My Conference Call With Senator John Barrasso

The other day I had the pleasure of participating in a teleconference call with Wyoming Senator John Barrasso.

This conference call was different from other senatorial conference calls for several reasons. First of all, Senator Barrasso did not make an opening statement or offer any initial remarks. He devoted the entire time to answering our questions. Secondly, this was not a call to cover all topics. The only issue on the menu was health care. Senator Barrasso is one of only two current senators that are also physicians, which means he actually knows what he is talking about on this issue.

The first questioner wanted to know if a deal on health care reform was imminent.

“No. I just spoke to (the other Wyoming Senator) Mike Enzi an hour ago. An agreement is not imminent. We are nowhere close to an agreement. I spoke to him after the senate prayer breakfast when word leaked out that there was an agreement. There is absolutely not an agreement.”

(Later in the day word of an agreement again broke through, but nothing has been voted on.)

“We want to see the full bill and the full scoring before voting. There are grave concerns around the country of what this whole plan will look like. The House bill, there is no GOP support for it.”

One questioner wanted to know what the senator would recommend to GOP activists, in terms of how the August recess should best be utilized from a strategy standpoint.

“Attend town hall meetings. Pelosi even held a meetig to teach her cauus what to say and what not to say.”

“John Conyers asked, ‘What good is reading the bill if it’s over 1000 pages and takes two days and two lawyers to explain what the bill means.?'”

“That is not what people across America are asking. They are asking ‘What will the bill mean for my family?’ What it means is that people will pay more and get less. How will we pay for all of this? How will we save 500 billion dollars from Medicare, which is the biggest deadbeat in this country.”

“Go to the town hall meetings. Ask the tough questions. Ask them flat out if they read the bill.”

One questioner wanted to know if lobbyists and trial lawyers could be dealt with. Senator Barrasso made it crystal clear where he stood.

“There has hardly been any lobbying of me. People know me. In Wyoming, people don’t want this. Across America, people don’t want this. They are worried about debt. I’m not on the Finance or Help Committees. None of the bills provide cost control.”

“My colleauge offered up the Enzi Amendment, which would have allowed liability avoidance from frivolous lawsuits. It was offered as a pilot project. Even as a pilot project, it was defeated in the Help Committee.”

“President Obama gave a speech on the subject before the American Medical Association. First he said he was for tort reform. There were cheers in the room. Then he said he was against caps. The cheers turned to boos. The AMA realized that the President was just paying lip service to tort reform.”

“Think about no just what is in the bill, but what is not in the bill. Reducing lawsuit abuse is not in the bill.”

“Tom (Oklahoma Senator) Coburn and I are doctors. I have performed thousands of operations, and he has delivered thousands of babies.”

“Bringing new medicine to the market is expensive research. With their incentives being taken away pharmaceutical companies might not do additional research. I’m a physician, and I can tell you that physicians in Wyoming are not supporting the House bill.”

While I have been known to ask lighthearted questions from time to time, this was a serious conversation.

(Although before the conference began several of the bloggers including myself were being lighthearted. We had no idea that the senator heard every word, but was unable to let us know due to technical difficulties. Thankfully nothing inappropriate was said. This should be a warning to anybody that is on a teleconference call. Be careful.)

I asked the Senator if Congress would be trying to exempt itself from its own bill, as Hillary Clinton and the Congress tried to do in 1994, which helped torpedo that bill. Senator Barrasso was plainspoken and straight to the point, proving that much of America could learn a lot from Wyoming.

“Whether or not Congress tries to exempt itself, it is still a bad bill. I am not for this plan for any American.”

I would like to thank Senator Barrasso for his time. If more Republicans had his steel spine, our party would be worth a lot more than it is right now.


6 Responses to “My Conference Call With Senator John Barrasso”

  1. Ah, the ol’ do nothing position! Well, except for tort “reform.” It’s funny how easily conservatives will throw rights, liberties, justice and freedoms out the wondow when it suits them. Why do I get the stringest feeling that if some health provider massed up and serious hurt John Barrasso or one of his dfamily members that the good sentator would sure that providers head off? Conservatives are such phonies when it comes to “frivolous lawsuits.” They file them endlessly and with glee, but when someone else does, it’s “waste, fraud and abuse, “frivolous,” “abuse,” “ambulance chasing.” Are their frivolous lawsuits? Sure. Is there waste, fraud, and abuse. Of course. It’s in all sectors, public and private. But blanketly denying the rights of people to redress in the courts is unconstitutional fascism. On top of all that, “tort” costs average only about 3% of medical overhead. A drop in the bucket. Only fools for for this conniving anti-American rhetoric.

    As it stands now, 83,000,000 Americans receive some kind of taxpayer funded health coverage. So much for that 85% who say they are happy with what they have! They ALREADY have public coverage. The fact is that todays sytem is a failure. It’s outcomes among the worst in the developed world and it’s costs almost double. The GOP has NOTHING to offer, and thank God, they’re really not even at the table. Unfortunately, the Democrats are almost just as much in the pockets of big insurance and pharma, doctors and lawyers, as the GOP, and so getting anything significant passed will take a bit of a miracle. The health insurance industry serves no real purpose. It is supfluous. A parasite, leeching unnecessary overhead from our health dollars. It is cannibalizing the American public both literally and figuratively. Only in America are we stupid enough to allow this to continue. We are like the retarded hooker who keeps walking through the jail house and wondering why she keeps getting raped. The insurance industry is raping us, and we are too stupid to see it.


  2. Wow. I made a LOT of spelling errors there!


  3. I was just thinking… I think we need Spellingcare Reform. ;)


  4. Dav Lev says:

    Obama equals socialism folks, nothing more and nothing less.

    Regarding health care, I had an honest talk with a former Brit.
    He said that England’s health care system is far superior to ours (US).
    However, under a single payer system (the gov), WILL be rationing,
    mainly, at the end stage of life.

    He advocated however, that there also be the private option…if one has the wherewithall to afford better and more expensive treatment, that’s perfectly acceptable.

    If for example, one needs a heart transplant…and one can afford it,
    that should be an option to no transplants at all (which would be the rule).


    He went on to say that over one’s lifetime, credits are taken from
    employee’s salaries to pay for their current and future health care.

    In other words, health care is paid for, and is not given freely,
    as the liberal media here reports.

    England has a caste system, are we all aware of that? Just listen
    Brits touring our country…ask them what they think of England vs
    the USA? Their first answer is: you have endless opportunities here.

    Do you know where the money is in England, it’s with the King and Queen., their palaces, their horse carriages, their jewels.

    Do we want a country like England…? I think we all know the answer.

    A poster writes that we many of our citizens are already under some sort
    of govt plan, yet our health care is miserably behind other industrialized

    Behind other countries..? Over 60% of our health expenses come already from the government. Therefore do we want 100%? Three-quarters of our people have some sort of coverage..and three-quarters of them are satisfied.

    So, what’s the rub? Well, 11 million people are here illegally and thus
    not covered. 11m people are eligible for health insurance, but have not
    signed up, fearing they might discover they have an illness. Many people
    are playing the odds., prefering to go to Mexico for that once in a lifetime
    treatment. (I know one of these).

    This guy doesn’t believe in our system of medicine…sooooo, he had
    his prostate removed, in Mexico. It was cheaper than the US, only
    30,000.00. Wowowoo. God forbid something went wrong..who would
    he have sued in a Mexican court?

    It’s true, that millions of former and current Federal employees have
    medical insurance (they are given some choices), but they do contribute
    to these payments., even after retiring. So, how do the insurance companies make up for any losses, they benefit from payments by members who simply put, do not get ill (usually middle age and younger people). It’s all in the numbers.

    As far as treatment. I wish someone would let me know exactly how
    we are inferior?

    This same individual was concerned that people simply cannot
    afford to be treated here., without losing all their assets to credit
    agencies. I guess he never heard of BANKRUPTCY.

    I admit, that the Communist Cubans have a suberb medical system, paid
    for by the Castro regime. Do we want to emulate them?

    Are we all aware that our drug companies spent billions of dollars to
    invent new drugs…and that ultimately these drugs are manufactured
    in foreign companies..the same drugs, with no research expenses.

    That is why we can purchase drugs from abroad, on the Internet for
    such cheap prices, with no guarantees one gets what they paid for.

    Why is it that doctors from India, Japan, Korea and other countries
    come here to practice? Why are we hiring nurses from abroad?

    Doesn’t the Farah Fawcett death tell us anything? She went to Germany
    for exotic treatment of her cancer and spent a fortune. She could afford it folks. She also died.

    This goes to the heart of the matter….you pay for what you get, whether
    in teaching or medicine. Good teaching and good medicine costs money.
    There is no free ride. You want better teachers, pay for them? You want
    better medicine, you have to pay for it. It’s YOUR responsibility to allocate resources intelligently. You cannot have 15 children ( the octomom) and expect to afford them, unless, of course, we all pay for them.

    What bothers me the most though is our current Democratic leadership.
    “The fish stinks at the head”. and we have a shark for a President.

    Just this weekend, our Sec. of the Treasury said that it’s possible the middle class may see higher taxes! Higher taxes? What is he talking about?

    Don’t we all recall what Obama and the Democrats said during the campaign? Yes, taxes will rise on those making over 250,000 year, but
    everyone else will get a credit of 1,000.

    I wonder how many people voted for this bunch of gangsters…because of that promise? Now he might propose higher taxes…!. Well, higher taxes will end that credit, won’t it?

    Let’s take a look at the clunker fiasco. If a gas eater (old clunker), is
    exchanged for the purchase of a new car, there is a 4,500 credit. Yes, many people ran to dealerships. But the one billion dollars allocated
    from the Treas. ran out..and 2 billion dollars more is being considered. Ford stock is now at over 7.00 per share..up from 2.00 just a short time ago. So the rich get richer and the poor have more babies. Isn’t that a fact, and more people drop out of high school to make time for those babies. Schools which are paid for by bonds..with interest paid out
    of state treasuries. Nothing comes for free folks.

    Who will ultimately pay for these excesses..not the gov’t. They simply print more money, tax rates go up. The govt prints, and we pay for it,
    all of US, except of course the illegals. They don’t pay taxes, they have phony social security numbers..or work under the table.

    In the meantime, the same Chavez who shook hands with Obama,
    is now changing the way property is financed in Venezuela. Their sales are linked to inflation. He wants to do away with that provision., thus screwing
    the real estate industry.

    In the always volutile M.E., the US Consulate website now references
    Jerusalem, including the Palestinians, but not the Israelis. We boast of
    our contributions to the Arabs living there….yet leave out the only
    authentic rulers..Israel, intentionally. We want to placate the Palestinians, while Hamas is arming themselves for the final “Jihad”.

    In Syria, Russia is building a huge naval base…to have access to
    4 seas., while conducting maneuvers with Iran. For what purpose I ask?

    Stay tuned folks, Obama is just getting started.

    Given his druthers, soon all of US will be getting our medical
    treatment at one big Veteran Administration…Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

  5. Micky 2 says:

    ““Attend town hall meetings. Pelosi even held a meetig to teach her cauus what to say and what not to say.”

    Things are looking up.

    I’m willing to bet this sucker doesnt pass and I really dont care to get into all the specifics and attempt to clear up all the misinformation liberals are spreading around. Most people who take the assistance still want to keep the primary private policy they have. Some of these policies are really cheap and dont cover everything
    Most of the country doesnt want this, those 47 million that dont have coverage either arent entitled to it or elected on their own not to have it.
    The majority of the country simultaneously likes the coverage they have while agreeing the system in place is what needs fixing.
    Everyones getting hip, town hall meetings such as the one with Specter and Sybilis are just a small example of how the country feels. None of these little pow wows meant to cram this crap down our throat are going too well. People are looking at numbers and realizing that when they get to such epic proportions they just want everything to stop. After the bail outs, stimulus, cap and trade, campaign pledges to not tax those under 250,000 being broken, the debt and the deficit growing every day at astrnomical rates, looking at his rate of failure… and now fed regulated health care and coverage ? they’re saying enough already !
    If Obama wanted this, if this was such a high priority of his, he should of put it closer to the front burner earlier on. It would of gone over so much easier for him if he didint have all this crap preceeding it.

  6. “England has a caste system, are we all aware of that? Just listen
    Brits touring our country…ask them what they think of England vs
    the USA? Their first answer is: you have endless opportunities here.”

    This is the great myth of America – opportunity. because of our backwards education system, our regressive taxes, our backwards healthcare system, and for other reasons, America is no longer the and of opportunity. Conservatism saw to that.

    The fact of the matter is that upward economic and social mobility has stagnated and been stifled over the past thirty years. Conservatism has quite effectively DESTROYED the American Dream.


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