of more than 40 million uninsured Americans because, she said, many can afford it and choose not to buy it or are the beneficiaries of free emergency care when they can't pay.
After the rally, the throngs flooded across Independence Avenue to the House office buildings to chant some more and try to register their concerns with lawmakers face-to-face.
About 65 of them gathered in a committee hearing room to speak with Rep. Jason Altmire, D-McCandless. When one protester asked if anyone was actually in favor of the health care bill, the room fell silent.
Mr. Altmire, though, said he met with a group of constituents in favor of reform that morning and would not indicate which way he would vote.
"I am doing everything I can to hear everyone I can, to hear where my district is," Mr. Altmire said.
He voted against the bill in the Education and Labor Committee, but said some of his initial concerns have been addressed in Speaker Nancy Pelosi's latest draft: The Congressional Budget Office has said the bill doesn't add to the deficit -- a projection disputed by the tea partiers -- and the penalties for small businesses that don't offer their employees health care will affect businesses with payrolls of $500,000 or more, rather than $250,000.
The meeting was a bit more subdued than one of Mr. Altmire's town hall meetings, but the protesters made their feelings clear.
"We are well on our way to becoming a Third World country on your watch," said Patti Weaver, of Fox Chapel.
Mr. Altmire listened to the protesters' concerns for an hour, agreeing with them on many points and saying he had serious problems with parts of the health care bill. But many grumbled that their congressman sounded like a yes vote.
"If you stand up, people will follow you," said Chad Dupill, 35, of Delmont, an ex-Marine who runs a small business that works with the nuclear power industry.
"If not, we will vote you out."
But that's not necessarily good news for Republicans, despite the fact that the top three ranking House Republicans spoke at the rally. Mr. McCoy, a registered Democrat and a union member, said he feels the only real leaders of the movement are Ms. Bachmann and former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
But after the second large march on Washington this fall, there's no doubting the tea party movement's reach.
"Any intelligent person will know that for every guy that took off work today, there's 1,000 that wanted to," Mr. McCoy said.
"These aren't radicals. These are God-fearing, decent, family people -- who vote."


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