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Archive for November 19th, 2009

VIRUS in the VOTING MACHINES: Tainted Results in NY-23 

By Nathan Barker    

The computerized voting machines used by many voters in the 23rd district had a computer virus – tainting the results, not just from those machines known to have been infected, but casting doubt on the accuracy of counts retrieved from any of the machines.

Cathleen Rogers, the Democratic Elections Commissioner in Hamilton County stated that they discovered a problem with their voting machines the week prior to the election and that the “virus” was fixed by a Technical Support representative from Dominion, the manufacturer.  The Dominion/Sequoia Voting Systems representative “reprogrammed” their machines in time for them to use in the Nov. 3rd Special Election. None of the machines (from the same manufacturer) used in the other counties within the 23rd district were looked at nor were they recertified after the “reprogramming” that occurred in Hamilton County.

Republican Commissioner Judith Peck refused to speculate on whether the code that governs the counts could have been tampered with.  She indicated that “as far as I know, the machine in question was not functioning properly and was repaired” by the technician.

Commissioners in other counties have stated that they were not made aware of the virus issue in Hamilton County.  In Jefferson County, inspectors from four districts claim that “human error” resulted in their “mistakenly” entering 0 votes for Hoffman in several districts, resulting in Owens leading Jefferson County on election night though the recanvas of the computer counts now show that Hoffman is leading.  Jefferson County has not conducted a manual paper ballot recount.

In St. Lawrence County, machines in Louisville, Waddington, Claire, and Rossie “broke” early in the voting process on election day.  Republican Commissioner Deborah Pahler said that the machines kept “freezing up… like Windows does all the time,” and that they experienced several paper jams as well.  The voted ballots that could not be scanned were placed in an Emergency Lock Box and re-scanned later at the St. Lawrence County Board of Elections.  Election officials in St. Lawrence County were given no advance knowledge of a potential virus in the system.

At least one County official thus far has raised concern that it’s possible that ALL of the machines used in the NY-23 election had the ‘virus’ but only a few malfunctioned as a result.  The counts from any district that used the ImageCast machines are suspect due to “the virus” discovered in Hamilton County, last-minute “reprogramming” by Dominion workers, and security flaws in the systems themselves.  A manual paper-ballot recount of the vote could resolve computer vote accuracy questions.

Frank Hoar, an attorney for the Democratic Party, initially ordered the impound of malfunctioning machines but released the order on Nov. 5th so that Bill Owens could be sworn in to Congress in time to vote on the House Health bill on November 7th.  Pahler said that once the impound order was released they opened the locked ballot box and had the ballots scanned.  Pahler also stated that after they were able to get data from the malfunctioning machines, they did a hand-count of the ballots as well to ensure that the counts matched.  Even though not required to, both commissioners in St. Lawrence County agreed that the manual count was necessary due to the malfunctions

The machines themselves are languishing at the St. Lawrence County Board of Elections until after the election results have been certified to the state on November 28th, 2009.  Pahler indicated that they have not yet been able to examine the machines to determine why they malfunctioned.   A qualified technician would be able to verify the presence of a virus in the computers, but, other than the infected machines, no security precautions were taken to ensure chain of custody on the remaining computerized voting machines utilized in the 23rd district.

Doug Hoffman, the Conservative candidate in this election says that he was forced to concede after having been given erroneous election results on Nov. 3rd, in particular from Oswego County.  Oswego County‘s election night results were off by over 1,000 votes. Hoffman claims that the “chaos” on which Oswego County chairs blame the errors and “inspectors who read numbers incorrectly when phoning in results… sounds like a tactic right from the ACORN playbook.”

Some County Election officials are stating that the errors, referred to by Hoffman, are standard election-night chaos and not the result of conspiracy or tampering. Whether the erroneous results are computer error, or tampering, significant doubt now exists with regard to the accuracy of the vote counts from November 3rd.

Hoffman is raising funds for a possible legal challenge to the results and requesting that the Boards of Election hand-count every vote.  On Tuesday, he “unconceded” the race.  In light of the current concerns over the accuracy of the machine-counted votes, Hoffman may now have a legitimate reason to contest the election results.

Of further note, the models of ImageCast machines used in the districts have a slot through which the paper ballot is deposited into a secure holding tank underneath the machine after the ballot is scanned by the machine.  The problem is that the slot is readily accessible to the voter (or poll worker) to stuff manually.  10 voted ballots could be deposited in the slot for every one voter… and if the electronic count was compromised, the “paper backup” would be useless.

The ImageCast machines have one more significant and scary flaw: USB ports.  USB ports allow various devices to be attached to a computer in order to input information, connect a device, add wireless network capability and so on.  Wireless network devices and USB storage devices can (and are) made small enough to fit into a regular wristwatch or bracelet.

Through either type of device, software hacks or remote control of the voting machine could be implemented or a virus introduced.  Since standard count audits are only done on 3% of the machines unless there is a malfunction, a functional hack or software change could adjust election counts with the County or State Boards of Election none the wiser.

The paper ballots have not been counted by the County Boards of Elections except in the 4 districts where the known computer malfunctions occurred.  The remaining districts performed a mandatory 3% spot check of the computer results but have not manually counted the remainder of the paper ballots and do not intend to.

The paper ballots themselves are another issue of concern to many voters.  Unlike the traditional pull-lever voting machine that tallies its votes mechanically, the ballots used by the scanning system exist as a voted ballot after the fact.  New York State law currently has no provision for those ballots to remain in public view to assure voters that they have not been tampered with.

Privacy concerns exist in many districts as well.  State guidelines say that the voter is supposed to be issued a privacy sleeve to cover the ballot so that no one may see the voted ballot and thus how a voter voted.  The state also suggests a large booth that allows the voter to fill out the ballot in privacy but many voters complained that the district they voted in offered no privacy sleeve and that the area they were supposed to complete the ballot in was not private.

Erik Dunk, a Jefferson County resident, voted in Henderson, NY.  He said that the process was very nervewracking and that his voted ballot was not only in plain view after he completed it but that the workers took the ballot from him and fed it into the ImageCast machine themselves – removing what little privacy remained in the voting process and casting even more doubt on the security of the process.

Despite continued assurances from the manufacturer that the system is unhackable, reliable, easy to use, private, and secure; a stream of lawsuits, allegations of voter fraud, and machine failures against Sequoia from other congressional districts continue to contradict their statements.

The manufacturer of the machines, Dominion/Sequoia Voting Systems is the same company that Dan Rather accused of causing over 50,000 votes to go uncounted in the 2000 Presidential Election in Florida due to intentional oversight.  Rather’s report claimed that Sequoia was well aware of the issues but proceeded into the election utilizing an inferior product and told election workers and technicians to “ignore the problems.

New York election officials are in a corner.  While there is significant evidence of malfunction with the new voting machines that were in use in the 23rd District and the accuracy of the recorded votes, the State had no choice but to use them.  A Federal Court order demanded that New York have the machines in place and use them or be found in violation of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 which requires that all polling locations have handicapped-accessible voting machines with a variety of options available so that anyone may use the machine to vote. [emphasis mine]

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For the text that explains the federal subsidy of abortion, see Section 1303 beginning on page 116 of the Senate’s 2,074-page bill.

 

Reid Introduces Senate Health Bill That Mandates Federally Subsidized Abortion

By Terence P. Jeffrey

Senate Majority Harry Reid (D.-Nev.) late Wednesday published the final text of a Senate health care bill that would mandate federally subsidized abortion.

The mandate appears on page 120 of the 2,074-page bill under the seemingly innocuous heading: ‘Assured Availability of Varied Coverage Through Exchanges.”

Specifically, the provision requires that the secretary of Health and Human Services make certain that at least one health insurance plan offered in government-regulated insurance exchanges where people will be able to purchase health insurance using government subsidies must provide coverage of abortion. The secretary also must make certain that at least one plan available in the exchanges not cover abortions.

The relevant language says:

“The Secretary shall assure that with respect to qualified health plans offered in any Exchange established pursuant to this title—(I) there is at least one such plan that provides coverage of services described in clauses (i) and (ii) of subparagraph (B); and (II) there is at least one such plan that does not provide coverage of services described in subparagraph (B)(i).”

The clause “(i)” of “subparagraph (B)” referred to in this passage defines those types of abortions currently banned from receiving federal funding under the Hyde Amendment. The Hyde Amendment bans federal funding for all abortions except those done in cases of rape, incest and a threat to the life of the mother. So, the language of Sen. Reid’s health care bill mandates that at least one health insurance plan available to people buying health insurance with federal subsidies cover those abortions that are currently prohibited from receiving federal funding under the Hyde Amendment.

Reid’s bill attempts to mitigate the fact that it is mandating the use of tax dollars to pay for insurance plans that cover abortions by requiring the insurance plans to charge all customers at least $1 dollar of their own money to theoretically pay for the abortion part of their insurance coverage and segregate those funds from the funds the insurance plan receives from the federal government.

The National Right to Life Committee decried the abortion funding language in the Reid health care bill. But pro-abortion Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.), who pushed a provision similar to Reid’s in the House bill only to see her efforts trumped by the pro-life Stupak amendment, applauded Reid’s language. 

National Right to Life Legislative Director Douglas Johnson said Reid’s bill “creates new tax-supported subsidies to purchase private health plans that will cover abortion on demand.

Rep. Capps said she was pleased with Reid’s language.

“I am pleased that the Senate has adopted a reasonable, common ground approach on this difficult question,” she said in a statement.

“It appears that their approach closely mirrors my language which was originally included in the House bill.” [Emphasis mine]

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In exercising true ex cathedra infallibility, the Holy Father of African American politics has added healthcare to the list of characteristics that make African Americans authentically black.

Once again the Reverend of Plantation Politics reinforces the notion that being black means never having to think for yourself. “Leave it to Jesse to do his part to make sure no blacks wander off the white liberal plantation.” 

I.M. Kane

 

Jesse Jackson: ‘You can’t vote against healthcare and call yourself a black man’

By Mike Soraghan

The Rev. Jesse Jackson on Wednesday night criticized Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.) for voting against the Democrats’ signature healthcare bill.

“We even have blacks voting against the healthcare bill,” Jackson said at a reception Wednesday night.

You can’t vote against healthcare and call yourself a black man.” [emphasis mine]

The remark stirred a murmur at the reception, held by the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Foundation as part of a series of events revolving around the 25th anniversary of Jackson’s run for president. Several CBC members were in attendance, including Chairwoman Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), who’d introduced Jackson.

Davis, who is running for governor, is the only black member of Congress from Alabama. He is also the only member of the CBC to have voted against the healthcare bill earlier this month.

Davis referred to Jackson’s 1988 run for president in a statement, issued through his office, that said he would not engage Jackson on his criticism.

“One of the reasons that I like and admire Rev. Jesse Jackson is that 21 years ago he inspired the idea that a black politician would not be judged simply as a black leader,” Davis’s statement said.

“The best way to honor Rev. Jackson’s legacy is to decline to engage in an argument with him that begins and ends with race.”

Jackson said later that he “didn’t call anybody by name and I won’t.”

He added that he wasn’t saying that black lawmakers must vote a certain way. Instead, they should vote the interests of the people in their districts, and he said the healthcare bill would help Alabama because it’s one of the poorest states in the country.

“The poorest people need healthcare protection,” Jackson said.

“They have the highest infant mortality and the lowest life expectancy. They’re dying from lack of access.”

Other members of the CBC found no fault in Jackson’s words. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) was in the audience. He called Jackson’s criticism of Davis “accurate,” but said he did not hear Jackson say “You can’t vote against healthcare and call yourself a black man.”

“If it is an issue that disproportionately impacts black folks, race has to be considered,” Cleaver said. Jackson, he added, “is expected by his constituency to call balls and strikes.”

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) called the remarks “vintage Jesse Jackson,” but said Davis’s vote against healthcare was consistent with a voting record more conservative than many CBC members.

“Artur Davis has a more conservative constituency,” Waters said.

“Since he’s running for governor of Alabama, he reflects an even more conservative constituency.”

Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas) said each man was doing what he considered the right thing.

“People have a right to vote their constituency, and people have a right to speak their conscience,” Jackson-Lee said.

“Both happened.”

Davis’s Democratic primary opponent, Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks, highlighted Davis’s status as the lone African-American vote against the bill.

“He was the only Black Caucus member to vote against it. I don’t get it,” Sparks said last week, according to The Associated Press. Sparks is white.

Davis said he voted against the healthcare bill because “House leadership’s approach is not the best we can do.” He said he preferred a version passed by the Senate Finance Committee because it reduces subsidization of the healthcare industry, taxes high-value health plans instead of wealthy people, and is more effective in getting employers to help with health coverage.

Davis has countered that Sparks’s position on healthcare has changed over time, saying he’s being “deliberately dishonest.”

The primary will be June 1. All of the GOP candidates for governor have been critical of the healthcare legislation, according to the AP.

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MAN-MADE CLIMATE CHANGE

Unaffiliated Voters Moving toward GOP in Colorado

According to Joe Hanel of the Durango Herald, there’s a chance for Republican Scott Tipton to pull a major upset over John Salazar, the incumbent Democrat congressman.

Recent elections around the country show unaffiliated voters leaning toward Republicans, while Democratic voters tended to stay home, said Floyd Ciruli, a nonpartisan pollster.

Ciruli pointed to Tipton and Ryan Frazier as two Republicans who might benefit.

“I think the Republican Party wisely saw that lightning could strike out there. This could be one of those exceptional years,” he said.

Democrats outnumber Republicans by 81 in the House of Representatives. Ciruli thinks Republicans can reasonably expect to win back 20 of those seats next year, but if “lightning strikes” and the GOP wins the 41 seats it needs to take over the House, Tipton and Frazier could be part of that group.

In 2006, Salazar beat Tipton 62 percent to 37 percent, but the national climate was more favorable for Democrats that year. [emphasis mine]

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During Wednesday’s Justice Department oversight hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) stupefies Attorney General Eric Holder with a question Holder should have come prepared to answer.

For once Graham shows some moxie, asks some tough questions, and tears General Holder a new one. After deciding to try the accused mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheik Mohammed in the US civilian court system, General Holder doesn’t seem to know that he is setting precedent for trying enemy combatants in US civilian courts.

Graham presses Holder to find out if the Khalid Sheik Mohammed trial will set precedent for trials of lesser known terrorists and whether or not US troops will have to Mirandize jihadists they capture on the battle field. The General doesn’t seem to have thought through the ramifications of his actions enough to answer Graham’s questions.

I.M. Kane

 

Lindsey Graham Destroys Eric Holder 4:40 Video

 

Would U.S. Need To Read Bin Laden His Miranda Rights?

By Frank James

Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to give a federal court trial instead of a military commission hearing to five Guantanamo detainees the government has linked to the 9/11 attacks has led to criticism that the Obama Administration is transforming the war on terror from a military to law-enforcement affair.

This has led some critics to wonder if captured terrorist suspects would have to be read their Miranda rights on being captured by U.S. military or law enforcement representatives.

In one of the highlights of Wednesday’s Justice Department oversight hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, attempted to put Holder on the spot with the question: would U.S. officials need to Mirandize Osama bin Ladin if it captured him, including telling the al Qaeda leader that he had the right to remain silent?

Holder essentially said no, not necessarily. It would depend on the tack the U.S. government decided to take after capturing the terrorist leader. Graham clearly wasn’t persuaded by Holder’s answer.

The exchange started with Graham stumping Holder with a question one would have thought the attorney general would have been prepared for:

GRAHAM:  Can you give me a case in United States history where a (sic) enemy combatant caught on a battlefield was tried in civilian court?

ATTY GEN. HOLDER:  I don’t know. I’d have to look at that. I think that, you know, the determination I’ve made —

SEN. GRAHAM:  We’re making history here, Mr. Attorney General. I’ll answer it for you. The answer is no.

ATTY GEN. HOLDER:  Well, I think —

SEN. GRAHAM:  The Ghailani case — he was indicted for the Cole bombing before 9/11. And I didn’t object to it going into federal court. But I’m telling you right now. We’re making history and we’re making bad history. And let me tell you why. If bin Laden were caught tomorrow, would it be the position of this administration that he would be brought to justice?

ATTY GEN. HOLDER:  He would certainly be brought to justice, absolutely.

SEN. GRAHAM:  Where would you try him?

ATTY GEN. HOLDER:  Well, we’d go through our protocol. And we’d make the determination about where he should appropriately be tried.

SEN. GRAHAM:  Would you try him — why would you take him someplace different than KSM?

ATTY GEN. HOLDER:  Well, that might be the case. I don’t know. I’m not —

SEN. GRAHAM:  Well, let —

ATTY GEN. HOLDER:  I’d have to look at all of the evidence, all of the —

SEN. GRAHAM: Well —

ATTY GEN. HOLDER:  He’s been indicted. He’s been indicted already. (Off mike.)

SEN. GRAHAM:  Does it matter if you — if you use the law enforcement theory or the enemy combatant theory, in terms of how the case would be handled?

ATTY GEN. HOLDER:  Well, I mean, bin Laden is an interesting case in that he’s already been indicted in federal court.

SEN. GRAHAM: Right.

ATTY GEN. HOLDER:  We have cases against him. (Off mike.)

SEN. GRAHAM:  Right, well, where would — where would you put him?

ATTY GEN. HOLDER:  It would depend on how — a variety of factors.

SEN. GRAHAM:  Well, let me ask you this. Okay, let me ask you this. Let’s say we capture him tomorrow. When does custodial interrogation begin in his case? If we captured bin Laden tomorrow, would he be entitled to Miranda warnings at the moment of capture?

ATTY GEN. HOLDER: Again I’m not — that all depends. I mean, the notion that we –

SEN. GRAHAM:  Well, it does not depend. If you’re going to prosecute anybody in civilian court, our law is clear that the moment custodial interrogation occurs the defendant, the criminal defendant, is entitled to a lawyer and to be informed of their right to remain silent.

The big problem I have is that you’re criminalizing the war, that if we caught bin Laden tomorrow, we’d have mixed theories and we couldn’t turn him over — to the CIA, the FBI or military intelligence — for an interrogation on the battlefield, because now we’re saying that he is subject to criminal court in the United States. And you’re confusing the people fighting this war.

What would you tell the military commander who captured him? Would you tell him, “You must read him his rights and give him a lawyer”? And if you didn’t tell him that, would you jeopardize the prosecution in a federal court?

ATTY GEN. HOLDER:  We have captured thousands of people on the battlefield, only a few of which have actually been given their Miranda warnings. With regard to bin Laden and the desire or the need for statements from him, the case against him at this point is so overwhelming that we do not need to —

SEN. GRAHAM:  Mr. Attorney General, my only point — the only point I’m making, that if we’re going to use federal court as a disposition for terrorists, you take everything that comes with being in federal court. And what comes with being in federal court is that the rules in this country, unlike military law — you can have military operations, you can interrogate somebody for military intelligence purposes, and the law-enforcement rights do not attach.

But under domestic criminal law, the moment the person is in the hands of the United States government, they’re entitled to be told they have a right to a lawyer and can remain silent. And if we go down that road, we’re going to make this country less safe. That is my problem with what you have done.

You’re a fine man. I know you want to do everything to help this country be safe, but I think you’ve made a fundamental mistake here. You have taken a wartime model that will allow us flexibility when it comes to intelligence gathering, and you have compromised this country’s ability to deal with people who are at war with us, by interjecting into this system the possibility that they may be given the same constitutional rights as any American citizen. [emphasis mine]

And the main reason that KSM is going to court apparently is because the people he decided to kill were here in America and mostly civilian, and the person going into military court decided to kill some military members overseas. I think that is a perversion of the justice system. 

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Your congressman’s padded retirement plan

By: David Freddoso

After serving 18 years in Congress, former Rep. William Jefferson of Louisiana, a Democrat, will continue his service in a different federal institution — prison. He was sentenced recently to serve 13 years for bribery.

But his fellow prisoners will have to forgive Jefferson if he grins and whistles as he stamps out license plates. That’s because he is still eligible for a guaranteed $50,000 pension in his first year of retirement, which will increase each year thereafter with the cost of living.

Opinion polls show that Americans today have a special contempt for Congress. They might be even more upset if they knew what kind of retirement deal congressmen have given themselves at the taxpayers’ expense. It’s a much better deal than the taxpayers are getting as they watch their retirement savings collapse in the bear stock and real estate markets.

Congressmen who serve for at least five years get a very generous defined benefit pension plan in retirement — the kind that doesn’t exist anymore in the private sector because it’s impossible to fund. It’s far more generous than that of even the longest-serving federal employees.

Members who took office before 1984 get the best deal — a generous 2.5 percent of the average of their top three years’ salary for each year of service. Their total includes years of military and other government service.

Although the payout in the first year of retirement is limited to 80 percent of their last year’s salary, it grows automatically each year with the cost of living. Appropriations Chairman David Obey, for example, could quit his job this January and take home $139,200 in 2010. In a decade or so, with cost-of-living adjustments, he could be making more than his current salary of $174,000. He isn’t the only one.

To get that kind of deal in retirement, you would need at least $2 million in your 401(k) and a healthy bull market from now until you die.

In the 1980s, congressional pensions were reformed along with the rest of the federal retirement system. That means that congressmen elected in 1984 and later don’t get a deal quite so sweet. They take home 1.7 percent of their “high three” for each of the first 20 years, and 1 percent for each year thereafter.

But on top of their defined benefit plan, these newer members of Congress still get the ordinary man’s retirement — a 5 percent match on contributions to the Federal Thrift Savings Plan (much like a 401(k)), plus Social Security.

The corrupt Jefferson is a special case. He can exploit a loophole in the 2007 law supposedly depriving corrupt members from taking home their pensions. Because he took all of his bribes before the law was signed that September.

Jefferson might not be the last to find the loophole. In July 2007, the Wall Street Journal reported that Republican Rep. Don Young of Alaska, was under investigation for possibly taking unreported gifts from lobbyists up until 2006.

And Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., has admitted to under-reporting his outside income and assets on his congressional disclosure forms between 2002 and 2006, which could constitute perjury. (Rangel claims it was just an oversight — he forgot about millions of dollars in business transactions over that period.)

If they ever face legal problems, both Rangel and Young have a strong case for defending their pensions, based on the timing of any alleged wrongdoing. Both of these very senior members of Congress are eligible for $139,200 in their first year of retirement.

Even if we don’t begrudge them their oversized paycheck, do our congressmen — even the bad ones — deserve a retirement that is more than twice as nice as most ordinary working people enjoy?

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ONE FOR THE THUMB

AMERICANS WON’T BE FOOLED BY DEMOCRAT SHELL GAME, A VOTE TO PROCEED IS A VOTE FOR A GOVERNMENT TAKEOVER OF HEALTH CARE 

From Jim DeMint

Let’s be clear: Any senator who votes to proceed to this bill is voting for a government takeover of health care. Senators who hide behind procedure and claim they just want to allow for debate are not being honest, they are trying to deceive their voters while helping to pass this terrible bill that will make health care more expensive.

Earlier today, Democrat leaders told reporters that the Senate may vote to proceed to a shell bill, not related to health care reform, in an effort to grant the President’s wish for a government takeover of our nation’s health care by Christmas. These outrageous shell games won’t fool Americans. Voters will remember who stands up for their freedom and who stands with the special interests who want to ram through this takeover.

President Obama and Democrats have now put forward at least four different versions of their government takeover, and Harry Reid has been secretly working behind closed doors on the fifth act of this fiasco. But despite the nuances, every Democrat bill puts Washington in control of health care, slashes Medicare coverage for seniors, raises premiums for families, raises taxes, places bureaucrats between patients and doctors, punishes young adults who choose not to buy coverage, and opens the door to government rationing of care. [emphasis mine]

Americans have loudly and repeatedly rejected the President’s government takeover of health care. It’s time to for the Senate to listen, stop the shell games, and start over with real solutions that will provide every American the opportunity to afford, own and keep a health care plan that best meets their needs.

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Physicians are bailing out of Medicare at the rate of 25-33 percent. The main reason doctors refuse new Medicare patients involves government red tape and interference, not money.

Association of American Physicians & Surgeons: “Doc Fix” Not What Doctors Ordered

By Marguerite Higgins

The Association for American Physicians and Surgeons blasted the American Medical Association’s support for H.R. 3962, the so-called “doc fix” bill that the House is expected to vote on this week. The group pushed for Congress to look at other ways to address the upcoming 21-percent reimbursement cut for Medicare patient services.

“This is NOT what the doctor ordered, despite that the AMA claims. It’s bad for doctors, seniors and taxpayers,” said Kathryn Serkes, Director of Policy and Public Affairs for AAPS and Take Back Medicine, in a press release.

While the bill might freeze pay cuts to doctors who see Medicare enrollees for the next year, Serkes pointed out that the bill “just trades one complicated federal formula for another, and still leaves physician pay subject to Congressional whim in the future.”

Additionally, the bill does not assure doctors that Medicare is financially safe for them to start taking Medicare patients again, Serkes noted. “And common sense says the only way to offset more pay is to cut back on care.”

Physician pay isn’t even the primary reason that doctors are turning away new Medicare patients and restricting services, the group said in the release, citing a recent survey it conducted in the summer and fall among more than 1,200 physicians.

The number one reason for doctors was the “hassle factor,” or “billing and regulatory requirements,” followed by “hassles and/or threats from Medicare carriers/government.” “Low fees” came in third.

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