Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Cong. Kirk and Cong. Roskam on Feds divesting their private sector interests; healthcare; Giannoulias v. Hoffman; Gitmo; Palin

Congressman Mark Kirk (R-Highland Park, 10th CD) and Congressman Peter Roskam (R-Wheaton, 6th CD) held a joint press conference yesterday afternoon in Chicago in which Kirk and Roskam discussed, along with a number of other topics, their proposed legislation to require the federal government to divest itself, over the course of 2010 of its common stock and preferred stock interests that the Feds “bought,” last year from GM, Chrysler, AIG, Citigroup, Bank of America, GMAC and the Hartford.

U. S. Government losses on its private sector investments

The stock purchases [or more accurately, bailouts for which the government received an equity interest] cost at least 217 billion dollars when they occurred last fall and the government has, so far, lost more than “70 billion dollars on their investments.

Questioned by this reporter as to whether their proposed legislation was motivated by their view of the proper role of government in the private sector or by their desire to limit or cut the losses of taxpayers, Roskam said “it is both and.”

Healthcare reform legislation

Cong. Kirk explained his opposition to the current Democratic healthcare reform bill by noting that the current bill has ten major tax increases in it, pushes the top marginal rate of taxation in Illinois to 49.9%, makes a tremendous number of cuts to Medicare, cuts skilled nursing and makes a series of 100 billion dollar cuts for health care for seniors and “I am just getting going.”

Cong. Roskam said, “The unfortunate part is that there is quite a bit of common ground…” Roskam said his “hope is that the new Speaker Pelosi bill doesn’t become the law and what ultimately moves forward is …”things like purchasing insurance across state lines, really tackling the idea of pre-existing conditions and rescission…” Roskam said, “the notion that somehow raising taxes on small business, which happens in Speaker Pelosi’s bill…arguing that is a good thing is counter-intuitive.”

Cong. Kirk’s proposed healthcare reform

Cong. Kirk’s idea of a healthcare reform bill “in 60 seconds,” would be “Cong. shall make no law interfering with decisions that you made with your doctor; secondly…lawsuit reform which is reported to cost 300 billion dollars in extra benefit costs; … you should be given the right… to buy from any state in the union if you find a plan that is less expensive or more flexible…”

Medicare reform?

Cong. Kirk asserted that the Democratic Leadership in Congress is hoping to get a set of Medicare cuts adopted and that they will immediately reverse themselves on the cuts-- and that rapidly rising Medicare costs will ultimately be financed by additional borrowing from abroad which will weaken the value of the U. S. Dollar.

Kirk’s Medicare Reform

In response to this reporter’s question as to what alternative would Cong. Kirk propose to deal with the rapidly rising Medicare and other healthcare costs, the 9th year Congressman from the North Shore and likely Republican nominee for the U. S. Senate listed a set of reforms:

1. Lawsuit [Medical Malpractice] reform
2. Fully electronic medical records owned by the patient
3. Utterly accountable, publicly revealed outcome data
4. Instead of paying for inputs, move to an outcome based reimbursement system
5. Interstate [insurance] competition which is currently not allowed.
6. Remove the McCarran [-Ferguson Act] antitrust exemption

Cong. Roskam added “point of purchase verification,” for Medicare, which he said would save 50 billion dollars in Medicare fraud.
Giannoulias or Hoffman

Cong. Kirk was asked by this reporter if Democrat David Hoffman would be a tougher U. S. Senate general election opponent for him because of his reform credentials of being a former Ass’t U. S. Attorney and Chicago Inspector General-- and without any apparent connection to Blagojevich.

Mark Steven Kirk responded “We need reform in this state, but I am going to confine my campaign to earning the Republican nomination on February 2nd and then there is plenty of time for a general election.” But then the moderate Republican added: “I expect it will be Giannoulias but …my job is to win the support of my fellow Republicans [and I am] very happy that Cong. Roskam has endorsed me…”
Votes in the Senate for a Public Option?

This reporter indicated that some say Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid simply wanted to give those who favor a Public Option “a day in Court,” and he wanted to give it a decent burial and then I asked Cong. Kirk if he agreed that Senator Reid doesn’t have the votes in the Senate for a Public Option.

Cong. Kirk said, “It does appear that the Public Option is Dead on Arrival in the Senate.”

Votes in the House for a Public Option?

Cong. Kirk noted that he believes Speaker Pelosi needs about a half dozen additional votes to pass her healthcare bill and that she would work with Rep. Charlie Rangel, Chairman of House Ways and Means, to use earmarks and other inducements in the form of a “Manager’s Bill,” to try to attract the additional votes needed to pass the healthcare bill later this week.
Gitmo and Swine Flu vaccinations

Cong. Kirk indicated it is wrong to let U. S. Veterans who are in the vulnerable community go unvaccinated for Swine Flu and instead make sure that “Al Qaeda terrorists at Gitmo get vaccinated first.”
Sarah Palin and Cong. Kirk?

When questioned by Rick Pearson of the Tribune several times as to whether “he wants Sarah Palin to do a fundraiser for him,” Cong. Kirk would only say he has a lot of folks coming in and “We’ll see.”
General David Petraeus

When asked by this reporter if there were any 2012 possible Republican Presidential candidates that they would most identify with at this time, Cong. Roskam declined to name anyone but Cong. Kirk noted: “I would just say that I am still watching the career of David Petraeus. Those of us on the Joint Staff are watching, so we’ll see.”
Jeff Berkowitz, Show Host/Producer of "Public Affairs," and Executive Legal Recruiter doing legal search can be reached at JBCG@aol.com. *************************************************************
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