Thursday, March 4, 2010

Stupak is Back and Getting Media Coverage

My friend, who shall be known as JHW22, wrote a piece on Stupak and his lying ways on abortion funding yesterday on her DailyKos diary. Seems she was ahead of the curve since the story's been picking up speed today. Here it is in its entirety.


Last night on Hardball with Tweety, Bart Stupak made two dramatic statements that he has made before and will continue making as long as he is given a platform (Tweety loves this topic so one action we can take is tallying the number of times Tweety mentions the Stupak language between now and the final vote). We need to understand the language in this section of the bill thoroughly and then bombard the office with calls and show up at any meetings and raise hands to challenge him in a civil, yet factually correct manner.
Here’s what Tweety and Stupak discussed:
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s take a look at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at Blair House last week. Let`s listen. See if you agree.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Leader Boehner, the law of the land is there is no public funding of abortion, and there is no public funding of abortion in these bills. And I don`t want our listeners or viewers to get the wrong impression from what you said.
MATTHEWS: Is the Speaker correct?
MATTHEWS: Explain.
STUPAK: The Speaker is incorrect. In the Senate bill -- in the Senate bill, and that`s what they`re telling us the vehicle we`re using. In the Senate bill, it says you must offer insurance policies that will be paid for by the federal government that covers abortion. You must do so. Also in that same language, if you come in the Senate version, in the OPM, Office of Personnel Management, policies they`ll be putting forth, you must pay -- every enrollee must pay one dollar per month into a fund to help fund abortions.
It`s very clear. I direct the Speaker`s attention to pages 33 to page 44 of the Senate bill as written in the Senate and passed on Christmas Eve.
This is not true. Aside from the fact that the "Senate bill as written in the Senate and passed on Christmas Eve" discusses abortion MUCH later than pages 33-44, the Senate bill says that states can choose whether companies in the exchange cover abortion or not.
(1) IN GENERAL.—A State may elect to prohibit abortion coverage in qualified health plans offered through an Exchange in such State if such State enacts a law to provide for such prohibition.
HR 3590 EAS/PP
(2) TERMINATION OF OPT OUT.—A State may repeal a law described in paragraph (1) and provide for the offering of such services through the Exchange.
The bill also states
(i) nothing in this title (or any amendment made by this title), shall be construed to require a qualified health plan to provide coverage of services described in subparagraph (B)(i) or (B)(ii) as part of its essential health benefits for any plan year; and
(ii) subject to subsection (a), the issuer of a qualified health plan shall determine whether or not the plan provides coverage of services described in subparagraph(B)(i) or (B)(ii) as part of such benefits for the plan year.
As for federal funding, the language abides by current law – currently that is the Hyde Amendment – but the language is written to accommodate any future changes to the existing law. It repeatedly refers to section (1)B(i) which clarifies what is prohibited from federal funding.
But Stupak stated that each policy holder would have to pay $1 into an abortion fund – yep, he said each policy holder would pay for abortions. But that is not what the heading (1) VOLUNTARY CHOICE OF COVERAGE OF ABORTION SERVICES says to me.
Stupak interprets the language to be:
If one buys any health plan through Company A, one pays into an abortion fund.
I interpret the language to be:
If one buys Plan Q with an abortion Rider through Company A, then one pays a separate rider premium. If one buys Plan R without an abortion Rider through Company A, then one DOES NOT pay a separate premium.
Now, this diary isn’t about whether the existing language is something we like or hate. This diary is about a Democrat distorting language in order to make an already difficult process passing this bill even more difficult and frankly, he’s manipulating voters by misrepresenting the language.
For the most part, the language in the bill is more about the logistical segregation of premiums that would pay for abortion services coverage from the premiums that would not. And more specifically it’s primarily about keeping premiums that would go toward non-Hyde Amendment abortion allowances segregated from other premiums. The whole gist of the language is about FEDERAL FUNDS NOT TOUCHING abortion coverage as required by existing law. But Stupak wants people to think that anyone who pays a premium funds abortions. He says all of this while saying he is fine with the Hyde Amendment language.
Where the $1 line comes in is during the actuarial part. If you have the abortion coverage Rider, all kinds of calculations have to be done to decide the premium value based on what’s covered under the Hyde Amendment and what isn’t. If it’s not covered under the Hyde Amendment, then that coverage value is determined and you have to pay a separate abortion Rider premium so as not to touch abortion coverage premiums with regular premiums. These premiums are kept in separate accounts by the insurance companies.
The bulk of the section in the bill that discusses this is found on pages 2069 through 2078 in the FINAL Senate Bill.
I have summarized the language but since the main issue here is all about "interpretation" I ask you to please print it out, read it, mark it up and learn it inside and out (if you don't already). Then call Representative Stupak’s office and leave messages telling them that you understand the language and that you’d be happy to explain it to him.
They will be quite prickly over at his DC office, I know because one of the staffers threatened to turn me over to the Capitol Hill Police if I didn’t stop calling today when I was trying to figure out why Stupak told Tweety that this language was on pages 33-44. A staffer later returned my call with the correct page numbers.
When they know you’re right and feel smug, they will ask you where you’re from because they don’t want to hear from anyone in any other district, despite the fact that this is a NATIONAL health care bill he’s willing to stop. And they do have caller ID so they will know if you’re calling from out of state, or from a cell phone that was bought out of state even if you’ve moved to his district. If you know anyone in the district, ask them to call.
Finally, if you feel that you have been brushed aside, call Speaker Pelosi. Her staffer was pleased to hear from me. Ask that Speaker Pelosi speak to Stupak to "educate" him on the language and ask that she make a public statement if he continues his appearances on national TV misrepresenting the language.
If you live in his district, get to a meeting.
Catskill Julie provided the following useful information in the comments of a Daily Kos diary:
Call (202) 225 4735
Fax (202) 225 4744
in District call Toll Free: 800-950-7371 
Alpena, (989)356 0690 Fax(989)356 0923
Escanaba, (906)786 4504 Fax(906)786 4534
Marquette,(906) 228 3700 Fax(906) 228 2305 
GO to meetin' Tawas City, March 8 
For Immediate Release
March 3, 2010 Contact: Michelle Begnoche
(202) 225-4735
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) will host a town hall meeting in Tawas City on Monday, March 8 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. (EST) at the Tawas Area High School cafeteria. The meeting is open to the public and will provide an opportunity for constituents to ask Stupak questions on a range of issues. Stupak will also provide an update on health care reform, job creation, the economy and other issues pending before Congress. 
Tawas Area High School is located at 255 W. M-55, Tawas City, Mich.
"This town hall meeting in Tawas City is a chance to meet with constituents, address their concerns and answer questions about the work I am doing in Congress to strengthen our economy, create jobs and provide Americans with access to affordable health care," Stupak said. "I enjoy the opportunity to receive feedback on these critical issues and hope my town hall meetings spur additional dialogue in communities across northern Michigan." 
Out of respect for all those wishing to attend the town hall meeting, only credentialed media will be permitted to record the event. 
The Tawas City town hall meeting is a continuation of Stupak’s travels around the First Congressional District, which has included town hall meetings in Negaunee, Petoskey, Cheboygan, Escanaba, Standish, Ironwood, Ontonagon and Houghton. Last month Stupak held a telephone town hall meeting reaching 3,390 constituents in all 31 counties in the First Congressional District. 
Residents of Michigan’s First Congressional District can sign up to receive email notice of Stupak’s town hall meetings and to be included in the next telephone town hall meeting by visiting and selecting "E-mail and Telephone Town Hall Sign-Up" or by calling Stupak’s office at 1-800-950-7371.

UPDATE SINCE ORIGINALLY POSTED AT THE DAILY KOS: As I said he would be, Stupak is everywhere spewing this incorrect information. HOWEVER, after my calls to his office yesterday telling them he was citing the wrong pages and how could anyone check him if he didn't provide the correct pages, he is now CITING THE CORRECT PAGES. Now I need help getting him to properly represent what those pages actually say.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting for me.


Anonymous said...

BTW, I added a cross-post mention in my diary with a link here as one of my favorites.