Henry’s Dates: Medicare Part D

One of the reasons it was so unwise for Tony Fratto to open his big fat mouth today regarding the White House habit of losing emails is because it offered Waxman an excuse to make previously unreleased information publicly available–an excuse Waxman was not about to turn down. Waxman released a chunk of dates for which offices in the White House have no archived email (note, this list does not appear to include all of the dates for which there is no email, nor does it include dates for which the email volume is smaller than it should be).

For the White House Office: December 17, 2003, December 20, 2003, December 21, 2003, January 9, 2004, January 10, 2004, January 11, 2004, January 29, 2004, February 1, 2004, February 2, 2004, February 3, 2004, February 7, 2004, and February 8, 2004.

For the Office of the Vice President: September 12, 2003, October 1, 2003, October 2, 2003, October 3, 2003, October 5, 2003, January 29, 2004, January 30, 2004, January 31, 2004, February 7, 2004, February 8, 2004, February 15, 2005, February 16, 2005, February 17, 2005, May 21, 2005, May 22, 2005, May 23, 2005.

For the Council on Environmental Quality: 81 days, including the entire period between November 1, 2003 through January 11, 2004.

For the Council of Economic Advisers: 103 days, including the entire period between November 2, 2003 through January 11, 2004.

For the Office of Management and Budget: 59 days, including the entire period between November 1, 2003 through December 9, 2003.

For the U.S. Trade Representative: 73 days, including the entire period between February 11, 2004 through April 18, 2004.

And as a good weedy blogger, I thought this a wonderful opportunity to try to figure out any significance for the dates.

I’m going to go back and look out how the dates for the WH and OVP correlate with the Plame investigation. But for now, I’d like to raise one red flag regarding the dates as it pertains to the missing email: All the emails from OMB for the period covering the lead-up to and immediate aftermath of the passage of Medicare Part D are gone. Read more

GOP Offer Healthcare to All Those without Pre-Existing Conditions

According to the LAT, the GOP presidential candidates have come up with a brilliant way of offering insurance to the uninsured: leave out those with pre-existing conditions, including people with medical histories just like the candidates’ themselves.

When Rudolph W. Giuliani was diagnosed with prostate cancer in thespring of 2000, one thing he did not have to worry about was a lack ofmedical insurance.

Today, the former New York mayor joins two other cancer survivors inseeking the Republican presidential nomination: Arizona Sen. JohnMcCain has been treated for melanoma, the most serious type of skinmalignancy, and former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson had lymphoma, acancer of the immune system.

All three have offered proposals with the stated aim of helping the 47million people in the U.S. who have no health insurance, includingthose with preexisting medical conditions.

But under the plans all three have put forward, cancer survivors suchas themselves could not be sure of getting coverage — especially ifthey were not already covered by a government or job-related plan andhad to seek insurance as individuals.

"Unless it’s in a state that has very strong consumer protections, theywould likely be denied coverage," said economist Paul Fronstin of theEmployee Benefit Research Institute, who has reviewed the candidates’proposals. "People with preexisting conditions would not be able to getcoverage or would not be able to afford it."

I was drawn to the Read more

Lobbyist Logic

I know you have all been worried at my seeming recovery from my obsession with Ed Gillespie. But worry not–the dearth of Gillespie posts was mostly explained by my travel schedule (which gets really bad again this week, then gets better), and not any disinterest in the guy who took over after they fired Bush’s brain.

And this, I guess, is the kind of logic you get from the Lobbyist-in-Chief with which they replaced Bush’s brain, from this NYT article chronicling how glum Republicans are at their diminishing (political) fortunes.

At the White House, administration officials urged CongressionalRepublicans to try to remain positive and ride out the current turmoil.Ed Gillespie, a senior adviser to Mr. Bush, told the visitors,according to multiple accounts, that had Republicans sided withDemocrats on the health program, they would have opened themselves towithering criticism from conservatives and been in a worse positionthan they are now.

Let’s see… "had Republicans sided with Democrats" on the S-CHIP vote. I wonder how Representatives Tom Davis, Heather Wilson, and Don Young feel about that assertion, since they were among the 45 Republicans in the House who voted for S-CHIP? Perhaps it’s no accident that Tom Davis is one of the Republicans quoted as Read more

Senate Minority Leader Fuels the Flames

ThinkProgress got the email that Mitch McConnell’s staffer claimed he had not sent out.

Seen the latest blogswarm? Apparently, there’s more to the story on thekid (Graeme Frost) that did the Dems’ radio response on SCHIP. Bloggershave done a little digging and turned up that the Dad owns his ownbusiness (and the building it’s in), seems to have some commercialrental income and Graeme and a sister go to a private school that,according to its website, costs about $20k a year ‹for each kid‹despite the news profiles reporting a family income of only $45k forthe Frosts. Could the Dems really have done that bad of a job vettingthis family?

Gosh. You think maybe the mainstream press, which claims to pride itself on its accuracy, will admit that this smear was not solely blog-driven?

Don’t answer that.

Chuck Grassley Agrees with the Netroots

Like many of us, Grassley argues that if you bring an issue that has widespread support among the electorate up for a vote often enough, you will eventually convince intransigent Republicans to vote for it.

Grassley said if he were the Democrats, he would send the SCHIPexpansion to a vote every three months, along with campaignadvertisements accusing Republicans of abandoning children. That way,pressure would mount either on Bush to sign the bill or on HouseRepublicans to override the veto.

Of course, Grassley is referring to SCHIP and not the Iraq War. But the comment–and the article more generally–is worthwhile nonetheless. For Grassley states clearly that the Bush Administration is willing to sustain awful policy outcomes to make an ideological point.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) and White Houseaides agreed that Bush’s opposition to the legislation stems not fromits price tag but from far larger health policy issues. The White Housewants to use the issue of uninsured children to resurrect thepresident’s long-dormant proposals to change the federal tax code tohelp the uninsured, adults and children alike, Grassley said, callingthat a laudable goal but unrealistic politically.


Asked if Bush was holding the children’s health bill hostage, Grassley said, "Yes."

The reporter should have posed that last question Read more

Medicare Giveaways!

No, not to the seniors enrolled in Medicare, silly! To the private insurance companies. Yet another GAO report has found yet another contracting scam that BushCo is ignoring.

Private insurance companies participating in Medicarehave been allowed to keep tens of millions of dollars that should havegone to consumers, and the Bush administration did not properly auditthe companies or try to recover money paid in error, Congressionalinvestigators say in a new report.

What’s remarkable about this though, is it is at least the third incidence where–when faced with accounting improprieties from a corporation working with the government–the Bush Administration refuses to ask for the money back.

Speaking from Cancer

Update: Here’s Murray’s own take.

It almost seems like Howie didn’t have the heart to do it, to insinuate that Murray Waas’ past struggles with cancer influence his current reporting. But true to his smarmy self, Howie musters up several suggestions that the cancer has compromised Murray’s reporting.

For a reporter whose specialty is digging out secrets, Murray Waas has been keeping one about himself for a long time.


It’s hard to say where the line should be drawn when it comes to suchan intensely personal disclosure. Did Waas’s near-death experience, andsubsequent complications, affect his journalism? How could such asearing experience not change your outlook on work and life?


Waas acknowledges that the disease influenced him in the late 1980swhen he was writing for the Boston Globe about the collapse of Floridahealth care facilities where some cancer patients had died. "I wrotethat as someone who my family and doctors thought was certainly goingto die from cancer," he says. "Is it relevant to my work when I reporton national security, foreign policy or politics? I don’t think so."

But the lines are not so easily drawn. In one of several conversations,Waas says his near-death experience made him more determined to reporton how the country got into both Persian Gulf wars, with theirlife-and-death stakes. After watching on Capitol Hill when the Gulf Warresolution was approved in 1991, Waas interviewed two men at theVietnam War Memorial who said two of their friends had died in that warand questioned why the United States was getting into another one. Hesaw in this "the mirror image of my own life" — the unresolvedquestions about why his cancer was missed — and vowed to fullyinvestigate the war.

As someone who has a pretty good understanding of where Murray’s coming from, let me just tell Howie to fuck off.