Democrats Censor Mailing of Health Care Bill Chart

Republican Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) also found himself being censored yesterday by Democrats who refused to allow mailings that included a chart (pdf) he asked his Republican staff at the Joint Economic Committee to create. Democrats have to approve these mailings under the House “franked” mail system — the system by which communications are sent between Congress and constituents that requires the member signature in place of a stamp. The President, Congress and some cabinet members are afforded this “franked” mail system for constituent communications to ensure the free flow of information.

There are three Republicans and three Democrats on the Franking Commission tasked with approval of franked mail pieces to ensure there is no abuse of the system. The Democrats are refusing to let newsletters that include the chart be mailed. I spoke with Brady late yesterday about the dustup and asked him how the chart was created.

“I asked [Republican committee staff] to go through the Democrats’ health care bill, the tri-committee bill that they unveiled last week, provision by provision and identify all the new agencies these provisions mandate, and how their plan would work, how it all flows together,” Brady said. “The flow chart that comes out of it shows 31 new agencies, commissions and mandates that come between patients and their doctors.”

It’s just mean to point that out, I told him. And it’s just not fair.

“The truth’s a killer, isn’t it?” Brady said. “It is complicated and what’s frustrating and maybe frightening is that this isn’t in place of the current health care bureaucracy, this is on top of it. This is all addition to our health care system, no subtraction. At the end of the day, what we’re going to have is families are going to be told what doctors they can choose, what treatments they deserve, and what medicines they can receive all by an unelected bureaucrat. We think that’s a scary thought.”

Since he’s got it all figured out in a chart, I asked Brady if he could explain how the Health Choices Commissioner we reported yesterday works into this whole complicated Democrat scheme.

“That’s the key agency, that’s the heath czar, that’s the one who picks ultimately the winners and losers,” Brady said. “There is a Health Choices administration that is directed by the commissioner but there are also several groups that feed into this. One is the Bureau of Health Information, but the key one is the Comparative Effectiveness Research Commission. That’s the rationing group. They’re the ones who compare treatments and surgeries and outcomes and ultimately would decide, depending on your age and your healthcare under this new government-run plan, can you receive that dialysis if you’re over 70 years old? Are you in good enough health for this treatment? Is it cost effective because you’re a certain age? Much of that all feeds into the Health Czar.”

Brady’s staff told me yesterday that they had found an approval by Democrats and Republicans alike for franked mail sent back in 1993 that included a similar chart that attempted to explain HillaryCare.

“I have never seen such an outrageous example of censorship since I’ve been in Congress,” Brady said. “It tells me that the Democrats are frightened that people will see how their government takeover of health care works. … I think they’re trying to block this because the public is really hungry for information and the chart really does give them their first good look it and they are saying absolutely not. Not for America.”

America’s Right to Know Month

Republican Study Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.), Budget Committee ranking Republican Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), and Joint Economic Committee ranking Republican Kevin Brady (R-Texas) yesterday declared August “America’s Right to Know Month.” They sent a letter (pdf) to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) requesting that she do the same.

It’s a splendid idea looking forward to the traditional August break at home in their districts to hear firsthand how their constituents feel about the Democrat healthcare plan.

“Every day, Americans grow more concerned about the health care legislation that Speaker Pelosi and President Obama are attempting to ram through Congress,” Price said. “By now, Democrats should know what happens when they hastily pass legislation. Their proposals will change our nation’s health care forever, and Americans have a right to know every last detail.”

“We all want to fix what’s broken in health care, but we need to get it right,” said Ranking Member Ryan. “Let’s get input from our employers — the constituents we represent — before we’re forced to vote on a thousand-page, trillion-dollar bill that will exacerbate our fiscal crisis, impose crushing new taxes on all Americans, and violate the President’s claim: ‘If you like what you’ve got, you can keep it.’ After hearing from those we serve next month, we can come back with a renewed commitment to advance patient-centered, fiscally-responsible health care reform.”

“When it comes to health care, why are President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and Congressional Democrats afraid to let the public see their bill?” Brady said. “August should be made America’s Right to Know Month so those who are pushing a new government-run health care plan — as well as those of us who have better ideas — can face the music and our constituents head on.”