Will Twila Brase Replace Cravaack in MN-08 ?

With a $645,000 house in Windham, NH purchased last summer by Minnesota Congressman Raymond “Chip” Cravaack and his wife Traci, it should not be a surprise that a “Chip for New Hampshire“, a campaign announcement has been made encouraging Chip Cravaack to run for Congress in his new home state — New Hampshire!

This campaign gives Rep. Cravaack the opportunity to live up to his word. By running in New Hampshire Cravaack avoids the uncomfortable quandary of running as an absentee Congressman after winning his 2010 election hurling charges of absenteeism.”
“If Congressman Cravaack ran in New Hampshire, he could spend more time with his family and not have to release those pesky records Minnesotans are demanding to find out how much time he is actually spending in Minnesota’s 8th District,”
Rice Hawkins said. “The only challenge for Cravaack here in New Hampshire might be convincing his New Hampshire constituents that, despite his record in Minnesota, he sides with working families, not corporate special interests.”

The press release continues explaining issues of importance to many voters, but one stands out :

Cravaack’s record of putting corporate special interests ahead of Northeastern Minnesota families includes:
Voting to end Medicare as we know it instead of standing up for the seniors in Cravaack’s district.

The mention of Medicare in the press release is topical as on April 10th, Representative Cravaack issued a press release … which prompted a PoliGraph FactCheck report entitled “Cravaack Medicare claim misses on numbers”.

Ouch …
Mr. Cravaack wrote : when Medicare was created “8.6 working taxpayers supported each Medicare recipient,”
According to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. the year after Medicare was put into place, 4.5 workers supported every Medicare beneficiary.
Mr. Cravaack’s staff excused this as a typo …

Huh ….

Turns out the information that was provided to Mr. Cravaack was not from a government agency, but from November 7, 2003 report prepared by a group called Citizens Council for Health Freedom – who warned “Information taken liberally” for source referencing.

So who is the Citizens Council for Health Freedom ?
Twila Brase RN, PHN is the president and co-founder of Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom.
Ms. Brase is listed as on the advisory board to Doctor Patient Medical Association (DPMA) which is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
Ms. Brase is the author of a paper published by ALEC entitled “Evidence-Based Medicine”: Rationing Care, Hurting Patients.
Ms. Brase provides health care-related news with the American public in a daily, 60-second radio feature, Health Freedom Minute. Health Freedom Minute which airs on the entire American Family Radio Network, with more than 150 stations nationwide, in addition to Bott Radio Network with over 80 stations nationwide.

Gosh, for those that have wondered how Representative Cravaack would balance legislative duties and family life while living in three different cities … it appears, he has simply subcontracted legislative research to ALEC and CCHF.

With the “Chip for New Hampshire” program underway, isn’t it time to eliminate the middleman and nominate Ms. Brase to represent the Eighth District ?
Oh, by the way, Representative Bachmann is proving that you do not have to reside in the Congressional District to represent it, so as along as Ms. Brase can claim a Minnesota residence, she’s good to go.

But until that election, the Eight District will at least have Mr. Cravaack as it’s designated representative in Washington … so what else did Mr. Cravaack’s press release say ?

CRAVAACK : Medicare will go bankrupt by 2022 unless we improve its financial health in the next ten years.
Hmmm … According to the Medicare Trustees 2011 report, Medicare will be insolvent by 2024 …. Another typo ? Heck, what’s another two years … but then again, maybe Mr. Cravaack got the information from another of his subcontractors.

The 2011 report of Medicare’s trustees finds that Medicare’s Hospital Insurance (HI) trust fund will remain solvent — that is, able to pay 100 percent of the costs of the hospital insurance coverage that Medicare provides — through 2024; at that point, the payroll taxes and other revenue deposited in the trust fund will still be sufficient to pay 90 percent of Medicare hospital insurance costs … regardless, since the funding for Medicare can be changed at any time, it is reckless for a politician to project that it will go “bankrupt” as well as to fear-monger with his statement “Medicare is in serious danger”.

CRAVAACK : The bipartisan House plan for Medicare provides freedom to choose among several different insurance plans, while also addressing Medicare’s long-term sustainability.
Okay, so Mr. Cravaack, what is the bill number that citizens can analyze ? Reviewing the legislation sponsor or co-sponsored by Representative Cravaack reveals nothing … however, it should be noted that Mr. Cravaack and the Republican-controlled House approved the GOP Budget that affected Medicare and Medicaid.

On March 29, 2012, the House of Representatives approved on a 228 – 191 vote H.Con.Res. 112, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s proposal establishing budget targets for fiscal year 2013. The resolution (which was approved with no Democratic votes) would direct various House committees to develop legislation to, among other things: repeal the ACA; establish a Medicare “premium support” program (under which beneficiaries turning 65 on or after January 1, 2023 would receive a premium support payment to offset the cost of the traditional Medicare program or a private plan); provide a 10-year Medicare physician fee-schedule fix (no details are provided); raise the Medicare eligibility age starting in 2023 to conform with Social Security eligibility; expand Medicare means testing; and convert Medicaid to a block-grant program.
And this week, the House has “Deemed and Passed” the budget without Senate approval.
Done Deal.

CRAVAACK : “Obamacare” hands control over Medicare to 15 unelected bureaucrats.
Okay, so “unelected bureaucrats” are evil, but 535 Members of Congress would have the wisdom to make the right decisions ?
Besides, before Mr. Cravaack issued his press release, the House approved by a vote of 223-181 on March 22, 2012, H.R. 5, the “Protecting Access to Healthcare Act“. This would repeal the “Obamacare’s” Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).
A little background, the IPAB is charged with submitting detailed proposals to Congress and the President to reduce Medicare per-capita spending if projected spending growth exceeds a specified target based initially on inflation and then growth in the economy. Under the “Obamacare”, IPAB’s proposals will go into effect automatically unless Congress enacts alternative legislation to achieve the required savings (with certain exceptions) … thus, the IPAB would have oversight by Congress.

Oh, and returning to Mr. Cravaack’s original concern : the number of working taxpayers supporting each Medicare recipient.
How about considering wages … in 1965, the average wage was $4,658.72 and the Medicare tax rate was 0.35 percent of all earned income or $16.31 … while in 2010, it was $41,683.73 and the Medicare tax rate was 1.45% or $604.42.
Even though the number of workers has decreased from 4.6 to less than 3 today, the amount of dollars collected surely has increased … correct, Mr. Cravaack ?
And considering the popularity of the program and the “peace-of-mind” it provides to senior citizens as well as their children and grandchildren, what’s wrong with increasing the tax rate from 1.45% ?

Yes, Mr. Cravaack’s press release is properly titled – Medicare Obligations Must Be Protected and Preserved — the problem is that Representative Cravaack is not doing it.