Yes, Virginia! There is a Santa Claus.
And there’s GINA!
Plus there is a lot of erroneous information in your op-ed printed in today’s Winston-Salem Journal.
Much has been made of your bill H.R. 1313, The Persevering Employee Wellness Programs Act and its dystopian implications on genetic privacy laws already outlined in the 2008 Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act or GINA.
Your letter to the editor this morning seemed more like an attempt to save face in light of the prospect that the current version of Rep. Ryan and President Trump’s healthcare overhaul will fail miserably. The text of that letter follows:
“REP. VIRGINIA FOXX, Banner Elk
I believe the Journal’s March 15 editorial “A wrongheaded bill on genetic screening” misrepresents legislation to provide regulatory clarity for voluntary employee wellness plans.
A provision in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) encouraged greater use of these wellness programs. However, steps taken by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) led to conflicting regulations. Those who want to offer these programs must either follow the ACA guidelines and be in violation of the EEOC rules or vice versa. By reaffirming the policies outlined in the ACA, H.R. 1313 removes this legal uncertainty so employees can continue to benefit from these voluntary wellness plans.
It’s important to understand that wellness programs have always been completely voluntary. They remain voluntary under H.R. 1313. Furthermore, discrimination based on genetic information is illegal under existing federal law and remains illegal under H.R. 1313.
The editorial also claims the legislation imposes financial penalties on individuals who decline to participate. I disagree. In programs that offer incentives, those who choose to enroll can receive a reduction in their health-insurance premiums. Those who decline to participate are not forced to pay any additional health-care costs, nor will they experience any increase in their health-insurance premiums.
Voluntary employee wellness plans have long helped working families control their health-care costs and improve their quality of life. It’s unfortunate that critics of the bill are spreading false information to deny workers that option.
Virginia Foxx is North Carolina’s 5th Congressional District representative. — the editor (http://www.journalnow.com/opinion/letters_to_the_editor/the-readers-forum-thursday-letters/article_fcc96549-17dd-584c-beab-33c3d8e8a430.html). “
While I very much appreciate your interpretation of the law, it fails to explain why “nearly 70 organizations, representing consumer, health and medical advocacy groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, AARP, March of Dimes, and the National Women’s Law Center, said the legislation, if enacted, would undermine basic privacy provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the 2008 Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, or GINA” (http://www.journalnow.com/news/local/employees-who-decline-genetic-testing-could-face-penalties-under-proposed/article_ec4136ca-650a-5ecd-9963-f5fb91acf1d4.html).
Something tells me that organizations which not only represent medical entities and lawful endeavors, but understand how the law applies to medical practices know much more about these types of things than you. But that is not to say that you have not done some dabbling into scientific foresight and logical divination.
Remember these gems?
- At North Surry High a few weeks ago, discussing potential FDA regulation of tobacco and tax increases on cigarettes, Foxx, a former educator, was quoted by The Mount Airy Newsas telling students that “I bet a lot of you like Mountain Dew. You wouldn’t want the government to tell you not to drink Mountain Dew” (http://www.journalnow.com/opinion/editorials/article_7541047c-2b29-5478-b53f-b132842eeb3c.html).
Mountain Dew and cigarettes. Caffeine and nicotine. Nothing addictive about either of those.
- Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) disputes President Obama’s claim that 47 million Americans lack healthcare. “There are no Americans who don’t have healthcare. Everybody in this country has access to healthcare,” she says. “We do have about 7.5 million Americans who want to purchase health insurance who can not afford it,” she says, urging Congress to adopt a new plan for healthcare reform that wouldn’t “destroy what is good about healthcare in this country” and “give the government control of our lives” (https://thinkprogress.org/rep-virginia-foxx-there-are-no-americans-who-dont-have-health-care-582c8e227b6c#.23f3o5c2f).
And the very bill that you are helping Rep. Ryan and President Trump pass at this very instant was just clarified by the Congressional Budget Office as being worse than the original one that did not have enough support earlier this week.
“The agency revised its figures to reflect amendments made to the bill that were announced on Monday. The new numbers do not take into account a deal underway to woo House conservatives to support the measure.
Though the bill would be more costly, it would still leave 24 million fewer people insured than under current law. Some 52 million people would be uninsured in 2026 under the GOP legislation, compared to 28 million if Obamacare continued — the same as the prior estimate (http://money.cnn.com/2017/03/23/news/economy/obamacare-cbo-republican-bill/index.html).”
This could be worse than Obamacare? No! Why? Because Virginia, you said,
- That’s right. You said we have more to fear from Obamacare than we do from terrorists.
So when someone who espouses hyperbolic tendencies when speaking to constituents in Congress while writing books that praise her faith, yet totally contradicts reality and hides behind the fact that she never debates political opponents or hold town halls for fear of being asked intelligent questions writes an op-ed like the one aforementioned, then she may need to be tested herself – for a preexisting condition known as ignorance.
I know what I am asking for from Santa this year.
And this genetically-enhanced kid still wants more hours in the day to go play ball.