The Deaf Claque

Because they’re worth clapping for…probably…

White House Release: “Just the Facts”…But No Context…

By Nathan Schmitt

Once again, using the headline “Just The Facts,” the White House has released what appears to be a bit of a misrepresentation of the (new) SCHIP renewal bill. I responded to the White House’s previous misrepresentation of facts (as opposed to outright lying) under the same headline, and this one is no better. Here are some of the problems as I see them:

“The Democrats’ new legislation also permits States to keep adults on the program through 2012. ” (1)

Here is what it seems they are referring to: (Title I, Subtitle A, Sec. 101, Subsection 2111)


  • (A) IN GENERAL- No funds shall be available under this title for child health assistance or other health benefits coverage that is provided to a nonpregnant childless adult under an applicable existing waiver after December 31, 2008.

And the exception:


  • (A) IN GENERAL- Each State for which coverage under an applicable existing waiver is terminated under paragraph (2)(A) may submit, not later than September 30, 2008, an application to the Secretary for a waiver under section 1115 of the State plan under title XIX to provide medical assistance to a nonpregnant childless adult whose coverage is so terminated (in this subsection referred to as a `Medicaid nonpregnant childless adults waiver’).” (2)

Regardless of the end date of the phase-out, it would seem from reading this that the states must request an exceptional circumstance from the federal government. This seems to contradict the argument that it “permits States to keep adults on the program through 2012.” I would also like to point out that this argument by the White House stands in stark contrast to what the WaPo reported earlier today:

[The new bill] will ease adults off the program in one year, rather than the two in the vetoed version.” (3)

Read through the bill and decide for yourself who got the facts completely wrong, one of them certainly did and it’s not entirely clear who.
The White House also argues:

The Democrats’ new legislation continues to allow SCHIP to cover ineligible individuals. The legislation imposes no sanction if a person fraudulently attests to being a U.S. citizen. During the period of time that the State is conducting an investigation (if Social Security finds an inconsistency with the stated Social Security number), it must continue medical assistance to the applicant.” (1)

Is an allegation of fraud reason enough to cut off health care? It seems as if they have forgotten a little thing that we in the U.S. happen to base our entire judicial process on: presumption of innocence; the accused, or person subject to investigation, is innocent until proven guilty. Of course, there are exceptions like interlocutory injunctions in courts of equity, but courts of equity don’t act strictly based on legality.

I’d like to point out that I don’t intend to make any judgments about the administration, the point here is to highlight possible inconsistent or out-of-context arguments.

October 26, 2007 Posted by | Congress, General Discourse, Health Care, Nathan Schmitt, SCHIP, White House | , , | Leave a comment

New Children’s Health Care Bill

By Nathan Schmitt

House Democrats are taking another go at a children’s health care bill. There were some minor changes including that

It establishes a firmer eligibility cap at 300 percent of the federal poverty line, just more than $60,000 for a family of four.” (1)

The new version of the bill also intends to ween adults of the program in one year, as opposed to two years from the previous version.

October 25, 2007 Posted by | Congress, Health Care, House of Representatives, Nathan Schmitt, SCHIP | , , , | 1 Comment

White House Press Release: Facts out of Context.

I’ve heard many times from countless people that the Bush Administration purposely skews facts or participates in similar practices. I’ve even seen some examples of this, but for some reason this one really got to me. Perhaps part of it was the title, “Just the Facts”seems like a headline a news network would have for a spin story.

The main issue I have with this is not that there are factual or statistical errors, which there may or may not be–for the purpose of this article, it’s safe to give them the benefit of the doubt. In this news story there are quite a few misrepresentations that look to use the ignorance of the general public with respect to poverty.

They make the argument that

Congress’ SCHIP bill would strongly encourage States to provide government health coverage for children in families making 300% of the Federal poverty level.“(1)

This is likely because the Poverty Level Guidelines are completely unrealistic in terms of sustainability of household and family. On the lower end (1 person per family) the poverty level is $10,210 per year. On the upper end (8 people per family) the poverty level is $34,570 per year. How exactly is a family of eight people supposed to survive on a little more than $34,570 per year?

The White House press release does not put into context it’s claim about children in families making 300% of the Federal poverty level because it does not specify what family size they are referring to and family size is a HUGE factor in this determination. Pretty much all of the arguments made in this press release are invalid because of this ridiculously low Federal poverty level. However, take into consideration that they are talking about 300% of the poverty level. Does this mean that they should be able to afford health care on top of “vital” expenses?

I’m not saying the poverty guidelines should be raised or lowered, I’m just adding context to the White House’s “Just the Facts” press release…And of course adding a bit of my own opinion but I don’t care if you read my opinion or not. Read the release and poverty level worksheet and consider it for yourself.

October 23, 2007 Posted by | General Discourse, George W. Bush, Health Care, SCHIP, White House | , , , , , | Leave a comment

FISA: A Bit of Old News

Congressional voting distributions were posted by the New York Times and I thought I’d share them as well as the original bill once again.

October 22, 2007 Posted by | Congress, SCHIP | , | Leave a comment

Them’s fightin’ words: Passion in da’ House! (Video)

Rep. Pete Stark from California was not too happy with Bush’s veto of SCHIP. Stark comes down on the President pretty hard in this one, prompting Speaker Pelosi to repeat,

“Members are reminded not to refer to the President in any personal way.”

Strong words, Madam Speaker. Not to rag on Pelosi too much though, it’s her job. Her comments next to Stark’s just seemed to highlight the absurd mix of extremes in Congress with respect to speech in general. Maybe it’s a good thing though: the voice of rationality, or at least the voice of rote reminders, keeping fiery passions in check.

October 20, 2007 Posted by | Congress, Health Care, House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, SCHIP, Video | , , , , | Leave a comment