If not now then when, if not us then who

March 11th, 2010

The question was asked last night to one of the senate candidates if we were prepared as a people to pay higher taxes if we did not accept earmarks.

I commented after the candidate answered the question that if we stopped taking earmarks then we would have a major paradigm shift as a culture away from being dependent on the government for things. This would then cause people to take a lot more personal responsibility for themselves and then incredible things would start to happen. The burden of government would be greatly lessened in the state while at the same time federal control (which comes through these earmarks) would also lessen. This would drive free enterprise in the state and amazing things would happen.

But regardless of this or not. The bribery, for that is what it is, must end. Because if now is not to the time to end the bribery and corruption, when is? If we are not to be willing to say No More, then who will?

Congressman Bishop on The National Security Connection to NASA Cuts

February 11th, 2010

Americans want the national government to spend less money.  Americans want money for Constitutional responsibilities and core functions spent wisely.  The proposed Obama budget does neither.

 

My family budget must prioritize between needs and wants.  The Obama budget is $3.8 trillion and still doesn’t meet our needs while overfunding wants.  One wonders where all the money is going.

 

The Administration’s budget proposal includes cancellation of the NASA Constellation program and specifically the Ares rocket, the planned replacement for the Shuttle.  This proposed cut was originally misrepresented by the President as a cost-saving measure.  The truth of the matter is that NASA will actually receive an overall budget increase, with the funds for the Constellation program and Ares rocket merely shifted to other areas.  Indeed, the truth is that no taxpayer dollars have been saved by cancelling this program.

 

Time magazine named the Ares rocket as the number one invention of the past year.  This replacement for the old Space Shuttle system has been successfully tested and will move the U.S. into the future.  The Administration now contemplates replacing Constellation and Ares with an incomplete scheme considered by experts as naïve, reckless and definitely unproven.

 

Left in the wreckage of this decision will be the destruction of at least 20,000 private sector jobs.  The Administration – which claims to focus on job creation and urges kids to take more science, math and engineering classes – now gives a pink slip to engineering jobs that require math and science skills.  Some recruitment scheme for more science students!  Some jobs creation program!

 

It is more than just jobs, though.  It is about the special kinds of jobs and their relationship to our national defense.  The kinds of skills needed to build NASA rockets are the same skills needed to build missiles used in the defense of our nation, and they rely on the same rocket motor technology.  Last year, this Administration cut our missile defense program and jobs were lost.  Subsequently, if the Administration is successful in its efforts to cut the Constellation program this year, the rest of those jobs will be lost.  Missiles don’t build themselves.  An industrial base is needed and, once lost, is difficult and costly to regain.  As the Defense Secretary for Acquisition wrote last September, “The best defense industrial and technology base in the world is not a birthright…(these) skills are not easily replicated in the commercial world and, if allowed to erode, would be difficult to rebuild.”

 

If we suddenly realize the North Koreans or Iranians are a greater threat to our security than we now guess, and we need more missiles, they can’t be built if the unique and specialized expertise has been fired and essentially lost.  An industrial base is not a spigot that can be turned on and off at will.  In June of last year the Pentagon sent Congress an assessment of this industrial base.  They claimed that a delay in the Ares rocket program would have a “significant negative impact” on our nation’s missile defense capability.  Can we assume that cancelling the Ares rocket program would have a VERY significant negative impact?  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that one.

 

Without Ares there will be no future American space vehicle.  Common sense tells us we should not turn the space above us over to the Russians and Chinese.  American Astronauts will basically be forced to stand on the edge of space trying to hail a Russian taxi to the space station or back.  It puts us in a second-class status.  Additionally, the Pentagon tells us that cancelling Constellation and the Ares rockets also puts us in jeopardy with our missile defense program.  It makes us more vulnerable to rogue nations. 

 

In the end, it is partly about special jobs.  Eliminating 20,000 private sector jobs in this economy sure isn’t the way one lowers unemployment rates.  It is also about space exploration.  Most importantly, though, it is absolutely about our Constitutional responsibility to provide for the common defense.  In each area, the Obama plan fails Americans.  This should not be America’s future.  Already a bi-partisan Congressional effort is challenging this Administration proposal that harms America’s role in space, hurts our economy, and damages our missile defense and national security.  We must and can do better.

An Update from Congressman Bishop

February 11th, 2010

The Party of No?
I recently attended the President’s State of the Union Address.  I admit I was put off when he claimed to “not point fingers” and not “re-litigate the past” while he blamed Bush for every difficulty America faces.  He also claimed to “change the tone” of debate in Washington just before he pitted the Senate against the House, discourteously railed on the Supreme Court and labeled the GOP as the Party of No, with no ideas.
I was also in attendance at the GOP meeting when Obama spoke to us.  I found it interesting that when individual Republican members stood and told the President of alternative bills the GOP had introduced, the President consistently admitted he had read the bill and rejected the idea.  At one point he took the compilation of GOP alternatives presented to him, turned quickly to a page and read a specific quote.  He was obviously familiar with the document.  What I saw was, contrary to allegations, the President indeed knew of our alternative ideas and rejected them out of hand.  Apparently there is a Party of No in Washington, but it is not the one to which I belong.
The President contended in his State of the Union Address, and elsewhere, that his health care agenda was in trouble only because he had not explained it well enough.  He said the issue was “complex” and obviously the people didn’t understand it.  I disagree.  Obama’s plan is unpopular because people DO understand it.  His 29 major speeches last year on the issue were clear, and his proposal is still wrong.  He’s proven he can be a good speaker; he needs to start showing he can be a better listener.
Missile Defense and NASA
The proposed Obama budget was recently presented.  It is a staggering $3.8 trillion.  It carries a deficit of $1.6 trillion.  It raises $2 trillion in new taxes over ten years.  It spends too much and taxes too much.  In every family budget one distinguishes between needs and wants.  Unfortunately, this budget does not distinguish between needs and wants.
One issue of the budget is of particular concern to Northern Utah.  Obama proposes to end NASA’s Constellation program (and the Ares rocket) and replace it with an unclear, “commercial” rocket scheme.  This decision will cost 20,000 private sector jobs.   Coupled with the Administration’s cut in our missile defense system last year, I estimate around 2,000 private sector jobs will be eliminated in Utah.  It will have a profound impact on Utah’s economy.  Were the loss of these jobs the only issue, that would have been enough to energize me to fight the Obama proposal.  It is, however, much more than just about jobs.  These are special jobs that if lost will not only hamper our efforts in space (I don’t want the Russians and Chinese controlling the space above us.  We spent too much time winning the Cold War to concede control of space), but at the same time will destroy our ability to defend America against missile attack.  The industrial base that produces rocket motors to send astronauts to the Space Station, Moon and beyond is the same industrial base that produces rocket motors for missiles to defend this country against rogue nations like North Korea and Iran.  Let me put it in perspective.  To fully fund this Constellation program would require an additional $3 billion annually.  Last year’s Stimulus Bill spent over $800 billion and included almost $5 billion for ACORN.  This year’s proposed budget asks for $450 million from the Defense Budget alone to move prisoners and trials of terrorists from Guantanamo and pay for expanded security in the lucky American city to get the trial venue.  Already New York City has rejected the honor.  Other federal budget areas will also come up with around $500 million for the trials as well as move terrorists from Guantanamo to American jails.  I am sorry, but these are not examples of my priorities. 
The sad part is the cancellation of the NASA rocket program doesn’t save money.  The budget proposal authorized a new $1.5 billion to close the program, and the rest of the money is shuffled around in the budget.
Last summer, a Pentagon report cautioned that delay in the Constellation program would have “significant negative impact” on our defense posture.   It doesn’t take a rocket science to figure out what impact cancellation of the program would have.  Contrary to some naive comments, this is not about jobs; it is about our national security and missile defense capability. 
I have attached an op-ed I wrote about this whole issue which could appear as early as tomorrow in the Ogden Standard Examiner.
History Repeats Itself
Perhaps it is because I taught history, but I see us re-making the same mistakes.  The House and Senate leaders just raised the debt limit to a staggering $1.9 trillion, and justified it by re-establishing Pay-Go requirements.  It sounds great to say we will “pay as we go,” but it is a trick.  Remember when the first President Bush said “read my lips, no new taxes” and then raised taxes?  There had to be some way to justify such an action.  It was Pay-go!  Government can balance a budget by cutting spending or raising taxes.  Guess which one Reid and Pelosi would choose?  Pay-go is only a justification for raising taxes.
During the early days of the Great Depression, investors had money to put into the economy but they sat on it.  Business investment was down because both Hoover and Roosevelt raised taxes and threatened business with fees, fines and legal action.  The current Administration appears to be charting the same strategy and probably with the same result.  The government can not create jobs, although this Administration keeps trying.  Only the private sector creates real and lasting jobs, and the private sector will not expand if there is an anti-business agenda or threat of higher business taxes from the White House and Congressional leadership.  Class conflict does not make the business community feel secure.  Raising taxes on those making over $250,000 sounds great if one is a salaried employee, but this threshold applies to business as well.  Almost all small businesses fall in this category to be taxed.  Where is their incentive to grow, expand and hire?  The anti-business attitude and blame-everything-on-the wealthy approach didn’t work in the 1930’s.  I am afraid we are repeating history.
Thanks for reading this.  I sometimes wish I was not so negative, but I do work in Washington.  We will keep up the fight, though. Thanks for what you do in that regard.

Congressman Bishop’s comments on House Healthcare bill

November 10th, 2009

Hello Friends:

I started writing a review of congressional action on health care several days ago, but I am finishing it after the vote last Saturday night.  I shall preface my report by saying I am ashamed of the US House of Representatives.  At least the Utah delegation got it right.

What I find bizarre was that over 200 years ago, the Founding Fathers foresaw this health care debate and provided a solution.  We call it FEDERALISM.  If something has to be done the exact same way, at the exact same time, by all people, only the national government can orchestrate that.  The feds are good at one-size-fits all.  However, if one wants creativity, innovation, justice or consideration of unique circumstances, the states are, as former Justice Louis Brandeis once called them, the true laboratories of democracy.  The Founding Fathers understood that the federal government should be limited, not for the fun of it, but because the federal government has limitations.  The national government is, always was, and always will be too big to be efficient. And we certainly shouldn’t be consolidating more power here now.

In the Federalist Papers, Madison wrote that “powers delegated to the federal government are few and defined.  Those to the state governments are numerous and indefinite.”  Why?  States are more effective and the federal government can’t and shouldn’t try to solve all problems.  Justice Scalia wrote, “The Constitution protects us from our own best intentions.  It divides power…among governments…precisely so that we may resist the temptation to concentrate power in one location as an expedient solution to the crises of the day.”  He wasn’t writing about Pelosicare, but if there ever was a bill that sought to concentrate power as an expedient solution to the crises of the day, it is Speaker Pelosi’s health care bill.  If it ever goes into effect, we lose sight of the structure the Founders put in place to ensure reforms were done at the most appropriate and useful level.  Balance is the key, and this bill is a massive shift in power balance.

Our health care system needs reform, but the reforms needed in California are not the reforms needed in Massachusetts.  Massachusetts has a program; they appear to like it even though it’s expensive, but it won’t work in Utah.  What Utah is trying to do wouldn’t fly in Boston. 

Like every state, Utah’s demographics are unique.  We have a young population and more small business firms.  In Utah, 32 percent of small businesses offer insurance, but that is 10% less than the national average – a unique challenge to Utah.  Reforms in Utah need to take the burden off small business and give competitive, affordable pricing to consumers.  That is why I am excited about reforms taking place in Utah right now.  The changes taking place right now in our state are based on consumer options, stable costs for business, worker affordability and portable choices – and all tailored for our demographics.  This Pelosi bill stops all of this – and innovations in any other state.  If this becomes law it would be the true health care tragedy. 

I am sure you have heard of all the problems with Pelosi’s bill.  It is impossible to list them all here.  However, allow me to list a few:

  • It grows the bureaucracy.  It creates a new Health Care Commissioner (czar) over a Health Care Administration with a Health Care Advisory Committee.  This group will mandate all insurance standards – private as well as the so-called public option.  It will approve which private plans are allowed to compete with the public option.  The word “regulate” is used over 190 times and the word “shall” is used over 3,000 times.
  • It is expensive.  It will cost the federal government $1.3 trillion dollars.  It will cost the states around $35 billion.  The Senate version funding formula was concocted by adding up 10 years of potential revenue to balance off the first 6 years of costs – not great accounting principles.  Pelosi’s version is even more creative.  It starts collecting premiums in 2011 and starts paying benefits in 2016 and runs out of money in 2029.  It is great only if the Mayan calendar is accurate.
  • It raises taxes.  It will increase taxes by $730-745 billion.  That is a tax increase for people and business.  Business will either provide an “approved” insurance plan or pay, depending on size, a 2 – 8% tax.  Taxes are passed on to consumers.  Medical devices will have an additional 2% tax.  If one uses an insulin pump or heart pacemaker, the cost just increased.  Seniors will see a $425 billion cut in Medicare benefits – especially for anyone on Medicare Advantage.
  • It gets cuter. Health Savings Accounts will be gradually eliminated.  Community organizations like ACORN will be allowed to establish local programs.  Nutrition labels have to be placed on all vending machines next to the product to be purchased.  It even demands communication be done in “a linguistically appropriate manner,” whatever that is.  Of course, Congress is exempt from the program.
    It abandons school funding for abstinence programs under Title V and replaces it with “teen pregnancy grants.”  I won’t use the word “death panels,” but the door is opened.  It does require end-of-life planning materials.  Washington and Oregon already define euthanasia as “death with dignity” and not assisted suicide.  It provides a watered-down protection for health professionals who reject performing abortions as a right of conscience.  Although the House passed a strong amendment to prohibit government funding of abortions, it can be removed.  When asked on the Floor by the Republican Leader, none of the committee chairs who would be the participants on a conference committee would guarantee to keep the amendment in a final version, and today one Democrat lawmaker declared, “I am confident the (pro-life) amendment will not be in the final version of the bill.”
    The Pelosi bill does nothing for tort reform, nothing for allowing interstate insurance competition and nothing for block grants to states for high risk pooling.
  • There is so much more that is wrong.  Details notwithstanding, the biggest problem is the idea that health care decisions can be dictated by Washington bureaucrats – a health care czar.  To paraphrase P.J. O’Rourke, the Pelosi bill would have the same effect as giving alcohol and keys to the car to a teenage boy.

The federal government can play a role, but real health care reform must happen at the state level.  Real reform must be based on giving consumers options and choices.  We know what our unique health care needs are, and our ability to choose will be lost if we fail to allow individual states to address their unique and diverse needs.  When Washington chooses, individual choice loses.
 
We’ll continue to fight for federalism and for empowering individuals.  It is the solution.  I hope we’ll be succesful.
 
Rob

Start over on health care reform – Senator Hatch’s comments

September 27th, 2009

The desire for health care reform is universal.

Unfortunately, the direction Democrats want to take our nation in will lead to more spending, more government and more taxes, while starting us down a path of a Washington takeover of our health care system.

If anyone believes that Washington, let me repeat Washington, can run a national health care plan that will cost close to a trillion dollars, cover all Americans, not raise taxes on anyone, not increase the deficit and not reduce benefits or choices for our families and seniors — then I have a bridge to sell to you.

But, if we start over and craft a bipartisan health care reform we can tackle some much needed reforms:

  • Ensuring that no one is denied coverage or care simply because of a pre-existing condition
  • Providing greater transparency on cost and choice
  • Curbing frivolous lawsuits
  • Encouraging chronic care management to better control the health of the sickest and most costly patients
  • Promoting prevention and wellness initiatives to keep Americans healthy.

Rather than putting Washington in charge of everything, we should give states the flexibility to design their own unique approaches to reducing the number of uninsured.

Please read the rest the statement I delivered earlier this week about how we need to “press reset” when we began debate of the Senate Finance Committee’s health care bill.

Sincerely,

Senator Orrin Hatch

Stimulas

September 16th, 2009

From the RNC…

THE DEFINITION OF INSANITY …

… Is Repeating The Same Lie About Stimulus Jobs Over And Over Again, And Expecting Americans To Believe It

 

“A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll Found

            57% Of Adults Say The Stimulus Package Is Having No Impact On The Economy Or Making It Worse

            60% – Doubt That The Stimulus Plan Will Help The Economy In The Years Ahead …”

               (Brad Heath, “Poll: 57% Don’t See Stimulus Working,” USA Today, 8/17/09)

 

TODAY, WHITE HOUSE WILL CLAIM HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF JOBS CREATED BY STIMULUS

 

Obama’s Council Of Economic Advisors To Argue Stimulus Created 600,000 Jobs In Second Hundred Days. “A hundred days ago … I went on to say that will will create another 600,000 jobs in the second hundred days. On September 10th, the Council of Economic Advisers plans to report to the nation their projections of jobs created or saved as a result of the Recovery Act. I’m optimistic … that report will show that we will have met or exceeded that goal …” (Vice President Joe Biden, Remarks By The Vice President On The 200 Days Of The American Recovery And Reinvestment Act, Brookings Institution, Washington, DC, 9/3/09)

 

BUT THEY USE SAME JOB COUNTING METHODOLOGY THAT’S BEEN WIDELY DISCREDITED

 

FactCheck.org Debunks White House Claims Of 150,000 Jobs “Saved Or Created.” “A Republican Party Web site classifies as ‘fiction’ the president’s repeated claim that the spending already has ‘saved or created’ a total of 150,000 jobs, and accuses him of ‘fuzzy math.’ The GOP has a point here. The fact is the economy has lost more jobs, and the unemployment rate is significantly higher, than the administration originally predicted would be the case if Washington did nothing. In fact, the original projections of Obama’s economic aides have turned out to be off by a very wide margin.” (Brooks Jackson, “Making Sense Of Stimulus Spending,” FactCheck.org, 6/16/09)

 

Bureau Of Labor Statistics Commissioner Says It’s “Very Difficult” To “Substantiate” White House Claim Of 150,000 Jobs Created By Stimulus. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX): “The administration, including the vice president, has claimed that stimulus policies have added 150,000 new jobs to the level of employment. We see this cited almost daily by the administration. Can you substantiate that claim?”  Bureau of Labor Statistics Commissioner Keith Hall: “No. That would be a very difficult thing for anybody to substantiate.”  Brady: “And the chairman — who’s a highly respected chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, Christina Romer — also cited that 150,000 job-creation figure in a recent testimony before this committee. You’re saying you can’t verify that the administration’s policies have created those additional 150,000 jobs.”  Hall: “No. We’re busy just counting jobs.” (U.S. House Of Representatives, Joint Economic Committee, Hearing, 6/5/09)

 

Associated Press Says Job-Counting Formula “Being Misused” By Obama. “Few things in President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus plan have engendered as much skepticism or criticism as his oft-repeated promise to create or save 3.5 million jobs by the end of next year … The fight over Obama’s promise has thrust a mundane economic formula responsible for the jobs estimate into Washington’s political spin machine. The formula is being misused by the president, whose advisers acknowledge it was never intended as a way to count jobs.” (Matt Apuzzo, “Stimulus Watch: Follow Along As Obama Counts Jobs,” The Associated Press, 6/18/09)

 

Economists Say White House Job Claims Impossible To Verify. CBS NEWS’ WYATT ANDREWS: “[H]ere’s the reality: those 150,000 jobs are a guess …” MAYA MACGUINEAS OF COMMITTEE FOR A RESPONSIBLE FEDERAL BUDGET: “There’s no way that an economist no matter how good can say, ‘this stimulus package created this many jobs.’ It’s just a jump that you can’t make with any certainty … It would be absolutely impossible to measure with any precision how many people have kept their jobs.” (CBS Evening News, 6/11/09)

 

AND THE PROOF IS IN THE NUMBERS

When Selling Stimulus In January, White House Predicted Unemployment Peaking At 8 Percent With Stimulus, 9 Percent Without Stimulus. (Christina Romer and Jared Bernstein, “The Job Impact Of The American Recovery And Reinvestment Plan,” 1/10/09)

 

But Unemployment With Stimulus Now At 9.7 Percent. (U.S. Labor of Bureau Statistics, www.bls.gov, Accessed 9/3/09; GRAPH: Greg Mankiw, “Unemployment Update,” Greg Mankiw’s Blog, 9/6/09)

Push back on cap and tax

September 7th, 2009

Senator Hatch and Governor Herbert held a forum examining the effects of cap and tax.  The press summarized this as follows:

  • The price at the gas pump would increase a minimum of 20 cents a gallon by 2012 and $1.38 by 2035, even absent market impacts such as hurricanes or shortages.
  • Exports of agricultural products totaling $115 billion to international markets as of 2007 would be jeopardized because U.S. competitors wouldn’t operate under the same mandate, making their costs less.
  • Most electricity providers in Utah would institute double-digit rate increases.
  • Four economic studies on the national job losses caused by Waxman-Markey put the numbers at varying nightmarish scenarios, from The Brookings Institution’s calculation of 1.7 million annually to the Heritage Foundation’s prediction of 2.5 million annually from 2035-2050.
  • Closer to home, a Heritage Foundation report foretells nearly 24,000 jobs lost annually in Utah and an impact of more than $4 billion in losses to the state’s gross product base in 2035.

The full report from the conference can be read here.

David James

Health Care Rationing

August 16th, 2009

One of the major arguments used by proponents of healthcare overhaul is that even if a new system creates rationing, it is no different than what we have—the current system rations healthcare.  But the bigger picture is that when government rations anything it is within fixed limits.  i.e., there is a budget for health care and then services are allocated within those boundaries. 

Markets allow for much more flexibility, including overall expansion of the boundaries.  And yes, that even allows any one individual to allocate all of their resources to a single budget item (health care). 

Now I understand the repugnance to the notion that bankruptcy can result from health care costs.  But that individual made the decision.  They could have chosen to not purchase health care. 

I agreed, that course unlikely and perhaps even immoral to suggest.  But if it is immoral for a person to chose to deny themselves health care, then why is it not immoral to allow a government bureaucrat(s) to make the choice?  And if your answer is that with government involvement everyone will get what they want, then grab your wallet–the costs will accelerate at an alarming rate. 

Finally, the accusation that conservatives have no solutions is ridiculous.  To begin with, let’s prove proposed savings within the Medicare system.  I don’t know if corruption can be driven out of the system but there ought to at least be an attempt.  Supply of labor and materials needs to be expanded.  Tort reform enacted.  And in the area of outcome based medicine, a lot more discussion needs to be carried on.  It would be nice if outcomes could be deterministic but such is not the case in the very imprecision science of medicine;  platitudes from the Presidential bully pulpit not withstanding. 

And IF the government needs to be involved, then I would prefer a discussion in the realms of catastrophic care/government as a re-insurer….   This story continues to develop.

David James

Senator Hatch’s Response to President Obama

August 15th, 2009

U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch Delivers Weekly Republican Address  August 15, 2009

Hello. I’m Orrin Hatch, from the great state of Utah. Thank you for the opportunity to speak with all of you today to talk about the very important challenge of health care reform.
Ensuring access to affordable and quality health care for every American is not a Republican or Democrat issue — it is an American issue. Our nation expects us to solve this challenge in an open, honest and responsible manner. More spending, more taxes and more government is not the answer.

After the rushed stimulus bill, Americans are rightly concerned about what is being pushed through the Democratic Congress. The rush to pass something that will affect every American life and one-sixth of our economy has raised concerns all around our nation.

So, why are Americans so skeptical of and concerned with the approach of the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress? A big reason for this concern is that nearly 85 percent of Americans have coverage and they are really worried about what reform means for them. Especially our seniors. And these concerns are moving from kitchen table conversations to town hall discussions.

I am disappointed about the attempts to characterize the behavior of Americans expressing their concerns as ‘un-American.’ Although I strongly encourage the use of respectful debate in these town halls, we should not be stifling these discussions. There is nothing ‘un-American’ about disagreements. In fact, our great nation was founded on speaking our minds.

Families are voicing their concerns because they feel like they are not being heard in Washington and I’m here to tell you that your voices are coming through and it is essential for all of you to be involved in this issue.
Republicans in Congress agree with the majority of Americans who believe that just throwing more taxpayer dollars at a problem will not deliver meaningful reform. Telling the American public that the solution for solving a $2.5 trillion health care system is to simply spend another trillion dollars in our current economy, just does not make sense. Especially at a time when spending and debt are multiplying with such alarming speed, like an almost $2 trillion national deficit this year alone, $200 billion in state deficits, a Medicare program on the edge of bankruptcy and a national debt that will triple within the next decade.

There are several areas of consensus that can form the basis for a sustainable, fiscally responsible and bipartisan reform. These include:

  1. Reforming the health insurance market for every American by making sure that no American is denied coverage simply based on a pre-existing condition
  2. Protecting the coverage for almost 85 percent of Americans who already have coverage — coverage they like — by making it more affordable. This means reducing costs by rewarding quality and coordinated care, giving families more information on the cost and choices of their coverage and treatment options, discouraging junk lawsuits against doctors and hospitals and promoting prevention and wellness measures like quitting smoking and living a healthier lifestyle
  3. Giving states flexibility to design their own unique approaches to reduce uninsured
  4. Empowering small businesses and self-employed entrepreneurs — the job-creating engines and lifeblood of our economy — to buy affordable coverage for their employees

Unfortunately, the path we are taking in Washington right now is to simply spend another trillion dollars of taxpayer money to further expand the role of the federal government. The reform proposals being pushed by the Democrats include massive expansions of the Medicaid program and the creation of a new Washington-run plan that will drive millions of Americans from private coverage of their choice into government-run plans. As the federal government’s control of our health care system continues to increase, private coverage will continue to decrease, till we are left with a Washington-run and dictated health care system.
Medicare offers an important lesson. With $38 trillion in future costs, it is facing bankruptcy within the next decade, threatening access to care for millions of Americans. So what is the Democratic approach to fix Medicare for our seniors? Hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts which will be used to expand a financially-strapped Medicaid program and create another government-run plan.

To enact true health care reform, we should work together to write a responsible, bipartisan bill for the American families who are faced with rising unemployment and out of control health care costs.
We have a real need for reform and an opportunity on behalf of the American people to get it done. If we are responsible in our policy approaches and strive for true bipartisanship, we can achieve meaningful reform.

An Update From Congressman Bishop

August 14th, 2009

Hello Friends.  … it is the August recess, and there is much to relate (unfortunately mostly bad).
F-22:  You may recall that last time I mentioned that the Obama Administration has proposed stopping production of the F-22 and capping them at 187 aircraft.  We had a partial victory in the House with my amendment to maintain some funding for additional production down the line.  Well, the battle isn’t over but we have had some setbacks – particularly in the Senate.  I think part of it is due to inaccurate reporting or misinformation.  I made the mistake of reading comment boards and blogs about the F-22.  The spin is that this plane is an expensive Cold War relic unwanted by the military and only kept alive as pork projects.  All of that spin is inaccurate crap, except the expensive part.  The plane is expensive, but if you planned to build 750 planes and only sold 187, the cost per plane would skyrocket.  Here is the bottom line – and I do hope you explain this to everyone you meet who still doesn’t get it.  Obama and Defense Secretary Gates don’t want the plane.  Anti-military liberals in Congress probably don’t want any planes.  The Air Force wants and needs at least 243 F-22s.  Thirty studies over 15 years defended the plane and that number.  The retiring general over Air Combat Command not only defended the plane, but publicly contended the Air Force can’t meet its mission with only 187.  The Air National Guard General wants more F-22s.  Even the Air Force Chief of Staff testified in our committee that 187 planes is what he thought the budget could afford, not what the Air Force needed.  All rational studies and knowledgeable experts agree that 243 is the absolute minimum of F-22s needed, and even that number keeps the U.S. in “Modest Risk” of losing air superiority.  381 planes keep us at air superiority status quo.
To keep the air superiority we gained at the expense of wealth and lives in the Korean War, we must have technological advantage and numerical advantage.  The current fighter jets are great planes, but are over 30 years old.  Third-world countries have caught up to our technology.  The F-22 puts us ahead for decades, but we also need the numbers.  Consider the following scenario.  Russia plans to build a new generation of fighter and plans to build 200-300 more than they will keep.  So they sell those to countries like Iran and Venezuela. At the same time new fighters are in the hands of antagonists on several continents, we halt the production of the F-22 at a level the Air Force Chief of Staff claimed was adequate for only ONE crisis, not multiple fronts.  We also cut 250 current planes from the Air Force with no replacements.  The F-35 (a good plane but designed as a complement to not a replacement for the F-22) will not be available until 2014 at the earliest.  There are rumors the production may be delayed.  Additionally, Secretary Gates has already said he desires to flatline future defense spending while cutting another $60 billion from current defense budgets over the next five years.
Cuts to the Air Force and missile defense  – and promises of more of the same, made this a very depressing session.  Please spread the word of how serious this situation is.  The F-22 is needed by the military and without enough of them we are at risk.  This continuous dismantling of our defense systems puts us at risk.
Health Care: The more one reads the bill, the greater the concerns.  Let me give one simple illustration.  I reviewed a section for a proposed committee amendment.  I found that the proposed Health Commission, created so the federal government can choose which private insurance plans will be allowed to compete with the federal plan, also created the office of Ombudsman.  The Ombudsman was to communicate with individual Americans about health care options in a “linguistically appropriate manner.”  Ok, I give.  What does that mean?  Some faceless bureaucrat in DC decided to write a provision that sounded both politically correct and poetic.  Unfortunately, the language needed to be legally understandable.  Must the Ombudsman speak in technical terms to be accurate or lay term for comprehension.  If I call and only speak Icelandic, can I sue if no one in the office can converse with me in my one and only appropriate linguistic option?  Of course, the term is not defined in the bill and, like much Congress does, simply opens us up to lawsuits or empowers the Health Commissioner to make even more rules to govern us.  The thousand-page bill is riddled with such quaint peculiarities.
I saw some numbers recently to keep in mind.  When Medicare was instituted in the mid-60’s, it was projected to cost $3 billion by 1970 and $12 billion by 1990.  It actually cost just under $7 billion in 1970 and $110 billion in 1990.  The Democrat bill will pay for itself by creating system efficiencies???  The Medicare bill was to not “exercise any supervision or control over the practice of medicine or the manner in which medical services are provided.”  With the history of Medicare, why would I not trust an all-powerful Health Commission in the Democrat bill?
Cap and Tax:  Kimball Rasmussen of Deseret Power flew back to DC and gave brilliant testimony at a hearing I attended.  He explained how the 6.2 million “green jobs” figure supposedly created by the Cap and Trade bill was calculated.  If someone built a windmill for power this year in Wyoming – that was one green job.  If next year, he built a windmill in Montana – that was a second green job.  If the next year in Colorado…you get the picture.  There are three types of green jobs: direct (about 1/3rd of the total) indirect and induced (about 2/3rd of the total). A direct job touches a green energy product.  A trucker who delivers a part to a solar panel is engaged in a “direct” green job.  A trucker delivering the same part to a coal fired plant is engaged in a gray job.  If someone is working in a cement quarry and the cement is used for a windmill foundation, the cement worker is an “indirect” green job – even if he doesn’t know it and drove a Ford Explorer to work.  If someone who works at a “green job” goes to a restaurant and orders a steak, the chef who prepares the steak is an “induced” green job.  The cow who provided the steak is a green cow and the CO2 used to cook the steak is good green CO2.  There were no offsets for job loss in other industries when computing the 6.2 million green jobs.  The more accurate number for green jobs instituted with the passage of a Cap and Tax bill would be more like 125,000 at any given point in time.
The sloppiness, bad data and poor policy in Washington right now are frightening.  Now you know why I am glad to be home and working in Utah in August.  I obviously love it here in Utah, but the country is probably better off too when Congress isn’t in session!
 
-Rob