Morning Briefing for August 5, 2009

FOR AUGUST 5, 2009

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1. Call For Informants: If You Oppose Obamacare, Even in ‘Casual Conversation,’ the White House Wants to Know About It

If you see anybody publicly opposing President Obama’s plan to implement a government-centric overhaul of the health care system, the White House wants you to report that person (or persons) ASAP.

From the White House website:

There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to [email protected].

Emphasis added. Of course, as we’ve seen in the health care debate to date, the term “disinformation” is used by the Obama White House as a catchall to describe any opposition to the President’s push for single-payer, government-run health care — meaning the White House wants to be informed of any forwarded emails or blog posts or any “casual conversations” that could be taken as opposition to their health care overhaul plan.

The White House has, as yet, offered no explanation of what it is they plan to do with the tips on policy opposition they hope to receive from citizen informers.

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2. Liberals and the ‘Average Life Expectancy’ Lie

ll any pro-ObamaCare Democrat that socialized healthcare doesn’t work, and you are sure to receive the smug reply that “countries with a single-payer system have a higher life expectancy.” Technically, that’s true. But, as the saying goes, there are “lies, damned lies and statistics.” The lie in this particular set of stats is indeed not in the stats themselves, but in the inference you are asked to draw from them. You are told, for example, that Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom rate higher in life expectancy than the U.S. because of their public healthcare systems.

You’re asked to believe that all this happens in a vaccuum. That the only — or at least largest — factor in life expectancy is the mode and quality of health insurance. But that isn’t the case. The Life Expectancy figure is based upon an average of death ages from any cause; and that includes non-medical causes.

But you are asked to ignore other, non-medical causes of death. Causes like violent crime, household accidents, car accidents, etc. These are numbers which should not be ignored in this discussion; if average age of death is seen as important to the issue of healthcare, certainly the circumstances surrounding those deaths, and whether a single-payer system would actually effect those rates, are equally important.

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3. Democrats’ Proposal to Tax ‘Cadillac’ Health Coverage Will Hit Lower and Middle Classes Hardest

As the Senate Finance Committee takes its health care overhaul negotiations into the August recess, President Obama and key Senate negotiators are still struggling to find a way to afford the flagging health care overhaul proposal’s trillion dollar price tag. Their latest proposal, a new tax on so-called “gold-plated, Cadillac” health insurance policies, is receiving broad support from legislators and administration officials who see it as yet another opportunity to pay for an expansion of government by soaking the “rich” – a perception that is, thanks in large part to existing government policies, incredibly wrong.

The term “Cadillac” has been used for years to refer to health insurance policies that cover an inordinate number of unnecessary treatments and procedures. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), ranking minority member of the Senate Finance Committee and the Republican most closely working with the Democratic majority to pass President Obama’s health overhaul, said negotiators are “taking an intense look at” the proposal as a way of raising revenues to offset the $1 trillion the Finance overhaul bill is expected to cost.

This is being shopped to the public as just another tax on the super-wealthy, with Obama administration officials pointing to the “$40,000-a-year health insurance policies” carried by a handful of top Wall Street executives as examples of such unnecessarily luxurious coverage. However, a tax on “Cadillac” health insurance policies would end up disproportionately affecting middle- and lower-income Americans across the board, as well as the entire insured populations of several states.

The reason for this is the profusion of mandatory minimum coverages state governments require to be included in health insurance policies sold within their states’ borders. This results in residents being forced into uniformly high-priced, coverage-heavy “Cadillac” insurance policies as a result of state law, not their own choice.

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4. Uncut Video of President Obama’s Emphatic Support of a Single Payer System

According to the White House, the video shot in 2003 that you are about to watch gives a “very false impression.”

It sure is easy to get this “very false impression” when you take the President at his word.

Or when President Obama over-ruled his Chief of Staff to support MoveOn.org’s push for a public plan option in the House and Senate health reform bills, and when his campaign organization and the DNC ran television ads against his own Democratic Congressmen to push them into supporting his plan.

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5. Liz Cheney: “We have grave concerns about the path they’ve put us on.”

It has become somewhat fashionable today to talk about conservatives and conservatism as a movement in peril. In some quarters, we’re said to be near death. I am here today to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth. All across the country, Americans are standing up to be heard at meetings like this, at tea parties, on blogs, at town hall meetings, and we see it in the polls — the message to the Obama Administration is clear — we have grave concerns about the path they’ve put us on.

As we meet today, six months into President Obama’s Administration, we have learned much. We have learned that President Obama will not govern from the center, that he does not believe in American exceptionalism, that he thinks there is a moral equivalence between America and our adversaries, that he wants to expand the federal government until it permeates every corner of this land, and every aspect of your life, that he will raise everyone’s taxes, and that he thinks bureaucrats should choose our doctors, prescribe our medical care, and ration it if need be. At his last press conference, we also learned that he doesn’t have much faith in policemen or pediatricians. This is not change we can believe in. It’s not the change the American people voted for.

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6. On Sotomayor, Senate Republicans Should Follow John McCain

In the coming days, the Senate will debate the nomination of Judge Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court, culminating in a vote later this week. It appears that a majority of Republicans will oppose her nomination, but in doing so, they must have a consistent message explaining why. Interestingly, they need look no further than John McCain.

Yesterday, in announcing his intention to vote against the confirmation of Judge Sotomayor, the Senator outlined – as clearly and succinctly as anyone has – the conservative rationale for opposing her. His entire statement can be found here, but it is summed up nicely in his closing paragraph:

“Judicial activism demonstrates a lack of respect for the popular will that is at fundamental odds with our republican system of government. And, as I stated earlier, regardless of one’s success in academics and in government service, an individual who does not appreciate the common sense limitations on judicial power in our democratic system of government ultimately lacks a key qualification for a lifetime appointment to the bench. For this reason, and no other, I am unable to support Judge Sotomayor’s nomination.”

THAT is the argument.

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