DEMOCRATS STOP REPUBLICAN HEALTH CARE REFORM
By Betty Freauf
The title of this article should catch readers with short memories totally off guard or maybe like Rip Van Winkle they’ll think they’ve been asleep and just woke up. Yup! Short memories are what politicians count on and many journalists and liberal talk show wags are accusing the Republican party of being the party of “no” regarding health care reform. They are asking, “Where is the GOP plan on health care reform and budget reductions?”
KGO Radio talk show host John Rothman out of San Francisco said on January 22 he worked for Republican President Richard Nixon. John told about Nixon’s health care plan in 1971 which he claims is nearly identical to Barack’s in its original form; however, I was under the impression the president delegated the job of health care reform to the Congress and the Senate. Rothman continues, “Massachusetts Senator Teddy Kennedy said just before his death one of the greatest mistakes he ever made was not supporting Nixon on health care.” I’ve discovered one of the main “change agents” is a person by the name of Ira Magaziner. The Christian Conscience reported in November 1995 that he was a senior White House staff member overseeing the details of the National Health Care Reform. He stated in St. Louis in 1993, “The traditional health insurance industry will ‘disappear’ and Medicaid, the tax-supported insurance program for the poor, would merge into the main health care system.” There you have it folks. Another admitted Keynesian socialist idea expanding in America – socialized medicine.
Being disgusted like many Americans, I’m no longer in the Republican or Democrat party, but I thought perhaps a few headlines from some musty smelling, yellow newspaper articles from the past will help refresh memories. Let’s start by going back to Hillary Clinton’s health care commission and by the way, I understand the president has appointed a panel to address the federal deficit. Will it turn out like Hillary’s health care committee?
An Associated Press article says beneath the ruins of (Hillary) Clinton’s health plan were found highly-paid consultants with specialties ranging from projecting long-term health costs to writing arcane legislative language. Fast forward to 2009-2010. Does this sound familiar? The AP article said the White House touted the long hours and sacrifices of those who crafted its ill-fated health-care plan but it turns out that the work brought healthy rewards for a small cadre of advisers and contractors. Some businesses got six-figure contracts. For select advisers, there were consulting fees as high as $49 an hour, allowing some to earn up to $100,000 according to a review of government records. The payments were made in spite of a warning from White House lawyers to use full-time government employees, not consultants. Some sandwiched stints in the private world between work for the executive branch or Congress. In all, the White House tapped about 1,000 people for work and advice on the plan. The “health czar” that caught my attention was Bill Clinton’s Utopian liberal, Ira Magaziner, who later faced contempt-of-court perjury charges in an affidavit where he falsely claimed to Congress that “only federal employees served as members of the interdepartmental working group.” Nothing ever became of his perjury charges as I recall. As a teenager, Magaziner volunteered as a “labor organizer” at a summer camp and while a student at Brown University he was elected class president all four years. His valedictory speech was loaded with all the trendy left-wing pontifications of the day. While crafting a health care agenda for Rhode Island, he followed nurses around with a stopwatch, logging how much time was spent on paperwork.
He was a busy guy. Along with Hillary Clinton, David Rockefeller, Oregon’s own change agent, 1989-1990 House speaker Vera Katz (later Portland Mayor), under the auspices of the self-appointed National Center for Education and Economy/Carnegie foundations developed what came to be known as mastery learning/Outcome Based Education (OBE) and the restructuring of education. It wasn’t long after Oregon introduced the misnamed education-reform legislation that Ira Magaziner flew to Oregon and said, “All eyes are on Oregon. You are leading the way to education reform in this country.” Like Hillary’s health care plan, it fizzled. A decade later and after another generation of children being used as guinea pigs to promote the Marxist agenda, some legislators claimed it had no educational value and had been very expensive to try to implement. And then President George W. Bush had his “No Child Left Behind” program and now it’s “A race to the top” which will result in a race to the bottom. One teacher said 50% of the incentive money being fed into school districts by Barack Obama would go towards administration of the program. This means more job patronage.
In 1993, Magaziner was spearheading the drive for a national computerized ID card that seems to be very much alive. On February 12, 2005 Congressman Ron Paul (R-Tx) spoke to his colleagues about his opposition to HR 418: A National ID Bill masquerading as Immigration Reform called the REAL ID ACT which he claimed would not make us more secure. The REAL ID ACT establishes a national ID card by mandating that states include certain minimum identification standards on driver’s licenses. It contains no limits on the government’s power to impose additional standards. Indeed, says Paul, it gives authority to the Secretary of Homeland Security to unilaterally add requirements as he sees fit.
And then there was the National Commission on the Skills of American (planned) Workforce where we find Vera Katz was also a member working with Ira Magaziner. He wrote a book Minding America’s Business. In conclusion, Magaziner remains a social planner with an unbounded faith in the grandiose systems he designs. I haven’t seen Ira Magaziner’s picture or name on Glenn Beck’s blackboard yet. Maybe Glenn’s staff will check this “progressive” out.
In his 2005 book, Condi v. Hillary, Dick Morris writes that President Bill Clinton wanted to appoint his wife, Hillary to a cabinet post; however, an anti-nepotism law passed after JFK appointed his brother, Bobby attorney general prevented such an appointment. Hillary’s consummate desire to serve as co-president and because she had lots of blackmail power over Bill, he appointed her to head a specific issue which, of course, resulted in health care reform failure. Morris writes Hillary tried to do too much, too fast and moved to expand government’s role when people wanted it to shrink. Again, fast forward to 2009-2010. Does that sound familiar? Morris said Hillary became committed to the almost Marxist notion that you couldn’t change one part of the health care without changing the entire system. It was about then that polls showed Hillary was hurting Bill’s performance and she no longer dominated White House strategy sessions. Now it was Bill’s job.
The article continues to say Hillary Rodham Clinton, in a tribute to task force workers in the spring of 1993, likened their labors to the “planning for the Normandy invasion.” She extolled their sacrifices and the “all nighters” they pulled in the Old Executive Office Building. Once again we see the Democrats relying on unelected, unaccountable highly paid consultants to think for them as they met in secrecy. Remember how current House Speaker Pelosi pulled an “all nighter” on Christmas Eve 2009 on her health care plan?
Another of Oregon’s infamous elected officials, Senator Bob Packwood at the time Senate Finance Committee Chairman, said in a Washington Post article dated February 28, 1995 was suggesting Medicare cuts. He said the growth rate would have to be reduced by $400 billion and admitted such a move was likely to generate a tremendous fight in Congress and would be the most drastic spending curb in the programs’ 30-year history. At the time, Medicare and Medicaid accounted for about $300 billion yearly in federal spending and each year it was growing at an annual rate of ten percent. There was talk about Medicare being revamped so that well-to-do seniors could assume higher premiums and pay more for services and payments to doctors and hospitals could be slashed and the program totally reorganized to shift more people into health maintenance organizations. These HMOs came to pass but health costs continued to rise.
May 6, 1995 an Associated Press article is entitled: GOP Plan Takes Aim at Medicare. Leaders’ long-promised plan for balancing the budget would rely on slowing the growth of Medicare and Medicaid, eliminating three Cabinet-level agencies and closing numerous tax loopholes. By the year 2002 Republican Jim Bunning of Kentucky promised a zero on the deficit. At that time the GOP seemed committed to eliminating long-running federal deficits but were a little vague on how to achieve the necessary savings. Chief areas of uncertainty included Medicare, agriculture and the treatment of federal employees. “Support for passing a balanced budget … is overwhelming,” said House Speaker Newt Gingrich, (R-Ga), Gingrich and other GOP leaders said savings from Medicare, the health insurance program for the elderly, would be a key part of their plan for eliminating the deficit. Medicare had become the center of the budget battleground, with the Republicans arguing that they are trying to save a program that will otherwise go broke, and Democrats once again accusing Republicans for wanting to cut the program to pay for tax cuts for the affluent. Fast forward to 2009-2010 – same song, second verse. The GOP was estimating a savings of $280 billion over seven years but House Budget Committee Chairman John Kasich, R-Ohio, said President Clinton’s budget was “punting” on Medicare and Gingrich repeatedly called on the White House to produce plans of its own for rescuing Medicare but instead of cooperating with the GOP, Clinton was constantly searching for campaign issues. Wow, does that sound familiar? Gingrich today is a frequent guest on FOX. Why haven’t I heard Gingrich bring up this subject?
And then on May 12, 1995 the Washington Post headline read: Republicans and Democrats debate how to slow Medicare. Republicans insisted that their budget proposal would cure the federal health care program for the elderly by letting it continue to grow but more slowly than it would otherwise.
Democrats countered that the GOP Plan would do great harm to the cherished program by drastically shrinking it. “You can’t make cuts of that order and not hurt people,” said Senate Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle, (D-S.D) The article reported the solutions were vague – is Medicare being cut or not. The article concluded that the Medicare trust fund that pays for hospital bills is expected to go bankrupt by the year 2002, the result of annual increase in Medicare spending of more than 10 percent a year. Medicare costs had been driven up by a combination of factors, including the rising number of elderly and the increase in health care costs generally. But a significant portion of the rise is due to the fact that the nation’s elderly are getting more health treatment. I’ve seen President Reagan’s appointment, former Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop on a TV health care ad explaining about all the “Procedures” he’s had the privilege of having under his government health care plan. He’s now in his 90s and he sounds as though he’s become the bionic man.
The Washington Post article said finding a politically painless way to rein in this spending is proving to be enormously difficult because many Americans view Medicare with a sense of entitlement because Medicare is financed in part by a payroll tax, giving the program an image close to that of Social Security – a benefit that many Americans think they have earned.
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Enter President George W. Bush and his Prescription Drug benefit program into a system that was already bankrupt. Former contributor to News With Views, Alan Stang, who died of prostate cancer on July 19, 2009 wrote in July 2008 that government statistics proved that medical costs exploded only after the introduction of Medicare with Democrat president Lyndon B. Johnson in the White House. We also got Medicaid under his presidency. Stang added, “Typically the government created a “crisis,” and then started screaming about the need for a “solution.” And now the blame begins. Democrats blaming each other for the failure to reform health care.
© 2010 Betty Freauf - All Rights Reserved