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Democrats Push Back on Unsavory Estimate

By John Amick

The Obama administration sent two of its top surrogates in the health-care reform debate to beat back recent projections by the Congressional Budget Office that current reform plans are not deficit neutral, and could possibly further expand the price tag of health care in America.

Repeating the line that President Obama will not sign legislation that isn't deficit neutral going forward, Director of the Office of Management and Budget Peter Orszag and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius both said today that legislation is currently incomplete, and cost-saving measures are being debated in congress and the White House.

"We're looking at what's happening with regard to new policy. And with regard to new policy, this is deficit neutral over the first decade," Orszag said on "Fox News Sunday," as Congress and the White House face prospects that health-care legislation in the House and Senate will not be settled by the August recess of Congress.

Orszag said the only reason the CBO projected the increase in the deficit (around $240 billion over 10 years) was because legislation maintained current payment rates for physicians under Medicare.

"It is keeping current Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors, which was always baked into the cake," Orszag said on CNN's "State of the Union." "Everyone anticipates that even absent health care reform, that would be taken care of. If you take that off the table, in terms of new policy, the House bill is deficit-neutral."

Orszag asserted, on both Fox and CNN, that the president's wish for the inclusion of a "standing commission (Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, or MedPAC) of doctors and medical experts to oversee cost-saving measures," as Obama said in his weekly multimedia address, to modernize Medicare is vital in continuing to improve upon cost-saving measures that the administration projects to be around $500 billion in existing Medicare and Medicaid costs.

"I think the single most important thing that's missing from the legislation at this point is our proposal for an independent commission of doctors to help the policy-making process be more flexible, lead to higher quality and lower costs over time," Orszag said on "State of the Union."

In response to Orszag, Republican Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) said the CBO's predictions were another hit to what he doesn't consider reform at all.

"Those were pretty damning words, to be very honest with you, and they should make us step back, pause and take a look at the -- what's going forward in the Congress and say, 'How can we do this better?'" Gregg said on "Fox News Sunday." "And there are ways to do this better."

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, added that the CBO projection wasn't a complete mural of savings involved in current legislation.

"There are certain things that the Congressional Budget Office didn't score, savings that we have, with people not getting sick, preventive care, people not having to be readmitted to the hospital, and a variety of things that is just a question of which assumptions are you using," Rangel said on CBS's "Face the Nation."

The House plan proposes a surtax on the wealthiest earners in America, a point of high contention for legislators, mainly Republicans, who insist this burden will fall on small business owners.

"Well, if you tax the rich, that means that you're going to push small business into a 45.7 percent top tax rate, which is like -- like 10 percent more than corporations pay," Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah said on "Face the Nation." "And it's going to kill a lot of jobs, a lot of opportunities."

Rangel answered Hatch, saying the accusations of small business bearing the brunt of the tax burden is a miscalculation.

"It's just wrong to say that this is a tax on small businesses," Rangel said. "We exempt small business from a lot of the penalties. We give tax credits so that they're able to hire and get people health care in small businesses. This is a tax on less than 1 percent of the wealthiest people in the United States of America."

Sec. Sebelius wouldn't commit the administration to any proposals to tax the richest Americans, yet she said all "ideas are in play," and that the Obama administration is dedicated to keeping their word in paying for reform.

"In the last bill, the Medicare bill in 2003, billions of dollars of new drug benefits were provided for America's seniors. That's good news, they needed the drug benefit. Not a dime was paid for, not an effort to put any money on the table," Sebelius said on "Meet the Press," referring to a Republican-controlled congress and White House that ignored CBO standards in 2003 during debate over the Medicare Part D bill.

When pressed about President Obama's tight deadline of August 1 for the Senate and House to have their versions of health-care reform prepared for the return of Congress on September 8, both Sebelius and Orszag were hopeful yet non-committal on whether this goal would come to fruition.

"We think we can make that," Orszag said on CNN. "We're working toward that. And we have to remember, there are some who are advocating the delay simply because they don't have anything to put on the table."

Hatch wants to slow the march for final approval of the Senate bill, saying it's about rushing through the debate for Obama, not crafting the kind of bill Republicans would support, if any.

"I think there's a really good reason why the president wants to do it," Hatch said on "Face the Nation." "He knows he can't sell if it lasts -- if the debate lasts very long because it is so expensive and costly."

Accusations of obstructionism by Republicans in overhauling health care were renewed in recent days when Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) compared a failed reform attempt to a political nightmare for President Obama.

"If we're able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo," Sen. DeMint said Friday. "It will break him."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky pushed back on the quote by DeMint.

"... My goal is not to stop the president, my goal is to get the right kind of health care for America," McConnell said. "And the direction in which the president and the majority in the House and Senate want to take this is the wrong direction."

Sen. McConnell did his part to repeat GOP concerns that any notion of a public health insurance plan would stifle competition and encourage rationing of care that exceeds that of the current system of private health insurance companies.

"When Secretary Sebelius says that there will be more competition if you have a government-run insurance company, there will be no competition," McConnell said on "Meet the Press." "The government will, with the backstop of the taxpayers, undercut the 1300 or so health insurance companies we have. We won't have any competition at all. Pretty soon the doctors and the hospitals will all be working for the government."

When asked if providing health care to the 47 million Americans without insurance is a moral issue, McConnell said that anyone can get emergency room care, though that is not exactly an acceptable system.

"We all agree it is not the most efficient way to provide health care to find somebody only in the emergency room and then pass those costs on to those who are paying for insurance," McConnell said. "So it is important, I think, to reduce the number of uninsured."

Sen. Gregg was the only Republican to detail a Republican alternative to the Democratic proposals being considered.

"The way we would cover those folks (the uninsured) is we would require them to buy health care policies for catastrophic events," Gregg said on Fox. "They would have to self-insure under that. But they would not be a burden to the system if they, unfortunately, contracted a serious disease or were seriously injured in an accident.... So we do pay for it, and we do cover everyone, and we put in place a replacement of the reimbursement system so we reimburse doctors on the basis of quality and outcomes rather than on the basis of the number of procedures."

Republican Support for Sotomayor

In recent days, McConnell became the first Republican to publicly say he will not vote for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. He said today that while he hails her personal story and admires her career, he is not convinced that she will be an impartial "umpire, call(ing) the balls and strikes."

"What I worry about with regard to Judge Sotomayor is that her personal views, which she's expressed quite frequently, lead me to believe that she's--lacks the objectivity that you would prefer to have in a member of the Supreme Court," McConnell said.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which wrapped its series of confirmation hearings with Sotomayor last week, said he won't commit to a "no" vote yet, but does hold lingering concerns.

"I was troubled by a number of the things that the nominee has said, a number of the rulings that she has made, and I think it is a very serious and awesome responsibility to launch someone on a lifetime appointment with the power, in effect, to actually amend the Constitution, if they are not faithful to it when they render a ruling that alters its classical meaning," Sessions said on "State of the Union."

Chairman of the committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) bristled at any mention of existing ambiguity of Sotomayor's qualifications after the week's hearings.

"It's certainly easy enough for somebody to make up their mind how they'll vote or not based on these 17 hours of hearings, longer than most nominees ever have, 3,600 cases," Leahy said on "State of the Union." "Certainly she's had more experience on the trial bench and the court of appeals bench than any nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court in decades.... I find it pretty easy to make up my mind."

In response to the question of whether Sotomayor will receive Republican support in the Senate for confirmation (at least three GOP senators will vote for her), Leahy lamented the treatment of Sotomayor among Republican leaders.

"I understand Mitch McConnell and I've worked with Senator McConnell on different things, but like the other leaders of the Republican Party, he came out very, very early against her, and he doesn't want to change his mind," Leahy said, going on to bring up Newt Gingrich's assertion that she was a bigot. "... the leadership of the Republican Party came out against her long before we ever had the hearing, long before they had a chance to look at her record. I think that's unfair."

Sessions responded by saying any questioning of the nominee during the hearings was fair.

"We gave our absolute best to make sure this was a fair hearing, but it had to be vigorous," Sessions said. "We had to ask about things that people cared about, her speeches, her prior pleadings that she did and some of her decisions, which are troubling."

Best of the Rest:

- Sen. Gregg on 40 million+ uninsured:
"Well, first, it's not a monolithic group. About 20 million of those folks earn more than $75,000. They're basically young people who opt to spend their money on something other than health care insurance."

- Sen. McConnell on a possible second stimulus:
"We've got an old saying down home that there's no education in the second kick of a mule. We've seen what happened with the first stimulus. The president said "Rush and spend it, pass it, we'll, we'll hold unemployment to 8 percent," which now pretty clear we're going to 10. In my state it's almost 11. By any measurable index, the stimulus package has been a failure."

- Sen. Leahy on racially-tinged questioning of Sotomayor's qualifications:
"That (racial politics) is what it comes across. It comes across that if you belong to a group that tries to help Hispanics, help them in school, help them in other things, somehow you're suspicious. The same arguments were used against Thurgood Marshall and others. I think it's wrong."

- Rep. Rangel on Sen. Hatch's view that Republicans have been shut out of the health reform process:
"And to say that Republicans in the Senate are not involved, my friend Chuck Grassley, the senator on the Finance Committee, he spends more time in the White House than I do. So the opportunity is there for anyone to jump in. And I welcome anything that Republicans want to do to improve this bill."

By washingtonpost.com editors  |  July 19, 2009; 2:45 PM ET
Categories:  Sunday Talkies  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Obama Says Health-Care Reform Essential to Repairing Economy
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Comments

obozo is a fool with a bunch of foolish followers. hope you koolaid drinkers wake up and realize how dumb you are for following this fool into the ruination of the USA.

Posted by: charlietuna666 | July 19, 2009 7:57 PM

Here lies a the first problem, if not Obozo then who, McCain or Palin. Before anybody critizes too deeply lets realize the choices we were offered. We have been following the path to ruin for a long time and neither party has been willing to stand up and tell the emperors that they are not wearing clothes. (or worse, they are wearing very expensive clothes bought on credit) I work, my wife works, and our family has health insurance. I know a lot of good, decent, hardworking people who don't. I don't want to see them sick or dying because they don't have health care. How cold would that be? I had a boss I hated. Several years later I found out she had cancer and was losing her home because she lost her job and health care. I still felt sick about it. If people in this country can make bonuses in excess of a million dollars a year why can't we tend to our sick and dying? The entire way we do business needs to be examined starting with the outlawing of lobbyist. Make it a crime for anyone in office to accept any gift over 50 bucks, close the loopholes, and enforce it by removing, banning, and jailing offenders.

Posted by: jnelson631 | July 23, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

The healthcare numbers are nothing compared to the dent these idiots have incurred from their bailout promises to banks and the financial services industry - 28.9 TRILLION dollars! That, by itself, makes this country bankrupt. Now we know why the Obama Administration wont release the economic numbers, is hiding and massaging unemployment and other data. What I can't figure out, though, is why Hilary Clinton is over in India, promising even more H1-B visas so cheap Indian IT workers an take more American jobs and why she is promising even more outsourcing, even though we have outsourced 40 million jobs and outsourced ourselves into a depression. Maybe India is promising a hidy hole for these treasonous swine - when this country completely collapses due to their (and Bush's!) mismanagement and their too cozy relationship with the Wall Street criminals, they will all flee, like cockroaches, to live in some new home in India.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | July 20, 2009 11:41 PM | Report abuse

OK, it's deficit neutral if you reduce payments to Medicare doctors by $250 billion dollars

Reducing the payment by $250 billion dollars means that doctors will take $250 billion dollars less of patients, shifting the costs to emergency rooms (a cost that the CBO report is not built in to the calculations).

$250 billion of medical costs will have to be handled in some manner. Either older patients will have to wait longer for care, or older patients will have to rely on emergency rooms, increasing costs.

No deficit neutral program

Free lunches are not given out at this store.

Posted by: Paladin7b | July 20, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Instead of criticizing the CBO report maybe these nerds in the Obama Administration could release their own report due today on the current state of the economy. Now they say they won't release it until next month. Is Obama just incompetent or is he hiding the truth from us again?

Posted by: robtr | July 20, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: LoonyLeft: "Anyone who criticizes TheOne, our beloved Messiah, OR ANY OF HIS ACTIONS OR DECREES will be condemned. They will be ostracized from society, they will be labeled a threat to national security, they will be called "unpatriotic", "un-American", "a terrorist" and "a racist","

You've got the wrong president buddy. This is exactly what happened under the Bush administration.



Posted by: tazmodious | July 20, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

THIS IS IT!

The healthcare reform bill released by the House Of Representatives is an excellent bill as I understand it. It's a bill with a strong, robust, government-run public option, and an intelligent, reasonable initial funding plan to cover almost all of the American people. It is carefully written, and thoughtfully constructed, informed, prudent and wise. This bill will save trillions of dollars, and millions of your lives. It is also now supported by the AMA.

This is the type of bill that all Americans can feel good about. And this is the type of bill that has the potential to dramatically improve the quality of healthcare for all Americans. Rich, middle class and poor a like. Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and all other party affiliations. This bill has the potential to dramatically improve the quality of life of every American.

The house healthcare bill should be viewed as the minimum GOLD STANDARD by which all other proposed healthcare legislation should be judged. All supporters of true high quality healthcare reform should now place all your support behind this healthcare reform bill released by the United States House Of Representatives, as the minimum Gold standard for healthcare reform in America.

You should all now support this bill with all your might, and all of your unrelenting tenacity. This healthcare bill is a VERY, VERY GOOD! bill for all of the American people. Fight tooth, and nail for every bit of this bill if you have too. Be aggressive, creative, and relentless for this bill.

From this time forward, go BIGGER and DEEPER with the American people every day until passage of healthcare reform with a robust, government-run public option.

FIGHT!! like your life and the lives of your loved ones depends on it. BECAUSE IT DOES!

SPREAD THE WORD

Senator Bernie Sanders on healthcare (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSM8t_cLZgk&feature=player_embedded)

God Bless You

Jack Smith — Working Class

Posted by: JackSmith1 | July 20, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

THIS IS IT!

The healthcare reform bill released by the House Of Representatives is an excellent bill as I understand it. It's a bill with a strong, robust, government-run public option, and an intelligent, reasonable initial funding plan to cover almost all of the American people. It is carefully written, and thoughtfully constructed, informed, prudent and wise. This bill will save trillions of dollars, and millions of your lives. It is also now supported by the AMA.

This is the type of bill that all Americans can feel good about. And this is the type of bill that has the potential to dramatically improve the quality of healthcare for all Americans. Rich, middle class and poor a like. Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and all other party affiliations. This bill has the potential to dramatically improve the quality of life of every American.

The house healthcare bill should be viewed as the minimum GOLD STANDARD by which all other proposed healthcare legislation should be judged. All supporters of true high quality healthcare reform should now place all your support behind this healthcare reform bill released by the United States House Of Representatives, as the minimum Gold standard for healthcare reform in America.

You should all now support this bill with all your might, and all of your unrelenting tenacity. This healthcare bill is a VERY, VERY GOOD! bill for all of the American people. Fight tooth, and nail for every bit of this bill if you have too. Be aggressive, creative, and relentless for this bill.

From this time forward, go BIGGER and DEEPER with the American people every day until passage of healthcare reform with a robust, government-run public option.

FIGHT!! like your life and the lives of your loved ones depends on it. BECAUSE IT DOES!

SPREAD THE WORD

Senator Bernie Sanders on healthcare (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSM8t_cLZgk&feature=player_embedded)

God Bless You

Jack Smith — Working Class

Posted by: JackSmith1 | July 20, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

The CBO is now doomed. It will shortly be dismantled by the loony-left d-crat socialists:

Achtung! The NEW POLITICAL ORDER IS HERE!

Anyone who criticizes TheOne, our beloved Messiah, OR ANY OF HIS ACTIONS OR DECREES will be condemned. They will be ostracized from society, they will be labeled a threat to national security, they will be called "unpatriotic", "un-American", "a terrorist" and "a racist", they will have to actually pay taxes (unlike loony-left socialist tax-cheats rangle, geithner, caroline "you know" kennedy, olbermann, daschle, killifer, solis, kirk, sebelius and millions of others) and they will be vilified until they succumb to the ONLY ACCEPTABLE POLITICAL VIEW - that of the loony-left socialists.

All hail TheOne! Resistance is futile.

Posted by: LoonyLeft | July 20, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Judd Gregg is full of manure when he claims that half (20 million) of those who are uninsured are young people making $75,000/yr who just spend their money on other things.

This sort of information is available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Let's take a definition of "young people" - be generous - say, anyone under 35.

In 2005, there were 60 million people employed from ages 16-34. So Gregg is saying that fully 1/3 of these don't have health insurance because they spend their money on other things.

In 2005, average wage for those 16-24 was only $13,000. For the 25-34 age group it was $29,000.

So for a combined age group who's average wage is no higher than $29,000 - Gregg is stating not only that at least 33% of these people earn $75,000, but also of these 33%, none of them chose to get health insurance. Since there are plenty of white collar jobs that offer higher pay AND health benefits, and many people are employed with union contracts that stipulate health benefits, Gregg is saying that there has to be a much higher number in the age group than 33% who make $75,000 because many of them aren't included in with the "young people who opt to spend their money on something other than health care insurance" - since they already have it as part of their employment.

So Gregg's numbers stink no matter how you look at it. These are the kind of LIES that the Republicans are trying to use to influence the debate. And, as usual with a Post "reporter", it is printed totally uncritically as "fact".

Posted by: hohandy1 | July 20, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

This is one of the first WaPo articles I've seen that actually reports the democrat's perspectives and attempts to question the CBOs premature estimates.

The vast majority of Post articles has taken the other tack, pointing out all the republican criticisms, all the risks and crises facing the democrats, and generally blaming things on the democrats. Never once have we been provided with the big picture: 5/60 democrats are on the fence, while 40/40 republicans are lock-step against reform.

It is the republicans who are overwhelmingly responsible for blocking reform (as they have in the past), as well as for blocking more specific measures that would constrain costs. Why can't this simple, historical fact be reported?

Posted by: dougd1 | July 20, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

The CBO is handing out numbers on a plan that has not been finalized. In fact, the Senate has yet to realize a plan. How can they say what will or will not happen as far as the money is concerned? Why not wait until the final version is decided upon to come out with whether or not it is deficit-neutral.

And to those who are ranting about government-controlled healthcare - the insurance companies control whether or not you get coverage and whether or not they will pay your claims. Right now, you have a claims adjustor getting between you and your health care. Under a public option, no one can be turned down for a pre-existing condition and claims will be paid. Sounds pretty good to me.

Posted by: sanantoniorose | July 20, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

What Good is Health Care Reform When a Fed-Enabled "Program" Violates the Civil and Human Rights of the Unjustly "Targeted"?

***

FEMA, Secret Service, FBI, the U.S. military and intel agencies are among the federal enablers of volunteer community policing, anti-terrorism and town watch organizations transmogrified by Bush-Cheney into fronts for a nationwide, civilian Gestapo-like army.

This grassroots-based extrajudicial targeting and punishment "torture matrix" uses covertly implanted GPS tracking devices to stalk, harass, vandalize and terrorize unjustly "targeted" Americans and their families.

When "targets" travel, the GPS system alerts local units of this American Gestapo, and the harassment follows. Local police cooperation denies these targeted Americans their Constitutional right of equal protection under the law.

Victims charge that members of this civilian Gestapo have infiltrated the health care system, calling into question the quality of the services they receive when they need hospital or emergency care.

Silent, injury- and illness-inducing microwave and laser radiation "directed energy weapons" are being used to torture, and to degrade the lives of targeted citizens -- what could be described as a quiet, ideologically-motivated genocide.

And companion array of “programs of personal financial destruction — using the IRS as a politial weapon — decimates the finances of “target” families. Their telecommunications and U.S. mail appear to be subject to warrantless surveillance, interception and tampering — including the alteration of financial accounts and credit card and utility billing statements.

This cruel bypass of the American judicial system makes a mockery of the rule of law -- and political "dissidents," "whistle-blowers" and those considered to be social "deviates" are among its prime targets.

Civil rights advocates: Wake up and smell the police state that has co-opted POTUS and a deluded Congress into becoming enablers of vigilante injustice and domestic torture.

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america

OR (if link is corrupted / disabled):

See "GESTAPO USA" at NowPublic.com/scrivener ("stream" or "stories" list).

Posted by: scrivener50 | July 20, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Ignore the facts,trust Obama and the dems..
What a terrible bill and such naked lies this president tells to sell it.None of the dems numbers add up,they are decieving the American people. If their plan is so good then let the American people have a chance to read it and understand it. Call your congressman and insist they read it before they sign on to the destruction of the best healthcare in the world.Do not let them cram another terrible bill through congress in a rush un-read or debated Their stimulas bill scared investors and hurt our economy and job market,their insane spending has weakened the dollar and our ability to borrow.We do need reform but not socialized medicine which is the enevitable result of this stinking bill.OBAMA LIES-AMERICANS WILL DIE

Posted by: mikem12 | July 20, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Health care reform is crucial. It is disturbing that so many have used this as an opportunity to rant in front of the cameras, lie, distort and obstruct what the American people want.
Read where lobbyists doled out $1.4 million over the week end in campaign financing.
Those who are selling us down the river, putting their own special interests, goals and gain above us and our welfare should be tarred and feathered.
We must let the politicians know we will no longer accept politics as usual and expect integrity, honor from them for once.
We cannot let them destroy what is best for the American people.

Posted by: kathlenec | July 20, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Medicare run by the goverment is poor project, because of lack of laws and reviews of costs. The new Health Program by Obama will be worse, and cost more money??? It allows anyone, even not citizens get paid help??? I see many have put there thoughts on this, and the democrats are not reading or listening to the people. I hope it shows at election time. With all the broken promises by Obama this needs to be addresed.

Posted by: ednasmith | July 20, 2009 7:45 AM | Report abuse

If the "Public Option" is such a great thing, why aren't more people on Medicaid?

This is a Massa Obambi "shuck & jive" move to fund a system that has been on the verge of bankruptcy for years.

What part of "No New Taxes" does this administration not understand?

Well, I guess the Obimbno Road show will ramp-up. I wonder, we'll we ever see Debby Smith again? From Annandale? The Obambi shill in the audience?

Nah. The MSM didn't even give King Obambi or the DNC a slap on the wrist. However, they would have crucified the last administration. What we have here is a double-standard.

Posted by: Computer_Forensics_Expert_Computer_Expert_Witness | July 20, 2009 6:30 AM | Report abuse

JackSmith1 - Dream on Mr Jack Smith - The bill you 'understand" is not the final bill. The final legislation doens't exist yet.

Read the article - we are being told to trust congress to come up with a good plan. TRUST THEM ? You have got to be kidding. These are the same people who porked up the Stimulus bill until even the president had to hold his nose while he signed it.

You cannot be a working class person and write such drivel. You gotta be a shill for some rep or senator bub. That or brain dead.

Posted by: AmzgGrce | July 20, 2009 12:31 AM | Report abuse

THIS IS IT!

The healthcare reform bill released by the House Of Representatives is an excellent bill as I understand it. It's a bill with a strong, robust, government-run public option, and an intelligent, reasonable initial funding plan to cover almost all of the American people. It is carefully written, and thoughtfully constructed, informed, prudent and wise. This bill will save trillions of dollars, and millions of your lives. It is also now supported by the AMA.

This is the type of bill that all Americans can feel good about. And this is the type of bill that has the potential to dramatically improve the quality of healthcare for all Americans. Rich, middle class and poor a like. Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and all other party affiliations. This bill has the potential to dramatically improve the quality of life of every American.

The house healthcare bill should be viewed as the minimum GOLD STANDARD by which all other proposed healthcare legislation should be judged. All supporters of true high quality healthcare reform should now place all your support behind this healthcare reform bill released by the United States House Of Representatives, as the minimum Gold standard for healthcare reform in America.

You should all now support this bill with all your might, and all of your unrelenting tenacity. This healthcare bill is a VERY, VERY GOOD! bill for all of the American people. Fight tooth, and nail for every bit of this bill if you have too. Be aggressive, creative, and relentless for this bill.

From this time forward, go BIGGER and DEEPER with the American people every day until passage of healthcare reform with a robust, government-run public option.

FIGHT!! like your life and the lives of your loved ones depends on it. BECAUSE IT DOES!

SPREAD THE WORD

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSM8t_cLZgk&feature=player_embedded)

God Bless You

Jack Smith — Working Class

Posted by: JackSmith1 | July 20, 2009 12:18 AM | Report abuse

Lets review the bidding:

The Democrats agreed to take-off the table any discussion of a fundamental change in the system. (Single payer is the most well-known alternative, although not necessarily the best.)

So we are stuck working through the existing system, which positions the health insurance industry as the gatekeepers and toll collectors.

Now in the "reform" process we discover that, surprise, surprise, it is expensive to expand coverage through our existing system.

And the Republicans argue that we can't expand coverage, it is just too darn expensive. Nice trick if they can get away with it.

Posted by: HuckFinn | July 19, 2009 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Why does it seem as if these politicians want to take away everything from the American people, in order to make everyone dependent upon the government? Its all in the name of POWER.

They will destroy everything that Americans love if they're not stopped. By the way, I ALSO would like to see a copy of BO's REAL birth certificate. WHY is HE HIDING IT FROM THE AMERICAN PEOPLE IF THERE'S NOTHING TO HIDE????

Posted by: tazsigray | July 19, 2009 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Charlie Rangel, what a joke, the man had 4 rent controlled apts in NYC(one is what any other hard working new yorker could even dream to have in a lifetime). Didnt know he had to pay taxes on a rent income from a vacation home, and he's lecturing us on taxes, bugets and health care, ha ha ha ha,
Next thing you know Murtha will be advising us on how to prevent influence peddling, ha ha ha ha. Change you can believe in !!!

Posted by: snapplecat07 | July 19, 2009 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Everyone keep in mind that the bill for the spending passed to date has not been sent out. Everyone is going to start getting bombarded with new taxes of every form imaginable at all levels of government. When you start piling on cap and tax, health care and these other spending programs with no end in sight one wonders where all the money is going to come from. Health care is not an isolated issue.

Fix the economy, restore jobs and then look at how to accomplish goals in a reasonable and fiscally sound basis. Our National debt is now estimated to be between 50 to 60 trillion dollars. Wake up and smell the guano.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | July 19, 2009 8:36 PM
________________________________________________

In addition to what you've already cited, in approximately 2017 - just eight years from now - Social Security will begin paying out more in benefits than it receives in cash from FICA taxes. At that point the IOU's that comprise the so-called "trust fund" will either have to be refinanced (where will we find the dummy investors willing to spring for that?), or general taxes will have to be increased to begin repaying them. The top 10% of earners currently pay 71% of all federal income taxes (which share will increase under Obama's health plan surtaxes): are the Democrats planning to have that 10% begin paying the remaining share while letting the rest of the population freeload even further?

Posted by: stratman1 | July 19, 2009 11:24 PM | Report abuse

"If Congress, who would be forcing us into such a plan, won't have any part of it themselves how can we?"

So...you'd support the plan Congress has for all Americans, right?

Posted by: JohnQuimby | July 19, 2009 11:07 PM | Report abuse

President Obama's gargantuan economy modifying health industry change must not be allowed to go forward! Destruction of our health system is not a pleasant outcome. We have already suffered enough with the OBAMA- STIMULUS BOONDOGGLE! Citizen suffering resulting from health care destruction would be enormous... Nationalizing our health care system is not an option for an American! Let Europe have it. It doesn't work!!!
The absolute imperative is to root out the waste and fraud already stealing funds from us in our system! FIX-IT!
Where are the brains in our Government? Surely we are smart enough with tools to detect an snoop out fraud in medicare, medicaid and other wasteful practices that go on every day in the existing Government
Health Care programs.
As an aside, who among us is insane enough and a risk taker that would even fleetingly consider nationalizing health and trust their health to the Government? Congress has already voted to exclude themselves from such a plan! If Congress, who would be forcing us into such a plan, won't have any part of it themselves how can we?
STOP THE OBAMA-DEMOCRAT INSANE PLAN TO BANKRUPT US NATIONALIZE HEALTH CARE!
If this disgusting thing is forced upon us, mark well who voted for it everywhere so we can vote the traitors out of office!

Posted by: USDefender | July 19, 2009 10:48 PM | Report abuse

dummypants:

I picked up on the same comment from Dr. Deminto. Obama must fail for the GOP to win. It is a declaration of more scorched earth politics. The only reference to health care is how to use it to break Obama.

The Senator knows that a clear majority of the American people voted for fundamental change in health care. As a public servant he is obligated to stop playing politics with our health, come correct and support a viable solution.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | July 19, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Orszag said the only reason the CBO projected the increase in the deficit (around $240 billion over 10 years) was because legislation maintained current payment rates for physicians under Medicare

-------------------------------------------

Someone needs to remind Mr Orszag that cost cutting measures ARE NOT just cutting funding. They need to be FUNDAMENTAL changes to the way we SPEND money. IF we sap more money from Medicare just to cost shift it to private insurance that saves NO ONE. It just shifts costs. This is simple Econ 101 that a former CBO director that wasn't under orders from Obama SHOULD realize.

Look at what Massachussetts is proposing to see TRUE cost cutting measures.

Posted by: visionbrkr | July 19, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Everyone keep in mind that the bill for the spending passed to date has not been sent out. Everyone is going to start getting bombarded with new taxes of every form imaginable at all levels of government. When you start piling on cap and tax, health care and these other spending programs with no end in sight one wonders where all the money is going to come from. Health care is not an isolated issue.

Fix the economy, restore jobs and then look at how to accomplish goals in a reasonable and fiscally sound basis. Our National debt is now estimated to be between 50 to 60 trillion dollars. Wake up and smell the guano.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | July 19, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Everybody, including the Congressional Budget Office, is spouting off about the proposed healthcare reform plan, the exact nature of which is still being debated. Some of the "concern" expressed about how costly it will be revolves around a misunderstanding as to how healthcare is currently funded. Employers pay premiums to businesses that call themselve health insurance companies. In return, health insurance companies provide less and less for more and more money. They follow rules they make up as they go along. A huge fraction of premium money funds administrative costs that attempt to deny benefits to save money, which health insurance companies believe is better consumed by executive compensation and jacking up the stock price. Meanwhile, medical losses that are incurred go to big pharmaceutical companies and lawyers who defend physicians against what often are baseless claims of malpractice. Much effort goes to gaming the system. Little effort goes to improving health. The haves enjoy what they got. The rot at the system's core is of no concern whatever to the haves. And they don't want to help out the have nots.

Posted by: BlueTwo1 | July 19, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

obozo is a fool with a bunch of foolish followers. hope you koolaid drinkers wake up and realize how dumb you are for following this fool into the ruination of the USA.

Posted by: charlietuna666 | July 19, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

They rushed the TARP bail-out and the stimulus through and what have they given us? Big bonuses on Wall street and a huge deficit.

I think health care might benefit from a not-rushed job. Maybe we'd get coverage we can afford that way. Relying on doctors to not pay themselves isn't the way to go.

Posted by: RedBird27 | July 19, 2009 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Obama isnt going to veto anything.

he never worried about substance as much as a feather in his cap, being able to use the word reform in his 2012 campaign.

Posted by: dummypants | July 19, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

demints comments sound so un-american.waterloo,break him.is this what what demint actually thinks of america.this guy should be expelled from the senate today.what a sad little prick.
*********

Un-American? Oh, look who's throwing around jingoistic labels now.

its just a statement of fact. although its a little uncooth for Demint to say it aloud. although democrats are really the last people who could tell people to keep their mouth shuts in order not to be uncooth.

if obama cant get even a watered down health care reform, his already sagging chances of even a watered cap and trade/carbon tax type scheme are shot to hell.

in spite of the fiscal hole obama found himself in, he doubled-down on the idea of new federal programs in health and carbon reductions by saying they were THE way out of the recesssion. if these two initatives go down, he will have to find a new narrative forward in rescuing a still sputtering economy while pretending like his prestigue (what remains of it at that point) is commensurate to the popularity of policy preferences.

thats really what Demint was talking about. this might once and for all make the republicans (not to mention HRC and Mark Penn's) point from the campaign that obama is very popular as long as the discussion doesnt venture into actual policy.

Posted by: dummypants | July 19, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

demints comments sound so un-american.waterloo,break him.is this what what demint actually thinks of america.this guy should be expelled from the senate today.what a sad little prick.

Posted by: donaldtucker | July 19, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Obama will apparently not sign a health care reform bill that is not deficit neutral. So if Congress passes a bill with a public option, 400% subsidies for people coerced into buying their own insurance, taxes on the wealthy and everyone will be insured within a few years, but the bill does not pay for itself, he will veto the bill?

Obama and some Democrats are obsessed with the health care bill being deficit neutral. Yet he and they have no similar concerns about the Obama wars in the Middle East being deficit neutral. Or spending six or seven trillion on military spending over the next decade, or highway spending, or educational spending, or farm subsidies, etc.

However, if there is a health care bill that does not have public option, reduces subsidies to 300% to those mandated to buy health insurance, taxes employer paid health care benefits and largely finances health care expansion on the backs of the elderly, with no tax increases on the wealthy, and the bill is ostensibly deficit neutral, Obama will sign the bill?

How odd and unprogressive indeed.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | July 19, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Not even my parakeet believes this is a deficit-neutral bill. It will be enormously costly. Democratics who say that is not so are lying, plain and simple.

What they are not saying is that it will also reduce the quality of health care in the United States. Stop this craziness now - Obama has already mortgaged our grandchildren's futures on paying of constituents like the UAW. Let's not waste more of their money.

Posted by: hill_marty | July 19, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Orszag is lying through his teeth about how it was always planned to cut Medicare. Obama specifically ran against cutting Medicare and now his puppet is saying that he was always for it. On the campaign trail Obama said cutting Medicare would hurt seniors, so I guess he was either lying then or the way he's reforming healthcare is by killing off seniors.

Posted by: SpanishInquisition | July 19, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Remember when the Post (and Democrats) always referred to the CBO as the "NON-PARTISAN Congressional Budget Office", and accepted its word as gospel on all budget matters. What's changed?

Oh, now I get it. Today it's the Democrats who are looking to bust the budget - with another of their only-semi-funded entitlement programs - and since the CBO isn't providing a positive fiscal report on their effort, it can no longer be referred to as NON-PARTISAN. Apparently the CBO is controlled by Republicans when the Democrats are in power, but is non-partisan when the legislative majorities are reversed.

Posted by: stratman1 | July 19, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Funny, The conservative a few short years ago denounced the CBO findings when they doused cold water on Bush Adms. Iraq war budget projections.

Now they support the CBO.

Posted by: case3 | July 19, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

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