Thursday, October 04, 2007
Walberg Distorting the Truth on SCHIP
There's been more going on than just the SCHIP vote and veto, but as long as Tim Walberg wants to talk about it, I will too.
Yesterday, Congressman Walberg released a statement:
“I support renewing SCHIP to aid children in low-income families. I have co-sponsored legislation that would extend the current children’s health insurance program by 18 months.This is basically the same line he's been repeating for a while. Don't be confused when he says
"I support renewing SCHIP to aid children in low-income families. I have co-sponsored legislation that would extend the current children’s health insurance program by 18 months."He's not talking about the bill which the House passed and which he voted against. He's talking about the alternative bill that was not voted on, and would not expand the SCHIP program. So, that's a mildly-deceptive way of wording things, but that's not what's bothering me right now.
“The legislation I have supported would ensure that the children’s health program is available for children who need it, and not for adults, people who enter the country illegally or families who already have private insurance. The Democratic legislation takes a program originally meant for children of low-income families and expands it to cover some families earning up to $83,000 and illegal immigrants while moving millions of children from private health insurance to government programs.(Emphasis added.)
That's where the lies and distortion come in.
First, on that $83,000 figure, from FactCheck.org:
In fact, nothing in either the House or Senate bill would force coverage for families earning $83,000 a year. That's already possible under current law, but no state sets its cut-off that high for a family of four and the bill contains no requirement for any such increase. The Bush administration, in fact, just denied a request by New York to set its income cut-off at $82,600 for a family of four, a move New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer and members of Congress from the state have vigorously protested. And Bush would retain the authority to deny similar applications under the proposed legislation. An Aug. 17 letter to state health officials from the Center on Medicare and Medicaid Services outlined new guidelines for states that would make it quite difficult for states to raise eligibility above 250 percent of the federal poverty level ($51,625 for a family of four). So Bush is simply wrong to say that the legislation "would" result in families making $83,000 a year to be eligible. It might happen in a future administration, but that would be possible without the new legislation.(Emphasis added.)
Now, as the bill evolved in Congress, New York became a special case, as FactCheck.org later explains:
Here’s what would happen to New York’s request to increase its eligibility cap to 400 percent of the poverty level: The new legislation would rescind the Aug. 17 letter from HHS that required states to meet certain requirements before they could raise eligibility above 250 percent of the poverty level. Instead, HHS would issue new requirements for states seeking to increase their caps above 300 percent. After Oct. 1, 2010, states failing to meet those requirements wouldn’t get federal funds for children above that 300 percent mark (see Sec. 116 of the bill).It's complicated and a little tough to follow, but here's the short version. There's a chance that one state out of 50, a state with a pretty high cost of living in some places, might raise it's cap to nearly $83,000, but it would only last for two years.
So, yeah, Congressman Walberg, "some families" earning up to $83,000 might be eligible. But we both know that you were trying to imply that this would be a nationwide thing. Not a lie, exactly, but certainly deceptive.
Now, how about those terrible illegal immigrants? The Democrats, apparently, want to give them health care. Again, as Walberg says:
The Democratic legislation takes a program originally meant for children of low-income families and expands it to cover some families earning up to $83,000 and illegal immigrants while moving millions of children from private health insurance to government programs.There's one problem: the Democratic bill does no such thing.
As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution succinctly states as it dispels myths about SCHIP:
Claim: Illegal immigrants will be able to sign up for benefits. It is against federal law for illegal immigrants to sign up for SCHIP programs. That wouldn't change.Where did the idea that illegal immigrants could sign up for SCHIP come from?
How would these illegal immigrants get into the program? Simple. A provision in the bill allows potential enrollees to show only a Social Security card - not documents proving citizenship - when they apply at the state level to get in the programs.It simplifies the process, so that you don't need to fight through as much paperwork to get benefits. I always thought efficiency in bureaucracy was something Republicans liked.
But that doesn't matter, because those nasty Democrats went ahead and gave illegal immigrants social security benefits, right? So, illegal immigrants can get SCHIP, too.
Actually, no. It's a different issue entirely, but as FactCheck.org explains:
Republicans are tagging Democratic opponents across the country for wanting to "give Social Security benefits to illegal immigrants." But nobody's proposing paying benefits to illegals, not until and unless they become US citizens or are granted legal status.Illegal immigrants are not eligible for Social Security, and if they somehow present a Social Security card to enroll in SCHIP, they are breaking the law now and they would be breaking the law under the Democratic bill. It's that simple.
So when Tim Walberg says that the bill expands SCHIP to cover illegal immigrants, he's lying.
But how about that last piece, where Walberg says:
The Democratic legislation takes a program originally meant for children of low-income families and expands it to cover some families earning up to $83,000 and illegal immigrants while moving millions of children from private health insurance to government programs.(Emphasis added.)
Millions of children from private health insurance to government programs? It sounds like socialized medicine! It sounds like HillaryCare!
It also sounds like another lie.
In other words, this isn't socialized medicine. The federal government isn't even close to making decisions for doctors.
This is government-subsidized medicine. The federal government gives money to the states, and each state comes up with a program that ensures health coverage for eligible children.
What it does do is make health insurance a lot more affordable to people who can use the extra money.
I'm hoping that I covered everything without making too many mistakes. But I'm fairly confident that my post is a lot more accurate than anything Tim Walberg has said about the issue.
From MirsNews, don't have a subscription. But, is this the return of Berryman?
MEA Wants 'Accountability' For 'Betrayers'
"Upset it was thrown under the bus as part of Monday morning's budget deal, the Michigan Education Association (MEA) is fighting back on the political front. The state's largest teacher union is threatening to find a Democratic primary opponent to run against Senate Minority Leader Mark SCHAUER (D-Battle Creek)."
Still not sure why Berryman dropped out, I think he would have been a far superior candidate compared to Schauer...
I sent the following note to Tim Walberg shortly after his vote against SCHIP:
Dear Congressman Walberg:
I’m writing to let you know that I am very disappointed with your performance to date. Your recent vote against SCHIP is inexcusable, in spite of the GOP talking points sent out in your weekly “Walberg’s Weekly Wrap-Up”.
I have friends and family from Battle Creek to Ann Arbor and have yet to talk to one individual who supports your positions. You’re out of touch with your constituency and quite frankly people are tired of the GOP as obstructionists.
I will continue to pay very close attention to how you vote on every issue put before you in Washington. I truly hope for the sake of this nation that you begin to realize the importance of putting people first and politics second.
Tim Walberg does not represent the best interests of his constituents - something I hope voters will take care of in 2008!
I just sent Walberg a similar comment as well, pointing him (or his office staff) out to FactCheck.org, the Washington Post article, ThinkProgress.org, and asked him to go over to the Senate and talk to Charles Grassley of Iowa.
What's effing annoying is that I already wrote him earlier this week correcting him on the $83,000 lie and yet he puts it out AGAIN today.
Pardon my french, but what a *eff*wit!
Berryman threw his support behind Schauer, right?Post a Comment
That anti-teacher vote by Schauer is going to make it very difficult for teachers to get motivated to help.
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