Archive for Friday, March 26, 2010

Congress completes health care overhaul

March 26, 2010


President Barack Obama picks up 4-year-old Barack Anthony Stroud after speaking about health care reform, Thursday at the University of Iowa in Iowa City.

President Barack Obama picks up 4-year-old Barack Anthony Stroud after speaking about health care reform, Thursday at the University of Iowa in Iowa City.

— Capping an epic struggle, congressional Democrats put the final touches Thursday to historic legislation enshrining health care as the right of every citizen. Republicans vowed to campaign for repeal in the fall election season, drawing a quick retort from President Barack Obama: “I welcome that fight.”

The president spoke in Iowa as the Senate voted 56-43 for legislation making changes, including better benefits for seniors and low-income and middle-class families, to the bill he signed into law with a flourish at the White House on Tuesday.

The House added its approval a few hours later, 220-207, clearing the way for Obama’s signature on the second of two bills that marked the culmination of what the president called “a year of debate and a century of trying” to ensure coverage for nearly all in a nation where millions lack it. Obama is expected to sign the legislation early next week.

Taken together, the two bills also aim to crack down on insurance industry abuses and to reduce federal deficits by an estimated $143 billion over a decade. Most Americans would be required to buy insurance for the first time, and face penalties if they refused.

The second of the two bills also presented Obama with another victory, stripping banks and other private lenders of their ability to originate student loans in favor of a system of direct government lending.

After a monthslong battle in Congress, the political struggle was morphing into a new phase, where public debate was tinged with violence — and politicians accused one another of seeking to exploit it for their own advantage.

Apart from their impact on nearly every American and an estimated one-sixth of the American economy, the week’s events marked Obama’s biggest political triumphs since he took office more than a year ago. A pending arms control agreement with Russia, announced on Wednesday, added to his resume, and White House officials said they hoped the momentum would translate into further political successes in the run-up to the midterm elections.

“Repeal and replace” was the new slogan for Republicans as they pivoted away from earlier attempts to kill the health care legislation. Officials said it was meant to appeal to tea party activists — who staged an occasionally unruly demonstration outside the Capitol over the weekend — as well as to independent voters eager for changes in the health care system but fearful the Democrats went too far.

“Republicans fought on behalf of the American people this week and will continue to fight until this bill is repealed and replaced with commonsense ideas that solve our problems without dismantling the health care system we have and without burying the American dream under a mountain of debt,” said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Repeal was far-fetched in the extreme since Republicans are now deep in the minority in both houses and would need a two-thirds majority to overcome a certain veto by Obama.

But Republicans circulated polls showing public backing for the overhaul at no better than 40 percent, despite months of Democratic efforts to rally support. Attacking the bill as a government takeover of health care paid for in higher taxes and Medicare cuts, they taunted House Democrats who voted for it, saying those lawmakers had cleared the way for their own defeat this fall.

Democrats said any unease was the result of months of Republican distractions — as far back as last summer’s debunked charges of “death panels” — and predicted the public would warm to the new law once its first benefits take effect.

That was Obama’s pitch in Iowa, where he trumpeted a “set of reforms” that will take effect before the elections.


SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 1 month ago

"...stripping banks and other private lenders of their ability to originate student loans in favor of a system of direct government lending."

In any other year, this would be the lead story. The government is literally replacing an entire sector of private industry and private jobs with itself. This, friends, is the sad future of our economy and our country.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 1 month ago

If Republicans want to campaign on repealing this, they need to offer viable alternatives. And as bad as this bill is, the Republican "ideas" have been even worse, since they largely entail maintaining the status quo.

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years ago

So your demand is that free marketeers and civil libertarians lurch to the far left with a softer version of government healthcare? No way.

Richard Heckler 8 years ago

What Free Market? There is no free market. This term free market is used ever so loosely.

Is this the free market? Paying through the Taxman

"The U.S. health care system is typically characterized as a largely private-sector system, so it may come as a surprise that more than 60% of the $2 trillion annual U.S. health care bill is paid through taxes, according to a 2002 analysis published in Health Affairs by Harvard Medical School associate professors Steffie Woolhandler and David Himmelstein. "

================================================================ Perhaps this is the free market? Thursday, June 25, 2009

Health insurers have forced consumers to pay billions of dollars in medical bills that the insurers themselves should have paid, according to a report released yesterday by the staff of the Senate Commerce Committee.

More on this story: ========================================

Richard Heckler 8 years ago

Is this the free market?

If you’ve been watching the Senate Finance Committee’s markup sessions, maybe you’ve noticed a woman sitting behind Committee Chairman Max Baucus. Her name is Liz Fowler.

Fowler used to work for WellPoint, the largest health insurer in the country. She was its vice president of public policy. Baucus’ office failed to mention this in the press release announcing her appointment as senior counsel in February 2008, even though it went on at length about her expertise in “health care policy.”

Now she’s working for the very committee with the most power to give her old company and the entire industry exactly what they want – higher profits – and no competition from alternative non-profit coverage that could lower costs and premiums.

whats_going_on 8 years ago

I would like to see some real answers about what people think should happen to this healthcare bit, unless they really want it to stay the same, which makes no sense. Even though it is "free market," big insurers are just taking everyone for a ride, like Merrill was talking about. Do republicans and/or people who oppose the bill really think its ok to continue like that? What are other options? I know that the new reform is hated, I know that, it's pretty clear, so I don't want to know what is WRONG with it, I want to know what could be done instead. I can't be on here all the time, but so far all I see is mudslinging and comments about the end of the world.

gravitykills 8 years ago

So what happened to Obama's commitment to not tax the middle class? I guess that 's out the door. Hopefully, this plan can be repealed and replaced or the value of the dollar is going to plummet.

Republican plan: Lowering health care premiums. Establishing Universal Access Programs to guarantee access to affordable health care for those with pre-existing conditions. Ending junk lawsuits. Prevents insurers from unjustly cancelling a policy. Encouraging Small Business Health Plans. Encouraging innovative state programs. Allowing Americans to buy insurance across state lines. Promoting healthier lifestyles. Enhancing Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). Allowing dependents to remain on their parents’ policies.

219 Pages

Flap Doodle 8 years ago

If you work for a living, BOHICA.

beatrice 8 years ago

Wow, Tom just admitted that Obama is an American. Gee, he is really coming around.

The fanatical opposition to this bill is not going to play well for Republicans in the Fall. That pleases me.

Richard Payton 8 years ago

Value added national sales tax is next that's the European model for paying for socialism health care. Then get ready for applied digital chips to be put in people. Already 2,000 people have them and in 2004 or 2005 the FDA approved the chips. Two hospitals already have scanners one in Boston, MA and the other in Hackensack, NJ to read the chips. Once the chips have the ability for GPS think of all the possiblities both good and bad that comes with this implant about the size of a rice grain.

Flap Doodle 8 years ago

Every time a child molester is able to get ED drugs paid for by American taxpayers, he'll be thanking the Democrats.

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