Friday, July 31, 2009

Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Urges Pennsylvanians to Get Immunized

Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Urges Pennsylvanians to Get Immunized

Study: 4.1M Pennsylvanians Could Lose Private Insurance Under Obamacare

From a new analysis by The Heritage Foundation of the Obamacare bill making its way through Congress:
An estimated 4.1 million residents in Pennsylvania could lose their private, employer-based coverage if Congress passes a House health reform bill.

Of the estimated 7.6 million Pennsylvanians with private health insurance, 51 percent would transition out of private coverage. Plus, 59 percent of the state's population who get their private insurance from the workplace could have their existing coverage change or disappear under the House health bill.

Also, 32 percent of Pennsylvania's uninsured population would still lack coverage. Of the estimated 1.4 million people without health coverage, the legislation would only reduce the uninsured by 952,600, leaving 447,400 Pennsylvania residents without coverage.
Read more about the study at the link below:

Millions of Pennsylvanians Could Lose Private Insurance, Study Shows

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

PA GOP: OBAMA JUSTICE - YES YOU CAN … INTIMIDATE VOTERS IN PHILADELPHIA



From the Republican Party of Pennsylvania:

PA GOP: OBAMA JUSTICE - YES YOU CAN … INTIMIDATE VOTERS IN PHILADELPHIA

President Obama needs to explain why this case was dropped

The Republican Party of Pennsylvania Chairman Rob Gleason questioned why the Obama administration chose to dismiss a civil complaint against three members of the New Black Panther Party for voter intimidation at a polling place in Philadelphia during November’s election. The Republican Party of Pennsylvania was responsible for capturing the video showing these three men issuing threats and insults and brandishing a nightstick.

"The Obama administration’s unilateral dismissal of a case that involved blatant voter intimidation is troubling and the American people deserve to know what led them to make this decision," Gleason said. "President Obama promised openness and transparency, but according to reports, his administration has shielded the American public from asking Justice Department officials why they ultimately decided against bringing these charges. Were these men let go simply because they were working to help elect President Barack Obama? I don't know, but it appears to be a valid question when you consider how tight-lipped the administration has been about this case.

"The Obama administration's decision to dismiss this case proves that there is no recourse for voter intimidation and that is a terrible message to send to the American public. I am concerned that administration's actions may lead to increased violence and intimidation at polling places all across the country.

"I would urge the Obama administration to lift the veil that has shrouded this case and release a legitimate reason why this case was dismissed."

The Washington Times released a story today revealing that Associate Attorney General Thomas J. Perrelli, the No. 3 official in the Obama Justice Department, was consulted and decided to drop a case against three members of the New Black Panther Party who were accused of voter intimidation in Philadelphia.

In the article, Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-VA) said that he was prevented from interviewing the lawyers who brought the charges.

Wolf said: "Why I am being prevented from meeting with the trial team on this case? There are many questions that need to be answered. This whole thing just stinks to high heavens." (Seper, Jerry, “Exclusive: No. 3 at justice OK'd Panther reversal," The Washington Post, 6/30/09)

Obamacare: Cure or Curse?

Obamacare: Cure Or Curse?

By Louis R. Petolicchio

With recent news that the "Blue Dog Democrats" – Congressional Democrats reputed to be fiscally conservative or 'moderate' – have reached an agreement with liberal Democrat leader Henry Waxman (D-CA) on a 'compromise' version of national health care reform (referred to here as "Obamacare"), it would appear that the federal government is on target to take over America’s vast and advanced medical industry.

Advocates have praised the movement toward nationalizing how medicine and medical services are delivered to the American people, particularly the 50 million plus-or-minus uninsured who have been the focus of Obama's great angst. Critics have been raising a host of concerns that Obamacare is the first step towards a federally funded, single payer program that would eliminate individual choice of doctors and treatment.

While some may say that both sides on the issue may have valid arguments and are using hyperbole to discredit each other, if one begins to review the House that is under consideration (HB 3200), the case against Obamacare grows stronger and stronger.

In the past week a document by Peter Fleckstein has been circulating through the Internet that essentially outlines some of the most outrageous and disturbing elements of Obamacare, many of which directly contradict the claims Obama has been making in his efforts to promote this overhaul.

All of which raises some serious questions that Pennsylvania's confirmed liberal Senators Bob Casey and Arlen Specter, as well as Congressmen like Tim Holden who claim to be Blue Dogs, should be forced to account for:
Should the federal government decide for every individual what medical treatments we should receive? (Section 123 establishes a Health Benefits Advisory Committee to determine who gets what treatment)

Should the federal government have the access to every individual's private medical history? (Section 142 outlines the ‘collection of data’ as one of the duties of the 'Health Commissioner')

Should illegal immigrants and non-citizens be provided health care coverage? (Section 152 provides blanket coverage to everyone without regard to US citizenship)
Should the federal government have real-time access to every individual’s private financial records? (Section 1173A outlines the use of real-time access information to determine medical coverage concurrent with implementation of a national health ID card)

Should the private health insurance plans be forced into the national program regardless of the desires of the individual participants? (Section 202 outlines the creation of a 'Health Insurance Exchange')

Should the federal government have the authority to ration healthcare for the American people? (Section 203 outlines the authority granted to the Commissioner to establish a 'permissible range of cost-sharing')

Should the states be forced to restrict the coverage mandates approved by their own representative bodies? (Section 203 requires states to reimburse the federal government for any state requirements that exceed federal minimums)

Should the federal government have the authority to mandate cultural and linguistic services (Section 204.b.7 states: "The entity shall provide for culturally and linguistically appropriate communication and health services" Section 1122 reinforces these type of services)

Should the federal government have the power to tax private individuals who choose not to participate in a health plan not approved by the federal government? (Section 207 outlines how individuals and employers will be taxed for not providing "acceptable coverage"; reiterated in Section 322 and Section 401)

Should the federal government have the authority to interfere with the compensation relationship between the private individual and their respective physician? (Section 224 notes that "payment mechanisms and policies under this section may include patient-centered medical home and other care management payments, accountable care organizations, value-based purchasing, bundling of services, differential payment rates, performance or utilization based payments, partial capitation, and direct contracting with providers")

Who will pay for the treatment of illegal aliens? (Section 152 provides blanket coverage to everyone without regard to US citizenship while Section 246 prohibits payments for those not legally present in the US)

When is a tax not a tax? (Section 59B.e.6 states: "The tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as tax…")

Should the federal government have the authority to control the productivity of medical service providers? (Section 1131 outlines those providers subject to federal quality oversight, including ambulatory and laboratory services)

Should the federal government interfere with the physician/patient relationship with regards to hospital readmissions? (Section 1151 outlines how the national program will be applied to limit readmissions)

Should the federal government interfere with the physician/patient relationship with regards to post acute care services? (Section 1152 outlines how the national program will be applied to control post acute care services)

Should the federal government control the expansion of hospital facilities? (Section 1156 outlines how the national program will impact the expansion of medical facilities)

Should the federal government determine whether special needs individuals should be eligible for health care services? (Section 1177 indicates that a cost analysis will be completed to determine the impact of costs as related to special needs individuals)

Should the federal government manage individual healthcare without involvement of a local physician? (Section 1191 outlines implementation of a 'telehealth' [health care by phone?] system)

Why should the federal government provide end-of-life counseling to participants in the national health plan? (Section 1233 outlines the use of 'Advanced Care Planning Consultation' including counseling for end-of-life services and supports)
Where do Pennsylvania's federal legislators stand on these questions? Do they really think that the same government that spends $600 for a toilet seat and spends hundreds of thousands of dollars for Social Security bureaucrats to dance in Arizona can efficiently manage the American medical system?

Do Casey, Specter, Holden, Murphy and the other liberals who make up this commonwealth's Democrat delegation, actually embrace such meddling in our individual health plans and our individual physicians? Do they really think the federal government has been granted the authority by the Constitution to tell doctors what to do and what medical treatments a sick individual should receive? Are they such tyrants that they want to steal away so much of our God-given liberties?

Ironically, the Obamacare bill does not simply relate to the creation of a national health care program. Multiple references are made throughout that amended the Social Security Act, Medicare, the federal tax code, and many other areas. To say that the Obamacare bill is sweeping in its nature is an understatement.

And need mention be made of the fact that there is no way to tell how this program will be fully funded?

Presuming neither the House nor the Senate actually try to sneak a vote in before their August recess, it is imperative for the people of Pennsylvania to challenge their legislators and demand both an accounting for their support of Obamacare.

Opponents of Obamacare must make it clear in no uncertain terms that political careers are on the line, and must remain vigilante and vocal in publicly fighting this assault on American liberty.

Louis R. Petolicchio is a resident of Lebanon County and Immediate Past Chariman of the Constitutional Organization Of Lebanon (www.ReclaimLiberty.com)

Obamacare eliminates competition

West Chester 'Tea Party' group remains active

From a story by Dan Kristie in today's edition of The West Chester Daily Local News:
During the April 15 "Tax Day Tea Party" demonstration held outside the Historic Chester County Courthouse, Deborah Newman, one of the demonstration's organizers, called for the creation of a study group that would look at and educate the citizenry about the U.S. Constitution.

Three months later, that group has formed. They call themselves the West Chester Tea Party Constitution Study Group and have been meeting at the West Goshen Township Building.

Phil Duffy, the group's discussion leader, said that the study group is meant to be an exercise in learning rather than in partisanship.

"My goal is for people to learn the Constitution and encourage their friends to learn the Constitution," Duffy said. "That way we can hold the government to a faithful interpretation of it."
Read the full story at the newspaper's Web site.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

IRS warns about first-time homebuyer scam

The Internal Revenue Service has announced its first successful prosecution related to fraud involving the first-time homebuyer credit and warned taxpayers to beware of this type of scheme.

From an IRS press release:
On Thursday July 23, 2009, a Jacksonville, Fla.-tax preparer, James Otto Price III, pled guilty to falsely claiming the first-time homebuyer credit on a client’s federal tax return. Price faces the possibility of up to three years in jail, a fine of as much as $250,000, or both.

To date, the IRS has executed seven search warrants and currently has 24 open criminal investigations in pursuit of potential instances of fraud involving the credit. The agency has a number of sophisticated computer screening tools to quickly identify returns that may contain fraudulent claims for the first-time homebuyer credit.

"We will vigorously pursue anyone who falsely tries to claim this or any other tax credit or deduction," said Eileen Mayer, Chief, IRS Criminal Investigation. "The penalties for tax fraud are steep. Taxpayers should be wary of anyone who promises to get them a big refund."

Whether a taxpayer prepares his or her own return or uses the services of a paid preparer, it is the taxpayer who is ultimately responsible for the accuracy of the return. Fraudulent returns may result not only in the required payment of back taxes but also in penalties and interest.

First-Time Homebuyer Credit

The First-Time Homebuyer Credit, originally passed in 2008 and modified in 2009, provides up to $8,000 for first-time homebuyers. The purchaser, however, must qualify as a first-time homebuyer, which for purposes of this credit means someone who has not owned a primary residence in the past three years. If the taxpayer is married, this requirement also applies to the taxpayer’s spouse. The home purchase must close before Dec. 1, 2009, to qualify, and the credit may not be claimed on the purchaser’s tax return until after the taxpayer closes and has purchased the home.

Different rules apply for homes bought in 2008.

Full details and instructions are available on the official IRS Web site, IRS.gov

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Ben Stein on Obama: 'We've Figured Him Out'

We've Figured Him Out

By Ben Stein


Why is President Barack Obama in such a hurry to get his socialized medicine bill passed?

Because he and his cunning circle realize some basic truths:
The American people in their unimaginable kindness and trust voted for a pig in a poke in 2008. They wanted so much to believe Barack Obama was somehow better and different from other ultra-leftists that they simply took him on faith.

They ignored his anti-white writings in his books. They ignored his quiet acceptance of hysterical anti-American diatribes by his minister, Jeremiah Wright.

They ignored his refusal to explain years at a time of his life as a student. They ignored his ultra-left record as a "community organizer," Illinois state legislator, and Senator.

The American people ignored his total zero of an academic record as a student and teacher, his complete lack of scholarship when he was being touted as a scholar.
Now, the American people are starting to wake up to the truth. Barack Obama is a super likeable super leftist, not a fan of this country, way, way too cozy with the terrorist leaders in the Middle East, way beyond naïveté, all the way into active destruction of our interests and our allies and our future.

The American people have already awakened to the truth that the stimulus bill -- a great idea in theory -- was really an immense bribe to Democrat interest groups, and in no way an effort to help all Americans.

Now, Americans are waking up to the truth that ObamaCare basically means that every time you are sick or injured, you will have a clerk from the Department of Motor Vehicles telling your doctor what he can and cannot do.

Read the full column at The American Spectator Web site.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

PA GOP: Blue Dog Democrats show their true colors



From the Republican Party of Pennsylvania:
Republican Party of Pennsylvania Chairman Rob Gleason was disappointed but not surprised to learn that several Blue Dog Democrats have once again caved in to the demands of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and expressed their support for government-run, socialized health care in America.

"President Barack Obama's government-run health care plan is one of the most economically and socially irresponsible pieces of legislation in this country’s history," Gleason said. "In the midst of one of the worst economic crises since the Great Depression, President Obama and his Democrat cronies are attempting to push through legislation that will raise taxes on hardworking families and small business and add $1 trillion to the national debt. In short, no one who supports President Obama's socialized health care plan can honestly call themselves a fiscal conservative.

"President Obama's socialized health care plan would have a disastrous effect on seniors and middle-income Americans. President Obama has stated his support for cutting spending from Medicare Advantage, a program that ensures medical care for millions of our country’s seniors.

"A recent study by The Lewin Group found that President Obama's government-run health care plan would cause nearly 120 million Americans to lose their private medical coverage and force them to join this flawed, wasteful plan. In addition, more than 36 million Americans would remain uninsured in the next two years."

Yesterday, members of the Congressional Blue Dog Democrat Coalition abandoned their principles and agreed to support President Obama's socialized health care plan.

"Americans deserve health care reform that increases access to medical coverage while respecting the rights of patients including the ability to get quality care and chose their own doctor. I urge all members of Congress, including Representatives Jason Altmire, Chris Carney, Kathy Dahlkemper, and Patrick Murphy, to stand up for common sense and oppose President Obama's government-run health care plan."
Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Rep. Joe Pitts named 'Defender of Economic Freedom'

Congressman Joe Pitts (PA-16) has been awarded the "Defender of Economic Freedom" award from The Club for Growth, a leading free-market advocacy organization.

The award, presented by Club for Growth President Chris Chocola, honors members of Congress who have "a strong voting record on economic growth issues."

Pitts, a Republican, is one of only 13 members of Congress (and the only one from Pennsylvania) to receive a perfect score. (Does it surprise you that all 13 honorees are Republicans?)

"Receiving the 'Defender of Economic Freedom' award is a great honor," Pitts said in a statement. "The best way to get our economy growing again is to free business owners and investors from burdensome government regulations and taxes. More government intrusion into the marketplace is not going to create more jobs."

More from the Club for Growth:
The award is based on certain votes in 2008 that the Club for Growth tracks on its scorecard. The study also included a comprehensive examination of each lawmaker’s record on pro-growth policies and computed an Economic Growth Score on a scale of 0 to 100. A score of 100 indicates the highest support for pro-growth policies. Those lawmakers scoring 90 or higher receive the "Defender of Economic Freedom" award.

The rating examines legislative actions that reflect the Club for Growth's immediate pro-economic growth policy goals, including cutting and limiting government spending, lowering taxes, expanding free trade, regulatory reform, and deregulation.
Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Special election Sept. 29 for Wonderling Senate seat

Voters in the 24th state Senate District will go to the polls on Tuesday, Sept. 29, to pick a successor to state Sen. Rob Wonderling, who is leaving the Senate for a job in the private sector.

Lt. Gov. Joe Scarnati, who is also Senate Pro Tempore, made the decision to hold a special election instead of waiting until the Nov. 3 General Election.

That means county officials in Montgomery, Berks, Lehigh and Northampton counties will have to gear up for two elections within five weeks.

Scarnati's decision was criticized by Secretary of the Commonwealth Pedro A. Cortes, a Gov. Ed Rendell appointee.

"At a time when the state is facing a $3.2 billion budget deficit and the legislature is considering dramatic budget cuts, I am greatly concerned that a costly special election was scheduled just five weeks prior to the Nov. 3 general election," Cortes said.

The Department of State estimates the cost of the special election to range from $250,000 to $375,000, all of which will be underwritten by Pennsylvania taxpayers, Cortes said.

If Mensch wins the Senate seat, then another special election will be called to fill Mensch's House seat, Cortes points out.

Wonderling resigned his Senate seat on July 28 to take the job as president of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.

The Republican candidate to succeed Wonderling state Rep. Bob Mensch, who currently represents the 147th District.

There are no announced Democratic candidates.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Rep. Sam Smith: No reason to raise taxes

From an op-ed column by House Republican Leader Sam Smith published in The Pottstown Mercury:
A large majority of Pennsylvanians agree increasing taxes is the wrong thing to do. We also can't spend what we don't have. That means the state can spend somewhere around $27.3 billion.

We think $27.3 billion is a lot of money and can ensure government operations continue. It's enough to keep state parks open and hospitals operating. It's enough to deal with hazardous waste, and it's enough to keep law enforcement on the streets. If it isn't, we should be looking at why, not throwing more money at it.

Government spending is out of control, and the governor and most House Democrats want to continue their recklessness. Republicans recognize the money that is funding the state and schools comes from your pocket. We believe in budgetary constraint by having government live within its means, just like you have to do.

Republicans will fight against Gov. Rendell's proposed tax increase — $27.3 billion is MORE than enough.
Read the full column at the newspaper's Web site.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Thursday, July 30, 2009

FRC: The Truth Hurts Planned Parenthood and NARAL

FRC: The Truth Hurts Planned Parenthood and NARAL

Bill O'Reilly to Be Honored at Values Voter Summit

Bill O'Reilly to Be Honored at Values Voter Summit

Three of Four Pennsylvania Lottery $1 Million Raffle Prizes Claimed

Three of Four Pennsylvania Lottery $1 Million Raffle Prizes Claimed

The Investigative Project on Terrorism: Radical Islamic Groups Backed by Members of Congress

The Investigative Project on Terrorism: Radical Islamic Groups Backed by Members of Congress

Gen. Colin Powell to Speak at 9/11 Ceremony for Flight 93 Heroes in Shanksville, Pa.

Gen. Colin Powell to Speak at 9/11 Ceremony for Flight 93 Heroes in Shanksville, Pa.

Video: After A Government Health Care Takeover

Priceless



Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

How's that hope and change working out for you?

In November 2008, Democrat Barack Obama won Berks County by a 54%-45% margin over Republican John McCain. Obama overwhelming won the City of Reading, where Democrats hold a huge voter registration advantage.

Fast-forward six months later.

From a story by Tony Lucia in the Reading Eagle:
Unemployment continued to climb in Reading and in Berks County during June, according to data supplied by the state Department of Labor and Industry Monday.

The seasonally adjusted jobless rate in the county rose two-tenths of a percentage point to 9.2 percent. May's rate, originally reported as 9.1 percent, was revised to 9.0 percent. In June 2008, Berks' unemployment rate was 5.1 percent.

Reading's rate was again the third-highest of the state's 80 largest municipalities, at 13.7 percent, up from 13.4 percent a month earlier. The highest rates remained Hazleton's (14.4 percent) and York's (14 percent). Pennsylvania reported an 8.3 percent rate for June, and the U.S. rate was 9.5 percent.

Berks County's rate was nearly the worst of the state's 14 major labor market areas, topped only by Erie at 9.6 percent.
Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

'Talking Politics' with Christopher Freind

Investigative reporter/columnist Christopher Freind will be the guest this week on "Talking Politics with Tony Phyrillas & Mike Pincus" Thursday at 5 p.m. on WPAZ 1370 AM

Freind authors hard-hitting investigative reports and writes a commentary column for The Philadelphia Bulletin branded "Freindly Fire". He tackles issues with a fire and passion not often found, and exposes cowards, frauds and hypocrites in politics, business, sports, entertainment and yes - the media.

Listeners can call in with questions or comments during the live broadcast at 610-326-4000.

You can also listen to the program online by going to www.1370WPAZ.com and clicking on the "live audio" button at the top of the page or you can listen to it at The Mercury Web site at www.pottsmerc.com

Rep. Sam Smith: PA residents pay enough taxes

Rep. Reichley: House GOP Opposes Tax-Laden Budget

Rep. Doug Reichley (R-Berks/Lehigh), Republican vice chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement in response to recent comments by Gov. Ed Rendell claiming that three of the four caucuses in the General Assembly support tax increases:
"Since the House non-concurrence vote on July 21, the governor has been saying that Senate Republicans are the only caucus opposed to a 16 percent hike in the Personal Income Tax. That is flat-out wrong and a distortion of the position of House Republicans.

"Don't believe the governor's spin: his stubborn insistence on a tax increase has caused Pennsylvania to miss its constitutional deadline for a balanced budget for seven years in a row. The fact that 48 House Republicans voted to non-concur on a Senate-passed budget plan does not equate to their support for new taxes. It means that some Republican members want to see a budget bill that is different than what was inserted into House Bill 1416 by the Senate. It does not mean they support increased spending or new revenue to pay for it.

"The governor and House Democratic leadership are trying to force rank-and-file members to vote for a tax increase they don't support. Let's consider who's to blame for not bringing a balanced budget bill to the House floor until July 17. The governor and Democratic leaders have shown their willingness to hold college tuition funding hostage if they do not vote for a tax increase. Their demand for a tax increase is the reason we do not have a budget and the reason state employees risk not being paid Friday.

"House and Senate Republicans have stood firm in opposition to a budget that spends more than last year. The conferees are now appointed. It is time for the governor to give up his reckless pursuit of a tax increase and to work with the Legislature to resolve the budget impasse."

Congressional Quarterly: 8 competitive districts in PA for 2010

Congressional Quarterly has released an analysis of the 2010 midterm Congressional elections, listing 100 competitive districts across the country, including eight toss-ups in Pennsylvania.

From the CQ analysis:
With 257 of the 435 U.S. House seats, Democrats are strongly favored to retain their majority in the 2010 elections -- though history points to party losses in the first midterm election of President Obama.

Most of the 435 congressional districts have such well-entrenched incumbents that the 2010 House races there will be landslides. But CQ Politics has preliminarily identified 100 districts, 59 of which are held by Democrats, where the contests should be highly or mildly competitive. Of these, CQ Politics rates three districts, all now held by Republicans, as leaning toward takeover by the challenging party: Louisiana 2nd Dist., Pennsylvania 6th Dist. and Illinois 10th Dist.
The Pennsylvania districts that CQ Politics lists as competitive are the 6th (held by Republican Jim Gerlach, who is not seeking re-election); the 12th (held by Democrat John Murtha); the 7th (held by Democrat Joe Sestak, who probably will not seek re-election); the 3rd (held by freshman Democrat Kathy Dahlkemper); the 4th (held by Democrat Jason Altmire); the 10th (held by Democrat Chris Carney; the 11th (held by Democrat Paul Kanjorski); and the 15th (held by Republican Charlie Dent).

While CQ Politics lists Dahlkemper, Altmire, Carney, Kanjorski and Murtha in the "favored to win" re-election column, it still sees the races as competitive. Same for Dent, who is "favored to win" in the 15th.

Pennsylvania's other 11 Congressional districts are listed in the "safe Democratic" or "safe Republican" columns.

Here's my take on the CQ analysis. The 6th District will go to the Democrats, but the 7th District should return to Republican control. Republicans have a good chance of unseating Dahlkemper, Carney, Kanjorski and Murtha. I don't see Altmire or Dent losing their seats.

The key to a Republican comeback in 2010 is how badly Barack Obama continues to stumble. If the economy is still in shambles, if U.S. foreign policy is still in disarray, if Obama continues to march the country toward socialism, expect huge GOP gains in Congress.

The 2010 Congressional elections will be a referendum on Obama. If "change" doesn't come real fast, look for voters to toss out career politicians like Murtha and Kanjorski to send a message to Obama.

To review other House races, visit CQ Politics online for an interactive map.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Guest Column: 'Why Are We Moving Toward Socialized Medicine?'

Why Are We Moving Toward Socialized Medicine?

By Yaron Brook


Government intervention in medicine is wrecking American health care. Nearly half of all spending on health care in America is already government spending. Yet President Obama's "reforms" will only expand that intervention.

Prior to the government's entrance into medicine, health care was regarded as a product to be traded voluntarily on a free market -- no different from food, clothing, or any other important good or service. Medical providers competed to provide the best quality services at the lowest possible prices. Virtually all Americans could afford basic health care, while those few who could not were able to rely on abundant private charity.

Had this freedom been allowed to endure, Americans' rising productivity would have afforded them better and better health care, just as, today, we buy better and more varied food and clothing than people did a century ago. There would be no crisis of affordability, as there isn’t for food or clothing.

But by the time Medicare and Medicaid were enacted in 1965, this view of health care as an economic product -- for which each individual must assume responsibility -- had given way to a view of health care as a "right," an unearned "entitlement," to be provided at others' expense.

This entitlement mentality fueled the rise of our current third-party-payer system, a blend of government programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, together with government-controlled employer-based health insurance (itself spawned by perverse tax incentives during the wage and price controls of World War II).

The resulting system aimed to relieve the individual of the "burden" of paying for his own health care by coercively imposing its costs on his neighbors. Today, for every dollar's worth of hospital care a patient consumes, that patient pays only about 3 cents out of pocket; the rest is paid by third-party coverage. And for the health care system as a whole, patients pay only about 14 percent.

Shifting the responsibility for health care costs away from the individuals who accrue them led to an explosion in spending. In a system in which someone else is footing the bill, consumers, encouraged to regard health care as a "right," demand medical services without having to consider their real price. When, through the 1970s and 1980s, this artificially inflated consumer demand sent expenditures soaring out of control, the government cracked down by enacting further coercive measures: price controls on medical services, cuts to medical benefits, and a crushing burden of regulations on every aspect of the health care system.

As each new intervention further distorted the health care market, driving up costs and lowering quality, belligerent voices demanded still further interventions to preserve the "right" to health care: from regulations mandating various forms of insurance coverage to Bush's massive prescription drug bill.

The solution to this ongoing crisis is to recognize that the very idea of a "right" to health care is a perversion. There can be no such thing as a "right" to products or services created by the effort of others, and this most definitely includes medical products and services. Rights, as the Founders conceived them, are not claims to economic goods, but to freedoms of action.

You are free to see a doctor and pay him for his services -- no one may forcibly prevent you from doing so. But you do not have a "right" to force the doctor to treat you without charge or to force others to pay for your treatment. The rights of some cannot require the coercion and sacrifice of others.

Real and lasting solutions to our health care problems require a rejection of the entitlement mentality in favor of a proper conception of rights. This would provide the moral basis for breaking the regulatory chains stifling the medical industry; for lifting the tax and regulatory incentives fueling our dysfunctional, employer-based insurance system; for inaugurating a gradual phase-out of all government health care programs, especially Medicare and Medicaid; and for restoring a true free market in medical care.

Such sweeping reforms would unleash the power of capitalism in the medical industry. They would provide the freedom for entrepreneurs motivated by profit to compete with each other to offer the best quality medical services at the lowest prices, driving innovation and bringing affordable medical care, once again, into the reach of all Americans.

Yaron Brook is the president of the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights.

WashingtonWatch.com Maps 7,000 Congressional Earmarks So Far

WashingtonWatch.com Maps 7,000 Congressional Earmarks So Far

Obama OSHA Pick Supports Junk Science in Courts and Public Policy; Senate Should Probe Links With Trial Lawyers, Radical Environmentalists

Obama OSHA Pick Supports Junk Science in Courts and Public Policy; Senate Should Probe Links With Trial Lawyers, Radical Environmentalists

Pennsylvania DCNR to Begin Collecting Seismic Data During Second Week of August

Pennsylvania DCNR to Begin Collecting Seismic Data During Second Week of August

Newspaper: Another reason to cut size of Legislature

Interesting editorial in the Delaware County Daily Times suggesting that the Pennsylvania would not have a budget crisis every year if the there were fewer members of the Pennsylvania Legislature. The newspaper calls the current Legislature with 253 members, and "unwieldy group."

I've been a longtime supporter of reducing the size of the Pennsylvania Legislature, but I'm not so sure the number of lawmakers has a lot to do with the current budget impasse. The newspaper fails to place blame directly where it belongs: Gov. Ed Rendell, who purposely misses the June 30 budget deadline to put pressure on the Legislature to give in to his demands, which generally include more spending and higher taxes. It's no coincidence that the state has missed the budget deadline for seven consecutive years, which corresponds to the years Rendell has been governor.

From the editorial:
Pennsylvania has the largest full-time state Legislature in the nation. The cost of that 253-member body is staggering. Each elected official in our Legislature costs Pennsylvania taxpayers more than $1 million, actually a $340 million price tag.

It's not just the salary and $158 per diems available to each member each legislative day, it's the members' staff, travel costs and other benefits — like a health-care package most state residents can envy and a retirement package few can match.

The major impediment to reducing the size of the Legislature is the process. Right-thinking legislators and governors have tried. Believing those in the Legislature will vote on downsizing themselves is a false expectation. The next step would be a ballot question authorizing a constitutional convention with the ability to change the state constitution and reduce the number of legislators.

It's not only the permanent saving in taxpayer dollars that could be accomplished by fewer representatives in Harrisburg.

This latest budget stalemate in the state capital proves how difficult it is for this unwieldy group to work together. Smaller numbers may mean faster action.

Whenever the final budget figures are decided by our elected officials in Harrisburg, those who ended up on the cutting room floor may want to remember one way to gain support for their worthy causes are cuts no one shaping the budget seems willing to consider.
Read the full editorial, "Fewer legislators could yield quicker action," at the newspaper's Web site.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Columnist: Legal notices belong in newspapers

Albert Paschall uses his latest Somedays column to examine current efforts by the Pennsylvania Legislature to move public notices out of newspapers and onto government Web sites.

Proponents say the move would save taxpayers money, but critics say it's another attempt by politicians to keep constituents in the dark about important meetings and votes by local government, school boards and county commissioners.

Paschall is leery of the rational offered by Pennsylvania lawmakers.

From his column:
In an effort led by State Rep. Barbara McIllvaine Smith, the code that governs legal advertising in newspapers would change. Legal ads would become part of a municipality's Web site. It might work for the estimated 60% of Pennsylvanians who have home based convenient access to the Internet. For the 40% that do not, especially in development threatened areas of rural Pennsylvania, it creates another vacuum in government that this state does not need. For people with cross regional interests it means trolling Internet sites for hours trying to keep abreast of what all the different townships and boroughs are doing. Governments aren't without bias either and left to their own devices, well, newspapers have well chronicled the mischief that can and does exist.

This is not the time to end legal notices in newspapers. With federal 'stimulus' dollars being poured into building projects and the pell-mell run to create them, the public's right to know is more important than ever. Someday if Harrisburg develops the courage to modernize Pennsylvania's anachronistic Municipal Planning Code then it can be determined how best to inform the citizenry of what is going in their own backyards.
Read the full column, "In Their Own Backyards," at PAtownhall.com

Also check out this earlier post in which a Montgomery County state representative admits some of his fellow lawmakers supporting the legal notices change may be motivated by revenge against the watchdog media.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

ACORN = Corruption

Hardly anyone believes Obama anymore

Why is Barack Obama expending so much energy on a health care reform bill that will not lower the cost of health care for the average American family?

It's clear most Americans have figured out that Obamacare is the latest big-government plan to move the nation toward socialism.

From Rasmussen Reports:
Americans are fairly evenly divided on the health care reform proposals working their way through Congress, but most remain convinced that the plans will raise costs and hurt the quality of the care they receive.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 47% are in favor of the reform effort proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats while 49% are opposed. Those figures include 25% who Strongly Favor the plans and 41% who are Strongly Opposed.

The specifics of what will be in a health care reform plan remains hotly debated in Congress at the moment. When a final proposal emerges, it is possible that support could move significantly in either direction.

Currently, 76% of Democrats favor the proposal and 76% of Republicans are opposed. Among the unaffiliated, 35% are in favor and 60% are opposed. Notably, just 16% of unaffiliateds Strongly Favor the legislative effort while 47% Strongly Oppose it.
It's time to pull the plug on Obamacare. We've seen the damage Obama and his minions have done to the economy. Do you want to entrust your family's health to Obama?

Read more from the poll at Rasmussen Reports.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Lightning Round

Colin McNickle of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review goes to the lightning round in his latest column to ask some pertinent questions and offer some insightful observations about what's going on in the news.

From his column, A few points of order:
Item: Black Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., repeatedly alleging racism and being otherwise belligerent when Cambridge, Mass., police responded to a report of a break-in at his home, is arrested for disorderly conduct.

Shouldn't race-baiting be a hate crime?

Item: President Obama, a friend of Mr. Gates, calls the action of police "stupid." On Friday, he backtracked.

Nonetheless, shouldn't his original comments forever preclude the president from declining comment on any matter that remains "under investigation" and "likely headed for litigation"?

Item: Headline from The Hill newspaper on the Democrat-controlled Congress' failure to pass health-care "reform" before the August recess -- "Dems demand more coordination from leaders."

Shouldn't the headline have read, "Unherdable asses spare the masses (for now)"?

Item: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sums up the lower chamber's health-care "reform" plan as a "cap on your costs -- no cap on your benefits."

Shouldn't someone of her supposed intelligence understand that price ceilings create shortages?

Item: President Obama intimates that "doctors" are removing kids' healthy tonsils to earn a higher insurance reimbursement rate.

Shouldn't someone challenge the president to name those "doctors" so their supposed tonsil-removal factories can be shut down?

Item: Gov. Ed Rendell has spent $15,000 in political donations on an Internet campaign to push his budget proposal which, of course, includes a plan to raise taxes.

Shouldn't that money have gone to some fund or organization that actually helps "the children," a cause for which the governor professes to be so concerned?
Read the full column at the newspaper's Web site.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Top House Democrat: 'What good is reading the bill…?'



Things have deteriorated so much in Washington since Democrats took control of Congress that the Democratic doormats who populate the halls of Congress don't even have to pretend they know what they're doing. They simply do what Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi tell them.

Via CNS News, check out the video above of House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) in his own words:

"I love these members, they get up and say, 'Read the bill,'" said Conyers. "What good is reading the bill if it's a thousand pages and you don't have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?" (CNS News, 7/27/09)

From the Republican Study Committee:
A better question might be, why not take the time to read and understand the bill so the American people can know what's in it before their health care gets taken over by the government? If it takes a senior member of Congress two lawyers to figure out the Democrat health care bill, how are middle class families expected to fare in their search for quality care?

Americans have a lot of questions about the Democrats' plans for health care, but it doesn't sound like they'll be getting any answers from Chairman Conyers.
Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

RetireSafe Blasts AARP for Supporting Plan to Pay for Health Care on the Backs of Seniors

RetireSafe Blasts AARP for Supporting Plan to Pay for Health Care on the Backs of Seniors

State Workers Rally on Capitol Steps in Harrisburg

State Workers Rally on Capitol Steps in Harrisburg

Senate Committee Vote to Confirm Sotomayor Supreme Court Appointment an Outrage and the full Senate Should Reject the Nomination, says Right to Self-Defense Advocate

Senate Committee Vote to Confirm Sotomayor Supreme Court Appointment an Outrage and the full Senate Should Reject the Nomination, says Right to Self-Defense Advocate

Rushing headlong over a cliff

I have two questions about Obamacare.

If this proposal is so much better than what we have now, why won't Barack Obama and his family, as well as members of Congress and their families, be covered under Obamacare? If the goal is to cover all Americans and provide them with better health care, why can't we have the same plan that politicians get?

Second, why the rush? Why the artificial deadline of Congress' August recess?

If this is an improvement over the current system, why hide so much of it and push it through Congress before anyone has had a chance to read the 1,000-plus pages of the bill?

We rushed into a bank bailout plan that has failed. We rushed into a bailout of the auto industry that resulted in two of the three major U.S. car companies going bankrupt. We rushed into a "stimulus" package that has failed. We rushed into an energy bill (cap-and-trade) that does nothing to address our energy needs but imposes a huge tax burden on everyone who uses electricity.

So why are we rushing to adopt a "reform" of the health care system without adequate debate?

From a column by in today's New York Post by Michael D. Tanner, a Cato Institute senior fellow and co-author of "Healthy Competition: What's Holding Back Health Care and How to Free It" --
Health care represents one-sixth of the US economy, and some of the most important, personal and private decisions in people's lives. Reform will affect everything from jobs to what treatments your doctor can prescribe. It will cost well over $1 trillion over the next 10 years, more beyond that, and impose enormous costs on the economy and higher taxes on millions of Americans. If we get health-care reform wrong, it won't be easy to go back and fix it.
Read the full column at the newspaper's Web site.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Rendell's Bad Bites

Obacare pushes suicide for the elderly



Also check out this post at the Bucks Right blog about some more of the scariest provisions hidden inside the Obamacare bill.

Rep. Sam Rohrer: Local taxpayers lose with Rendell's education funding proposal

Nobody knows more about the tax burden facing Pennsylvania residents than state Rep. Sam Rohrer, R-Berks, who has led the fight to eliminate school property taxes.

To counter the propaganda the Rendell Administration has been putting out concerning school funding under a no-tax budget supported by Republican lawmakers, Rohrer has released information showing that local taxpayers would pay more than $6 in increased taxes to the state for every $1 in increased education funding under a state budget proposal being championed by Gov. Ed Rendell.

From a press release issued by Rohrer:
"The governor's proposal amounts to a fleecing of local taxpayers," Rohrer said. "He talks about how much extra money he wants to spend on schools. What he forgets to tell everyone is how much it will cost them. Paying $6 to get $1 back is a raw deal, no matter how the governor tries to sell it."

House and Senate Republicans have offered budget proposals that would increase funding for education without raising any state taxes or forcing school districts to raise taxes. Rendell has advanced a proposal that would provide more excessive increases in state funding for education, but his plan would require a 16 percent increase in the state Personal Income Tax (PIT). Rendell's proposal would raise the PIT rate from 3.07 percent to 3.57 percent.

While local schools would receive an additional $3 million in state funding under Rendell's proposal, local taxpayers would pay an additional $20 million through the state PIT.

"Families in the Wilson School District would have to pay more than $5 million in increased taxes to get a little more than $600,000 in increased funding for their local schools," Rohrer said. "That means they'd pay more than $4.4 million in excess taxes that would not go to their local schools. In every local school district, the governor would collect excess taxes, sending less back for local schools than he took through the increased income tax. Under the governor's proposal, local residents would pay more than $16.5 million in increased income taxes that would not benefit one local school, teacher or student."

Rohrer noted that, unlike taxpayers in Berks County school districts, those in the governor's hometown school district in Philadelphia would actually benefit from Rendell's proposal. Under the governor's scheme:

· Philadelphia residents would pay approximately $89 million in increased state income taxes.

· Philadelphia schools would receive a more than $193 million increase in state education funding.

That means Philadelphia schools would receive more than $100 million more in funding than Philadelphia taxpayers would have to pay through the increased income tax.

"The governor's education funding proposal seems to be another attempt to take money from local taxpayers and funnel it to Philadelphia schools," Rohrer said. "For every dollar the governor takes from local taxpayers, he would return approximately 15 cents to local schools. I guess now at least we know where the other 85 cents would go."
Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Rendell and reality drift further apart

Gov. Ed Rendell is off his medication again.

He released a rambling statement Monday about the state's budget impasse, blaming the Republican-controlled state Senate for blocking his efforts to raise the state income tax by 16 percent.

Contrast Rendell's rant with the most recent survey of voters and you'll see that Rendell is not dealing with reality.

GOV. RENDELL: "GOP Senators are isolated in their position. The people of Pennsylvania are fed up with their government right now, and I'm fed up that the majority party in the state Senate shows so little regard for getting the job done."

REALITY:Gov. Ed Rendell's job approval rating has shrunk to its lowest level ever, 39 percent, and voters see him as most responsible for the state's budget mess, according to a Quinnipiac University poll. Also, 63 percent of voters reject Rendell's call to raise the state income tax temporarily to balance the budget, the Quinnipiac poll says.

More from the Quinnipiac poll:
Only 28 percent of voters approve Rendell's handling of the state budget and only 33 percent approve of his handling of the economy.

"Voters clearly don't want their taxes raised to solve the budget mess," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "Given a choice between raising taxes to maintain the level of services, or cutting spending and leaving taxes the same, 55 percent favor spending cuts and 35 percent say raise taxes."
To read more of Rendell's nonsensical statement, follow the link below.

Governor Rendell Says to Senate Republicans: 'Get Real'

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Monday, July 27, 2009

Castor, Moyer drop out of 24th Senate Dist. race

Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce L. Castor Jr. announced today he will not seek the Republican nod for the soon-to-be-vacated 24th District state Senate seat held by Republican Rob Wonderling.

Castor was one of three Montgomery County politicians competing for a chance to fill Wonderling's unexpired term in a special election this fall.

Castor's surprise announcement leaves state Rep. Bob Mensch, R-147th, as the likely choice to run on the GOP ballot.

The other potential GOP challenger, former state Rep. Jay Moyer, announced late Monday he's dropping out. Moyer endorsed Mensch and said he wants to concentrate on another run for the 70th House District seat that he lost in 2008.

Castor said he received plenty of encouragement from residents of Bucks, Lehigh, Northampton and Montgomery counties about a 24th Senate District run, but he decided to finish his term as a commissioner in Montgomery County, which is facing a fiscal crisis under the leadership of Democrat Joe Hoeffel and GOP turncoat Jim Matthews.

"If I were to run in the Special Election I would vacate my seat as a commissioner at a critical point in the budget process, leaving my colleagues to adopt a budget with no third commissioner in place or with a new commissioner who had little or no time to study the budget before being asked to act on it," Castor said in a written statement. "I do not believe that is fair to the citizens of Montgomery County to create such a situation and at this time I believe the best way I can serve the citizens is to remain a commissioner and a vocal critic of the policies that have led us to this point while offering my own suggestions on a better way to govern Montgomery County."

Castor was the top vote getter in the 2007 election to fill three Montgomery County commissioner seats. Hoeffel finished second and Matthews came in third thanks to a last-minute push by Castor to get Matthews re-elected at the request of party leadership.

Instead of joining Castor to form a GOP majority on the board, Matthews made a deal with Hoeffel to form a power-sharing arrangement, where Hoeffel supported Matthews as commissioners' chairman in return for obtaining unprecedented control of county government by a minority commissioner.

Hoeffel has hired all sorts of Democratic Party cronies to high-paying county jobs in the past 18 months.

"For 18 months, I have warned that the spending policies pursued by the county commissioners would lead to an unavoidable budget crisis," Castor said in a written statement. "Last year my colleagues used $16 million of our savings and failed to fund $7 million in pension obligations to our county employees in order to balance the budget. They do not have that option this year. The Finance Department projects a $50 million plus budget shortfall for 2010 while reminding us that the pension obligation will come due at the end of this year -- an obligation my fellow commissioners failed to budget for and now do not have the funds to meet. I cited this failure as one of my principle reasons for voting against the 2009 county budget.

Castor is the lone voice of fiscal reason on the commissioners' board and said he will work to inform Montgomery County taxpayers about the irresponsible spending by the Hoeffel-Matthews regime.

"This year we face a mounting deficit that my fellow commissioners will attempt to blame on the economy, Harrisburg, Washington, and just about anyone and anything else they can," Castor said. "But the fault lies in their reckless pursuit of cronyism, patronage and borrow and spend governance using tax dollars to fuel their appetite. This year may be the most critical budget deliberations in the history of Montgomery County. I believe I have an obligation to see this budget process to completion and that is what I intend to do."

The 24th District Senate seat will become vacant on Aug. 1 when Wonderling steps down to take a new job as president of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.

Republicans should be able to hold Wonderling's seat in a special election this fall and again in 2010 when a full four-year term is up for grabs.

Democrats have had trouble finding a candidate. The leading contender, state Rep. Bob Freeman, D-136th Dist., bowed out last week after a poll showed Freeman losing to both Castor and Mensch.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Illegal-Immigrant Population Declines

Illegal-Immigrant Population Declines

Governor Rendell Signs 3 Bills

Governor Rendell Signs 3 Bills

FRC Action to Host Webcast on the Government Takeover of Health Care

FRC Action to Host Webcast on the Government Takeover of Health Care

Distracted Driving the Top Reason that 35 Percent of Drivers Feel Less Safe than Five Years Ago, According to the AAA Foundation

Distracted Driving the Top Reason that 35 Percent of Drivers Feel Less Safe than Five Years Ago, According to the AAA Foundation

Penn State No. 1 party school in U.S.


We're No. 1 ... We're No. 1 ... We're No. 1

Academics? Get real. Why do kids go off to college? To party, of course.

Penn State University finds itself on top of the annual survey of top party schools in the nation.

PSU took the top spot away from last year's winner, the University of Florida, which finished second in the 2009 Princeton Review survey of 122,000 students.

This is the first time PSU has reached the coveted No. 1 spot. The schoo's previous high was No. 3 in the 2008 survey.

As a Penn State alum, I can't tell you how proud I am about my alma mater.

Here are the Top 10 party schools:

1. Penn State University, State College, Pa.
2. University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.
3. University of Mississippi, Oxford, Miss.
4. University of Georgia, Athens, Ga.
5. Ohio University, Athens, Ohio
6. West Virginia University, Morgantown, W.Va.
7. University of Texas, Austin, Texas
8. University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis.
9. Florida State University, Tallahassee, Fla.
10. University of California-Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, Calif.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Rep. Joe Pitts: Another Government Takeover

Another Government Takeover

By Congressman Joe Pitts

Everywhere I go, people tell me they’re worried about the direction our country is headed. So far in this Congress, all we’ve seen are bailouts and government takeovers.

We are taking over or nationalizing huge sections of our economy. We have nationalized the banking industry and the financial sector. We have nationalized the home mortgage industry. We have taken over the auto companies. We are well on our way to nationalizing the energy sector with a deeply flawed cap and trade plan.

Now President Obama and Democrat leaders in Congress want to nationalize the health care sector by putting government bureaucrats and politicians in charge of health decisions best left up to you and your doctor.

These bailouts and government takeovers will not lead our nation back to prosperity. Indeed, they will mean just the opposite—fewer jobs, massive government spending, and debt piled on our kids and grandkids.

We need healthcare reform in the United States, but we need the right kind of reform. We do not need the government to take over yet one more industry, especially one as fundamental to your quality of life as healthcare.

During the worst recession in a generation my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are proposing a government takeover of health care that will lead to fewer jobs, higher taxes, and less health coverage.

Since the recession began, six million jobs have been lost. Yet the plan being put forward by Democrats in the House includes hundreds of billions of dollars in new tax hikes on small businesses. Historically, small businesses are the engine of job creation. Killing them with a massive new tax will hurt all of us. The plan in the House calls for up to $800 billion in new tax hikes.

According to economic modeling by the president's own chief economic advisor, the business tax hikes alone would destroy up to 4.7 million jobs.

The President has claimed the Democrats’ healthcare reform proposals will reduce costs—in fact, it is a key centerpiece of his rhetoric on the issue. Despite these claims the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has directly refuted this notion. CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf told Congress that the Democrats' proposed reform will not reduce costs and will instead increase future federal spending on health care.

Congress isn’t even attempting to fix the already unsustainable government spending on healthcare before creating a massive new entitlement. The Medicare Trustees have told Congress the government-run health plan for seniors will go insolvent by 2017 without changes.

Yet, even with the massive increases in borrowing and spending, the plan will not cover everyone and will force some people off their current plans, even if they like their current coverage.

An independent analysis by the non-partisan Lewin Group found that 114 million Americans would lose their current health insurance. This is because businesses will pull their employee health benefits once a public option becomes available. Again, in spite of President Obama’s promise to the American people that if you like your current coverage, you can keep it.

The American people want real solutions to get our economy back on track, not another excuse to raise taxes on small businesses and working families. Too often today, insurance companies make healthcare decisions best left to doctors and patients. This is wrong, and the only thing worse would be putting Washington bureaucrats between patients and the care they need, which is what this plan would do.

I want to make healthcare coverage portable, so that you can take it from one job to another. Better yet, we should end the discriminatory tax treatment that provides a tax benefit to companies for providing healthcare, but not individuals for buying their own. I think we ought to allow individuals to band together to pool risk, which will reduce costs. Individuals ought to be able to buy insurance across state lines if they find a plan that works for them. We should be promoting healthcare IT, which has the potential to cut down on errors and increase the potential of preventative care. We should pass medical malpractice reform to reduce costs from lawsuits and reduce the spending from doctors having to practice defensive medicine.

I believe we can reform healthcare in a way that expands access to affordable care and gives families the freedom to choose the health care that fits their needs - without imposing a job-killing tax hike on small businesses and working families.

Rep. Joe Pitts is a Republican who represents Pennsylvania's 16th Congressional District in parts of Chester, Berks and Lancaster counties.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

A peek inside Obamcare



The detailed flow chart above shows the complex health care reform proposal being pushed by Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats.

The chart identifies at least 31 new federal programs, agencies, commissions and mandates that accompany the unprecedented government takeover of health care in America, according to Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX), the lead House Republican on the Joint Economic Committee.

"Why should any patient be forced to give control of their health care over to this Faustian pit of Washington bureaucracy?" asked Brady.

"This government takeover has only one guaranteed result: To tell Americans what doctors you can see, what treatments you deserve and what medicines you can have," Brady said.

These new levels of government bureaucracy, agencies, organization and programs will all be put directly between the patient and their health care, according to Brady.

This is why Obama and Nancy Pelosi are trying to rush the 1,018-page bill through Congress before anyone has a chance to read it or property debate it.

Don't let them railroad your family's health care. Stop Obamcare now.

Obama vs. The Facts

A guest column by Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council about the Congressional Budget Office pointing out the fuzzy math Barack Obama is using to sell his government-run health care plan.
Honesty: The Best Public Policy

The Obama administration is finally hitting its biggest roadblock in the debate over health care: the facts. Despite his best attempts to gloss over the real cost, the President continues to lock horns with the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), whose unflattering analyses are cutting significantly into the administration's efforts to sell this as reform. Much to this administration's displeasure, the CBO continues to provide an honest assessment of the bill's price tag, which has rocketed well above $1 trillion.

Unlike other entities, the CBO is supposed to be above partisanship--but in the eyes of the Obama administration, that's a problem. For an administration so accustomed to having its way with Congress, the press, and the American people, the CBO's independence has been a powerful annoyance. Frustrated by his inability to control how CBO scores his proposal, President Obama took the unprecedented step of calling CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf into his office for a heart to heart. The White House was particularly angry over Elmendorf's estimate that the House version of "reform" would "result in a net increase in the federal budget deficit of $239 billion over the 2010-2019." Obviously the President didn't take kindly to the CBO for interrupting his public spin with the bottom line.

But calling in Elmendorf to "discuss" these costs is highly unusual--even by liberal standards. To the best of anyone's knowledge, this is the first time an administration has tried to directly intervene in how the CBO appraises legislation. More than a few people speculated that the administration was trying to strong-arm the Office into releasing more budget-friendly numbers in their scores. There would be no other motivation for the meeting, particularly since (as both Ed Morrissey and John Fund point out), the White House has its own budget office.

If President Obama were earnestly looking for ways to cut costs, he could have picked up the phone and called the OMB, the Office of Management and Budget. Instead, he reached across the entire Executive Branch to influence a congressional appointee, a move that shows this President isn't willing to fight fair in the most expensive policy initiative of his term.

As Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell described it, "that's like asking the umpires to come up to the owner's box ... I mean, if the CBO is to have credibility, they're the umpire." To his credit, Elmendorf said that the meeting with President Obama would not impact how the CBO scores health care reform. And to prove it, the CBO released an assessment on Friday afternoon that disputed the Democrats' claim that a few changes to the plan would result in big savings. On the contrary, the proposed cuts would only skim a measly .2% off the bill's total price.


Obamacare Follies: A Perilous Rush | Michael D. Tanner | Cato Institute: Commentary

Obamacare Follies: A Perilous Rush | Michael D. Tanner | Cato Institute: Commentary

Posted using ShareThis

Beware of Lap Dog Democrats



Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Department of Aging Urges Citizens to Report Abuse and Neglect of Older Adults

Calls to the Elder Abuse Hotline, 1-800-490-8505, can be made anonymously.

Department of Aging Urges Citizens to Report Abuse and Neglect of Older Adults

Bill O'Reilly: Why Obamacare will fail

Bill O'Reilly predicts Obamacare will go the way of Hillarycare because Barack Obama failed to learn from history ... and does not understand that Americans have a basic mistrust of government.

Obama is a product of big government and has never really spent time in the real world. He believes government can solve problems when reality (and history) have shown that government creates problems.

"The stunning collapse in public opinion for President Obama's health care plan demonstrates a weakness in the president's overall vision," O'Reilly writes in his latest column.

From O'Reilly's column:
If the president's plan were clearly presented with the costs spelled out, I believe it would have a chance of passing. But just about everybody knows the USA might be facing bankruptcy, which would damage Americans far more than a troubled health care system. Even though the president will not admit it, there is huge financial risk in Obama's health care vision and Americans are starting to wise up about the danger.

Finally, there is the freedom factor. Your health is obviously very personal. You want to have as much control as possible when you get sick. In Canada, where the government runs the health care industry, there are waiting lists for treatment in some places, a shortage of doctors in others. Americans fear that if medical choices are dictated by the feds, that kind of chaos will happen here.
Read the full column at O'Reilly's Web site.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Columnist: State workers are 'crybabies'

If government workers caught in the middle of the state's budget impasse are looking for a little sympathy, they won't get it from Mary Young of the Reading Eagle.

Young says in her weekly column that state workers are a bunch of crybabies who are out of touch with economic conditions facing millions of Pennsylvanians.

Commenting on television ads from the unionized state workers complaining about missing a paycheck, Young says:
The crybabies forgot who was in the audience: nearly 550,000 unemployed Pennsylvanians, including as many as 20,000 whose unemployment benefits ran out this week.

There are probably a few million more who have had pay cuts and furloughs.

The state workers eventually will get all the pay they are owed. Workers not employed by the state will never recoup their lost wages.
Read the full column at the newspaper's Web site.

I've said this before: There is a tremendous disconnect between the people who work in Harrisburg (the governor and Legislature included) and the people who pay the bills. I'm not willing to go as far as Young and call state workers "crybabies" but I do agree with her that they're wasting their time trying to gain sympathy from private sector workers who have it worse off.

As Young points out in her column, state workers have better health coverage than the average Pennsylvania workers, they have guaranteed pensions (unlike the average worker who saw most of their retirement and investment savings disappear) and they have very little fear of layoffs.

A missed paycheck is bad, but being out of work for months or years is a lot worse. And having to pay more in taxes to support a bloated state government is not the way to go.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Video: GOP alternative to Obamacare



Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) delivers the weekly Republican address on the need to make health care more affordable and accessible in America and the GOP's plan to reduce costs, increase access, improve the quality of patient care, and preserve the doctor-patient relationship.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Obama stepped in it



Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Poll: Obama job approval dips below 50%

What goes up must come down, but how quickly the might Obama has fallen.

From Rasmussen Reports:
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Friday shows that 30% of the nation's voters now Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Thirty-eight percent (38%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -8.

Just 25% believe that the economic stimulus package has helped the economy.

The Presidential Approval Index is calculated by subtracting the number who Strongly Disapprove from the number who Strongly Approve.

Overall, 49% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the President's performance. Today marks the first time his overall approval rating has ever fallen below 50% among Likely Voters nationwide. Fifty-one percent (51%) disapprove.

Eighty-three percent (83%) of Democrats continue to approve of the President’s performance while 80% of Republicans disapprove. Among those not affiliated with either major party, 37% offer a positive assessment. The President earns approval from 51% of women and 47% of men.
Read more about Obama's job approval at Rasmussen Reports.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

State Capitol Roundup

An abbreviated State Capitol Roundup from Rep. Bob Mensch (R-147):

State Budget Bill Heading to House-Senate Conference Committee

In the midst of the longest state budget stalemate in nearly 20 years, the state budget bill is on its way to a House-Senate conference committee. Three members from the House and three from the Senate will make up the committee, which will cooperatively work to negotiate the $2 billion difference between the House and Senate versions of the plan. Republicans are optimistic that no personal income tax increase will be included in the final budget, citing the lack of public and legislative support from all four caucuses to institute it. House Republicans remain committed to supporting a balanced budget plan that will prioritize funding for the core functions of government, not raise taxes, and force government to live within its means. This is the seventh consecutive year that Pennsylvania has not had a budget in place by July 1, the official start of the new fiscal year. For the latest budget news, visit PAHouseGOP.com

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Friday, July 24, 2009

Dent, Gerlach, Pitts, Platt pledge to read health care reform bill before voting on it

Only 85 members of Congress have signed the Responsible Healthcare Reform Pledge, promising to read the 1,018-page health care bill currently before Congress.

From Pennsylvania, four Republicans -- Reps. Charlie Dent, Jim Gerlach, Joe Pitts and Todd Platts -- have signed the pledge.

What about the rest of Pennsylvania's 19-member Congressional delegation?

Are you surprised that not a single Democrat from Pennsylvania has signed the pledge? It wouldn't be the first time Democrats voted for something before reading it. They did the same thing for the $787 Billion "stimulus" bill and the Cap-and-Trade energy tax.

Let Freedom Ring, a free-market advocacy group headed by former Chester County Commissioner Colin Hanna, has set up a Web site where members of Congress can sign a pledge to read health care reform legislation before voting on it.

For more information, check out www.pledgetoread.com

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Obama: Americans clinging to their health care

American Legion rejects Obamacare for its members

The national commander of the nation's largest veterans service organization says military and veterans health care should not be part of any national health care bill.

Reacting Barack Obama's urgent call for immediate Congressional approval of a government-run health care system, American Legion National Commander David K. Rehbein issued the following statement:
"While The American Legion appreciates the complexity of the health care reform challenge facing the President and Congress, on behalf of our nation's 26 million veterans and the nearly 2 million personnel now on active duty in more than 130 countries, we urge Congress to ensure that veterans' and military health care not be part of any national health care bill. They should be exempt in the legislation."

Rehbein added, "Our nation must maintain its long standing tradition that veterans' and military health care systems will remain independent and focused on our most deserving citizens.

"The American Legion has a proud tradition of securing and preserving the earned benefits of America's veterans," continued Rehbein. "Ensuring timely access to quality health care for today's military and veterans is of paramount concern. These are the citizens who have borne our battles in previous wars as they still are in Iraq and Afghanistan. They have earned our care the hard way. We, as a nation, have an obligation to ensure that their health care is not compromised," he concluded.
With a current membership of 2.6 million wartime veterans, The American Legion was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veterans affairs, Americanism, and the mentoring of youth. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through more than 14,000 posts across the nation.
For more information about the American Legion visit its Web site, www.legion.org

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Vengeful lawmakers target newspapers?

I've long suspected that Pennsylvania legislators have been looking for ways to exact revenge on newspapers for exposing the 2005 payjacking, the Bonusgate scandal and an assortment of other unsavory practices in Harrisburg.

This year's efforts to remove public notices (that tiny advertising in the back of newspapers about government meetings and actions) from newspapers doesn't make much sense on the surface.

Of all the pressing problems facing Pennsylvanians, the publication of legal notices wouldn't make the Top 100. So why is the Legislature working on changing the laws?

School boards, county and municipal governments spend less than 1 percent of their annual budgets on legal notices. If proponents of changing the law are to be believed that they're trying to save taxpayers money, there are so many other areas that can be cut.

Newspapers have written editorials opposing the change on the grounds that it would make it more difficult for taxpayers to keep an eye on their local school boards and municipal governments.

Now we have a member of the state Legislature who is wondering out loud what the real motivation behind the move is.

"An average lawmaker might see this as an opportunity to punish the newspapers that have blown the dome off the capital and shed light on some of our practices," State Rep. Mike Vereb, R-150, told The Norristown Times-Herald in a recent interview.

From a story by reporter Carl Rotenberg:
Times Herald Editor Stan Huskey introduced the subject of pulling the publication of public notices out of daily newspapers, a proposal floated by a state representative in the spring legislative session.

"Local governments are required to post public notices," Huskey said. "The idea of taking notices out of newspapers and putting them online will basically insure that the real watchdogs of local government no longer have an opportunity to see what is going on in their own backyard."

Vereb voted against the bill, he said, in the judiciary committee.

He served on the West Norriton Board of Commissioners before getting elected to the general assembly in 2007.

"Why wouldn't you advertise in the newspapers? We ought to look at more Web-based information. Newspapers serve a vital, vital interest for the folks who do not own a computer or use a computer," Vereb said.

He pointed out that all of the land development legal notices were paid for through township filing fees.

"An average lawmaker might see this as an opportunity to punish the newspapers that have blown the dome off the capital and shed light on some of our practices," he said.

Vereb supported providing more information about government actions and meetings through multiple notices. He said the printed notices kept the public meetings on schedule and reduced the number of postponed meetings.

"It keeps our local folks honest," he said, "and it should keep our state folks honest, as well."
Read more of Vereb's views on various state issues at the newspaper's Web site.

Also, the Reading Eagle published an excellent editorial addressing the public notice debate, "Issue not about money but rather access to information"

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS