Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Garrett Full of SCHIP

Well, Representative Scott Garrett has posted again over at Townhall.com. This time he writes about his opposition to the State Children's Health Insurance Program. It's an interesting read, and a prime example of rhetorical spin at it's finest if you're a fan; or worst if you just want politicians to tell it like it is. You can read the complete text here.

For those not having the time to read the whole thing, here are a few inaccuracies right off the bat:

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 2.1 million people who are currently covered by private health plans will be forced into this nationalized health care.
Nowhere in either the CBO report to the Committee on Ways and Means or to The Rules Committee is that said. What they do say is that 2.1 million people who are not eligible will be eligible with increased funding and are likely to enroll. Forced is powerful word meant to be used as a scare tactic, but it's simply not in the report.
Interestingly enough, the SCHIP bill balances the new entitlements on the backs of our nation's vulnerable seniors with $37.1 billion in cuts to Medicare providers. It makes cuts for hospital care, skilled nursing care, home health care, oxygen therapy and imaging. It even limits access to wheelchairs.
The Bill stopped taxpayers from having their Medicare dollars used to ensure corporate profits instead of providing medical care. In a separate CBO report they had this to say about the over-payments taxpayers are making to private Medicare vendors:

Such growth, under current payment policies, increases net costs to Medicare because payments made to Medicare Advantage plans exceed costs under the traditional fee-for-service program.
As a "Hero of the Taxpayer", one would expect Garrett to protect us from paying too much for things, however time and time again Garrett has lately put corporate welfare above the taxpayer's interest.

Between the $37.1 billion of over payments he's defending here, and his opposition to the elimination of $19 billion in bank profit-subsidies by the College Cost Reduction Act; in under a month Garrett has signaled his blessing on $56.1 billion in corporate welfare (roughly $183 per citizen).

And last but not least:
And, according to a non-partisan Congressional Budget Office report, an estimated 3 million seniors will literally lose their coverage altogether, including more than 6,700 seniors in New Jersey's 5th District.
Ok, once again, not in either CBO report and simply meant to scare the hell out of senior citizens. My guess is, that particular number, is in relation to the shifting coverage from one program to the other that the CBO notes. However, I'm not sure where he got the figure and considering Garrett's history of making up stats we can't be sure if such a study exists or not.

It's unfortunate that Garrett's entire argument against the legislation is based on distorting pretty straight forward reports and backing corporate welfare. It's not what voters expect of someone with a reputation as a straight shooter and being a fiscal conservative. However, for the time being it's what we in the Fifth have got.


Tony Hesketh said...

You really hit the nail on the head with this one.

The Medicare cuts outlined in the House's SCHIP bill will greatly reduce subsidization of private health insurance industry's huge profits without affecting, or perhaps even improving, senior's Medicare benefits. Misleading constituents about these cuts seems to be quite a common ploy amongst Republicans in the House - of course using broad definitions of "cuts to Medicare providers" would do nothing other than instill fear in America's seniors.

And as for forcing people into "nationalized health care," Garrett certainly overlooks the fact that the program is completely voluntary. This bill would simply increase the number of people eligible for health coverage who are otherwise without adequate insurance. It increases access to care - it doesn't mandate it.

I'm glad you decided to write about this. See my blog for other thoughts I have on the issue:

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