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Posts Tagged ‘Care Delivery System’

Breaking: White House: Pass Obamacare Now or Its Dead; Dems Scramble Behind Closed Doors to Write Final Bill

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

President Obama and Congressional Democrats are scrambling to draft yet another version of Obamacare to assist House passage of Obamacare by the White House deadline of March 18, 2010

Fox News is reporting, building on prior AP reporting, that the White House has today increased pressure on Democrats in Congress, especially the House Democrats, putting out word that Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats must either pass Obamacare through the House of Representatives now, before the Easter recess begins on March 18, 2010, or the entire effort at comprehensive health care reform will die.

Over the past few days, the White House has indicated it wants a vote in the House by March 18, and Congressional Democratic leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have resisted agreeing to any deadline. However, with the new, increased pressure today, Congressional Democratic sources say that they are “on the same page” as the White House:

A House Democratic leadership source tells Fox there is something approaching convergence on the White House’s March 18 deadline for a vote on the Senate health care bill.

“Everyone is now on same page,” the leadership source said about the March 18 deadline. “We understand the White House believes that would be optimal timing. But they understand we are not wedding ourselves to any deadlines.”

With today’s developments, it now appears that the year-long health care debate finally has a date certain where either Obamacare will pass or it will not, and that deadline appears to March 18, 2010. The next eight days may decide the historical trajectory of the United States, as strict federal control over the entire health care delivery system, 16% of the US Economy, will surely substantially alter the direction of the American economy and political system for decades to come.

Ironically, after over a year of debate over health care reform, and lots of talk regarding cooperation between President Obama/Democratic Congressional Leadership and the GOP on writing the final version of the bill at the health care summit 10 days ago, Democrats continue to scramble behind closed doors to write a final version to the liking of Democrats in Congress. Of course, no Republicans are involved in any way with these last minute drafting efforts by Obama and the Congressional Democratic leadership, despite the clear preference of the American people for such joint drafting to occur. Fox News’s Major Garrett describes the frantic backroom drafting occurring now:

In reality, the White House isn’t budging and the House Democratic leadership is trying. But it can’t vote on the Senate bill until it has a fully drafted and CBO (Congressional Budget Office)-scored bill to “fix” the Senate bill’s imperfections.

But the so-called “fix” bill isn’t ready and there is no expectation CBO will deliver preliminary cost estimates Wednesday. That pushes the schedule back because House Democratic leaders cannot begin the final whip process (counting “yes” and “no” votes) until it has a full “fix” bill with a concrete CBO score on costs, revenues and deficit implications.

In other words, there’s a lot of work left to be done and not much time to finish it. What may well be happening is House Democrats and the White House are agreeing to disagree — on the timing, not the objective.

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Unemployment Surges, Reaches All-Time High in 5 States in January 2010

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Unemployment Rose in 30 States in January 2010

Despite the claims of various politicians in Washington, D.C. that the recession is over and a recovery is well underway, unemployment continues to surge throughout the United States, as shown in the release of detailed information today by the Labor Department regarding the January 2010 jobs situation.    While 30 states reported an increase in the unemployment rate, five states reached all-time highs in unemployment rates:

Unemployment rose in most states in January—even breaking records in several states, according to government data released Wednesday.

Joblessness in five states—California (12.5 percent), South Carolina (12.6 percent) , Florida (11.9 percent), Georgia (10.4 percent) and North Carolina (11.1 percent)—hit a record high. The District of Columbia, at 12.0 percent, also reached a record high.

In all, 30 states and the District of Columbia saw their rates increase in January over the previous month. Nine states reported a decrease and 11 states had no change in their unemployment, according to the Labor Department.

One disquieting, and unreported, detail of the extended January 2010 report is that all of the above numbers are “adjusted” figures and actual unemployment is actually higher. Overall, the American job market appears to be “frozen”:

“It shows that the labor market is virtually frozen,” said Nick Colas, chief market strategist at the ConvergEx Group. Although the data is from January, he said that “there has not been any dramatic change in these past six weeks.”

Many economists and other observers have pointed to the uncertainty caused by the push to fundamentally alter the health care delivery system by the Obama Administration and Democrats in Congress as a potential cause of this “frozen” labor market. Business owners and operators, both small and large businesses, are less likely to hire new employees while facing potential higher costs in the near term from a possible employer mandate and associated tax on employers who do not provide health coverage to employees.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has famously claimed, with no discernible substantive basis other than a far left wing think tank report, that passing Obamacare through Congress will “almost immediately” result in a gain of 400,000 jobs in America, with 4 million jobs to be created overall by Obamacare. Even Obama-worshipper and Washington Post writer Charles Lane admits Pelosi’s claim is ludicrous, especially considering the main cost-cutting mechanism, the so-called “cadillac tax”, has been removed until 2018 at earliest, hence postponing any job creation gains from lower health care costs well beyond “almost immediately”:

Here’s my problem, though: For Pelosi’s scenario to pan out, health-care reform must actually produce substantial cost savings. And that is more doubtful now that President Obama has offered a version that postpones the strongest cost-containment provision in the Senate bill — the “Cadillac tax” on high-value insurance plans — until 2018. That’s like postponing it this long. The president did this largely to appease organized labor and their allies in the House Democratic caucus — led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Such claims by Speaker Pelosi are especially odd in light of her statement yesterday that its uncertain what is actually in the bill as she advised reporters that “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” Regardless, considering the uncertainty and outright hostility being generated amongst business owners about the Democratic health care reform efforts, it is much more likely that hundreds of thousands of jobs will be created in America if the partisan effort to comprehensively reform health care is officially shelved by President Obama. Providing this certainty to business owners of the future near term cost of hiring an employee, and not increasing such costs and federal regulatory liability as Obamacare would, could be the single greatest thing Washington, D.C. could do to help the American unemployed find a new job.

Indeed, average Americans overwhelmingly agree with this proposition, as recent CNN polling shows 73% want Obama and the Dems to either stop or start over instead of passing the present comprehensive plan and yesterday’s AP polling shows 68% want Obama and the Dems to continue to work with the GOP to make a deal instead of pushing through the present comprehensive plan without GOP support. A full 57% of Americans believe that Obamacare will hurt the economy – just 25% think it will help. It appears to us that the intuition of the American people and the great center of America have correctly determined that the giant new federal bureaucracy and new federal taxes associated with Obamacare would be a drag, if not an anchor, on the efforts of businesses to rebuild their workforces and the economy as a whole to recover.

Perhaps President Obama, Congressional Democratic leaders and the GOP leadership will all decide that the needs of the American people, regarding jobs and the economy, are more important that scoring political points (and “historical” ones for liberals) over health care reform and immediately shelve the present plan and pass centrist health care reform that would both help some uninsured, reduce costs and provide confidence to business owners so that hiring can begin again.

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