The Affordable Health Care for America Act
America Cannot Afford
By Carolyn Cormey
In the middle of the night last Saturday, the House quietly passed their version of the "Affordable Health Care for America Act." It was 1,990 pages, printed on about 4 reams of paper weighing in at almost 20 lbs., spending about $2.2 million per word, potentially creating more job losses of up to 5.5 million, levying about $730 billion in taxes mostly on job-creating small businesses, adding millions more people into Medicaid while cutting around 500 billion dollars out of Medicare/Medicaid! WOW! I learned most of this by watching the 4 hours of "debate" that Speaker Pelosi allowed before calling for the vote to pass this legislation giving government control over an additional 17% of our economy, "Bite by Bite." A whole 4 hours of debate which turns out to be a series of timed, one-minute speeches given by as many Congressmen/women as can crowd to the microphone in the allotted 4 hours, speaking to C-Span cameras, not each other. After 4 hours of this riveting "theater" (yawn), Nancy Pelosi calls for the vote, the Bill passed and everybody got to go home to finish their weekend. Business as usual.
About 1,000 pages of this Bill were newly written and added to about 990 pages that were rewritten behind closed doors by the Majority Party Democrat House Leaders without review or markup by any of the House Committees. Before the final House Bill was even completed, Majority Party Leader Nancy was already out counting heads and bartering "deals-for-votes" with Democrat Party members to pass her bill. After all, important Bills like this are NOT even brought to the Floor of the House until the Speaker (currently Nancy Pelosi) is certain that she controls enough votes to pass the Bill. Once she has captured the control of member votes and has more than she actually needs to pass it, she can then "allow" certain Congressmen in more conservative districts to vote against her Bill BUT should she need their vote back to cover a member who goes "rogue" and does not deliver the promised vote, she can call back one or all of those votes committed to her.
Let's Make a Deal - What Do I Get For My Vote?
Hard to believe but true! Congressmen and women promise their votes to their Majority Party Leader before Bills are fully written, without reading the Bills and often without fully knowing what the final bill will contain. They barter away their votes in return for Leader-awarded favors to their districts, contracts to their corporate campaign donors and promises to their pet Special Interest Groups who support their re-election to congress every two years, term after term after term. While our Congressmen (and US Senators) think nothing of ignoring or breaking promises made to all of us, they do not break promises they make to deliver their vote to their Majority Party Leaders who hold the power to fully fund a congressman's re-election campaign . . . . or not.
These days, Committee Mark-ups to write and amend Bills are a joke, a gathering place to collect and communicate the wish-list of Majority Party Committee Members to their House and Senate Majority Party Leaders when bartering for their votes. Committee Leaders are to put on a good show AND to squash the input from the minority political party that has to sit there and take it or be accused of being obstructionists. The Committees did their job well. Other than procedural amendments, they only allowed ONE Republican amendment to be passed among 500 amendments processed by the three House Committees. How's that for bi-partisan?!
Important bills are now written and re-written by the Majority Political Leaders, in secret, behind closed doors, assisted by a few hand-picked legislators who share their identical political beliefs at the far end of the political spectrum. The Whitehouse currently shares the same political agenda and ideology, so they are also at the table behind closed doors, writing the important bills like this Health Bill, Cap & Trade and the stimulus bills - in secret. The rest of it, the Committee Hearings, the one minute debate-o-speeches . . . . all show with no substance.
There was a moment of excitement. There were some Democrats who drew a line in the sand about this Health Care Bill funding abortions and could not be persuaded by Nancy to "trust her" that this bill (they had not yet read) did not really actually fund abortions . . . that the money for abortions would come from some other pocket or some such drivel. Congressmen Stupak, along with some other Democrats who held personal views or came from conservative districts where taxpayer funded abortions would be a re-election hot button, wanted the "Stupak Amendment" passed, plainly stating that this Bill would not fund abortions except where the life of the mother and child are at risk. Nancy had to allow a vote on the Stupak Amendment to reel back in the support of enough of these Democrats to pass her Bill. In the ONE AND ONLY bi-partisan effort, Republicans joined these Democrats to pass the Stupak Amendment.
These Democrats and Republicans and Nancy know that the Liberal Democrat Leaders will most likely remove the Stupak Amendment when they rewrite the Bill in one of the up-coming Conference Committees. BUT the Stupak Democrats got their amendment AND got the cover they will need for their next re-election in their conservative districts. Flush with victory about the lives of the unborn, they quickly voted to pass a bill that puts our living children into financial bondage for generations to come and subjects the health care of seniors to the government's "Comparative Effectiveness Research" that will guide their doctors as to the treatments, procedures and medications that should be provided. . . or not.
Our Jobs or Their Jobs!
Unemployment is now reported at 10.2%. It is probably over 17% if you were to add back in the numbers of people who are so discouraged that they have given up looking for work. Only government jobs are growing in number. Attorneys continue to have bright, lucrative futures because in 1,990 pages of this Healthcare Legislation, not a single word is mentioned about tort reform.
In this last year ending September 30th, we added $1.4 Trillion in deficit spending (money we did not have) raising our national debt to $12 Trillion! The President's economic advisors say that as many as 5.5 million jobs may be lost as a result of this Health Care Legislation being passed. The top domestic effort of those we elect should be JOBS, OUR JOBS. It is not the time to tackle Cap & Trade and create another massive health care overhaul entitlement program spending trillions on these programs where it is well known in advance, they will cause further job losses! The whole legislative process has degenerated into something embarrassing and shameful BUT it seems that those we elect have lost the ability to be either embarrassed or shamed and are either willing or resigned to continuing this pretense because they want to keep their jobs and their plush health care insurance and retirement benefits OR they have simply become addicted to the prestige, power and perks that come with the office!
Saving our jobs seems to be little more than lip service. Those we elect continue to push through legislation that spends trillions of dollars we don't have and puts more of us out of work. The disconnect seems to be that we want to grow jobs AND they want to grow government. Perhaps it is time to take their jobs away from them so that they will more fully understand. Nothing will ever change until we decide to throw the incumbents in both political parties out of office and deliver a new message, the "CHANGE THEY CAN COUNT ON," that if they do not do their jobs, we will take away their jobs, election after election after election.