His trademark #PaulsenSpin was evident in this tweet
— Rep. Erik Paulsen (@RepErikPaulsen) November 3, 2017
Spin … yah … with a little of that all too familiar #PaulsenPrestidigitation.
Factually, Minnesota’s Third District Congressman Erik Paulsen is correct … he was proud to vote for a reauthorization of the “Continuing Community Health And Medical Professional Programs to Improve Our Nation, Increase National Gains, and Help Ensure Access for Little Ones, Toddlers, and Hopeful Youth by Keeping Insurance Delivery Stable Act of 2017” or the “CHAMPIONING HEALTHY KIDS Act”.
Hmmm … what a great name … perfect example of #PaulsenSpin – naming a bill promoting “championing healthy kids” which will look good in campaign re-election flyers.
Of course that flyer will not mention what readers of the Strib learned on September 18 that “federal funding for CHIP expires on Sept. 30, 2017, and Minnesota is scheduled to exhaust its 2017 CHIP funds of $115 million by the end of the month.”
Yep, the Republican-controlled let the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) expire … and they heard in OpEds and tweets that they needed to do something … and they still waited for over a month!
The problem is that for years numerous Republicans voted against CHIP … for example, HR 976 – State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Reauthorization – when Michele Bachmann and John Kline voted NO while then Congressman Jim Ramstad joined 43 other Republicans and 229 Democrats to approve the legislation.
Hmmm … when over 40 Members support a bill, that surely deserves to be called a “bipartisan” solution. Conversely, the vote that Congressman Paulsen made “proud” wasn’t close as 227 Republicans said YES (as did 15 reluctant Democrats).
Why, “reluctant” ?
’cause the House Republicans made the kids pawns … vote for our bill, or else.
When Frank Pallone urged a NO vote, Greg Walden (who you may remember from his role as National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman whose job was to promote Republican candidates and denounce Democrats) said “Mr. Speaker, before I call on my next person to say something here, there are 17,000 children in Mr. Pallone’s district and 14 health centers that, if he votes “no,” he will be voting against.
When Gene Green urged a NO vote, Greg Walden said “Mr. Speaker, I would point out there are about 50,000 kids that Mr. Green may be voting against today in the Houston area if this goes down
When Nydia Velázquez spoke out urging a NO vote, Greg Walden reminded her that “Ms. Velazquez has 43,000 children in CHIP
Congressman Paulsen did not speak on the proposed bill … but Fourth District Congresswoman Betty McCollum did
While I support reauthorizing funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), and various other important public health programs, I oppose this bill because it cuts funding for public health, puts families at risk of losing their health insurance, and weakens Medicare.
The health of children and expecting and new mothers is something that we can all agree on. In my home state of Minnesota, CHIP funding is essential for providing healthcare to 125,000 low income children and 1,700 expecting and new mothers. Minnesota also depends on FQHC funding with over 190,000 people receiving care from one of the more than 70 community health centers in my state last year.
Unfortunately, House Republicans have turned these bipartisan issues into an opportunity to divide us. The offsets included in this legislation are unacceptable to me and to Minnesota families.
Once again, Republicans are using this legislation as yet another
opportunity to weaken the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by cutting $6.35 billion from the Prevention and Public Health Fund over the next ten years. This fund, created by the ACA, directly funds our nation’s prevention, preparedness, and response capabilities.
If these Republican cuts become law, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would be forced to provide less funding to cities, states, and tribes to rapidly address public health crises. This money includes funding for vaccines, flu prevention, and addressing the opioid epidemic. When my home state of Minnesota had to recently deal with a serious outbreak of measles, our community health officials utilized these federal resources to rapidly contain the spread of disease. Simply put, this irresponsible offset leaves American communities more vulnerable to, and unprepared for, outbreaks of disease.
In addition, this bill takes aim at yet another ACA provision by shortening the 90-day grace period for individuals to pay premiums before their insurer can terminate their coverage. The current grace period allows low and moderate income families experiencing temporary
financial difficulties to remain covered by their health insurance. Shortening this grace period from 90 days to 30 days would cause nearly 700,000 Americans to lose their health care and bars them from purchasing health insurance until the next season.
I am also concerned by the provision that introduces means testing to Medicare. A key strength of Medicare is its universal nature. All Americans pay into Medicare and all Americans should receive at least some benefit from it. This provision breaks that guarantee and sets a
dangerous precedent for the future. I am also concerned that it could
weaken the Medicare risk pool and increase costs for the taxpayer.
Mr. Speaker, even the Majority concedes that this bill is unlikely to pass the Senate due to the partisan nature of its provisions.
Republicans need to stop playing games and reauthorize these programs before Minnesota faces a critical December 1 deadline to continue coverage for children and expecting mothers.
I urge my colleagues to vote against this measure and instead to work together to fund CHIP and community health centers.
Congresswoman McCollum sentiments were echoed by various advocates across the country … like pediatricians, obstetricians, gynecologists, and AARP … heck the March of Dimes, wrote expressing concerns over removing “important protections for women receiving prenatal care and children receiving preventive services. These provisions, which have been in place for decades, seek to ensure that pregnant women’s and children’s access to care is not impeded”
Further, the March of Dimes “opposes the decision to fund important public health priorities , such as community health centers and the National Health Service Corps, with monies from the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF), a choice that simply transfers funding from one important health program to another. The siphoning of funds from the PPHF will have serious implications for both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s budget and the valuable programs it supports, many of which seek to improve maternal and child health.
In essence is it was a pretty simple message — Please don’t fund CHIP based upon harmful cuts; and, don’t have cuts negatively impact the health of women, children, and families.
Wouldn’t you think that the March of Dimes is one group that Congress should listen to ?
Well, the #PaulsenSpin is that he supports CHIP, but he does not mention the funding levels. The CHIP FMAP (federal matching percentage) holds for FY18 and FY19 but then is cut in half for FY20, and terminates it FY21 & FY22.
House Republicans chose to spend the first nine months of this year trying to repeal ObamaCare. They failed, but now House Republicans are using the reauthorization of CHIP and community health centers as a way to once again sabotage the ACA.
There was an alternative proposal … “Continuing Community Health and Medical Professional Programs to Improve Our Nation and Keep Insurance Delivery Stable Act of 2017” or the `CHAMPION KIDS Act of 2017”.
A similar sounding name but it would reauthorize CHIP and Community Health Centers without taking resources from the Medicare program. That proposal would shift the time Medicare makes payments to private plans from a prospective payment to one closer to the time of delivery of services, which allows Medicare, rather than private insurance companies, to earn interest on this money.
Hmmm … protect Medicare and not allow private insurance companies to profit … so how do you think Congressman Paulsen voted ?
In a straight party linevote, 187 Democrats said YES while 231 Republicans said NO.
So, Congressman Paulsen spin is that he was “proud to vote to reauthorize CHIP” when he could have told the truth “I am proud to continue my efforts to sabotage, defund and repeal ObamaCare no matter who it hurts.”