>> Earmarks Buy ObamaCare. Bribery except in Congress where it is merely the price of doing business and called “sweeteners”
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We Americans are contemptuous of the bribery and corruption that goes on in other governments around the world and insist they clean up their governments or we will withhold funding or other aid, but we tolerate the bribery that goes on constantly in our Congress. The Obamacare bill in the Senate had the most egregious amount of bribery in it that I have seen in any bill to date. Of course, I must admit that seldom does the public get a look at these corrupt little side deals because usually both parties are involved and each has reason to keep them from the public. The spending bills just passed in both houses are prime examples since the ear marks amounted to 5000 (yes, five thousand) in the Senate alone and Lord only knows how many in the House, but both party’s members got their piece of the action so nothing was said except on a few right-wing blogs. The Obamacare bill however is a Democrats bill so the Republicans are willing to scream their heads off about the buy-ins!
Do you want a good laugh? Check out this press release from January 18, 2006:
Democrats from across the country today unveiled their Honest Leadership and Open Government Act. In the Great Hall of the Library of Congress, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, were joined by Senator Barack Obama and Congresswoman Louise Slaughter and their Senate and House colleagues to shine a spotlight on the Republican “pay for play” politics that put special interests first at the expense of the priorities of the American people and signed a pledge to restore honest leadership and open government.
The below headlines sound like “pay to play” politics:
Senator Ben Nelson “negotiated” some changes to the Senate Health bill that have were needed to gain his support. One change stipulated that federal money wouldn’t be used to pay for abortions, while the others are nothing but freebies for Nebraskans. Here’s a brief summary:
Nelson secured full federal funding for his state to expand Medicaid coverage to all individuals below 133 percent of the federal poverty level. Other states must pay a small portion of the additional cost. He won concessions for qualifying nonprofit insurers and for Medigap providers from a new insurance tax, and was able to roll back cuts to health savings accounts.
“I know this is hard for some of my colleagues to accept and I appreciate their right to disagree,” Nelson told reporters at the Capitol, of the many changes made at his behest. “But I would not have voted for this bill without these provisions.”
- Louisiana Purchase, Part Deux – Statesman Journal
- bribes in the form of earmarks ended up being the carrot that lured in the final votes on a critical piece of legislation that may dramatically impact the future of our nation’s health care … and our nation’s debt.Take, for example, Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, one of the last Senate holdouts who only joined her fellow Democrats hours before the controversial vote. What was it that drew Sen. Landrieu to vote in support of the legislation? Was it her comfort with the cost, or perhaps her satisfaction that the concerns of her constituents had been satisfied?Sadly, the answer lies with a seemingly minor provision added to the health care legislation, which currently takes two pages to write up a description of which states would qualify for an influx of $100 million additional dollars in federal Medicaid subsidies, using phrases such as “certain states recovering from a major disaster.” All two pages make it so that the only state which could qualify is Louisiana. Sen. Landrieu says the funds will total to $300 million ($100 million in disaster relief and $200 in Medicaid).
- Health bill money for hospital sought by Dodd – AP
- Health bill money for hospital sought by Dodd
WASHINGTON — A $100 million item for construction of a university hospital was inserted in the Senate health care bill at the request of Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., who faces a difficult re-election campaign, his office said Sunday night.
The legislation leaves it up to the Health and Human Services Department to decide where the money should be spent, although spokesman Bryan DeAngelis said Dodd hopes to claim it for the University of Connecticut.
The provision is included in a 383-page series of changes to the health care bill that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., outlined Saturday. Scattered throughout are numerous items sought by individual lawmakers, many of them directing money explicitly to programs or projects in their home states.
The one sought by Dodd provides $100 million for “a health care facility that provides research, inpatient tertiary care, or outpatient clinical services.” It must be affiliated with an academic health center at a public research university in the United States “that contains a State’s sole public academic medical and dental school.”
The money can cover a maximum of 40 percent of the facility’s construction costs.
Based on the criteria set out on the bill, it appeared that state-affiliated hospitals in about a dozen states could compete for the funds.
Dodd has played a key role in development of the health care bill in the Senate. He wielded the gavel earlier in the year when the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee spent weeks drafting its version of the measure. The late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., was chairman at the time, but unable to preside.
Dodd, who is chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, is seeking a new term in 2010, but polls so far show him in a tight race. (I hope you all will remember that Senator Dodd along with Rep. Barney Frank were the two most at fault in the Financial Crisis that has cost our economy dearly in government debt for the bail out and in jobs since then as companies go out of business or cut back. BB)
- Deep in Health Bill, Very Specific Beneficiaries – New York Times
- The Wages of Sin (Or, What the 60 Got) – National Review Online
- Wages of Sin (Or, What the 60 Got) [Daniel Foster]If you’ve been closely following the Obamacare debacle on NRO, you learned in real time about the sweetheart deals that pervade Harry Reid’s bill. But here they are rounded up in one place.Sen. Ben Nelson (D., Neb.):
—$1.2 billion over ten years for a permanent exemption from Nebraska’s share of the Medicaid expansion. The only state so exempted under the bill.
—Exemption for Nebraska from an excise tax on non-profit insurers.
Sen. Carl Levin (D., Mich.), Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.)
—Exemption from the non-profit excise tax for Michigan insurers. Michigan and Nebraska were the only two states so exempted.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.)
—$10 billion for “community health centers”.
—Protections from cuts to Medicare Advantage beneficiaries in Vermont.
—$250 million over six years in expanded federal Medicaid funding.
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D., La.)
—$300 million increase in Medicaid funding in Louisiana.
Sen. John Kerry (D., Mass.), Sen. Paul Kirk (D., Mass).
—Three years of expanded federal Medicaid funding.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.), Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.), Sen. Arlen Specter (D., Pa.), Sen. Bill Nelson (D., Fla.)
—Special treatment for Medicare Advantage beneficiaries in New York, Pennsylvania, and Florida.
Sen. Daniel Inouye (D., Hawaii), Sen. Daniel Akaka (D., Hawaii)
—billions in new funding for something called “Disproportionate Share Hospital” (DSH) payments (financed, in large part, by $18.5 billion in cuts to DSH payments in other states).
Sen. Max Baucus (D., Mont.), Sen. Jon Tester (D., Mont.), Sen. Kent Conrad (D., N.D.), Sen. Byron Dorgan (D., N.D.), Sen. Tim Johnson (D., S.D.)
—Higher federal Medicare reimbursement rates for low-population “frontier” states (also qualifying under the bill’s definition of frontier states are Utah and Wyoming, represented in the Senate by Republicans).
- The Demcare Bribe List – Michelle Malkin
- Here we go:1) MARY LANDRIEU AND LOUISIANA: $100 million via Jonathan Karl:
On page 432 of the Reid bill, there is a section increasing federal Medicaid subsidies for “certain states recovering from a major disaster.”
The section spends two pages defining which “states” would qualify, saying, among other things, that it would be states that “during the preceding 7 fiscal years” have been declared a “major disaster area.”
I am told the section applies to exactly one state: Louisiana, the home of moderate Democrat Mary Landrieu, who has been playing hard to get on the health care bill.
In other words, the bill spends two pages describing would could be written with a single world: Louisiana. (This may also help explain why the bill is long.)
Senator Harry Reid, who drafted the bill, cannot pass it without the support of Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu.
How much does it cost? According to the Congressional Budget Office: $100 million.
2) CALIFORNIA: $300 million, via LA Times:
Contained in the nearly 2,000-page House healthcare bill is a little-noticed provision — worth $300 million to California — that would increase federal Medicare payments to doctors in a wide swath of the state in response to complaints that low reimbursement rates have kept them from taking new patients.
Rep. Sam Farr (D-Carmel) was able to include a reimbursement calculation fix in the overhaul legislation. It was a testament to California’s political muscle in the House, where its delegation is the largest of any state and includes Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D- San Francisco) and five committee chairs.
a) Via Philip Klein: $18 million in stimulus money
(AARP sold the seniors out! The Obamacare bill will kill Medicare Advantage so AARP will have the only Medigap insurance available to Seniors. AARP is in the business of exploiting Seniors not helping Seniors. BB)
4) THE ABORTION LOBBY, via LifeNews:
Two leading pro-life organizations that have analyzed the new 2,000-page government-run health care bill released by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid late yesterday say the legislation contains massive abortion funding and a fake amendment that does not truly ban it.
The Senate health care bill does not contain the Stupak amendment the House approved that stops abortion funding under the public option and affordability credits.
Instead, the measure contains a slightly-reworded version of the much-maligned Capps amendment, which a House committee approved on a partisan vote and which pro-life groups say is an accounting scheme to hide government-funded abortions.
“Reid has rejected the bipartisan Stupak-Pitts Amendment and has substituted completely unacceptable language that would result in coverage of abortion on demand in two big new federal government programs,” National Right to Life legislative director Douglas Johnson assured LifeNews.com late Wednesday.
“Reid seeks to cover elective abortions in two big new federal health programs, but tries to conceal that unpopular reality with layers of contrived definitions and hollow bookkeeping requirements,” he continued.
Rep. Lois Capps, whose amendment was deleted when the House adopted the Stupak language, has applauded Reid’s language.
“It appears that their approach closely mirrors my language which was originally included in the House bill,” she said in a statement.
Johnson notes that Reid’s bill establishes the public option and authorizes (on page 118) the Secretary of Health and Human Services to require coverage of any and all abortions throughout the public option program.
“This would be federal government funding of abortion, no matter how hard they try to disguise it,” he says.
He also says the bill creates the affordability credits — new tax-supported subsidies to purchase private health plans — and that these government-funded credits can be used to purchase health insurance plans that directly pay for abortions.
Attorney Mary Harned of Americans United for Life, has also examined the abortion sections of Reid’s new measure, which she says “provides for an unprecedented expansion of federally-funded abortion. ”
“The bill includes pro-abortion language and mirrors the false compromise Capps Amendment from the House debate — it allows the public option to include abortion coverage and provides federal subsidies for private plans which cover abortion,” she said.
5) BIG LABOR
(Read this section very carefully. It is a well known fact (check Wikipedia) the unions are owned and operated by the American Mafia. theis Health Care Bill if passed by congress will literally turn over one sixth of the American economy to the Mafia! BB)
Via Houston Chronicle, Goodies for labor tucked away in health bill:
While higher-profile aspects of health care reform drew attention, pro-union legislators slipped a variety of big benefits for labor into the proposed legislation. Quietly tucked among the proposals’ thousands of pages, these provisions have avoided much scrutiny.
One provision epitomizes the nature of this ploy. According to research firms, unions are woefully short of funds to pay their retirees’ anticipated insurance claims. Thus, under the House resolution, union leaders who have mismanaged these plans for their members could receive up to $10 billion in taxpayer-funded bailout money, innocuously referred to as a “reinsurance program.”
Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
Under the proposed public option, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius would wield tremendous discretionary authority to regulate participating health care workers. She and various federal panels, where the unions would have guaranteed seats, would take the lead in recommending health care policy. Thus, labor would have considerable influence over decisions affecting most doctors, nurses and patients.
The House resolution establishes a scenario that would effectively exclude non-union employers from eligibility to work on program-funded contracts. It also requires participating health care providers to pay wages and benefits that have been collectively bargained or that union-friendly appointees determine are competitive. This is plainly a move toward coerced unionization. With guaranteed seats at the table, unions are poised to control many newly formed oversight posts and/or committees, formed in connection with new employer mandates and cooperative health care associations.
Yet another provision would establish lucrative state training partnerships that contain little or no opportunities for non-union employee organizations. Provisions in Senate proposals would exempt union-negotiated health care plans from taxes on “Cadillac” health plans.
These features all encourage more unionization. The unions know that under Canada’s nationalized system, union membership among all health care workers is 61 percent, compared to just 11 percent in the U.S.
Increasing membership similarly in this country would swell labor’s coffers with as much as another $2 billion in dues.
In fact, Senate proposals include language that could force home health workers into unions. Disgraced former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and former California Gov. Gray Davis used this approach to repay political debts to the SEIU in their states. They reclassified state-reimbursed home health contractors as state employees, thus forcing them to pay union dues. Again and again, it is apparent that these union-friendly proposals have nothing do with improving our health care system.
From Mark Mix:
In the heated debates on health-care reform, not enough attention is being paid to the huge financial windfalls ObamaCare will dole out to unions—or to the provisions in the various bills in Congress that will help bring about the forced unionization of the health-care industry.
Tucked away in thousands of pages of complex new rules, regulations and mandates are special privileges and giveaways that could have devastating consequences for the health-care sector and the American economy at large.
The Senate version opens the door to implement forced unionization schemes pursued by former Govs. Rod Blagojevich of Illinois in 2005 and Gray Davis of California in 1999. Both men repaid tremendous political debts to Andy Stern and his Service Employees International Union (SEIU) by reclassifying state-reimbursed in-home health-care (and child-care) contractors as state employees—and forcing them to pay union dues.
Following this playbook, the Senate bill creates a “personal care attendants workforce advisory panel” that will likely impose union affiliation to qualify for a newly created “community living assistance services and support (class)” reimbursement plan.
The current House version of ObamaCare (H.R. 3200) goes much further. Section 225(A) grants Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius tremendous discretionary authority to regulate health-care workers “under the public health insurance option.” Monopoly bargaining and compulsory union dues may quickly become a required standard resulting in potentially hundreds of thousands of doctors and nurses across the country being forced into unions.
Ms. Sebelius will be taking her marching orders from the numerous union officials who are guaranteed seats on the various federal panels (such as the personal care panel mentioned above) charged with recommending health-care policies. Big Labor will play a central role in directing federal health-care policy affecting hundreds of thousands of doctors, surgeons and nurses.
Update: More sweeteners…
With all 40 Republicans in lockstep opposition, all 60 members of the Democratic caucus had to vote yes — and that gave each one an opportunity to extract concessions from Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) won a promise from Reid to support his plan to expand eligibility for health insurance. Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) got Reid to jettison a provision stripping health insurers of their antitrust exemption. Landrieu got the concessions for her money. And Lincoln won an extended, 72-hour period to study legislation.
And the big shakedown is yet to occur: That will happen when Reid comes back to his caucus in a few weeks to round up 60 votes for the final passage of the health bill.
- Cash for Cloture: Demcare bribe list, Pt. II – Michelle Malkin
- Let the sun shine in.1. Sen. Ben Nelson’s “Cornhusker Kickback.” The CBO says the Nebraska Democrat sellout’s special Medicaid expansion subsidy will initially cost an estimated $100 million. The Hill reports that while Nelson credited Nebraska’s governor for giving him the idea to lobby for the government preference, Nebraska’s governor assailed the payoff:“Nebraskans did not ask for a special deal, only a fair deal,” Heineman said in a statement Sunday. In response, Nelson fired off a letter Sunday to Heineman saying he’s prepared to ask that the provision covering Nebraska’s Medicaid share “be removed from the amendment in conference, if it is your desire.”
2. New England’s Special Syrup. Vermont and Massachusetts will get similar (though less generous) special treatment by the feds in covering Medicaid expansion costs. Combined with Nebraska’s tab, the exclusive clique’s payoffs will cost taxpayers $1.2 billion over 10 years. At least.
3. Corruptocrat Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd’s Christmas wish: Hospital helper. He’s plunging in the polls and in need of a little bacon to bring home.
A $100 million item for construction of a university hospital was inserted in the Senate health care bill at the request of Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., who faces a difficult re-election campaign, his office said Sunday night. The legislation leaves it up to the Health and Human Services Department to decide where the money should be spent, although spokesman Bryan DeAngelis said Dodd hopes to claim it for the University of Connecticut. The provision is included in a 383-page series of changes to the health care bill that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., outlined Saturday. …The one sought by Dodd provides $100 million for “a health care facility that provides research, inpatient tertiary care, or outpatient clinical services.” It must be affiliated with an academic health center at a public research university in the United States “that contains a State’s sole public academic medical and dental school.” The money can cover a maximum of 40 percent of the facility’s construction costs.
4. “Some insurers are more equal than others” tax exemption. The WSJ reports that nonprofit insurance companies will be exempt from a new, nearly $7 billion tax to pay for Demcare. Democrat Sens. Ben “Blank Check” Nelson and Carl Levin of Michigan pushed hard for the tax exemption, which will exempt insurers in their states.
5. The Frontier freebie. Several lucky states will see an increase in Medicare payments to hospitals and doctors, the NYT reports, — “where at least 50 percent of the counties are ‘frontier counties,’ defined as those having a population density less than six people per square mile. And which are the lucky states? The bill gives no clue. But the Congressional Budget Office has determined that Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming meet the criteria.”
6. More Democrat hospital bennies. Also via NYT: “Another provision of the bill would increase Medicare payments to certain “low-volume hospitals” treating limited numbers of Medicare patients. Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa and chairman of the Senate health committee, said this ‘important fix’ would help midsize Iowa hospitals in Grinnell, Keokuk and Spirit Lake. Another item in Mr. Reid’s package specifies the data that Medicare officials should use in adjusting payments to hospitals to reflect local wage levels. The officials can use certain new data only if it produces a higher index and therefore higher Medicare payments for these hospitals. Senate Democrats said this provision would benefit hospitals in Connecticut and Michigan.”
7. Bernie Sanders’ socialized medicine sop. He wanted a public option. Instead, he got socialized medicine satellite clinics funded to the tune of at least $10 billion. In his remarks early this morning before the cloture vote, he gloated about the funding as a crucial step toward universal care. Via the Burlington Free Press:
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., scored a big victory, too, with the inclusion in the amendment package of $10 billion to expand community health centers across the country — including at least two more in Vermont.
“We are talking about a revolution in primary care here,” Sanders said. Funding community health centers in an additional 10,000 communities would extend primary care to 25 million more Americans. The $10 billion, added at Sanders’ request, would also ensure there would be medical professionals to provide primary care by expanding the National Health Service Corps by an additional 20,000 slots. Doctors, dentists, nurses and other medical professionals who agree to work in areas where there are limited medical services get help paying off their school loans. The House version of the health care reform bill contains $14 billion for these initiatives. Sanders said he was hopeful the final amount, which will be hammered out in negotiations between the House and Senate, would be closer to $14 billion.
Vermont has 8 community health centers and 40 satellite offices. “New funding would make it likely centers could be opened in Addison and Bennington counties,” Sanders’ home state paper reports.
8. Fla.-Pa.-NY Protectionism. Via Politico: “Three states – Pennsylvania, New York and Florida – all won protections for their Medicare Advantage beneficiaries at a time when the program is facing cuts nationwide.”
And you know there are many more untold payoffs — paid by stealing your money — yet to be stuffed into this bureaucratic monstrosity.
To quote our Chicago Way President: “Don’t think we’re not keeping score, brother.”