"Courage and Consequence" will be published on March 9, 2010. For those of you interested in giving my book as a Christmas gift, I'm offering a free autographed bookplate to anyone who sends a self-addressed stamped envelope to my office: Karl Rove & Company, P.O. Box 25564, Washington, DC 20027.
On November 24, I brought out the whiteboard on Fox’s “Happening Now” to explain how the Democrats’ proposed health care reform bills would cause insurance premiums to skyrocket. As promised, I’ve posted the links to the reports, studies and statements from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office and other independent groups from where I got my information. If you’re interested in learning more about this issue, read the reports, take a look at the numbers, and decide for yourself!
Congressional Budget Office:
“Those projected premium amounts include the effect of the fees that would be imposed under the proposal on manufacturers and importers of brand name drugs and medical devices, on health insurance providers, and on clinical laboratories. Those fees would increase costs for affected firms, which would be passed on to purchasers and ultimately would raise insurance fees by a corresponding amount.”—CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf, “CBO’s Analysis of Premiums Under The Chairman’s Mark of the America’s Healthy Future Act,” CBO Blog, September 23 2009, http://bit.ly/8cqM94
“The gross cost of the coverage expansions, consisting of exchange subsidies, the net costs of expanded eligibility for Medicaid, and tax credits for employers: Those provisions have an estimated cost of $180 billion in 2019, and that cost is growing at about 8 percent per year toward the end of the 10-year budget window.”—CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf Letter to Senator Baucus, October 7, 2009, page 10, http://bit.ly/5r9vP
The CBO released data showing that premiums for a family’s health insurance plan will increase 28 percent under the Reid bill—from $11,000 to $14,100 per family. That is a $3,100 increase per family. The CBO explains that for the second-lowest benefit plan, called “silver,” premiums would be $5,200 for singles and $14,100 for families in 2016, when the policy is fully phased in. CBO also provides a table with the premiums people would pay in the exchange at different income levels, given the premium tax credits. The report shows that even after spending $2.5 trillion, the Reid bill still could leave middle class families with major health care costs. CBO writes that, “A family of four with income of about $54,000 (also 225 percent of the FPL in 2016) could expect to pay about 17% of its income for premiums and cost sharing for the reference plan.”—CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf Letter to Senator Reid, November 20, 2009, http://bit.ly/5bae94
Hay Group, “Impact Of Proposed Senate Finance Committee Health Care Reform Bill On the Nongroup Market,” October 5, 2009, http://bit.ly/5hULMO
PricewaterhouseCoopers, “Potential Impact of Health Reform on the Cost of Private Health Insurance Coverage,” October 11, 2009, http://bit.ly/4wN9cO
Wellpoint, “Health Care Reform Premium Impact in Ohio,” 2009, http://bit.ly/7UyLT1
Oliver Wyman, “Insurance Reforms Must Include A Strong Individual Mandate And Other Key Provisions To Ensure Affordability,” October 14, 2009, http://bit.ly/8LdIIv
While discussing the health care debate with Governor Howard Dean at the Penn State Distinguished Speaker Series, I made the point that the public option will undoubtedly have the same results as Medicare, which denies reimbursement claims at almost twice the rate of private insurers. Governor Dean insinuated that I was a liar and accused me of “making up” this fact and continued to argue that government-run insurance was the only way to improve our health care system.
At the debate, I promised to continue the discussion and back up my position in today's Wall Street Journal column. I've done so and have provided citations so you can make an informed decision about who had their facts straight and who didn’t. In the op-ed I also analyze the perils of the Pelosi Public Option and how Tuesday’s elections should be an ominous sign for Democrats who continue to support it.
In an effort to stick to the facts, I've posted the source of my claim, American Medical Association’s "2008 National Health Insurer Report Card." I would direct your attention to Metric 12 on page five, which breaks down the “percentages of claim lines denied.” As you will find, Medicare denied the highest number of claims, or 6.85% of total claims filed in 2008, while private insurers in the group denied almost half the amount, or an average of 3.89% of total claims filed.
On October 27, Governor Howard Dean and I debated at the Penn State Distinguished Speaker Series in State College, PA. During the debate, Governor Dean denied that President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore ever supported investing a percentage of Social Security tax revenues into the stock market, while I said the Clinton-Gore Administration did. Governor Dean suggested I was misleading the audience.
In response to Governor Dean's flawed argument and to set the record straight, I've posted the transcript of President Bill Clinton's 1999 State of the Union speech where he unveiled his Social Security reform plan as a "historic decision to invest the surplus to save Social Security" that would invest about 14.6% of the Social Security Trust Fund in the stock market. I’ve also listed several links to articles and official documents from 1999-2000 that discussed this Clinton-Gore proposal and the national debates that followed.
The State of the Union, President Bill Clinton, January 19, 1999, http://bit.ly/3JLerk
“Part of the surplus dedicated to Social Security would be invested in private securities, further strengthening the Trust Fund by drawing on the long-term strength of the stock market, and reducing the debt to ensure strong fiscal health.” President Bill Clinton, Page 3, Budget of the United States Government: Fiscal Year 2000, http://bit.ly/1QKFRm
“Increase returns through private investment: The Administration proposes tapping the power of private financial markets to increase the resources to pay for future Social Security benefits. Roughly one-fifth of the unified budget surplus set aside for Social Security would be invested in corporate equities or other private financial instruments.” President Bill Clinton, Page 41, Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2000, http://bit.ly/1QKFRm
"State of the Union: The Future; Greenspan Sees Possible Threat in Clinton Plan," David Rosenbaum, The New York Times, January 21, 1999, http://bit.ly/2TsMZh
"Economic Scene: Clinton's Plan for Social Security Has Its Backers. But Does America Want the Government to Be a Big Shareholder?" Michael Weinstein, The New York Times, January 21, 2001, http://bit.ly/3kfswU
"Social Security: Sticking His Neck Out," Adam Zagorin, John Cloud, TIME, February 1, 1999, http://bit.ly/37UVUm
“What the President’s Proposal Does and Does Not Do,” United States General Accounting Office, Testimony Before the Committee on Finance, February 9, 1999, http://bit.ly/3AXi2d
"On Social Security, Will the Real Al Gore Please Stand Up?" Michael D. Tanner, The Cato Institute, August 14, 2000, http://bit.ly/2j0Bl8
The Clinton-Gore approach differed from the Bush Administration’s proposal in that 14.6% of the Social Security Trust Fund would be mandatorily invested in the stock market, while Bush favored allowing younger workers the choice to put some of their Social Security taxes into broadly based mutual funds like the “Thrift-Savings Program” accounts available to federal workers.
The Executive Branch might claim that lobby restrictions for federal employees are very narrow as applied to White House Staff, but Section 1913 of title 18 of the attached memo, shows that has never been the view of Congress. The Obama Administration's practice is reckless and irresponsible—it never would have been tolerated under any other administration.
Section 1913 of title 18 currently provides:
No part of the money appropriated by any enactment of Congress shall, in the absence of express authorization by Congress, be used directly or indirectly to pay for any personal service, advertisement, telegram, telephone, letter, printed or written matter, or other device, intended or designed to influence in any manner a Member of Congress, a jurisdiction, or an official of any government, to favor, adopt, or oppose, by vote or otherwise, any legislation, law, ratification, policy or appropriation, whether before or after the introduction of any bill, measure, or resolution proposing such legislation, law, ratification, policy or appropriation; but this shall not prevent officers or employees of the United States or of its departments or agencies from communicating to any such Member or official, at his request, or to Congress or such official, through the proper official channels, requests for any legislation, law, ratification, policy or appropriations which they deem necessary for the efficient conduct of the public business, or from making any communication whose prohibition by this section might, in the opinion of the Attorney General, violate the Constitution or interfere with the conduct of foreign policy, counter-intelligence, intelligence, or national security activities. Violations of this section shall constitute violations of section 1352(a) of title 31.
18 U.S.C.A. § 1913 (West Supp. 2005).
A commercial mobile phone company and its affiliates have recently used Karl Rove's name and likeness without his permission to promote their products. Certain advertisements have falsely attributed statements to Mr. Rove. Mr. Rove has not participated in and does not endorse any such advertising or the associated products and companies.
I welcome the release of my House Judiciary Committee interviews and accompanying documents. They show politics played no role in the Bush Administration’s removal of U.S. Attorneys, that I never sought to influence the conduct of any prosecution, and that I played no role in deciding which US attorneys were retained and which replaced.
The transcript’s release follows two years of false accusations and partisan innuendoes made by Governor Siegelman and Judiciary Committee Democrats. These have proved utterly groundless.
Rather than relying on partisans selectively quoting testimony or excerpting email messages, I urge anyone interested to review the documents in their entirety. They speak for themselves.
TALKER -- THE VICE PRESIDENT HAS AN OP-ED IN THE TIMES -- “What You Might Not Know About the Recovery,” by Joe Biden: “The actions we took — passing the Recovery Act, stabilizing the banking system, pressing to get credit flowing again and helping responsible homeowners — brought us back from the precipice. … The Recovery Act is not the cure for all our economic ills — no single piece of legislation could be. But how many government initiatives can point to both large numbers of projects coming in under budget and a Government Accountability Office finding that we are ahead of schedule in key areas? … [T]he way I see it, our balanced approach recognizes that there is no silver bullet, no single thing, that can address the many and complex needs of America’s vast economy. We need relief, recovery and reinvestment to cope with our multifaceted crisis — and only 159 days after it was signed by President Obama, the Recovery Act is already at work providing all three.” http://tr.im/u4O4
SHOT -- THE VICE PRESIDENT TODAY: “[T]he act was intended to provide steady support for our economy over an extended period — not a jolt that would last only a few months.”
CHASER 1-- THE VICE PRESIDENT in March: “The Recovery Act, as we call it, provides a necessary jolt to our economy.”
CHASER 2 -- PRESIDENT-ELECT OBAMA in November: “[W]e have a consensus, which is pretty rare, between conservative economists and liberal economists, that we need a big stimulus package that will jolt the economy back into shape.”
CHASER 3 -- PRESIDENT OBAMA, at his first press conference: “[W]ith the private sector so weakened by this recession, the federal government is the only entity left with the resources to jolt our economy back to life.”
Here's an interesting read—The Democratic Pay-Go Legislation: A Facade of Fiscal Responsibility (PDF download) from the Republican Caucus Committee on the Budget. This Democratic "Pay-Go" bill rewrites the statutory pay-as-you-go system that expired in 2002. Republicans have done a nice job pointing out some of the devastating flaws in the "Pay-Go" bill. As this review explains, the proposal exempts more than 160 spending programs like Medicaid, the stimulus package and any possible future health care program. Are loopholes as big as the Grand Canyon really the way to fiscal discipline?
Congressional Democrats are bypassing the Budget Committee and pushing this measure through Congress without much debate or revision.
Fortunately not all Democrats are going along with the farce. Even the Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-SD) admits that he is "... absolutely not interested in something that waives $4 trillion in costs in exchange for statutory pay-go."
For more objections check out House Dems Not Winning Over Critics with Pay-As-You-Go Bill, by The Hill's Walter Alarkon. Also check out the Republican House Minority Leader's statement.
A year ago this Sunday, former White House press secretary Tony Snow died after a valiant battle against colon cancer.
I remember that day in almost all of its detail. I had just returned from Japan after President George W. Bush’s final G-8 meeting. I had been trapped in a hotel for several days, in the densest fog I’d ever seen, dealing with multiple crises on the domestic and international fronts; all I wanted was to sleep in my own bed and catch my breath before tackling another week at the White House.