Monday, December 27, 2010

Kathleen Sebelius's Power; Medicare Ruling for Yearly Advanced Planning for Death; Full Reading of Constitution on Floor of House; Legislation to Secure Our Borders

Powerline Blog points out: As Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius is giving us a preview of coming attractions. Jeffrey Anderson explains:
Not satisfied with the colossal amounts of power that she would acquire under Obamacare if it isn't repealed, Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary Kathleen Sebelius has issued a 136-page "rule" that will now give her (and her subordinates) largely unchecked power to pass judgment on the prices of health insurance throughout the United States. Notwithstanding the fact that 43 states already regulate and approve health insurance premiums, Sebelius claims that we need an additional, more centralized, protection against insurers' unseemly "profit motive." But a far greater threat to the future of American republicanism is posed by the impulse that animates Sebelius and the bulk of the Obama administration: the power motive. It's staggering that one person would think that she should ultimately get to decide what a product, which Obamacare would soon require all Americans to purchase, should cost. Moreover, the Wall Street Journal writes that Sebelius's "rule" marks "an effort to end-run Congress, which by some miracle declined to give HHS the formal legal authority to explicitly block premium increases, despite a direct appeal from President Obama." Not having been granted that formal power, "Ms. Sebelius is creating by regulatory fiat larger de facto powers to achieve the same end."
The linked Wall Street Journal editorial concludes: "Politicized rate-setting is the new reality of the U.S. health insurance market, not that consumers will in any way benefit."
Newsmax reveals: On December 3rd, the Obama administration seemingly flouted the will of Congress by issuing a new Medicare regulation detailing -- "voluntary advance care planning" that is to be included during patients' annual checkups. The regulation aimed at the aged "may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment," The New York Times reported.
The new provision goes into effect Jan. 1, 2011 and allows Medicare to pay for voluntary counseling to help beneficiaries deal with the complex and decisions families face when a loved one is approaching death. Critics say it is another attempt to limit healthcare options for the elderly as they face serious illness.

Incoming House Speaker John Boehner said during the healthcare debate that, “This provision may start us down a treacherous path toward government-encouraged euthanasia.”
Specifically, the measure was known as Section 1233 of the bill passed by the House in November 2009. It was not included in the final legislation, however. It allowed Medicare to pay for consultations about advance care planning every five years. In contrast, the new rule allows annual discussions as part of the wellness visit.
Read more:  Obama Embraces 'Death Panel' Concept in Medicare Rule  [This is just one more example of Obama's new way to govern withouth being restrained by our Constitution and by Congress: his Czara and Departments will make the laws, whether we like it our not.  Watch for more.]
The Washington Times writes: The Constitution frequently gets lip service in Congress, but House Republicans next year will make sure it gets a lot more than that - the new rules the incoming majority party proposed this week call for a full reading of the country's founding document on the floor of the House on Jan. 6.
The goal, backers said, is to underscore the limited-government rules the Founders imposed on Congress - and to try to bring some of those principles back into everyday legislating.  [One wonders if this will inspire Congress to undo the work of the EPA, The Sec't of Health and Human Services, the Department of the Interior and the President's Executive Orders, etc.]
The LA Times writes: When Republican lawmakers take over the House and gain strength in the Senate after the new year, a decadelong drive to overhaul the immigration system and legalize some of the estimated 11 million undocumented migrants seems all but certain to come to a halt. When New York Republican Peter T. King takes over the House Homeland Security Committee in January, he plans to propose legislation to reverse what he calls an "obvious lack of urgency" by the Obama administration to secure the border. 
As his first order of business, Smith plans to hold hearings about workplace enforcement and expanding the employee identification program, E-Verify, which is set to expire in 2012.,0,1495981.story
The Hill writes: President Obama will spend more time outside of Washington, D.C. next year engaging with the public, according to a top White House adviser and close friend of the president. One year before Obama faces reelection, he is expected to make a greater effort to connect with potential voters after facing charges being too aloof during his first two years in the Oval Office. The president's "biggest regret" was that because of economic turmoil, "He had to spend almost every waking hour in Washington working on solving that crisis," senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said. [I am laughing out loud!  Here is a President who knows only  how to run a campaign for his reelection - who took around 8 vacations- denigrated and made fun of the great mass of conservative Americans- wanting to spend more time with Americans. This ought to be good.  Oh - that's right!  He won't be spending his time with the "unwashed masses", most likely.]
The Washington Examiner writes: Who's doing the most to hobble the productive power of the U.S. economy, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson or Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar? President Obama's top two Cabinet appointees on environmental issues are running neck and neck in their race to see who can issue the most job-killing, growth-suffocating bureaucratic edicts. Regardless of who "wins" their contest, of course, the losers will be the rest of us. We will have to endure long-term double-digit unemployment, skyrocketing energy and utility costs, and the loss of individual freedom that inevitably accompanies the growth of government regulation. 

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