Glen Meakem on Health Care Reform

Member Group : Glen Meakem

October 17-18 – Healthcare Destruction

I began this past weekend’s show, by commenting on the "Baucus" Healthcare Bill that was passed out of the Senate Finance Committee last week. This so-called moderate bill is so destructive that even Senator Joseph Liebermann (DI-Conn) said that he cannot support it. Since the Baucus bill is not even a proper bill-just a collection of ideas and conceptual language-it has been difficult to determine just how much it will cost the American people. What we do know is that it cuts $500 billion in Medicaid, Medicare, and Medicare Advantage benefits; it fines people with an individual tax who do not join a government approved plan; it levies huge new taxes on insurance companies; and it taxes people with "Cadillac" health plans. The bottom line is that this bill limits our individual freedoms, expands the role of government in our daily lives, reduces the quality and amount of care available to us, and dramatically increases our current healthcare costs. Karen Ignagni, President of America’s Health Insurance Plans and a life-long Democrat commissioned a study recently released by Pricewaterhouse Coopers. This study found that if the Baucus "bill" becomes law, healthcare premiums would increase by an additional $4,000 a year for family coverage and $1,500 a year for single coverage on top of the estimated cost increases that will already occur under current healthcare legislation. As bad as this bill is, an even worse bill is likely to hit the Senate floor for debate. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said that the final "bill will be written behind closed doors here in the Capital and will be another 1,000-page, trillion-dollar, Washington takeover. We know it will slash a half-trillion dollars from seniors’ Medicare, add new taxes and raise premiums." Knowing that a clear majority of Americans now oppose this approach to healthcare reform, the Democratic Party Senate leadership is preparing to use reconciliation-also known as the "nuclear option"-to end debate and pass ObamaCare with a simple majority vote of the Senate.

I also continue my discussion from last week on the Pennsylvania State budget. I am glad that the Republican controlled Senate stood their ground for more than 100 days against Democratic Governor Ed Rendell’s tax, borrow, and spend policies. I wish they would have stood their ground for 200 days or more. The good news is that Republicans were able to kill several of Governor Rendell’s tax increase proposals, including a 16% income tax hike. The bad news is that some of the tax increases remain, including an increase in the Capital Stock and Franchise tax – our state government moved rates back up to pre-2009 levels and suspended the planned phase out. The new budget also allows for $1.7 billion in destructive borrowing (this is a $500 million increase over last year), and retains irresponsible levels of spending, including funding for ACORN and corporate welfare programs.

Tim Hayes, of Tim Hayes consulting joined me in the studio to discuss some political "truths" that have endured for many years. Tim says that, "1961 was a year of great truth-telling in America, from two of the most famous politicians of the 20th century-Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy." It is interesting to note that both Reagan and Kennedy spoke of similar basic truths behind the greatness of this nation in some of their most famous speeches. Tim illustrates his point by drawing on a Ronald Reagan speech opposing socialized medicine, and John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address. Even though these two politicians lived very different personal lives and approached politics from opposing sides of the political spectrum, each recognized historic truths that fundamentally set the United States apart from the rest of the world. They both believed that our basic human rights come from God not government, and that America truly is an exceptional nation.

Next, I interviewed Judge Joan Orie Melvin who is currently running for the State Supreme Court. This is a very important election because who ever wins will determine the court majority. Joan identifies herself as a strict constructionist. When describing her judicial philosophy, she stated "I believe in judicial restraint. The job of a judge is interpreting the law-not creating it." Joan believes that a judge should never legislate from the bench. This is a conservative, constructionist approach, which is why Joan has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association, the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, numerous law enforcement agencies and the Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce. I also endorse Joan Orie Melvin in this election. I encourage all of you to go to the polls on November 3 and vote for Judge Melvin for State Supreme Court. If we are going to be successful in taking back our future, we must win elections like this! I also strongly encourage you to vote for the other Republican candidates for judge of the various state courts below the Supreme Court. We must go to the polls and support this strong slate of judges.

Finally, I implore President Obama to do the right thing and honor the request of his top generals to immediately send 40,000 additional U.S. Troops to Afghanistan. According to the American Commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, these troops are absolutely essential for securing victory and peace. The fact that President Obama has refused to respond immediately to his top generals is unfortunate and points to his inexperience. It is such a shame that President Obama has never run anything before in his life. He has never made payroll, never run a business, and never commanded a military unit. Unfortunately, his lack of leadership experience shows.

More than twenty years ago, I served as a young officer in the United States Army, and learned many successful military leadership strategies. The U.S. Army textbook on leadership, Field Manual 22-100 states on page 109 that "your subordinates assess your character as they see your day-to-day actions. They learn whether you are open and honest with them… They trust their lives to their military leaders based on their assessment of whether or not the leader has strong character traits, such as courage, candor, competence, and commitment."

It is sad to have to ask these questions, but does our President possess the character traits of a successful leader? Does he inspire confidence? Do his actions reinforce his Presidential authority? Is he the kind of leader we would choose to follow in a crisis?

Unfortunately, the answers to these questions are becoming painfully clear.,
Finally, I will be hosting the Veterans Leadership Program’s annual awards event titled, "2009 Partners in Leadership Awards." This event is a very special, non-partisan celebration of our military and our veterans. I guarantee that you will enjoy and be moved by the show. I encourage you to attend and bring your family and friends to the Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Thursday, October 29th. Children, students and uniformed military personnel all attend for free. Adult admission is $50. The event starts with cocktails and a buffet dinner starting at 5pm with the awards celebration following at 7 pm. Coffee and desert are from 8:15 to 9 pm. This is a great opportunity to meet, talk with and thank current service people and military veterans. It is Pittsburgh’s chance to say "thank you!" Proceeds benefit the VLP of Western Pennsylvania, which provides essential housing, employment, and other vital supportive services to eligible veterans, service members, and their families to improve self-sufficiency, sustainability, and quality of life. Click here for more information.

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