Remember how Jim was for it (voted to bring it to the floor) before he was against it (decided to vote no 24 hours before it passed), then for it (when he voted against its repeal), then against it again when he voted for its repeal? It’s enough to make you dizzy. Seems like “Spinnin’ Jim” fits just fine.
Posts Tagged ‘Obamacare’
Congressman Jim Matheson, Utah’s lone Democrat in DC, is in big trouble. He faces Mayor Mia Love in November’s election and she is the rockstar-type of Republican candidate Democrats have nightmares about. Matheson, as always, has to straddle the fence and try hard not to be a Democrat prior to the November election.
In his quest to sound like a Republican, he voted to repeal Obamacare on Wednesday, one of only 5 Democrats to do so. The last time the House voted for repeal – in January of 2011 – he voted against it – but then again, that was just after he had won re-election and thought he was safe. He is the epitome of being for something before he was against it before he was for it and then against it.
You see, Matheson voted FOR Obamacare when he voted to move it to the floor for final passage, then when Nancy Pelosi gave him permission at the last minute, he voted against it. He then voted against the first repeal (leaving Obamacare in place), and now has voted for the repeal. Just wait for the campaign ad that says he voted to repeal Obamacare because you know they’re coming……
Let’s be honest – Matheson has become a master at keeping his head down, straddling the fence, and winning reelection time after time. He knows how to campaign and he obviously knows how to appeal to Republican voters. He has never faced a candidate like Mia, however.
In 2010, 20 House Democrats lost their seats. In 2012, this nation will add to that number and topping the casualty list will be Jim Matheson. It’s about time.
When Nancy Pelosi was pitching Obamacare, she told the American people that they would have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it. Well, a few months later, what we have learned a few things. One is that organizations – like McDonald’s – are asking for waivers for rules that don’t even exist. We have also learned that the Secretary of Health and Human Services is authorized to determine minimum coverage limits – and then is authorized to waive those limits.
Michael Cannon, from the CATO Institute said: “The secretary can decide what you have to purchase, but if you are in a presidential swing state, the secretary has the authority to undo everything she just did.” Further, the law they passed is a shell of a law. Most of the rules have yet to be written.”
Author Caroline Baum, posting on Bloomberg News points out: “Everywhere you turn there’s a story about insurance premiums rising and employers shifting more of the cost onto employees. A new study by human-resources consultants Hewitt Associates LLC projects an average premium increase of 8.8 percent in 2011, the biggest in five years.” Original projections were 6.3%.
In an uncertain economy, “corporations are already hunkered down because of (take your pick) weak demand, hurt feelings as a result of presidential persecution, or uncertainty over future health-care costs and tax rates.”
One of the things we DO know is that in 2014, when Obamacare is fully implemented, state Medicaid rolls will explode. If not changed between now and then, Medicaid will be expanded to cover nearly all adults who earn up to 133% of poverty level and the process of determining eligibility will be rolled into state exchanges.
Nebraska governor Dave Heineman said recently that “this unfunded and unparalleled expansion of Medicaid is an unfair and unsustainable mandate on Nebraska and other states.” Pointing to a non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation study on Medicaid and the Uninsured, he said: “This analysis confirms that the federal health care law is an extraordinarily large and excessive unfunded mandate for states.”
With Medicaid now consuming 18% of the state budget, it has doubled in just 10 years. If there are no changes, it is expected to more than double again in another 10 years. The path we are on is clearly unsustainable. Senator Liljenquist (R-Bountiful) is working on tackling this hot topic in the 2011 legislative session. Stay tuned.
The Wall Street Journal recently ran a piece on how a Republican Congress could begin the process of repealing Obamacare. Assuming that Obama will veto any effort to outright repeal the act, author Grace-Marie Turner recommends six key strategies to slowing down or stopping this crippling mandate.
First, she advocates defunding it. House Republican leader, John Boehner, has “vowed to choke off funding for implementation of the legislation, starting with parts that are especially egregious such as the “army of new IRS agents” needed to police compliance.”
Next, dismantle it. Focus committee action and floor votes on portions of the law that are opposed by Republicans and Democrats alike.
Third, delay it.
Fourth, disapprove regulations. The Congressional Review Act (CRA) gives Congress the authority to overturn regulations issued by federal agencies if both houses approve and they can pull off a 2/3 majority vote. (Good luck with that.) Oh, and by the way, the current House has passed a bill that would gut that CRA……
Fifth, direct oversight and investigation. Hold public hearings. Use sunlight as a disinfectant. “Republicans also will want to call Donald Berwick, head of the powerful Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, to testify before Congress,” she said “and detail his regulatory agenda for implementing the health-care law. He escaped that duty earlier this year when the White House avoided his Senate confirmation by giving him a controversial recess appointment.” Nice.
Finally, delegate to the states. The author points to Gov. Mitch Daniels “popular and fiscally responsible” Healthy Indiana Plan and Utah’s own health exchange that “provides a marketplace for individuals and small businesses to purchase affordable, portable health insurance.” Both are threatened by Obamacare.
“Americans intuitively understand that government can’t pay for huge new entitlement programs and the expansion of Medicaid with imagined cuts to Medicare, while still improving Medicare’s long-term solvency,” says Ms Turner. “They also know that job creation is flat and that employers’ fear of ever-rising health benefit costs is part of the problem.”
The real expense to Obamacare does not hit until 2014. Right now, it’s up to Republicans to put the brakes on and “explain to the American people the damage it will do.” In 2012, hopefully the White House changes hands so we can start with a clean slate and move to REAL reform.
Two-term Sen. Sam Brownback sailed to the GOP nomination in Kansas‘ gubernatorial race Tuesday against Joan Heffington. Heffington, a former Boeing employee and home builder from Derby, had promised to subject every piece of legislation to a Biblical test and public poll before signing it. She also accused the CIA of conducting biological experiments on Kansans going back decades. Senator Brownback is considered a heavy favorite in the November election against State Senator Sam Holland.
Democrat Lisa Johnston will face Republican Jerry Moran for the Senate seat Brownback is vacating. Moran fought a bitter primary race where both candidates actively courted GOP conservatives. He overcame a strong challenge from fellow Rep. Todd Tiahrt (TEE’-hart). The key issue for many voters was which longtime politician would be more aggressive in fighting President Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats.
Moran promoted endorsements from conservative senators such as tea party favorite Jim DeMint of South Carolina, while Tiahrt had the backing of former GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
As in Utah, this was the race. Kansas has not elected a Democrat as a Senator since 1932.
In Missouri, Democrat Robin Carnahan and seven-term GOP Rep. Roy Blunt secured spots on the November ballot in the state’s Senate race. Carnahan comes from a well-known political family. She is the daughter of a former governor and a former senator and easily defeated two challengers. Her Senate bid comes 10 years after the death of her father and one of her brothers. They died in an October 2000 plane crash while Mel Carnahan was campaigning for the Senate.
Robin Carnahan, the two-term secretary of state, will face Blunt, who has served in the House since 1996 and whose son is a former governor. He beat eight opponents for the GOP nomination, including tea party favorite state Sen. Chuck Purgason. The race is considered a toss-up.
In the race to replace Blunt, Politico reported that in the GOP primary:
Auctioneer Billy Long sent a resounding message to the southwest Missouri political establishment by defeating two state senators and a well-known Greene County prosecutor in the 7th District.
Long, a plainspoken political neophyte who often sported a cowboy hat, ran on an anti-establishment message, swore off earmarks and took a term limit pledge — all while trouncing his opponents in fundraising. His yard signs read “Fed Up?” and he won the backing of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman, who has a reputation as a maverick Republican who irks party leaders. In the heavily conservative district, Long is likely to cruise to victory in November against Democratic attorney Scott Eckersley.
Missouri law also now contains a direct challenge to the federal health care law passed earlier this year. Primary voters approved Proposition C by a wide margin Tuesday, giving Missourians the power under state law to ignore government requirements to buy health insurance and nullifying penalties for failing to do so. The law goes into effect immediately.
In Michigan, self-funding businessman and political newcomer Rick Snyder (R) will face Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero (D) in the Michigan governor’s race.
Bernero, who was backed by labor, won the Democratic nomination over state House Speaker Andy Dillon, while Snyder beat Rep. Pete Hoekstra and state Attorney General Mike Cox for his party’s nod in the open seat being left by outgoing – and unpopular – Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D).
Snyder, a former Gateway president, came out of nowhere to beat two seasoned politicians and starts the general election as the heavy favorite. Interesting!
In House races, Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-MI), who narrowly survived a primary in 2008 lost her bid for re-election. The aeven term Democrat was beaten in Tuesday’s primary by state Sen. Hansen Clarke also of Detroit.
The mother of imprisoned ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, she overcame her son’s legal entanglements two years ago in a tight primary win. The 65-year-old tried this time around to sell voters on her standing as a House Appropriations Committee member and provider for the heavily Democratic 13th District but voters weren’t buying it.
She’s the sixth incumbent lawmaker, and the fourth from the House, to lose this year.
In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula-based 1st District (my home for 2 years – your trivia for the day), Republican Dan Benishek, a favorite of conservative grassroots activists narrowly held off state Senate Majority Whip Jason Allen by a grand total of 102 votes. Recount, anyone? If indeed the winner, Benishek will run against state Rep. Gary McDowell, who ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination. The winner will fill Bart Stupak‘s seat who decided retiring was a good idea after his notoriety in the health care debate. UPDATE: The final count from yesterday’s primary actually showed only a 1 vote difference between Benishek and Allen. Wow!