Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Frost family, and the facts

So, the Democrats had a child give their radio address a while back. Graeme Frost, a child who explained that he has benefited from the S-CHIP bill that Bush vetoed.

Now, there are rightwingers who are attacking the bill because of its "spokesman" who the Democrats are "hiding behind". Why?

Well, his parents own a house valued at some 400-500 thousand dollars. Of course, they bought it for $55 thousand, sixteen years back when the neighborhood was a good sight more dangerous than it is today.

And his dad owns a company... but he and his wife earn $45-50 thousand annually, which isn't much spread among six kids when two have special needs.

And Graeme and one of his sisters (who has brain damage from the car accident that made the Maryland CHIP program a huge benefit for the Frosts) both attend private schools with tuitions that would cost $40,000 if the Frosts were paying the full tuition, but they're paying about $500 a year, due to scholarships and the state's assistance.

And, and, and... and the various state CHIPs program are supposed to be for the *poor*.

No. Medicaid is supposed to be for the poor. The CHIPs programs are supposed to be for people like the Frosts, so they don't have to choose between borrowing against their house and buying health insurance. If the Republicans are going to attack a family like the Frosts as being undeserving of help, they might as well attack the entire set of CHIPs, and hey, go for Medicaid while you're at it. The Frosts have two special needs kids; a news story on their situation says that they couldn't get it lower than 1200 a month, close to a third of their pay. But now they can, thanks to help from the state. Mr. Frost gets to keep running his business, and benefiting the local economy; the six kids get to grow up healthier than otherwise. Once they're grown up, they get to have their shot at life... and maybe end up paying more into the system than they ever 'took out' via the Maryland CHIP program. They have a better chance to do that, now that the Frosts don't have to sell their home, or their business, just to protect against the risks of being uninsured.

But even if not, at least the state stepped in and protected a family that was facing challenges that we hope our own families never have to face.

ETA: I believe I misunderstood the number of children the Frosts have in their family; I believe they have four, and thus, are a "family of six". $45-50k isn't a lot spread among four children, either, not when you're looking at blowing $14,400 a year on health insurance

ETA: According to this news story, the house is actually valued at $260,000, significantly less than the rightwingers were claiming. The company the father owned no longer exists, but the father does own a commercial property from which he derives some rental income. Note that this is included in the net income, which is what the Maryland CHIP eligibility is based on.

Michelle Malkin was one of the big attackers on this issue, and said that folks should expect reporters to ask questions, and this is why the rightwingers were making their attacks; the 'real' reporters weren't asking the right questions. Malkin is wrong. The job of reporters is to get answers. If you just "ask questions" hoping to attack someone, you're an attacker. It's only if you dig for, and do your best to find, the answers that you're doing a reporters job.

ETA: Another article about the family Both properties are already mortgaged.

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