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  • Morning Bell: A Health Bill Nobody Believes In

    Last Saturday night Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) forced through a vote on her 2,032 page health care bill only a few days after releasing it to the public. Now Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is poised for another Saturday night cram down, forcing a Senate cloture vote mere days before his 2,074 page bill was given to Senators. Yet again, Congress will be forced to vote on a bill that none of them have actually read. More importantly, as we pour through the details, it becomes obvious that none of them even believe the plan will do what the bill says.

    Kills Jobs: All told, the Reid Bill raises taxes by $370.2 billion over the next ten years with many of those taxes starting to be collected this year while unemployment is at 10.2% and rising. Worse, the bill includes a job killing employer mandate which taxes companies for hiring people. Specifically, companies with more than 50 employees that do not offer a health plan approved by federal bureaucrats will be forced to pay a $750 per employee job tax.

    Hurts Small Businesses: The Reid Bill acknowledges it is terrible public policy for small businesses and tries to address this problem by including a “small business tax credit” to minimize the impact of the job killing employer mandates and regulation-caused rises in private health insurance premiums. But the tax credit only lasts two years and largely excludes small business owners, small businesses with high-average payrolls, and firms with 25 or more workers. After all exclusions, essentially the only eligible firms are those firms with 10 or fewer workers as well as those with low-income workers—the least likely to offer coverage even with a significant price reduction.

    Hurts Families: The Reid Bill includes an individual mandate that forces any American who does not have a federal bureaucrat approved health plan to pay an annual tax penalty of $750 per adult family member and $375 per child, with a maximum penalty of $2,250 per family. These penalties are indexed for inflation, which means they are likely to increase nearly every year. These taxes are fixed amounts based on family size, not income. A family of at least two adults and two children is actually worse off under the Senate bill if they make less than $99,350 a year. The only nod to affordability is a “hardship exemption” if the lowest available premium for a bare-bones plan is more than 8 percent of your income. But that saves you money only if your income is less than $28,125 a year.

    Hurts Poor: The Reid Bill’s employer mandate is especially punitive on poor families. Firms that hire an employee from a low-income family who qualify for an insurance subsidy are charged a tax penalty of $3,000. So a company could save $3,000 by hiring, say, someone with a working spouse or a teenager with working parents, rather than a single mother with three children. Worse, companies only have to pay $750 an employee instead of $3,000 if one quarter of employees are low-income. This creates a situation where, if a company has a lot of low-income workers, they can actually save money by dropping their health plan and just dumping all their employees into the federal exchange at their own expense.

    Hurts States: The Reid bill expands Medicaid eligibility for people below 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). Even with a provision aimed at Senator Landrieu’s Louisiana that picks up some state costs, the CBO estimates that state spending under the Medicaid provisions will still increase by $25 billion. The Democratic Governor of Tennessee Phil Bredesen told a state budget meeting this Wednesday: “I wish every member of Congress would have to come sit in this room and listen to the real world of what’s going on in Medicaid today. I mean how can you listen to this stuff and the stuff you are talking about eliminating just to get through this and then talk about adding a whole bunch of new expenses onto the states.”

    Funds Abortion: Unlike the House-passed Stupak-Pitts amendment which treats abortion funding the same way the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan does (the same health insurance all members of Congress have), the Reid Bill fosters taxpayer funding of elective abortion by authorizing the HHS Secretary to create a funding scheme that will permit inclusion of abortion coverage in the bill’s public option and mandates the inclusion of at least one plan with elective abortion coverage in each state’s health insurance exchange.

    Hides True Costs: According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Reid Bill as written would spend less than $900 billion over the next ten years. But the CBO is only allowed to score what Congress says it will do, not what everybody knows it actually will do. So the CBO warns: “These longer-term calculations assume that the provisions are enacted and remain unchanged throughout the next two decades which is often not the case for major legislation … The long-term budgetary impact could be quite different if key provisions of the bill were ultimately changed or not fully implemented.” The Senate bill depends on using cuts to Medicare to pay for its $1.2 Trillion coverage expansion. These dramatic savings, of course, assume that these spending cuts stay intact. Nobody believes they will. And the Massachusetts experience proves just that. Harvard Medical School Dean Dr. Jeffrey Flier explains:

    There are important lessons to be learned from recent experience with reform in Massachusetts. Here, insurance mandates similar to those proposed in the federal legislation succeeded in expanding coverage but—despite initial predictions—increased total spending.

    Selling an uncertain and potentially unwelcome outcome such as this to the public would be a challenging task. It is easier to assert, confidently but disingenuously, that decreased costs and enhanced quality would result from the current legislation.

    That is exactly what the Reid health care bill is: a completely disingenuous plan to increase coverage while reducing cost. Nobody believes Congress can or will follow through with spending cuts required to keep this scheme from bankrupting our country. That is why the AMA can support Obamacare despite the fact that both the House and Senate bills call for at least a 21% cut in doctor pay starting in 2011. Nobody believes those cuts are going to happen. Nobody believes in this bill.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    51 Responses to Morning Bell: A Health Bill Nobody Believes In

    1. jim toledo says:

      Is everybodies head ready to explode? I mean how can anyone with any intelligence vote for something like this? It's not a good bill because you can't understand it, it's expensive, it doesn't do alot to fix 'healthcare', it's riddled with taxes and fees, and how doesn't anyone really know what the cost is or will be. Why should I pay for someones abortion. This whole thing is wrong; the approach, the contents, the cost and the responsibilities. All those in favor should be tarred and feathered.

    2. Danny/Fla says:

      Dear Morning Bell: In Concidering a healthbill, let us at least look at it ,and know what is in the Bill. Sure we need a American system, of Freedom, Liberty- and affordable medical coverage- it can give many more years of happiness, and a productive life style. If There is anything in the bill that it not honest. Well to give up your freedom, and i would mention a Country (yours) you, face a downward spiral. Can you adopt to something that the very lifeblood of Americans died for- Wake up, and get on tract.

    3. Gail, Amarillo, Texa says:

      The President, the Senate Majority Leader and the Speaker of the House must really despise the middle class and the poor. Our employment rate is rising and will continue to rise. So, the projected costs do not factor in the loss of revenues from the job losses directly related to the Healthcare Bill.

      What I am noticing in the news is the obvious anti-female bent of the legislation. First we get hit with non scientific information about when mammograms must be done. Then we go to pap smears. Then we have taxes and rules that hurt single mothers. There has been no mention of decreasing screenings for men. I am not a feminist. I am a retired RN and understand healthcare very well.

      Women are greater consumers of healthcare because of what happens to their bodies and their responsibility for taking care of the healthcare issues of children and relatives, often parents. What happens to the families that have the elderly living with them? Do they count as adults in the household? Does this increase the tax penalties?

      Pray for the nation. We cannot afford this burden.

    4. CSD Arlington, TX says:

      What can we do to stop this Health Care debacle? We, the American citizens, DO NOT want this. This bill interferes with our quality of life, length of life, choices in our life and many other rights that we have. We have written our representatives begging not to pass this. Is anyone listening? My husband and I are both cancer survivors because of the wonderful health care that we have. Under Obama care, we would both be cancer ridden or even dead by now. Because I had my regular mammograms, starting in my 40's, my breast cancer was found early, treated and now I am a 6 year survivor. My husband's prostate cancer was detected in early in his 40's and he is a 10 year survivor. WE are the results of our current health care system. The same one that Obama wants to demonize in order to pass his own self consumed agenda. This HC is NOT in the best interest of the American citizens, but a claim to history for Obama. Let's call it what it is!

      CSD

    5. George Grover says:

      Why should I believe what the Heritage Foundation's Opinion is anymore than I should the Obama Administration's? The American Public has been lied to and taken advantage of by both parties, the media and our major corporations for the last six decades. Is there an honest person in any position of authority left in America or have we turned into aa nation of bigots, thiefs and con artists. I am tired and disappointed in, but still love my country, but I do not feel than any of the above have any feeling or understanding of the plight of the average American.

      Mr, G

    6. Ken Jarvis - Las Veg says:

      MORE – SCARE TACTICS HEADLINES

      A Health Bill Nobody Believes In.

      WRONG!!!

      I belive in it.

      LVKen7@Gmail.com

    7. Proud citizen says:

      Ha! Soon we won't have to go for those darn mammograms and other tests until we are 80 years old! That will free up money for all the non citizens to have free health care! Canandians will no longer come to the USA for their procedures, our population will drop (dead) and our tax dollars (from those lucky enough to have jobs) can go for our fine leader to go beg for money to pay off our national debt! We have to bring the Gitmo bay mess to the World Trade Center area to rub it in our fire fighters, policemen, and loved ones noses and pay for "fair trial" for our enemies!God bless America!

    8. Mary, WI says:

      Doesn't anything the House and Senate are doing qualify for treason? The way they continue to destroy the United States of America and turn it into a socialized country would seem to fall under the category of treason. Why do liberals hate this country so much? I say find the evidence and try them ALL for treason. They're ALL liars and cheats!

      On a different note….where did all that "stimulus money" go that claimed to create jobs for so many people in FALSE Districts? Give it back to the American people! If my household was run the way this administration is spending OUR money I'd be living on the street……could still happen if this spending frenzy doesn't STOP!!

    9. George Grover, Shawn says:

      Conservative values. I have asked many of my friends who claim to be conservative to explain their values to me. To date, none have been able to articulate them in an understandable manner. does the Heritage Foundation have a statement of conservative values?

      Mr G

    10. Donald, Milwaukee WI says:

      As a small business owner, I am adamantly against either the House or Senate versions of the Health Bill. They will bankrupt this country. Lets address the issues. Tort reform and guaranteed coverage.

    11. Bill Sr. Jacksonvill says:

      It just blows my mind that we are still debating this foolish legislation.

      If it weren't for the media promoted success of the liberal progressives who had been waiting for years to come up with an attractive cover for their deceptive and radical anti-America and anti-capitalism agenda in order to sell the make believe hope and change we so needed in Washington we wouldn't be in the position of doing something so stupid as passing bills to allow the government to enter our homes, our work place, our children’s classrooms, our doctors examining room with us, and set all the rules of behavior for us.

      Are we really so dumbed down that we actually believe this concept of our freedom and democracy is essential political conversation for Americans??

      What's happened to us? This is a nightmare come true and we refuse to wake up to the reality of domestic political terrorism.

    12. Richard Cancemi, Arl says:

      When will these moronic ideologues learn that they are not Rulers! They have ignored the People for so long that they have forgotten that they are Servants of the People. I believe this to be a result of not having term limits.

      They sit in their positions and grow 'roots.' The public needs to STOP voting these hooligans into those 'seats' over and over. Lack of term limits contributes to corruption!

      If any congressman has not been given the time to read AND digest what is in a Bill, he should vote 'NO' for the sake of the people and not succumb to Party pressure.

      The overwhelming majority of the people do not want the Government running Medicine! They do not want the Government running ANYTHING beyond the limited mandates of the Constitution.

      Progressive/Socialists sneer at the Constitution and prefer a Marxist Government in which they govern EVERY aspect of peoples' lives!

      They need to be stopped! They need to be voted out of office.

      People need to wake up and vote AMERICAN! Voters need to stop voting blindly along Party lines!

    13. Christopher Popham S says:

      "A Health Bill That Nobody Believes In".

      Now that is clearly the understatement of the year!

      Again, most Congressmen and Senators have not read the bill. It is estimated that it would take 32 hours to read! So we are being made to believe that 60 senators, again on a Saturday night, will vote for legislation that they have not even read! And time and again you all vote these corrupt, arrogant and inept individuals back into office.

      Well, America, you deserve what you'll get…higher taxes, mandates, rationing, over 100 new governmnt

      bureacracies to 'oversee' the mandates, AND do not

      forget, that should you refuse to participate in this government controlled health care system, then you can be fined and/or be imprisoned!

      A health bill that nobody believes in? If they pass

      this bill, it will be just the beginning of your loss of liberties and freedoms—the tip of the

      iceberg. AND, it's all unconstitutional. Rise up

      America, before it's too late.

    14. Mike Brownfield says:

      George,

      In response to your question about whether The Heritage Foundation has a statement of conservative values, the short version is this: free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.

      For more information, visit our "First Principles" page at http://www.heritage.org/Research/index_fp.cfm. You would also be interested in Matthew Spalding's new book, "We Still Hold These Truths" which discusses America's founding principles.

      Our blog has a series of videos on his book, the latest being at http://www.foundry.org/2009/11/19/we-still-hold….

      You can read more about the book at: http://www.westillholdthesetruths.org/

      Thanks for reading The Foundry!

    15. Bob, Houston Tx says:

      This is best example that facts do not matter its only about the political agenda. This legislation will negatively affect every American.

    16. Lloyd Scallan - New says:

      We all know the truth about this diastrous attempt to destory our way of life. NOW is the time to do what we have to to stop this before it goes any further. Like so many other Senators, my

      Senator, Mary Landrieu, just got bought off by the

      Democrats with more "pork" for Louisiana. Traders like this most be removed from Washington. We will do everything necessary to see to it that she, and other DEMORATS, will be stopped, if they vote for this bill.

    17. Dennis A. Social Cir says:

      This is business as usual for reid, pelosi and the head puppet obama. They all know if the true bill is read people will fight to keep it from passing. I hope each person will let their senators know what is expected, be it dems or rep, flood the phones, e-mail and in person if possible. This is wrong for us, and the country. I hope all the dems will be put in the street in 2010, and the republicans will be put on notice, this is a government of the people, by the people and for the people.We must let all know that we will no longer be pushed around and called names.

    18. Lloyd Scallan - New says:

      George Grover – If your "conservative friends" cannot explain that our values mirror what America is all about (freedom and liberty), then either you don't want to hear what they are saying, or you need to choose other friends. But, if your have to ask that question, then you wouldn't understand the answer anyway.

    19. Bob Veigel, Arlingto says:

      Why would anyone believe what habitual liars say? The current administration is made up of incompetent and ignorant and anti-American people. People who are intent on destroying America.

    20. Ben C, Ann Arbor says:

      Thank you Mike for your response to George

      While I doubt it will do any good I will send yet another letter to my Senators and Representative condeming their legistative actions. It is clear they have little regard for the long term implications of their actions. They and I will be long gone when our country is bankrupt – but my now seven year old daughter will be faced with the consequences of their actions. For this I hold them in contempt.

    21. Charles, Texas says:

      The claim is 31 million more people will be covered at a cost of $848 billion over 10 years (as currently written). This translates as over $27,000 per newly insured person. I can buy my own private insurance for less than this.

      You would think the "buying power" of a nation could get a price break. Instead the only things getting broken are the bank and health care.

      In my opinion, if you like government run health care, move to Canada. You can come back and visit the US and use our privately run healthcare system when you actually want to spend your money and be taken care of in a timely fashion.

      Why do so many people think that healthcare should be free? Nothing worthwhile ever is.

    22. Judith in Michigan says:

      The most obscene part of this proposed "health care reform" bill is that those in Congress have exempted themselves. I would demand that each and every one of them state, in public, WHY?

      I would also like to know if their families are going to be forced into government care, or are they under the exemption umbrella.

      And George, Mr. Brownfield answered your question about Conservative values ver well. I'd like to add one more important value.

      Personal Responsibility. Do you understand what that means?

    23. joan, connecticut says:

      Our US Senators and congressmen, take the oath of office, swearing to Uphold and Defend the Constitution of the United States. Recently, two senators were asked about the US constitution's role in the current debate. Senator Akaka- Hawaii and Senator Ben Nelson-Nebraska declined to answer because they were not Constitutional scholars. WHAT! How do they defend a document while having no knowledge of it's meaning? What we can be sure of is that these two and many others in their group do study faithfully,and that is how to keep their jobs by cow-towing to ethnic groups and to K Street lobbyists. The two Senators, I mentioned are not alone in this subterfuge by any stretch of the Imagination. We know the majority of them do not read the bills they sign, with all the pork they contain. They have fooled us for far too long, and it's time to let them know by insisting on term limits, and to vote them out in the next election. Our Constitution, is a great document written by great men, and has served America for too many years only to have Washington charlatans destroy it. Write your Senators and congressmen, before it's too late, let them know The USA is a Republic and we do not agree on the Socialistic attitude prevailing in Washington.

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    28. Joe says:

      Charles from Texas writes:

      "The claim is 31 million more people will be covered at a cost of $848 billion over 10 years (as currently written). This translates as over $27,000 per newly insured person. I can buy my own private insurance for less than this."

      Charles, you're bad at math. That's 27k over 10 years, or $2,700 per year. Now, go out and find individual coverage for less than that.

      You say you can? Now try it with a pre-existing condition. Good luck.

      I'm not saying this reform legislation is great. But when a company whose main goal is profit is deciding whether I can or cannot access health care, there is a conflict of interest.

    29. Ron derry NH says:

      A more apt headline would be a congress no one believes in but the insane.

      This is what a fascist dictatorship does; force votes with no meaning with binding legislation to a debt no one can control but the centralized government stooges that will profit from the demise of a once proud and independent country.

      Control goes to the elite and capitulation becomes your option, not choice, not liberty and certainly not freedom.

      This has been a 40 year assault on responsibility and human value by the Democrats, culminating in the servitude to debt principles they are laying the permanent foundation for.

      No where have I ever seen such arrogance of purpose to destroy the very foundation of our country by such elitists with an aim to secure all monetary flow under government scrutiny and direction. This is so third world to force votes on such important issues without debate or READING and comprehending the calamity it may instill for generations to come.

      Without debate, or understanding of a bill we have no senatorial value and they have become pawns for a forced agenda against sensible comprehension of its impact.

      Pelosi and Reid are menaces to America.

      We are lost……and the insane can sing their praises as the ship sinks for its cargo is ignorance, arrogance and failure to trust in each other.

    30. OH says:

      THE PELOSI AND REID HEALTHCARE BILLS WILL BREAK THE BACKS OF THE AMERICAN TAXPAYERS. THE UNITED STATES WILL NEVER BE THE SAME. IT IS THE MEMBERS OF CONGRESS WHO SHOULD BE JAILED, NOT THE CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES.

    31. Ella QUINN N.C. says:

      Jim Toledo,YES MY HEAD IS ABOUT TO EXPLODE.This bill is terrible.They are crazy and mean to do this to us.Lets stop them, they are not our boss,they are employed by us.Down with this adminstration, no obama care.

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    36. francena m ortt, rom says:

      I have thought and listened to any program or show that has discussed this issue and written several times. I want to know what can change the way Washington works and have begun to think that the only way is for a National referandum on Term Limits is the only way we can get these people out of office. As long as they send Millions to their own districts the people will continue to vote them in for years even tho they know the people they are electing are destroying our country.

      My husband and I have both gone thru cancer and I lost my beloved Dave after an 8 year fight with stomach cancer and if we had this health care in the past he would have been denied the 8 years of testing and treatment because stomach cancer is consider fatal. The 8 years I had were priceless. We had to give up our life insurance because of our medical bills and we had paid for insurance until we were 65 and it was very difficult, but we did it. Why are others not doing the same?

      As far as the outcry of pre-existing conditions, for the most part of people were covered all along they would have been covered. With the exception of thoes who had lost their jobs. Let just find a way to care for thoes people and not the dead beats. Then stop the fraud NOW. If its going to be so easy after the health care bill, Whats Holding Them back NOW.

      thanks for your time

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    38. Bobbie Jay says:

      A Health Bill Nobody "with a brain" Believes In.

      Conservatives value life as individual and individuals are in control of their own. In order to be free and independent, conservatives value government for matters out of our control. We value individuals living up to the responsibilities that keep us FREE from government dependency. We value freedom of choice and equal human rights. Conservatives valuen civil law. The only law equal to all mankind. conservatives value the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, that holds no bias, discrimination, racism, favortism. We value opportunities of individual interest and not a forced drive from government to meet government's minority mandated quota. We value the strength of the individual. Not the government teat or it's suckers…and a whole lot more, George.

    39. Carol, AZ says:

      THANK YOUR HERT. F. FOR THE EXCELLENT ARTICLE.

      I WILL NOT PAY FOR THIS HEALTH CARE PROPOSAL IF ENACTED INTO LAW.

      I HAVE PAID FOR PRIVATE INS FOR YEARS BECAUSE OF RATIONED HEALTH CARE AS A MILTARY SPOUSE.

      NO PROBLEM;

      I WORKED FOR 30 YEARS SO MY FAMILY COULD HAVE DECENT COVERAGE.

      SO IF I GO TO JAILED IN PROTEST OF THIS INSANITY AS "ONE OF 80%" OF AMERICANS, WHO ALSO PAYS FOR H.C. INS ,

      AND 80% OF YOU JOIN ME IN PROTEST OF THIS INSANITY WHILE THE CLASS ACTION SUIT GOES TO COURT, THAT WILL BE THE ONLY WAY THIS MADNESS WILL END..

      IT IS THE BIGGEST EXECUTIVE BRANCH OF GOV'T "TAKE OVER" IN THE HISTORY OF OUR COUNTRY.

    40. Dean-Texas/Alaska says:

      Not about "health care," this is a Marxist takeover, sponsered by the Liberal loonies. If mankind survives to age of actual intelligence, all these "leaders" would be in a asylum for the criminally insane.

    41. Ron, IL says:

      Im a business student and have read the bill my self at opencongress.org

      The good

      *Creates clear terms and a central website for insurance comparison.

      *Consumer choice is increased by ensuring PRICE competition

      and accessible data.

      *Attempts to provide incentives for wellness programs

      The bad

      *It encourages states to create a consumer protection agency

      to help with insurance claims. Sounds nice but states are already over expanded. Maybe a better option would be something similar to an L3C organizational structure.

      *The size of the legislation will make it necessary for business to consult with legal advisors/professionals.

      *and many many others

      I dont have time to comments more but READ the legislation. Please provide more than soundbits! im not for or against the bill however REFORM will happen. I rather have a BAD reform than no reform

    42. TerryP, Nebraska says:

      Joe, you are right Charles numbers were a little off, but your numbers are also off. Actually the cost over the first ten years the benefits are fully paid out are roughly $2.5 trillion. Divide that by 31 million and you get over $80,000 per person or roughly $8,000/year/person. I am currently paying less then that for a family of four so yes we certainly could find cheaper insurance then what they are proposing.

      Here is a better idea. A simple one page bill allowing people to buy insurance across state lines that wouldn't cost the gov't one dime would likely increase insurance coverage by over ten million, decrease insurance costs by billions and probably in the trillions over ten years, and thus jump start our economy, which will help in many other ways. Obviously there would have to be some other things that could be done but this one simple thing would do far more then the current 2000 page bill at a dramatically lower cost. Then we could focus on the people that truly need help as well as focus on the inefficiencies of our current gov't controlled third party payer system.

    43. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      If nobody believes in it, then why pass it? Maybe to massage the egos of Reid, Obama, and Pelosi. Obama's belief in a single payer health care system. Which countries have that are

      economically sound? Britain, Canada, and Cuba. They aren't economically sound. Will we? No. Why? because countries with

      state-run health care systems, just aren't. Would you like the

      same government that ran the Postal Service, Amtrak, and Conrail, into the ground, to do the same with the health care

      system? I wouldn't. The head of the Canadian Medical Association said last summer that Canada needs to be more like the the United States. The Netherlands recently opened up its health care system to private insurance companies. Why not allow the private sector do this? Here's my plan for health care reform: First, do what Chile did, and privatize the Social System, second, put a cap on the nebulous "pain and suffering" damages that juries love to award like they're candy canes at Christmastime, it called tort reform, you congressional retards, and it works, third, allow people to buy insurance policies across state lines, fourth, allow people to invest some of their Social Security checks, especially those in their twenties, and thirties, in the stock market, and lastly, allow for interstate competition. It's just common sense. But common sense isn't all that common in Washington, is it?

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    46. edgar Cleveland says:

      MORE – SCARE TACTICS HEADLINES

      A Health Bill Nobody Believes In.

      WRONG!!!

      I belive in it.

      LVKen7@Gmail.com

      Wrong!!!! I also believe in it.
      http://www.campaignmoney.org/HMO_insurance_spend_

    47. Edgar Oh says:

      I believe in the bill 100%

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    49. mothtramp says:

      The information here is great. I will invite my friends here.

      Thanks

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