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Archive for March, 2010


MEDICARE REIMBURSEMENT RATES 2010 Update 08: The House passed legislation

(H.R.4851) to delay until 1 MAY the 21% cut in Medicare payments to

doctors now scheduled for 1 APR and forwarded the bill to the Senate. The intent

was to allow more time for Congress (which went on a two-week recess 26 Mar) to

work out a longer-term fix. But a Senate effort to approve the bill quickly by a

“unanimous consent” procedure hit a snag when Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) refused to

consent. Under Senate rules, any senator can object to bringing a bill to the

floor for action. Coburn objected on the grounds that the cost of the bill is

not offset by other spending reductions. Senate leaders could not work out an

agreement on 26 MAR, the last day before their scheduled two week Easter recess.

Thus, the 21% cut will take effect prior to their return on 12 APR. Ironically,

the Senate already passed a six month fix two weeks ago (H.R.4213), but the

House didn’t agree with the funding for the bill and in turn passed only a

one-month fix.

Failure to reach an agreement on an extension on the eve of the

congressional two-week Easter recess could prove detrimental to

Medicare beneficiaries even if Congress applies a retroactive solution when they

return in mid-April. Doctors have become weary of the increasing number of

short-term patches applied by Congress rather than a long-term solution. Some

are already limiting the number of patients who use these programs.

Congress has to find a way to end these monthly crises under which

millions of Medicare beneficiaries are held hostage to the

prospect of devastating payment cuts that will cause their doctors to stop

seeing them. [Source: MOAA Leg Up 26 Mar 2010 ++]

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HEALTH CARE REFORM Update 25:
National health care reform has a key new

benefit for families that will not apply to military families enrolled in the

Tricare health insurance program. A key expansion of benefits in the Patient

Protection and Affordable Care Act, H.. 3590, is a requirement for health

insurers to cover unmarried children up to the age of 26 who are carried on the

policy of a parent. This change, like the rest of the bill, does not apply to

Tricare, according to Defense Department and congressional sources. But

congressional aides, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said several

lawmakers have begun investigating how to alter Tricare so that it also covers

older children who do not have their own coverage. A change is being considered

for inclusion in the 2011 defense authorization bill, which the House and Senate

armed services committees will begin writing later this year. Currently, Tricare

covers unmarried children up to age 23 if they are attending college or up to 21

if they are not. Tricare spokesman Austin Comacho said he could not give a

definitive statement about whether Tricare’s age limit for children would be

changed. “The only thing we can be sure of is that there will be no adverse

impact to our beneficiaries,” he said.

Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense, released a statement on 21 MAR2010

which stated: “Our troops and their families can be re-assured that the health

care reform legislation being passed by the Congress will not negatively impact

the Tricare medical insurance program. In the interim, Rep. Martin Heinrich

(D-NM) introduced a bill on 25 MAR that would extend TRICARE health coverage to

dependent children from age 23 to age 26. The Comptroller estimates this

additional cost would be in excess of $600 million per year. The TRICARE

Dependent Coverage Extension Act (H.R.4923), would require Defense to provide a

key benefit created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act President

Obama signed into law which allows parents to keep dependent children on family

health insurance plans up to age 26. TRICARE is governed by Title 10 of the U.S.

Code and is not affected by the new health care law. H.R.4923 would amend Title

10 to reflect the new requirement, which would take effect 1 OCT 2010. [Source:

NavyTimes Rick Maze & GovExec.com Today articles 22 & 25 Mar 2010 ++]

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HEALTH CARE REFORM Update 26:
Here are the effective dates of major

provisions of the health care overhaul legislation approved 21 MAR:

90 days after enactment:

• Provide immediate access to high-risk pools for people with no insurance for

at least six months because of pre-existing conditions.

• Impose a 10% excise tax on indoor tanning for services provided on or after

1 JUL 2010

Six months after enactment:

• Bar insurers from denying people coverage when they get sick.

• Bar insurers from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions.

• Bar insurers from imposing lifetime caps on coverage.

• Require insurers to allow people to stay on their parents’ policies until

they turn 26.

Nine months after enactment – 50% of the donut hole will be covered. Eventually,

the health care reform bill will close the donut hole entirely

Within A Year:

• Provide a $250 rebate this year to Medicare prescription drug beneficiaries

whose initial benefits run out when they enter the donut hole.

• Require new insurance policies to cover certain preventive-care measures

with no out-of-pocket cost to the consumer.

• Require Insurance companies to stop imposing lifetime coverage limits on

your insurance.

• Sharply limit annual caps on your insurance.

• Require Insurers with unusually high administrative costs to offer rebates

to their customers, and every insurance company has to reveal how much it spends

on overhead.

2011:

• Require individual and small group market plans to spend 80% of premium

dollars on medical services. Large group plans would have to spend at least 85%.

• Taxes begin being levied on drug manufacturers.

• Physicians’ Medicare fees will be cut more than 25% unless the sustainable

growth rate is permanently repealed by Congress; –

• Initiate Medicare bonus of 10%over five years for primary care and general

surgery (family medicine, internal medicine, geriatrics and pediatrics)

2012 – Businesses must file Form 1099s for all business-to- business

transactions of $600 or more.

2013 :

• Increase the Medicare payroll tax and expand it to dividend, interest and

other unearned income for singles earning more than $200,000 and joint filers

making more than $250,000.

• Require public reporting of physician performance to begin.

• Begin testing Medicare pilot programs care payments based on “quality over

quantity” of services rendered.

• Make fewer medical expenses tax deductible.

• Raise wage taxes from 1.45% to 2.35%; – New tax of 3.8 percent levied on

unearned income streams like interest and dividends; – New tax of 2.9 percent

on medical device sales.

2014:

• Provide subsidies for families earning up to 400% of poverty level,

currently about $88,000 a year, to purchase health insurance.

• Require most employers to provide coverage or face penalties.

• Require most people to obtain coverage or face penalties for noncompliance.

• Create state insurance exchanges for individuals and small businesses to

purchase coverage.

• Prohibit Insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing

conditions.

• Expand Medicaid to all Americans under age 65 earning up to 133% of the

federal poverty level.

• Increase Subsidies for some small business providing coverage to employees.

2015 – Initiate independent Payment Advisory to make recommendations for cutting

Medicare costs.

2016:

• Penalties for individuals refusing to purchase insurance rise to 2.5% of

taxable income or $695, whichever is greater.

• Multi-state compacts allowed to sell policies across state lines

2018 – Impose a 40% excise tax on high-end insurance policies.

2019 – Expand health insurance coverage to 32 million people.

[Source: Speaker of the House, Congressional Budget Office, Kaiser Family

Foundation via McClatchy Newspapers article 21 Mar 2010 ++]

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HEALTH CARE REFORM Update 27: The Obama Administration’s health-care reform,

which passed 219-212 in the House of Representatives 21 MAR and has been signed

into law by the President, will lead to significant changes in the way millions

of people find and buy health insurance. Advocates for consumers and patients

hailed the overhaul’s passage. “While the new reforms won’t solve all the

problems in our nation’s broken health-care system, they will go a long way

toward achieving the goal of affordable, reliable health care for all

Americans,” Jim Guest, chief executive of Consumers Union, said in a statement

after the vote. Immediately following President Barack Obama’s signing of the

bill 12 states filed a lawsuit challenging several provisions of the new law.

The suit alleges, among other things, that unfunded state Medicaid mandates and

forcing individuals to purchase health insurance are unconstitutional. The

lawsuit was filed by the participating states’ attorneys general and names the

U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Treasury and Labor. States

joining in the lawsuit include Alabama, South Carolina, Florida, Louisiana,

Nebraska, Texas, Michigan, Utah, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Washington and

Colorado. In the interim here’s an outline of what you can expect depending on

your employment, income, health and lifestyle factors. The exact timing of

several provisions has yet to be determined:

• If you have employer-sponsored coverage: Any lifetime caps on how much your

health plan will cover, often set between $1 million and $5 million, will be

eliminated in both group and individual health plans starting later this year.

Employers will have to disclose the cost of workers’ health coverage on their

W-2 tax forms starting in 2011.

• If you have a small business: Small firms starting this year may be eligible

for new tax credits that would cover up to 35% of health-insurance premiums for

businesses that have fewer than 25 employees. Workers at small businesses

eventually will be able to buy policies on new health-insurance exchanges, where

health benefits will have to meet a new minimum standard.

• If you’re uninsured: Over the next 10 years, the bill will extend coverage

to an estimated 32 million people who would otherwise lack coverage. It does

this by expanding the government safety net and providing subsidies for low- and

moderate-income people without employer health benefits to buy private plans on

health-insurance exchanges, which are due to start in 2014. For the first time,

all citizens and legal residents will have to buy health insurance — with

financial aid from the government if they can’t afford it, on a sliding scale up

to 400% of the poverty line — or face a penalty starting in 2014, with some

exceptions for low-income people. The amounts are set to rise annually,

beginning with a fine of $95 or 1% of income, whichever is greater, and growing

to as much as $695 or 2.5% of taxable income by 2016.

• If you’re low-income: The law significantly expands Medicaid, the

federal-state health program for the poor, making it available to an estimated

16 million more people with incomes up to 133% of the federal poverty level.

Adults without dependent children will qualify for the first time. In addition,

community health centers, on which many of the working poor rely, will receive

enhanced funding.

• If you’re a young adult: Starting six months after enactment, kids can stay

on their parents’ policies until age 26. Individuals younger than 30 who don’t

have insurance also will have the option of buying catastrophic coverage on the

exchanges, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Tax-related changes

• If you have a flexible-spending account for health expenses: Nothing changes

for three years. A $2,500 cap on contributions to these accounts, which allow

users to sock away money pretax to spend on qualified health expenses, appears

likely to go into effect in 2013. The cap will receive annual cost-of-living

adjustments.

• If you have a health savings account (HSA) or Archer medical savings

account: In 2011, the penalty for withdrawing funds for nonqualified medical

expenses increases to 20% from 10% for HSAs and from 15% for Archer MSAs.

• If your earned or investment income exceeds $200,000: In about two years,

the Medicare payroll tax will rise nearly 1 percentage point to 2.35% on wages

of individuals with earnings greater than $200,000 and married couples earning

more than $250,000. A new 3.8% Medicare tax will be levied on investment income

including interest, dividends and capital gains that exceed those thresholds.

• If you itemize deductions for income tax: Starting in 2013, medical expenses

have to reach 10% of your adjusted gross income to qualify for a tax deduction,

as opposed to today’s 7.5% standard. But seniors age 65 and older would be able

to claim an itemized deduction at 7.5% of income through 2016.

• If you have high-cost health insurance: A so-called Cadillac tax of 40% on

plan administrators offering the richest job-based health benefits will take

effect in the next few years and apply to the amount of annual premiums

exceeding $10,200 for individuals or $27,500 for families. The thresholds are

higher for retirees and workers in certain high-risk jobs.

Medicare, preventive care and tanning

• If you have Medicare: This year, beneficiaries with the Part D drug benefit

who fall into the coverage gap that for 2010 is between $2,700 and $6,154 of

spending will receive a $250 rebate. In 2011, those who hit the gap will receive

a 50% discount on their brand-name drugs. The so-called doughnut hole gradually

will close by 2020.

• If you take advantage of preventive care: Full coverage for some services is

slated to take effect in six months. At that time, all new insurance policies

will have to make certain preventive-care visits and screenings exempt from

health plans’ deductibles and other cost-sharing.

• If you go to a tanning salon: A 10% excise tax on indoor tanning may kick as

early as this summer for services provided on or after 1 JUL 2010.

[Source: Wall Street Journal MarketWatch Kristen Gerencher article 22 Mar 2010

++]

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I read this article and couldn’t believe the reasoning behind the latest crude price increase. It just screws us all and puts a drag on the recovery so speculators can make a killing thanks to the fed keeping interest rates low causing a weak dollar.

I’m thinking the Fed should raise the interest rates a little as low rates keep the dollar weak but creates higher oil and gasoline prices which put a drag on consumer spending which in turn keeps job increases low as companies don’t need to hire because there isn’t any consumer demand because there is no spending. If the dollar is strong, oil/gasoline prices decrease giving more money to consumers to make purchases. This latest increase in oil and gasoline on the market seems to be speculators since the dollar is weak, there is a surplus of crude inventory and weak job news and they just blow it off. They just want to make money so they are driving up the cost. Just my opinion.
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Oil rises near $84 with weak US dollar

Oil settles near $84 as dollar weakens and investors shrug off weak employment report

Deborah Jian Lee, AP Energy Writer, On Wednesday March 31, 2010, 3:17 pm EDT

Oil prices rose near $84 a barrel Wednesday as the dollar weakened and oil traders shrugged off weak job news and a bigger-than-expected build in crude inventories.

Benchmark crude for May delivery climbed by $1.39 to settle at $83.76 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

“The bottom line is this is just a market that’s advancing in a relatively thin pre-holiday atmosphere,” said oil analyst Jim Ritterbusch. “The market is zeroing in on the fact that the dollar is weak.”

Even a surprisingly poor jobs report didn’t pull down oil prices. Payroll company ADP said employers slashed 23,000 private-sector jobs in March. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters forecast the report would show employers added 40,000 jobs during the month.

“This bad employment report reinforces the notion that interest rates will stay low for a longer period of time, thereby putting downward pressure on the U.S. dollar and upward pressure on oil prices,” said Phil Flynn, an analyst with PFGBest.

Flynn expects the Fed will not raise interest rates until the job market improves. The weaker greenback makes crude oil cheaper for holders of other currencies.

Crude prices trimmed some gains after the Energy Information Administration said crude inventories rose by 2.9 million barrels last week. Analysts expected a build of 2.65 million barrels.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama said there should be more oil and gas drilling off the East Coast, in the Gulf of Mexico and in waters off Alaska. The plan modifies a ban in place for more than 20 years that limited drilling along coastal areas other than the Gulf of Mexico.

Flynn called the news “a very positive long-term story for the oil markets,” but said it’s too far into the future to move oil markets today.

A number of energy companies could eventually be involved in the new offshore areas, although investors did not rush to buy shares, many of those companies showed modest gains. The AMEX Oil Index, comprised of a dozen major oil companies and refiners, rose about five points, or a half of a percentage point. The Philadelphia Oil Service Sector Index, which tracks shares of 15 companies in that sector, gained more than 1 percent.

At the pump, retail gasoline prices edged up. The national average rose less than a penny to $2.798 a gallon, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. A gallon of regular unleaded is 9.3 cents more than it was a month ago and 75 cents above the price a year ago.

In other Nymex trading in April contracts, heating oil rose 3.99 cents to settle at $2.1646 a gallon, and gasoline gained 3.53 cents to settle at $2.31 a gallon.

Wednesday is the last day for trading the April heating oil and gasoline contracts, and most traders have switched over to May contracts. May heating oil rose 4.74 cents to settle at $2.1790 a gallon, and May gasoline added 3.51 cents to settle at $2.3072 a gallon.

Natural gas for May delivery fell 10.4 cents to settle at $3.869 per 1,000 cubic feet.

In London, Brent crude rose $1.42 to settle at $82.70 on the ICE futures exchange.

Associated Press writers Pablo Gorondi in Budapest, Hungary and Alex Kennedy in Singapore contributed to this report.

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How Did Your Representative Vote on Health Care?

Updated: 4 hours 57 minutes ago AOL News / AP

(March 22) — The House of Representatives approved a sweeping health care reform bill without a single Republican vote Sunday night. The legislation passed by the Senate in December cleared the House by a 219-212 vote, with 34 Democrats joining 178 Republicans in opposition. (There are four vacancies in the 435-member House.)

Check the list below to see how your House member voted. If you don’t know who represents you in Congress, click here and enter your ZIP Code. To see how your representative voted on the Reconciliation Act to make changes in the Senate bill, see this list. That measure passed 220-211.

ALABAMA

Democrats — Bright, N; Davis, N.

Republicans — Aderholt, N; Bachus, N; Bonner, N; Griffith, N; Rogers, N.

ALASKA

Republicans — Young, N.

ARIZONA

Democrats — Giffords, Y; Grijalva, Y; Kirkpatrick, Y; Mitchell, Y; Pastor, Y.

Republicans — Flake, N; Franks, N; Shadegg, N.

ARKANSAS

Democrats — Berry, N; Ross, N; Snyder, Y.

Republicans — Boozman, N.

CALIFORNIA

Democrats — Baca, Y; Becerra, Y; Berman, Y; Capps, Y; Cardoza, Y; Chu, Y; Costa, Y; Davis, Y; Eshoo, Y; Farr, Y; Filner, Y; Garamendi, Y; Harman, Y; Honda, Y; Lee, Y; Lofgren, Zoe, Y; Matsui, Y; McNerney, Y; Miller, George, Y; Napolitano, Y; Pelosi, Y; Richardson, Y; Roybal-Allard, Y; Sanchez, Linda T., Y; Sanchez, Loretta, Y; Schiff, Y; Sherman, Y; Speier, Y; Stark, Y; Thompson, Y; Waters, Y; Watson, Y; Waxman, Y; Woolsey, Y.

Republicans — Bilbray, N; Bono Mack, N; Calvert, N; Campbell, N; Dreier, N; Gallegly, N; Herger, N; Hunter, N; Issa, N; Lewis, N; Lungren, Daniel E., N; McCarthy, N; McClintock, N; McKeon, N; Miller, Gary, N; Nunes, N; Radanovich, N; Rohrabacher, N; Royce, N.

COLORADO

Democrats — DeGette, Y; Markey, Y; Perlmutter, Y; Polis, Y; Salazar, Y.

Republicans — Coffman, N; Lamborn, N.

CONNECTICUT

Democrats — Courtney, Y; DeLauro, Y; Himes, Y; Larson, Y; Murphy, Y.

DELAWARE

Republicans — Castle, N.

FLORIDA

Democrats — Boyd, Y; Brown, Corrine, Y; Castor, Y; Grayson, Y; Hastings, Y; Klein, Y; Kosmas, Y; Meek, Y; Wasserman Schultz, Y.

Republicans — Bilirakis, N; Brown-Waite, Ginny, N; Buchanan, N; Crenshaw, N; Diaz-Balart, L., N; Diaz-Balart, M., N; Mack, N; Mica, N; Miller, N; Posey, N; Putnam, N; Rooney, N; Ros-Lehtinen, N; Stearns, N; Young, N.

GEORGIA

Democrats — Barrow, N; Bishop, Y; Johnson, Y; Lewis, Y; Marshall, N; Scott, Y.

Republicans — Broun, N; Deal, N; Gingrey, N; Kingston, N; Linder, N; Price, N; Westmoreland, N.

HAWAII

Democrats — Hirono, Y.

IDAHO

Democrats — Minnick, N.

Republicans — Simpson, N.

ILLINOIS

Democrats — Bean, Y; Costello, Y; Davis, Y; Foster, Y; Gutierrez, Y; Halvorson, Y; Hare, Y; Jackson, Y; Lipinski, N; Quigley, Y; Rush, Y; Schakowsky, Y.

Republicans — Biggert, N; Johnson, N; Kirk, N; Manzullo, N; Roskam, N; Schock, N; Shimkus, N.

INDIANA

Democrats — Carson, Y; Donnelly, Y; Ellsworth, Y; Hill, Y; Visclosky, Y.

Republicans — Burton, N; Buyer, N; Pence, N; Souder, N.

IOWA

Democrats — Boswell, Y; Braley, Y; Loebsack, Y.

Republicans — King, N; Latham, N.

KANSAS

Democrats — Moore, Y.

Republicans — Jenkins, N; Moran, N; Tiahrt, N.

KENTUCKY

Democrats — Chandler, N; Yarmuth, Y.

Republicans — Davis, N; Guthrie, N; Rogers, N; Whitfield, N.

LOUISIANA

Democrats — Melancon, N.

Republicans — Alexander, N; Boustany, N; Cao, N; Cassidy, N; Fleming, N; Scalise, N.

MAINE

Democrats — Michaud, Y; Pingree, Y.

MARYLAND

Democrats — Cummings, Y; Edwards, Y; Hoyer, Y; Kratovil, N; Ruppersberger, Y; Sarbanes, Y; Van Hollen, Y.

Republicans — Bartlett, N.

MASSACHUSETTS

Democrats — Capuano, Y; Delahunt, Y; Frank, Y; Lynch, N; Markey, Y; McGovern, Y; Neal, Y; Olver, Y; Tierney, Y; Tsongas, Y.

MICHIGAN

Democrats — Conyers, Y; Dingell, Y; Kildee, Y; Kilpatrick, Y; Levin, Y; Peters, Y; Schauer, Y; Stupak, Y.

Republicans — Camp, N; Ehlers, N; Hoekstra, N; McCotter, N; Miller, N; Rogers, N; Upton, N.

MINNESOTA

Democrats — Ellison, Y; McCollum, Y; Oberstar, Y; Peterson, N; Walz, Y.

Republicans — Bachmann, N; Kline, N; Paulsen, N.

MISSISSIPPI

Democrats — Childers, N; Taylor, N; Thompson, Y.

Republicans — Harper, N.

MISSOURI

Democrats — Carnahan, Y; Clay, Y; Cleaver, Y; Skelton, N.

Republicans — Akin, N; Blunt, N; Emerson, N; Graves, N; Luetkemeyer, N.

MONTANA

Republicans — Rehberg, N.

NEBRASKA

Republicans — Fortenberry, N; Smith, N; Terry, N.

NEVADA

Democrats — Berkley, Y; Titus, Y.

Republicans — Heller, N.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Democrats — Hodes, Y; Shea-Porter, Y.

NEW JERSEY

Democrats — Adler, N; Andrews, Y; Holt, Y; Pallone, Y; Pascrell, Y; Payne, Y; Rothman, Y; Sires, Y.

Republicans — Frelinghuysen, N; Garrett, N; Lance, N; LoBiondo, N; Smith, N.

NEW MEXICO

Democrats — Heinrich, Y; Lujan, Y; Teague, N.

NEW YORK

Democrats — Ackerman, Y; Arcuri, N; Bishop, Y; Clarke, Y; Crowley, Y; Engel, Y; Hall, Y; Higgins, Y; Hinchey, Y; Israel, Y; Lowey, Y; Maffei, Y; Maloney, Y; McCarthy, Y; McMahon, N; Meeks, Y; Murphy, Y; Nadler, Y; Owens, Y; Rangel, Y; Serrano, Y; Slaughter, Y; Tonko, Y; Towns, Y; Velazquez, Y; Weiner, Y.

Republicans — King, N; Lee, N.

NORTH CAROLINA

Democrats — Butterfield, Y; Etheridge, Y; Kissell, N; McIntyre, N; Miller, Y; Price, Y; Shuler, N; Watt, Y.

Republicans — Coble, N; Foxx, N; Jones, N; McHenry, N; Myrick, N.

NORTH DAKOTA

Democrats — Pomeroy, Y.

OHIO

Democrats — Boccieri, Y; Driehaus, Y; Fudge, Y; Kaptur, Y; Kilroy, Y; Kucinich, Y; Ryan, Y; Space, N; Sutton, Y; Wilson, Y.

Republicans — Austria, N; Boehner, N; Jordan, N; LaTourette, N; Latta, N; Schmidt, N; Tiberi, N; Turner, N.

OKLAHOMA

Democrats — Boren, N.

Republicans — Cole, N; Fallin, N; Lucas, N; Sullivan, N.

OREGON

Democrats — Blumenauer, Y; DeFazio, Y; Schrader, Y; Wu, Y.

Republicans — Walden, N.

PENNSYLVANIA

Democrats — Altmire, N; Brady, Y; Carney, Y; Dahlkemper, Y; Doyle, Y; Fattah, Y; Holden, N; Kanjorski, Y; Murphy, Patrick, Y; Schwartz, Y; Sestak, Y.

Republicans — Dent, N; Gerlach, N; Murphy, Tim, N; Pitts, N; Platts, N; Shuster, N; Thompson, N.

RHODE ISLAND

Democrats — Kennedy, Y; Langevin, Y.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Democrats — Clyburn, Y; Spratt, Y.

Republicans — Barrett, N; Brown, N; Inglis, N; Wilson, N.

SOUTH DAKOTA

Democrats — Herseth Sandlin, N.

TENNESSEE

Democrats — Cohen, Y; Cooper, Y; Davis, N; Gordon, Y; Tanner, N.

Republicans — Blackburn, N; Duncan, N; Roe, N; Wamp, N.

TEXAS

Democrats — Cuellar, Y; Doggett, Y; Edwards, N; Gonzalez, Y; Green, Al, Y; Green, Gene, Y; Hinojosa, Y; Jackson Lee, Y; Johnson, E. B., Y; Ortiz, Y; Reyes, Y; Rodriguez, Y.

Republicans — Barton, N; Brady, N; Burgess, N; Carter, N; Conaway, N; Culberson, N; Gohmert, N; Granger, N; Hall, N; Hensarling, N; Johnson, Sam, N; Marchant, N; McCaul, N; Neugebauer, N; Olson, N; Paul, N; Poe, N; Sessions, N; Smith, N; Thornberry, N.

UTAH

Democrats — Matheson, N.

Republicans — Bishop, N; Chaffetz, N.

VERMONT

Democrats — Welch, Y.

VIRGINIA

Democrats — Boucher, N; Connolly, Y; Moran, Y; Nye, N; Perriello, Y; Scott, Y.

Republicans — Cantor, N; Forbes, N; Goodlatte, N; Wittman, N; Wolf, N.

WASHINGTON

Democrats — Baird, Y; Dicks, Y; Inslee, Y; Larsen, Y; McDermott, Y; Smith, Y.

Republicans — Hastings, N; McMorris Rodgers, N; Reichert, N.

WEST VIRGINIA

Democrats — Mollohan, Y; Rahall, Y.

Republicans — Capito, N.

WISCONSIN

Democrats — Baldwin, Y; Kagen, Y; Kind, Y; Moore, Y; Obey, Y.

Republicans — Petri, N; Ryan, N; Sensenbrenner, N.

WYOMING

Republicans — Lummis, N.
Filed under: Nation, Politics, Health

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This is a note found posted on Facebook
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Health Care bill passes, what a sad time for our country. My rant.

Today at 12:58am
I hope our country survives. Our representatives that won’t listen to us, will not reply to us, have voted to pass this supposed health care reform. I am ashamed of it, but I am registered as a Democrat. I believe in helping my fellow man but this is ridiculous. This bill is not reform. It does nothing to address the rampant prescription drug costs or the ever increasing insurance premiums or any other aspect of the health care industry that is the true cause of the health care crisis. All this bill does is expand medicaid with taxpayer money and special pork projects, such as a new multi billion dollar medical center for UConn.
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Here is an article listing some of the pork. http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory?id=10091470

‘The Senate-approved health measure lawmakers hope to send to Obama soon would steer $600 million over the next decade to Vermont in added federal payments for Medicaid and nearly as much to Massachusetts.

Connecticut would get $100 million to build a hospital. About 800,000 Florida seniors could keep certain Medicare benefits. Asbestos-disease victims in tiny Libby, Mont., and some coal miners with black lung disease or their widows would get help, and there are prizes for Louisiana, the Dakotas and more states.

“We’re going to do what we have to do to get a bill out of the House and Senate,” said James Manley, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. As for Obama’s wish list of deletions: “We’ll certainly keep it in mind as we pull together a final bill.”‘
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Now, what pisses me off is the fact that this bill just throws more money at medicaid, expanding is drastically and cutting medicare payments to providers. What does this mean for us? Insurance companies determine their payments to your doctor and health care providers based on the medicare amount. If medicare payments are cut, your insurance will pay less to your doctor/health providers giving you a larger bill to pay after your co-pays. Plus, many economists/mathematicians have stated the so-called reductions to pay for this pork-filled bill will only cover a small percentage of what this bill will cost. What does this mean? Taxes for the working class will eventually be increased to pay for the cost. Our taxes will increase. The only good thing about this bill is the fact that those with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied and it increases the lifetime amount of your benefit your insurance company has to provide you. Other than that, it is not reform. With less money being paid to providers by medicare and the insurance companies, some will close their practice, lay people off, etc. This bill doesn’t take into account its consequences. It was just thrown together and shoved down everyone’s throats just so the democrats can give themselves a pat on the back and have a “talking point” to try to win re-election. what a crock.

So, now comes my rant. My wife, who works for a health care provider, was told they will face layoffs if this bill is passed or if the medicare payments are cuts. I’m hoping my wife can keep her job.
BUT, what pisses me off is the fact that I have a job. It doesn’t pay much and for a family of four, well really barely make it. In fact, with the increase in our last electric and gas bill, I didn’t have enough to pay my van payment. Now it is going into the repo stage because at midnight on the 23rd, it will be officially 2 months behind. I don’t have the money for it because the rent is due out of my next check. I don’t qualify for any help because I make just a little too much.
I feel that I work hard in a stressful job for my money to try to raise my family but what pisses me royally are the people that make welfare a career. They are too lazy to work. The most are able bodied but won’t work or are too damn stupid to get a job and we pay for them and their big screen tv’s. Our taxes give them money to “live on” every month, food stamps for their food (they eat better than me), pays their rent each month, clothing vouchers, utility assistance,free school lunches and free, 100 percent with no co-pay medical insurance and our government representatives just made this group of people bigger by passing their bill.
These people have better stuff than I do. Better cars, bigger TV’s, better clothes, better cell phones and service plans and the list goes on and they do it by screwing the system and lying about everything on the government forms. The so-called welfare reform under Clinton did nothing. You still get more money every time you breed with the childbirth bills paid in full. You still get to collect your check after the “3 years” passes. I am just fed up.

Case in point, a woman who lives in a government housing development calls for a police officer because she and her boyfriend (who isn’t on the lease but has been living with her for the last 3 months) are in an argument because he has been drinking. He gets angry and throws her cell phone into the big screen tv breaking it. She is upset because the small child they have together (paid for by taxpayers) had to witness this argument and her tv and cell phone is busted. She called on her apartment land-line phone for assistance. He then leaves in his car (with out of state plates because that state doesn’t require vehicle inspections.) She wants a report because the tv is a rental and she will have to have a report for the rental company.

Hell, I can’t afford a land line phone at my house, I’m lucky to make the monthly rent payment, utility payments, auto insurance payments, car payments,etc. After paying, or trying to pay all of my monthly bills, I’m lucky to afford food let alone new clothes, TV’s, electronics, etc. This is what pisses me off and our representatives just added to it.

I’m sorry but this to mean does not seem fair and I am voting against my representatives the next time they come up for re-election. Senator Rockefeller and Congressman Mollohan do you hear me now???

I just don’t think this is reform at all, it is just more government spending and with all of the spending in the last ten years by our government, we can’t afford this. We are going to be in the same boat that Greece is in very soon. Our debt vs our GDP is getting closer and closer which basically means we are on the brink of bankruptcy. Ok, I think my rant is over.

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Rep. Jason Altmire Decides to Vote ‘No’ on Health Care Bill – AOL News.

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This video explains how the Fed and the Bankers have rigged the game to screw the taxpayer!

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I have thought about the health care reform the Dems are trying to pass. It may have some good ideas, but the bottom line is more government spending. Representative Dennis Kucinich, one of the most liberal in Congress voted no on the first attempt and still opposes these bills. This should make people question why one of the Dems own is so adamantly against this bill. His reasoning was it does nothing to address the insurance premiums that keep going higher and higher. It doesn’t address any of the health care problems such as rampant prescription drugs, insurance premiums and all facets of health care. For the government to throw money at health care, which is basically what they are doing, will do nothing other than put our country closer to bankruptcy and four years down the road make it hard on the states after the government “help” for medicare runs out.
I have always thought that there are two major factors at the root of the health care problem. Welfare and Illegal Aliens. The welfare reform under President Clinton was a joke. Supposedly after three years of being on the welfare rolls you were to be “retrained” for a new job, you couldn’t get any extra money for having additional children, etc. Yeah, right. There are still career welfare recipients collecting, recipients having kids to get more money and people basically screwing the system by lying to and cheating the State and Federal governments. Another problem is medicaid for these welfare recipients. I don’t know of anyone who has an insurance plan that pays 100 percent with no co-pays, except medicaid. Even Medicare has co-pays without real prescription coverage as the majority don’t qualify for it.
So why is it that social security recipients on medicare have co-pays while welfare recipients do not. A lot of welfare recipients get more money monthly than some social security recipients but yet they have free health care and free prescription drugs and the majority abuse the system with their non emergency ambulance rides to the emergency rooms.

So, the first health care problem reverts to welfare/medicaid. There needs to be true welfare reform in this country instead of just throwing money at medicaid thereby expanding it and those that are on welfare should be working at government funded programs. It would not hurt these recipients to be a “gopher” for a highway construction crew or the flagman just to give you an idea.

The second problem would be illegal aliens. I say aliens and not immigrants because they are not immigrants. They are criminals who are in our country illegally. If there were 500 Arabs here in our country illegally, people would be raising hell. So why is it with the hundreds of thousands of illegals from Mexico in our country, they call it illegal immigration and offer them welfare and free health care to them and their families? Mexicans are no different than an Arab, Asian or European in our country illegally. They are criminals and should be deported and told to come back when they obtain a Visa and/or take the legal steps to come to our country legally. To allow them to remain here is a slap in the face of every immigrant that came to our country legally before them.

To figure out the problem the states will face with expanded medicaid and allowing illegals to remain and have welfare and health care for free, one only has to look at the financial mess in the state of California. The state could save billions if they would cut welfare/medicaid to illegals. They could save billions more by deporting all of the illegals in the state including the ones in the prison system. Of course you have those that argue the illegals do jobs that no one else will. How do we know this? If the job was available and somebody needed work, especially in this economy, I believe there are those that would jump at the chance to work.

Yes we need real health care reform but it needs to start with welfare, medicaid and immigration reform. Then the entire health care field needs to be looked at as far as ways to contain medical costs including but not limited to prescription medication costs, insurance premiums, hospital charges, medical clinics and medical equipment costs. Both parties need to work together and come up with a viable plan that benefits everyone and not just the lower income and poor. The taxpayers are overburdened already and it is just a matter of time before taxes will increase to payoff all of the bailouts under Presidents Bush and Obama.
It appears that nothing was learned from the great depression when the government threw money at the economy then with no change for over a decade in unemployment and jobs. The same is holding true now. The government has thrown all of this money at the economy while saying how many jobs it has save and how it avoided bank collapse. Well, Unemployment is at ten percent and banks are still closing every month. They tell us that spending was up for February and it shows the recession is over. I beg to differ. Spending was up in February because people received their tax refunds. Housing is still down and went down again last month. Gasoline is going back up which will stall any hope of a recovery because people do not have the money to spend after paying the higher prices. The government most likely manipulates the statistics so we hear what they want to tell us. One can only wonder what the true unemployment rate is, those that no longer receive benefits because they ran out, those who are underemployed, those who have given up and the list goes on. I am anxious to see what the statistics are for March that the government releases. So far there has not been any reform on Wall Street or in Banking like was promised. It is more of the same, meanwhile, speculators continue to drive up the cost of oil and gasoline because there sure isn’t any demand for it.

I am ashamed of my representatives and their out of control spending. I want better for my children and grandchildren than a huge bill payable in full when they reach adulthood. The buck stops here. Everyone needs to contact their Congressional representatives and the White House and demand better. If you are like me, then you are tired of the shenanigans in Washington and tired of them living the high life with the lobbyists. We need to send a message to them that the party is over.

I am a registered Democrat but soon to switch to Independent.

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