Out of his depth in Congress

Morgan Griffith stepped up to the big league when he knocked off Rep. Rick Boucher last November, winning the right to represent the people of Virginia’s 9th Congressional District.

So far, though, he’s showing an embarrassing lack of grasp of the issues he’s supposed to be dealing with – especially in the e-newsletters he sends out to his constituents. First, there was the one where he claimed the EPA instituted a new rule treating milk spills like oil spills – when, in fact, the truth was the exact opposite: The EPA had cleaned up an old rule so that milk spills were not longer treated like an environmental disaster. Despite the fact that PolitiFact Virginia called him out on the mistake, the newsletter remains, uncorrected, on his website nearly two months later.

In his new newsletter marking the one year anniversary of Obamacare’s passage, Griffith demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the law and its implementation. In addition, he repeats a long-debunked claim that the law will raise the average premiums for families by $2,100 a year. In fact, the CBO found that most families would see lower premiums.

But peddling outright lies about Obamacare is practically a prerequisite for proving your Republican bona fides. That’s not so surprising. What is rather shocking how confused he gets about the law and its implementation. For instance, he says:

Originally, Democrats promised that if you liked your health care plan, you could keep it. One year later we know that you need a waiver to keep your plan. Already more than 1,000 employers, health plans, and unions have received waivers because the law would force them to drop coverage for employees.

That’s just stupidly and embarrassingly wrong. The waivers he is discussing only apply to limited-benefit plans in the run-up to full implementation of the law. They are temporary and only meant to ease the transition to when the law’s requirements are in full effect. As PolitiFact Virginia said, “About 2.6 million Americans are covered by limited-benefit plans. That’s a tiny percentage of the 160 million people who have employer-sponsored health coverage, and millions more who have other forms of coverage. Contrary to what Griffith said, very few Americans will need a waiver to keep their health-care plan.”

Just to top off this steaming pile of nonsense, Griffith ends with PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year for 2010, calling Obamacare, “a costly government takeover” of the health care system. In fact, there is no government takeover. Obamacare is a market-oriented solution that, for better or worse, keeps the private insurance industry fully involved in the health care system. Outside of Medicare and Medicaid’s coverage for the elderly and the poor, there is no public option for citizens. Outside of the VA system, there are no public hospitals or public doctors. Again, for better or worse.

If there’s one correct statement in Griffith’s March 25 newsletter, I couldn’t find it. Well, except for the first sentence: “This past Wednesday marked the one year anniversary of ObamaCare.” It went downhill after that.

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