Orrin Hatch thinks CHIP is awesome and promises to fund it...sooner or later. When he gets around to it. I think.


So one of the Big Deals on Twitter this morning was this tweet by Republican (correction: Former Republican) MSNBC talking head Joe Scarborough:

.@SenOrrinHatch talking about children's health care: “I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves – won’t lift a finger – and expect the federal government to do everything.”

— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) December 3, 2017

...which caused an immediate and understandable backlash uproar, including my own tweet (since deleted),

Holy crap. They're CHILDREN. Plus...didn't he used to brag about helping CREATE the CHIP program in the first place?

I hadn't actually seen the full clip at the time. My own tweet went semi-viral, with several hundred RTs and a bunch of Likes within a couple of hours.

However, shortly after that, Bloomberg reporter Steven Dennis correctly noted that...

If you watch the clip, Orrin Hatch says again and again that he likes the CHIP program, he authored it, and it's going to get extended.

— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) December 3, 2017

Hatch then made a general comment about government spending and liberal programs, which he said have resulted in many people unwilling to help themselves.

— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) December 3, 2017

Hatch was making a broader argument, NOT saying they shouldn't fund CHIP.
He is the author of the bill that would extend the program.

— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) December 3, 2017

Perhaps inelegantly stated, but wrong to say Hatch is accusing children of not helping themselves, etc.

— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) December 3, 2017

Fair: He is pushing a large tax cut while complaining about not having any money. And Rs failed to extend CHIP when it expired Sept. 30.
Not fair: Hatch isn't saying they won't or shouldn't fund CHIP. He said they would and should and it's his bill.

— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) December 3, 2017

In response, I deleted my tweet and noted:

UPDATE: Per @StevenTDennis thread & others, the full clip shows that @SenOrrinHatch’s comments were about social program spending in general, but he specifically separates out #CHIP as being *appropriate* spending. I've deleted my earlier tweet on this. Context matters. https://t.co/GZ8eg8hpMI

— Charles GetCoveredBa (@charles_gaba) December 3, 2017

This doesn’t change the fact that he & the GOP are still gunning for Medicaid/Medicare/SSI/etc, nor the fact that they SHOULD have renewed #CHIP *MONTHS* ago (BEFORE it expired), but on *this particular point*, Hatch's quote was indeed taken out of context.

— Charles GetCoveredBa (@charles_gaba) December 3, 2017

In addition, as @joanmccarter notes, he ALSO says this, which pretty much contradicts the rest of his statement:

"[T]he reason CHIP is having trouble is because we don't have money anymore. We just add more and more spending and more and more spending [...]." And then the rant about "people who won't help themselves."https://t.co/9lcFkYrgtS https://t.co/50IEiLCSEn

— Joan McCarter (@joanmccarter) December 3, 2017

— Charles GetCoveredBa (@charles_gaba) December 3, 2017

This is why, while I did *delete* my earlier tweet, I’m *NOT* going to “apologize” for it either. He basically rambled & contradicted himself several times.

— Charles GetCoveredBa (@charles_gaba) December 3, 2017

He basically said "CHIP is awesome, and we ARE gonna fund it...but we don't have the money...because we just slashed $1.5 Trillion for no reason at all...but we'll find a way...but screw lazy poor people...(wash, rinse, repeat)..." making it impossible to make sense of.

— Charles GetCoveredBa (@charles_gaba) December 3, 2017

In short, Hatch is either confused or he's deliberately showing deliberate cognitive dissonance. The CHIP program cost the federal government about $14.5 billion in 2016 to cover 8-9 million children. Assuming inflation and enrollment growth, I presume it would cost perhaps $15-$20 billion per year to renew for, say, another 5 years, or $75 - $100 billion total.

Orrin Hatch helped found the CHIP program. Orrin Hatch loves the CHIP program. Orrin Hatch agrees that these ~9 million children should be covered by CHIP.

And, of course, CHIP program funding has always been renewed by Congress before it expired with a minimal amount of fuss and bother...yet it actually expired over two months ago, causing many states are to already be on the verge of running out of their reserve funding even as I type this.


If you think other social programs are wasteful spending going to lazy leeches on society, blah blah blah, fine, go ahead and complain about those programs...but YOU JUST STATED REPEATEDLY THAT CHIP IS NOT AMONG THOSE "UNDESERVING" PROGRAMS, SO FUND IT. NOW.

Furthermore, as noted above, the REASON we "don't have any money anymore" is because you just voted to wipe out $1.5 trillion in federal revenue to give fat tax cuts to billionaires, making complaining about funding for CHIP the height of chutzpah and hypocrisy.

Therefore, again, I deleted my original tweet, but I'll be damned if I'm going to apologize for it.