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Fact-checking Obamacare Summit

Yesterday at 12:01pm

We should be thankful for yesterday’s 7-hour health care summit – it was helpful in that it allowed Americans to hear the fundamental differences in approaches to meeting health care challenges. On one side, commonsense conservatives laid out fiscally-sound, free market-based, patient-centered solutions; and on the left’s side we heard about the Democrat’s belief that growing government is the only way to meet challenges.
As the saying goes, “Everyone is entitled to his opinion, but not his own facts.” When these “facts” concern one-sixth of our economy and something as important to our personal wellbeing as health care, we’d better make sure they are the real deal.
Please take a look at the compilation below from GOP.com correcting the top five falsehoods from yesterday’s summit. I appreciate their research and revelations compiled here.

– Sarah Palin

TOP FIVE FALSEHOODS
If Democrats Would Start Listening To The American People, They’d Stop Telling Falsehoods

NO ONE’S TALKING ABOUT RECONCILIATION?

Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) Claims “No One Has Talked About Reconciliation.” “No one has said — I read what the President has online — no one has talked about reconciliation but that’s what you folks have talked about ever since that came out, as if it’s something that has never been done before.” (“Transcript: White House Health Summit, Morning Session,” Kaiser Health News, 2/25/10)
But Reid Himself Is Talking About Reconciliation. “Harry Reid’s got a gift for hyperbole – and it keeps on giving. The Senate majority leader’s latest gem came in response to hints that Democrats might try to use the fast-track budget ‘reconciliation’ to bypass a Republican filibuster of President Obama’s health care plan. After advising Republicans on Tuesday to ‘stop crying over reconciliation as if it’s never been done before,’ he ticked off a list of legislative feats he contends were accomplished through the filibuster-busting process: ‘Contract [with] America was done with reconciliation. Tax cuts, done with reconciliation. Medicare, done with reconciliation.’” (Jonathan Allen, “Hyperbolic Harry,” Politico’s “Live Pulse” Blog, 2/24/10)
“For Some Bizarre Reason, During His Initial Presentation, Sen. Reid Said That ‘No One Has Talked About Reconciliation,’ … But That’s Obviously Not True. Everybody’s Talking About It. And A Lot Of Dems Would Be Pretty Upset If They Weren’t Talking About It.” (Josh Marshall, Talking Points Memo’s “Editors Blog” Blog, 2/25/10)

  • “A Number Of Democratic Senators Have Signed A Letter Urging Reid To Use Reconciliation To Pass The Public Option.” (Eric Zimmermann, “Reid: ‘No One Has Talked About Reconciliation,’” The Hill’s “Briefing Room” Blog, 2/25/10)

Obama Health Reform Advisor Says The Door Is Open For Reconciliation. “Linda Douglass, the communications director of the White House Office of Health Reform, left reconciliation on the table as an option for passing a health care bill if Democrats and Republicans don’t reach consensus during Thursday’s summit. … ‘Certainly if that were not to be the case, he would be asking for a simple up or down majority vote and would certainly hope that the Republicans would not try to block that simple up or down majority vote.’” (Carol Lee & Patrick O’Connor, “Douglass Open To Reconciliation,” Politico’s “44” Blog, 2/25/10)

THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AREN’T INTERESTED IN RECONCILIATION?

Obama Claims Americans Don’t Care About Reconciliation. “You know, this issue of reconciliation has been brought up. Again I think the American people aren’t always all that interested in procedures inside the Senate. I do think they want a vote on how we’re going to move this forward.” (President Obama, Health Care Summit, Washington, DC, 2/25/10)
But 52% Of Americans Don’t Want The Democrats To Use Reconciliation To Pass Their Government-Run Health Care Experiment. “In the survey, Americans by 52%-39% oppose Senate Democrats using the procedure, which allows a bill to pass with a 51-vote majority rather than the 60 votes needed to end debate.” (Susan Page, “Poll: Expectations Low On Health Summit,” USA Today, 2/25/10)

DEM PROPOSALS WILL LOWER PREMIUMS?

President Obama Claimed CBO Determined His Plan Would Lower Premiums. PRESIDENT OBAMA: “It’s not factually accurate. Here’s what the Congressional Budget Office says. The costs for families for the same type of coverage that they’re currently receiving would go down 14 percent to 20 percent.” SEN. LAMAR ALEXANDER (R-TN): “The Congressional Budget Office report says that premiums will rise in the individual market as a result of the Senate bill.” PRESIDENT OBAMA: “No, no, no, no. Let me — and this is an example of where we’ve got to get our facts straight.” ALEXANDER: “That’s my point.” OBAMA: “Well, exactly, so let me — let me respond to what you just said, Lamar, because it’s not factually accurate. Here’s what the Congressional Budget Office says. The costs for families for the same type of coverage that they’re currently receiving would go down 14 percent to 20 percent.” (President Obama, Health Care Summit, Washington, DC, 2/25/10)
But Actually, CBO Determined The Bill Would Raise Premiums For Americans Purchasing Insurance Individually. “CBO and JCT estimate that the average premium per person covered (including dependents) for new nongroup policies would be about 10 percent to 13 percent higher in 2016 than the average premium for nongroup coverage in that same year under current law.” (Douglas W. Elmendorf, Letter To Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN), 11/30/09)

INCREMENTAL PLANS ARE UNACCEPTABLE?

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): “[I]naction And Incrementalism Are Simply Unacceptable.” (Mike Allen, “Will Dr. Obama Go For Plan B-1, Or Plan B-2? — Dems’ Post-Summit Message: POTUS Was ‘Thoughtful, Comprehensive,’ Rs ‘Insulted The Summit’ — New NYT Expose May Finish Gov. Paterson,” Politico’s “Playbook,” 2/25/10)
But 56.4 Percent Of Americans Prefer An Incremental Approach. “Moreover, 56.4 percent of people indicated they would prefer Congress to tackle healthcare reform on a step-by-step basis, not take the comprehensive approach as embodied in the legislation that passed the House and Senate last year but has stalled for the past month.” (Jeffrey Young, “Poll: Most Americans Think Congress Should Start Over On Healthcare,” The Hill’s “Briefing Room” Blog, 2/16/10)

PUBLIC FUNDS WOULDN’T GO TO ABORTION?

Pelosi Said Abortion Wouldn’t Be Funded Under The Plan. “The law of the land is there is no public funding of abortion and there is no public funding of abortion in these bills and I don’t want our listeners or viewers to get the wrong impression from what you said.” (Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Health Care Summit, Washington, DC, 2/25/10)
But The Bill Allows Federally Funded Abortions. “Under the new abortion provisions, states can opt out of allowing plans to cover abortion in the insurance exchanges the bill would set up. The exchanges are designed to serve individuals who lack coverage through their jobs, with most receiving federal subsidies to buy insurance. Enrollees in plans that cover abortion procedures would pay with separate checks — one for abortion, one for any other health-care services.” (Paul Kane, “To Sway Nelson, A Hard-Won Compromise On Abortion Issue,” The Washington Post, 12/20/10)
Pro-Life Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) Calls Obama’s Abortion Language “Unacceptable.” “Unfortunately, the president’s proposal encompasses the senate language allowing public funding of abortion. The senate language is a significant departure from current law and is unacceptable.” (Ben Smith,” Stupak: “Unacceptable,” Politico’s “Live Pulse” Blog, 2/23/10)
Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) Says 15 To 20 House Dems Who Can’t Support Obama’s Proposal. “Rep. Bart Stupak, the Michigan Democrat who led efforts to tighten abortion language in the House health care bill, said Wednesday morning there are 15 to 20 House Democrats who cannot support President Barack Obama’s effort to bridge the gap between the House and Senate health plans. … He said well over a dozen House members will likely balk, not just on abortion but on the residual tax on so-called Cadillac health plans, which he said the House had already rejected.” (“Stupak: 15-20 Dems Can’t Back Obama Health Plan,” The Wall Street Journal’s “Washington Wire” Blog, 2/24/10)

More of the Same, Only More Expensive

The President has wrestled control of the health care debate away from Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid by finally introducing his own plan. Unfortunately, the White House’s proposal includes everything we found untenable about the old Senate bill – only this one is even more expensive! This is what you might call putting “perfume on a pig.”
What’s in this “new” proposal? It has the unpopular (and arguably unconstitutional) individual mandate that forces people and employers to purchase health insurance – only this time with much harsher fines on employers who choose not to go along with another expensive government mandate. It has provisions that will make employers think twice before expanding their workforce. It has cuts to Medicare Advantage, a popular program which allows seniors to pay a little more money out of pocket for better coverage. And, of course, it still has sweetheart deals – only this time they’ve been extended even more.
We don’t know what the final long-term cost of this will be because the Congressional Budget Office hasn’t had a chance to calculate costs. We do know that the White House recognizes that its proposal will cost tens of billions more over the next ten years than the already-expensive $2.5 trillion Senate bill. The President promised last July that he won’t sign a health care bill if it “adds even one dime to our deficit over the next decade.” But he’s now proposing a health care bill with uncertain fiscal repercussions that could lead to endless deficits.
The rising cost of care has driven the entire health care reform debate. So how does the President’s proposal address this central issue? Price controls. That’s right: Washington, D.C. wants to give a panel of bureaucrats the power to cap insurance premiums and prices. As Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute notes, “artificially limiting premium growth allows the government to curtail spending while leaving the dirty work of withholding medical care to private insurers.” This leads to rationing. Any economist worth his salt – including the White House’s own Larry Summers – will tell you that price controls lead to all sorts of negative unintended consequences. It’s another step towards government controlled health care and away from the real solution: free market, patient-centered reform.
With a government-growing proposal this bad, it’s no wonder the President wants bipartisan cover for it in an election year. Thursday’s health care summit is already being revealed as little more than a photo-op. The Obama administration still denies the existence of the House Republicans’ health care plan that offers alternative solutions to health care challenges – even though the White House website links right to it.
The President’s proposal doesn’t include pro-free market ideas like allowing people to buy insurance across state lines, giving individual buyers the same tax benefits as those who get insurance through their employers, or instituting real medical liability reform. Despite the “kumbaya” rhetoric, Democrats are making plans to ram this bill through the Senate using a partisan procedural maneuver that will bypass the normal bipartisan debate process.
In the meantime, the White House will continue to ignore Republican reform ideas and cast the GOP as the party of no. That’s a hard sell considering that Democrats still hold the majority in the House and Senate. The only real “gridlock” preventing Democrats from doing what they want is the very real threat of America’s voice being heard at the ballot box.
The public is clearly opposed to the Democrats’ health care bills. Americans want to scrap these big-government plans and start over with common-sense, incremental reform. Some on the left have urged Democrats to vote for Obamacare because it’s a foot in the door for universal health care. They understand what’s at stake; so should the rest of us.
The President can perfume this proposal however he wants, but it still doesn’t pass the smell test. Washington should listen to Americans now, or Washington will hear us in November.

 

– Sarah Palin

Freedom, Influence, Security Shrink as Budget Balloons

Today at 4:04pm

The White House recently announced its pricey Childhood Obesity Initiative to tell us what we should feed our kids. Helpful I’m sure – but most Americans would rather see government focus on other important areas right now. We know what our kids should eat: more healthy food, less junk food. There – we just saved Washington a ton of money by announcing that finding on personal responsibility.
What does demand our full attention is the newly released $3,800,000,000,000 federal budget. The president and Congress have a huge job tackling the problem staring right at us as we look at a budget we obviously can’t afford. America’s freedom and security are endangered as we become beholden to other nations, thanks to ballooning deficits and debt. One congressman just warned that our nation may become insolvent if we don’t make better decisions starting now. As noted in a New York Times article today, unless “miraculous growth” or miraculous unforeseen change is on the horizon, America’s freedom, influence, and security will continue to erode. (Personally, at this point I believe it wouldn’t hurt to ramp up our nation’s humble request for the divine miraculous change and wisdom we’ll need to see us through.)
Getting our arms around this will take all of us working together, making sacrifices, taking more personal responsibility, and sending elected leaders to Washington that we can trust. That’s why some of us may come across as strident in our efforts to call out the White House and Congress. We want to trust you, Washington; we want to work with you, but we cannot stomach some of the things being rammed down our throats. Your actions to pile on more debt make no sense, so we must question your motives and intentions. For instance, there’s just no room for expensive, dangerous, and unsustainable new initiatives like Obamacare, Cap and Tax, and a dramatically expanded federal payroll. These government-growing proposals will obviously cause more problems than they’ll solve. They are just further steps towards insolvency.
Steps towards insolvency are steps away from freedom. They’re steps towards destruction. It’s the reason we ask why we should swallow what’s coming out of Washington.
The Wall Street Journal has a brilliant column by Gerald Seib today. It reads in part:

The U.S. government this year will borrow one of every three dollars it spends, with many of those funds coming from foreign countries. That weakens America’s standing and its freedom to act; strengthens China and other world powers including cash-rich oil producers; puts long-term defense spending at risk; undermines the power of the American system as a model for developing countries; and reduces the aura of power that has been a great intangible asset for presidents for more than a century.
“We’ve reached a point now where there’s an intimate link between our solvency and our national security,” says Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations and a senior national-security adviser in both the first and second Bush presidencies. “What’s so discouraging is that our domestic politics don’t seem to be up to the challenge. And the whole world is watching.”
In the 21st-century world order, the classic, narrow definition of national-security threats already has expanded in ways that make traditional foreign-policy thinking antiquated. The list of American security concerns now includes dependence on foreign oil and global warming, for example.
Consider just four of the ways that budget deficits also threaten American’s national security:
• They make America vulnerable to foreign pressures.
The U.S. has about $7.5 trillion in accumulated debt held by the public, about half of that in the hands of investors abroad.
Aside from the fact that each American next year will chip in more than $800 just to pay interest on this debt, that situation means America’s government is dependent on the largesse of foreign creditors and subject to the whims of international financial markets. A foreign government, through the actions of its central bank, could put pressure on the U.S. in a way its military never could. Even under a more benign scenario, a debt-ridden U.S. is vulnerable to a run on the American dollar that begins abroad.
Either way, Mr. Haass says, “it reduces our independence.”
• Chinese power is growing as a result.
A lot of the deficit is being financed by China, which is selling the U.S. many billions of dollars of manufactured goods, then lending the accumulated dollars back to the U.S. The IOUs are stacking up in Beijing.
So far this has been a mutually beneficial arrangement, but it is slowly increasing Chinese leverage over American consumers and the American government. At some point, the U.S. may have to bend its policies before either an implicit or explicit Chinese threat to stop the merry-go-round.
Just this weekend, for example, the U.S. angered China by agreeing to sell Taiwan $6.4 billion in arms. At some point, will the U.S. face economic servitude to China that would make such a policy decision impossible?

Please read the rest of Seib’s column here. Our out-of-control spending is weakening our country. We can no longer afford to kick the can down the road to the next generation. We need to have a serious discussion about our spending priorities before it’s too late. Commonsense conservatives have a sincere desire to work with the White House on these challenges, and we’re thankful for those in Congress making the offer to help.
– Sarah Palin

Are You Capable of Decency, Rahm Emanuel?

Yesterday at 7:32pm

The newly-released mind-boggling, record-smashing $3,400,000,000,000 federal budget invites plenty of opportunity to debate the merits of incurring more and more debt that will drown the next generation of Americans. Never has it been possible to spend your way out of debt. So… let the debate begin.
Included in the debate process will be opportunities for our president to deliberate internally the wisdom of this debt explosion, along with other economic, military and social issues facing our country. Our president will discuss these important issues with Democrat leaders and those within his inner circle. I would ask the president to show decency in this process by eliminating one member of that inner circle, Mr. Rahm Emanuel, and not allow Rahm’s continued indecent tactics to cloud efforts. Yes, Rahm is known for his caustic, crude references about those with whom he disagrees, but his recent tirade against participants in a strategy session was such a strong slap in many American faces that our president is doing himself a disservice by seeming to condone Rahm’s recent sick and offensive tactic.
The Obama Administration’s Chief of Staff scolded participants, calling them, “F—ing retarded,” according to several participants, as reported in the Wall Street Journal.
Just as we’d be appalled if any public figure of Rahm’s stature ever used the “N-word” or other such inappropriate language, Rahm’s slur on all God’s children with cognitive and developmental disabilities – and the people who love them – is unacceptable, and it’s heartbreaking.
A patriot in North Andover, Massachusetts, notified me of Rahm’s “retarded” slam. I join this gentleman, who is the father of a beautiful child born with Down Syndrome, in asking why the Special Olympics, National Down Syndrome Society and other groups condemning Rahm’s degrading scolding have been completely ignored by the White House. No comment from his boss, the president?
As my friend in North Andover says, “This isn’t about politics; it’s about decency. I am not speaking as a political figure but as a parent and as an everyday American wanting my child to grow up in a country free from mindless prejudice and discrimination, free from gratuitous insults of people who are ostensibly smart enough to know better… Have you no sense of decency, sir?”
Mr. President, you can do better, and our country deserves better.

– Sarah Palin

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