- The Washington Times - Friday, July 31, 2009

REFORM SCHOOL

Confused by health care reform? Rep. Tom Price has a little prescription for the Obamacare-challenged.

“Thanks to confusing media coverage and the ways of the White House, Americans are no longer looking at the particulars of legislation. The public is trusting those folks who have been entrusted to actually read the particulars. And they’re not reading them,” the Georgia Republican tells Inside the Beltway.

Indeed, just 101 lawmakers have pledged to read the 1,018-page legislation so far, according to the conservative grass-roots group Let Freedom Ring, which is tracking the trend.

Mr. Price is both a physician and chairman of the House Republican Study Committee, which introduced “The Empower Patients First Act” on Thursday. It equates increased patient control over personal health decisions with better care.

“We’re in a system now where we find ourselves adopting laws that no one has bothered to vet - like the stimulus bill, for example. I hope that health care reform does not join the list,” Mr. Price said.

His suggestions on how to become enlightened?

“The public has to decide what is acceptable and what is not. What about access, availability, quality of care, responsiveness and innovation? What about choices? This is a practical way to frame all this information, to manage it. Does the legislation meet these principles? That’s the bottom line,” Mr. Price continues. “And if you ask me, the Democratic bill meets none of these criteria.”

MEOW (PHFFT, PHFFT)

Catfight, catfight.

Conservative commentators Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin have questioned the legitimacy of the question that set off “Gates-gate” and Thursday evening’s White House “Beer Summit,” posed to President Obama by Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times during a July 22 White House press conference. What did the president think of the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., Ms. Sweet asked. Hoopla followed.

Ms. Sweet denies the White House put her up to it.

“Ann, Michelle, can we get a beer on this? I’ll pay. I’ll take an Amstel Light. What are your brews? Because gals, you need to look elsewhere for a new conspiracy,” Ms. Sweet says on her AOL blog. “The Obama White House did not have a clue what I would be asking. The idea that the Obama media machine would try to plant that question - or any question - with me is nutty.”

She continues, “If they had, my story would have been about their effort to plant a question. And again, why would they have even tried to orchestrate such an off-message query? Obama is trying to take a lemon and make it, well, to paraphrase another famous quote, a beer. Ladies, can we do the same?”

ALE AND FAREWELL

“99 bottles of gall on the wall.” - Lucianne Goldberg’s take on the Beer Summit.

“Beer and sympathy.” - Nation writer Gary Younge’s characterization.

“The First Draft.” - Deborah Charles, Reuters.

“Health care, not race, needs the ‘teaching moment.’ ” Roger L. Simon, Pajamas Media.

RIGHTS AND LEFT

Graham Nash - yes, he of “The Hollies” and “Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young” fame - is making like the Dixie Chicks and growling about the Bush administration.

Wait. They’re out of office, Mr. Nash, remember?

The singer is among a group of earnest folks who sent a letter to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Thursday, begging him to investigate “allegations of torture and other violations of human rights and civil liberties committed by former government officials and others.”

Other signers include Daniel Ellsberg, Ralph Nader, Naomi Wolf, Bruce Fein and 11 more, all under the auspices of High Road for Human Rights Education Project, a Utah-based advocacy group with Ed Asner, Yoko Ono and Harry Belafonte on its advisory board.

“The violations of law by Bush administration officials and others who acted in concert with them have been justified by some, including [former Vice President] Dick Cheney and [former Justice Department official] John Yoo, on the basis that the president is above the law because he is the head of the so-called ‘unitary’ executive branch of government,” the group advises Mr. Holder. “An unrelenting commitment to the law should never be demeaned as a ‘distraction’ or as a partisan matter.”

POLL DU JOUR

86 percent of Americans are satisfied with their current health care plan.

65 percent say health care reform will make “everything more complicated.”

65 percent do not worry they will lose their health care coverage.

62 percent say the reform will raise their personal health care costs.

56 percent say health care reform will give them less freedom to choose doctors and coverage.

Source: A Time magazine poll of 1,002 adults conducted July 27-28.

Tips and all that stuff to [email protected] or 202/636-3085.


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