Sunday, March 28, 2010

Is the health care bill a victory for America?

That's what FoxNEWS has been asking since March 21.

Click here to take a poll answering your thoughts on this question. So far, here's what the results show:

Is health care bill a victory for America?
Total Votes: 673,288
Looking for information about the bill? Thomas, a Web site maintained by the Library of Congress, is an excellent resource for finding information about every piece of legislation. Click here for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

You picked a fine time to lead us, Barack

While he shows his true colors, the U.S. discovers we cling to religion and guns.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Health care reform: It's a big f---ing deal!

The health care reform bill has caused a few slips of the tongue. March 21, it was a "baby killer" comment from Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas. Today, Vice President Joe Biden topped that with the F-bomb.

After Biden introduced President Barack Obama at the signing ceremony of the bill today, the two gave each other a man-embrace with slaps on the back to wild applause. Then Biden leaned in to give Obama a little pep talk, barely audible over the sound of applause but picked up by the microphone at the podium a foot away: "This is a big f---ing deal!"

Biden said it with a big grin and awaited a similar response, but Obama's smile quickly hardened into a tight-lipped expression as he brushed the comment away with a stiff nod and no eye-contact.

To me, Obama's actions speak louder than Biden's words: The president just never knows what his loose-lipped second-in-command will do during public speaking events.

It's a big f---ing deal!

Tea partiers vow revenge over health overhaul

From Brendan Farrington of The Associated Press on March 23:
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –- If you thought Tea Party activists were mad before, you ain't seen nothing yet.

Instead of being discouraged by passage of health care reform, tea party activists across the country say the defeat is a rallying cry that makes them more focused than ever on voting out any lawmaker who supported the measure.

"We're not going to stop. Obviously, the whole tea party movement started because we're about smaller government and less spending and less taxes. There is absolutely no way we can pay for this," said Denise Cattoni, state coordinator for Illinois Tea Party, an umbrella group for about 50 groups from around Illinois.

Cattoni says the health care defeat doesn't deflate tea party activists. "We couldn't stop it because of the shenanigans that went on in Washington," Cattoni said. "People are definitely more driven today than they were yesterday without a doubt."

Pep talk

William A. Jacobson wrote this March 22, the day after the health care reform bill passed:
Last night was bad. The law passed by the Senate and House really is that horrible.

But it's the morning after, and your mourning should be over.

The mainstream media and the nutroots will try to demoralize you, and there will be plenty of gloat to go around.

But remember how we got to last night.

November 4, 2008, was the culmination of multiple generations of journalistic and educational malpractice and liberal guilt, malfeasance by Republicans who lost their way while in power, and a mass delusion on par with the tulipomania of 17th century Holland.

On November 5, 2008, did any one of you think that over 16 months later Obama would barely be able to pass a truncated version of his dream of single payer, and that dozens of Democrats would join Republicans in opposition?

As the mainstream media celebrated the permanent Democratic majority in the weeks after the 2008 election, did any of you think that in March 2010 we would be talking about the Democratic majority being in danger?

On January 20, 2009, when Obama took office, and then again in April when Arlen Specter jumped ship, did any one of you think we could hold off Obamacare beyond July?

In August and September, did you think we would make it to the end of the year, and then in early January 2010, did any of you (other than me) think Scott Brown could win and we could prevent a Democratic super-majority?

Your hard work has paid off, even if the end result was not what we wanted. But trust me, without you it would have been much, much worse.

For over a year Obama has not been able to push through other destructive aspects of his agenda, and the clock is running out before the mid-term elections.

The hard work must continue through the November elections because Democrats know they have just a few more months.

So shake off the gloom, get your asses in gear, get over it, and get to work continuing to fight the worst government policies "since the Great Depression."

We have no other choice.

Monday, March 22, 2010

How did they vote on health care reform?

The Washington Post has created a chart demonstrating how House representatives voted on the Senate health care reform bill.

"The 219-212 vote was followed by another on a package of reconciliation fixes, which passed 220-211," The Post says. "Three Democrats switched their votes between the Senate bill and the reconciliation 'fixes.' Reps. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) and Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) voted against the Senate bill but for the reconciliation bill. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) voted for the Senate bill but against the reconciliation bill."

The Post's chart breaks down representatives' voting information into seven sortable columns: final vote; Nov. 7 vote; name; party; state; campaign contributions from the health industry; and percent uninsured in his or her district.

And, in case you forgot about that little executive power thing President Barack Obama said he'd NEVER use ...

Fire the 219

In response to yesterday's passage of the health care reform bill, a new effort supported by Tea Party groups aims to ensure, "through any and all possible legal means," that the representatives who voted for the legislation don't get reelected.

Fire the 219 is a nonprofit started by the Nationwide Tea Party Coalition, the Tea Party Nation and several other Tea Party groups.

The Web site explains:
We will begin by launching recall petitions against all 219 immediately. New Jersey and 16 other states currently allow for such recalls. We will begin action immediately to authorize such recall petitions in the 33 other states as well.

We shall support primary challengers against every one of these 219 immediately.

And we shall support general election challengers against every one of these 219, beginning immediately.
In its recent blog post, Fire the 219 provides a list of the top 10 House representatives it seeks to remove from power, all Democrats:
  1. Bart Stupak of Michigan.
  2. John Boccieri of Ohio.
  3. Jim Cooper of Tennessee.
  4. Allen Boyd of Florida (spelled incorrectly on the Web site as "Allan").
  5. Gerry Connolly of Virginia.
  6. Henry Cuellar of Texas.
  7. Solomon Ortiz of Texas.
  8. Bill Owens of New York.
  9. Earl Pomeroy of North Dakota.
  10. Scott Murphy of New York.
The Web site does not explain why these legislators are targeted.

Newt Gingrich: This will not stand

By Newt Gingrich:
This will not stand.

No one should be confused about the outcome of Sunday's vote.

This is not the end of the fight it is the beginning of the fight.

The American people spoke decisively against a big government, high tax, Washington knows best, pro trial lawyer centralized bureaucratic health system.

In every recent poll the vast majority of Americans opposed this monstrosity.

Speaker Pelosi knew the country was against the bill. That is why she kept her members trapped in Washington and forced a vote on Sunday.

She knew if she let the members go home their constituents would convince them to vote no.

The Obama-Pelosi-Reid machine combined the radicalism of Alinsky, the corruption of Springfield and the machine power politics of Chicago.

Sunday was a pressured, bought, intimidated vote worthy of Hugo Chavez but unworthy of the United States of America.

It is hard to imagine how much pressure they brought to bear on congressman Stupak to get him to accept a cynical, phony clearly illegal and unconstitutional executive order on abortion. The ruthlessness and inhumanity of the Obama-Pelosi-Reid machine was most clearly on display in their public humiliation of Stupak.

The real principles of the machine were articulated by Democratic Congressman Alcee Hastings who was impeached and removed from the bench as a federal judge, before being elected to the House when he said ""There ain't no rules here, we're trying to accomplish something. . . .All this talk about rules. . . .When the deal goes down . . . we make 'em up as we go along."

It is hard for the American people to believe their leaders on the left are this bad.

They are.

The American people will not allow a corrupt machine to dictate their future.

Together we will pledge to repeal this bill and start over

Together we will prove that this will not stand.

2010 and 2012 will be among the most important elections in American history.

These elections will allow us to save America from a leftwing machine of unparalleled corruption arrogance and cynicism.

Sunday was one more step in the fight against a "Washington knows best" and "Washington should run everything" attitude.

Let us turn now to the Senate to continue this fight for real reform, for real self government, and for policies that create jobs, improve health outcomes, and increase freedom.

Ron Klein responds to my message

I just received an e-mail from Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton, in response to an e-mail I sent him urging not to support the health care reform bill. Here's what he said:
Dear Ms. Pfaff,

Thank you for contacting me regarding the various proposals to reform healthcare in America. I appreciate hearing your concerns on this important issue and welcome the opportunity to respond.

As you know, over the past year we have conducted a national debate about health insurance andhealth care reform. Throughout this time, I held dozens of meetings all over South Florida with constituents and professionals in the health field. These meetings informed me as I helped to shape the final bill in Congress.

I understand that you had asked me to oppose this legislation. Please know that I recognize your concerns with this bill, and because of your input, I worked to improve the bill over the past weeks and months. Some of the issues that you have written about to me in the past have been resolved. You may be interested to know that the bill that recently passed did not include a public option or government-run healthcare plan that would compete with private plans. I hope that you will read through the details of how I came to my decision.

Throughout this process, my guiding mission has been to restore the doctor-patient relationship to the center point of our health care system --- not your insurance company and not the government. I have remained committed to four very important principles:

1. The bill must reform the way insurance companies do business, including eliminating exceptions to coverage for Americans with pre-existing conditions.

2. We must strengthen and protect Medicare and defend seniors' healthcare.

3. We must protect small businesses, the backbone of the American economy and allow them to collectively purchase health care for their employees, thereby reducing the costs.

4. Healthcare reform must not add to the deficit.

I am pleased that health insurance reform legislation that passed the House of Representatives adheres to these four principles and ensures that if you like your current health insurance plan, you will get to keep it. After thorough consideration of all of these issues and more, as well as negotiation with the authors of this bill, I voted for this legislation.

Reform Insurance Companies' Abuses

I believe that any health insurance reform proposal must end abusive insurance company practices, like denying coverage for pre-existing conditions and canceling policies when people get sick. Health insurance reform legislation would outlaw these practices. Other important consumer protections include banning lifetime caps on coverage and prohibiting insurers from cancelling patients' policies when they file a claim.

Strengthen and Protect Medicare

I have always been a strong advocate for protecting Medicare. Especially now, with rising healthcare costs, out of pocket expenses for seniors have risen dramatically. This bill would save seniors money by instituting a few necessary changes.

o Close the Medicare Part D Donut Hole

The rising costs of prescription drugs is hurting our nation's seniors, who face unthinkable decisions in this economy about whether to forgo needed medications or pay other bills. As you know, the "donut hole" traps seniors whose prescription drug costs rise above a certain level. Health insurance reform will begin closing the donut hole immediately. In addition, seniors who fall into the donut hole will also receive a $250 rebate this year and will receive a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs until the donut hole is eliminated. That means that over one million seniors will start seeing real savings with their prescription drugs.

You may be pleased to know that I led the fight to close the donut hole, and I'm proud that this critical provision made it into the final bill.

o No-Cost Preventative Care

This bill eliminates co-payments for a wide range of preventive services, like mammograms and prostate exams, and ensures access and adequate time with primary care doctors, which is especially important for seniors' long-term health.

o Extend the Medicare Trust Fund by nine years

This legislation extends the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by nine years, to help ensure Medicare will be there for seniors who need it. Extended solvency helps prevent cuts to services and care.

Additionally, I introduced an amendment that would strengthen and protect the Medicare Advantage program. Many seniors like the choice of having a private insurance companyadminister their Medicare benefits. I believe in protecting this choice for seniors, and I am pleased to report that my efforts are included in the final health insurance reform bill.

Protect Small Business

The rising cost of healthcare has prevented many small businesses from providing health insurance for their employees. Since 2000, healthcare costs for small business have risen 129 percent. This increase is unsustainable and has created a situation where less than half of all small businesses provide health insurance to their employees.

This bill makes healthcare more affordable for small business owners and employees by allowing them to pool their purchasing power with other small businesses into one risk pool to drive down costs. Under this bill, insurance premiums for small businesses would be similar to the premiums larger firms can provide their employees simply because of the sheer size of their bargaining power. This risk pooling is simple economics?"the more people you have, the more you can spread the risk and the greater the deal you can negotiate on their behalf.

Additionally, the bill immediately provides tax credits of up to 35 percent for small businesses that voluntarily choose to provide health coverage to their employees, and tax credits of up to 50 percent starting in 2014. These tax credits will provide real relief to small businesses who provide insurance for their employees.

I understand there is some concern that a burden would be placed on small businesses that do not purchase insurance by forcing these businesses to pay a fine. However, I want to make clear that businesses with 50 employees or less will not be required to provide health insurance. This is a dramatic improvement over what was originally proposed and will ensure that small businesses will pay no additional taxes or fees related to health insurance or have any obligation to provide health insurance to their employees.

Health Insurance Reform Must Not Add to the Deficit

As a budget hawk, one of my biggest concerns in the discussion of health insurance reform is the cost of the bill adding to the federal deficit. Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike can agree that the federal government should be held to the same standard as American families by not spending more than it earns. Therefore, I was pleased that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO)?"the independent budget umpires for Congress?"reported that health insurance reform legislation would not add one single dollar to the federal deficit, but would in fact reduce the federal deficit by $143 billion over 10 years, and would continue to reduce the deficit by as must as $1.2 trillion over the following 10 years. As you know, the deficit threatens our economic security, reducing productivity growth and capital available for investment. A ballooning deficit also puts our national security in danger because it makes us more dependent on countries that may not have our national interests at heart. This health insurance reform bill takes a serious step in helping to put our nation back on a sustainable fiscal path.

Lastly, I would like to bring your attention to several common sense provisions in this bill that have enjoyed bipartisan support in the past:

o Providing middle-class Americans with tax credits to buy private insurance

o Allowing parents to keep their children under their insurance plan up to the age of 26

o Forcing insurance companies to adhere to uniform billing standards and forms to cut down on the cost of administering health care in doctors' offices

o Requiring insurance companies to outline coverage options using a simple and standard format that enables consumers to make an apples-to-apples comparison when they are choosing their health insurance plan.

o Permitting states to allow consumers to buy insurance across state lines.

o Requiring Members of Congress and their staff to purchase health insurance through the new state-based Exchanges instead of the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan. That means that Members of Congress will have the same health insurance options as small businesses.

Again, thank you for taking time to write on this important matter, and I appreciate that you took the time to understand my position. Please contact me again in the future if I can be of assistance to you on this or any other matter of concern. I hope you'll find my website ( a useful resource for keeping up with events in Washington and the 22nd District of Florida.


Ron Klein
Member of Congress

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