Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Would Anyone Actually Oppose Keeping Insurance Companies From Discriminating Against People With Pre-Existing Conditions? Meet Roy Blunt (R-MO)


Remember when Boehner tasked Missouri's biggest corporate shill to come up with a Republican response to healthcare reform. Blunt, as usual, did nothing-- other than start campaigning full time for the open Missouri Senate seat-- and eventually Boehner managed to find some other schnook to put out a meaningless set of reactionary talking points that basically do nothing about healthcare reform but push forward a right-wing agenda bound to kill us all. The Kansas City Star editorial board was furious at what they dubbed Blunt's "snipe and sit" posture last summer:
"Our bill is never going to get to the floor, so why confuse the focus?" Blunt said yesterday. "We clearly have principles; we could have language, but why start diverting attention from this really bad piece of work (the Democrats have) got to whatever we’re offering right now?"

So the "solution" is purely political. Fire away at the Democrats' plan and offer nothing of your own.

...When it comes to health care and other matters, Blunt and other GOP House members are quick to assert that the emperor has no clothes. But they're laughably chicken about suggesting what the emperor should put on.

The Health Care Solutions Group last month did release a list of principles for health care reform.

But it contains no cost estimates and no real estimates of how many people would gain insurance through the plan.

Look, if Republican ideas for health care are any good, put them into a bill, release cost estimates, and let them be subjected to the same analysis as the Democratic proposals.

I suspect Blunt and the GOP don't want to do that, because they know, in their heart of hearts, that their wardrobe is the most threadbare of all.

It looks increasingly like the House GOP health care plan is the status quo. If that's the case, Blunt and company should say so.

Unless you're as dishonest as Rush Limbaugh or as credulous as a Glenn Beck follower, that amounted to something less than a hill of beans. But Blunt is hoping to ski down that hill into the U.S. Senate. His solution to the healthcare problems that have plagued Americans for his entire congressional career? Repeal the bill that was just passed. Since 1990 the Medical Industrial Complex-- not even counting the $622,932 he managed to snag from Big Insurance-- lavished Blunt with $1,945,821 in legalized bribes to make sure he would watch out for their interests rather than the interests of Missouri's working families. Only 7 members of the House have taken in bigger hauls from the "health" industry.

But disingenuous hucksters like Blunt can't very well go to general election voters-- even if it works in a GOP primary-- and say "we're the part of the status quo and we will obstruct changing anything and everything," so what does he say? Well in this interview he did yesterday with a Springfield TV station, he came incredibly close to saying just that. Speaking about how the Insurance monopolies routinely deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions-- like cancer, say, or, in many places, being a woman-- Blunt was... well, blunt: a major conservative talking point on anything is always to just blame the victims:
BLUNT: "Access for adults who've done nothing to take care of themselves who actually will have, as I just described, every incentive not to get insurance until the day that you know you're going to have medical expenses, that's a very different kind of story."

KSPR-TV "Blunt says his plan offers 'protections' for pre-existing conditions but a check of his website shows his proposal would not stop insurance companies from denying coverage for people with pre-existing conditions."

Think I'm joking? Watch for yourself:

Although Blunt is currently asking Missouri voters to elevate him to the U.S. Senate, he has been a particularly terrible representative for the citizens of the 7th congressional district, nine and a half counties in the southwest corner of the state. The bill he tried obstructing and then voted against-- and which he is now insisting on repealing will significantly improve the lives of folks living in the 7th, according to Blunt's own House Energy and Commerce Committee and will:
* Improve coverage for 394,000 residents with health insurance.

* Give tax credits and other assistance to up to 200,000 families and 16,500 small businesses to help them afford coverage.

* Improve Medicare for 119,000 beneficiaries, including closing the donut hole.

* Extend coverage to 69,000 uninsured residents.

* Guarantee that 14,700 residents with pre-existing conditions can obtain coverage.

* Protect 1,300 families from bankruptcy due to unaffordable health care costs.

* Allow 61,000 young adults to obtain coverage on their parents’ insurance plans.

* Provide millions of dollars in new funding for 23 community health centers.

* Reduce the cost of uncompensated care for hospitals and other health care providers by $90 million annually.

UPDATE: Brian Bilbray, Stranger In A Strange Land

I know the above was about the Senate, Roy Blunt, and the fabulous Spring Break destinations like Cabo and Cancun and South Beach and San Padre Island but House members were off gallivanting around as well. Actually, Nancy Pelosi dubbed it a "District Work Period" and encouraged all members to spend time speaking with their constituents about the issues that are foremost in their minds. And most members actually did use the 2 weeks that way. The San Diego Union Tribune reported that a local congressman, former lobbyist Brian Bilbray never set foot in his district-- a district he has virtually no connection to in the first place-- and that he spent the entire two week recess working on his boat in Panama. This year he's spent considerably more time in Panama than in CA-50. When called out on his arrogance and his lack of roots in the northern San Diego County district, Bilbray's spokesperson, Fritz Chaleff, shrugged it off by telling the press that "Bilbray was not available to discuss his re-election campaign. He is spending the congressional recess in Panama repairing his boat."

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