ObamaCare Scandal in Scranton, PA; Three Hospitals Up For Sale

Via The American Spectator.

Can you say “October Surprise”?

A mushrooming political battle over ObamaCare involving the White House, two incumbent Pennsylvania congressmen, three Catholic hospitals and a nun has just exploded in, of all places, Scranton, Pennsylvania. Charges from the Scranton medical community of intimidation by the Obama White House and its allies are filling the air. 

All of this just as Vice President Joe Biden arrives in Scranton today to raise money for one of the participants.

There are two issues at the core of the controversy.

1. ObamaCare and the sale of three Scranton-area Catholic hospitals.

2. The re-election prospects of the two House members, Democrats Paul Kanjorski and Chris Carney, both of whom cast key votes to pass ObamaCare.

Here’s the list of players — major and minor — so far.
• The President of the United States.
• The Vice President of the United States.
• Three Scranton-area Catholic hospitals suddenly for sale.
• The CEO of the three Scranton-area Catholic hospitals for sale.
• ObamaCare, otherwise known as “health care reform” or the “Affordable Care Act.”
• A Catholic nun.
• Michigan Congressman Bart Stupak.
• A pen.
• Victoria Reggie Kennedy, widow of the late Senator Ted Kennedy.
• Time magazine.
• The Scranton Times
• The two Scranton-area House members Kanjorski and Carney, both losing in the polls.
• U.S. Senator Bob Casey, Jr., a native and resident of Scranton.
• Congressman Joe Sestak, the Democrats’ nominee for the Pennsylvania U.S. Senate seat.

Where to start? That would be….

March 22, 2010: President Obama signs the Affordable Care Act (aka “ObamaCare”) into law in front of live television cameras and a packed East Room of the White House. According to news accounts, the President uses 21 different pens to sign his name, the highly prized souvenirs of the historic moment given to Vice President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Victoria Reggie Kennedy, the wife of the late Senator Ted Kennedy along with a very select handful of others.

The President, after being introduced by an exuberant Vice President Biden (who whispers “this is a big f…g deal” into the President’s ear and is picked up by a live microphone) says:

“I heard one of the Republican leaders say this was going to be Armageddon. Well, two months from now, six months from now, you can check it out. We’ll look around and we’ll see.”

Almost immediately — it didn’t take two months much less six — the White House is confronted with a rapidly accelerating set of unintended consequences spreading across the country. As listed by the Wall Street Journal, those unintended consequences included 2011 premium increases shooting up as high as 9%; “multibillion-dollar corporate writedowns by Verizon, AT&T, Caterpillar and others”; the disruption of insurance markets, a show-down with McDonald’s, the imposition of price controls on premiums, insurers withdrawing from Medicare Advantage.

In what appears to have become a pattern, the response from the Obama Administration has been repeatedly swift and harsh — compared by one critic as an episode straight out of the Sopranos, the famous HBO mobster series.

The corporate writedowns — done in compliance with federal law — resulted in angry phone calls from then-Obama White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and colleague Valerie Jarrett to corporate CEO’s and the heads of the Washington corporate offices of those involved. Congressman Henry Waxman threatened a congressional investigation into those companies whose obedience to the law put them at odds with the actual results of ObamaCare. Notification by insurers that rates were being forced up by ObamaCare resulted in a threatening letter from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to insurers warning that such candor would not be tolerated — at risk of not being allowed to participate in a future government-run health care exchange for insurers.

Then, suddenly, on October 6 — five days ago — the fuse to what is becoming a huge political explosion was lit.

In the unlikely location of Scranton, Pennsylvania.

IN THE MIDDLE OF THESE two hotly contested re-election races for a pair of Pennsylvania Democratic congressmen, the controversy first erupted over the suddenly announced sale of three Catholic Hospitals spread out between Paul Kanjorski’s and Chris Carney’s two adjoining congressional districts.

The initial announcement was made by Mercy Health Partners CEO Kevin Cook.

Cook is based in Scranton, while Mercy Partners and the three hospitals up for sale are in fact a subsidiary of the larger Catholic Healthcare Partners (CHP) based in Cincinnati, Ohio.

 The three Catholic hospitals involved are: Mercy Hospital in Scranton; Mercy Special Care Hospital in Nanticoke, both in Kanjorski’s 11th District. And the Mercy Tyler Hospital in Tunkhannock, located in Carney’s adjacent 10th District.

The Cook announcement was big news in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The Sisters of Mercy had opened Mercy Hospital in Scranton, a major facility for the city, in 1917 — 93 years earlier. Inevitably it drew media attention. Which is where the plot thickens.

WNEP TV (Channel 16) reporter Jon Meyer filed a story about the sale at 4:40 pm. that afternoon. WNEP TV anchor Paula Giangiacomo led the story on the air by saying that “one big” reason for the sale “is the health care reform bill signed into law this year.” Mercy Health Partners CEO Cook was interviewed on camera along with Sister Marie Parker. When Meyer asked Cook if ObamaCare had anything at all to do with the sale, the CEO replied:

“Health care reform is absolutely playing a role. Was it the precipitating factor in this decision? No, but was it a factor in our planning over the next five years? Absolutely.”

Notice the use — twice — of the word “absolutely” by Cook, leaving no doubt with viewers that while ObamaCare wasn’t the “precipitating factor” it was “absolutely playing a role…Absolutely” in the decision by Mercy Health Care Partners to put the three hospitals up for sale.
http://spectator.org/archives/2010/10/11/the-presidents-nun-obamacare-s/

The entire circumstances surrounding ObamaCare—from the Dems trampling on the Constitution to ram it through Congress, to the preemptive consequences—is rife with scandal. Hospitals are cutting back, doctors are refusing new Medicare patients, and insurance premiums are going up, all in anticipation of the ObamaCare goatscrew that is supposed to take effect in 2014.

Informed citizens who protested over this clusterfuck were insulted and labeled “evil” and “extremists” by the very same assclowns who are breaking landspeed records running from ObamaCare. Unions and Dem politicians suddenly realize ‘what’s in it’ and are trying like hell to avoid it. Being the asswipes they are, they don’t want to be subjected to the same state-run health care system as the rest of us peons.

How’s that change working out for ya?

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