Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Morgan Griffith Replies to PK on Obamacare

Let's just say that Obamacare is very unpopular in Virginia's ninth district. I don't remember exactly when or why we became "The Fightin' Ninth," but on the streets and even in the public buildings I'm hearing fightin' words as people contemplate the possibility that the Abomination of Obamacare may actually go into effect. I'm hearing no faith that anybody is actually going to benefit from this. Even government workers are being told that their hours are going to be cut back so that they'll have to pay for their own mandatory medical insurance, and there's no faith that that insurance is going to be adequate, or even intended to provide actual health care, either.

Back-story: Rick Boucher, our Congressional Representative for many years, made a speech opposing Obamacare. For a sincere, lifelong, moderate Democrat he was pretty clear about it. Apparently many people thought he wasn't forceful enough, because Boucher was nudged into premature retirement and Morgan Griffith was elected to the House of Representatives later in the year.

So...one of those petition memes urging everybody to express opposition to Obamacare turned up in the e-mail. I don't want to miss a chance to oppose Obamacare in every way. I don't actually mind the idea of paying more taxes to pay for the actual care of poor people's health...as distinct from (a) handing them every pricey feel-good pill somebody can get onto the market, even when it has proven dangers for a consistent and significant minority of the population, or (b) paying for insurance companies to gamble with the money and then refuse to pay for treatment that may in fact be necessary to keep patients alive. If we're talking about real health care, I only wish I had more income on which to pay more taxes in aid of that. But as long as we're talking about forcing Americans to buy into a gambling scheme, I think anybody who can't see why that's unconstitutional should be deported.

So I signed the petition. Time at the Gate City computer center, which is severely (and quite unnecessarily) cramped by a grant with nasty, sticky strings attached to it, was running out. I wanted to add something, if only to show that I had read the petition and not just clicked on a button, and all I could think of in the seconds allotted was something lame and snarky along the lines of "This is the mandate on which Mr. Griffith was elected." (It was one of those auto-petitions that are sent in identical form to both Senators and the Congressman for each e-signer.)

This hardly deserved a reply, but Mr. Griffith was nice enough to send one, which deserves to be posted here for correspondents who've been getting snarky about the Republicans in Congress having failed to block Obamacare.

"Thank you for contacting me regarding ObamaCare. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts.
During my time in Congress, I have voted to repeal and defund ObamaCare multiple times. However, because of the Supreme Court ruling that ObamaCare's individual mandate is constitutional, the law remains in effect. Please know that I will continue to look for ways to limit the damaging effects of ObamaCare. I will continue advocating for commonsense policies until America finally achieves real health care reform.
For more information on what is happening in Congress, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov. If I may be of further assistance to you on this, or any other issue, please feel free to contact me in my Washington, DC office at (202) 225-3861. I remain
Sincerely yours,

" [signature graphic: Morgan Griffith]

He is working to address specific boondoggles hidden in the unreadable monstrosity of legislation through which Obamacare was squeezed through Congress, though. From Congressman Griffith's E-Newsletter:

"The Bay State Boondoggle – An Update
In early February, I wrote about a provision in the Affordable Care Act that changes Medicare funding formulas to mostly benefit one State – Massachusetts – at the expense of the remaining States.

Urban hospitals in a State cannot get paid less than rural hospitals, which are typically located in lower-income areas. If one hospital in a given State receives the special rural reimbursement rate, every hospital in that State also receives the higher reimbursement.

Massachusetts’ only rural hospital is the Nantucket Cottage Hospital, a 19-bed hospital located on an island where the median home price is more than $1 million. Because the Nantucket Cottage Hospital receives the rural reimbursement rate, all of Massachusetts’ other hospitals also qualify for this rate.

These reimbursements must come from a national pool of money. Accordingly, increases to hospitals in one State result in decreases to the other States. It has been reported that this provision, known as “Bay State Boondoggle,” has pumped an extra $367 million per year into Massachusetts’ 82 hospitals. This simultaneously reduces payments to hospitals throughout the country – including hospitals at home in the Commonwealth.

In a bipartisan vote of 68 – 31, the Senate recently adopted an amendment to their budget that symbolically repeals the Bay State Boondoggle. A separate, stand-alone Senate bill for repeal has 22 cosponsors.

Because the House Ways and Means Committee has jurisdiction over this issue, a bill for repeal has greater chances of advancing in the House if it is introduced by a member of this committee. Earlier this year I was told that the Ways and Means Committee had been working on repeal legislation, but it seems that the committee has yet to act on this issue. If the committee does not introduce a bill, I stand ready to introduce stand-alone legislation to repeal the Bay State Boondoggle."