Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Pelosi: 'We Passed Health Reform to Improve Medicare and Ensure Seniors Can Count on It Now and for Generations'

/PRNewswire/ -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Barbara Kennelly of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, and Dr. Ben Williamowsky of Silver Spring, Md., a Medicare recipient, held a news conference today to discuss benefits of and misconceptions about the Affordable Care Act and Medicare.

The participants highlighted a four-page brochure, "Medicare and the New Health Care Law, What it Means for You," which was mailed by HHS this week to seniors. It outlines the benefits for Medicare recipients in the new health insurance reform law.

Below are Speaker Pelosi's opening remarks and selected quotes from each of the other participants:

Speaker Pelosi Opening Remarks:
"Good afternoon. I know you are out there. [Laughter.] Good afternoon.

"And a good afternoon it is when we have the Secretary of Health and Human Services with us at the Capitol--Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, a champion in promoting health care for all Americans as a right, not a privilege. I am here with Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. A special guest for all of us, Dr. Ben Williamowsky, a retired dentist and local senior. Steny will introduce him, but I want to say that my father gave him his diploma from dental school in 1948. Where is he? There. We go way back. [Laughter.]

"Four decades ago, Congress created Medicare, a bedrock promise to our seniors. This year, we passed health care reform to improve Medicare, to protect seniors and people with disabilities, and to ensure that seniors can count on Medicare now and for generations to come.

"We are here to draw attention to a critical piece of mail our seniors will get this week. This four-page brochure outlines the new benefits in health reform for Medicare recipients. There it is.

"Perhaps most significantly it begins with what stays the same for Medicare. No change in guaranteed benefits and no change in eligibility. During open enrollment this fall, seniors will continue to have a choice between original Medicare and Medicare Advantage. Medicare will continue to cover health cost the way it always has for seniors. Barbara Kennelly is here, our former colleague, to attest to that.

"Members of Congress will head home to their districts this weekend for Memorial Day. One of our top jobs is to clear up confusion and correct misinformation around health reform. This brochure for seniors is a good place to start.

"We also have to make clear that Congressional Republicans calling for repeal also oppose those benefits and would return us to a system of higher drug cost, shrinking benefits, and insecurity for our seniors. In fact, they have a budget--that's the nature of their budget--that ends Medicare as we know it and turns Social Security over to the whims of Wall Street.

"Republicans in Congress chose the side of the insurance industry and its profits, over the care of what seniors need and deserve. Democrats have been on the side of America's seniors -- securing Medicare for the long-term, ensuring accountability for the insurance industry -- accountability for the insurance industry -- and giving seniors, families, and doctors greater control over their care.

"It is now my honor, as I mentioned earlier, to introduce a great woman who is with us today. And I mention that my father gave Dr. Williamowsky his diploma in 1948. I want to mention that Barbara Kennelly, former Congresswoman, now the head of the Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, and Kathleen Sebelius and I are all graduates of Trinity College in Washington, D.C. -- a women's college in Washington, D.C. And we all had fathers in politics -- the governor of Ohio, the mayor of Baltimore, and Mr. Bailey, the king of the Democratic Party in Connecticut and nationally, as a matter of fact. We had fathers who encouraged their daughters. I hope that there is a message here.

"Again, now, it's my honor to yield the floor to the distinguished Secretary of Health and Human Services. As governor -- as insurance commissioner in her home state of Kansas, as governor of the state -- she knows the ramifications and the implications of legislative language very well. As a person with a vision for health care for all Americans, she is an inspiration to all of us and a major reason why we were able to pass that important legislation. Welcome, Secretary Sebelius."


Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius:

"There has been a lot of misinformation promoted about what the Affordable Care Act will and won't do, particularly as it regards seniors and their benefits. Unfortunately, some of that has distracted from: What are the real benefits available in the new law to seniors?"

"The Affordable Care Act will finally close the prescription drug donut hole, an issue that has been a hot topic for seniors and disabled Americans. It starts this year with seniors receiving $250 checks and will gradually, over the course of the program, close the donut hole for the 8 million seniors who end up in that category right now where they are paying 100 percent out of pocket for critical prescription drugs..."

"We want to inform America's seniors what the act actually contains, what benefits they have coming their way, how to take advantage of those benefits, and what sort of priorities they will be. And this is the beginning of what will continue to be an aggressive outreach campaign."

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer:

"Older Americans faced an enormous amount of misinformation over the course of the health care debate. It was conscious, it was intended to misinform, and it was intended for political reasons, not for policy reasons."

"But now that the health insurance reform is law, the world hasn't ended, older Americans are learning about all the benefits and policies that are working to strengthen Medicare and their peace of mind."

Dr. Ben Williamowsky:

"I am here because I support the Affordable Care Act, and I believe it is important for seniors like myself to understand how the legislation will improve Medicare in the future."

"There are a lot of reasons why I believe the Affordable Care Act will be good for Medicare. And I also believe it will be good for my family, and that's a thought I would like to leave you today. People ask me, people my friends who are one of the anti-groups, who will say: 'What is it going to do for you? Why are you so much in favor of this bill?' I said: 'Well, I will tell you two very important things it is going to do for me. Number one, it is going to allow me to live out my life.

...And the other reason I give them is this, we have a granddaughter--Minna and I, Minna is in the audience--who at the age of three had a malignant brain tumor. She was operated on. She has gone through treatments all of her life. She is now 25 and functioning fairly well, but still under the care and treatment from time to time. She is 25 years old. She has been taken care of on her parents' health insurance. Now without this bill, what was going to happen when she was 26? When they could not find a job for her that has health benefits to pay that? When she could not have it any longer under her parents' insurance? She would be cut off without insurance at the age of 26 and be faced with a terrible, terrible dilemma and challenges to her going on in her life. Now I can say that she can, with this bill, that she can get health insurance and it will not be dependent on any pre-existing conditions"

Barbara Kennelly:

"So now as President of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, I watched this bill develop -- I read about this bill, I studied this bill. Our members -- we have 4 million members and supporters. And I went around the country telling my members and mailing to my members that this is a good idea."

"Doing nothing was not an option. Because you know why? Because we could not afford Medicare. The government couldn't afford it and the people on Medicare couldn't afford it."

"Once I tell my members what's in this bill. Once I explain to them about this bill -- they are for it. And therefore I urge all former friends of mine in the Congress: Get out there and sell this bill. Because if we don't have this bill, Medicare will be broke down the line."

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Yoest Applauds Senator Sessions in Call for Postponement

/Standard Newswire/ -- "Yesterday, we asked the Senate Judiciary Committee to postpone the Kagan
confirmation hearings if the Clinton Presidential Library fails to deliver important documents from Ms. Kagan's tenure in the Clinton Administration with enough lead time to allow Senators to thoroughly examine them. In a Senate floor speech yesterday, Senator Jeff Sessions said that he would have no choice but to ask for a delay if the documents are not delivered in a timely fashion. I applaud Senator Sessions for his leadership. The American people and their elected representatives need
to have all of the facts available to them when weighing this critical, lifetime appointment to the United States Supreme Court." -- Dr. Charmaine Yoest, President & CEO of Americans United for Life

Americans United for Life (AUL) is a nonprofit, public- interest law and policy organization whose vision is a nation in which everyone is welcomed in life and protected in law. The first national pro-life organization in America, AUL has been committed to defending human life through vigorous judicial, legislative, and educational efforts at both the federal and state levels since 1971.

AUL's legal team has been involved in every pro-life case before the U.S. Supreme Court including the
successful defense of the Hyde Amendment. AUL also publishes Defending Life, the most comprehensive state- by-state legal guide of its kind, which is distributed annually to legislators across the nation.

Recently, Americans United for Life detailed the facts on taxpayer-funding of abortion during the debate over federal health care legislation, provided legal assistance to states working to opt out of abortion provisions created by federal health care law, and has played a major role in educating policymakers on the record of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan.

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Libertarian National Convention to be held May 29-31 in St. Louis

The Libertarian Party (LP) will hold its National Convention in St. Louis from Saturday, May 29, through Monday, May 31.

The convention will take place at the Renaissance Grand Hotel in St. Louis. The press is welcome to attend.

Information about the convention, including the schedule, is available at the convention website. The convention has been titled "Gateway to Liberty."

Additional meetings and related events will occur on May 27 and 28.

Unlike the Democratic and Republican parties, the Libertarian Party holds a national convention every two years. At this convention, delegates from around the country will be amending the party's platform and bylaws, and will elect officers and other members to the Libertarian National Committee.

One of the highlights of the convention will be the hotly contested election to replace outgoing Chairman William Redpath. Five Libertarians have declared their candidacies in that race.

Redpath commented, "We're seeing tremendous voter antipathy toward the Democratic and Republican parties. This is shaping up to be an exciting year for the Libertarian Party."

Currently, there are 632 Libertarian candidates declared for the November 2 elections, including 172 candidates for U.S. Congress. A list of candidates may be viewed here.

Among the speakers at the convention will be Bob Barr, the LP's 2008 presidential nominee.

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Rand Paul Sets the Record Straight

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Kentucky Republican nominee for United States Senate Dr. Rand Paul today released the following statement:

“My opponent’s statement on MSNBC Wednesday that I favor repeal of the Civil Rights Act was irresponsible and knowingly false. I hope he will correct the record and retract his claims.”

“I believe we should work to end all racism in American society and staunchly defend the inherent rights of every person. I have clearly stated in prior interviews that I abhor racial discrimination and would have worked to end segregation. Even though this matter was settled when I was 2, and no serious people are seeking to revisit it except to score cheap political points, I unequivocally state that I will not support any efforts to repeal the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“Let me be clear: I support the Civil Rights Act because I overwhelmingly agree with the intent of the legislation, which was to stop discrimination in the public sphere and halt the abhorrent practice of segregation and Jim Crow laws.

“As I have said in previous statements, sections of the Civil Rights Act were debated on Constitutional grounds when the legislation was passed. Those issues have been settled by federal courts in the intervening years.

“My opponent’s statement on MSNBC Wednesday that I favor repeal of the Civil Rights Act was irresponsible and knowingly false. I hope he will correct the record and retract his claims.

“The issue of civil rights is one with a tortured history in this country. We have made great strides, but there is still work to be done to ensure the great promise of Liberty is granted to all Americans.

“This much is clear: The federal government has far overreached in its power grabs. Just look at the recent national healthcare schemes, which my opponent supports. The federal government, for the first time ever, is mandating that individuals purchase a product. The federal government is out of control, and those who love liberty and value individual and state’s rights must stand up to it.

“These attacks prove one thing for certain: the liberal establishment is desperate to keep leaders like me out of office, and we are sure to hear more wild, dishonest smears during this campaign.”

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Jody Hice for Congress Campaign Sponsors Petition to Support Arizona

/Standard Newswire/ -- Jody Hice, Republican candidate for Congress in Georgia's 7th District and
nationally syndicated talk show host, today announced that his campaign is sponsoring a Defend Arizona
Now petition drive.

"Why would a candidate for Congress in Georgia sponsor a petition supporting Arizona in its efforts to
fight illegal immigration? I simply want to ask Americans, wherever they live, to encourage the
people of Arizona, Governor Brewer, and Arizona legislators who have been under a firestorm of
criticism and threats, including a possible lawsuit by the Obama administration. Frankly, I got tired of all the piling-on against Arizona by Pro Illegal Immigration, political leftists. I decided to give Americans who are tired of this non-sense to have a simple way to speak up and to be heard," Hice declared.

"My wife's great-great grandfather was the first president of Argentina, but I know that won't insulate
me from charges that my support for Arizona is somehow anti-Hispanic or racist. I see people as
individuals, not racial or ethnic groups. I find it truly disturbing that liberal interest groups resort to race-
baiting and inciting violence to push their agenda," Hice declared.

"Governor Brewer and the Arizona legislators," according to Hice, "acted to protect the safety and
security of their state because the federal government has been, I think, criminally negligent in not enforcing our laws and securing our borders."

The Defend Arizona Now petition is available at (

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Libertarians say Kagan is bad, but bigger problem exists

Wes Benedict, Executive Director of the Libertarian Party, issued the following statement today:

"Elena Kagan is another bad pick for the Supreme Court. If confirmed, it is likely that she will vote on cases with the intent of advancing political policy goals.

"Kagan will probably vote to advance liberal policy goals, just as some other justices vote to advance conservative policy goals. That is not the place of justices, who should be applying the Constitution, not trying to rewrite it to make society work better according to their views.

"However, the bitter battles over Supreme Court justices expose a more serious problem in our federal government: the legislative and executive branches simply refuse to take the Constitution seriously.

"Once upon a time, Congress felt it had a duty to legislate in accordance with the Constitution. Likewise, past presidents believed that they should veto laws that were not clearly constitutional. But in more recent years, both branches have thrown this crucial duty away. Now their attitude seems to be, 'We can pass anything we want to, and let the Supreme Court deal with it if they don't like it.' That was absolutely not what the American Founders had in mind.

"We shouldn't have to worry so much about who gets appointed to the Supreme Court. It shouldn't be the case that a single justice can make all of American society lurch from one direction to another. They shouldn't have that much power.

"Republicans who want to throw stones at Kagan, ought to ask themselves why they supported the Bush Administration's blatantly unconstitutional Patriot Act, or why they supported huge expansions of the blatantly unconstitutional Medicare program. When they were in power, they showed absolutely no respect for the Constitution.

"I wish that President Obama had picked a nominee with more regard for the original intent of the Constitution. But even more than that, I wish that he and the members of Congress would stop shirking their responsibility to apply the Constitution themselves."

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Sen. Moody to Leave Political Life after Eight Years

After eight years of service, Sen. Dan Moody (R-Johns Creek) announced his retirement and will not seek reelection in the fall. To commemorate his service, the Senate presented him with a privileged resolution sponsored by Sen. David Shafer (R-Duluth) detailing his long and distinguished career.

“I was proud to encourage Dan Moody to run for the Senate eight years ago,” said Shafer. “I admire his commitment to his constituency as well as to his own morals and values. He truly embodies the qualities that all statesmen should posses: upstanding character, loyalty, and a commitment to what is right. I wish him and his family the best and hope his retirement brings him both joy and happiness.”

“Senator Moody has served the State of Georgia extremely well during his time in the State Senate. His thoughtful leadership has made a real impact on our state and I know I speak for the entire Senate Republican Caucus when I commend him on a job well done. We wish him and his family all the best,” said Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle.

Sen. Moody began his service in the Senate in 2002 when he was elected by the 27th District of Georgia, which later became the 56th district. He quickly established himself as a leader in the legislative body when was appointed by Gov. Sonny Perdue to serve on the Southern Regional Education Board Legislative Advisory Council which is dedicated to the advancement of education throughout a 16 state region. Currently, Moody serves as the Chairman of the Senate Majority Caucus and the Chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee.

Throughout his legislative career, Moody received numerous awards that highlight his commitment to the people of Georgia. In 2005, he was named Legislator of the Year by Gov. Perdue. Additionally, he has been named the 2006 Legislator of the Year from the Georgia Association of Home and Services for Children as well as the Bobby Rowan Advocacy Award from the Atlanta Alliance on Development Disabilities.

He was called to serve his country as young man when he was commissioned as an officer in the United States Army Ordnance Corps. After his initial service, he again enlisted with the United States Army Reserves where he retired as a captain. Professionally, Moody is an electrical engineer and is the former owner of an established business in Forsyth County that provides instrumentation products and services to the industrial control market throughout the world.

Moody has been married to his wife Stephanie for 39 wonderful years and has three children and seven grandchildren. His wife, who is also a community leader, serves on the Atlanta/ Fulton County Library Board of Trustees. His colleagues noted that he will be missed for his example of integrity, class, and the influence he has had upon the people of Georgia. They commended him on his selfless, efficient, and effective service to all Georgians.

# # #

Sen. Dan Moody serves as the Republican Caucus Chairman. He represents the 56th Senate District which includes parts of Fulton County. He can be reached at 404.463.8055 or by email at

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Senate Fix Needed to Meet White House Promise That Financial Reform Won't Weaken State Insurance Regulation

/PRNewswire/ -- Financial reform legislation must be amended to preserve states' ability to protect insurance consumers and bring the bill in line with White House comments yesterday targeting potential industry loopholes in financial reform, said Consumer Watchdog today.

White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer blogged a list of the '10 Most Wanted Lobbyist Loopholes' in the financial reform bill yesterday. He warned against efforts to exempt the insurance industry from new information collection requirements and notes that the bill does not change states' authority to regulate insurance. However language in the legislation currently under consideration in the Senate would grant the Treasury Department broad new authority to preempt state insurance laws and regulations on behalf of foreign insurance companies.

Pfeiffer wrote: "Insurance is regulated by the states, not the federal government - and this bill doesn't change that. But this bill would give the Treasury Department the ability to collect information from insurance companies so that it can help identify emerging risks before they blow up the financial system - like AIG."

Consumer advocates point to language in the main Senate proposal that would allow federal preemption of state insurance laws and are calling for an amendment to bring the bill in line with White House position on this issue.

"The Senate bill would allow Treasury to roll back strong state insurance protections on behalf of foreign insurance firms. It must be amended to meet White House assurances that state oversight of insurance will not be harmed. Insurance deregulation should not be the end result of the Senate's financial re-regulation package," said Carmen Balber, Washington Director for Consumer Watchdog.

An amendment offered by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and supported by Consumer Watchdog would narrow the broad scope of insurance preemption in the bill to help preserve state insurance regulation and give Congress and the states more input into insurance agreements negotiated by Treasury.

The current Senate provisions would allow Treasury to negotiate new insurance policy through international agreements and behind closed doors, with no input from Congress, state regulators or insurance consumers. Treasury need not consider states' regulatory goals, potential gaps in insurance regulation, or protect insurance consumers in negotiating such agreements. Agreements could then be used to preempt state insurance protections, including capital, solvency and other prudential laws, on behalf of foreign insurers. The states would have no authority to challenge unilateral preemption decisions by Treasury on the merits. Even state laws that treat all insurance companies equally could be subject to preemption. And the current language threatens to subject state insurance laws to preemption under deregulatory constraints contained in existing trade agreements.

"A Senate fix is necessary to preserve states' ability to protect insurance consumers," said Balber.

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