Those “Coulds and Woulds” in the Health Care Debate
I have frequently written about, quoted from, or published letters to the editors of our newspapers.
I have often said that one can find unbelievably good common sense and wisdom in such letters from ordinary Americans.
Once in a while, a politician’s letter to the editor finds its way onto the editorial pages.
Alarm bells should ring when this occurs.
I am not saying that politicians don’t have the right to express their opinions in such a manner.
I am not saying that politicians’ opinions expressed via such letters should be ignored or automatically condemned.
I am saying that one needs to carefully read and evaluate such letters, whether written by a Democrat or by a Republicans, because, after all, they are written by politicians.
One such letter appeared in USA TODAY yesterday.
It was a letter titled, “Health care plan doesn’t require proof of citizenship,” and written by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa.
The letter was in response to an August 10, USA TODAY editorial opinion, “Misinformation, mayhem mar debate on health care.”
The opinion piece laments the fact that ”Some August town hall meetings around the country have degenerated into furious shouting matches, driven by outrageous misinformation borne of many sources.”
The editorial continues: “So in the interest of correcting some of the misinformation, here are a few truths that need to get moving,” and shines the light of truth and reason on such issues and subjects as euthanasia and death panels, “Socialism,” the ability to keep the insurance or health coverage “you got” and, finally, on the rumor that “Illegal immigrants will be covered.”
On that last issue, USA TODAY says:
In fact, no bill says this, and a key House bill explicitly forbids it. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, claims that the Congressional Budget Office says 5.6 million illegal immigrants would be covered. FactCheck.org says King is distorting CBO’s findings, which say no such thing.
In his letter to the editors of USA TODAY, King disagrees with USA TODAY, Democrats, FactCheck.org, “liberal blogs,” etc., and says:
USA TODAY’s editorial “Misinformation, mayhem mar debate on health care” cannot cover up for the fact that illegal immigrants would benefit from the House Democrats’ health care bill (Aug. 10).
According to the Congressional Budget Office, within 10 years, the non-Medicare population of the U.S. will include 14.1 million illegal immigrants. CBO projects that up to 8.5 million of those 14.1 million will not have health insurance, meaning the Democrats’ bill could benefit as many as 5.6 million illegal immigrants.
This is the result of Democrats blocking Republican efforts to require proof of citizenship. Democrats are on record voting to defeat amendments that would preserve the proof of citizenship standard.
FactCheck.org and liberal blogs have criticized this conclusion by pointing to language in the bill stating that illegal immigrants cannot receive health benefits. That language is purely a red herring — technically accurate but functionally meaningless except as a diversion.
No Democratic bill contains verification mechanisms, such as proof of citizenship requirements, to ensure that illegal immigrants would not receive benefits. Democrats in two congressional committees defeated Republican amendments introduced to close this loophole.
Their bill also suggests that if one member of a household were eligible for benefits (for example, a U.S.-born child of an illegal immigrant), then everyone in that household would be considered eligible. The Pew Hispanic Center estimated that there are almost 2 million families in the USA with illegal immigrant parents and U.S.-born children.
With these significant loopholes — no verification and family eligibility — illegal immigrants would benefit if liberals passed their bill that would lead to a government takeover of our health care system. Next time, perhaps FactCheck.org and those who print its opinions will check with the author of the facts before they go to print. My number is 5.6 million; what’s yours?
While I do not claim to be an expert on the proposed health care reform legislation as it presently stands, I am quite sure that it does not include language such as:
* “Illegal immigrants would benefit from the House Democrats’ health care bill.”
* “…the Democrats’ bill could benefit as many as 5.6 million illegal immigrants.”
* “…defeat amendments that would preserve the proof of citizenship standard.”
* “No Democratic bill contains verification mechanisms…to ensure that illegal immigrants would not receive benefits.”
* “Their bill also suggests that if one member of a household were eligible for benefits…then everyone in that household would be considered eligible”
* “Illegal immigrants would benefit if liberals passed their bill that would lead to a government takeover of our health care system.”
I am no legislative expert either, but I do not believe that legislative proposals are analyzed, passed or rejected based on woulds, coulds, assumptions or suggestions. I believe that the process works better when such analyses and debate are based on hard facts.
To this ordinary American, the use of coulds and woulds, and “suggests that”, smacks of another attempt to perpetuate just one more myth about the proposed health care legislation.
Most amazing, King even refers to specific language in the bill stating that illegal immigrants cannot receive health benefits, as: “Purely a red herring—technically accurate but functionally meaningless except as a diversion.”
Perhaps Mr. King and his Republican colleagues might be much more effective—and credible—if they would work with Democrats to address such perceived “loopholes” and to improve other aspects of the proposed legislation, instead of continuing to invent and propagate their own red herrings and absurdities—such as “Democrats want to pull the plug on Grandma; provide free abortions,” etc.