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Morning Bell: Obamacare Puts Transparency and Accountability on Death Bed

Posted By Conn Carroll On September 25, 2009 @ 9:04 am In Ongoing Priorities | Comments Disabled

The New York Times released a new poll [1] today finding that 55% of Americans believe President Obama has not clearly explained his plans for changing the health care system and 59% said they thought the health care changes under consideration in Congress were confusing. In a follow-up interview, Paul Corkery, a Democrat from Somerset, N.J, said: “The Obama administration seems to have a plan, but I’m not understanding the exact details.” Corkery shouldn’t feel that bad. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the independent nonpartisan agency responsible for reviewing legislative initiatives with budgetary implications [2], has no idea what is in the legislation either. During yesterday’s Senate Finance Committee mark-up, the CBO realized only after the vote, that they had made a $600 million mistake [3] in scoring an amendment by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

The issues that the CBO does not have enough information to analyze are not minor either. In letters released on September 22nd, CBO Director Doug Elmendorf told Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-IA) respectively that his agency simply had not been provided with sufficient legislative language and time to analyze whether insurance premiums would go up under Obamacare [4] or how many unauthorized billions of dollars in health benefits illegal immigrants would receive [5].

To ensure that the Senate would actually know what they were voting on, Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) offered an amendment that would have required that actual legislative text, as well as a final Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate of the cost of the bill, be posted for 72 hours on the Senate Finance Committee website for public review before the Senate Finance Committee could vote on its final passage. The Bunning amendment was defeated on a largely party-line vote [6], with all Senate Democrats – with the exception of Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)- voting against it.

Since proponents of Obamacare have shown themselves to be completely indifferent to what their legislation will actually do to the American people, conservatives have offered other amendments that would hold President Obama accountable for his promise that Obamacare would not cause Americans to lose their current doctor or health care coverage:

  • Sen. Cornyn (R-TX) offered an amendment that would have required the Secretary of HHS to certify that at least 75 percent of the physicians in the United States would accept Medicaid patients before the proposed mandatory Medicaid expansions are implemented. That amendment was defeated. [6]
  • Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) offered an amendment that would have required the Secretary of HHS to certify Obamacare would not cause more than 1,000,000 Americans to lose the current coverage of their choice. That amendment failed on a party line vote. [6]
  • Another Hatch amendment provided that if the Medicare funding reductions in the Medicare Advantage program were to result in a loss of benefits for seniors using Medicare Advantage, those provisions would be nullified. That amendment was also rejected. [7]

The majority in the Senate has completely gutted any semblance of transparency or accountability in the health care debate. They refuse to provide the legislative language and time necessary for the CBO to analyze their legislation and they have rejected all measures that would protect the Americans people from Obama’s broken health care promises. Common sense dictates that Congress needs to step back and start over [8] instead of passing a plan that would reorganize one-sixth of our entire economy without even understanding what the consequences to average Americans would be.

Quick Hits:

  • According to a new New York Times poll [9], the percentage of Americans who approve of President Obama’s handling of the economy had dropped from 61% in April to 50% today while the percentage of people who approve of the way he has dealt with Afghanistan has dropped to 44% from 56% in April.
  • White House adviser Paul Volcker today criticized the Obama administration’s sweeping financial regulatory reform proposals, specifically one that he warned could lead to future bailouts [10] by designating certain firms as “too big to fail.”
  • Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez told the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday that he smells “hope” not sulfur in the United States now that Obama is President, and he later told reporters he “felt there was chemistry” [11] between him and Obama.
  • Documents released Thursday show that leaders of the ACORN community organizing network transferred several million dollars in charitable and government money meant for the poor [12] to arms of the group that have political and sometimes profit-making missions.
  • Today’s Featured Guest Blogger [13] on The Foundry: Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX) on how trade is critical to US economy.

Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org

URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2009/09/25/morning-bell-obamacare-puts-transparency-and-accountability-on-death-bed/

URLs in this post:

[1] new poll: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/25/us/politics/25poll.html?_r=1&hp

[2] the independent nonpartisan agency responsible for reviewing legislative initiatives with budgetary implications: http://www.cbo.gov/

[3] had made a $600 million mistake: http://www.redstate.com/erick/2009/09/24/congressional-budget-office-makes-a-600-million-mistake/

[4] whether insurance premiums would go up under Obamacare: http://cboblog.cbo.gov/?p=363

[5] unauthorized billions of dollars in health benefits illegal immigrants would receive: http://cboblog.cbo.gov/?p=364

[6] defeated on a largely party-line vote: http://www.foundry.org/2009/09/24/obamacare-day-one-finance-committee-amendments/

[7] That amendment was also rejected.: http://www.foundry.org/2009/09/24/live-from-the-senate-finance-committee-markup-%E2%80%A6/

[8] Congress needs to step back and start over: http://www.foundry.org/2009/09/09/morning-bell-step-back-and-start-over-on-health-care/

[9] new New York Times poll: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/25/us/politics/25poll.html?_r=1&ref=todayspaper

[10] could lead to future bailouts: http://abcnews.go.com/Business/obama-econ-adviser-volcker-doubts-presidents-plan/story?id=8661238

[11] “felt there was chemistry”: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gPu8EgHGlyGKM1PBIvgqD0xbtFFAD9ATVB0G0

[12] transferred several million dollars in charitable and government money meant for the poor: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/24/AR2009092404249.html

[13] Featured Guest Blogger: http://www.foundry.org/2009/09/24/guest-blogger-congressman-kevin-brady-r-tx-on-trade-critical-to-us-economy/

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