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The Disaster of Obamacare and the Showdown on Cloture

Tuesday, October 13, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Yesterday’s stunning news about the skyrocketing cost of health insurance under Obamacare —from the current $13,000 a year in premiums for a family of four to $26,000 a year in one short decade— ought to motivate you to redouble your efforts to stop this bill. The trail of broken promises on this bill ends up trumped by this last one –it will actually drive health care costs way up, not control them. Contrary to what the president has said again and again, it is in fact better to do nothing. A lot better.

Couple that news of the toll on average Americans that the president’s enthusiasms will take with the story in today’s New York Times on the tax bite of the proposed levy on “cadillac health insurance plans” which will in fact fall on “minivan plans” and you have a perfect plan to greatly burden the middle class for decades to come. The cost of your health care will go up as will your taxes, but the quality of your care will go down, as will the number of doctors to provide it. If you are on Medicare, the services available to you will be rationed and your Medicare Advantage premiums will shoot up.

The White House and its allies predictably savaged the study by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, but all the counter-noise cannot stop the public from hearing the truth: Obamacare is a massively expensive redistribution of wealth via direct and indirect taxes that will greatly damage Medicare while driving up health insurance costs for Americans who already have insurance all so that some, but far from all, people without health insurance can be provided with marginal coverage. The side effects on doctors and hospitals are well known, but the stampede being organized by the president seeks to simply jam them through.

The Republican effort to stop the big push is ineffective at best. As my new WashingtonExaminer.com column points out and as Byron York and I laughed over on yesterday’s program, the GOP sent out George LeMieux to make the response to Obama’s weekly radio address this past Saturday. “George LeWho?” you wonder. Our point exactly. Not a confidence-building move by any measure.

Obamacare will get out of the Senate Finance Committee today, and then will be merged with all the other bad ideas on health care that Democrats cling to.

Then Harry Reid will try and force cloture on any bill no matter how incoherent or medicine-destroying its mix of incoherent initiatives and contradictory commands. He will need 60 votes to destroy American medicine and do so at extraordinary cost to the middle class who right now are covered by excellent insurance at significant but not punishing costs.

To get those 60 votes Reid will need one or two “yes” votes from Indiana’s Evan Bayh, Colorado’s Michael Bennet, Arkansas’ Blanche Lincoln, Nebraska’s Ben Nelson, and Virginia’s James Webb, some of whom will be tempted to vote “yes” on cloture and then try to cover that vote with a “no” vote on the bill.

Every Republican legislator, every conservative commentator, every doctor and hospital professional, and every voter who sees Obamacare as the giant smash-up that it is needs to state again and again that we all know the cloture vote is the vote on Obamacare, and that we will work to defeat any senator who votes yes on cloture.

The contact information for these five and three other Democrats is below. Use it now and urge your families and friends to do the same or start reworking your budget to cut everything else out to pay for the health insurance premium hikes headed your way.

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

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

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“The Battle for COP Keating (and how to donate to help the troops of 361 Cav)”

Monday, October 12, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Read this account and the links within it of the firefight in Afghanistan ten days ago which cost eight American lives, and how you can help the men who defended the base.

The Baucus Bill and the CBO

Monday, October 12, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

What a fraud the CBO exercise was. Read the editorial in the Washington Examiner and then get on the phone to the Democratic senators who can still block this destructive spasm driven by politics and little else.

Start with Evan Bayh of Indiana, Michael Bennet of Colorado, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Ben Nelson of Nebraska. If even two of these four decide to put their country’s interests ahead of the president’s political agenda, the quality of American medicine can be preserved and Medicare will not be slashed.

Here are all the Democratic senators who need to hear from you:

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

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

The Monday Column from Clark Judge

Monday, October 12, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Charles Krauthammer, the Choice of Decline, the Health Care Overhaul
By Clark S. Judge, managing director, White House Writers Group, Inc.;special assistant and speechwriter to President Reagan

Monday night last week, I attended the Manhattan Institute’s Wriston Lecture dinner at the Pierre Hotel in New York. Charles Krauthammer was the speaker. In an address from which the current Weekly Standard cover story is condensed (http://tinyurl.com/yhfjgyb), he argued that the decline of American global hegemony or its continuation will not be the inevitable result of historic forces but of both foreign and domestic policy decisions the nation itself makes.

“For America today,’ he said, “decline is not a condition. Decline is a choice.” He added: “The current liberal ascendancy in the United States–controlling the executive and both houses of Congress, dominating the media and elite culture–has set us on a course for decline.”

For me the most original and telling section of the lecture concerned domestic rather than foreign policy.

Yes, as Peter Wehner later wrote on the Commentary blog (http://tinyurl.com/yf2ue6c), Mr. Krauthammer’s indictment of the president explained the Nobel Peace Prize announcement later in the week. As Krauthammer said of Obama’s ongoing global apology tour, from international podium to international podium, Mr. Obama has spoken the words that the Nobel Committee wanted to hear. As Krauthammer put it:

“[A]s he made his hajj from Strasbourg to Prague to Ankara to Istanbul to Cairo and finally to the U.N. General Assembly, Obama drew the picture of an America quite exceptional -exceptional in moral culpability and heavy-handedness, exceptional in guilt for its treatment of other nations and peoples.”

But by now everyone with eyes and ears knows where the president is going in at least the tone of international affairs.

No, the real insight of the talk was that the president’s social democratic policies at home are incompatible with global greatness. Krauthammer noted:

“Domestic policy, of course, is not designed to curb our power abroad. But what it lacks in intent, it makes up in effect. Decline will be an unintended, but powerful, side effect of the New Liberalism’s ambition of moving America from its traditional dynamic individualism to the more equitable but static model of European social democracy.”

Massive spending on domestic programs, starving of defense budgets, the decline of the dollar: all these, Krauthammer argued, are as of a piece.

Another way to put it (my words now, not his) is that when we talk about presidential legacies, we should remember the legacy of George Washington (with the assistance of Alexander Hamilton) in making the United States government the most credit worthy entity in the world. With this incomparable financial foundation, in the past century we won two world wars and a Cold War. We saved civilization. And yet now, as we race past one trillion-dollar spending milestone after another, in the course of single presidential administration, we could destroy this essential gift.

It does not have to be that way. A great decision-a pivotal decision-on whether we go down Krauthammer’s social democratic road of decline will be made in the next few months: Do we adopt a social democratic model for health care reform?

To now, the president and his allies have done all they could to ignore-and keep the bulk of the media ignoring-the fully formed alternative model that fixes U.S. health market problems while truly reducing costs-that is, prices — and with minimal federal spending.

That model is simple. It includes, for example, creating a national health insurance market (to replace the antiquated fifty state insurance markets of today and introduce intense nationwide competition); making our tax treatment when buying health insurance for ourselves no different from that which large employers enjoy when they buy insurance for us (so no one is effectively forced to buy through the employer, as is the case today); enhancing health savings accounts (so each of us has greater control over our daily health care choices); removing the legal barriers that keep doctors from creating companies to deliver health services and develop health products (called the Stark Laws, they are a drag on entrepreneurship in the healthcare marketplace); instituting medical malpractice reform; eliminating mandates.

From Harvard professor and Manhattan Institute scholar Regina Herzlinger, to Stanford professor and Hoover Institute scholar John Cogan, to Columbia University business school dean and former chair of the Council of Economic Advisors Glen Hubbard, to Pacific Research Institute president and economist Sally Pipes, to many other scholars, this model has been carefully and imaginatively developed over the past two decades. It fits the needs and strengths of America in the twenty-first century, as the administration’s model based on 1930s social democratic thinking cannot possibly do.

On a Sunday talk show, ABC’s This Week, George Will noted that, correctly and honestly calculated, the president’s health upheaval plans currently will cost the nation $1.8 trillion over the next ten years. As Charles Krauthammer pointed out last Monday, embracing such a program could profoundly compromise America’s strength and security for decades to come. There is a better road. Will we take it?

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