Oct 09 2007

Don’t Target Sick Or Hurt Children For Political Debate

Published by at 12:00 pm under All General Discussions

New Major Update Below – proof the whole mess was unnecessary: Bush’s version of plan would not have changed a thing for the Frost family.

I have to say this is one of those days I am glad to be an unaffiliated voter. I lean GOP (heavily) but there are days when it is a blessing not be too closely associated with right. The entire S-CHIP mess is spinning madly out of control – again thanks to hot headed comments from the right and toned deafness to the plight of our fellow citizens. I am 100% opposed to S-CHIP, and I have a child who has costed us plenty in unique medical bills due to a health issue. But being against a policy doesn’t give people the right to hound, harrass or disparage a family going through a tough spot. Especially when it involves a seriously injured child. Here is where the left gets traction against the right – on issues of simple basic decency to others:

Democrats invited a 12-year-old boy, Graeme Frost, to deliver the party’s radio address. The point, obviously, was to humanize the policy debate — instead of just another politician reading talking points, here was a kid who was able to get the medical care he needed after a serious car accident caused severe brain trauma, paralyzed one of his vocal chords, and put him in a coma.

Over the weekend, several conservative activists and bloggers decided it was time to do what the right does best: smear anyone who gets in their way. The Conservative Attack Machine decided Graeme Frost and his family didn’t deserve benefits under S-CHIP and went after the Frosts with a vengeance.

More leftwing outrage here. The actions of the right side of the blogosphere have been abhorent. It includes hounding the family at their home – which should be a sanctuary from politics during trying times such as these. The attack on the Frosts was as boneheaded as it could be. Instead of attacking the socialist policy some people with self control issues went and attacked the greiving family. Sadly I have to use one of my favorite conservative sites as an example of the cold heartedness being displayed, even when the facts that fed the rightwing feeding frenzy were found to be completely wrong:

Left Wing (George Soros) website defends RICHY RICH Family with BASELESS Defense

“Here are the facts that the right-wing distorted in order to attack young Graeme:

1) Graeme has a scholarship to a private school. The school costs $15K a year, but the family only pays $500 a year.

2) His sister Gemma attends another private school to help her with the brain injuries that occurred due to her accident. The school costs $23,000 a year, but the state pays the entire cost.

3) They bought their “lavish house” sixteen years ago for $55,000 at a time when the neighborhood was less than safe.

4) Last year, the Frost’s made $45,000 combined. Over the past few years they have made no more than $50,000 combined.

5) The state of Maryland has found them eligible to participate in the CHIP program.

Desperate to defend Bush’s decision to cut off millions of children from health care, the right wing has stooped to launching baseless and uninformed attacks against a 12 year old child and his family.

Right wing bloggers have been harassing the Frosts, calling their home numerous times to get information about their private lives. Compassionate conservatism indeed.”


Mac Ranger is a good man. But he is abysmally wrong on what he wrote. I sometime think of him as one of those Christian Soldier types given his military service and rough edges. He needs to tone down the soldier side and beef up the Christian side at the moment. The child is hurt and did nothing wrong by representing himself on a policy his family believes in. That is democracy and America – voicing your convictions. Mac doesn’t even challenge the facts, because he cannot. They are the facts. He can only be flippant and nonsensical.

I grew up outside DC in VA and understand the cost of living here. It is steep. My house value has nearly tripled since we bought it in the very early 1990’s. A $400K house within driving distance of DC is on the very low end of the housing scale. In McLean and Great Falls where I grew up – before they were tony enclaves of the ridiculously rich – houses now run a minimum of $1 million, and I would wager the average is around $ 3 million. Making a combined income of $40K puts this family very near the poverty level in this area. I am impressed at how much assistance they have garnered from the state of MD – but then MD is deep blew liberal. .

The point is the Frosts were a simple family of simple means facing a daunting medical situation with their son. They deserved the respect of all Americans for the simple constitutional act of voicing their opinions. They deserved our heartfelt support for their situation. A better answer to the Democrat vultures who used these people as PR props would have been compassion and support. I would have been better to show how community and Church can come to their aid without forcing government-only-solutions onto a society that works best without government nags involved.

But no. Some people had to go off half-cocked again and go into the politics of personal destruction – just as they did to George Bush (er, El Presidente Jorge Bush, zee traitor) on immigration. I have been fed up with the hotheaded, immature behavior on the right for some time now. But this is just too much to ignore. The last thing I wanted was the party of Reagan and Bush, two gentlemen of class and confidence, to morph a sea of Begala’s and Carvilles with their inept-induced approach to ugly politics. But it seems too many are ready to follow that sneer-lipped model.

A young man is seriously injured and needs are support. We don’t need to buy into the S-CHIP crap to give that support. And we sure has hell don’t need to disparage the boy and his family to win the debate on socialized medicine. At least MOST of us don’t need to stoop that low to win that debate. The far right has earned this black eye and I am not going to defend them. Their is no excuse. S-CHIP is bad policy, but that cannot be used to rationalize the tormenting of a hurting family. Therefore I must join with those who condem them for their actions on this issue. S-CHIP is bad policy, but what the right did to the Frosts is simply wrong.

Update: It is not often John Cole over at Balloon Juice and I agree, but today we do so mark it on your calendars:

they [the Frosts] own their own business, they pay their taxes, they are still in a committed relationship and are raising their kids, they eschewed public education and are doing what they have to do to get them into Private schools, they are part of the American dream of home ownership that Republicans have been pointing to in the past two administrations as proof of the health of the economy, and so on.

In short, they are a white, lower-middle-class, committed family, who is doing EVERYTHING the GOP Kultur Kops would have you believe people should be doing. They aren’t gay. They aren’t divorced. They didn’t abort their children. They aren’t drug addicts or welfare queens. They are property owners, entrepeneurs, taxpayers, and hard-working Americans.

But we have seen this pattern way too many times before. These people SHOULD be GOP stalwarts. Of course, after this experience they will be lifetime Democrats. I welcome John Cole to the ranks of the Independents – it is a far saner place to be than either of the parties right now.

Obsidian Wings has a great rebuttal to all the wild claims made by the right, showing how this family of simple means can actually exist. BTW, a lot of links to so called right wingers are just not panning out for the left. Many are just questioning the S-CHIPS program and how in MD it can be used by the not too needy. So those who simply note S-CHIP would collapse if it was universal (like all socialist medicine programs) are not slamming the Frosts. With that said, the Frosts were in a bind and did what they had to to get through it. They support the program – that is not a crime or evil intent or a lie. It is just a fact. I suggest the right mea culpa their way off this issue ASAP.

Update: One other note. We carry health insurance, some people don’t. That is the way of conservative approach. But the fact is health care in extreme conditions is incredibly expensive. Our twins being born premature cost a couple hundred grand when it was all said and done. That was 4 and 9 weeks in the NICU (intensive care for new borns). The bills the Frost family faced were going to wipe them out and then some. No selling cars or houses would get them out from under what must have been four or five times what we had to pay. We had no special surgeries, no rehabilitation, etc. But let’s be clear here – we all pay for this either through taxes or insurance premiums. Insurance is the better choice – but we all shouldered the Frosts whether they paid insurance or not. So just lay off the family folks. The mob has done its damage to itself. Stop digging.

Update: Another question for the pundits who are attacking the Frosts. First off, it is MD that provides coverage without a means test for income. But it seems to me the FROSTS, with their low take home pay, could have equally qualified under the S-CHIP program Bush envisioned when he vetoed the bill. Did ANYONE check to see if the Frosts would have been covered either way? If that is the case then all the personal attacks on the FROSTS for the use of this one time safety net could have been unnecessary – and avoided.

Major Update: I went and answered my own question. The fact is the bill Bush vetoed wanted to expand S-CHIP by $35 million, Bush was looking for a more reasonable $5 Million in growth:

The bipartisan bill Bush vetoed would have expanded funding by $35 billion over the next five years. Bush supported $5 billion in expanded funding to the program.

So the program was going to continue and grow. Which means the Frosts were not at risk of losing ANYTHING. So all the personal attacks were MEANINGLESS as well as self destructive and ugly. The right side of the spectrum made an complete ass of itself today. They unnecessarily attacked a kid and his family when all they had to do was note that under all the options being reviewed in Congress, NONE of them would have changed a thing for the Frosts or any other family currently in the same tragic situation they FROST were in three years ago.

Update: More proof the Frost Family would not be impacted. The Bush proposal caps Federal support to 300% (3 times) the poverty level in any state. In Texas that seems to be $62K a year. After that the state can pick up the tab if it wants. What a simple answer this is to the Dems PR stunt. Much better than badgering the family and kids.

33 responses so far

33 Responses to “Don’t Target Sick Or Hurt Children For Political Debate”

  1. MerlinOS2 says:

    People were attracted to the family they chose because they initially report near 400k real estate with a 45K income which was a high step up and people were already wondering why they qualified under the current guide lines.

    But when a little research showed combined real estate near 3/4 of a million, private schools even if subsidized that was not hitting many peoples ideas of a “poor” family.

    Heck those kind of assets would be where many would not even want to extend the program to.

  2. Barrasso says:

    Yes he won the election, but the emotional manipulation he used was fear, for conservatives it is usually fear that is the easiest emotion to utilize for votes. Fear of change is a defining element of conservation. I would say libs use fear, but more often guilt and pity.

    Saddam may have been our number one threat at the time, but a trillion dollars later, most people in the U.S. would say that money would have been better spent on heart disease or cancer research, if safety is your first concern.

    Democrats are special they are never accountable for what they say that is weird I remember a flubbed joke by Kerry that he was drubbed for.

  3. Barrasso says:

    Hey there was a few days worth of stupid in that Riehl link, hey you stupid small business owner, quit that independant job and get a corporate gig with health insurance that will not pay for your medical bills because it is run by an insurance company that won’t pay for preexisting medical conditions.

  4. Terrye says:


    I did not vote for Bush because I was afraid, I voted for Bush because Kerry was a piss poor candidate. And if Saddam was a threat in Feb 2000 then chances are he was a threat less than a year later when Bush took office.

  5. BarbaraS says:

    It is obvious that this Frost guy does not report all his income. He probably has a cash business and all his sales are not recorded. No one in this area would keep working at a job that paid so little. I think he made a serious mistake to let is son tout this program publicly. It has called attention to his supposed low income. Of course, he made a bigger mistake by declaring so little revenue. It will only call the IRS’s attention to his income tax. But maybe not, the IRS, like all government departments, is riddled with liberals who would overlook this little lie. Then again, he could be putting everything he can on his tax as business deductions. If he was putting is SUV as a business expense why not health insurance?

  6. momdear1 says:

    If the Frosts are lower middle class, I guess I must be trailer park trash.

  7. MerlinOS2 says:

    There is a NYT story now with more info on the family and now we know his business is gone but the commercial property is rented.

    Also we now can guess that they are “trapped” by the system designed to help them.

    They can’t get insurance now because of the pre existing conditions of the children.

    They now have their max income capped by what the SCHIP program allows them to earn without loosing eligibility.

    So if they up their income they will do a major shooting themselves in the foot.

    But still the bottom line here is that approved participants in the current program exist with questionable merit due to their assets and the expansion under the vetoed bill would have extended it to areas that clearly would be even less justifiable.

  8. sashal says:

    The right keeps justifying their pillorying of the Frosts with the bullshit argument that they “chose” to go without health insurance when Bonnie Frost’s job didn’t offer it and Halsey Frost was self-employed and they made $45,000 for a family of four. Median income for a family of four in Maryland? $89,608. Income to qualify for at least some form of Maryland’s Children’s Health Program? $61,950. Well below the median. And the Frosts’ income? Well below Maryland’s threshold. Sorry, gang. This ain’t another welfare queen myth.

    Yeah, the Frosts made a choice: they walked into a casino with their income and took a gamble like so many others that they couldn’t afford health insurance. And to the right, they lost the bet and so, well, f* them , they should have done without something else. To the left, the issue is why there’s a casino there in the first place.

  9. AJStrata says:


    I agree with you totally. People like the Frosts made a free market choice and availed themselves of the benefits offered by their state. As Is stated in my post we subsidize them either through taxes or premiums – so in a sense it doesn’t matter which way the money flowed to them.

    If we are to have free market health care, which I prefer, and avoid government run health care then we have to allow for people like the Frosts and safety nets like S-CHIP. Because for government run plans to work EVERYONE must be mandated to participate. Killing off the competition the free market brings to drive innovation, progress and quality.

    The ‘right’ is dead wrong on this issue, unless of course they have decided that their principles on health care policy are less important than their need to foment.

  10. AJStrata says:


    depends on where you live. Are you happy? Then you can’t be trash. Some people waste their entire life following the almighty dollar. Probably why I find this family worthy of respect. They work hard, stay together and do what they need to to get the best for their kids.

  11. gh says:


    Read this:


    [ I don’t understand your response, btw].

    Ann Coulter is a christian believer. Literally. The link above demonstrates this very clearly. I figured this out back in the spring when I got interested in what makes her tick.

  12. AJStrata says:


    Just a lame attempt at an analogy.