This is not the Christmas I had in mind. And the title of this post is in no way in jest.
For the first time in 114 years, the Senate has cast a vote on Christmas Eve – a vote for a terrible bill that has seemingly been part of a twisted game of telephone. In this case the message (the bill) began with one person and, once it made it through the Senate with plenty of special carve outs in exchange for votes, ended as something far different than how it originated.
President Obama recently wrote regarding the health care billl, “As with any legislation, compromise is part of the process.”
Compromise occurs when you meet in the middle, when there is give in take to come to a concensus. Compromise does not occur when certain states are given exemptions and special status in order to buy votes. That is bribery.
The supporters of this bill in the Senate have put special interests and pure selfishness above the greater good in this vote. They’ve put party loyalty over the public good. This is clearly evident in the carve outs. We are talking about $1.2 billion in carve outs to buy the votes (an amount equal to 1/3 of Delaware’s entire operating budget). Christmas came early for Ben Nelson, Chris Dodd and Mary Landrieu.
Other carve outs include:
- Eliminating or reducing the Medicaid unfunded mandate on Nebraska, Vermont, and Massachusetts (starting on page 96, line 9)
- Exempting certain health insurance companies in Nebraska and Michigan from taxes and fees (starting on page 367, line 6)
- Providing automatic Medicare coverage for anyone living in Libby, Montana (starting on page 194 – section 10323)
- Earmarking $100 million for a “Health Care Facility” reportedly in Connecticut (starting on page 328)
- Giving special treatment to Hawaii’s Disproportionate Share Hospitals (starting on page 101, line 6)
- Boosting reimbursement rates for certain hospitals in Michigan and Connecticut (starting on page 174 – section 10317)
- Mandating special treatment for hospitals in “Frontier” States like Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wyoming (starting on page 208 — Sec 10324)
In a recent interview, Harry Reid stated something along the lines of “Any Senator who doesn’t have something in this bill, well that doesn’t speak well of that senator.”
Is that really what this is about? This is not the twelve days of Christmas. This is a monumental action that will have a severe impact on our nation.
Even though they’ve cast their votes (even with no carve outs in the bill for Delaware) you can call the offices of Senators Carper and Kaufman and let them know how you feel. The bill still has to be meshed with the House version. Call Senator Carper. Call Ted Kaufman. Let your voice be heard!
For Senator Carper:
Washington, DC: (202) 224-24418-2190
Wilmington: (302) 573-6291
For Senator Kauffman:
You can urge Attorney General Biden to stand up for Delaware and the Constitution by joining the growing list of state attorneys general who have begun investigations into the constitutionality of this provision and into the “vote-buying.” You can call Attorney General Biden’s office at (302) 577-8400.
Since it is the holidays, I’ll end on a positive note. There has been little press given to H.R. 847, introduced by Representative Vern Buchanan. This legislation will require any health care negotiations to be open to the public. This is a no brainer. If you make a call to Carper or Kaufman mention that they should support this good move as well, maybe they’ll have a Scrooge type revelation.