Tag Archives: Illinois

In Illinois, More Concealed Carry Applications on First Day than Obamacare Enrollees in First Two Months

by Whitney Pitcher

springfield_gunlobby_031011

Fox Chicago reports that more than 11,000 people have signed up for concealed carry permits in the first day of the online application process:

 Illinois officials say they’ve received more than 11,000 applications for concealed carry permits.

The online application system to apply for permits was officially launched in Illinois on Sunday. On Monday, Illinois State Police said they had received 4,525 applications for concealed carry permits were received within 24 hours. The other 6,500 applications came from firearms instructors who the state let apply early for permits to help test the functionality of the online application system.

By comparison, in the first two months of Obamacare exchange online availability, only 7,000 Illinoisans had enrolled in the exchange.

After becoming the last state in the country to allow concealed carry, citizens of Illinois are ready to exercise their second amendment rights.

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What the Senate Could Learn from Illinois about Internet Sales Taxes

by Whitney Pitcher

internet sales tax

The Senate  is poised to vote on the Orwellian-sounding “Marketplace Fairness Act” next week. This bill would institute an “internet sales tax” and could be seen as a gateway to a national sales tax. Also, in many ways it would allow federal government to expand individual states’ powers over businesses outside of a state. As the Heritage Foundation explains:

They seek enactment of [the Marketplace Fairness Act] so that states can prefer in-state businesses over out-of-state businesses in the kind of anti-competitive economic discrimination the U.S. Constitution was in part adopted to prevent. As the U.S. Supreme Court has stated, “[p]reservation of local industry by protecting it from the rigors of interstate competition is the hallmark of the economic protectionism that the Commerce Clause prohibits.”

This bill would require that states without a state sales tax to collect sales taxes on internet purchase on behalf of states that have sales taxes. This additional regulation is of great expense to smaller businesses. When the bill was introduced in the previous session of Congress, then Senator Jim DeMint cautioned against it:

The burden on Internet entrepreneurs could be staggering. There are already nearly 10,000 state, local and municipal tax jurisdictions to navigate nationwide.

Just complying with a single state’s tax laws costs small businesses disproportionately more than larger firms that can afford accounting and technology teams to help them work through these arcane laws. A 2006 PricewaterhouseCoopers study found that tax-compliance costs for small businesses (those having $1 million to $10 million in annual sales) are nearly 2.5 times greater than those of larger firms. For businesses under $1 million in sales, those costs explode to 16 cents on every dollar of revenue.

And woe to online sellers if they have a dispute with one of the many states that will be unleashed to tax them. A small business owner in South Carolina could face simultaneous audits from California, New Jersey and Hawaii, with no political recourse.

Proponents of the bill point to exemptions for businesses with less than a million dollars in annual sales, but as Senator DeMint referenced, the impact on small businesses making $1 to $10 million annually is more onerous than for bigger businesses. Even Democratic Senators, like Oregon’s Ron Wyden, have seen the potential for such taxation to not only make government bigger, but also to drive businesses out of the country:

 “What concerns me, especially after the legal analysis I received from the Congressional Research Service, is I think the way this bill is going to work, people are going to end up calling it the shop Canada bill or maybe the shop Mexico bill or, what is even more ominous, the shop China bill.”

The Senate needs to look no further than the home state of one of bill’s co-sponsors, Dick Durbin. In 2011, Illinois passed a similar law called the Main Street Fairness Act. What did the bill do? It drove businesses out of Illinois and generated far less state revenue (tax dollars) than expected, as an Illinois Policy Institute op-ed in the Chicago Tribune early this month notes: 

 After the law was enacted, businesses fled. Overstock.com and Amazon.com ended their relationships with Illinois-based marketing affiliates. Chicago-based CouponCabin moved to Indiana. And FatWallet.com, which had been headquartered near Rockford for three years, skipped the border to Wisconsin.

“The so-called Amazon tax was misguided,” said Brent Shelton, a spokesman for FatWallet.com. “(It) did little to increase the competitiveness of the local merchants it was purportedly designed to protect. It’s primary result was to cause businesses like ours to leave the state.” Each of these companies took with them people, jobs and money.

And the $150 million?

The actual money generated by the law was much less.

According to the Illinois Department of Revenue, the law generated just $3.8 million between July 2011 and January 2012. The state was on pace to net $6.4 million from the tax by the end of the fiscal year. This law, billed by one of Illinois’ top political leaders as a step toward solving Illinois’ economic and fiscal problems, failed to achieve even 5 percent of its intended target.

Just as Senator Wyden noted, the “Marketplace Fairness Act” could drive businesses overseas. Illinois has shown that a similar state law has driven businesses across state borders. What’s to say that a federal law wouldn’t do the same? Also, as with many forms of taxation, revenues rarely reach anticipated amounts. Why should states collect taxes on behalf of other states? What about potential constitutional violations,which the Heritage Foundation warns against and the state of Illinois experienced? Those are all questions we should ask the 75 Senators who voted in favor of a non-binding resolution for internet sales taxation last month. Let’s hope they’ll learn a lesson from the microcosm of America’s financial problems–Illinois–and vote “no” on the actual bill.

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Drillinois!: Is Fracking Coming to the Land of Lincoln?

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by Whitney Pitcher

Over the last week, I’ve posted a few posts on the AGU/O4P Illinois4Palin page on some state legislation that is being discussed in Springfield right now-namely conceal and carry and pension reform. Additionally, our state is considering legislation outlining regulation of fracking. While the regulation is very strict, it is a far cry from a New York like moratorium. I wanted to share this post here because, if passed, it may be one of the few bright spots in our mess of a state. It would allow the creation of thousands of jobs in southern Illinois, an area of the state politicians too often ignore. Imagine that; energy development and economic improvement going hand-in-hand? Sounds familiar.

Illinois often doesn’t seem to produce much more than corrupt politicians,but behind the graft and crime, Illinois ranks 11th in energy production in the country. According to the Energy Information Administration, Illinois produces more nuclear energy and ethanol than any other state in the country.  Beyond the reactors and car booze, Illinois runs in the middle of the pack (twenty-sixth) when it comes to development of natural gas. That could change with the new technology that is booming in places like Texas and Pennsylvania –fracking.

In December, the Illinois Chamber of Commerce released a study indicating that fracking for natural gas could has much as a nearly ten billion dollar economic impact and bring tens of thousands of jobs to southern Illinois.  Fracking has yet to be even tested in the New Albany shale of southern Illinois, but the Chamber hopes that their research will provide the necessary impetus to move things forward legislatively. The study evaluated drilling costs, but not specifically the cost of regulations, royalties or taxes, nor did it assess any oil that may be present in the shale.

A few months ago, a southern Illinois Democratic legislator, energy developers, and environmental groups sat down to draft a plan that would aim to appease all involved:

After years of clashing over the drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” the oil industry and environmentalists have achieved something extraordinary in Illinois: They sat down together to draft regulations both sides could live with.

If approved by lawmakers, participants say, the rules would be the nation’s strictest. The Illinois model might also offer a template to other states seeking to carve out a middle ground between energy companies that would like free rein and environmental groups that want to ban the practice entirely.

[…]

The Natural Resources Defense Council supported a failed attempt at a fracking moratorium last year. So with lawmakers clearly ready to allow fracking in southern Illinois, the NRDC wanted to ensure there were significant safeguards, including making drillers liable for water pollution, requiring them to disclose the chemicals used and enabling residents to sue for damages.

“One of the positive things here has been the table to which a wide range of interests have come … to address the risks in an adult way,” said Henry Henderson, director of the NRDC’s Midwest office. “We have gotten over the frustrating chasm of ‘Are you for the environment or for the economy?’ That is an empty staring contest.”

Negotiations took place over four or five months, primarily at the Statehouse in meetings led by state Rep. John Bradley, a Democrat who lives in the area where fracking would occur, participants said.

Bradley whittled negotiators down to a core group — four from industry, four from environmental groups, plus representatives from the attorney general’s and governor’s offices, regulatory agencies and lawmakers, said Mark Denzler, vice president of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association.

That group was pared even further for the toughest negotiations, which included discussions with outside technical experts on complicated issues, said Ann Alexander, an NRDC senior attorney.

“I won’t say there weren’t times that voices got raised a little bit, but … it’s a very good model of cooperation,” Alexander said. “It beats the (typical) model of having drafts furtively circulating … or emerging at the last minute when nobody has had a chance to read them.”

A bill with robust bipartisan support is currently being discussed in committee the Illinois House. The bill has extensive regulatory provisions on permitting , environmental restrictions and liability, and transparency of development. Governor Quinn has even voiced is support for fracking in his budget speech onWednesday.

The bill still needs to pass through committee, the House as a whole, and the Senate before arriving at the Governor’s desk. To be sure, the bill does includes rather strict regulation that will impact producers. However, it has the potential to produce clean natural gas and provide jobs for many–something that states like with fracking moratoriums, like New York, have yet to do. For a state known for ineptness, this could be a small step in the right direction.

Useful links:

HB 2615: Hydraulic Fracturing Regulation Act

House member contact list

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Why Is the Illinois GOP Honoring an Obama Crony?

by Whitney Pitcher

GOP elephant

The Illinois Review reported today that the Illinois Republican Party will honor David W Rowe, the Chairman Emeritus of Exelon, an Illinois company and the top nuclear energy company in the country:

CHICAGO – Illinois GOP Chair Pat Brady and Finance Chairman Sandy Stuart will be honoring Exelon Chairman Emeritus John W. Rowe March 19th with a special reception at the Chicago Club. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus will also be in attendance.

Rowe made news in 2009 when he led Exelon’s split with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over the Chamber’s opposition to cap and trade.Reportedly armed with negotiated exceptions on how the proposed tax system would affect Exelon, Rowe pushed for the cap and trade tax’s passage. During a Wheeling Township GOP meeting, then Congressman Mark Kirk publicly credited Exelon’s CEO with influencing Kirk’s vote in favor of cap and trade.

[…]

The ILGOP honoree has an interesting donor record. Over the past 12 years, Rowe has written 96 checks to political candidates in Illinois state and local elections, totaling $232,000+. Over $123,800 has gone to Democrats and $83,000 to Republicans. He has donated thousands of dollars to Chicago Mayors Richard Daley and Rahm Emanuel, as well as Chicago Alderman Ed Burke (D), and Burke’s wife Anne who is an Illinois Supreme Court Justice. He’s also written checks to Cook County Board President John Stroger, his son Todd, and current board president Toni Preckwinkle.

To provide some perspective on the candidates Rowe has backed, Preckwinkle, as I have written before, is the Cook county board president who helped secure a $100 million a year Obamacare waiver for the county to allow them to expand Medicaid early. Preckwinkle was also the woman who introduced President Obama to Reverend Wright and once said that President Reagan could “rot in hell”.

Rowe also has donated to President Obama. Exelon,as a company, was President Obama’s fourth largest donor in 2008. Additionally,in 2008, Senator Obama watered down nuclear regulations while accepting nearly a quarter million dollars in campaign contributions from the Exelon. Obama buddy, David Axlerod was also once a consultant to the company, and in 2011, Exelon received a more than half billion dollar loan guarantee from the Department of Energy to build a solar plant in California.

To be sure, Rowe’s contributions include a good deal of money to Illinois Republicans as well as more than $22,000 to the RNC, $10,000 to the NRSC and a good deal to state level Republicans as the Illinois Review reported, and he is connected with one of the largest businesses in the state. However, what kind of a message is the state GOP and Reince Priebus trying to send by honoring an Obama crony who seems to possess no ideological compass? Sadly, it seems that this is only further proof that the already blurry line between Illinois Democrats and Illinois Republicans is becoming increasingly more blurry. We are governed by a single party–corruptocrats.

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Stand for the Second Amendment in the Land of Lincoln!

by Whitney Pitcher

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I’m not a gun enthusiast. I’ve never even shot a “real” gun. The closest thing I’ve used is a paintball gun or a nail gun. However, I am a constitution enthusiast, and even in my limited knowledge of world history, I’m aware of what has happens when guns are taken away from citizens. With all that in mind, I’d like to share some information about some pressing legislation that’s being proposed in Illinois that I originally posted at Illinois4Palin. While you may or may not live in Illinois, please be aware of this and be engaged if you so desire.

In writing his “Commonplace Book”, Thomas Jefferson quoted the Italian philosopher and legal scholar Cesare Beecaria’s book Of Crime and Punishments:

“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms … disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed one.”

Beccaria very well could have been describing present day Illinois where gun control often means the law abiding are punished for the actions of those who will continue to break gun laws no matter how numerous or restrictive. Despite having some of the most onerous gun laws in the country and currently being the only state in the union without some form of conceal and carry laws, Illinois’ largest city of Chicago had more than 500 homicides in 2012. Gun control is not evil control.

In mid December the US Court of Appeals declared Illinois’ ban on concealed carry unconstitutional and gave the state 180 days to craft ” a new gun law that will impose reasonable limitations, consistent with the public safety and the Second Amendment as interpreted in this opinion, on the carrying of guns in public”. For anti-gun proponents of Illinois, this judicially imposed deadline,the Chicago violence, the ineffably saddening shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, and a lame duck legislative session have provided the impetus to simultaneously meet the court’s demands while also restricting guns in new ways.

With the lame duck session ending on January 9th, the Illinois legislature is trying to ram through two pieces of legislation that would heavily restrict guns. The NRA’s Institute of Legislative Action notes several aspects of these bills that are particularly draconian:

Among other things, House Bill 815 would:

– Prohibit anyone without a FOID card from using a commercial shooting range, which in many cases would make it impossible to introduce new shooters to the safe and responsible use of firearms.

– Grant the State Police broad discretion to impose design, construction and operation standards that could shut down most commercial shooting ranges.

– Ban possession of magazines and other feeding devices that hold more than ten rounds of ammunition. A “grandfather clause” would require registration by owners of such devices and give the State Police discretion to impose and charge fees. Registration would require “proof of ownership” that could be impossible for most people to provide, and even registered owners could not transfer magazines within Illinois, except to an heir or a licensed dealer. Transfers of “grandfathered magazines” would have to be reported to the ISP.

– Violations of this magazine ban would be a felony. Failure to report theft or loss of a magazine would be a misdemeanor until the third violation, which would be a felony.

House Bill 1263 would:

– Ban, at a minimum, all detachable-magazine semi-automatic rifles and pistols. Remington 7400 deer rifles, Ruger 10/22 squirrel guns, Glocks, 1911s, etc. This ban would include about 80% of handguns now sold in the U.S.

– Possibly ban all semi-automatic rifles and even revolvers or single-shot pistols with the capacity to accept muzzle brakes or compensators.

– Ban “assault weapon attachments,” so possession of a thumbhole stock, a pistol grip,or a fore-end (a “shroud” that “partially or completely encircles the barrel”) would be a crime even if you didn’t possess a firearm.

– Ban all .50 BMG rifles.

– Contains “grandfather” provisions that would require registration by owners of devices and give the State Police discretion to impose and charge fees. Registration would require “proof of ownership.”

– Create felony penalties for violation of this ban on guns or attachments.

– Create lost and stolen penalties that would criminalize victims of gun theft

These bills moved out of the Senate’s public health committee on Wednesday, but have not been voted on in the Senate at this point. However, the Illinois House will discuss an additional gun control bill (SB 2899) and additional amendments when they reconvene Sunday. These overly restrictive bills do not seem to honor the court’s request for “reasonable” legislation. After all, what’s reasonable about disallowing citizens the opportunity to learn how to use a gun safely at a gun range?

Your voice can make a difference. Use your first amendment rights to re-affirm your support for the second. Please call or email your representatives to voice your support for the second amendment and your opposition for even more government impingement on our liberties. You can find contact information for your representative here. As this legislation is being discussed in Springfield and national legislation is being proposed as well, exercising the right to bear arms in Illinois shouldn’t only refer to Michelle Obama’s right to wear sleeveless dresses!

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What Governor Quinn Could Learn from Governor Palin

by Whitney Pitcher

There is good reason that the acronym of Illinois’s nickname is LOL. True–it does stand for Land of Lincoln, but it is also indicative the fact that our state is the laughingstock of the country. We’ve been approaching a fiscal cliff for quite sometime. Our budgets are bloated, and our state continually borrows money. Our pension systems are massively underfunded, and our credit rating is being downgraded on a seemingly monthly basis.

Our pension problems are our latest fiscal fire. There are five state pension systems–one for legislators, one for judges, one for teachers outside of Chicago, one for state employees, and one for state university employees. Right now, these pension systems are underfunded by $83 billion  (although new rules in such estimates put that number at $206 billion) and have the potential to go bankrupt by 2018The 67% state income tax increase and 46% corporate tax increase passed in  a lame duck session in early 2011 has done little if anything to help better fund education or help improve the pension situation.There are two ideas that have been pushed by Governor Quinn–pension reform and a federal bailout.   Pension reform was not achieved during the most recent regular session, nor a special session this past summer. The pension reform plan that Governor Quinn proposes includes increasing individual contributions, reducing cost of living adjustments, increasing the retirement age, and requiring that state pensions only be provided to state workers (i.e. make school districts responsible for providing teacher pensions). If implemented, these partial reforms would perhaps help, but in some respects, these changes would be considered merely nibbling at the margins. These ideas are not relentless reform.

In addition to his pension reform plans, Governor Quinn is toying with another idea to help stabilize the state’s fiscal situation–a federal bailout. In his FY2012 budget speech, Governor Quinn stated (emphasis added):

 Consider the state’s unfunded pension liability as a mortgage on future public employees’pension payments. Illinois has a long history of high unfunded liability—a big, decades-long mortgage problem, a big risk. After fiscal year 2010, following losses from a deep recession, the unfunded liability sat at over 60 percent. While the pension reform of 2010 improved the situation by decreasing future liabilities—and certainly the economic recovery improved net assets for the pension funds significant longterm improvements will come only from additional pension reforms,refinancing the liability and seeking a federal guarantee of the debt, or increasing the annual required state contributions. Until one or more of these options is achieved, pension funding issues will persist.

So much for that Illinois state motto of “state sovereignty, national union”! When you become dependent on outside sources to hold up your debt and subsidize your failure you begin to lose your sovereignty. The same could be said about America as a whole with roughly a third of our debt held by foreign nations.

The Illinois Policy Institute (a conservative think tank akin to a Heritage Foundation or Cato Institute) has pushed two key ideas to tackle the state pension problems. One is to change the pension funds from a defined benefit to a defined contribution system, which means that taxpayers no longer shoulder the liability of pensions and how they are invested. The other is to reject a federal bailout, as it would create “winner and loser” states throughout the country and runs counter to the constitutional concept of federalism. In short, the answer to Illinois’ problems could simply be: “listen to Governor Palin”.

This past week, Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina joined with the Illinois Policy Institute to push for blocking federal bailouts of state and municipal pensions, and Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois had also made the same call in May 2011.  Federal bailouts for states have been discussed in recent years because of the woeful straits that states like Illinois and California have found themselves in. In December of 2010, Governor Palin wrote a piece against the bailout of states by the federal government:

American taxpayers should not be expected to bail out wasteful state governments. Fiscally liberal states spent years running away from the hard decisions that could have put their finances on a more solid footing. Now they expect taxpayers from other states to bail them out, which will allow them to postpone the tough decisions they should have made ages ago and continue spending like there’s no tomorrow. Most Americans would say these states have made their bed and now they’ve got to lie in it. They accepted federal dollars and did not voice opposition to the unfunded federal mandates, and they even re-elected politicians who foisted debt-ridden programs on them that could never be sustained.

[…]

My home state made the switch from defined benefits to a defined contribution system, and as governor, I introduced a number of measures to build on that successful transition, while also addressing the issue of the remaining funding shortfall by prioritizing budgets to wrap our financial arms around this too-long ignored debt problem. When my state ran a surplus because we incentivized businesses, I didn’t spend it on fun and glamorous pet projects for lawmakers – though that would have made me quite popular with the earmark crowd. In fact, I vetoed more excessive spending than any governor in our state’s history, and I used the state’s surplus to bring our financial house in order by paying down our unfunded pension plans that some other governors wanted to ignore. This fiscal prudence didn’t make me popular with the state legislature. In addition to vetoing hundreds of millions of dollars in wasteful spending, I put billions of dollars into savings accounts for future rainy days, much like most American families do in responsibly planning for the future. I also enacted a hiring freeze and brought the education budget under control through a commitment to forward-funding. I returned much of the surplus back to the people (it was their money to start with!) through tax relief and energy rebates. I had proven as the mayor of the fastest growing city in the state that tax cuts incentivize business growth, and though the state legislature overrode some of my veto cuts and thwarted an additional tax relief request of mine, the public was supportive of efforts to rein in its government.

It’s one thing to veto spending and reduce the size of government when your state is broke. I did it when my state was flush with revenue from a surplus – though I had to fight politicians who wanted to spend like there was no tomorrow. It’s not easy to tell people no and make them act fiscally responsible and cut spending when the money is rolling in and your state is only 50 years shy of being a territory and everyone is yelling at you to spend while the money is there to build. My point is, if I could fight this fight in Alaska at a time of surplus, then other governors can and should be able to do the same at a time when their states are facing bankruptcy and postponing this fight is no longer an option.

The reforms that Governor Palin implemented helped lead to a 34.6% decrease in total liabilities during her tenure. In fact, Alaska is third best in the nation in the percentage of its pension system that is funded. Additionally, due in part to pension reform and other fiscal measures implemented by Governor Palin,  Alaska’s credit rating has twice been upgraded by Standard and Poor’s and once by Moody’s since 2008. In addition to the bias of the media and the ill intentions of the GOP establishment, Governor Palin’s stellar record is not as well known as it should be because she prevented problems from reaching a tipping point by nipping them in the bud. She didn’t have to put out the proverbial fiscal fire because she removed the kindling before the fire could start. That doesn’t mean, though, that governors on both sides of the aisle can’t learn from her by implementing the reforms that helped make Alaska one of the most fiscally sound states in the country.

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Obamacare’s Sobering Vocabulary Lesson

by Whitney Pitcher

Over the last three years, America has been embattled in a health care reform debate, ranging from the legislative debates to the townhalls and Tea Parties and later on to the actual vote and bill signage and Supreme Court decision. In reality though, we were never really discussing health care reform; we were discussing health insurance reform. The difference is huge and will become more and more evident as time progresses. More Americans may receive health insurance coverage as Obamacare is implemented, but that doesn’t mean that they will receive health care. We need to look no further than Medicaid to see the failures when government gets involved in health insurance and health care. Medicaid has been in place for nearly fifty years, but has the potential to greatly expand in states that choose to do so. However, Medicaid is also illustrative of how health care reform is a complete misnomer.

The New York Times finally highlighted the burgeoning doctors’ shortage on Sunday. Even prior to Obamacare’s passage, a doctors’ shortage was anticipated. However, the shortage of doctors more than doubles with the implementation of Obamacare. What do doctors’ shortages do? As the NYT story notes of current doctors shortages (emphasis added):

Experts describe a doctor shortage as an “invisible problem.” Patients still get care, but the process is often slow and difficult. In Riverside, it has left residents driving long distances to doctors, languishing on waiting lists, overusing emergency rooms and even forgoing care.

Yes, the New York Times would follow up a sentence that notes patients would receive care by noting that the doctors’ shortage would influence them to forego care hoping that their readers would miss their attempt at nuance. Medicaid, though, adds an additionally wrench in the physician shortage, as the NYT goes on to say:

Moreover, across the country, fewer than half of primary care clinicians were accepting new Medicaid patients as of 2008, making it hard for the poor to find care even when they are eligible for Medicaid. The expansion of Medicaid accounts for more than one-third of the overall growth in coverage in President Obama’s health care law.

If there is already of shortage of doctors and  Medicaid patients are hard pressed to find a physician that will take them as a patient, where is the reform of health care? It’s almost as if the government has offered to give the entire country their own car, but only gave everyone a set of keys. One of the main reasons that doctors aren’t accepting new Medicaid patients is due to reimbursement rates, which Obamacare is supposed to increase. However, while President Obama was attempting to offset the financial aspect of care on the backs of the taxpayers through projected reimbursement increases, he neglected to address tort reform, which would have decreased medical malpractice insurance for doctors, while only negatively affecting ambulance chasers and the Democratic politicians to whom they donate, not the taxpayers.

Since Medicaid is partial state funded, there is a state specific aspect of this too. Take Illinois for example, where in FY2012, Medicaid was underfunded by $2.1 billion dollars . Additionally, even if funding stayed flat as Governor Quinn projects, payment to providers is projected to average nearly a year’s delay by FY15. The state is already $8 billion behind on their bills overall, prompting the state comptroller to provide emergency funding to a mental health facility reliant on Medicaid funding to prevent the agency from closing its doors.  The expansion of Medicaid as Obamacare is implemented is supposed to make matters worse. Although the Supreme Court decision allows the states to decide whether or not they are going to expand Medicaid, true to form, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has already indicated he will. With a growing doctors shortage, a limited number of doctors accepting Medicaid, and the potential for facilities to close due to delayed payment, it would be a miracle if a Medicaid patient even got into the doctor!

Let’s pretend though that a new Medicaid patient was able to get into the doctor, but they have a rare illness or are extremely sick and require a great deal of medications. Well, Illinois Medicaid has stated that they now will limit patients to 4 brand name drugs. This comes after last year, when Illinois cut availability of brand name psychiatric drugs. Fifteen other states have limits on brand name prescriptions as well. To be sure, there are a great deal of generic medications, but there are still situations where there are no generics available. Essentially, this is drug rationing.The implementation of Obamacare, which is predicted to double the number of Medicaid recipients in Illinois over the next ten years, will only exacerbate the problems already in place.

Obamacare may end up technically providing some form of “health insurance” to the majority of Americans. However, if past is prologue when it comes to government’s role in medicine, this will not be legitimate health care reform, as people who now may not have health insurance or health care may inevitably end up with health insurance, but with delayed or non-existent care and limits on what medication they may receive.Of course, this is not what was promised by President Obama. Julia may get her free birth control, but she will likely have a heck of time scheduling an appointment for a doctor to prescribe it for her. Moreover, this is being done on the backs of the American taxpayer, or in the case of Illinois, the $2.1 billion Medicaid underfunding  came on the heels of a 67% state income tax increase and a more than 40% increase in state corporate taxes. This is the kind of newspeak that has become commonplace in the Obama administration, but hopefully proponents of government intervention in medicine will learn a sobering lesson. Health care and health insurance are not synonymous.

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Illinois Organize4Palin–Standing for Right in the Bastion of the Left

by Whitney Pitcher

Illinois is often seen as one of the bastions of liberalism—the California or New York of the Midwest.  Rather than cutting spending and reining in government growth during a time of economic downturn and period of massive deficits, our governor grew our state budget and increased state income taxes by 67% and corporate taxes by more than 40%. Especially with the conviction of former Governor Rod Blagojevich earlier this week (the 4th Illinois governor to be convicted of corruption since 1972), we could quite possibly even change our state motto to “Illinois: where the governors make the license plates”. In 2004, we elected Barack Obama to the Senate, which propelled him to the presidency just four years later. We’ve all become far too familiar with his failed leadership and poor policies and the effects those have on our nation. Such a recent political history may have the rest of the country asking, “what’s wrong with Illinois voters?”  Take heart. Not all of us support the incompetence, lack of leadership, and poor policies of those whom our state has elected. Actually, an increasing number of us have chosen to support someone who has effectively taken on massive spending and corruption—Sarah Palin.

Organize4Palin is a grassroots organization supporting Governor Palin and her commonsense conservative message all across the country.  Illinois Organize4Palin is one of the many state groups who are meeting and organizing all across the country. In the past month, we have held three meetings at locations throughout the state—from a local restaurant in suburban Chicago to a church classroom in the central part of the state to a bowling alley lounge in Chicago. A local restaurant, a church, and a bowling alley—just where you would expect down-to-earth, hard working Palin supporters to meet. The bowling alley where we met just last week is co-owned by one of our great volunteers. Check out the marquee at the bowling alley, in the heart of Chicago no less:

We have met to discuss various ways to support Governor Palin both on an individual level and on a group level. We’ve discussed specific events where we will be present in support of Governor Palin during this summer. Volunteers from Illinois have assisted with efforts in neighboring states over the past few months—from Governor Palin’s Tea Party speech in Madison, Wisconsin in April to the premiere of “The Undefeated” earlier this week in Iowa. We’ve supported Governor Palin through new media as well. One of our volunteers, Ellen, is instrumental in running the site Students4Palin—another group of Organize4Palin volunteers representing a constituency that President Obama once owned. Along the way, we’ve met more and more people who support Governor Palin. Another one of our wonderful volunteers shares this story from her cab ride following our Chicago meeting:

After I left the meeting, I caught a cab to the train station. The cabbie was friendly and talkative. In his heavily Greek accented voice, he asked why I was going from a bowling alley to the train station. I explained that I was at a meeting. He followed up, “A meeting at a bowling alley? What kind of meeting is held at a bowling alley?” I replied, “Political.”

He queried, “Democrat?” I shook my head, nope, more like… independent. He gave me a puzzled look as he could tell I was reluctant to give him more information.

After he stared me down I somewhat sheepishly replied, “It was a meeting to help organize for Sarah Palin.”

He asked, again, “At a bowling alley?” I replied, “The owner is a supporter, too.” He nodded as if it all finally made sense to him.

He smiled and said, “I really like her.” He said, “I’m a Republican but the field is full of no-goods like Romney and Gingrich.” (And, he pretended to spit.) “Good for you, do you think she’ll run?” I responded that we’re hoping she does and will be ready to help if she does.

Despite what the main stream media wants to tell us, there is no such thing as an “unlikely Palin supporter”. We cannot be labeled, nor placed in a box. We’re unique individuals supportive of a woman who binds the three legged stool of conservatism with the seat of integrity and character. Illinois Organize4Palin is comprised of former Hillary Clinton supporters, Republicans, independents, and formerly apathetic non-voters. We’re a polychromatic group of varying religious, educational, and backgrounds.  Our diversity is not only seen in our backgrounds, but in our reasons for supporting Governor Palin. Don’t take my word for it though. Let me introduce you to some of Illinois Organize4Palin’s volunteers and let them tell you themselves:

Organize4Palin volunteers in Urbana, Illinois (hometown of noted Palin Derangement Sufferers, George Will and Roger Ebert)

Organize4Palin volunteers in Chicago, Illinois

If you have not signed up with Organize4Palin yet, please do so here.  You can also follow Organize4Palin on twitter here and Illinois Organize4Palin here.

Game on!

Thank you to Stacy for her assistance with video editing.

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