Bryan Caforio: Steve Knight’s use of alternative Medicaid facts

By Signal Contributor

Last update: Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

Since voting for Trumpcare, Steve Knight has publicly faced his constituents only a few times, but he has been asked repeatedly about Trumpcare’s deep cuts to Medicaid.

Three weeks after his vote, Knight said, “On the AHCA, no one will be kicked off Medicaid.” Asked if he would vote to cut Medicaid, he said, “I don’t see cutting any of those programs. You’ve got my commitment.”

And just outside his Santa Clarita office last week, when asked by health care activists to address Trumpcare’s cuts to Medicaid, he responded, “They wouldn’t affect them at all.”

Those statements are simply false.

Is it actually possible that Congressman Knight doesn’t know that when he voted for Trumpcare, he voted to give a trillion-dollar tax break to billionaires and bankers by cutting more than $800 billion from Medicaid?

As I see it, there are only two explanations: Knight has no idea the bill he voted for makes drastic cuts to Medicaid and puts our community at risk, or Knight knows Trumpcare makes those cuts but chooses to lie to his constituents because he knows how devastating these cuts would be to families right here in our community.

I’m not sure which is worse, but both options are terrible.

Here’s the truth: California’s Medicaid program, Medi-Cal, serves more than a third of all Californians, including more than half of California’s seniors in nursing homes and children, and those with incomes just barely above the federal poverty line.

Under Trumpcare, Medi-Cal would lose $24 billion each year, which would cause millions of California’s children, disabled, and poor to lose care while seniors would be forced out of nursing homes and lose the in-home care that keeps many independent.

Medi-Cal provides health care to the most vulnerable among us, and it ensures that when people unexpectedly hit hard times, they don’t have to sacrifice lifesaving health care.

Too many of us are only one accident away from, or one lay-off away from, a hospital bill that will lead to bankruptcy. Families, especially those with young children, should never have to choose between putting food on the table and health care.

More than 63,000 of my neighbors in the 25th Congressional District on Medi-Cal right now would lose coverage under Trumpcare. More than 24,000 veterans in California who currently depend on Medi-Cal stand to lose their health care.

Trumpcare also prevents Planned Parenthood from receiving reimbursements from Medicaid. More than half of Planned Parenthood patients rely on Medicaid coverage, so women who go to Planned Parenthood will no longer have access to lifesaving cancer screenings.

This health care debate shouldn’t be about partisan politics, and it can’t be based on lies; it’s about our families’ health and our ability to access lifesaving care.

There’s still time for Congressman Knight to start telling the truth, switch his vote, and finally stand with the people of this community. We must all call his office, go to any town halls he does hold, and urge him to stand with the people of California instead of the special interests and rich who benefit from Trumpcare.

Our lives literally depend on it.

Bryan Caforio lives in Santa Clarita and is a candidate for California’s 25th Congressional District.

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Bryan Caforio: Steve Knight’s use of alternative Medicaid facts

Protestors file into Congressman Steve Knight's Santa Clarita offices on Feb. 23 to protest what they called "Trump care" with the United Here organization. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

Since voting for Trumpcare, Steve Knight has publicly faced his constituents only a few times, but he has been asked repeatedly about Trumpcare’s deep cuts to Medicaid.

Three weeks after his vote, Knight said, “On the AHCA, no one will be kicked off Medicaid.” Asked if he would vote to cut Medicaid, he said, “I don’t see cutting any of those programs. You’ve got my commitment.”

And just outside his Santa Clarita office last week, when asked by health care activists to address Trumpcare’s cuts to Medicaid, he responded, “They wouldn’t affect them at all.”

Those statements are simply false.

Is it actually possible that Congressman Knight doesn’t know that when he voted for Trumpcare, he voted to give a trillion-dollar tax break to billionaires and bankers by cutting more than $800 billion from Medicaid?

As I see it, there are only two explanations: Knight has no idea the bill he voted for makes drastic cuts to Medicaid and puts our community at risk, or Knight knows Trumpcare makes those cuts but chooses to lie to his constituents because he knows how devastating these cuts would be to families right here in our community.

I’m not sure which is worse, but both options are terrible.

Here’s the truth: California’s Medicaid program, Medi-Cal, serves more than a third of all Californians, including more than half of California’s seniors in nursing homes and children, and those with incomes just barely above the federal poverty line.

Under Trumpcare, Medi-Cal would lose $24 billion each year, which would cause millions of California’s children, disabled, and poor to lose care while seniors would be forced out of nursing homes and lose the in-home care that keeps many independent.

Medi-Cal provides health care to the most vulnerable among us, and it ensures that when people unexpectedly hit hard times, they don’t have to sacrifice lifesaving health care.

Too many of us are only one accident away from, or one lay-off away from, a hospital bill that will lead to bankruptcy. Families, especially those with young children, should never have to choose between putting food on the table and health care.

More than 63,000 of my neighbors in the 25th Congressional District on Medi-Cal right now would lose coverage under Trumpcare. More than 24,000 veterans in California who currently depend on Medi-Cal stand to lose their health care.

Trumpcare also prevents Planned Parenthood from receiving reimbursements from Medicaid. More than half of Planned Parenthood patients rely on Medicaid coverage, so women who go to Planned Parenthood will no longer have access to lifesaving cancer screenings.

This health care debate shouldn’t be about partisan politics, and it can’t be based on lies; it’s about our families’ health and our ability to access lifesaving care.

There’s still time for Congressman Knight to start telling the truth, switch his vote, and finally stand with the people of this community. We must all call his office, go to any town halls he does hold, and urge him to stand with the people of California instead of the special interests and rich who benefit from Trumpcare.

Our lives literally depend on it.

Bryan Caforio lives in Santa Clarita and is a candidate for California’s 25th Congressional District.

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Signal Contributor

  • Brian Baker

    Well. For a guy who’s a lawyer and ran for public office, I have to wonder about your literacy. You quote Knight:

    ““On the AHCA, no one will be kicked off Medicaid.”

    Then you spend the rest of your column talking about… “Medi-Cal”.

    Notice how the two words look different? That means they’re spelled differently. That means they’re different programs.

    Is this how you do your lawyering, too?

    • Julie Hannant

      MediCal is the name given to California’s implementation of the federal Medicaid program.

      • Ron Bischof

        Medicaid is a combined Federal and state program.

        The Social Security Amendments of 1965 created Medicaid by adding Title XIX to the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1396 et sec. Under the program, the federal government provides matching funds to states to enable them to provide medical assistance to residents who meet certain eligibility requirements. The objective is to help states provide medical assistance to residents whose incomes and resources are insufficient to meet the costs of necessary medical services. Medicaid serves as the nation’s primary source of health insurance coverage for low-income populations.

        States are not required to participate. Those that do must comply with federal Medicaid laws under which each participating state administers its own Medicaid program, establishes eligibility standards, determines the scope and types of services it will cover, and sets the rate of payment. Benefits vary from state to state, and because someone qualifies for Medicaid in one state, it does not mean they will qualify in another.[10] The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) monitors the state-run programs and establishes requirements for service delivery, quality, funding, and eligibility standards.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medicaid#History

    • Peter J. Rothenberg

      The two words are purposefully spelled similarly because they are the same thing: California’s Medicaid program is Medi-Cal. I also heard Steve Knight say at the town hall that the cuts to Medicaid wouldn’t affect getting health care; his assertion is ludicrous because if you cut $800 billion from a health care program, there has to be a reduction in services.

      • Brian Richards

        That’s 800 billion over 10 years and it ignores the increase over the last 10 years. Answer me this Peter, if so many people are going to die if Obamacare is repealed, why didn’t they die before it was enacted?

    • Susan Wachter

      Medi-Cal is California’s Medicaid program.

    • Brian Baker

      Sorry, people, Medicare and Medi-Cal are actually two different programs. Though there’s very much in common between them, words do have meaning.

  • Anthony Breznican

    It’s about time someone called out Steve Knight for his blatant misrepresentations. Actually, “misrepresenations” is too polite a word. He lies to our faces. On health care, gay rights, keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, and protecting our air and water from pollution, Knight knows he holds extremist, unpopular positions, so he lies about them in public, figuring we won’t notice how he votes. Well, we’re watching closely now, Mr. Knight. This incessant lying shows a serious lack of integrity. It also sets a bad example for our children. Overall, it’s evidence of Knight’s profound disrespect for his constituents.

    • Ron Bischof

      Risible partisan hyperbole, Mr. Breznican.

      I wish I could monetize every instance where a Democrat partisan uses the term “extremist” to demonize a political opponent. I’d be a member of the nefarious 1%!

  • Julie Hannant

    Ive been to all 3 town halls Knight has agreed to, all at inconvenient times. Bryan is right, he is either lying about the facts or simply does not understand what he is doing. Condescending Knight has got to go!

  • Ron Bischof

    Mr. Caforio appears well prepared to deliver Washington budget speak propaganda for political purposes, i.e. a reduction in the rate of previously projected increase to a baseline budge is a “cut”.

    Here’s a rebuttal to Mr. Caforio’s “alternative facts”:

    Last week, President Trump proposed massive spending increases for Medicaid.

    Of course, most of the media didn’t report it that way. They reported that the president’s proposal “slashes spending.” That he wants to cut “at least $610 billion” from Medicaid. That “Trump’s Budget Cuts Deeply Into Medicaid.” And so on.

    That might be vaguely true in the Washington sense. It’s not at all true in the real-world sense.

    Here’s the difference.

    If you look at the actual White House budget proposal, you’ll note that it includes tables for “baseline” spending and “proposed” spending. Baseline spending is spending that would occur if nothing changes—if Congress doesn’t order any new aircraft carriers, and America doesn’t start any new wars. If entitlement eligibility rules remain the same, and expected benefits for each recipient neither shrink nor grow. Things like that. Make some minor adjustments for inflation and population growth and, barring some unforeseen windfall or cataclysm, you can project how much a program will cost in future years.

    The baseline spending curve for Medicaid points upward. In 2017, the program is expected to cost roughly $378 billion. A decade from now, the baseline spending for Medicaid rises to $688 billion—an 82 percent increase in nominal dollars.

    Trump’s proposed spending for Medicaid points upward, too—just not as sharply.

    Under his budget proposal, Medicaid spending would rise from $378 billion this year to $524 billion in 2027. That’s a 38 percent nominal increase.

    True, inflation will reduce the effective size of either increase to some extent. And population growth could increase demand for Medicaid and other social programs, although population growth in the U.S. is the slowest it’s been in nearly a century.

    Either way, the Medicaid budget is going to grow. But under Trump’s proposal, it would grow more slowly. This is how Democrats and the media can scream about supposedly savage “cuts” to the program.

    The same goes for Medicare. Under the current baseline, Medicare would grow from $593 billion to $1.19 trillion. Under the Trump budget, it would grow to only (!) $1.16 trillion.

    http://reason.com/archives/2017/05/29/trumps-medicaid-cuts-actually-increase-f

  • Ron Bischof

    As a political candidate, at the minimum voters in the 25th District shouldn’t expect Mr. Caforio to convey a fair representation of Rep. Knight’s position.

    His column is a campaign speech. As a member of the community, I haven’t granted Mr. Caforio any rights as an spokesman for the interests of my family.

  • Ron Bischof

    Non-responsive to my point about “cuts” in Washington-speak. In real numbers, there is no cut as outlined in my link with references.

    Projections are what they are and the CBO was wrong about Obamacare as well because no one can predict human market behavior precisely. Also, CBO projections don’t account for dynamism such as state adjustments to Medicaid in reaction to reform legislation.

    I do note your dogmatism and ongoing appeals to emotion, Mr. Breznican.

  • Ron Bischof

    That’s an interesting assertion. Can you provide an example or two?

    I’m not sure your recollection of Reagan makes your point, Ms. Sheldon. Here are two to assist you in recalling what he actually expressed on “healthcare”, etc.:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYrlDlrLDSQ

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXBswFfh6AY

    Also, have you tried the inverse, Ms. Sheldon? Say a comparison between Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan and DNC Chair Tom Perez?

    Below is an example of how this is to be done.

    “The single most exciting thing you encounter in government is competence, because it’s so rare.” – DPM

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CxNlgv-qFs

    I’ll provide a link for the latter because posting some actual quotes from Perez and Sen. Gillibrand would violate The Signal Terms of Service.

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/12/opinions/democrats-f-bomb-opinion-heye/index.html

  • Ron Bischof

    You need to sharpen your debating skills by critically thinking so you can compose substantive responses, Mr. Breznican.

    “As Congress readies legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates will play an important and respected role as they did in the passage of the law in 2010. We now know that many of CBO’s projections of important aspects of the ACA have significantly differed from actual outcomes. In this piece, I highlight CBO’s key past errors in projecting effects of the ACA. They can largely be grouped into two categories. First, CBO projected that the exchanges would be stable by now with more than twice as many enrollees as they currently have, rather than suffering from severe adverse selection in most states as they now are. Second, CBO projected that the ACA Medicaid expansion would be much smaller and less expensive than it has turned out to be.

    These errors were caused by two primary mistakes in CBO’s model and assumptions. First, CBO significantly overestimated the degree to which the individual mandate would induce relatively healthy people with middle class income to buy coverage in the exchanges. Second, CBO failed to anticipate that states would respond to the federal government’s elevated reimbursement rate for the Medicaid expansion by maximizing enrollment and paying insurance companies extremely high payment rates for this population. CBO has not yet explained if or how it has corrected its models for these past mistakes, but it should do so if it wants to improve confidence in its estimates of repeal and replace legislation.”

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2017/01/02/learning-from-cbos-history-of-incorrect-obamacare-projections/#6489925b46a7

  • Ron Bischof

    You’re engaging in a genetic fallacy and begging the question. Again, you display no intellectual rigor in debate.

    You also fail to address the CBO was, in fact, incorrect because they were required to score according to legislative parameters and therefore can’t account for the dynamism of human behavior.

    Case in point: the assumption was that healthy young folks would comply with the mandate to purchase medical insurance rather than paying a penalty, assuming their low utilization rates would constitute a healthier risk pool and subsidize high utilization by the elderly and chronically ill.

    They didn’t respond as central planners expected and the inevitable adverse selection and actuarial death spirals ensued, collapsing many Obamacare exchanges.

  • Ron Bischof

    Nope. Look up the definition.

    I’m addressing your non-substantive arguments.

  • Ron Bischof

    Godwin’s Law already, Mr. Breznican?

    Government isn’t infallible and I provided reasoned responses with facts and historically relevant examples.

    That differs markedly from your hysterical invocation of “fascism”.

  • Ron Bischof

    You haven’t proven the premise of your assertions, Ms. Hendren. First you must establish Rep. Knight lacks understanding and that devastation will occur from reform that isn’t finalized as legislation.

    https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/begging-the-question

  • Ron Bischof

    Indeed, Brian.

    I wrote a brief primer on this amusingly repeated non sequitur in an LTE here:

    https://signalscv.com/2017/04/24/ron-bischof-representative-government-functions/

  • Ron Bischof

    Equally, I note you repeat the error.

    Assertions aren’t facts unless proven.

  • Ron Bischof

    Are you running a political campaign?

    1. Deflect
    2. Attack
    3. Repeat talking point

  • Ron Bischof
    • Anthony Breznican

      More authoritative sources have it fully covered for those who wish to let facts rather than dogma guide them.

      “Republicans also weakened the markets by repealing provisions meant to stabilize them and by filing a lawsuit to reduce federal subsidies. Despite these challenges, more than 10 million people have bought policies on the marketplaces. Most have been protected from big premium increases through subsidies.”

      https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/13/opinion/obamacare-collapsing-imploding-trumpcare.html?_r=0

      • Ron Bischof

        The NYT is more authoritative then our Constitution? Who knew?

        But hey, since you’re an intellectual, where’s your column on the topic?

  • Ron Bischof

    “It’s mostly pointless to engage with the prattle of those who mistake smugness for intellect.” – Anthony Breznican

    “I’m not getting into the mud of such ad hominem pettiness.” – Anthony Breznican

  • Ron Bischof

    Shorter AB: “Republicans need to adopt the Obamacare mess my party made unilaterally. And they must do so over the objections of the voters that placed them there by kicking the Democrats out of power!”

    Now that’s an incredible display of… I don’t know what. But it isn’t anything sensible.

  • Ron Bischof

    Rather, it’s a concise summary.

  • Ron Bischof

    Does this mean no “intellectual” column will be forthcoming?

    How unfortunate! As a “journalist”*, you could explain it all to the benighted souls in SCV.

    •https://signalscv.com/2017/03/26/trump-supporters-hold-rally-valencia/