Thursday, January 6, 2011

The New Congress Has Come to Town

A newly elected Republican Congressman from Illinois, Joe Walsh has said he will refuse the "Government Subsidized Healthcare" offered to elected officials and will live in his office.  Does the Housing code of the District of Columbia permit offices to be used as living quarters?  He will earn over $170,000 -- shouldn't he be able to find a room somewhere in the city?   He says he was elected to come to Washington to fight "Obamacare."  Additionally, Dr. Andy Harris of Maryland, a newly elected Republican Congressman protested because he was not eligible for the Federal Health Plan until he was actually sworn in and would have to pay for his family's transitional coverage.  Don't you think he could probably afford the premiums himself, as he was a practicing anesthesiologist?  (Alright -- he does have five children, but really!)  He apparently has completed his staff appointments with former staffers for recently defeated former Governor Ehrlich and members of Maryland's small tea party unit, according to an article in the Baltimore Sun.

One can just about tell the party of a speaker by this phrase ("Obamacare") -- for most of America it is known as the Affordable Health Care Act (ACA).  Daily I hear of parents applauding the extensions for their 20-something children to be covered after college when necessary.  More provisions are coming on-line now including one that requires health care plans to spend 80% of their revenues on delivering health care.  As a healthcare professional, that is one provision I can applaud.  Perhaps now we will have fewer healthcare executives with $25 million dollar salaries and 100 million in golden parachutes coming from the premiums paid by hard working Americans.  Maybe now we will have fewer health plans being able to focus more efforts on denying care than providing it. 

The newly empowered House Republicans are posturing about reducing the debt, freezing the debt ceiling, and putting the government into default.  Can they really be serious?  Do they really know what they are talking about?  The United States is not Greece or Turkey and cannot be perceived as a country on the verge of economic collapse.  We have a gingerly expanding economy, Wall Street has seen gains lately, sales were up significantly in the recent holiday season and yes, we do owe a lot of money to international lenders.  So are we actually in a high-stakes poker game, trying to see which side will blink first and allow the middle class to eventually pay the price?  With luck, the Obama administration will let these posers self-destruct, call their bluff and not join in this game.  The Congress must act responsibly, regardless of party and increase the debt ceiling in March when it is again up for review.  The experienced members are saying that they know that this needs to be done, even as they are looking for areas to cut.  We may well see an early split in the GOP members -- the established party vs. the Tea Party members.  Even Congressman Boehner has said he knows that the debt ceiling needs to be raised, but he is not happy about it.  Maybe they will get serious and actually cut some of the earmarks which were proposed.  Perhaps this issue will sober up some of the more serious members, who were partying on their perception of power, not the reality of legislation.

What ever the 112th Congress will do is yet to be seen, but it appears that it might not be a model of clarity or consistency!

What are your expectations?  Share them here.

1 comment:

  1. It just galls me that the new House members will waste a bunch of time debating and trying to pass legislation to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act. They know darn well that the Senate won't pass it, and even if it got through the Senate, the President will veto it and they haven't enough votes to override. What a friggin' waste of time.

    Let 'em spend hours reading the U.S. Constitution aloud. I hope they learn from that experience, but alas, I fear they will not. Rich Madaleno pointed out this article in Slate, which says it all....

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