February 24th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid to attack the deficit?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Early Saturday morning, the House of Representatives approved more than $60 billion in cuts in federal spending. It was the first sign Republicans are trying to make good on campaign promises to close deficits and slash government spending.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/images/02/23/art.medicare.jpg caption=""]
But before they break their arms patting themselves on the back, it's worth pointing out that $60 billion is less than 3 percent of this year's deficit, projected at more than $1.6 trillion.

The bill cuts federal funds to Planned Parenthood, the Environmental Protection Agency, and education programs like Pell Grants and Head Start. What it doesn't touch is Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid which account for 57 percent of the federal budget this year. So far, not a single dime has been cut from any of those programs.

According to a recent CNN/Opinion Research Poll, more than half of Americans think the deficit is "extremely important" for the President and Congress to tackle. However, when asked what was more important: reducing the deficit or preventing cuts in Medicare, 81 percent said preventing cuts to Medicare while just 18 percent said reducing the deficit. When asked about Social Security, 78 percent said preventing cuts to that program was more important than lowering the deficit. And when asked about Medicaid, 70 percent said avoiding cuts to the public health insurance program for low-income families was more important, compared to 29 percent who said closing the deficit was more important.

So at the end of the day it's not just the federal government that's at fault here. As the line in Pogo went, "We have met the enemy and it is us." Politicians know senior citizens are among the most consistent, reliable voters in this country, and it's a real risk to propose cuts to programs many of them depend on... especially as we approach the 2012 presidential election.

Here’s my question to you: Should the government cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in order to attack the deficit?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Health care • Social Security
February 9th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Health care law destined for scrap heap?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Except for some judges, the Republicans and some Democrats, President Barack Obama's health care reform law is very popular.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/images/02/09/art.xray.jpg caption=""]
Consider this:

A top Republican says the House is likely to vote next week to block funding for the president's signature law.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor says it's expected to be an amendment during House debate on cutting at least $32 billion from the government's budget.

Although it's unlikely such a measure would make it through the Democratic-controlled Senate, it could still set the stage for another partisan showdown over health care. And it's not just Republicans who are questioning the scope of the health care law.

A group of moderate Senate Democrats is considering rolling back the individual mandate that requires everyone buy health insurance.

They haven't decided yet whether they'll propose legislation; but if they do team up with Republicans on this one, it could be a major embarrassment for the president.

Many of these moderate Democrats are up for re-election next year and represent states that Obama lost in 2008.

The controversial individual mandate has also been shot down by some judges. Most recently, a Florida federal judge ruled that the individual mandate is unconstitutional and that the whole health care law should be thrown out.

This could very well set up a Supreme Court challenge over health care, not to mention the two dozen other court challenges pending across the country.

Here’s my question to you: Is President Obama's health care law destined for the scrap heap?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Health care • President Barack Obama
January 20th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

More than half the states fight health care law in court



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It may be the law of the land, but there are a lot of people who want to get rid of health care reform.

The house voted 245-to-189 to repeal President Obama's signature law - with three Democrats joining the unanimous Republican vote.

The bill is unlikely to see the light of day in the Senate... and if it ever makes it to President Obama's desk, he'll veto it. Republicans acknowledge repeal is highly unlikely - so they may try to cut funding for parts of the law or eliminate specific provisions.

Democrats call the repeal vote a "gimmick."

Really? Not exactly.

It's not just house Republicans who are against the health care reform law. Not by a long shot.

More than half the states in the union are challenging the law in court. Another six states have now joined a Florida lawsuit, bringing the total in that suit to 26 states. Plus, Virginia has filed a separate lawsuit; and Oklahoma says it will do the same.

The states insist the law is unconstitutional because it forces people to buy health insurance. They might be right.

A Thomson Reuters poll shows that an overwhelming 65 percent of doctors say health care reform will mean worse care for patients over the next five years. Only 18 percent think the new law will mean better care. Those are pretty stunning numbers - better than three to one - and these are doctors.

Finally, most of the American people are not sold on this thing either. A recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows 50% want the new law repealed. Only 42% would choose to keep it as is.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean if more than half the states are fighting the new health care law in court?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Health care
December 13th, 2010
04:14 PM ET

Is Pres. Obama's health care law history?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama's signature health care reform law may soon be on life support.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/12/13/art.obamacare.jpg caption="A man protested health care legislation at a Tea Party protest last month."]
In a stunning blow to the administration, a Virginia federal judge has ruled today that a key part of the law - the "individual mandate" - is unconstitutional.

The judge says an individual's decision to buy health insurance is "beyond the historical reach of the U.S. Constitution."

This ruling will likely set the stage for a drawn-out legal battle that could wind up in the Supreme Court. And at the end of the day, if the government can't force people to buy insurance, they are pretty much left with an empty sack.

Critics, who call the law "Obamacare," claim it's a form of socialized medicine. They say it will only result in bloated government bureaucracy, higher taxes and worse health care. About two dozen challenges have been filed in federal courts around the country.

Meanwhile, Politics Daily reports the hot-button issue for Republicans next year will be the health care law.

The incoming speaker of the House, John Boehner, has pledged to repeal and replace it. Republican lawmakers in 40 states have introduced bills to block all or part of the federal law; and Republican governors are also resisting implementing the law in their states.

But some warn Republicans could make the same mistake Democrats did in making health care their top priority instead of the economy and jobs. Also, in their push to repeal it, Republicans risk alienating independents and moderates who may like certain parts of the law.

Here’s my question to you: Is President Obama's health care law history?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Health care • President Barack Obama
November 4th, 2010
03:33 PM ET

Should Republicans to try to repeal health care law?


(FILE PHOTO) March 23, 2010: President Obama signed into law his historic health care insurance reform legislation, enacting the most sweeping social legislation in decades, ensuring coverage for almost all Americans. (PHOTO CREDIT: SAUL LOEB/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Come January, President Obama's health care law will be on the chopping block.

The incoming Speaker of the House, John Boehner, says voters have given the GOP a mandate to cut government and roll back what he calls the health care "monstrosity."

Boehner says the American people are concerned about the government takeover of health care. He says Republicans want to repeal it and replace it with "common-sense reforms" that will bring down health care costs.

Throughout the campaign, Republicans blasted the president's signature issue of health care reform, with many promising to repeal it if the GOP won control of Congress.

For his part, Mr. Obama says it would be a "misreading" of the election results to think Americans want to spend the next two years trying to "re-litigate" health care reform and other major pieces of legislation.

The president called the process of passing the bill "an ugly mess" and something he regrets, but insists the outcome was a good one.

A new USA Today/Gallup Poll shows Republicans' top priority for the new Congress is repealing the health care law and cutting federal spending.

As for Democratic voters, they want Congress to pass a new stimulus bill to create jobs.

Meanwhile it's worth noting that even if Republicans make the repeal of health care reform a priority, it may not go anywhere.

While Republicans will control the House in the next Congress, the Democrats will still remain in control of the Senate.

What that means is likely - you guessed it - more gridlock.

Here’s my question to you: Should Republicans try to repeal President Obama's health care law?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


October 6th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Would promise to undo health care get you to vote for a Republican?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Much like the Democrats themselves, President Obama's signature issue of health care reform might get quite a beating in the midterm elections.
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For starters, three states will vote on proposed constitutional amendments that would let them opt out of key provisions in the health care law.

Arizona, Colorado and Oklahoma are all hoping to follow the lead of Missouri - which has already passed a similar initiative with a whopping 71 percent of the vote.

The idea of these measures is to ban the federal government from forcing people to buy health insurance.

Supporters say it's unconstitutional. Whether it is or not, there is a lot of opposition to this law which was cobbled together out of public view, contains no public option, and so far hasn't done a single thing to bring down health care costs.

A lot of Republicans are latching on to the discontent over this issue; pledging to repeal the health care law if they win control of Congress.

Democrats who voted against the bill are also making sure their constituents know it, and a lot of those who voted for the bill are keeping quiet.

It's unlikely Republicans will be able to repeal the measure while President Obama is still in office. And it's unclear if moderate Republicans and Independents will support efforts to undo the law.

A recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows 47 percent of those surveyed want Congress to repeal and replace the health care law; and fewer than one in five think the law will personally help them or their families.

Here’s my question to you: Would a promise to undo health care reform be enough to get you to vote for a Republican?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Election Process • Elections • GOP • Health care • Republican Party • Republicans
September 20th, 2010
03:33 PM ET

Will your health care costs rise under Pres. Obama's new law?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/09/20/art.vaccine.gi.jpg caption ="In some states, health care costs are increasing, in spite of new laws aimed at cutting costs."]

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Democratic candidates up for election are spending three times more advertising against President Obama's health care law than they are for it.

The president told Americans over and over again during the heated health care debate reform would mean lower health care costs. But so far, the opposite is happening.

Let's start with California, where regulators have now cleared all four of the state's major insurers for rate hikes. These four companies control 90 percent of California's individual health insurance policies.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Aetna was the last company to be approved, with rate hikes averaging 19 percent.

The company is defending the rate, saying they're necessary to keep up with rising health care costs – like hospital care, prescription drugs and doctor's visits.

They say the maximum increase for some of its members will be 30 percent. Thirty percent! Some policy holders are rightfully worried that they soon won't be able to afford health insurance.

Meanwhile, in Connecticut, regulators have approved rate hikes of more than 20 percent for the state's largest health insurer, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield

The Hartford Courant reports increases will vary depending on the plan, but costs will go up due to rising medical costs and the benefits from health care reform. This includes things like covering young adults until they turn 26 and covering the full cost of preventive care like mammograms and colonoscopies.

These rate changes mostly affect new customers buying individual plans, not those who are already insured through an employer.

Here’s my question to you: Do you think your health care costs will rise under Pres. Obama's new health care law?

Interested to know which ones made it to air?


Filed under: Health care
September 13th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Will health care reform become more popular like W.H. says?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Months after President Obama's health care reform became law, the White House is still hoping voters will learn to like it. This may be wishful thinking.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/09/13/art.hospital.jpg caption=""]
David Axelrod, the president’s senior adviser, said on “Meet the Press,” "I think that health care, over time, is going to become more popular," adding that right now people are focused and anxious about the economy. Unless I missed something, health care costs are part of everyone's "personal economy."

The fact is the health care issue is so unpopular with voters that not a single Democratic candidate is promoting the law in their campaign ads. A recent Wall Street Journal column asked "Who's ObamaCare's Daddy?" It suggested that even liberals are now denying paternity of the law.

Some Republicans are vowing to repeal it if they gain control of Congress.

And it's not hard to find reasons why the president's signature issue is unpopular. During the long health care debate, the president told voters over and over the law would bring down rising health care costs and save them money.

So far, that's not happening. An analysis from Medicare shows health care costs will increase through 2019 as a result of the law.

Last week at his news conference, Obama seemed to back off a bit from his earlier claims, saying he never expected to extend insurance coverage to 31 million people "for free." The White House insists that over the long term costs will go down. But apparently not until costs go up some more.

Here’s my question to you: The White House says health care reform will become more popular. Do you agree?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Health care • White House
August 3rd, 2010
06:00 PM ET

'Impossible' to know number of agencies, commissions created by health care law



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

A sprawling bureaucratic giant - nobody knows how big it will be. That seems to be the result of President Obama's new health care law.

According to Politico, a recent report says it's "impossible" to estimate the number of agencies, boards and commissions created by the new law.

The Congressional Research Service report points to many reasons for this. First off, the parts of the law that create new bodies vary drastically. In some cases – the law gives lots of details... in other cases, barely a mention.

Also, the law authorizes some new entities... without saying who will do the appointing, or when it will happen.

And all this means some agencies could wait indefinitely for staff and funding... while others could multiply... creating quote "an indeterminate number of new organizations."

So far this is shaping up to be exactly what the critics were afraid it would be.

For example, there's one provision in the health care law that requires six separate agencies - six - within Health and Human Services to each establish an Office of Minority Health.

One Alaska health task force was supposed to meet by May 7... it held its first meeting July 16. Another committee on breast cancer was supposed to be set up by May 22. It's August 3 and it's still reviewing nominations for committee members.

There are also questions about the ability of Congress to carry out oversight of this sprawling mess. And there are concerns about the the number of appointments the General Accounting Office gets to make - at least 83 new members to six new boards.

Here’s my question to you: How will the government manage our health care if it's "impossible" to know the number of agencies, boards and commissions created by the new health care law?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Health care
June 15th, 2010
04:59 PM ET

If GOP wins Congress in Nov., repeal health care reform?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Remember how health care reform was supposed to make health care affordable for all Americans? Well that's not what's happening.

A new report says employer health care costs will jump another nine percent in 2011 - and you can bet that companies will pass along those higher costs to their workers.

The Price Waterhouse Coopers survey of 700 employers shows they plan to offset costs by raising deductibles. By 2011 - more than 50 percent of employees will have a deductible of $400 or more... that's compared to only 25 percent who paid that much in 2008.

Also, 13 percent of companies say their primary plans in 2010 had deductibles of more than $1,100... that's more than double the level in 2008.

If these troubling trends continue, health care will become less affordable for those people who actually have insurance.

And, in the end, the health care law will be another gift to the insurance and pharmaceutical companies... and another burden on taxpayers.

Republicans are trying to seize on this.

More than 70 incumbent lawmakers and more than 330 GOP candidates have signed a pledge to support legislation that would repeal the health care law - and replace it with something less costly - if they win in November.

Meanwhile - Democrats are hoping that as more parts of the law take effect and the public feels the benefits, they'll get behind it.

But, for now, polls still show that majorities of Americans oppose health care reform... months after it was shoved down our throats.

Here’s my question to you: If the Republicans win control of Congress in November, should they repeal health care reform?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Congress • GOP • Health care • Republicans
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