Saturday, July 7, 2012

A scary trip inside the minds of Republican Congressmen


On July 5th, the brilliant Michele Bachmann tweeted Republicans introduced hundreds of bills that would reduce health care costs, unlike #Obamacare.  She included a link to a list of 219 Health Care Bills proposed by the Republican Study Committee.  The problem with Bachmann’s tweet is most of the bills on the list had nothing to do with reducing healthcare costs (shocking, right?). In fact while some called for government action on significant health and wellness issues, many were thinly veiled or overt evangelical-driven policy pronouncements. 

The list included a handful of measures directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish programs to study Down syndrome, autism, hypertension, and prostate cancer.  Noble and progressive ideas but hardly what I call healthcare costs reducing.   Dozens of bills address the needs of veterans and their families.  Once again very noble and progressive, but for every dollar spent on veterans affairs is a dollar not spent on active troops and weapons.  If I can figure that out, I am sure those brilliant Republican Congressmen and Congresswomen did too.  Right?

But I save this space for the truly ridiculous bills (italics are my words) 

·         Rep. Paul Brown (R-GA) – H.R. 212: Sanctity of Human Life Act. The bill declares that the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human and is the person’s paramount and most fundamental right; each human life begins with fertilization, cloning, or its functional equivalent, at which time every human has all legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood; and Congress, each state, the District of Columbia, and all U.S. territories have the authority to protect all human lives. By denying healthcare to millions?

·         Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) – H.R. 217: Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act.  This bill prohibits the federal government from funding family planning grants to any provider that performs abortions.  Psst already have it, it’s called the Hyde Amendment.

·         Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) – H.R. 314: The Medical Liability Procedural Reform Act of 2011.  The bill provides grants to several states for the development, implementation, and evaluation of health care tribunals.  A health care tribunal is a trial court or administrative tribunal whose sole function is to adjudicate disputes over injuries allegedly caused by health care providers. More bureaucracy to protect defendants and limit plaintiffs because juries cannot be trusted.

·          Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA): H.R. 358: The Protect Life Act: This legislation prohibits funding for abortion and abortion coverage under Obamacare.  See Above.

·         Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) – H.R. 374: Life at Conception Act.  This legislation declares that life begins at conception and the right to life is guaranteed by the Constitution.  Get him a copy of Roe v. Wade.

·         Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX) – H.R. 593: Taxpayer Conscience Protection Act of 2011.  This bill requires states to publish and report to the Secretary of Health and Human Services how Medicaid dollars are being used at abortion providers.  Sounds like big government to me.

·         Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) – H.R. 663: Save Our States Act.  This bills delays the implementation of Obamacare until the Supreme Court of the United States determines the constituionality of the individual mandate.  Don’t you love the title?  Well it did and you lost.

·         Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA)- H.R. 1010: This bill directs the Supreme Court to expedite its consideration of the legal actions challenging the unconstitutionality of Obamacare.  It did.  You lost.

·         Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) – H.R. 1185: Constitutional Protection Act of 2011: This bill delays the implementation of Obamacare until after the issue of constitutionality has been settled in the courts.  When he wasn’t on his Eric Holder witch hunt Issa had time to pay someone to right this.  Well it did and you lost.

·         Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) – H.R. 816 Provider Shield Act of 2011. This bill prevents Obamacare form establishing health care provider standards of care in medical malpractice or medical product liability cases.  Yeah because the industry is so good at self-regulating.

·         Rep. Michael C. Burgess (R-TX) – H.R. 896: Medical Justice Act of 2011: This bill would reform the medical justice system to curb frivolous lawsuits against doctors and providers.  Medical malpractice costs amount to ~2-3% of total healthcare costs.

·         Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) – H.R. 1179: respect for Rights of Conscience Act of 2011.  The bill amends Obamacare to allow healthcare plans and their providers the right to not cover and provide service for drugs or treatment that violates their moral or religious views.  Who decides what is moral?

·         Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) – H.R. 2092.  This bill repeals the Obamacare’s 10% excise tax on indoor tanning services.  Hmmm someone has a crush on Snookie.

·         Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN) – H.R. 2737: Katlynn Noggle Federal Life Insurance Equity Act.  This bill ensures that stillborn children can be covered under life insurance. This one is a little macabre.

·         Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL) – H.R. 2874: Abstinence Education Reallocation Act of 2011. Thi sbill directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to provide competitive grants to both private and public entities for sexual risk avoidance education for students and parents.  Programs focused on students aged 12-19 are given a priority and are based on specific criteria such as teaching the benefits of abstinence and waiting until marriage.  More small government?

·         Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) – H.R. 3130: Heartbeat Informed Consent Act. This bill requires abortion providers to perform an ultrasound on a woman seeking an abortion before consenting to having the abortion.  I didn’t realize unnecessary medical procedures were sources for cost savings.

And my favorite:

·         Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) – H.R. 3541: Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act of 2011. This bill prohibits sex-selection abortion and race-selection abortion and ensures the mother isn’t coerced into such a decision.  Didn’t realize we were living in China.

So while millions of Americans are without jobs, these Republicans spent their time drafting, debating, and voting on hundreds of partisan bills, many of which represent the greatest intrusion into private lives.  Despite a few well meaning bills, this is sad, funny, and despicable.  A failure of leadership and a failure elected officials to serves their constituents. 

On the plus side.  I love Michele Bachmann for providing me this nifty list.

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