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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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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.
==============================================================
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.”‘
==============================================================
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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Reid and company giving us coal for Christmas


As a registered Democrat, I am ashamed of my party. I don’t like the Republican party either. Both parties only care about “political victories” and staying in power. Case in point is this screwing the dems are trying to push thru and calling it health care. I don’t like the government forcing me to do something like they will force so many Americans into taking on health insurance that they may not be able to afford and if they don’t, then fining them a minimum of $750 per year.
I guess that is how Obama and company are going to pay for their “stimulus” bill when it comes due. It is time to revolt and kick both parties out. Where is a viable third party when we need it? Here is an article that says it all. check it out below. Harry Reid is giving us all coal for Christmas while giving the dems a “political victory” gift. They don’t care what’s in the bill, just want to get it passed and rammed down our throats. Ashamed of my government. Who cares what “we the people” think. Plus, a Democrat defects due to this healthcare fiasco. check it out here: Defecting Dem
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* REVIEW & OUTLOOK
* DECEMBER 21, 2009, 5:13 P.M. ET

Change Nobody Believes In
A bill so reckless that it has to be rammed through on a partisan vote on Christmas eve.
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And tidings of comfort and joy from Harry Reid too. The Senate Majority Leader has decided that the last few days before Christmas are the opportune moment for a narrow majority of Democrats to stuff ObamaCare through the Senate to meet an arbitrary White House deadline. Barring some extraordinary reversal, it now seems as if they have the 60 votes they need to jump off this cliff, with one-seventh of the economy in tow.

Mr. Obama promised a new era of transparent good government, yet on Saturday morning Mr. Reid threw out the 2,100-page bill that the world’s greatest deliberative body spent just 17 days debating and replaced it with a new “manager’s amendment” that was stapled together in covert partisan negotiations. Democrats are barely even bothering to pretend to care what’s in it, not that any Senator had the chance to digest it in the 38 hours before the first cloture vote at 1 a.m. this morning. After procedural motions that allow for no amendments, the final vote could come at 9 p.m. on December 24.

Even in World War I there was a Christmas truce.

The rushed, secretive way that a bill this destructive and unpopular is being forced on the country shows that “reform” has devolved into the raw exercise of political power for the single purpose of permanently expanding the American entitlement state. An increasing roll of leaders in health care and business are looking on aghast at a bill that is so large and convoluted that no one can truly understand it, as Finance Chairman Max Baucus admitted on the floor last week. The only goal is to ram it into law while the political window is still open, and clean up the mess later.
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• Health costs. From the outset, the White House’s core claim was that reform would reduce health costs for individuals and businesses, and they’re sticking to that story. “Anyone who says otherwise simply hasn’t read the bills,” Mr. Obama said over the weekend. This is so utterly disingenuous that we doubt the President really believes it.

The best and most rigorous cost analysis was recently released by the insurer WellPoint, which mined its actuarial data in various regional markets to model the Senate bill. WellPoint found that a healthy 25-year-old in Milwaukee buying coverage on the individual market will see his costs rise by 178%. A small business based in Richmond with eight employees in average health will see a 23% increase. Insurance costs for a 40-year-old family with two kids living in Indianapolis will pay 106% more. And on and on.

These increases are solely the result of ObamaCare—above and far beyond the status quo—because its strict restrictions on underwriting and risk-pooling would distort insurance markets. All but a handful of states have rejected regulations like “community rating” because they encourage younger and healthier buyers to wait until they need expensive care, increasing costs for everyone. Benefits and pricing will now be determined by politics.

As for the White House’s line about cutting costs by eliminating supposed “waste,” even Victor Fuchs, an eminent economist generally supportive of ObamaCare, warned last week that these political theories are overly simplistic. “The oft-heard promise ‘we will find out what works and what does not’ scarcely does justice to the complexity of medical practice,” the Stanford professor wrote.

• Steep declines in choice and quality. This is all of a piece with the hubris of an Administration that thinks it can substitute government planning for market forces in determining where the $33 trillion the U.S. will spend on medicine over the next decade should go.
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This centralized system means above all fewer choices; what works for the political class must work for everyone. With formerly private insurers converted into public utilities, for instance, they’ll inevitably be banned from selling products like health savings accounts that encourage more cost-conscious decisions.

Unnoticed by the press corps, the Congressional Budget Office argued recently that the Senate bill would so “substantially reduce flexibility in terms of the types, prices, and number of private sellers of health insurance” that companies like WellPoint might need to “be considered part of the federal budget.”

With so large a chunk of the economy and medical practice itself in Washington’s hands, quality will decline. Ultimately, “our capacity to innovate and develop new therapies would suffer most of all,” as Harvard Medical School Dean Jeffrey Flier recently wrote in our pages. Take the $2 billion annual tax—rising to $3 billion in 2018—that will be leveled against medical device makers, among the most innovative U.S. industries. Democrats believe that more advanced health technologies like MRI machines and drug-coated stents are driving costs too high, though patients and their physicians might disagree.

“The Senate isn’t hearing those of us who are closest to the patient and work in the system every day,” Brent Eastman, the chairman of the American College of Surgeons, said in a statement for his organization and 18 other speciality societies opposing ObamaCare. For no other reason than ideological animus, doctor-owned hospitals will face harsh new limits on their growth and who they’re allowed to treat. Physician Hospitals of America says that ObamaCare will “destroy over 200 of America’s best and safest hospitals.”

• Blowing up the federal fisc. Even though Medicare’s unfunded liabilities are already about 2.6 times larger than the entire U.S. economy in 2008, Democrats are crowing that ObamaCare will cost “only” $871 billion over the next decade while fantastically reducing the deficit by $132 billion, according to CBO.

Yet some 98% of the total cost comes after 2014—remind us why there must absolutely be a vote this week—and most of the taxes start in 2010. That includes the payroll tax increase for individuals earning more than $200,000 that rose to 0.9 from 0.5 percentage points in Mr. Reid’s final machinations. Job creation, here we come.

Other deceptions include a new entitlement for long-term care that starts collecting premiums tomorrow but doesn’t start paying benefits until late in the decade. But the worst is not accounting for a formula that automatically slashes Medicare payments to doctors by 21.5% next year and deeper after that. Everyone knows the payment cuts won’t happen but they remain in the bill to make the cost look lower. The American Medical Association’s priority was eliminating this “sustainable growth rate” but all they got in return for their year of ObamaCare cheerleading was a two-month patch snuck into the defense bill that passed over the weekend.

The truth is that no one really knows how much ObamaCare will cost because its assumptions on paper are so unrealistic. To hide the cost increases created by other parts of the bill and transfer them onto the federal balance sheet, the Senate sets up government-run “exchanges” that will subsidize insurance for those earning up to 400% of the poverty level, or $96,000 for a family of four in 2016. Supposedly they would only be offered to those whose employers don’t provide insurance or work for small businesses.

As Eugene Steuerle of the left-leaning Urban Institute points out, this system would treat two workers with the same total compensation—whatever the mix of cash wages and benefits—very differently. Under the Senate bill, someone who earned $42,000 would get $5,749 from the current tax exclusion for employer-sponsored coverage but $12,750 in the exchange. A worker making $60,000 would get $8,310 in the exchanges but only $3,758 in the current system.

For this reason Mr. Steuerle concludes that the Senate bill is not just a new health system but also “a new welfare and tax system” that will warp the labor market. Given the incentives of these two-tier subsidies, employers with large numbers of lower-wage workers like Wal-Mart may well convert them into “contractors” or do more outsourcing. As more and more people flood into “free” health care, taxpayer costs will explode.

• Political intimidation. The experts who have pointed out such complications have been ignored or dismissed as “ideologues” by the White House. Those parts of the health-care industry that couldn’t be bribed outright, like Big Pharma, were coerced into acceding to this agenda. The White House was able to, er, persuade the likes of the AMA and the hospital lobbies because the federal government will control 55% of total U.S. health spending under ObamaCare, according to the Administration’s own Medicare actuaries.

Others got hush money, namely Nebraska’s Ben Nelson. Even liberal Governors have been howling for months about ObamaCare’s unfunded spending mandates: Other budget priorities like education will be crowded out when about 21% of the U.S. population is on Medicaid, the joint state-federal program intended for the poor. Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman calculates that ObamaCare will result in $2.5 billion in new costs for his state that “will be passed on to citizens through direct or indirect taxes and fees,” as he put it in a letter to his state’s junior Senator.

So in addition to abortion restrictions, Mr. Nelson won the concession that Congress will pay for 100% of Nebraska Medicaid expansions into perpetuity. His capitulation ought to cost him his political career, but more to the point, what about the other states that don’t have a Senator who’s the 60th vote for ObamaCare?
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“After a nearly century-long struggle we are on the cusp of making health-care reform a reality in the United States of America,” Mr. Obama said on Saturday. He’s forced to claim the mandate of “history” because he can’t claim the mandate of voters. Some 51% of the public is now opposed, according to National Journal’s composite of all health polling. The more people know about ObamaCare, the more unpopular it becomes.

The tragedy is that Mr. Obama inherited a consensus that the health-care status quo needs serious reform, and a popular President might have crafted a durable compromise that blended the best ideas from both parties. A more honest and more thoughtful approach might have even done some good. But as Mr. Obama suggested, the Democratic old guard sees this plan as the culmination of 20th-century liberalism.

So instead we have this vast expansion of federal control. Never in our memory has so unpopular a bill been on the verge of passing Congress, never has social and economic legislation of this magnitude been forced through on a purely partisan vote, and never has a party exhibited more sheer political willfulness that is reckless even for Washington or had more warning about the consequences of its actions.

These 60 Democrats are creating a future of epic increases in spending, taxes and command-and-control regulation, in which bureaucracy trumps innovation and transfer payments are more important than private investment and individual decisions. In short, the Obama Democrats have chosen change nobody believes in—outside of themselves—and when it passes America will be paying for it for decades to come.

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here is the link to this story: Harry Reid and Obamacare

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