Monday, March 26, 2007

More Tiberi Watch

Pat continues to release obnoxious "news entries" on his congressional website. The two most recent deal with the budget process. Pat continues yelling for entitlement reform and spending cuts. Both of these things are easier said than done, as I'm sure Mr. Tiberi is aware of given 6 years of increased spending, one fiscally irresponsible Medicare overhaul, and one failed attempt at privatized Social Security that coincide with the time he has spent in office within the (one-party rule) federal government.

But what the hey, those issues are fair game, and we should be debating them. Of course, the intellectually insulting "reframing" of the estate tax and the expiration of W's tax cuts, the selective and misleading characterizations of changes in individual's tax obligations, etc., etc., aren't fair, but are expected. They are cheap talking points that do nothing to advance debate, but they have become ingrained in the Republican culture, and have been used in the past to great electoral success. So that's pure partisanship, and far be it from me to claim that there's no place for partisanship in the political process (of course, if one does say such a thing, one might want to be careful about using such boilerplate...). It doesn't stand out as spectacularly offensive or hypocritical. It does put me in a mood where the most positive tone I can muster is the one I'm currently using, but that's my problem.

What's not up on the site yet is news about the CARES Act. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons has put out a presser that describes the legislation, and specifically mentions that it was introduced by a bi-partisan team of McCarthy (D-New York) and Pat.

I haven't read the legislation yet, so any opinion I have on the bill is tentative, but it sounds like a good idea. I am surprised that a Market Republican, with a passion for entitlement reform, would be out in front of a piece of legislation like this, not just because of the content and the particular issue, but because of the philosophy behind such a legislative action. So I wrote a note to the Honorable Patrick Tiberi. It looks like this:

Mr. Tiberi,

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons has a press release stating that you are one of the two original sponsors of the CARES act, introduced today, mandating that health insurance companies cover reconstructive surgery for children who are born with (or develop) structural abnormalities). This is a very interesting piece of legislation, and based on the description, I would applaud you for introducing the bill.

I was, however, hoping that you could answer a few questions about the issue for me-

1) How extensive is Medicaid's current coverage of reconstructive surgery for children?

2) Given that this sounds a lot like mental health parity bills, like the one that recently passed here in Ohio, is Congress considering a federal mental health parity bill?

3) Do you support a specific mechanism that would allow currently uninsured children to have access to reconstructive surgery?

I understand that this is a very busy time for you, and I appreciate any response that you are able to make,



You don't have to be a congressman to comment on my letter, and I'll let you know if I hear anything back.

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