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Email: Mike Rogers

October 07, 2009 3:28 pm ET

The following email has been widely forwarded and has been reposted numerous times on conservative blogs.  Media Matters Action Network has written a response to the text below.  Please feel free to copy and paste it and send to your friends.

Mike Rogers

[note - all mistakes below are original to the text]


Wow, Congressman Rogers dropped some bombshells with this speech! Perhaps we can agree to disagree about whether saving the 45,000 Americans who die every year simply because they don't have health care is a "punishment" on those who were lucky enough to keep their jobs and pay their premiums in a recession. But I definitely had to research the other claims the congressman made regarding health care reform bill H.R. 3200.

I found that Rogers is either wrong or misconstruing the facts with the claims he makes in this speech. First, he claims: "And clearly it is, by the way, under Section 141... [the federal government] can actually go in and disenroll individuals.... If you're an employer [with] $250,000 of payroll -- that's gross payroll, not much -- guess what? They can disenroll your whole company off a certain plan."  However, reports that there is nothing in Section 141 that even remotely discusses what Rogers says it does: "Section 141 of the House bill simply establishes the Health Choices Administration." I guess Rogers couldn't be bothered to read through a 3-page provision.

Rogers also seems to have completely misconstrued the provision he meant to cite, Section 142. says:

"The more controversial section Rogers was referring to is Section 142, which lays out the responsibilities and authority of the new agency's commissioner. That person will be charged with making sure plans are enrolled in the Health Insurance Exchange and that plans in the exchange are offering adequate benefits for an affordable price.

If a plan is not up to standard, the bill gives the commissioner power to levy fines or '[suspend] enrollment of individuals under such plan.' However, this would only stop continued enrollment in the plan, not force people from their current insurance. For plans that continue to fall below requirements, the commissioner would work with state regulators to terminate the plan. This step would be taken only after warnings, and enrollees would be re-entered in the health insurance exchange to choose another comparable plan.

So Rogers' explanation of the section is technically right, but it comes with a caveat. Rather than the government being able to indiscriminately disenroll individuals and businesses from plans, people would only be removed from substandard plans after repeated warnings and attempts to correct those plans."

Rogers' most upsetting claim is that there is an unbearable cost to pay for universal health care:  "Here's the other trade-off. According to... the National Cancer Intelligence Centre for the United Kingdom and the Canadian Cancer Registry, here's the trade-off that they picked by having government-run health care. If you get prostate cancer, you have a less chance of survivability than you do in the United States. And that's the same for skin cancer, breast cancer, bladder cancer, cervical cancer, kidney cancer, ovarian cancer, leukemia, and the list goes on and on and on."

The says:

Rogers' office cites statistics from the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Intelligence Centre in the U.K. and the Canadian Cancer Registry. They show that for most kinds of cancer, the five-year survival rates in the United States are higher than in Britain or Canada, which both have single-payer systems. The fact that Britain's cancer survival rates are low have been well-reported; according to a study in The Lancet Oncology, England's five-year overall cancer survival rates were fifth-worst out of 22 countries. Canada's survival rates are much closer to those in the United States. According to the data supplied by Rogers' office, Canada was within 7 percentage points of the United States on all but brain cancer, with most falling within 3 points. Canada actually leads the United States on cervical and pancreatic cancers.

Additionally, that same Lancet study noted that other countries with single-payer systems have comparable rates to the United States, including Finland, Sweden and Iceland. In fact, Cuba's system even showed a higher survival rate for breast cancer, although researchers admit that may have been due to poor record-keeping.

The Washington Post fact-checked a similar claim by former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani on prostate cancer. The newspaper noted that a key reason for the difference in survival rates was that the United States has an emphasis on early screening, while Britain is several years behind. Those early screenings catch the disease earlier and increase the chance of survival, so it's reasonable to think that Britain's rate will improve.

But all of that should be irrelevant - because no one even wants a health care system like England or Canada.  The president and Democrats in congress know that we have been paying too much, for too long, for too little and are trying to find a "uniquely American solution" to control costs.

So, I guess what Rogers has "said to America is [I] give up" because it was "just too hard" to read the Bill or the reports...or perhaps just too inconvenient: 

According to, the top contributors to Congressman Rogers's campaign for 2009-2010 are the National Association of Retail Druggists ($6,000), the Pharmaceuticals and Health Products Industry ($35,800), Insurance companies ($28,500) and Health Professionals ($19,550).

Obviously, his top money sources will benefit from Rogers' efforts to stop health care for everyone.  But who suffers? If he doesn't mind the 46 million Americans who don't have health care, surely he doesn't mind the 1.3 million of his fellow Michigan residents who are going without health insurance. And surely the 45,000 Americans who die every year because they don't have health insurance must seem like a paltry number to him.  And that is the real travesty.

So now that you know the truth, what will you do with it? Let's stop forwarding this video and start forwarding the facts.


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