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  • Americans Spoke, and It's Time to Hit the Reset Button on Health Care Reform

    Scott Brown’s remarkable victory in the Massachusetts Senate election speaks loud and clear: Americans across the political spectrum are unhappy with the scale and cost of the congressional health reform legislation, and the lack of transparency in the process.

    Congress would be wise to see this outcome as a referendum on health care reform. The proper conclusion? It’s time to hit the reset button and scrap the doomed bills in both chambers. Then President Obama should bring together the key leaders of both parties, and craft a far more modest approach in an open process that will actually address the concerns of Americans.

    What’s Wrong with Obamacare:

    Both the predicted and unforeseen costs of health reform have Americans very worried. Though the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scored both bills as deficit neutral, both the CBO itself and other analysts have been skeptical that many the assumed savings in the legislation will come to fruition. For example, the CBO cost analysis of the Senate bill, for example, has to assume that Medicare physician payments will indeed by cut by over 20 per cent next year – which is politically inconceivable. In fact, once politicians begin to feel the pressure of interest groups and worried voters, history indicates that Congress will retreat from any unpopular cost-saving provisions used to pay for part of the new spending in the legislation. Thus the cost of either bill would easily surpass CBO’s cost estimate, adding substantially to the federal deficit.

    And the price tag isn’t the only problem:

    • Government-run health programs to distort and interfere with the insurance market. The House bill creates a public plan as part of a federal health exchange; the Senate uses health plans run by the Office of Personnel Management. Either way, these plans would create an uneven playing field to use the power of the federal government to out-compete private plans.

    • New federal regulation of health benefits. This would undermine the power of states to enact their own reforms and the consumer to choose what benefits work best for them.

    • Increasing coverage via expanding Medicaid and offering subsidies. These provisions limit consumer options rather than expand them. This is especially true for low-income Americans who will have no choice but to enroll in Medicaid if they wish to obtain federal assistance to purchase insurance.

    • An employer mandate. Though the structure of this penalty varies from the House to Senate bill, the results would be the same: employers would find it less costly to pay the fine and reduce wages or number of workers accordingly than to purchase insurance for employees. What is more, the House bill’s mandate would apply to many small businesses, crippling growth during a recession.

    • An individual mandate. Both the House and Senate bill would compel Americans to buy health insurance or pay a fine. Not only does this raise constitution issues, but is likely to have the opposite affect as many Americans chose to pay the tax rather than buy health care coverage. In cases where the penalty is much less than the cost of insurance (which, in the Senate bill, is practically every case) most Americans would pay the tax rather than buy insurance. This could lead to only the old and sick carrying insurance, greatly increasing premiums.

    Americans in Massachusetts and elsewhere are clearly rejecting Congress’ huge and centralizing strategy for health care. So it is indeed time for Washington to hit the reset button on health care reform and start over with the right kind of change that all Americans can support. What’s needed now is a truly bipartisan strategy to:

    • Promote rapid state innovation. States should be given more autonomy and freedom from federal statutes and rules to address problems within their respective health care systems in the way they see fit. In addition, Americans should be able to purchase insurance across state lines.

    • Reform the tax code in order to establish fairness in the tax treatment of insurance. The current system benefits those who receive employer-sponsored coverage and the wealthy, and does nothing to aid those with lower incomes or who purchase insurance independent of their employer. A cap on the amount of tax excludable benefits would discourage high-cost employer-sponsored plans and provide budget-neutral tax relief for American taxpayers who cannot afford even a basic plan.

    • Get serious about entitlement reform. The Medicare and Medicaid programs continue to increase in cost as the population ages and health care costs in general rise. These programs should be reformed to offer better value to taxpayers using a defined contribution system. This would create competition among insurers to attract seniors and the poor as customers, and would give Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries more choice.

    Voters in Massachusetts and elsewhere are telling Washington what they think of Obamacare. Now Congress should go back to the drawing board. And this time, instead of pushing drastic reform of one-sixth of the nation’s economy, lawmakers should take their time and get it right, by passing incremental reform that Americans can agree on.

    Posted in Obamacare, Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    25 Responses to Americans Spoke, and It's Time to Hit the Reset Button on Health Care Reform

    1. lOUIS DI VENUTA says:

      go scott brown hoo-rah hoo- rah

    2. Joaquin says:

      Actually, this is the third time in 1 year that America has spoken. They spoke in Virginia, New Jersey, and now again in Massachusetts.

      The questions that begs asked is: Will the Left that controls Washington listen?

    3. Ozzy6900 says:

      Look at how far the Liberals have gone! The Blue state of Massachusetts has spoken volumes. The halls of Camelot have been rocked and the windows of Ted Kennedy's memory have been shattered! We all know what is wrong with ObamaCare and now the Hill knows that we know more than they gave us credit for!

    4. Steve, Harwich, MA says:

      Massachusetts has elected the first Republican to the U.S. Senate since 1972.

      Who would have believed that Scott Brown, a virtual unknown outside of the Baystate, could battle and defeat the Washington-backed democratic machine?

      Martha Coakley's campaigning style was both arrogant and lackluster. And when this translated into her tanking in the polls, she resorted to character assassination, broadcasting negative and untrue attacks on Scott Brown, claiming among other things, that he would do nothing to help female rape victims, and that he was a Bush/Cheney clone.

      But the voters in Massachusetts weren't biting. And the more she spoke, the less effective her campaign efforts became. And while Scott Brown was campaigning furiously here at home, Martha was down in Washington, meeting with insurance company lobbyists. So much for representing the little guy.

      The message is clear. If the bluest of blue states can elect a Republican senator to take back a Kennedy-entrenched seat, it can happen anywhere, and in any election. The Republicans should take comfort in this, but not rest on our laurels. We need to capitalize on this momentum, and win back Congress, to overturn the reckless spending and arrogance demonstrated again and again by Obama and his ilk.

      This conservative revolution is a counterbalance to the dangerous liberal machinations in Washington, and it's long overdue. The liberals misread. Obama's election was not a mandate to surrender individual rights. Rather, it was dissatisfaction with Bush in a lame duck, out-of-touch second term. The Democrats have finally realized that the blame Bush mantra doesn't resonate with the voters any longer. They realize now that conservatism isn't dead. Rather, it was just sleeping…

    5. J.C. Hughes, Texas says:

      The left will never give up their insane dream of socializing healthcare for the entire nation. For this reason, states must continue just as Massachusetts did yesterday. Elect a congress that will outlaw any future takeover of free markets and states' affairs by the federal government. Bravo Zulu to Senator Scott Brown and the state of Massachusetts.

    6. BobPDX says:

      Scott Brown's win is the most significant political event in my life time.

      Americans woke up, got up and voted in to office, the antithesis of the Obama doctrin.

      The voters in Massachusetts are to be congratulated for their courage and faith in our political system.

      This is an historic event that the entire world was watching.

    7. Lloyd Scallan - New says:

      Don't we understand that Obama and his Dems lackey will not stop the onslaught

      on America. "Reset button"? Not a chance! "Congress would be wise"? Is that a joke? If Congress was "wise", Obamacare, as well as all of his other destructive plans, would have long since in the trash can. These people are driven by their socialist ideology and cannot be "wise" or "reset". Pelosi's statements, over and over again, should make everyone understand that socialist will not stop. They may do as Clinton in 1994, "move to the center" in another diversion tactic to once again fool the voters. But we all must reconize what these people are. They cannot be "changed, reset or converted". They are slaves to their ideology and

      bent on the destruction of this nation.

    8. Drew Page, IL says:

      My faith in the common sense of the voting American public has just been increased one hundred fold.

      As a frequent commentator here, I have noticed that my fellow correspondents tend to be the same folks. From time to time, one wonders how many others share our opinions. That question was answered for me yesterday in Massachusetts.

      The encouraging thing about yesterday's Senatorial election in MA was that people put aside party affiliation for the time being to address serious issues facing our country.

      Just as a majority of MA Democrats put aside political party partisanship in favor of reversing the direction the government in power was taking us, so too should Republicans put aside party partisanship and vote for any Democrat that disagrees with the direction the party in power has taken us. What I have seen in N. J., and now in MA., is that a majority of voters does not approve of the broken campaign promises of transparency, of debating health care reform on C-SPAN and bipartisan inclusiveness. The voters do not approve of the reckless government spending, of bailouts, of the Senate's exclusionary meetings on health care, held behind close doors and of the bribery of Senators who sold their votes for payoffs (the $300 million Second Louisiana Purchase and Nebraska's exemption from Medicaid funding – the Cornhusker Kickback) and the sweetheart deals the Senate leadership cut with unions to exempt the tax on Cadillac plans of union members.

      Those politicians who villified, mocked and insulted the taxpayers who showed up at Tea Parties and Townhall meetings as unruly mobs, the radical fringe of the right-wing and funded operatives of the Republican party and now hearing from those same people, and in a voice much louder than any Townhall meeting. That's what normal people do when they want to be heard by people who aren't listening; they raise their voice.

      I wonder how many swastikas Nancy Pelosi saw among the MA voters?

    9. Pingback: PA Pundits - International

    10. Carol, AZ says:

      Perhaps the word "reform " will be put back into any health care decisons .

      Perhaps the sleazy close door sessions and back room dealings by Read, and Pelosi an others , (bribes for votes,) for passage, will finally anger Americans to demand reform on all levels.

      Perhaps we can re-focus on "jobs" for Americans, our first priority.

      We are mired in debt and America can not paid it's bills.

      D.C leadership has never addressed this primary issue but further has piled-on more debt on top of debt.

      My concerns are that "change for reform" will be too late based on this short list.

    11. Tim Az says:

      Based on this article nothing has been learned over the past year. Given the contempt the federal government has demonstrated towards the American citizen over the past year. Trusting these people to carry out the will of the people would be like asking Jack The Ripper to perform heart surgery and expecting a good outcome. The best that one could hope for is to freeze all legislation until we can elect politicians that once again accept that they are governed by the people. We The People are not their subjects with wich they may amuse themselves.

    12. Pingback: Must Know Headlines 1.20.2010 — ExposeTheMedia.com

    13. joan, connecticut says:

      Scott Brown, struck a blow for all the citizens, who are disenchanted with the railroading of the health care bill , and the bribes offered to achieve that very flawed bill. Pelosi and Reid, and their followers have been sent a message by not only Massachusetts voters, but by all USA citizens. We are mad as hell, at their failure to listen to the people at the town hall meetings, and at the name calling of concerned voters, by Pelosi, Waters, Reid, Franks and by all the other Washington so called "elite." I wonder if " THEY CAN HEAR US NOW!!

    14. jill.hetherington@ma says:

      Yesterday's election result in MA was an answer to the prayers of many people here in the USA. I was beyond happy. I was relieved. I felt like my country was going down the drain.

      During Scott's Brown victory speech I decided to check ABC, NBC, CBS and the Chicken Noodle network. This great history making election was not being covered by them. It's no wonder their ratings stink.

      I am just thanking God that we have another chance.

    15. Louis L Cesar F Levy says:

      This is THE LOUD VOICE that will continue to be heard until WE THE PEOPLE's will is Restored. Stay vigilent People.

    16. JIM says:

      FINALLY SOME BRAINS AND COMMON SENSE IN THE SENATE. NOW

      HOPEFULLY THE HEALTH CARE BILL CAN BE DONE CORRECTLY WITH

      BI-PARTISAN NON-CHICAGO LIKE POLITICS. GOODBYE OBAMA, PELOSI, REID.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    17. Ocala,fl says:

      Democrats call themselves "progressives" now, code word for Marxiists/communists, and they were not as successful as they thought dumbing-down the people of Mass.nor with their attempt to impoverish ALL Americans by destroying American industry, along with American insurance companies which employ millions of people! A healthcare system as good as the Post Office?! Imagine Bush saying the same outrageous thing…skewered by the media which is nothing more than democrat operatives. No wonder we are going backwards! The government payroll is now greater than private sector payroll, thanks to the lunatic left. These people really belive the government has its own money!? They have what they STEAL from people who work!!! You aboutto-be-elected republicans better not abandon the constitution AGAIN like BUSH did! He was the most liberal president ever and the libs STILL hated him showing how brainless they really are!

    18. Lee Jason says:

      There is nothing worse than a member of Congress or a president who can't recognize that it is not enough for their actions to be legal–those actions should also be ethical and moral. These backroom deals, broken promises, creative accounting practices, and distorted truths convince me that many members of this Congress don't value or conform to these principles.

      Maybe it's time these people are voted out of office and invited to join the unemployment lines to wait for a "jobs bill."

    19. John Clancy, Wyandot says:

      We'll need more than the upset in MA to stop the agenda of President Obama.

      He, and those in Washington who wish to destroy our economy, our healthcare, our freedom, our very nation, will move this way and that, with deception and lies, with our university professors and our media, to wear us down.

      Leftists are, after all, in positions of power and influence.

      The tea parties and the townhall meetings must continue. These events are the voice of the people who cherish who we are and what we want to become. We will support people like Scott Brown and Sarah Palin who will stand up to arrogant tyrants.

      We need to begin now to saturate every precinct in America for the elections in 2010. We are the leaders we've been waiting for. We will reinforce the powerful message of MA by an even stronger one in 2010. God bless America

    20. S says:

      I'm confused…Brown voted for universal health care!!

    21. Lynn Bryant DeSpain says:

      There is only one answer to our Health care problem, Tort Reform. Once limits are placed on Law suits for mal-practice against Doctors, hospitals, ambulance drivers, EMTs, Pharmacies, Drug manufacturers, janitorial services, and Emergency treatment services, et al, then and only then, will the cost of all of these things come down to an affordable price for most everyone.

      Never vote for a Lawyer, they are the only ones against,"Tort Reform."

    22. Pingback: RagingElephants.org » Americans Spoke, and It’s Time to Hit the Reset Button on Health Care Reform

    23. DR. KATHY REILLY says:

      UNIVERSAL GOVERNMENT RUN HEALTH CARE IS A BAD IDEA!

      START OVER AND GET IT RIGHT THIS TIME!

      MR. PISTONE IS RIGHT ON TARGET.
      http://www.pistoneforcongress.org

    24. Pingback: Morning Bell: So, How’s That Pivot to Jobs Going? | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

    25. Pingback: Morning Bell: So, How’s That Pivot to Jobs Going? | Step Down Obama

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