8 Oct

UPDATED: Health Care plans for back door passage – agenda usurps transparency

                                       

I’ve spoken often about “puzzle pieces” on a variety of political subjects in my posts. Rarely can we, Joe Q Public, see one news event and piece it into the entire puzzle until someone assembles all the pieces in one place.

Thus is the case with the plot for usurping traditional input from the public, and passing a bill reforming remaking America’s health care system… with very little cost savings measures included.

Yesterday, the puzzle piece assembler happened to be Brian Darling, posting at Heritage Foundation’s blog, The Foundry. Yes yes, many of you will say… the *conservative* Heritage Foundation?? Lest you embarrass yourself resorting to the typical “attack the messenger” defense, you’ll find that Mr. Darling’s facts and events have been confirmed by many a traditional and prominent liberal leaning media, as well as Congressional events. However, as the MSM constantly demonstrates, they are math challenged and – in this case – they have failed to put two and two together.

Allow me to ‘splain…

My first heads up came with a morning Senate Brief email update from McConnell’s office, discussing the Baucus bill, with the following comments that piqued my curiousity…

First, as Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell pointed out this morning, the bill “has as its foundation a trillion dollars in spending, half a trillion dollars in cuts to Medicare, higher premiums, higher taxes on just about everyone at a time of near double-digit unemployment, and limits on the health care choices that millions of Americans now enjoy.” As for the CBO score, Sen. McConnell said, “It’s irrelevant. The bill it’s referring to will never see the light of day.” He explained why last night: “This partisan Finance Committee proposal will never see the Senate floor since the real bill will be written by Democrat leaders in a closed-to-the-public conference room somewhere in the Capitol.”

~~~

So Democrats are starting with two flawed pieces of legislation and will then be stitching them together behind closed doors. As Sen. McConnell put it, “the real bill will soon be cobbled together in a secret conference room somewhere in the Capitol by a handful of Democrat senators and White House officials.” And that’s why the CBO score that Democrats are so proud of today is much less consequential than they would have Americans believe.

Hummm… what two flawed pieces of legislation will be stitched together, and how does it slide past the US taxpayer in the dark of night? By playing games with Congressional rules, of course. Now to Brian Darling’s summary of the four part Congressional Act designed to hoodwink the US taxpayer, using loophole rules.

Note: Each “STEP” title is a link itself… expand your horizons and click on them!

STEP ONE

“The Senate Finance Committee will finish work on the marking up of Senator Max Baucus’ (D-MT) conceptual framework for legislation by this Friday.” Progress on this had been stalled and the bill was not passed by the end of last week. Foxnews.com is reporting that the Congressional Budget Office score of the bill will be released later today and a high score may further stall progress on the Committee’s Vapor Bill. Senate Finance Committee’s progress on passing something out of committee – INCOMPLETE.

Since “later today” has passed, and we now have a figure estimated at $829 bil, the game playing moves on with Dems ecstatic at having a figure under a trillion to dangle before the nation’s eyes. Aside from the fact that we’ve become so immune to the billion-trillion nuances, this figure helps advance the progress of Step One.

But remember what McConnell said above about the CBO math being irrelevant because that bill – in it’s current form – will never see the light of day. Which brings us to….

STEP TWO

Next, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will take the final product of the Senate Finance Committee and merge it with the product of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee. CNSnews.com has confirmed that “the actual final text of the legislation will be determined by Reid himself, who will consolidate the legislation approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee [HELP] and the still-unapproved legislation from the Senate Finance Committee [Baucus]. Reid will be able to draft and insert textual language that was not expressly approved by either committee.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will write the final version of Obamacare to be considered in the Senate with no input from the American people.

This is an extremely complex procedure that will not be done in public, or in the form of a hearing, or a public conference committee, and only Senator Harry Reid, some other Senators chosen by Reid and Obama Administration officials will be allowed to read the bill before the Senate debate starts. Merger of the bills – IN PROGRESS.

Starting to understand the puzzle pieces, and why the Dem’s are adamant that the public doesn’t get to read the bill? It’s because any mandate that the public be allowed to view throws a monkey wrench into their carefully plotted four act Congressional stage play to merge the bills at last minute and get that turkey to the POTUS table by Thanksgiving.

Allow me to jog your memory on the HELP proposal passing the Senate Committee. I posted on this July 15th when the nation and the media were all fired consumed with the Sotomayor debate. There was a specific reason for my title to that post… “While the nation was busy with Sotomayor…. health care destruction advancing under cover of media darkness”.

The Senate Committee appeared to be addressing the House proposal – HR 3200 – introduced by Michigan’s John Dingell (D) and his eight Dem crony co-sponsors including Rangel and Waxman. The Times description suits HR 3200 to a tee.

What seems less clear is how and why the Senate was entertaining a House bill that had not been voted on by the body. And I have been unable to locate a sister bill in the Senate chamber that echos the same mandates. Any of you stellar readers out there are free to dig up what I’m missing if there is such a Senate bill for related legislation. Otherwise, it strikes me that the Senate appears to be usurping the usual path by having House bills voted on by that chamber before advancing it to their own committees for consideration… bizarre.

Just for a bit of procedure, Committees, much like “mini-Congresses”, generally advance or kill legislation by reporting favorably or unfavorably. In the case of HR 3200, it has thus far passed thru the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee… both of which revised the bill text. We do not have access to that revised text as committee proceedings are notoriously opaque, varying in what information they make public. Additionally, they often do not provide basic public information such as the results of votes electronically or in an understandable format. Furthermore, if you do not have a representative that sits on that committee, you have no input via elected official, and therefore no opportunity to voice an opinion.

Are the shenigans becoming more clear?

The HELP proposal, as summarized by the WA Times article I linked in that post, creates a mandate for citizens to purchase insurance, and employers to contribute to that cost. Make note… any Baucus bill that combines with this committee passed proposal doesn’t need a mandate. It’s already there.

The mandate for every American to purchase insurance is, of course, an insurance company’s demand because – quite simply – with the advancing boomers apt to increase claims risks exponentially, they need the younger, healthier Americans to foot the bill.

Now, with an “acceptable” under trillion price tag, the Baucus bill can advance.. making Step One “complete”, and advancing the Step Two “In Progress” to a “complete”. Once that happens, Sen. Reid can proceed with the opaque “merge” process of the bills. As New York Times reported on Sept 27th, Reid’s plans are specifically to marry the Baucus bill with the HELP proposal, … leaning heavily on President Obama to arbitrate a number of contentious issues that still threaten to divide liberal and centrist Democrats and derail a final bill.

Mr. Reid’s challenge is to stitch together legislation that can win 60 votes to stop a Republican filibuster. It must satisfy liberals demanding more generous subsidies and safety-net provisions for the middle class, without alienating centrist budget hawks or Senator Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, the only Republican who has indicated she might back the bill.

Democrats now control 60 seats in the Senate, with the appointment last week of Paul G. Kirk Jr. of Massachusetts as the interim successor to Edward M. Kennedy, who died in August. But the party is far from united on the health care issue, even though Mr. Obama has declared it his top domestic priority and has expended enormous political capital on getting a bill passed.

Senator Kent Conrad, Democrat of North Dakota, said the task of merging the two bills would be “very challenging.” Democrats are also mindful of the disaster that befell them in 1994 after the majority leader, George J. Mitchell of Maine, failed to pull together competing health care proposals.

All of this is accurately predicted, and substantiated in Mr. Darling’s Step Two above… which then brings us to:

STEP THREE

Senator Reid will then move to proceed to H.R. 1586, a bill to impose a tax on bonuses received by certain TARP recipients. A senior aid to Senate Majority Leader Ried has confirmed that he will move to proceed to Senate Calendar Number 36, H.R. 1586, or another House passed tax measure, so the Senate can avoid the Constitutional mandate that tax bills originate in the House. Proceed to tax shell of a bill – CONFIRMED.

HR 1586 is a Charlie Rangel sponsored bill that passed the House 328 to 93, with 10 present/not voting (See vote details here) In that vote, 85 GOP representatives unwittingly contributed to the Congressional back room scam.

HR 1586 imposes a 90% tax rate on bonuses received by any individual who earned them via any business entity receiving $5 billion or more of TARP bailout funds. Lest ye believe this only affects those evil CEOs, it applies to any individual with a regular pay or adjusted gross income over 250,000 dollars for an individual filer, or income over 125,000 dollars. Woof….

To “be perfectly clear”, as the POTUS loves to say, HR 1586 is the shell to which the tax heavy health care bill will be attached as a rider in order to usurp Constitutional law that tax appropriations *must* originate in the House. It is to be the vehicle to which Obama’care, designed by the Senate in the back rooms with the chosen few and the WH, can hitch a legitimate ride to the Oval Office desk.

Utilizing such tactics for such a game changing piece of legislation, not to mention the economic repercussions, is ensuring the nation’s taxpayers are being taken for a ride right along with the health care rider.

Step Four is also complete… insure a supermajority by replacing the vacated Kennedy seat with a friendly and pliable Democrat.

STEP FOUR

This scenario would most likely be implemented after the Massachusetts state legislature gives Governor Deval Patrick the power to appoint a new Senator and that Senator is seated by the Senate. The Senate swore in new Massachusetts Senator Paul Kirk on September 25th. Change Law of Massachusetts to allow for interim Senator – COMPLETE.

One now sees why Obama felt quite comfortable “meddling” in MA state law…. their very back door scam depended on that seat being filled, blocking any potential filibusters and thwarting any changes that can delay the plan. I posted on the somewhat dirty method used to accomplish that 60th MA seat back on Sept 25th. To usurp MA law and deadlines, Gov. Deval Patrick had to declare their reversal of Kennedy legislation “emergency legislation”. Yes… definitely an emergency if Obama, Reid and Pelosi are to be successful in their political subterfuge.

The final nail in the coffin… which appears to be only a hair shy of being sealed… is to hand the legislation back to the House, who initiates a vote without a single change and advancing it to the desk of the POTUS for signature. CNS confirmed this to be in the works.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) won’t rule out having the House vote on the Senate health-care bill without making any changes in it, which would allow the bill to go directly to President Barack Obama without having to pass through a House-Senate conference committee and another round of votes in the House and Senate–and a longer period of public scrutiny of what the text of the proposed law actually says.

“I won’t rule it out or in because I don’t know what the package is,” Hoyer told CNSNews.com on Tuesday.

“However, content will be critical in what action the House takes,” he added a moment later.

This would, of course, be the same Steny Hoyer who defended the reconciliation process as “… doing what Democracy calls for” during a Sept 1st townhall meeting in Waldorf, MD.

Going back to the first CNS story quoted INRE the House scam:

Under the proposal, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) would offer the Senate’s version of health reform as an amendment to a House-passed bill, H.R. 1586, which levies a 90-percent tax on bonuses received this year by employees of financial institutions that took at least $5 billion in government bailout money. Reid’s amendment would strip out the substance of H.R. 1586 as passed by the House and replace it with the entirety of the Senate health care bill.

As a senior aide to Reid explained to CNSNews.com, this would be done because the Constitution only allows the House to initiate revenue bills, and since the Senate health care bill contains revenue provisions it technically cannot be initiated in the Senate. By being amended into the “shell” of H.R. 1586, which is a House-initiated revenue bill, the Senate health care bill would technically become a House bill.

If Reid can muster enough votes (60) to overcome a filibuster of this maneuver and filibusters of any amendments subsequently made to the bill, Senate Democrats could pass their health care bill and send it back to the House, where it nominally originated. (See related story here)

The only prediction above I may disagree with is the “stripping out” of the 90% tax hike. I’m not so sure the Dems will let go of that revenue (designed to punish), and may just pass on all of it, in it’s entirety, to the Executive Branch to sign.

So for those of you who have believed this remaking of health care could be avoided, you might want to be aware that… at this point… the only thing standing between passage and reconciliation is blue dog Democrats. So if you’ve got a betting pool going, you may want to start considering the back door approach, well on it’s way to success, when placing your bet and assessing the odds. It ain’t lookin’ good…

Once again, the “transparent” Pelosi House and the “transparent” POTUS have tossed public involvement/engagement under the bus with so many others, merely to advance an unpopular agenda….

Legal via Congressional rules? Yes. Moral? Not in the America I was raised.

~~~

UPDATE: Other takes:

Oct 9th – Newt Gingrich Democracy: The joke is on us

Oct 9th – Joseph Smith, American Thinker Watching the Constitution Disappear

About MataHarley

Vietnam era Navy wife, indy/conservative, and an official California escapee now residing as a red speck in the sea of Oregon blue.
This entry was posted in Barack Obama, Congress, Culture of Corruption, Health Care, Nancy Pelosi, Politics, POWER GRAB!, Socialized Health Care. Bookmark the permalink. Thursday, October 8th, 2009 at 4:02 pm
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22 Responses to UPDATED: Health Care plans for back door passage – agenda usurps transparency

  1. suek says: 1

    Ok.

    So…what can we do about it?

    If by chance, the Repubs get back into the majority, can they nullify this whole thing? No…never mind – they’d never get enough of a majority to pass it over Obama’s veto. But in 2012? If – however unlikely at the moment – the GOP won both houses and the presidency? Is there any reason why this whole thing couldn’t be undone???

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  2. MataHarley says: 2

    The only ones with power to stop it are the blue dog Dems, Suek. Lobbying them seems to be the only solution. Other than that, I fear it’s a done deal using this method.

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  3. Old Trooper says: 3

    What transparency? This is all back room Agenda dealings, written up by non-elected folks, pushed by Reid and Pelosi to be voted on without debate, amendment or Bi-Partisan compromise. Once enacted it won’t go away.

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  5. Robin Lennon says: 4

    We play by the rules too much. Where are our conservative lawyers in all of this? They need to be preparing class action lawsuits correctly challenging the Constitutionality of this move.

    We need to be suing Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi in every way possible for malpractice–I believe that forcing votes on unread legislation is a breech of contract with the voters who elected them.

    All we do is whine. If I had any financial resources at all I’d be mobilizing conservative lawyers using proven democratic methods.

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  6. PB says: 5

    One of the things that has been rolling around in my head is to surround congress with a 9/12 type of protest. Only this time everyone just stand there and make if very difficult for anyone to get in or out of the buildings. Now of course, the left thinks there were only a few thousand at 9/12 so they would not believe that we could do something like this.

    Our problem is the majority of us are responsible people and we can’t afford to spend the time in the middle of the week to show congress how pissed we will be if they try to pass the health care or crap and tax packages. But, can we afford not to take the time.

    Right now, congress is being led by a few left wing nuts and the rest of congress are being cowards. We need to start coming up with ideas of how we will make these people miserable and never let them have another job of responsibility.

    I have some rough ideas, but we need a coordinated effort to make every member of congress realize that we are watching them and will hold them responsible.

    1 – How about some sit-ins in their offices?

    2 – Protests in front of their homes?

    3 – Protest any public event where a congress critter may be attending?

    Those are some, hopefully others will have ideas. If we do not catch their attention, we are screwed.

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  7. Mata: Your late to this party but there is certainly no harm in reinforcing the underlying message which is that this is a violation of not only Obama and Congressional Democrats own campaign promises of transparency and openness but a violation of every standard of good government.

    It looks to me like the groundwork for this dastardly move has already been made. Dems have floated the trial balloons and so far, no huge firestorm of criticism.

    But I do think that firestorm will come if they try and pull this off. It smacks of desperation and deceit.

    There must still be votes in both the House and Senate if they try and present ObamaCare as H.R. 1586. There are plenty of Democrats in vulnerable seats that would have to know a vote for this kind of tactic will cost them their re-election.

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  8. MataHarley says: 7

    Not quite late, Mike. I saw your Oct 6th post, but you only got half way there. ala you acknowledge that they were busy in the back rooms.

    However you did not expound on how that was going to pass Congressional procedural muster , and translate to a bill that got tacked on to a rider that was unrelated and avoid public scrutiny and could proceed directly to the Oval Office.

    When you then posted about them not allowing time to read the bill… sans their motives… I figured you, also hadn’t put two and two together as to just how they were specifically dodging this “read the bill” legislation, because it affects their back room strategy.

    Now perhaps you did get the gist. But when I read your combination of posts, I didn’t see the strategy outlined. And if I missed it, my apologies.

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  9. Pingback: Flopping Aces » Blog Archive » Health Care plans for back door … | daveramsoy

  10. @MataHarley: I guess you missed my Oct. 1 post with the excerpt from Brian Darling’s original article:

    http://mikesamerica.blogspot.com/2009/10/beware-backdoor-deal-to-enact-obamacare.html

    Granted, I didn’t go into much detail on it at the time.

    No harm in repeating this story over and over. That’s just more layers of texture.

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  11. MataHarley says: 9

    You mean what you called the “extreme scenario” that “would entail considerable risk to Democrat senators running for re-election in 2010″? Yeah… I caught that Mike.

    Somehow didn’t get the whole picture from your original post commentary. For example how far advanced their “extreme scenario” plot was, and how it totally bypassed public opinion with legal Congressional rules, and made a monster bill nothing but a piggy back rider on a semi-related tax bill shell merely to avoid Constitutional procedure . Guess you didn’t spell it out for us dumb types well enough.

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  12. Patvann says: 10

    Nicely done Mata. (as always) It will help me explain it to others in my circle. Thank you.

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  13. Norris Hall says: 11

    Seems like th big losers in the health care debate is the Republican party
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aw2PamI0GqrU
    The tide seems to be turning in Obama’s favor
    Maybe we need to call out the “town hall” attack force
    If health care passes, all the protests will have been for nothing and Republicans will have to explain why they didn’t have a better health care plan than the Demos.

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  14. Davey says: 12

    Oooo! “Back Door Passage” sound too much like an unpleasant medical procedure I recently underwent. Doubtless with this adminstration’s expertise in this field is without question, but I’m dubious of the outcome.

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  15. Mata,

    I’d like to copy your post with full acknowledgment and link at my blog for my Tea Partiers. It is a great explanation of the dems shenanigans.

    Robin

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  16. MataHarley says: 14

    Robin, you are always welcome to share anything I write here. It’s not only all about sharing information, but it would be an honor. However, remember that I have only expanded upon what Brian Darling has laid out in events… all of which the Dems have copped to in one way or another.

    Ya know, it’s such a twisted version of Congressional loopholes to usurp the Constitutional intent that you have to admire the political criminal minds that came up with this… rather like admiring the strategy and plan of an international jewel thief.

    But the reality is we, the citizens, are being shafted by leadership that cares not for the citizens’ opinions, but their own agenda.

    Davey… I suspect this Congressional procedure is not that far removed from what you are discussing. LOL

    I’m not sure whether enough can lobby the Blue Dog House Dems to stop this in the final House vote. I guess I don’t have your confidence. It will depend on whether they bow to Pelosi/Obama/Reid pressure and their ability to strip them of cherry committee assignments, or they bow to the Constituents.

    Either way, there’s an inordinate amount of sleaze is oozing from the federal government in all branches. And Old Trooper is correct. This is not anything that can be easily reversed… it would be like bringing about a supertanker, running full speed ahead, in less than a mile. So many government entities will be created and functioning prior to the 2013 official launch of the O’care.

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  17. ivan says: 15

    “This partisan Finance Committee proposal will never see the Senate floor since the real bill will be written by Democrat leaders in a closed-to-the-public conference room somewhere in the Capitol.”

    I guess we can believe that McConnell will be offering his floor opinions in the form of a filibuster, despite polls supporting reform and an option. It’s also incredible how McConnell was precognitive … He already knows what the ultimately passed health care bill is going to be, even though there are multiple versions of it floating around. He even knows the figures and even the page count.

    Look, he wrote bills behind closed doors when they controlled Congress; he knows this. All this crap is political hotair (for your consumption) amazingly.

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  18. Missy says: 16

    Harry’s last hurrah, he’s taking one for the team, or he’s simply ready to retire back to Porchlight to enjoy the ill gotten spoils from his Senate career, in that case he could give a crap, just ram it through, how he gets it done, matters not. Surely, this would be the final nail in his coffin with the folks in Nevada.

    But, didn’t they play this to a tee, griping about the party of no out of one side of their mouths, pumping the bi-partisan Senate Finance Committee out of the other and holding out all hope for the support of that moderate Maine liberal, Olympia Snowe who has also merited Obama’s personal attention. She’s still a player, btw:

    U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) today released the following statement regarding the analysis by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on the amended Finance Committee health reform legislation:

    “I appreciate the hard work of CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation in preparing their projections in such a short time. We just received this report and I still must thoroughly review and evaluate this analysis before deciding how to proceed in the Finance Committee markup. My constituents want – and deserve – decision-making based on facts and figures.”

    http://snowe.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressRoom.PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=3148e8b9-802a-23ad-46ad-8e379175c78e

    They don’t want her for bipartisanship, they want her body, as long as it votes their way because they know they aren’t getting all their democrats. All in all, the only thing missing in this mess was the lights and cameras, now we know why.

    Just read through a yahoo article but accidently lost it, interesting were comments by the most brilliant Debbie Stabenow describing the work ahead for Harry Reid in one word, “tough.” Kent Conrad offered a bit more content in his praise of Harry the Great, but since it was more than one word I’ll pass on trying to remember his comment, one of those had to be there things but he was serious……and, also deceptive.

    Anyway, the article was fluff, written to give the idea the hardworking democrats will be working even harder with King Harry leading this bill all the way to Obama’s desk, not giving a hint about the despicable short cut the powers that be, three Senators and their staff, are planning to take. Oh and yes, the White House will get their hands on it too before the dirty trick is pulled off. If this succeeds, watch for Harry and Nancy in front of their podium giving the press the good news while they are proudly standing on our Constitution.

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  19. MataHarley says: 17

    Is reading and assimilating beyond your capability, Ivan? Reid’s own mouthpieces admit what they are doing… writing the bills in committees sans transparency and public consumption. His aids have confirmed they plan to strip out text and essentially insert the merged HELP and Baucus/revamped committee version – written with the aid of the WH – onto what is essentially blank letter head from the House of Representatives in order to usurp the Congressional mandate that tax spending originate in the House.

    You, American citizen, aren’t incensed at this mutiliation of Constitutional due process, and just dumbly nod your head, saying “everybody does it”.

    No, this isn’t a common practice for a bill with this spending magnitude and reconstruct of the private and current public options health industry.

    So I guess my first assessment of you is correct, but somewhat incomplete. Reading and assimilating are not only beyond your capabilities, but magnified by your complacence.

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  20. MataHarley says: 18

    Yo Missy… wonder why Olympia would even bother with the Baucus CBO analysis since it’s a moot point. As the events and statements from the asses mouths themselves confirm, what the CBO analyzed isn’t what will be inserted into HR 1586. You might as well be counting the cash register’s penny coin receptacle, ignoring the nickels, dimes, quarters and bills, and trying to balance the register receipts on the penny count alone.

    But at least Ms. Snowe can trek back to Maine and say “hey, I read it”….

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  21. protagonistman says: 19

    I just would like to stop hearing about this issue in the media. Everyone knows its stupid. Yet they still clinge to this like a fat women clings to food. I dont get it. Then again im unemployeed and you people with jobs and healthcare now. Youll have to wait long when I go in for a headache. Maybe thats how I’ll fight it. No reason not to abuse the bill. Make them regret it.
    Two Voices | Two Guys

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