Barbour Leads Anti-Health Reform Rhetoric | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Barbour Leads Anti-Health Reform Rhetoric

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President Barack Obama addressed the country last night about Osama bin Laden's death.

Gov. Haley Barbour and other opponents of health-care reform are making final efforts to derail an upcoming House vote on the Senate health-care package this Sunday.

During a press conference this week, Barbour declared his gratitude for members of the Mississippi delegation, including Republican U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper, of Mississippi's third congressional district, who voted against the previous reform package when it passed the House last November. Barbour said at his press conference that the bill "is very bad for Mississippi, as it is for most every other state."

The governor also argued in a Feb. 22 interview on Fox News that the reform package would put "a huge unfunded mandate on states that would make me raise taxes $150 million in Mississippi," and that the government "shouldn't put a huge tax on small business."

Edwin Park, senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, said the federal government is picking up the tab on at least 90 percent of that increase, however.

"It's paying 100 percent the first three years. After that, 95 percent until 2017, 94 percent in 2018, 93 percent in 2019 and 90 percent thereafter on a permanent basis, so the federal government is always picking up 90 cents out of every dollar of cost for the increase that Barbour is talking about," Park said.

Park added that Barbour's $150 million figure is nothing compared to the state's projected Medicaid cost increases over the next 10 years without some version of federal reform, as an increased number of people lose their employer-based health insurance due to insurance rate hikes.

"The state of Mississippi will find more and more people falling back on Medicaid as they lose their insurance. You will still get those increases in Medicaid costs, only without the increase in federal funds, or any increased coverage for Mississippians helping to balance it," Solomon said.

Meanwhile, The U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent the week thanking U.S. Representatives, like Rep. Travis Childers, for their opposition to a Senate bill imposing new restrictions on health insurance companies. In a Thursday statement, the Chamber described Childers as "standing with ... small businesses and members of the U.S. Chamber, and against a health care bill that would wipe out more jobs, raise costs and put employers and employee's current health benefits at risk.

Ron Aldridge, Mississippi director of the National Federation of Independent Business, also offered gratitude for Childers' opposition to the health-care package, saying the bill would raise insurance rates on small businesses, or force businesses that do not carry insurance to invest in an insurance policy.

"The Senate bill imposes a new tax on insurance premiums, but we already have a 3 percent insurance premium tax on every type of insurance policy here in Mississippi, one of the highest in the country. It's seen as a tax on the insurance companies, but they pass that along to the policy-holder as an add-on cost," said Aldridge, adding that the bill also forces small businesses that employ 50 people or less to insure their employees--even if they can't afford to.

However, that only would apply to a construction company with fewer than 50 employees. Under the Senate bill, a construction company with five or more employees would have to provide coverage, but the requirement does not apply to companies with fewer than 50 employees that aren't construction companies. Non-construction companies may employ up to 50 full-time workers before falling under the Senate bill's requirement to provide insurance paying 60 percent of expected coverage costs. If employers offer coverage that doesn't pay 60 percent of expected insurance costs of their employees and cost more than 9.8 percent of the employee's income, the employer is required to pay a $750 penalty per year for each full-time employee.

Eddie Vale, spokesman with the AFL-CIO, in Washington, called Aldridge's assessment of the new tax on insurance premiums only part of the story.

"It won't be raised on anybody making less than $250,000," Vale said. He addressed Aldridge's second complaint by explaining that the lower threshold was necessary for construction businesses because the brunt of the work force of many multi-million-dollar construction projects is composed of sub-contracted businesses containing fewer than 20 employees apiece. The excessive use of sub-contractors in the construction industry would rule out requiring health insurance for employees in a majority of projects.

"You would have thousands and thousands of people left without health care if they don't have this rule in place. The AFL-CIO sees it as an affordable requirement because small businesses are getting hurt by health-care costs. Those costs that keep going up and up aren't just happening to people paying private bills. If you pass health-care reform you bring down costs and increase savings, which benefit everybody," Vale said." We expect those insurance costs to be more and more affordable every year after reform."

Aldridge admitted that his own insurance has been steadily climbing for a decade.

"It's been going up every year for the last 10 years. It averages a good 10 percent per year, at least," Aldridge said, but advocated other means to control costs, such as allowing businesses to cross state lines to buy insurance through interstate insurance pools.

Passing the Bill

Barbour spread more misinformation against reform at the Wednesday press conference, claiming that the House intends to pass the controversial health-care reform package without a vote. Barbour's accusation follows national news reports that Democrats are trying to round up votes in the House over the weekend, and that Sen. Dennis Kucinich, D-OH, will now be voting in favor of the bill.

"(The Affordable Health Care for America Act) has now become so egregious that apparently the House leadership does not plan to hold a vote in order to pass the legislation, which is mind-boggling to me," said Barbour, who has long opposed the insurance reform being considered for reconciliation by the House and Senate this week. "Even the president has asked for an up and down vote, and now the House leadership says they plan to pass it by rule, and deem it passed without actually having to vote upon it."

Local author and Democratic campaign consultant Jere Nash said Barbour's got the description wrong.

"The House has got to vote to concur and send an amendment, and vote on additional amendments they've made with the Senate, but there will be an up or down vote to send it to the president. Notwithstanding what anyone else says there will be an up or down vote recorded on the House floor," Nash said.

More specifically, rules in the House allow the chamber to engage in a deeming provision: Once the House passes the deeming provision for the Senate bill, it will automatically recognize the Senate bill as having passed the House. The House will then have an up or down vote on the Senate bill and any amendments it adds to it--only that vote requires a simple majority vote, as opposed to a vote that can be stifled with yet another Republican filibuster.

Barbour made no mention of the majority vote necessary in the House to pass the Senate bill in his Wednesday press conference.

A 2009 report by the Washington D.C.-based think tank The Urban Institute, "The Cost of Failure to Enact Health Reform" predicts up to a 106 percent increase in Medicaid and CHIP costs for states by 2019 for the non-elderly population, and a 127.8 percent increase in uncompensated care costs (hospital care provided for which no payment was received from the patient or insurer). At the very least, the report estimates a 60.7 percent increase in Medicaid and CHIP expenditures, and a 71.7 percent increase in uncompensated care.

A separate March report from the House Committee on Energy and Commerce reveals a positive district by-district impact of the reform. Harper's 3rd Congressional District, according to the report, will see an improvement in health insurance coverage for 408,000 residents, and extend health-insurance coverage to 69,000 uninsured residents. The same reform will also guarantee that 14,400 residents with pre-existing medical conditions--currently rejected for coverage by insurance companies--will be eligible for insurance.

Previous Comments

ID
156808
Comment

I am sure that Barbour would have railed against the passage of Medicare and Medicaid as well. Without these programs, a huge percentage of people in Mississippi would have no health care at all. Considering that the federal government pours tremendous amounts of money into the state to provide health care to the poor, Barbour should say nothing more than, "Thank you!"

Author
Brian C Johnson
Date
2010-03-19T13:59:56-06:00
ID
156809
Comment

As for the dreaded "deem and pass," only a Washington politician like Barbour could imagine that the American people are going to rise in revolt over parliamentary procedure. The House hates parts of the Senate bill, with good reason. They want to prevent Republicans from tarring them with the "Cornhusker kickback" and other measures that will be stripped from the final legislation. Deem and pass simply allows them to reconcile the two bills without actually voting for the doomed Senate provisions. Either way, there will be an up-or-down vote. Otherwise, the Democrats wouldn't have had to fight for every vote. Try campaigning on this issue. It'll rile up the tea partiers, but everyone else is focused on the substance of the legislation. Despite an unprecedented blitz of Republican lies (government takeover of health care, death panels, etc.), this reform is set to become law. Now, the Republicans and their corporate sponsors are becoming frantic.

Author
Brian C Johnson
Date
2010-03-19T14:05:33-06:00
ID
156810
Comment

Here's a link to a factcheck of health-care statements on both sides.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2010-03-19T15:14:40-06:00
ID
156811
Comment

BTW, we just added in this *very* vital information to the story above; please do not believe the myth that this legislation would apply to businesses with fewer than 50 employees unless they're construction companies: Under the Senate bill, a construction company with five or more employees would have to provide coverage, but the requirement does not apply to companies with fewer than 50 employees that aren’t construction companies. Non-construction companies may employ up to 50 full-time workers before falling under the Senate bill’s requirement to provide insurance paying 60 percent of expected coverage costs. If employers offer coverage that doesn’t pay 60 percent of expected insurance costs of their employees and cost more than 9.8 percent of the employee’s income, the employer is required to pay a $750 penalty per year for each full-time employee.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2010-03-19T15:44:02-06:00
ID
156812
Comment

"Teddy Roosevelt, a Republican, was the first to advocate that everybody get healthcare in this country. Every decade since, we've had presidents, Republicans and Democrats, from Harry Truman to Richard Nixon to JFK...every single president had said. we need to fix the system". - President Obama

Author
CliftonWhitley
Date
2010-03-19T21:51:26-06:00
ID
156813
Comment

That quote was reported from his speech in VA today! Richard Nixon: www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=3757&h=b6290fbcba60ce3a55d9d34e692cca2b

Author
CliftonWhitley
Date
2010-03-19T22:08:09-06:00
ID
156815
Comment

They opposed social security in a similar manner: washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/19/AR2010031902636.html

Author
CliftonWhitley
Date
2010-03-20T07:41:43-06:00
ID
156818
Comment

Browse down on this page to see the latest outrageous signs from the teabaggers. We have Obama emerging from a donkey's rear, above a sign reading "Warning: If a Brown can't stop it, a Browning can," with a semi-automatic. Next is a bald white guy wearing an "End the Fed" button with a "Marxism is an Obama-Nation" T-shirt. The third is a photo of Obama with the caption, "Undocumented Worker." Next is the popular Obama as Hitler. Thank you, Mr. Beck, for reminding us that so many Nazis were black. Finally, we have a grinning-n*gger Obama effigy in medical scrubs, above a sign reading "No 'Voo-Doo' Medicine!!" But you understand that the tea party has nothing whatsoever to do with race.

Author
Brian C Johnson
Date
2010-03-20T19:30:26-06:00
ID
156820
Comment

The likely behind closed doors rhetoric of the "tea baggers" sloshes out into public view: http://bit.ly/9TtboY

Author
CliftonWhitley
Date
2010-03-21T09:23:43-06:00
ID
156826
Comment

It is disturbing to realize that attacks against Governor Barbour in regards to his so titled “Anti-Health Reform Rhetoric” is an appeal to sentiment based in an attempt to make it look like the governor is against improvements in health and wellness initiatives; yet, the misnomer of a so called health reform bill under consideration really refers to insurance reform that is labeled as if it were health reform; and, the unimaginable damage to our overall health and economy due to escalating costs of ineffective medical treatment options presently underwritten by insurance coverage is frightening, as high costing procedures are given carte blanc tax money coverage; this looms ominously as a likely undesirable consequence. So, since the Governor's (and his wife's)walking health initiatives at Pecan Park Elementary demonstrated to the President and his wife that we are concerned about our overall health improvement, it is more likely that the governor is against support for health care coverage for medical solutions that aren't solving our serious health problems, while costing an arm and a leg, or a kidney and a heart. Doctor Daddy

Author
doctor daddy
Date
2010-03-21T21:58:42-06:00
ID
156828
Comment

Actually, Daddy, the point of the story is to point out that Barbour and others (especially affiliated with the U.S. Chamber and the insurance lobby) are misleading about the heath-reform bill. In other words, they're making their-own-selves look bad; they don't need help. Barbour has shown no public indication that he understands what is actually in the bill passed tonight. And that's very sad.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2010-03-21T23:03:07-06:00
ID
156840
Comment

I can only assume that Doctor Daddy is an ardent support of single payer, based on his mistrust of insurance companies.

Author
Brian C Johnson
Date
2010-03-22T10:45:57-06:00
ID
156858
Comment

Who said Doctor Daddy mistrusts somebody?...He knows full well that his mother succumbed to inappropriate brain tumor operation, and he knows full well that his father didn't have a chance with the Pancratic operation with its failure proof data, and he knows all too well that his brother was turned into a "Tales From the Crip" Iatrogenic horror as result of Chemotherapy. He trusts that insurance money will continue to fund such medical responses to our deteriorated health, whether we pay for it single or not. Oh, and by the way, someone surviving on below poverty level income doesn't have the luxury of choosing the kind of payer he or she happens to be or not. Doctor Daddy

Author
doctor daddy
Date
2010-03-22T15:22:21-06:00
ID
156864
Comment

Well, now Ms Ladd, I was not attempting to read the Governor's mind or assess his knowledge of a bill (that is deemed through his public behavior); I meant to agree with the position against underwritting medical solutions that are a curative failure that "we the people" are "reeling on the ropes from already--deteriorating from chronic degenerative diseases that stymie contemporary solutions," while at the same time establishing a system that does not protect all Amercan Citizens, affording all citizens insurance coverage and opportunity to choose Holistic Healing Soultions that low income and wage earners can afford. And, i like it when you call me Daddy,.....Doctor Daddy. PS I pray that we don't have to spend our tax dollars funding operations and treatments that do not cure us!

Author
doctor daddy
Date
2010-03-22T16:05:16-06:00

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