Tuesday, November 17, 2009
If you check his website you notice a disturbing skew to everything. In the health care section http://garrett.house.gov/Issues/Issue/?IssueID=5208, he posts a report from the Lewin Group, as if this was some non-biased source of information, but the reality is that this company is fully owned by United Healthcare - a huge insurance company.
Then you take a look at the "Health Care Comments" on this page, which supposedly represents the emails from his constituents. However, there is not a single email in favor, even though the majority of Americans do favor health care reform. Really, not one email?
Probably the most misleading section is one titled "Reading Guide for Reform" http://garrett.house.gov/UploadedFiles/Pelosi_HC_Bill_Reading_Guide_102909.pdf. This is essentially the contents of the email that Garrett sent out to his constituents, and was easily dissected in my earlier post as being full of misinformation. What's really disturbing is that this is clearly a prepared "talking points" document for Republicans, so they have a list of alarming (but untrue) statements with which to get misinformed voters riled up. Apparently, but not surprising, Garrett doesn't have the integrity to stand up to those in his party that are trying to push this drivel.
With this lack of honesty about such an important issue, I really don't understand how this congressman can sleep at night.
PS Apparently I'm not the only one noticing Garrett isn't really being honest - there is a good deal of content about his reckless positioning at this informative web site http://blogthefifth.blogspot.com/ !
Friday, November 6, 2009
Once again, we dissect the supposed claims for this legislation by copying the actual bill text and some commentary between [block parentheses] right below the claim that Garrett is making.
Please feel free to get this posted around the Internet...
November 5, 2009
As you know, the issue of health care reform is being hotly debated in the halls of Congress and throughout America. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is bringing the latest version of the health care bill to the floor of the House of Representatives this week. At more than $1 trillion and nearly 2,000 pages, H.R. 3962 is considered by many to be the antithesis of patient-centered reforms that would empower Americans to own and control their health coverage. This bill has the potential to limit choices, competition, and the possibilities for innovation. Conversely, I support health care reform that will ensure that America remains competitive in the 21st Century by making our system more portable, affordable, sustainable, effective and innovative.
I will be making my concerns known today, November 5 at noon on the West Front steps of the U.S. Capitol (House side), where I will join my Republican colleagues, as well as Americans from across the nation, for a House Call on Washington.
Given the significant changes to our health care system which would take place if this piece of legislation is enacted, I want to ensure that you have access to a copy of this bill, as well as the summary and report of H.R. 3962 compiled by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), and a reading guide to the legislation.
The text of H.R. 3962 - Affordable Health Care for America Act as introduced can be found here: http://docs.house.gov/rules/health/111_ahcaa.pdf
The CBO Report of H.R. 3962 can be found here:
I would also like to point out some sections that I thought you might find of particular interest, as noted by this reading guide:
Page 94—Section 202(c) prohibits the sale of private individual health insurance policies, beginning in 2013, forcing individuals to purchase coverage through the federal government
[A complete fabrication, look at the text from the document below, it clearly states that people are free to buy any additional insurance if they want coverage beyond the minimum standards - "Nothing ... shall prevent the offering of excepted benefits ... so long as such benefits are offered outside the Health Insurance Exchange and are priced separately from health insurance coverage"]
1 (c) LIMITATION ON INDIVIDUAL HEALTH INSURANCE
3 (1) IN GENERAL.—Individual health insurance
4 coverage that is not grandfathered health insurance
5 coverage under subsection (a) may only be offered
6 on or after the first day of Y1 as an Exchange-par
7 ticipating health benefits plan.
8 (2) SEPARATE, EXCEPTED COVERAGE PER
9 MITTED.—Nothing in—
10 (A) paragraph (1) shall prevent the offer
11 ing of excepted benefits described in section
12 2791(c) of the Public Health Service Act so
13 long as such benefits are offered outside the
14 Health Insurance Exchange and are priced sep
15 arately from health insurance coverage; and
16 (B) this division shall be construed—
17 (i) to prevent the offering of a stand
18 alone plan that offers coverage of excepted
19 benefits described in section 2791(c)(2)(A)
20 of the Public Health Service Act (relating
21 to limited scope dental or vision benefits)
22 for individuals and families from a State
23 licensed dental and vision carrier; or
24 (ii) as applying requirements for a
25 qualified health benefits plan to such a
1 stand-alone plan that is offered and priced
2 separately from a qualified health benefits
Page 110—Section 222(e) requires the use of federal dollars to fund abortions through the government-run health plan—and, if the Hyde Amendment were ever not renewed, would require the plan to fund elective abortions
[This section states that abortions would be paid for only if specifically funded by law.]
17 (B) ABORTIONS FOR WHICH PUBLIC FUND
18 ING IS ALLOWED.—The services described in
19 this subparagraph are abortions for which the
20 expenditure of Federal funds appropriated for
21 the Department of Health and Human Services
22 is permitted, based on the law as in effect as
23 of the date that is 6 months before the begin
24 ning of the plan year involved.
Page 111—Section 223 establishes a new board of federal bureaucrats (the “Health Benefits Advisory Committee”) to dictate the health plans that all individuals must purchase—and would likely require all Americans to subsidize and purchase plans that cover any abortion
[The new "board of federal bureaucrats" is actually a much more representative committee than what any insurance company uses today to determine health plan benefits (see the actual text below) and will help insure that the plans meet needs of subscribers. Section 223 has nothing to do with abortion, but notice how Garrett inserts a contentious issue.]
20 (5) PARTICIPATION.—The membership of the
21 Health Benefits Advisory Committee shall at least
22 reflect providers, patient representatives, employers
23 (including small employers), labor, health insurance
24 issuers, experts in health care financing and deliv
25 ery, experts in oral health care, experts in racial and
1 ethnic disparities, experts on health care needs and
2 disparities of individuals with disabilities, represent
3 atives of relevant governmental agencies, and at
4 least one practicing physician or other health profes
5 sional and an expert in child and adolescent health
6 and shall represent a balance among various sectors
7 of the health care system so that no single sector
8 unduly influences the recommendations of such
Page 211—Section 321 establishes a new government-run health plan that, according to non-partisan actuaries at the Lewin Group, would cause as many as 114 million Americans to lose their existing coverage
[Another blatent lie. What Garrett does not mention is that the Lewin Group is WHOLLY OWNED BY AN INSURANCE COMPANY, United Health http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/22/AR2009072203696.html. Once again, another example of how Garrett is wholly owned by campaign contributors, and does not bother to represent the interests of his constituents.]
Page 225—Section 330 permits—but does not require—Members of Congress to enroll in government-run health care
[Under this bill NO Americans, even members of Congress, are required to enroll in the Public Option]
1 SEC. 330. ENROLLMENT IN PUBLIC HEALTH INSURANCE
2 OPTION BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS.
3 Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act,
4 Members of Congress may enroll in the public health in
5 surance option.
Page 255—Section 345 includes language requiring verification of income for individuals wishing to receive federal health care subsidies under the bill—while the bill includes a requirement for applicants to verify their citizenship, it does not include a similar requirement to verify applicants’ identity, thus encouraging identity fraud for undocumented immigrants and others wishing to receive taxpayer-subsidized health benefits
[Another lie. The section specifically gives the government authority to take steps to determine fraud is not taking place.]
1 (1) PROGRAM INTEGRITY.—The Commissioner
2 shall take such steps as may be appropriate to en
3 sure the accuracy of determinations and redeter
4 minations under this subtitle.
Page 297 - Section 501 imposes a 2.5 percent tax on all individuals who do not purchase “bureaucrat-approved” health insurance - the tax would apply on individuals with incomes under $250,000
[Yes, in order for universal healthcare to exist, everyone has to participate. Without a penalty individuals would skip insurance till they got sick.]
Page 313—Section 512 imposes an 8 percent “tax on jobs” for firms that cannot afford to purchase “bureaucrat-approved” health coverage; according to an analysis by Harvard Professor Kate Baicker, such a tax would place millions “at substantial risk of unemployment”—with minority workers losing their jobs at twice the rate of their white counterparts
[Large companies (who this section applies to) already spend about 8% on employee healthcare. Any unemployment caused by high healthcare costs is already happening, and has nothing to do with implementing universal healthcare with the same costs for employers.]
Page 336—Section 551 imposes additional job-killing taxes, in the form of a half-trillion dollar “surcharge,” more than half of which will hit small businesses; according to a model developed by President Obama’s senior economic advisor, such taxes could cost up to 5.5 million jobs
[This section has nothing to do with small businesses. It is a tax on individuals who earn more than $1M a year. This is actually responsible legislation that insures there is revenue to support it.]
Page 520—Section 1161 cuts more than $150 billion from Medicare Advantage plans, potentially jeopardizing millions of seniors’ existing coverage
[Interesting assertion, given that AARP, whose whole existence is to protect the interests of seniors, has endorsed this plan.]
Page 733—Section 1401 establishes a new Center for Comparative Effectiveness Research; the bill includes no provisions preventing the government-run health plan from using such research to deny access to life-saving treatments on cost grounds, similar to Britain’s National Health Service, which denies patient treatments costing more than £35,000
[To not use effectiveness research is beyond comprehension - why would we expect policyholders (and in some cases, taxpayers) to pay for ineffective treatments. Private insurance companies already practice this, but not with any transparency for customers.]
Page 1174 - Section 1802(b) includes provisions entitled “TAXES ON CERTAIN INSURANCE POLICIES” to fund comparative effectiveness research, breaking Speaker Pelosi’s promise that “We will not be taxing [health] benefits in any bill that passes the House.”
[No. This is simply a renaming of a chapter in the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. See text below.]
11 (A) Chapter 34 of such Code is amended
12 by striking the chapter heading and inserting
13 the following:
14 ‘‘CHAPTER 34—TAXES ON CERTAIN
15 INSURANCE POLICIES
‘‘SUBCHAPTER A. POLICIES ISSUED BY FOREIGN INSURERS
‘‘SUBCHAPTER B. INSURED AND SELF-INSURED HEALTH PLANS
Thank you for taking time to listen to my concerns with this legislation. Should you have any further questions or comments about this or any legislative issue, please do not hesitate to contact me in my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 225-4465. Also, please visit my website at www.house.gov/garrett to sign up for my e-newsletter with the latest updates.
Member of Congress