Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Shadegg: Voting For Ideology and Big Business Before Constituents. Again.

On Tuesday, the House passed H.R. 6331, the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 by a vote of 355 - 59. All 59 opposing votes were from Republicans.

Among other things, the Act would stop a reduction in Medicare reimbursements to doctors, lowers payments to Medicare Advantage Plans (private Medicare plans), and require that any health care providers who are delinquent in their federal income taxes have the back taxes deducted from their Medicare reimbursement payments. (KGMB-TV in Hawaii)

Unsurprisingly, John Shadegg (CD3) was one of those opposed to the bill.

At first blush, his opposition to what is essentially a "cleanup" bill seems counterintuitive - the bill sounds good (improving Medicare? That's something everyone wants, isn't it?) and Shadegg is in the toughest election fight since he entered Congress (thank you Bob Lord!) - he needs all the "good" votes that he can get. In addition, the bill is relatively inexpensive (reducing federal expenditures by $100 million over the next 5 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.)

So why did Shadegg oppose efforts to improve Medicare for patients and health care providers?

He just doesn't *like* Medicare or any program that allows elderly or poor patients to bypass profiteering corporate gatekeepers to health care.

He shows this by combining efforts to make Medicare unworkable (like with this vote) and sponsoring bills like H.R. 4460, a bill to push private insurers' plans by allowing them to bypass state regulations and consumer safeguards.

Lastly, he has a supreme [lack of] understanding of and empathy for the uninsured folks in the country and his district.

According to The Yellowsheet Reports, a newsletter published by the Arizona Capitol Times, on Monday, he spoke at a cocktail party for The Center for Medicine in the Public Interest (CMPI). (Yellowsheet is subscription-only, so no link, but here is Kos' take on the same topic, with a quote.)

CMPI is something of a misnomer - the "public" interest isn't really their interest - it's actually just a Big Pharma and Big Health Care industry front group. (Source Watch)

The organization opposes any government involvement in health care, including enacting and enforcing such trivial things as safety regulations for pharmaceuticals.

Anyway, during the party, Shadegg dropped this gem (courtesy the Yellowsheet Report via Kos) -
Shadegg said, that contrary to what many believe, no one in this country goes without health care. "We're covering them in the emergency rooms and paying a very, very high price to have them walk into the emergency room with a cold or flu."

Apparently, Shadegg doesn't understand the difference between "health" care and "acute" care. Furthermore, he doesn't understand the impact that forgoing an actual long-term health care regimen can have on quality of life, especially in growing children and the elderly.

Somebody needs to sit Congressman Shadegg and tell him to keep his mouth closed until they can figure out if Congress' taxpayer-funded health insurance covers foot-ectomies (removal of the foot from the mouth).


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