Isakson: Senate GOPers have ‘Plan B’ for repealing Obamacare
by Bill Kinney and Joe Kirby
Around Town Columnists
October 13, 2012 02:37 AM | 4544 views | 6 6 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
AMERICANS have heard and read much in the past year about “sequestration,” the coming process in Congress that is expected to lead to extraordinarily damaging cuts to the domestic and/or military budgets.

But according to U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), there’s also a strong possibility that sequestration will be used to undo Obamacare.

Gov. Mitt Romney has said that if he’s elected president next month, the first thing he’ll do after being inaugurated is to issue an executive order paving the way to start undoing Obamacare. But there’s what amounts to a “Plan B” in the works in the Senate, Isakson told local business and civic leaders on Thursday. And it would hinge on control of the Senate passing to the Republicans, which is likely, Isakson told Cobb business and civic leaders at a Thursday luncheon at The Vinings Bank.

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts’ Obamacare decision included something that a lot of people have not really focused on, Isakson said.

“They were disappointed that he came down on the side of the health care bill, but when he did, he declared the penalty you pay for not offering health care to your employees, the ‘mandate,’ is a tax. Because of that, it becomes eligible for something in Congress we call ‘sequestration,’ which in the Senate is the only thing that’s not subject to a filibuster,” he said.

That means a simple majority of the Senate can change the law through sequestration, he said.

“For everything else, you’ve got to have ‘60 votes to get to 51’ (that is, a voting majority) except for sequestration and the budget.

“So if there was a 51-vote Republican majority, it would be possible under the Sequestration Act, which you have to do at the end of every fiscal year, to send the president a veto, which he would then have to override. We would then have to get two-thirds of senators to override his veto.”

OK, but even following a hypothetical Republican landslide it is unlikely there would be sufficient Republican senators to meet that threshold.

Not so fast, the senator said.

“I personally believe that there are enough members of the Senate — Republicans and Democrats alike — who realize we have a train-wreck coming and the best way to solve it is to prevent it,” Isakson said. “And the best way to prevent it is to take that bill, pull it back, and (keep) the things in it that make some sense, like the 26-year-old coverage that we’ve found doesn’t raise the cost of health care any because 26-year olds are healthy anyway. And (keep) pre-existing conditions and (keep) the model that uses statewide high-risk pools rather than a central-government guarantee. There are a lot of things that we can do that were included in that act and make sense, but it will never have a chance as long as it’s got the mandate in it and as long as it takes business out of the business of providing benefits.”

The senator noted that Darden Restaurants (owner of the Red Lobster, Longhorn and Olive Garden chains, as well as several others) said last week it’s going to go from full-time employees to part-time employees so it doesn’t have to provide health care.

“I’ve talked to small businesses all along that have counted up how many people they have and multiplied that times the fine and realized it’s cheaper to pay the government fine for not providing health care than it is for them to provide health care. And that is the way the bill was designed, because the government wants health care to be pushed to central-government control,” he said.

Isakson noted that health care now makes up 17 percent of the Gross Domestic Product and is rising.

“The cost of health care is costing us more per life because of innovation and our increasing longevity,” he said. “We need to do some things, but putting government in charge of it is not the right thing. Government does a good job of fighting wars, but everything else the private sector does better.”

***


AMONG those on hand for Isakson’s talk were insurance exec T.W. Lord, Southwest Cobb Commissioner Woody Thompson, Superior Court Clerk Jay Stephenson, attorneys John Moore, Gary Eubanks and John Skelton, the Rev. Sam Matthews, the Rev. Joe Peabody, the Rev. Snyder Turner of Calvary Children’s Home, Cobb Chamber President David Connell, Deputy Cobb School Superintendent Cheryl Hungerford and Cobb EMC chair/Georgia Motor Truckers Association director Ed Crowell.

***


BLUSH MUCH? Cobb County School Board member Lynnda Eagle unexpectedly turned red Wednesday during the board’s discussion on something that shouldn’t really make anyone blush — the proposed SPLOST IV.

While talking about “below the line” projects, or ones listed in the gray box in the district’s notebook of projects, she learned that the semi-final version of the notebook they’ll see in two weeks won’t have anything listed in the gray area.

Upon hearing that she cooed, “Oooh, shades of gray, alright,” with a sneaky smile.

We can’t say for sure Eagle was thinking about the bodice-ripper “Fifty Shades of Grey,” the so-called “mommy-porn” novel popular in recent months with women readers. But her comment got a quick reaction from the mostly female crowd of about 30, which laughed out loud, snickered and made comments.

Added Board Chair Scott Sweeney, looking across at senior fellow board member David Banks, “I believe Mr. Banks is blushing.”

***


“NOSFERATU,” the silent, first-ever Dracula movie from 1922, will be screened at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Earl Smith Strand Theatre on Marietta Square with live organ accompaniment by west Cobb’s Larry Davis and Ron Carter.

Tickets are $7 for students and seniors and $8 for others. Call (770) 293-0080.

***


MORE POLITICS: Georgia is not a battleground state this fall and thus is off the beaten track for the Obama and Romney tickets. But GOP veep candidate Paul Ryan will jet into Atlanta Oct. 24 for a fundraiser at the Cobb Energy Centre. Donors can choose between a $500-a-head reception, $10,000 for a grip-and-grin photo op, or $25,000 to participate in a roundtable discussion. …

“Women for Stoner” will host a fundraiser for embattled District 6 State Sen. Doug Stoner (D-Smyrna) from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Mary Mac’s Tea Room in Atlanta. Special guests will be former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin and former Georgia First Lady Marie Barnes of Marietta. ... Meanwhile, Stoner opponent Republican Hunter Hill will host a fundraiser from 5:30-7 p.m. Wednesday at Taylor Brawner Hall on Atlanta Road in Smyrna. …

Cobb Commission Chair write-in candidate Craig Harfoot will hold a “meet and greet” from 2-3 p.m. Sunday at Olivia Morgan Antiques on Lower Roswell Road behind the Parkair Kroger shopping center. He’ll then lead a carpool to his home for a 3-5 p.m. barbecue reception. … The Cobb Democratic Second Saturday Breakfast is today at the 3 Amigos Mexican Bar & Grill on Whitlock Avenue in Marietta.

***


THE COBB REPUBLICAN WOMEN’S CLUB will host wounded warrior Daniel Gade as keynote speaker at its 10th annual Veterans Celebration Brunch at 10 a.m. Oct. 27 at the Marietta Hilton on Powder Springs Street. Also featured will be performances by Heather Jones and The Morris Brothers Quartet, reports president Felicity Diamond.

West Point graduate Gade was wounded twice in Iraq, the second time costing him his entire right leg. He later worked at the White House and then earned his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia. He now teaches political science and public policy at West Point and competes in Ironman races.

For information, call (770) 785-2522.

***


AND THE ANNUAL Marietta Kiwanis/City of Marietta Veterans’ Day Parade and Ceremony will be celebrated this year on Saturday, Nov. 10.

The parade will begin at Roswell Street Baptist at 11 a.m. and proceed to the Square. At present there are more than 25 entries. Others interested in participating should call parade coordinator Scott Chadwick at (404) 308-5420.

Ceremonies on the Square will feature a 21-gun salute, an address from grand marshal retired Navy Admiral James O. Ellis of Marietta and the playing of “Taps.”
Comments
(6)
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maylib
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October 15, 2012
why is the GOP so excited to get more business in the business of providing health insurance? It's a cost either way and it makes no sense to create MORE dependence on your employer for your health care choices and options.

Let businesses go back to doing what they are in business to do - make money. And get healthcare out of the picture for them.
Cobb Taxpayer
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October 13, 2012
Could the GOP come up with a plan to undo Medicare Part B as well?
No Different
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October 13, 2012
Sen. Isakson I voted for you, BUT...when it comes to healthcare, if the Democrats had not pushed for healthcare reform, the Republicans would still be sitting on their duffs doing nothing.

As one who was laid off in the dot.com bust, over 50 yrs old, and paid for COBRA for the 18 months allowed because there were pre-existing conditions, I needed health insurance. I need access to health ins. and a rate that does not make it impossible to pay for. No known, reputable insurance company would even sell me a policy. I am sole owner of a business now because after 2 yrs, no one would hire a college graduate with 30 yrs experience and 52 yrs old.

In conclusion, I want the health insurance that YOU and the rest of Congress has. Put independent business owners in the Federal insurance plan. It is already in place in all 50 states. We will pay more, but not $1500 a month or higher. That is a rip off.

Sen. Isakson, why can't I or any other taxpayer have access to affordable health insurance? Why can't I have as good a health insurance as you and your fellow Congress people have? Why are you and the rest of Congress any more "special" than I am or any other taxpayer? Allow us to join your plan.
The truth
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October 14, 2012
AMAN! Right on!
Watcher...
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October 13, 2012
Is Mary Mac's large enough to accommodate Tim Lee and all of the ARC, MARTA, CID and TSPLOST supporters at the "Women for Stoner" gathering?
Winer
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October 14, 2012
No but it is big enough for you so quit your complaining and go.
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