Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Law Of The Jungle Prevails Outside The Beltway-- But Not Where Virginia Foxx Gets Her Healthcare Needs Met


Yesterday Marcy Winograd's campaign put out a press release extolling the virtues of Alan Grayson's Medicare-at-cost approach to healthcare reform. It's a great campaign issue for her district, particularly since the conservative Blue Dog running against her, Jane Harman, refuses to co-sponsor Grayson's elegantly simple and straightforward legislation.

Very frequently now when I'm talking with someone about a new candidate, the measuring stick they want to use is: "How close will he be to Alan Grayson?" Both Democrats and Independents-- and according to a recent poll of Republicans in his Orlando-area district, 27% of Republicans-- want more honest, outspoken, independent elected officials like Alan Grayson, who are willing to stand up first and foremost for ordinary working families. "Is he like Alan Grayson?" is something I hear more and more frequently.

I expect that if the DCCC gets behind Billy and he beats Virginia Foxx and goes to Congress, by next year people will be asking me if candidates I recommend are anything like Billy Kennedy. What he has in common with Grayson goes beyond a heartfelt sense of duty to serve their communities and do the right thing for the kinds of people who don't rent lobbyists-- something they do both share-- to an authenticity that money can't buy. Most candidates and most members of Congress don't have it, not even a tiny bit of it. Every word that comes out of Billy's mouth is enveloped in it. It's why, despite the overwhelming Republican registration advantage in NC-05, Virginia Foxx is running scared.

Yesterday she had a town hall meeting in Statesville to disparage her two current bĂȘtes noires, healthcare reform and public education. One of the nearly 200 constituents who turned up was Billy, and he did a guest post for DWT on his experience there.
After Rep. Foxx's health care town hall today, I searched the Constitution to see where it says we taxpayers are supposed to be subsidizing her personal health care insurance. I couldn't find it.

You see, Rep. Foxx says unless something is expressly written in the Constitution, then we the people have no right to want or expect it. In fact, that was the exact question I had for her today (had I been called on). I wanted to know, since she's been a politician for the last 27 years, when was the last time the taxpayers weren't paying for her insurance?

It's fine for Ms. Foxx to stand up there today and tell folks that the people need to handle their own health care costs, that the government can't do anything right (so why even try?) and that our current system is the best in the world, when she lets the government handle her health needs and expects us to hand over our hard-earned dollars not just for our health needs, but for hers too.

Our health system is indeed the greatest in the world. For her. For those of us who aren't on government programs like Medicare or Medicaid, or Tri-Care or the Federal Health Care plan, not so great.

The saddest moment of the day came when a gentleman stood up to talk about how his son had tried for seven years to get government disability due to his cystic fibrosis. This nice man choked up when he recounted how his son had died shortly after he received disability benefits he'd fought so hard for. Ms. Foxx's reply was, "Government shouldn't have been handling this."

Now I thought to myself: if government shouldn't have been handling it, just who does Rep. Foxx thinks should have? Does she honestly believe private insurance was an option? But then, I checked. Indeed, there is nothing in the Constitution about helping out people who have a disability from the coughing, fatigue, pneumonia and pain of cystic fibrosis. In fact, I couldn't find a single one of those words, so I guess, by her view, she's right.

Ms. Foxx says she is all about health care reform. She says we need to do something, and that her idea is to lower health costs by expanding Health Savings Accounts, limiting the ability of people to sue if they have been physically injured through the actions of a hospital or their doctor, and allowing insurance to be purchased across state lines.

Of course all of us know that Health Savings Accounts are mostly just an option for healthy and wealthy families, since a lot of us just don't have the money to pay into one in the first place, and even if we did, we could never be able to save enough to pay for cancer treatments out of pocket.

When someone asked how it would work if we let health care companies sell their policies across state lines since the states regulated the companies, Rep. Foxx replied that working people might not really want "all those restrictions on the health care corporations" anyhow. Of course, as a wealthy politician who's covered by a taxpayer-subsidized insurance plan regulated by the federal government, she has nothing to lose from letting the rest of us fend for ourselves in an unregulated insurance free-for-all.

As for tort reform, the Congressional Budget Office says that wouldn't reduce total U.S. health care spending by more than about 0.5 percent.

...But I'd be willing to talk that one out with Rep. Foxx-- if she'd agree to give up her government health care in return for it.

Billy may not be the DCCC's candidate-- they're too busy swindling their donors into supporting Blue Dogs and ConservaDems like Lori Edwards and Tom White-- but he's our candidate, a man who wants nothing more than to serve ordinary American families like his own. If we all pitch in, he'll have a chance to defeat one of the vilest and most contemptible members of Congress. It's worth the effort. Please contribute what you can here at the Blue America PAC.

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At 12:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a fabulous write up, and what a down-to-earth incredible statement by Kennedy. I'm good for a few bucks. It'd be worth it just to get to read some more of that kind of writing, or, with a little luck and such a great candidate, another true inspiration in Washington.


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