by Walter Moore
I have read a number of articles re: Representative Dave Brat “representing us well” and “keeping promises,” plus of course the women getting up in “Brat’s grill.” For me, Brat has simply not done the job we elected him to do. A Congressman is about more than what he says he will do and more than who elected him. I have contacted his office and been told stuff like, “He doesn’t have a position…it denies due process…it’s a job killer…no tax increases.” OK.
And then there is the silence. Let’s look at repealing/replacing Obamacare, balancing the budget, and HJ Resolution 40 (“rolling back an Obama-era regulation that made it harder for people with mental illnesses to purchase a gun.”) and HJ Resolution 38 (“Disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of the Interior known as the Stream Protection Rule”).
On Obamacare, the response I initially got from Brat’s office was, “He’s waiting to see the plan and is in favor of keeping some coverage, costs down.” So, has economist Brat not read any of the research (Urban Institute, Economic Policy Institute) on this? What are Brat’s bottom lines for people insured; jobs lost; hospitals closed; state budgets increased; my costs going up; Medicare’s viability; etc.?
How about the impact of Ryan’s American Healthcare Act on costs and coverage? Ryan’s plan would have resulted in 24 million more uninsured; insurance companies making more; us paying more while getting less; the rich paying less; Medicaid cut $880 billion; etc. Dave told Breitbart News he didn’t like Ryan’s plan because it wasn’t free market logic. Brat wants one system for 285 million (healthy with choice) through insurance and another for 15 million (preexisting conditions) through the states. Is this a bonus for insurance companies? What about the cost drivers and basic assumptions?
In the US, healthcare makes up 17% of GDP vs 10% in other countries, and we spend more per capita. Yet, we are ranked poorly for healthcare. Why? Higher costs for administration, executives, drugs, etc.? More technology/surgeries? Insurance? Campaign contributions and lobbying? Greed? Regulations? Let’s compare the many Federal Employee Health Benefit Plans – FEHB (members generally pay 30%) vs. what non-federal employees pay. How about exploring “The Fake Freedom of American Health Care” (NY Times, 3/19/17)? Can those who really choose, afford it? We need a real discussion about free markets vs universal healthcare. For instance, why can’t we all get FEHB?
Re the two HJ Resolutions I mentioned above, Dave Brat voted against sending information re: mentally impaired individuals for background gun checks and against stopping the flow of acid coal ash into streams. Does Brat really want mentally impaired individuals having guns and coal mines dumping ash? And since Brat opposed these regulations, how about proposing something better? Benign neglect is unacceptable. If it is not appropriate at the federal level, Brat should call state officials. Are we ready for a human “Silent Spring?”
What cuts does Dave Brat want in order to balance the budget, offset the negatives of sequestration, and reduce the debt? Does he want to eviscerate EPA, Education and non-defense discretionary spending in general? Yet no tax increases for the wealthy? Are we shifting more burden to the states? The CBO has 115 options — pick some. Tell us the pros and cons. The response cannot be that telling us will upset too many interest groups.
Dave Brat should work for all and be held accountable by all for his actions or inactions, not have his office give us vague, evasive answers or complain about women in his “grill.”