Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Lungren And Norquist-- Not The Most Popular Corporate Shills In The Sacramento Area


In 2008, the presidential election results in Dan Lungren's northern California district were very close. It was, in fact, Obama's closest margin of victory in the state. Unlike Gore or Kerry, he took CA-3, but just barely, 49-49%! And Dan Lungren, on of the state's most disliked incumbents scraped by with 50% of the vote. The following year Lungren drew a far better-financed opponent Ami Bera, who again held him down to 50%. After redistricting, Lungren will face Bera again-- and in a slightly bluer district. And next year Bera, a medical doctor, should have no problem making sure the district's hard-pressed seniors are aware that Lungren voted to replace Medicare with an inadequate voucher program. The Democratic staff of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has all the facts and figures. The Republican proposal Lungren voted for would have disastrous impacts on seniors and disabled people in the district who are currently enrolled in Medicare. Here's how; this is what it would do to residents of CA-3:
• Increase prescription drug costs for 7,900 Medicare beneficiaries in the district who enter the Part D donut hole, forcing them to pay an extra $77 million for drugs over the next decade.

• Eliminate new preventive care benefits for 109,000 Medicare beneficiaries in the district. The Republican proposal would have even greater impacts on individuals in the district age 54 and
younger who are not currently enrolled in Medicare. It would:

• Deny 570,000 individuals age 54 and younger in the district access to Medicare’s guaranteed benefits.

• Increase the out-of-pocket costs of health coverage by over $6,000 per year in 2022 and by almost $12,000 per year in 2032 for the 127,000 individuals in the district who are between the ages of 44 and 54.

• Require the 127,000 individuals in the district between the ages of 44 and 54 to save an additional $29.7 billion for their retirement-- an average of $182,000 to $287,000 per individual-- to pay for the increased cost of health coverage over their lifetimes. Younger residents of the district will have to save even higher amounts to cover their additional medical costs.

• Raise the Medicare eligibility age by at least one year to age 66 or more for 71,000 individuals in the district who are age 44 to 49 and by two years to age 67 for 444,000 individuals in the district who are age 43 or younger.

This district has 127,000 individuals who will enroll in Medicare for the first time between 2022 and 2032. Under the Republican plan Lungren backs and voted for, their cumulative out-of-pocket costs for Medicare coverage during their first 20 years of program eligibility would increase by $41.2 billion compared to their costs under traditional Medicare, an increase of 235%. And Lungren's Medicaid cuts would be catastrophic for district residents as well. Were Lungren's plan ever to become law, Medicaid’s guarantee of coverage would be eliminated, Medicaid would be turned into a block grant program, and the federal contribution to Medicaid would be reduced by nearly $800 billion over the next decade. Other changes voted for by Lungren would allow states to eliminate coverage for seniors, individuals with disabilities, children, pregnant women, and others currently enrolled in Medicaid. These changes would have a profound impact on Medicaid’s ability to provide health coverage to millions of Americans and in the 3rd CD, these provisions could:
• Reduce coverage for 17,900 dual eligible seniors and individuals with disabilities who rely on Medicaid to supplement their Medicare coverage or pay their Medicare cost sharing.

• Jeopardize nursing home care for 1,100 whose expenses are paid by Medicaid.

• Impair the health care of 63,000 children, including 2,300 newborns each year, who receive coverage under Medicaid.

• Cut payments to hospitals for 18,000 emergency room visits paid for by Medicaid each year.

• Cut payments to hospitals for 5,900 inpatient visits paid for by Medicaid each year.

• Reduce jobs and hurt economic growth by eliminating $1.5 billion in Medicaid spending.

But these are hardly the only reasons so many people in the district dislike and mistrust Lungren-- and why so many are ready to replace him. Many are uneasy about the dangerous, unsecured chemical facility in the area, the Dry Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant, which Lungren has helped out with numerous loopholes to prevent them from securing the facility, even though it puts his constituents at an unacceptable risk.
Lungren led House Homeland Security Committee Republicans in voting to kill amendments that would have closed security loopholes and required safer chemicals at the Dry Creek wastewater plant near his district.

Though he promised to return to Congress to keep the country safe from terrorism, Lungren’s primary accomplishment is a giveaway to chemical companies more interested in short-term profit than protecting the lives of Americans.

And, not unlike what happened last week to New York freshman congressman Chris Gibson, Lungren's constituents also told him they had had enough of his fealty to Grover Norquist instead of to them. Lee Fang:
On Wednesday, a constituent in a town hall meeting challenged Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA) about his loyalty to Grover Norquist, an anti-tax activist and noted corporate lobbyist. Politicians who sign Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform pledge, a popular commitment among Republicans, promise never to vote for anything designated as a tax increase by Norquist’s organization.

During the meeting, held in the Sacramento suburb of Carmichael, a young woman asked Lungren why he took Norquist’s pledge when he should only pledge an “oath of office to the Constitution.” Lungren seemed dazzled, and first misinterpreted the comment as an accusation that he opposes the Constitution. The constituent asked the question again, only to hear Lungren sneer that she hasn’t “been reading the newspapers.” A few in the crowd yelled “answer the question!”

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At 7:28 PM, Anonymous me said...

Dan Lungren is scum. He has been a far-right religious nut and corporate shill his entire life. The sooner California throws him out on his ass, the better off the state will be.


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