Representative Vicky Hartzler (r) in Blue Springs, Missouri, taking questions from constituents at a town hall on April 28, 2011.
“…Well, I mean, you, you, you’ve, you filed [crosstalk] reports between three, well, I mean, I’m answering how I know. You filed reports indicating you were somewhere between three to thirteen million dollars with the Congressional [inaudible], right?” “No.” “You haven’t?…”
Via the Center for Responsive Politics:
Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo), 2009
Net Worth: From $3,018,026 to $13,870,999
Rank: 40th in House
Assets: 28 totaling $4,018,026 to $14,371,000
“…There, there’s the, uh, liability reform, so it lowers the defensive medicine. That’s a plan that’s put out there. There’s a lot of, I talked a lot of doctors, they will tell me, I am ordering more procedures than are necessary just to make sure and cover all the bases so I’m not sued. And so we have some tort reform in there, that would help drive down the costs…”
Why Doesn’t Tort Reform Deliver Lower Costs?
The biggest reason plummeting medical malpractice insurance premiums don’t result in a corresponding drop in health care costs for the average person is that malpractice insurance is a tiny part of the overall cost of care. Reliable estimates place the cost of malpractice litigation at approximately two percent of this nation’s $2.2 trillion health care costs.
So, if so called “tort reform” was enacted in Missouri in 2005 why is Representative Hartzler offering it as a solution to rising health care costs in Missouri in 2011? Or is this just another talking point from the republican leadership in the House? We understand that “tort reform” was an attack on trial attorneys, a tradition contributor base for the Democratic Party, but it’s clear from the evidence that “tort reform” has no effect on patient health care costs.
“…And that business owner itself may have only had a personal income, their salary, of fifty thousand dollars. But on their tax form it could show, because the income from the business is also added to that, that they made two hundred and fifty or three hundred thousand dollars a year and President Obama would call them rich. We need to tax more the rich, when it turns out most business owners end up paying more taxes than their income, then their salary…”
S corporations are corporations that elect to pass corporate income, losses, deductions and credit through to their shareholders for federal tax purposes. Shareholders of S corporations report the flow-through of income and losses on their personal tax returns and are assessed tax at their individual income tax rates. This allows S corporations to avoid double taxation on the corporate income. S corporations are responsible for tax on certain built-in gains and passive income.
So, an S Corporation is a way to significantly reduce federal tax liability. And she’s pleading hardship?
Rep. Vicky Hartzler (r): town hall in Blue Springs, part 1 (April 29, 2011)
Rep. Vicky Hartzler (r): town hall in Blue Springs, part 2 (April 30, 2011)
This is the continuation of the transcript of Representative Vicky Hartzler’s (r) town hall in Blue Springs, Missouri on Thursday, April 28, 2011:
Representative Vicky Hartzler (r): …Okay, so raise your hand if you have a question. Oh, right here, [….] first and then, uh, you’re second.
Question: Uh, first I want to congratulate you for winning the election. Uh, both my [applause] children, both my children attended James Walker and I’d like to talk to the principal when this is over if I could. Live about four blocks from here. Uh, retired in July of two thousand and ten. I love retirement. Pray for this country every night. Really concerned about America. Excuse me, the whole process is broken in Washington, it really is. Just a concerned citizen. Um, I’m a baby boomer. I raised my hand. I’m receiving Social Security, thank God. Uh, but I did plan for retirement, so I guess [inaudible] should Social Security go away, probably make it. Uh, was fortunate to get the house paid for. Had a good job and living a good life. I’m very thankful for that. I give thanks every day. Uh, I grew up in Booneville, Missouri, I don’t know if that’s in your district, Booneville, Missouri. [voice: “Boonville.”] Slater, Missouri is in your district. Uh, my dad was a, and mother were strong Democrats. I went to Slater High School. My wife was a school teacher. My daughter’s a school teacher. Um, dad, strong Democrat, raised in a Democratic household. Uh, when I registered to vote I voted Democratic. I voted for Ike Skelton for years. I didn’t vote for Ike Skelton, I voted for you, ’cause Ike lost his way. We need to change the nation [applause]. We still need change in Washington. We need the Senate to change, okay. Uh, my dad was a veteran of World War Two, he was in the, uh, Seabees, he was, helped, uh, build the airbase in Guam and Okinawa that [inaudible] bombed Japan. Uh, he passed [voices: “Question. Question”], okay. Uh, brother had a duh, dah, duh, dah, duh, dah, duh. Uh, [voice: “Question.”] Ike Skelton did a lot for Missouri with the military bases at Whiteman and Fort Leonard Wood, what’s, what’s, what’s there, is there anything there to secure the mission at those bases in the future that we don’t lose the jobs and the bases, that’s all…?
…Representative Hartzler: That’s great. Thank you, thank you [….], uh, I appreciate your service. I’m glad you brought that up. Uh, you, I’ve got good news for you. I’ve been very, very, uh, strongly advocating against any more BRACs [base realignment and closure]. Uh, I wrote a letter to our, uh, committee sub, the subcommittee chair who is in charge of that, saying, you know, we don’t need, need to be doing this. He’s kind of put me as, uh, one of the people in charge of helping to oversee that there’s not any more BRACs [inaudible]. I’m monitoring it. And so, in, uh, committee a couple weeks ago we had the service chiefs that are in charge of implementing BRAC, from the two thousand and five, from all the different service branches there. And so, I asked it point blank on the record, I said, do you have any plans for any future BRACs? Each one of them told, on the record, on TV, no. No, we do not. No, we do not. The Army, the Marines, the Air Force, the Navy. We do not. And that was very encouraging. They all said the same thing, that we’re still implementing two thousand five, we have no plans for that. So I’m very, very, very, uh, [inaudible] and keep monitoring that. Senator Kerry was the one that scared everybody about it a couple months ago while he was speaking up in, uh, his area of New England, and said, well, there’s gonna be a BRAC in July of twen, uh, two, two thousand fifteen. He, he made that quote and it went all over the, you know, the, the news and people like, what is this, does he know something? He doesn’t
know it, he just was saying something, so. Anyway, there’s no plans for that. I’m, uh, honored to represent Whiteman Air Force Base and Fort Leonard Wood. Uh, my dad’s the U.S. Army Reserves and so I have a special place in my heart for, uh, military. And last Monday I was over at Whiteman and I got to fly a B-2 bomber. Well, sort of. The simulator, all right, but [laughter], it was, it was almost like, it was, it was very cool. [laugh] In a way, it was very neat. So, anyway. Very much am honored to represent those bases and, um, continually keeping close contact with the commanders, General [….] and General [….], down at Fort Leonard Wood, uh, what they need. You may have known last, uh, New Year’s Eve, there was an F three tornado that hit Fort Leonard Wood. Did you guys hear that? Uh, I wasn’t inaugurated yet, you know, that was like the next week, but, um, so I’ve been working with them to make sure they have all they need to rebuild and, uh, it’s gonna be even bigger and better down there if those of you, you know, who have family or friends down Fort Leonard Wood. Anyway. Thanks for your question.
Okay, she’s next. [….] in the green.
Question: I wanted to know what you’ve got against balance sheets. You know, I hear you talk and I hear other people talk about how much money we don’t have, how much money we do have, how much we can’t spend, how much we can spend and you never, nobody ever says what your income is. You say, what we sent you. Well, we sent you income tax. But every time we buy a gallon of gas we give you eighteen cents. I have never seen anything that ever said what the United States of America makes and where it comes from. Let alone how you spend it. I’m asking about balance sheets that we know about.
Representative Hartzler: Yeah, okay. Let me see. I have to go back. That first pie chart shows where it goes. Uh, the three point eight trill, that one, right there. That shows, uh, last year’s budget, three point five trillion, excuse me. Uh, this is, is where was, it’s not in a budget, it’s not in a balance sheet format, but this is where it goes and this is how much came in. And then the, uh, that other chart showing, uh, two point two is how much came in.
Question: But where did it come from? And how much?
Representative Hartzler: Uh, this, the break, you want to know the break down between individual tax, ta [crosstalk, inaudible], gas tax, all of the [crosstalk, inaudible]different, business tax, corporate tax?
Question: And I want to know what’s at the bottom of that sheet ’cause I don’t know that I could even balance my check book if I didn’t know how much was going in and how much I could take out.
Representative Hartzler: Yeah.
Question: And we go to these meetings and they tell us, well, we can’t spend this anymore. You know, I’m pretty sick of the lies in the last five years. I’m not sure that I can trust you, either. I like you, and I trust you usually.
Representative Hartzler: Yeah. [crosstalk, inaudible]
Question: You know why I say it.
Representative Hartzler: That’s okay, [crosstalk] I understand what you said.
Question: How much money you’ve got a year and where it comes from. And then [crosstalk]…
Representative Hartzler: Yeah.
Question: [inaudible] it kind of tells me where it’s going. You’re always telling me where it’s going.
Representative Hartzler: Yeah.
Question: You’re always telling me where it’s going.
Representative Hartzler: Yeah, well, uh, I’d be happy to get more information and we’ll get your name and address and things. We’ll get you, uh, a spreadsheet, something, that will be more type of format that’d be helpful to you. And it is, it’s hard to get your mind around it. This, uh, this is the Office of Management and Budget and it’s put it in a pie chart form, but, basically showing there’s two point two trillion is what came in. And then the other one was, uh, you know, three point five going out. Uh, but we, you, we’ll try to get you a breakdown of this two point two trillion, how much of that is from individual taxes, how much is from tax, how much is for gas tax, and [inaudible]. So, be happy to get that for you. And the Congressional Budget Office or Office of Budget and management is a nonpartisan issue, so, you should be able to trust them if you don’t trust the elected officials, understand that.
All right, who next? Over here. Okay. All right. What is it?
Question: Thank you. Uh, my name’s [….], I live in Warrensburg so I’m one of your constituents.
Representative Hartzler: Yes, I know you, [….].
Question: Yeah. Um, we’ve talked before. I like the title of plan, Path to Prosperity because when I look at it, and particularly with all the dramatic problem of debt, why is the plan to prosperity cutting important government programs, for example Pell Grants? We have a town in the Ozarks right now that gonna be drowning because we haven’t rebuilt their levies. Cutting things like that, while people in your income bracket are going to see again their taxes fall even more in this plan to prosperity. If, what you say is true, our debt is so terrible, why don’t we increase revenue a bit, particularly on people in your income bracket, because I’m going to assume that you, you made in the top two percent of all income earners in this country? You don’t?
Representative Hartzler: I have no idea.
Voice: How do you know?
Question: Well, I mean, you, you, you’ve, you filed [crosstalk] reports between three, well, I mean, I’m answering how I know. You filed reports indicating you were somewhere between three to thirteen million dollars with the Congressional [inaudible], right?
Representative Hartzler: No.
Question: You haven’t?
Representative Hartzler: No [inaudible]. Anyway. Let me answer your [crosstalk] question.
Question: But why don’t we increase revenue some? After all, if we use the household thing, if you [inaudible crosstalk] got a problem then somebody gets another job.
Representative Hartzler: Okay, [….]. All right. [scattered applause] Yeah. [inaudible crosstalk] Oh. My hu, let me get, if you want to get personal I’ll explain. We have fifty employees. Now, we have a choice come tax day. My husband and I, do we send Washington, D.C. more money or do we go hire someone? You, some people don’t understand that people, business owners, uh, have a choice on tax day. And, on their tax reform, if you knew how the tax system went for small business owners, uh, if you have a growth in your business that is reflected, if you’re an S corporation like most small business owners are, that’s reflected on your tax form. So if you grew your business a little bit and hired a, bought a new computer system, you made a little money in the business or you bought a new vehicle for a salesman or something like that, that shows that your business grew. And that business owner itself may have only had a personal income, their salary, of fifty thousand dollars. But on their tax form it could show, because the income from the business is also added to that, that they made two hundred and fifty or three hundred thousand dollars a year and President Obama would call them rich. We need to tax more the rich, when it turns out most business owners end up paying more taxes than their income, then their salary. And I know small business owners that have had to go borrow money in order to pay their taxes. And so some people don’t understand that, but that’s the reality. And so, I don’t believe making business owners send more of their income, money they don’t have, into Washington, D.C. is go
nna create jobs. I think we need to lower the taxes, if anything, on everybody so that business owners can create more jobs and people who are, are employees can go spend more money and generate more jobs through the business, through Wal-mart, or through the, go buy a car or something like that. So that’s the first thing.
Now, what we’re proposing in the Path to Prosperity is cutting everywhere, but we’re not eliminating things. So let me clarify the Pell Grant, since you mentioned that. I know that you’re a professor at UCM. But, uh, we weren’t proposing doing away with Pell Grants. Uh, we were proposing, and it didn’t pass, by the way, but in the CR [continuing resolution] which you were probably referencing, bringing them back to two thousand eight levels. Uh, because they had quadrupled, was that right [….]? Was it quadrupled? Quadruple. ‘Cause [….] had looked into that to me ’cause I said, ’cause I’m a teacher, I got my masters degree at UCM. I mean, I’m concerned, everything, about education. I want to make sure kids have a good education. Um, but, uh, the, it had quadrupled, so much so, that it was, it’s projected to go bankrupt, the Pell Grant system. So we were trying to rein ii back to two thousand eight levels and you still would have over four thousand dollars per student. It didn’t pass, so that, the high amount is still there, but, but, let’s be careful and make sure we have the facts. And that’s why it’s good for us to meet, good for you to know we weren’t proposing doing away with it. Let’s move on.
All right. How about this gentleman right here in the striped shirt, [….]. If that is his real name, I’m not sure. Even, oh it [laugh].
Question: I’d like to focus just a minute on Medicare which is a big part of the [inaudible]. And I understand, a big part of the concern is the increase in the medical costs.
Representative Hartzler: Yes.
Question: Going up and up and up and up.
Representative Hartzler: Yes.
Question: Uh, as I understand it [inaudible], it is going to decrease and put a lid on the contribution that the government is going to pay on the medical bills. And I’m wondering does it do anything to address the rising costs so the unpaid balance, that comes from patients is going to be something they can afford.
Representative Hartzler: Yeah. Excellent question. Um, I don’t believe it has the proactive new plan for health care in it as part of the Path to Prosperity. But, we are working on those proposals and we’re gonna move them out of the House very soon, too, because many of us feel like we’ve got to do something to rein in these health care costs. It is crazy, the increase. But, we don’t think that the government takeover was the answer last year [crosstalk], and so…
Question: What, what, what article? [crosstalk]What is this?
Representative Hartzler: Yeah, yeah. [crosstalk] We are proposing to increase competition, is one thing, between, across state lines. You know, there are some states like Alabama, there’s only one company. You have no choice, it’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield [crosstalk] if you got a j…
Question: I’m not talking about insurance coverage. And I know they’re gonna go get it, uh, under their [inauadible], they’re [inaudible] a chunk of profit when that’s private. I’m asking about the medical costs.
Representative Hartzler: Yeah.
Question: What is being charged.
Representative Hartzler: Right. Well, it’s several things. There, there’s the, uh, liability reform, so it lowers the defensive medicine. That’s a plan that’s put out there. There’s a lot of, I talked a lot of doctors, they will tell me, I am ordering more procedures than are necessary just to make sure and cover all the bases so I’m not sued. And so we have some tort reform in there, that would help drive down the costs. Uh, [crosstalk] transparency [inaudible]…
Question: Have you seen the studies on how, how minimal that is? [voice: “Yeah.”]
Representative Hartzler: Uh, I know in Missouri it dro, it lowered it when the State of Missouri passed it a few years ago, when they did some changes and it’s, it’s bringing it down. [crosstalk]
Voice: How much did it drop? [crosstalk] How much did it drop?
Representative Hartzler: I’ve heard that it’s fif…
Question: Are you going to work on fee for, are you going to do something about fee for service? Are you gonna change that?
Representative Hartzler: I don’t believe that’s directly something, like the government saying you can’t charge more than x? But we’re trying to increase competition [inaudible crosstalk] and, and that would reduce costs and, and, you know, there’s several proposals out there. But I welcome your ideas because that’s, we’ve got to come up with solutions for [crosstalk] that.
Question:My, my idea is Medicaid paying is great for me, now I’m worried about, I’m sorry, Medicare. I’m worried about the people who are fifty-five and under.
Representative Hartzler: Yeah, yeah, well, we’re gonna be [crosstalk]…
Question: [inaudible] who have been paying on it for forty years already.
Representative Hartzler: Yeah, we’re gonna be workin’, workin’ on that to bring, bring down the costs, too, ’cause you’re right, it’s a big, big cost driver….
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t get your question answered.
The final portion of the transcript for the remainder of the town hall question and answer session will follow in a subsequent post.