April 2, 2010

Rush Limbaugh, healthcare and idle threats

Posted: 10:00 PM ET

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LA Times Op-Ed

As the battle over "Obamacare" was reaching fever pitch, Rush Limbaugh threatened to leave the United States if the healthcare bill passed. Well, the bill did pass, and he's still here.

This reminded me of the time one of my friends vowed to change his citizenship and move to Ireland if George W. Bush got reelected. Bush did get reelected, but my friend never left New Jersey. Neither did my friend who said she'd move to France if Bush won a second term. Bush got his second term, but my friend never once budged from her New York apartment.

Her vow to scoop up her marbles and pack it in, just like Mr. Limbaugh's histrionic vow to become an expatriate, fell into the broad, general category of the idle threat.

Ever since I was a child, I have abhorred idle threats. Real threats, like "I'll knock your teeth down your throat if you tell Sister John Laurentia who put the softball through the stained-glass image of St. Anthony of Padua," didn't bother me because they were graphic and implacable and let you know exactly where you stood.

Nor did I get all that upset when my mother would warn us that Dad would beat us when he got home. What upset us was when Dad didn't beat us when he got home. Now we had no way of knowing whether he had merely forgotten, or if he was using this delaying tactic as an additional measure in the reign of domestic terror he mistook for parenting. Either way, it added a level of uncertainty to our lives that we did not need.

If you were going to make a threat, you were honor-bound to go through with it. Otherwise, you were merely confusing the issue.


Filed under: Health Care

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March 25, 2010

Obama signs executive order on abortion funding limits

Posted: 09:00 PM ET

Washington (CNN) - President Obama signed an executive order Wednesday ensuring that existing limits on the federal funding of abortion remain in place under the new health care reform law.

Unlike the signing of the health care bill Tuesday - which was conducted under the glare of television cameras - Wednesday's event was closed to the news media.

It was attended by Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan and 12 other House Democrats opposed to abortion rights, without whose help the landmark overhaul bill would not have passed, political observers say.

The White House has said the executive order reaffirms abortion funding restrictions first enacted in 1977.

"While the legislation as written maintains current law, the executive order provides additional safeguards to ensure that the status quo is upheld and enforced, and that the health care legislation's restrictions against the public funding of abortions cannot be circumvented," the White House said previously.

Stupak said the order makes very clear that the current law applies to the new law.

"I have said from the start that my goal was to see health care pass while maintaining the principle of the sanctity of life," he said Tuesday.


Filed under: Health Care • President Obama

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March 24, 2010

LKL Last night: Gov. Mitt Romney speaks out new health care bill

Posted: 01:30 PM ET
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Did you know health care reform affects your burgers and tans??

Posted: 08:13 AM ET

The health care bill signed into law Tuesday by President Obama is the nation's most sweeping social legislation in four decades. But it also includes some smaller changes that will directly affect consumers.

These include taxes on indoor tanning services, requirements for restaurants to post calorie information and changes to flexible spending accounts.


There are 540 calories in a Big Mac and 670 calories in a Whopper. Nutritional information will be unavoidable when customers step up to the counter to order.

The health care law requires chain restaurants that have more than 20 locations to display calorie information next to the food item on the standard menu.

The Food and Drug Administration has the task of establishing more specific regulations and determining when these changes go into effect.


Tanning tax

Tanning enthusiasts will have to shell out more to achieve the golden shade. The health care law imposes a 10 percent tax on the service.

John Overstreet, the executive director of The Indoor Tanning Association, decried the new tax calling it, "a crummy, crummy way to make tax policy."

Lawmakers had considered taxing elective cosmetic procedures, but changed the language to tax indoor tanning services instead.

"We've been hit by the recession already," Overstreet said. "A 10 percent tax will be a body blow to the industry."

(read more)

Filed under: Health Care

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March 23, 2010

States sue to block health care bill

Posted: 08:00 PM ET

(CNN) Officials from 14 states have gone to court to block the historic overhaul of the U.S. health care system that President Barack Obama signed into law Tuesday, arguing that the legislation's requirement that individuals buy health insurance violates the Constitution.

Thirteen of those officials filed suit in a federal court in Pensacola, Florida, minutes after Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care
Act. The complaint calls the act an "unprecedented encroachment on the sovereignty of the states" and asks a judge to block its enforcement.

"The Constitution nowhere authorizes the United States to mandate, either directly or under threat of penalty, that all citizens and legal residents have
qualifying health care coverage," the lawsuit states.

The case was filed by Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum and joined by 11 other Republican attorneys general, along with one Democrat. McCollum
said the new law also forces states "to do things that are practically impossible to do as a practical matter, and forcing us to do it without giving any resources or money to do it."

McCollum's lawsuit was joined by his counterparts in South Carolina, Nebraska, Texas, Utah, Louisiana, Alabama, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Colorado,
Idaho, South Dakota and Washington. Virginia's attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, filed a separate case in his state Tuesday afternoon.


Filed under: Health Care • Politics

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Posted: 07:00 PM ET

Mitt Romney wants landmark health care legislation repealed, calling it "an unconscionable abuse of power". He tells Larry why.


Secretary Kathleen Sebelius!  She was with Obama today at the historic signing of the health care bill.  Now, she tells Larry why Americans will embrace health reform! 

Do YOU think the health care bill is a victory for America?

Send us your thoughts!

Filed under: Health Care • Politics

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March 22, 2010

DNC drills Romney over health care opposition

Posted: 09:00 PM ET


Washington (CNN) – The Democratic National Committee struck back at Mitt Romney on Monday after the Republican issued a blistering response to the health care bill passed by Democrats in Congress.

Romney accused President Obama of pushing the bill through with hardball political tactics – a strategy, Romney said, that violated the president's "oath to the nation" to usher in a new era of bipartisanship. Romney said the plan should be repealed.

The DNC eagerly shot back, accusing Romney of "blatant hypocrisy" for opposing a plan that bears a strong resemblance to the one he implemented as governor of Massachusetts. Both pieces of legislation, for instance, mandate that individuals purchase insurance and establish exchanges in which people can purchase affordable insurance plans.

"We're sure that it must be difficult to endure all the comparisons of the similarities between your signature health care plan and the bill passed last night when you are trying to appear to be the angriest of the angry far right wing in the Republican Party, but it doesn't cover up the blatant hypocrisy of lashing out against policy that you thought well enough of to campaign for and sign into law," said DNC spokesman Hari Sevugan.

In an e-mail to reporters, Sevugan provided a point by point comparison of "ObamaCare" and "RomneyCare" to highlight the similarities between the two plans, points Romney will likely have to explain in a Republican primary is he decides to seek the White House again in 2012.

Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom responded to the DNC offensive.

"Mitt Romney's plan did not include higher taxes, or Medicare cuts, or insurance price controls, and it was designed for Massachusetts and not the entire country," he told CNN in an e-mail. "To say it's exactly like ObamaCare is just another evasion and half-truth from the Democrats."

Filed under: Health Care • Politics

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Tonight on Larry King Live!

Posted: 07:00 PM ET

Michael Moore!  The controversial filmmaker called the health care bill “a joke” – but told the Democrats to pass it anyway!

What’s he thinking NOW?


Plus, Rep. Bart Stupak on the “baby killer” comment during last night’s debate.

Why did he change his vote from “no” to “yes”?


The health care discussion continues with Dr. Andrew Weil, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Ben Stein, Leslie Marshall and Penn Jillette.

What the health care overhaul means for YOU!

We want to know what YOU think!

Is the health care bill a milestone – or a mistake?

Filed under: Health Care • Michael Moore • Politics

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Michael Moore: How We Saved the Health Care Bill

Posted: 05:32 PM ET

NOTE: Michael Moore will be our guest tonight on LKL reacting to the passage of the health care bill.  In the letter below, from, Moore discusses his role in changing a key vote on the legislation.


Well, our full court press on my congressman, Bart Stupak worked! Hundreds of my neighbors here in his Michigan district spent the weekend organizing thousands of voters to get busy and save the health care bill. We called Stupak's congressional office non-stop and we got thousands of people up here to flood his email box.

And then a rare thing happened: An elected representative did what the people told him to do. It was nothing short of amazing.

Stupak, and his seven "right to life" Democrats who had said they would vote against the bill, reversed themselves after what Stupak said Sunday afternoon was a week of his staff having "really taken a pounding." Hey, all we did here in northern Michigan was let him know that we would be unceremoniously tossing him out of Congress in this August's Democratic primary. One of our group announced she would oppose him in the Dem primary. That seemed to register with him.

All of this made Stupak look pretty worn down at his press conference yesterday, pleading with people like us to stop calling his house and waking his wife "at two or three in the morning." Hey! That's not us. We never call during Carson Daly!

Obama needed 216 votes in the House last night - and he barely got them (219 was the final number). Had Stupak not done a 180 in the last 24 hours, the health care bill would have gone down in flames. Thank you, to all of you here in northern Michigan who did what had to be done. You and you alone saved this bill in the final moments.

Stupak stood on the floor of the House last night and, in a surreal moment, spoke against the "Stupak Amendment"! Once he got through his medieval meanderings about where babies come from, he gave one helluva speech.

And, that's when Republican congressman Randy Neugebauer of Texas shouted out: "Baby killer!" Wow. I guess the fertilized egg police felt betrayed by Bart.

Those of us here in Michigan will now decide what to do about our misguided congressman. We're a forgiving lot, but maybe not this time. We shall see.

Bart, I'm glad you discovered you didn't have a uterus. And, like the scarecrow, I'm glad you found a bit of your brain.

A good night it was - important little steps were taken to bring our country into the civilized world.

Now, we have some real work to do if we really want to say we have universal health care. The sharks who run the insurance companies have every intention of turning this lemon into some very profitable lemonade.

Michael Moore

Filed under: Health Care • Michael Moore

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LKL Sunday Special – Members of Congress on health care

Posted: 08:50 AM ET
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