Friday, October 26, 2007

Mike Rogers: Bull-SCHIP Excuses

Last night, the House passed a revised version of the SCHIP bill 265-142 -- close, but no cigar on being veto-proof. You won't be at all surprised to learn that Mike Rogers voted against health care for the children of working families... AGAIN.

The SCHIP bill that went up for a vote last night had a few minor changes; the only substantive change was a national income eligibility cap that won't let states cover families earning over 300% of the poverty level. This addressed the bogus but oft-repeated charge that "wealthy" families would instantly drop their private coverage and switch to the SCHIP program.

Well that's not good enough for Mike Rogers, Defender of Family Values! He expressed his concerns to the New York Times :

Representative Mike Rogers, Republican of Michigan, said children from affluent families could still qualify for benefits because states, in determining eligibility, could ignore or disregard part of a family’s income.
Whoa there, Mr. Rogers -- are you actually saying that the federal government knows how to spend $$ better than individual states?

So much for your conservative values...

In case you've missed them, here are some other bull-SCHIP tales from Mr. Rogers' Big Bag O' Excuses:

"It covers adults, but it should only be for children."
This is always good for a laugh, since the Bush administration was pushing states to boost their adult SCHIP enrollment two years ago. A Freep editorial noted that Michigan adults participating in SCHIP are doing it with Mike Rogers' blessing:
Enrollees' annual income cannot exceed $3,500; the program is designed mainly to get them preventive care that will keep them out of emergency rooms. Two Republican congressmen (Mike Rogers and Dave Camp) sent a letter supporting the state's application.

In any event, Congress ended this option; it was not in the bill that the president vetoed.
"It will take money away from health care for seniors."
Despite Rogers' recent scare-filled letter to retirees, budget cuts in Medicare Advantage will be made in payments to insurers, not to senior citizens. But hey, Rogers is just looking out for the folks who helped pay for his campaign.

"Wealthy families will drop private insurance and freeload off the taxpayers."
Once more with feeling: Congressional Budget Office Director Peter Orszag testified that

"...I have not seen any other proposals to reduce the number of uninsured children by 5 million with crowd-out rates that are lower than 33 percent. Again, in the absence of a mandate on an employer, or a mandate on an individual, or a mandate on state governments, CBO does not believe you’re going to do much better than these kinds of crowd-out rates."
The Urban Institute estimates that over 70% of the children covered by the bill would come from families making less than $41,300; most of the others would have family incomes under $62,000.

"Taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for other people's health care."
Maybe Mike Rogers has forgotten just who has been picking up the tab for his health care as he served in the Army, worked for the FBI, sat in the Michigan legislature and "represents" the 8th District in Washington...

Call him. Write him. Fax him. Let Rogers know that we're watching his breathtakingly bad voting record.

If all else fails, vote him out of office in November 2008!

(cross-posted at Michigan Liberal)

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