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Send a Message to Michael: Obamacare and Colorado’s Appointed Senator

Thursday, October 29, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Please contribute to Jane Norton’s campaign for United States Senate in Colorado. Even a $10 check sends a clear message to Senate Democrats that pushing Obamacare will cost many of them their jobs.

When Bill Ritter, Colorado’s beleaguered Democratic governor, anointed Michael Bennet to fill the United States Senate seat of Ken Salazar who was appointed Secretary of the Interior by President Obama, most Coloradans were stunned.

“Who is Michael Bennet?” they wondered.

It turns out that Michael Bennet is Harry Reid north, a reliable vote for the hard left Senate Majority Leader. Bennet has tried to project a moderate image, but the upcoming vote on bringing Obamacare to the Senate floor –the only vote that counts– will define Bennet for the year long Senate race ahead.

On his Senate website, Bennet writes: “Health care reform needs to reduce health care costs for Coloradans, preserve choice of health insurance, improve access to quality, affordable care-especially for all kids and for families living in rural area – and be done in a way that does not overburden future generations with debt.” Obamacare does none of these things, but instead slashes Medicare benefits for the half million Colorado seniors who receive them, imperils the livelihood of the Rocky Mountain State’s 10,000 doctors, and will drive the cost of doing business up for every employer in the state. The taxes embedded in every version of Obamacare will hit every Coloradan, adding to the already rising tax burden that is fueling Colorado’s swing back to the right.

It is possible that Bennet will figure out the only way he survives in his first run for office next year is to refuse to vote for cloture and to make a big show of it. Democrats will try to encourage him to allow the debate to begin and end and then vote against the final bill, but Colorado voters are far too savvy for such a dodge. Michael Bennet, just like Evan Bayh and Blanche Lincoln, is in control of whether or not Obamacare is allowed to wreck American medicine.

You can send a message to Bennet to vote no on cloture by sending a contribution to Jane Norton, the former Lieutenant Governor who is generally understood to be the front runner for the GOP nomination. You can contribute to Norton online here. I will have Norton on Thursday’s show, and a surge of contributions to her is the sort of message that gets heard in D.C. even when Harry Reid is twisting your arm.

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Why Health Care Costs So Much, Part 4,356: Suing Pharmacies For Car Crashes

Wednesday, October 28, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Here is the WSJ article by Amy Merrick which I discussed with my law partner Ron Cabaniss in the first segment. Key graphs:

In 2007, U.S. retail pharmacies dispensed nearly 180 million prescriptions for opiates, such as hydrocodone and oxycodone, up from about 40 million in 1991, according to congressional testimony last year from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

At the same time, pharmacists have much more patient information at their disposal, thanks to pharmacy computer systems and a proliferation of state online prescription-tracking databases. The availability of patient information is only expected to increase as electronic health records are adopted by more and more doctors.

As a result, consumers, government officials and pharmacies themselves are increasingly asking what a pharmacy is legally and ethically obligated to do with this newly available information.

As Ron pointed out, the drugstore chains face an enormous decision. If they stand and fight demands for payment for accidents and catastrophic injuries caused by drug abusers who injure people under the influence of prescriptions lawfully dispensed, they will run up enormous legal bills and will eventually lose some of the cases that go to trial.

If they settle such claims, more and more will follow and they will pay enormous costs and their insurance premiums will skyrocket.

Either way, the consumers of prescription medicines will pay the passed-along costs eventually.

Which is why the idea of Obamacare without tort reform is simply absurd, and a gift to the plaintiffs’ bar from their friends in the Democratic Party.

Senator Bayh’s Obamacare Bill –Why Evan Bayh Is Going To Inflict Obamacare on Indiana

Wednesday, October 28, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Democratic efforts to assemble the necessary 60 votes to open the process of killing American medicine hit some big bumps yesterday, but the payoff for the big government left are so huge that Harry Reid isn’t about to call off his search for the right bribe for senators like Arkansas’ Blanche Lincoln and Indiana’s Evan Bayh.

Politico reports that it took Reid next to nothing to gain Bayh’s absolutely necessary vote to proceed to the next phase of passing Obamacare. Bayh could have had anything he wanted, including the end of the public option, but he sold his blocking vote for next to nothing:

Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) didn’t like the tax on device manufacturers, who employ 20,000 people in his state. Reid has promised to change the tax -and now, Bayh has said he would keep an open mind on the opt-out, in part because his objections to the tax were addressed.

“I would be giving you a much different answer about the motion to proceed if they didn’t address that,” said Bayh, who had been viewed as a wild card.

Thus it appears that Senator Bayh sold the real interests of every Indiana senior, doctor, and individual with existing private insurance down the river in exchange for some adjustments to a tax hike on manufacturers employing 20,000 people?

There are 2,851,000 employed people in Indiana. The unemployment rate is 9.3% If Obamacare passes it will directly impact all of those people, employed and unemployed, greatly increase the cost of insurance for everyone who has it, and force thousands of people to go unwillingly into the so-called “public option.” It will drive up the costs of doing business making it much more difficult for existing employers to hire the unemployed and for new businesses to get started which might do the same.

There are close to 1.1 million Social Security beneficiaries in Indiana, the vast majority of whom almost certainly receive Medicare benefits –benefits which will be dramatically cut by Obamacare. Evan Bayh can stop that with a simple “no” vote on the approaching vote to open debate.

There are more than 10,000 doctors in the Hoosier state, and almost certainly more than 75% of them oppose Obamacare. Evan Bayh is throwing them all under the Obamacare bus.

Because Obamacare is so close to defeat, every Democratic senator will be completely responsible to his or her electorate for whatever passes as each one of them can in fact stop it right now with a simple declaration. Some, like Senator Bayh, are looking for political cover and may be contemplating a “no vote” after getting the bill past its procedural obstacles.

Which is why it is crucial for Indiana voters and voters in other key states like Colorado with Senator Michael Bennet and Arkansas with Senator Blanche Lincoln to communicate to those senators and their staffs that you know the score and that head fakes like the one being tried out by Senator Bayh in the Politico article will not work.

Call them all via the Congressional switchboard: 202-224-3121. Tell them to vote no on the motion to proceed to the bill.

Here are the key Democratic senators who need to be contacted, especially by voters in their own states:

Arkansas

Sen. Blanche Lincoln

DC Phone: (202) 224-4843

Local Phone: Dumas (870) 382-1023, Fayetteville (479) 251-1224, Little Rock (501) 375-2993, Jonesboro (870) 910-6896, Texarkana (870) 774-3106

Link to E-mail

Sen. Mark Pryor

DC Phone: (202) 224-2353

Local Phone: Little Rock (501) 324-6336

Link to E-mail

Colorado

Sen. Michael Bennet

DC Phone: 202) 224-5444

Local Phone:
Denver Metro Office: (303) 455-7600 Toll Free: (866) 455-9866 Fax: (303) 455-8851
Colorado Springs Office: Phone: (719) 328-1100

Link to E-mail.


Connecticut

Sen. Joe Lieberman

DC Phone: (202) 224-4041

Local Phone: (860) 549-8463

Link to E-mail

Florida

Sen. Bill Nelson

DC Phone: (202) 224-5274

Local Phone: Orlando (407) 872-7161, Miami-Dade (305) 536-5999, Tampa (813) 225-7040, West Palm Beach (561) 514-0189, Tallahassee (850) 942-8415, Jacksonville (904) 346-4500, Broward (954) 693-4851, Fort Meyers (239) 334-7760

Link to E-mail

Indiana

Sen. Evan Bayh

DC Phone: (202) 224-5623

Local Phone: Evansville (812) 465-6500, Fort Wayne (260) 426-3151, Hammond (219) 852-2763, Indianapolis (317) 554-0750, Jeffersonville (812) 218-2317, Southbend (574) 236-8302

Link to E-mail

Louisiana

Sen. Mary Landrieu

DC Phone: (202) 224-5824

Local Phone: Baton Rouge (225) 389-0395, Lake Charles (337) 436-6650, New Orleans (504) 589-2427, Shreveport (318) 676-3085

Link to E-mail

Montana

Sen. Jon Tester

DC Phone: (202) 224-2644

Local Phone: Billings (406) 252-0550, Bozeman (406) 586-4450, Butte (406) 723-3277, Glendive (406) 365-2391, Great Falls (406) 452-9585, Helena (406) 449-5401, Kalispell (406) 257-3360, Missoula (406) 728-3003

Link to E-mail

Nebraska

Sen. Ben Nelson

DC Phone: (202) 224-6551

Local Phone: Omaha (402) 391-3411, Lincoln (402) 441-4600, Scottsbluff (308) 631-7614, Kearney (308) 293-5818, South Sioux City (402) 209-3595

Link to E-mail

North Dakota

Sen. Kent Conrad

DC Phone: (202) 224-2043

Local Phone: Bismarck (701) 258-4648, Fargo (701) 232-8030, Grand Forks (701) 775-9601, Minot (701) 852-0703

Link to E-mail

Sen. Byron Dorgan

DC Phone: (202) 224-2551

Local Phone: Bismarck (701) 250-4618, Fargo (701) 239-5389, Minot (701) 852-0703, Grand Forks (701) 746-8972

Link to E-mail

South Dakota

Sen. Tim Johnson

DC Phone: (202) 224-5842

Local Phone: Aberdeen (605) 226-3440, Sioux Falls (605) 332-8896, Rapid City (605) 341-3990

Link to E-mail

Virginia

Sen. James Webb

(202) 224-4024
1-866-507-1570

Link to E-mail.

West Virginia

Sen. Robert C. Byrd

DC Phone: (202) 224-3954

Local Phone: Charlestown (304) 342-5855, Eastern Panhandle (304) 264-4626

Link to E-mail

Remembering Dean Barnett

Tuesday, October 27, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Dean Barnett died a year ago today. Only a couple of weeks earlier I had spent a wonderful hour talking politics with him as I and and many others had become accustomed to as part of our more enjoyable moments.

Duane and I will be playing some Dean clips throughout today’s show, and Duane is building a Dean archive at the Hughniverse. Here’s another tribute from his pals at PunditReview.

Dean and I met only a couple of times, but we were able to became fast friends because of new media. He was generous with his time and his encouragement, especially to young people and especially to the men and women in uniform. What a great American, the The Plucky, Smart Kid With The Fatal Disease.

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