At almost 80 years old, Thomas Jefferson foresaw the corruption of a federal government with too much power, when he wrote to William T. Barry in 1822, just a few years before his death: “If ever this vast country is brought under a single government, it will be one of the most extensive corruption[s], indifferent and incapable of wholesome care over so wide of spread of surface.” “Wholesome care” like health care?
I waited until after the New Year to write this column because Washington was hoping its Christmas corruption would evade the majority of holiday revelers or become old news to even political junkies and pundits who are now moving onto new issues. (This White House astutely understands and utilizes news cycles and calendars far better than any preceding presidencies.)
While you were with family and friends enjoying the holiday festivities, Congress and the president passed a $1 trillion omnibus bill with more than 5,000 earmarks (and covertly also loaded with far-left anti-family underpinnings). (Mr. Obama, what happened to your promise to eliminate all earmarks?)
The U.S. Senate also passed an $871 billion health care reform bill on Christmas Eve through shady, sweetheart backdoor deals. While you were cutting your Christmas spending because of the recession, Congress charged you and your children’s national credit card with another $2 trillion plus.
For those who missed the bloated bureaucratic holiday news, President Obama exclaimed that congressional Democrats “scored a big victory for the American people,” but, in fact, it was actually our senators who scored big time through political and personal payoffs. Even the New York Times blew a trumpet about them.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid passed out Christmas bonuses, what I call perpetual pork, gifts that keep on giving, unlike those familiar single hits at the public trough. He initiated a new frontier in pork-barrel politics. His corrupt and creative diversions included giving out Medicaid and Medicare credits like another round of pork projects. In 383 pages of changes to the 2,076 page Senate bill HR. 3590, there are dozens of these types of pork rind provisions for senators.
This health-care pork round all started with Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who bragged about receiving a $300 million increase in Medicaid funding for her state (what some are calling the second Louisiana Purchase), which turned out to be only $100 million. (Isn’t that a relief?)
Then there was the now infamous Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., who gained his 15 minutes of yuletide fame when he sold out his critical 60th vote to pass Obamacare by accepting a governmental bribe that covers Nebraska’s Medicare expansion costs to the tune of $100 million over the next 10 years.
With Obama having told the AARP back on July 28 that he considered Medicare Advantage an example of “wasteful spending,” you could bet Obamacare would reflect his commentary. And in a statement released after the Senate health-care bill passed on Dec. 24, Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., confessed his sweetheart deal made behind closed doors: “I was able to pass an amendment to the bill that excluded some 800,000 policyholders all across Florida from cuts to Medicare Advantage.”
But wait there’s more – much more.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., finagled $600 million in additional Medicaid benefits for his state over 10 years.
Sens. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., and Kent Conrad, D-N.D., secured additional Medicare payments for their rural hospitals
Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, chairman of the Senate health committee, openly confessed “I fully admit that I was part of it. I put something in the bill that was particular to the state of Iowa. Yes I did,” referring to the increase in Medicare payments to eight medium-sized hospitals in his state.
Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., chairman of the Finance Committee and a primary architect of the legislation, secured extra Medicare benefits for select Montana residents.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., was opposed to backing the bill until Reid agreed to a $10 billion increase in support for community health centers.
The Manager’s Amendment singles out Sens. Daniel Akaka’s, D-Hawaii, and Daniel Inouye’s, D-Hawaii, home state of Hawaii as the only state to receive a Disproportionate Share Hospital, or DSH, extension.
Hospitals in Sen. Joseph Lieberman’s home state of Connecticut, like Carl Levin’s, D-Mich., and Debbie Stabenow’s, D-Mich., state of Michigan, have the option to benefit under provisions if it means higher payments.
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., among senators in other states, won deals for more generous federal payments under the Medicaid program.
At the last minute, Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., inserted a $100 million kickback in the bill to construct a new hospital for the University of Connecticut.
And Sen. Roland Burris, D-Ill., won the super-loser award for claiming credit for the provision in the Reid bill that could eventually provide federal funds again for ACORN!
Another huge beneficiary of the Senate health care bill’s monetary benefits are some insurance companies (just when you thought our government was protecting us from those big bad corporate monopolies). A proposal was initially made by Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., to exempt non-profit insurance companies from the Senate bill’s $6 billion annual excise tax on insurers. Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., (remember the cornhusker kickback?) then sealed that sweetheart deal in a way that only Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company and Blue Cross Blue Shield nonprofit plans in Nebraska and Michigan qualified. By the way, nonprofit insurers in Sen. Levin’s home state of Michigan control 76 percent of industry profits. Incidentally, the industry spent $635 million lobbying during the last two years, obtaining a host of concessions at taxpayer expense.
And to secure its shady deals so that no one (and I mean no one) can avert its actions, Congress has inserted one of the most unconstitutional sections I’ve ever read in a piece of legislation: Section 3403 of Reid’s amendment on Page 1,020 reads, “It shall not be in order in the Senate or the House of Representatives to consider any bill, resolution, amendment or conference report that would repeal or otherwise change this subsection.”
Of course, Harry Reid merely labeled these backdoor deals as “the art of compromise,” but we all know it better as “the art of corruption.” He said what they’ve done with the Senate health-care bill is “no different than other pieces of legislation.” I agree with him – that’s the problem!
Even David Axelrod, senior adviser to President Obama, minimized the corruption in these senatorial sweetheart deals by saying, “That’s the way it has been. That’s the way it will always be.” Do you share his pessimism? Is that the government you want for your children and grandchildren?
And these are the politicians in whose hands you are trusting your and your loved ones’ future health care?
Most important is the question Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, posed to his colleagues, “Who will pay for these special deals?” “The answer is simple – every other state in the union.”
It’s no surprise that congressional Democrats have mounting opponents even in their own camp, two of the newest opponents are governors from the bluest states in the union, Arnold Schwarzenegger, a moderate Republican, and David Paterson, a liberal Democrat, who oppose the Senate’s health-care reform bill because they believe the new Medicaid mandates will lead to the financial ruin of California and New York.
And all the costs haven’t even been calculated yet, because the bribery isn’t over. The House and Senate leaders will now hold private negotiations this month to merge the Senate’s $871 billion and the House’s $1 trillion health-care bills. And you don’t think that some bribery babble has already been occurring in the closets and corridors of Congress? (So much for that C-Span coverage of closed clandestine conferences that President Obama promised during his presidential campaign.)
After observing the Senate’s health-care debate and already receiving some legislative offers to favor Obamacare, Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., had a word for the White House and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi: “This shouldn’t be a bill where you use hush money. This isn’t an appropriations bill where you try to get the best projects for your state. … You don’t buy me off.”
Rep. Stupak, don’t think they don’t have your number, literally. But will you, like other House members, play the “Price is Right,” too?
The fact is that the average American citizen would be thrown in jail for embezzlement and dirty laundering if they were to conduct their business as Congress does our country. In fact, David Williams, from the nonpartisan, nonprofit group Citizens Against Government Waste, hit the nail on the head, when he said, “We have former members of Congress in jail and a lobbyist in jail for this sort of behavior. People are really fed up with it.”
I’m reminded again of the sentiments of Thomas Jefferson, when he wrote, “[I]t was a cause of just uneasiness, when we saw a legislature legislating for their own interests, in opposition to those of the people.”
Senate, rather than seeking your own needs, why not seek the needs of those who voted you into office? Most Americans know that only 20 percent of our health-care system is broken, so why not focus your attention on fixing the 20 percent and leave the 80 percent that’s working alone? (Of course, that means you won’t get your earmarks. Waah!)
Tired yet of the congressional charade and the bogus beneficiaries of health care? I’m done –I’ve had enough. They’ve tried to pull a fast one on us for the last time. Those corrupt crime bosses we call congressmen have caused enough damage. Though the Senate vote is over, the bill isn’t law. We might have lost a battle, but the war is still on! So I say we roundhouse them in return. It’s time to push for some serious housecleaning this next election. Obviously, Senate, you’re not taking seriously 10 million pink slips sent to you, when you should be!
In November 2010, all 435 House seats will be open for re-election, and one-third of the Senate seats will be open for re-election as well. The time is now to eject the unconstitutional corrupt congressmen, and it’s time to let them know what’s coming.
I agree with Tea party leaders, who are delivering bold ultimatums to all congressional candidates in 2010: “Pledge to repeal the health-care reform bill in its entirety – or you will be booted from office.”
Congress, you’re waking a sleeping giant, and you’re not going to like the consequences.
(For more on how to reawaken America to God and our founders’ vision for our country, check out Chuck Norris’ new expanded paperback version of his New York Times best-seller, “Black Belt Patriotism.”)