Our Notes From Last Night’s AFP Health Care Call with Reps. Pence and Ryan

3 November 2009

Last night we participated in the conference call conducted by Americans for Prosperity with Congressmen Mike Pence and Paul Ryan. The call lasted one hour and the Congressmen gave participants quite a lot of information about Speaker Pelosi’s health care bill, now pending.

Here are the notes we took during the call. If there are inaccuracies in the details, we apologize: this is what we understood the two men to be saying.

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First, please acquaint yourselves with Americans for Prosperity’s plans for Thursday, 5 November: On November 5th make a ‘Congressional House Call’

The Congressmen gave a rapid over-view of what’s contained in the PelosiCare bill and its implications for our country. Congressman Ryan said the Rules Committee in the House will meet 3 November to go over the bill which had a massive amendment added this past weekend.

The Republican’s alternative plan, outlined by Leader Boehner on Saturday, is going to be unveiled to the House and the media while this amended bill is reviewed over the next three days. The text of Boehner’s address last Saturday can be found here on Common American Journal.

This three day period of reading the amended bill is why the planned protests and rallies on 11/5–the Congressional House Calls–in DC and around the country are so crucial. THE PELOSI BILL GOES TO THE HOUSE FLOOR FOR A VOTE ON FRIDAY OR SATURDAY (11/6 or 11/7). Congressman Ryan thinks the Speaker is about 18 votes short of passage as of 11/2 and he believes the pressure of the 11/5 actions could weaken the resolve of the undecided or reluctant Congressmen who still haven’t committed to the Speaker.

Here are some details of the Pelosi/Obama health care bill:

The bill creates at least $729.5 billion in new taxes and will cost at least $1.2 trillion.

At least 110 million Americans could LOSE their current insurance coverage.

The bill creates or expands at least 43 entitlement programs and 111 bureaucracies.

The word “shall”, which is Congressional language meaning “this is law”, appears 3,425 times in the bill.

Congressman Ryan says this is essentially HR 3200 with an additional 1,000 pages added (Pelosi version is HR 3962, “Affordable Health Care for America Act”). He said this bill WILL CREATE THE LARGEST NEW GOVERNMENT PROGRAM SINCE 1965 (Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society). It will create new entitlements for at least half the country. A series of Medicare cuts are proposed in order to pay for this, which may or may not happen–the government may just borrow to pay. But meanwhile the country is aging and will need even more Medicare. At least two-thirds of those seniors currently on Medicare Advantage will probably lose this plan. AND the plan will create new or increased taxes for most individuals who pay taxes in America.

Ryan said taxes on small businesses will increase by at least 45%. He said this bill means massive, massive deficits and new borrowing by the government.

A single regulator, called a Health Care Choices Commissioner, will be appointed by the President and that person will tell everyone they must buy health care insurance, and from where they must purchase it. At least one-third to one-half of those currently receiving health care insurance through their jobs will lose that insurance.

Ryan believes the bill can be delayed until next year and that this maneuvering can eventually kill the bill. But if it passes MORE PEOPLE WILL BE DEPENDENT UPON THE GOVERNMENT THAN WILL BE CONTRIBUTING TO IT. This, he believes, will put us in the same kind of government structures as we see in Europe, or worse.

Congressman Ryan believes the bill can be defeated if the public rises up because Pelosi does not yet have enough votes. Blue Dog Democrats aren’t all onboard yet and the Speaker still needs about 18 votes as of 11/2.

Members of Congress will not be required to participate in this new system of insurance.

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The Congressmen took some questions from people attending the call. This information is from their replies to those questions:

Health Savings Accounts will not be available after this law is passed. Those who have them currently will still have them for a few more years but then they will be phased out completely.

It will be illegal for anyone to sell health care insurance that is not approved by the government.

On 11/5 at 1 pm the Republicans will begin a marathon Town Hall meeting online at the RNC website. You might check http://www.healthcare.gop.gov closer to the day for details. Leader Boehner’s video from last Saturday is at that site.

Paul Ryan thinks the Senate will HAVE to use Reconciliation, the “nuclear option,” of passing the bill with only 51 votes because Reid does not have Lieberman or Snowe committed to voting ‘yes’ at this time.

Then the conversation turned to the politics of this bill when a few callers said they believed it is already a done deal because no one in Congress is listening to what the American voter wants, that our opinions do not matter:

Congressman Pence said, “Washington DC THRIVES on having the people, or the opposition, think they are not listening, that opponents are not being heard. They very much ARE listening. They do hear what Americans are saying.” But, he said, they are assuming the public has lost interest since things quieted down after the Town Hall meetings and 9/12 March on DC.

Congressman Ryan then offered this: “There is a thing called the ‘inevitability strategy’ used in DC. It is to demoralize you, to make you give up because you think a bill WILL be passed, that this is all inevitable. This inevitability strategy makes groups like the Blue Dog Democrats afraid NOT to vote for the bill because they’ve been convinced it’s going to happen and they don’t want to be seen as not voting for what the public wants.

Ryan said EVERYONE in Washington keep daily tallies of numbers of emails, phone calls, faxes received and which way those communications are leaning.

The Congressmen went on to discuss mandates. They reminded listeners that Candidate Obama was vehemently against mandated insurance, while Clinton and Edwards were both proposing it during the campaigns. Mandates are designed to make private insurance prohibitively expensive so that no one will be able to afford it a few years from now. Insurance companies will virtually be public utilities run by the government after a few years of this bill.

Abortion is going to be taxpayer funded in this bill because it is not explicitly prohibited–a sort of loop hole. We thought we heard that Family Planning facilities are to be included in the Health Care exchange program.

Presently there are 1300 health care insurance companies in the United States–the Republican plan wants to open your access to them whether or not they currently do business in your state. The Pelosi bill will knock out small and mid-sized companies so there will just be a few large companies left. This won’t help competition or price-reductions and will probably push prices higher. Mandates will steer most customers to these large companies or to the government-run plan.

Both Congressmen are on Facebook and urged listeners to visit their pages there.

Mike Pence closed the call by saying we are not alone. If citizens will seize this time and make our voices heard he believes we can turn the tide, not only in this health care reform issue, but in the direction our country is taking. He believes America is still a country that values individual freedom and self-reliance and that we can make a difference by remaining engaged and involved. He said, “Do not despair. A minority in Congress joined by the American people equals a majority.”

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We are listening to Glenn Beck on the radio this morning. He just said he received a note from a Blue Dog Democrat who said, “Don’t count us out.” He is imploring listeners to contact Blue Dogs and “let them know you have their backs” because their reluctance to support these more radical bills demonstrates a split in the Democratic party.

This health care bill, according to Beck (and other sources we’ve studied), will also control the contents of food vending machines and your access to guns.

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