July 16, 2009
I just got this one today from my buddy Jon Vogel, Executive Director, DCCC. He’s pretty geeked about the new healthcare bill. Again, bold and bracketed commentary are mine:
“The House proposal will begin the process of fixing what’s broken about our health care system, reducing costs for all, building on what works, and covering an estimated 97% of all Americans”
– President Obama, July 14, 2009 [Obama said it, it must be true. BTW, almost anytime a politician uses the word/phrases for all, everyone, everything, anyone, etc. as it relates to legislation, alarm bells should immediately go off in your head.]
Those are the words by President Obama on the historic legislation that was introduced this week in the House to finally lower health care costs, provide a public option, and offer greater choice and a higher quality of care for all Americans. [literal fallacy of false choices—see IBD editorial showing bill actually limits choices to current carrier when bill goes into effect, or gov’t care]
The status quo of skyrocketing health care expenses for America’s families shows the true cost of doing nothing. If we fail to act, the cost of health care for the average family of four is projected to rise by $1,800 every year for years to come and insurance companies will make more health care decisions. [As opposed to some tangential gov’t committee making the decision for you? That’s better? Also, now health expenses will be necessarily increased for those who can actually “afford” to pay taxes, where some will be paying for tens, if not hundreds, of other people’s health care in some instances. But I digress…]
This bill is a cause for hope, but also a reminder of the tough fight ahead. [You don’t even know…]
Republicans [and an increasing number of Democrats] in Congress, backed by powerful special interests, are already recycling their same playbook of fear mongering that they used to block President Clinton’s health care reform. They’re even calling it “Hillarycare Revisited.”
Help us show that the American people stand with President Obama: Sign our petition declaring your support for Health Care Reform today.
America’s Affordable Health Choices Act – The Details
Here is what the House legislation will mean for America’s middle class families… [Class warfare readily on display. Why not talk about what it will do for the poor, the immigrant, the rich—the “super” rich “fat cats,” as Carville has said in previous letters from the DCCC?]
- GUARANTEED COVERAGE – The days of being denied coverage because of a preexisting condition – or being forced to pay higher premiums because of it – would be over thanks to the House bill. Insurance companies will also be prohibited from other discriminatory practices like charging higher rates because of gender, health status, or other factors. [Seems that health status would kind of be an important factor in how much you get charged for health care. That is, get more care, pay more money. What’s wrong with that? Mind you, I’ve had health issues myself, so this isn’t coming from Joe Healthyguy, here.]
- GREATER CHOICE – If you like your doctor, your local hospital, or your current insurance plan, you can keep it under the House bill. It also sets up a health insurance exchange to act as a marketplace where individuals and small employers will be able to comparison-shop among private and public insurers. [Again, see IBD editorial above that disputes this]
- LOWER COSTS FOR EVERYONE – The House bill would lower health care costs for all Americans. It ends co-pays and deductibles for preventative care and puts an end to rate increases for preexisting conditions. [I’m still wondering how they expect to pay for all this. Oh yeah, we’re still paying for it!] It will give you access to the lower group rates from a national pool if you buy your own plan. It also includes a public option to compete with private insurers and caps annual out-of-pocket spending to prevent bankruptcy from medical expenses.
- HIGHER QUALITY – The House bill makes sure that you and your doctor make health care decisions, not insurance companies. It provides new incentives, scholarships, and training to encourage the very best and brightest to become doctors and nurses. [These really have nothing to do with “HIGHER QUALITY.” One does not guarantee the other.]
- PREVENTION AND WELLNESS – The House bill also expands community health centers, strengthens wellness and prevention services, provides oral, hearing, and vision care for children, and ensures that mental health care is covered.
Despite this great step forward, the real fight for health care reform is still just getting started. President Obama needs your help to fight the lies, attacks, and scare tactics [Ad hominem and mischaracterization, bordering on slander. Are you calling those who oppose this legislation liars just because they use facts—e.g., the text of the bill itself—to argue against it’s passage?] being used right now by the Republicans and their special interest friends. [Yes, only Republicans have special interest friends.]
And stay tuned for future editions of @Stake for more late breaking news from the campaign trail.
Executive Director, DCCC
I don’t know about you, but I’m convinced.
I wrote to my US Congressman George Miller (D-CA) before the recent vote in the House on the Cap-and Trade bill, officialy called the American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act of 2009. In my opinion, it will accomplish none of those things–clean energy, security, or aces. I indicated as much when I wrote to him. Alas, it my efforts were (of course) in vain. Here is the reply I received today (bolds are mine except for the act title):
Thank you for contacting me about climate change and energy policy.
This is a critical moment, and one that we must seize if we are ever to shift our national energy policy away from an over-reliance on fossil fuels: global warming is one of the most serious challenges that we have ever faced, and under President Obama, we are taking bold strides towards a clean energy future.In June, I voted for the American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act of 2009, a landmark bill that represents the single greatest effort in our country ever to address climate change and create a sustainable American energy policy.
The ACES Act sets a science-based limit [???] on carbon pollution, requires electric utilities to bring new clean energy sources online, and invests billions of dollars in green jobs, renewable energy production, and energy efficiency measures. The bill will also work to protect wildlife and natural resources imperiled by warming seas and a changing climate
It is also clear that this legislation has the potential to create millions of new American jobs while making America the global innovation and clean technology leader. One recent study [where?], for example, concluded that the American Clean Energy and Security Act and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act would create 1.7 million new clean energy jobs, while the energy efficiency provisions alone are estimated to generate 770,000 jobs by 2030 [how can they know this?]. As Speaker Pelosi said during debate on the House floor, we should “remember these four words for what this legislation means: jobs, jobs, jobs, and jobs.” [Oh, I see, she said it so it must be true! /s] As chairman of the Education and Labor Committee, I also worked to ensure that the legislation provides health care coverage and training for any workers affected by the transition to a clean energy economy.
The bill uses a cap-and-trade framework to reduce greenhouse gasses, similar to the one instituted by the Clean Air Act amendments in 1990 to reduce the pollution that causes acid rain. Under that cap-and-trade system, sulfur dioxide emissions have been cut faster than expected, at an enormous cost savings.
I am very pleased that the legislation approved by the House now also includes the WATER Act, a bill I introduced earlier this year to help consumers make smarter decisions [you know, because we’re so stupid. “Help” here really means “compel.”] about their water and energy use. The WATER Act will provide incentives for water-saving consumer products so that we can we reduce the amount of energy we use to heat, transport, and clean the water we use every day.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have each found that the ACES Act will shield consumers and homeowners from any potential energy price increases. According to their analyses, the legislation will cost each household less than 50 cents per day in 2020 [aren’t the previous two bolded phrases at direct odds with each other? And also at odds with what Obama said: “Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.“, a figure which does not even take into account the significant savings that we could realize by energy-saving efficiency investments. This is an extraordinarily small price to pay for such a monumental step towards a clean energy economy and a significant reduction in greenhouse gases.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, signed into law by President Obama on February 17, is already making historic investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and clean next-generation technologies including a smart grid and advanced batteries. The economic recovery plan included tax credits and significant funding for these programs so that our efforts to transition to a clean energy economy remain on track during the economic crisis [usually in an economic crisis you try to reduce spending; just sayin’…]. The bill also provides nearly $4 billion to prepare adult, youth and dislocated workers for green jobs, and other emerging industries, including training for retrofitting buildings, green construction and production of renewable energy. It has been estimated that the energy provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will create more than 500,000 jobs.
The President’s recovery plan, which I was proud to support, has already delivered over $400 million to California alone for investments in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Our state’s landmark climate change law (AB 32) and energy efficiency programs are a model for the nation, and are proof that we can combat greenhouse gas emissions while investing in an economy based on clean technology – the investments from the recovery plan will quickly create jobs in California while expanding renewable energy production and reducing energy demand.
These steps give us the opportunity to create millions of clean energy jobs that cannot be shipped overseas while ending our long dependence on foreign oil and other polluting fossil fuels [IMO, it just means we will need to import more fossil fuel].
I appreciate your comments and concerns regarding this legislation which I believe will provide green jobs, renewable energy production, and energy efficiency, and will ensure that workers and families are not harmed by the transition to an economy based on clean energy.
Member Of Congress, 7th District
Judge for yourself if this has strayed at all from the normal Democrat talking points that we have heard over and over as to why we need to pass this bill now. In my letter, I relayed my concern about how the ACES Act was not even read before the vote by anyone who voted for it. This major point is not addressed at all in the letter above.
For some background on the farce that is Cap-and-Trade, here are some good links:
The Krugman-hated Heritage Foundation–Ben Lieberman little reported testimony before the Senate Republican Conference
WSJ Kimberley Strassel–concerning growing worldwide questioning of man-made global warming
CBS News asking about whether any members of the House actually read the bill, or even could have read the bill
Much more out there, but that’s a start.