Thanks to the phone call from my U.S. Representative, John Culberson, I had a perfect distraction from the non-event that was the President's nationally televised press conference. The tv was on in the background as I answered the phone call inviting me to join in on the teleconference underway with Rep. Culberson. The tv was then muted and I could read the remarks on the screen as I listened to the conversation on the telephone.
Culberson is known as a techo-savvy member of Congress. He was 'multi-tasking' last night as he answered questions from the telephone, Twitter, and Facebook. He was using U-Stream for those on computers. This was conducted from his office in Washington.
Culberson voiced concern that the health care legislation as presented by the House so far will destroy the good work in the development of new treatments for cancer at institutions such as M.D. Anderson here in Houston. These developments are not encouraged or being tested in countries with socialized health care, using England and Canada as examples.
Culberson noted that the Democrats in the House defeated an amendment for Congress to automatically be enrolled in whatever new plan is produced and signed into law automatically upon the signing instead of the health care now available to them as members of Congress. In other words, what's good for the country in the eyes of President Obama is not good enough for the Democrats in Congress for their own health care coverage. Plus, the members of Congress will automatically be 'sucked' into the Federal program, according to Culberson, when a member's policy changes.
Any change in plan from a private insurance plan to any American will automatically bounce the policy holder into the Federal plan. Premium going up? Adding a new baby to your policy? Dropping an adult child? All viewed as changes that would put you into the larger plan.
Culberson offers some alternative ideas: First do no harm. Do not tie the hands of medical institutions to develop and test new treatments.
Tort reform is needed at the national level, much like the tort reform Culberson worked on as a co-author in the Texas Legislature.
The current law needs to give small business owners the same bargaining power as large companies and corporations.
All good and common sense ideas. He also mentioned that border security would not only help to fight crime in our state, for example, but also reduce the pressure on emergency rooms to serve those here illegally.
CBO has determined the current bill under discussion would drive the debt up, particularly after the President leaves office several years down the road and will increase health care costs. The CBO director is a Democrat and appointed by Democrats so it is not a question of partisan politics in his office.
The bill is 1038 pages. Culberson has put it online at his web site. He has filed legislation to make it mandatory for the administration to put the legislation online for all to read 72 hours ahead of a final vote.
After the press conference, I was struck by what I was reading online by those who did watch. Both conservative and liberal commenters were talking that nothing was cleared up or accomplished. The President looked off his best effort and didn't answer questions on the legislation. He used a lot of traditionally conservative language - words like waste, competition and government inefficiency.
Juan Williams, NPR and Fox News Channel contributor as well as Obama supporter, said that the August deadline is out of reach due to Democrat opposition not from Republican opposition and that the press conference was a lost opportunity since Obama was not able to communicate effectively what the goals are in his bill. He is not familiar himself with what the Congress is ramming through.
Charles Krauthammer, a conservative syndicated writer and Fox News Channel contributor said that the President denied reality with aplomb. He called the President's performance "amazing" due to the denial. However, due to the usual softball questions asked by the press to him, "no questions nicked him." He called Obama "elegant and deceptive, as always."
So, thank you Rep. Culberson for a timely distraction from the press conference. It was good to listen to common sense solutions and frank talk from Washington.