Monday, August 22, 2011

Joint Committee Lobbyists Get Creative, Medicare Costs Rise Slowly, Ryan Avoids Constituents

Things wind down on Fridays, and the weekend often is slow.  Still, TMDR is digging to find what it is you need to know.

Joint Committee May Keep Lobbyists At Arm's Length

"Lobby shops and their clients are fast realizing that a full frontal assault on Congress’s budget-slashing supercommittee may not be a fruitful strategy -- particularly as some committee members and senior congressional staffers suggest that K Street won’t be terribly welcome at their negotiating table.  K Street's worry is that it won't be business as usual in Washington, where lobbyists famously enjoy open access to lawmakers."

This might be a good sign for the aged and disabled, including veterans, but it also might simply be a tactic to ensure that any lobbying activities are more private and far less public.  Who's to notice a low-profile lobbyist back home who happens to have a meeting in a more-or-less out-of-the-way place, compared to the visibility at a hearing or open meeting in Washington?  Will the local media notice?  Still, it is important to keep one eye on the money -- and the other eye on the prize.

Slower Rise In Medicare Costs

Lost in the shuffle and the general activities may have been some important news -- Medicare costs have risen at slowest pace in 6 years.  "Growth in hospital revenue from Medicare patients was roughly one-third the rate seen from patients on private health insurance during the past year, according to data from Standard & Poor's.  Medicare revenue rose 2.5 percent per patient in the year before June, the slowest rate since S&P started keeping track in January 2005, the S&P Healthcare Economic Index showed on Thursday.  Revenue for patients on commercial insurance rose 7.48 percent in the year ending in June."

As usual, Medicare,  a pre-paid public benefit, is less costly than private insurance.

Ryan Still Troubled

This season's first Congressional architect of the repeal of Medicare -- one of our most cherished pre-paid public benefits -- is still in trouble at home.  "Staffers for Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) called police on Thursday evening to disperse unemployed protesters staging a sit-in at his Kenosha, Wis., office, according to the protesters and police.  Two protesters told HuffPost they're unhappy with Ryan's proposals to gut social programs and also his new policy of not holding free public meetings with constituents during the congressional recess."

There actually were only a very few protesters, so you'd think the police might not be necessary.  More:  Unemployed Constituents Stage Sit-In At Paul Ryan’s Office, Ryan’s Staff Calls The Cops

The Republican Gaffe-Free Zone

It's almost too easy with so many choices:

Fox News Viewers Tricked Again: The Fox News Reality-Free Zone


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