John Cornyn Misleads, Lies about Health Care, National Security

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At the end of Back to the Future Doc Brown tells Michael J. Fox, “where we're going, we don't need roads.”

Well John Cornyn has been doing a press blitz lately, and where he's been, he doesn't need facts.

On Wednesday, Junior Senator and National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn penned an op-ed on health care reform titled, “Health care reform should focus on lowering costs“.

This policy position seems good on face. He proposes everyone working together to lower the soaring expenses facing millions in Texas and across the county to decrease the burden of our day to day lives.

The problem is this doesn't address the real, base problem in America– the uninsured or under insured.

According to Rep. Garnet Coleman:

Less often talked about are the approximately 25 million underinsured Americans who have insurance with very limited coverage and spend a large share of their income on medical expenses.  In 2008, an alarming 1.6 million Texans spent more than 25 percent of their income on health related costs, while another 5.3 million spent more than 10 percent.  

Lowering the cost for the already insured doesn't fix the base problem when premiums have increased 91.6% in less than a decade in Texas. The cost to artificially lower this cost would bankrupt the state of Texas and country within another decade. The only solution is to create real reform. This increase is five times faster than the median income in Texas.

Cornyn and the Republican Party also ignore the fact that 24,000 Texans lose their health care coverage every month. Creating a subsidy program or only lowering the cost for already insured American's still puts us on a path where emergency room care remains the primary source of health care for too many Americans, as opposed to the more sensible prevention first approach.  This protects the insurance companies profit margins, increases taxes for you and me and allows more and more people to become uninsured and under insured.

Surprisingly, while Cornyn claims he would like to protect Medicaid, he votes against solutions to our health care problem.

Again, according to Rep. Coleman:

I'm very disappointed that Senator Cornyn chose to side with Governor Perry and the far right wing of his party to oppose health care reform in the Senate Finance Committee.  It would behoove him, coming from a state with the highest number of uninsured and underinsured, to follow the responsible lead of fellow Republican Senator Olympia Snowe and take a seat at the table to work for reform.

It is reprehensible that Senator Cornyn turned down legislation that could yield as much as $402 billion for Texas and provide quality health coverage to the 25 million uninsured and millions more underinsured Texans.  Then again, assuming that Senator Cornyn would work for affordable health care is laughable.  One needs only to look back to Cornyn's time as Attorney General when he fought plaintiffs in the Frew Medicaid case.  His goal was to keep the state from doing more for children's dental, vision and preventive care.

 

Another scary fact about health care is the major financial implications rising costs have on all of us. In 2007, 62 percent of personal bankruptcies were caused by medical problems.  The large majority of those filers – 78 percent- had health insurance when their illness started.  

(As a note: these facts and statistics are well cited and aggregated on the TDP website)

Not surprising John Cornyn would stretch the truth or simply ignore facts.  Yesterday on Face the Nation, Sen. John Cornyn blatantly mislead the American people about the President's actions to better secure the nation.

According to a release from the Democratic National Committee, John Cornyn's continued partisan rhetoric doesn't sync up with reality.

Cornyn told viewers, we've canceled our missile defense system undercutting the Czech Republic and Poland.

According to MSNBC on Sept 17, Obama said the decision had been made based on unanimous recommendations by his national security team, including Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and the Joint Chiefs of Staff Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the decision to abandon the plan came about because of a change in the U.S. perception of the threat posed by Iran. The reconfigured U.S. defense system would be calibrated more specifically toward meeting that threat by stationing interceptor missiles closer to Iran, administration officials told The Times.

In addition to misleading Americans on the Missile Defense system, Cornyn was incorrect on his attacks on the administration in regards to Afghanistan. He claimed yesterday, “We've I think not dealt with Iran with the kind of resolve that would show that we understand the nature of that threat.”

Less than a month ago Reuters reported, “U.S. President Barack Obama and other Western leaders accused Iran on Friday of building a secret nuclear fuel plant and demanded Tehran immediately halt what he called a direct challenge to the international community. Obama went public with the charge in an appearance with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy at a Group of 20 summit in Pittsburgh, sharpening a standoff with Iran over its disputed nuclear program.It is time for Iran to act immediately to restore the confidence of the international community by fulfilling its international obligations, Obama said, adding that Tehran had been building the plant in secret for yearsMark Fitzpatrick, chief nonproliferation analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said it had long been suspected Iran was doing enrichment work at another site. I thinkIran disclosed it because they knew it would soon be made public by the United States, he told Reuters. If Iran had not disclosed it I think it would have put much more pressure on them to be put under sanctions, Russia already having indicated that (more) sanctions were inevitable. This adds to the pressure on Iran The disclosure, extending a history of Tehran withholding nuclear plans from U.N. nonproliferation inspectors, gave grist to Western calls to consider tougher U.N. sanctions against Iran ahead of October 1 talks in Geneva with six world powers.”

These are pretty gross factual inaccuracies on both national security and on the health security for Texans and Americans. Cornyn's claims may be nothing more than the hard political rhetoric from a Republican leader in the Senate, but when you are making claims in the press and public, the American people demand the facts… even if John Cornyn doesn't like them.

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  1. Not a shining example of consistency
    All of the cost savings proposals he mentions in the second para are good — but the only thing he says he plans to work toward (in the 5th para) that speaks to anything he mentioned in the 2nd para is medical liability reform. Everything else he says he plans to do either raises costs relative to the Senate Finance bill (such as 'protecting' Medicare Advantage and opposing an independent Medicare panel) or doesn't really address health care costs (such as reforming Medicaid – unless he means cut Medicaid rates or eligibility levels, which will only result in higher rates of uninsured).

    The most inconsistent thing he says, though, is that he wants to focus on lowering health care costs at the same time he says he wants to save Medicare Advantage. Medicare pays on average $1140 more per Medicare Advantage enrollee than it does per enrollee in the traditional program. If Medicare needs to add to its benefit package, let's look at that as it applies to everyone in the program. But paying that much more per enrollee so that a subset of beneficiaries gets extras is neither fair nor likely the wisest use of those dollars.

    It would be so refreshing for him to just say directly that providing health care is not a government responsiblity, and leave it at that, rather than the crap he dresses it up with.

    Matt, the one thing I take issue with in your post is your assumption that lowering costs only affects the currently insured. Lowering costs would help some currently uninsured afford coverage. Lowering costs is also crtically necessary to keep Medicaid and Medicare sustainable. And if we are going to subsidize the uninsured, lowering costs will mean fewer tax dollars needed for subsidies. Cost is a HUGE issue, one that is inadequately addressed by Senate Finance – and one that we will quite certainly have to revisit after the current legislation passes. Perhaps some of the deals that have been cut are necessary to curb health care industry/provider opposition and get something passed. That seems to have been the case in Massachusetts. But the Democrats have been rather disappointing on the cost control issue.

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