Skip to comments.Dems' Poster Child Faces a Firestorm (FREEPER INVOLVED)
Posted on 10/09/2007 5:21:39 AM PDT by radar101
ABC News' Rick Klein Reports: With debate raging in Washington over children's health insurance, congressional Democrats found a new way to make their case for an expansion last weekend: Rather than have a senator or a congressman respond to President Bush's weekly radio address, they decided to have a child who was helped by the program speak directly to the public.
But the 12-year-old boy whom Democrats chose as their poster child is now at the center of a firestorm in Washington and beyond. Conservative bloggers who uncovered some details of the family's finances are blasting the family, calling the fact that they rely on federal insurance an example of how the State Children's Health Insurance Program has expanded beyond its original intent.
According to Senate Democratic aides, some bloggers have made repeated phone calls to the home of 12-year-old Graeme Frost, demanding information about his family's private life. On Monday, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid accused GOP leadership aides of "pushing falsehood" in an effort to distract from the political battle over S-CHIP.
"This is a perverse distraction from the issue at hand," said Jim Manley, a spokesman for Reid, D-Nev. "Instead of debating the merits of providing health care to children, some in GOP leadership and their right-wing friends would rather attack a 12-year-old boy and his sister who were in a horrific car accident."
Manley cited an e-mail sent to reporters by a Senate Republican leadership aide, summing up recent blog traffic about the boy's family. A spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., declined to comment on Manley's charge that GOP aides were complicit in spreading disparaging information about Frosts.
In making the case for a proposed expansion of the S-CHIP program, Democrats found a boy who seemed like an ideal poster child in Graeme Frost, a Baltimore native whose family does not have private health insurance.
When Graeme and his sister were seriously injured in a 2004 car crash, their parents relied on S-CHIP coverage to help them recover. After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office became aware of the Frosts through a healthcare interest group, FamiliesUSA, Democratic leaders turned to Graeme to deliver the party's weekly radio address Sept. 29.
"If it weren't for CHIP, I might not be here today," Frost said in the address, which was written by Senate Democratic aides. "We got the help we needed because we had health insurance for us through the CHIP program. But there are millions of kids out there who don't have CHIP, and they wouldn't get the care that my sister and I did if they got hurt."
But after a largely positive story about Frost appeared in the Baltimore Sun, conservative-leaning bloggers began focusing on details of Frost's family situation. They suggested the family makes the conservative argument -- that the children's health insurance program has strayed from its original purpose by subsidizing healthcare for middle-class families, not just poor children.
A blogger on FreeRepublic.com discovered that Frost and his sister, Gemma, attend a private school where tuition costs $20,000 a year. Their father, Halsey, is a self-employed woodworker, meaning that if his family doesnt have health insurance, its because Halsey Frost -- as his own boss -- chooses not to purchase it for himself.
"One has to wonder that if time and money can be found to remodel a home, send kids to exclusive private schools, purchase commercial property and run your own business . . . maybe money can be found for other things," a blogger with the handle "icwhatudo" wrote on FreeRepublic.
That posting was widely circulated in the blogosphere, making great fodder for conservatives who argue that President Bush was right to veto the Democrats bill expanding S-CHIP.
"People make choices and it's clear the Frosts have made choice to invest in property and a business, but not in private health insurance," Mark Tapscott, editorial page editor of The Washington Examiner, wrote on his blog.
But Manley say conservative bloggers didn't dig deep enough. It turns out that the Frost children attend Baltimores Park School on near-full scholarships; they pay roughly $500 per child per year in tuition, he said.
Like many small-business owners, Halsey Frost can't even afford to provide health insurance to himself, Manley said.
"Last year, the Frost's made $45,000 combined," Manley said. "Over the past few years they have made no more than $50,000 combined depending on Halsey's ability to find work."
The Frost family did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
Does anyone know what the circumstances of the car accident were?
I don’t personally know that these particular children DID get scholarships. I had just been pointing out it was a possibility.
“...it probably means lots of weekend work at his own shop.”
Yep, weekends when he could have been working at a second job or doing more work for customers to pay for health insurance. Instead, his priority was the fancy upscale kitchen cabinets. Any way you cut it, the parents here made selfish choices and put their financial responsibilities off on the taxpayers.
Now you get the idea, Jesse & Al would be calling news conferences stating there are thousands of poor inner-city kids and families that need assistance before the type of family the Republicans portrayed in their news conference.
“do we know the circumstances of the accident?”
Based on another thread on this subject, the accident happened when the mom was driving her SUV, hit a patch of black ice, and slammed into a tree. One kid ended up against the tree. The other kid hit his head against the window. Apparently no one else in the SUV was seriously injured, leading to legitimate questions as to whether the kids were wearing seatbelts, and whether the parents also avoided auto insurance.
A lib friend of mine sold her house, and still has tens of thousands of dollars from that sale.
But she does temp work and thinks the government should pay for her health care. She wants to hold on to her money for a "rainy day."
WHY is this family on a FULL SCHOLARSHIP??? ARe they STARVING??? Why are they TOO good to go to PUBLIC SCHOOL??? Show me PROOF that they are on full scholarship!
Thanks for clearing up that your original post #80 ("The scholarships are based on need") was just something you
pulled out of your made up.
I’m amazed that a state like Maryland would have such a low minimum threshold for liability insurance.
And didn't we read a story here just this week about how the state government in Annapolis was looking for tax hikes to close a huge budget deficit?
Another in a string of Democrat/liberalwingnut errors in judgement.
You’d think by now they’d have realized you cannot get away with this kind of nonsense in the era of ‘new / alternative media’.
It cost Dan Rather his job. It cost John Kerry the Presidency. It cost democrats big time with the ‘Betray Us’ ad....its costing them again here, having been outted once more.
The only question is when will the GOP candidates go on the attack, pointing all of this out?
I’m having trouble believing that the kids got into an exclusive school like that on full scholarships with-out some rich relative pulling some strings. Or are the little dumplings pure geniuses?That’s a lot of money for a school like that to eat the cost of! There’s more to this story...scholarships or not.
I can understand a private school offering poor minority or inner city poor white kids a leg up....but there is more to this story! I want my kids to go to this school...based on this man’s assets and income we should get a scholarship too!
“Perhaps Alberta’s Child is referring to the fact that when you severely injure someone in a car accident, their hospital bill will commonly be coming out of your pocket or your insurer’s.”
If you have an accident and cause injury to someone in another vehicle, your bodily injury liability will help to defray the medical costs of the folks in the other vehicle.
However, the minimum bodily injury insurance in Maryland is $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident.
As far as I can tell, however, the auto insurance company would not have had to pay the bodily injury liability to the Frosts, in that it was a single-car accident, and I’m not sure that anyone was held at fault.
In Maryland, the purpose of the personal injury protection coverage (PIP) is to provide for medical cost benefits to the occupants of your own vehicle when you’re in an accident. Thus, I don’t think that the bodily injury liability coverage applies thereto.
However, even if it did, and even if the auto insurance company paid to the limit of the policy, the injuries sustained by these two children far exceeded in cost of treatment $20,000 per child.
Heck, my own auto insurance has liability limits in excess of the state minimums, but even my liability coverage wouldn’t have covered the medical treatment needed by these two kids. We’re talking well into six figures for each child.
It's quite likely that the auto insurer did pay, but that the limits of the insurer's liability were far surpassed, and the children's health insurance kicked in.
That’s about what I make before taxes and I provide health insurance on my own for my family of 5. This seems clearly a case of roll the dice decision by the Frost parents. If no one needs it we “the Frosts” win. If we do we can always fall back on the public teat.
For my family a high deductable (2500x3) policy cost me 3 grand a year. i have the deductable money in the bank through frugal spending habits. Although I still have enough toys to keep the family and myself entertained throughout the year.
When they acted to joint the political fray, putting themselves squarely in the public eye for this fight, what did they expect to happen? Add to that that their story is queerer than a nine-bob note and this is what they get. If only the IRS would pay them a visit too.....
Many people here on Free Republic are critical that states require any auto insurance at all for licensed drivers.
However, the state’s minimums aren’t unusual. For PIP, Florida (usually a red state), California, Texas (good red state), Virginia (has been a good red state), and West Virginia have no minimum requirement. There are states with higher minimums, but even New York’s high $50,000 minimum wouldn’t have paid all the bills for these two kids.
THAT'S STILL NOT "POOR"!
It's the Frost's own choices which keep them uninsured. Yet the taxpayers are expected to subsidize their decisions and care for their children instead.
The kids attend a private school. The family also lives in a house in Baltimore which has been appraised at $350-to-$400K in value. Methinks the dad is a bald-faced liar about the family income.
Although most patients with brain injuries do not experience severe motor disabilities, many show problems with strength, coordination and movement. Even patients who recover well still lose some rapid motor response.
Gemma and Graeme Frost experienced all of these types of symptoms, although the way the symptoms appeared and the childrens recoveries have been quite different. On December 4, 2004, the car the children were riding in hit a patch of black ice and spun into a tree. Gemma was sitting right where the car struck the tree and sustained an open skull fracture, shattering her left eye orbit, leaving the eye swollen shut. Doctors used a bolt to monitor and relieve intracranial pressure that was causing her brain to appear cloudy on CT scans. She remained in a coma for three weeks. Graeme, sitting right behind her, was injured when his head struck a window with such force that the glass broke. He developed bleeding in several ventricles in his brain and remained in a coma for several days.
Doctors removed the drain used to relieve the swelling in Graemes skull after a few days, but the pressure returned and he underwent surgery to put in a shunt. Once Gemma emerged from her coma, doctors planned reconstructive surgery on her eye, but cancelled it once they discovered an abscess filled with shards of wood and glass.
Graemes injury primarily affected his motor skills. He could not walk or swallow and relied on a naso-gastric tube for nourishment for nearly five months. Gemmas core issues were cognitiveshe could walk, but couldnt remember how to talk, what many words meant, how to dress or how to brush her teeth. She had to relearn everything, says the childrens mother, Bonnie.
You wonder how the Frosts would be able to spend over $1200 a month to procure Health Insurance. Maybe they wanted a no-deductible policy. Seems foolish.
The IRS is now on to that, BIG-TIME..
They call it a “Lifestyle Audit”. I went through one...
One thing that fascinates me is why the school puts them on scholarship. Could it be that a wealthy grandparent (see post 30) donated money to the school in exchange for the school giving the scholarship, as a way to escape paying gift tax?
It's "in the article"-- but it's a quote from "Jim Manley, a spokesman for Reid, D-Nev."
So when ABCnews reporter Klein takes a swipe at FReepers who have the audacity to question (hey, we "didn't dig deep enough"!), he's apparently not doing any "digging" himself.
Looks to me as if Klein has merely regurgitated the words of Dingy Harry's taxpayer-paid flack. And we know what that's worth.
It would seem that the paper of record (the Balt. Sun??) would at least look into that type of skulduggery with all of the assets this family seems to have.
“A substantial portion of the population in the whole region known as Northern Virginia is made up of productive citizens who have fled Maryland over the last couple of decades.”
I know just as many folks who have moved from Virginia to Maryland as vice versa.
In the meanwhile, the state continues with exceptionally low unemployment (3.6% as of May 2007), continued job growth, and has seen less impact from the real estate decline than Northern Virginia. In fact, the worst-hit jurisdiction in the region from the real estate decline is Loudoun County in Virginia.
“And didn’t we read a story here just this week about how the state government in Annapolis was looking for tax hikes to close a huge budget deficit?”
Don’t confuse a liberal Democrat’s lust for new taxes with an actual budget crisis. The scary “huge budget deficit” was exaggerated to $1.5 billion out of a budget of over $30 billion. But, if our budget growth had been held to the rate of inflation, we’d be in surplus.
While it would be accurate to say that Maryland would be an economic basket case if it weren’t for the huge size and girth of the federal government, the fact is, the federal government is huge, and thus Maryland’s economy percolates along very nicely.
The biggest problem that we have in Maryland is that local jurisdictions are not permitting sufficient growth in housing stock to keep up with all the new jobs.
Didn't someone famous once say that "I can't be responsible for every undercapitalized small business in America" when people criticized the costs her socialized medicine plan would have put on small businesses?
Both Gemma and Graeme continue to receive therapy, but both have resumed the active school and social lives typical of most children their age.
Graeme is back in the same private school he attended before his accident.
Just one less thing for ANY business to worry about . . . which is my major U.S. corporations can be expected to be among the strongest supporters of a government-run health care system.
What many people don't understand is that the purpose of a government-run health care system in the U.S. is not to cover those who are currently uninsured . . . it's to reduce the costs of those who ARE insured -- by providing uniform, substandard health care in a way that gives people no way to complain about it.
The truth is late in the story. The typical ABC BS with the first half of the story about the family’s traffic accident and the heartless Republicans. Most do not read past the first or second paragraph.
Nice going ABC.
“Can’t afford” is a relative term. I “choose” to afford health insurance and I “choose” not to have my wife work full time.
This is Bull crap!
These kids were in a wreck caused by a car slipping on black ice. Does anyone know if these kids were wearing a seat belt? I imagine the accident report can be publicly obtained.
Isn't it funny (in a sad way) that EVERY DBM account of this accident omits mention of the driver? As if the vehicle were propelling itself?
Look, nobody wants the children to suffer. Everyone wants them to have medical care and to recover.
But when taxpayers are forced to foot the bill, they have a right to question:
(a) the parents' own responsibility for the injuries (were the kids wearing seat belts? who was driving? was the driver insured?)
(b) the parents' own capability to find a way to pay for their childrens' medical expenses -- without soaking the taxpayers.
Company-owned car, home office, Entertainment expenses going out with "clients", etc, etc can add up fast
Another brilliant creation by dead. (”Bring out your dead!”)
I believe John Edwards was adept at the Sub-S sleight of hand.
Exactly! I was unemployed in 2003 and only had six months of unemployment (which I have been paying into) which did not cover my mortgage with escrow and I still paid $500 per month to cover myself with health insurance. I had to dip into the 401K but I survived and did not take anything from the government.
These people have more property assets that I do and they leech off the taxpayers -- me, you. It's sickening.
Everyone keeps pointing to their “income”. Anyone look into assets? Note that BOTH Grandfathers were high powered professionals, one of which has made multiple significant charitable donations.
Can you say “Trust Fund”.
I knew you could.....
Why do I smell a Trust Fund?
And it's VERY easy to hide income while doing real estate. Buy a house, spend time improving it, sell it. The money you made is capital gains, rather than salary from the work you put in. And if you trade up to a bigger house, you can avoid even cap gains tax
Where do you get that figure?
My family has Blue Cross insurance, for five people, and it costs us less than $550.00 per month. We are self employed, and pay the whole thing, including deductibles, co-insurance costs and co-pays.
And I know for a fact that Blue Cross offers even cheaper policies.
I find nothing identifying Bonnie as the driver (of course!), or any mention of auto insurance being in place. I’m sure the parents were covered by something, because they seem so conscientious, and able to go through all the hoops to qualify for other programs where someone pays the bill.
These were some horrific injuries.
I wonder if they were wearing seatbelts and if the car had airbags - if so, this is a very chilling story.
Well, thanks for clearing that up for me — I stand corrected. LOL.
It’s probably already been mentioned that Bonnie Frost is an associate with what seems to be a legitimate publishing company. I can’t believe they don’t offer medical coverage.
In 2007, Bonnie joined the Kaufman-Wills Group as an associate conducting various market research projects, compiling competitive journal profiles, developing and maintaining databases, and helping to manage company operations. A graduate of Towson University, Bonnies previous work experience includes bookkeeping and operations management for Frostworks, Inc., as well as curriculum writing, admissions work, and teaching preschool and kindergarten at First English Lutheran Preschool in Baltimore.
I read criticism of Michelle Malkin on one of the Lefty websites, that she was creepy and equaled being a stalker for doing a drive-by of the house and commercial property owned by Halsey Frost. The proposed solution was to call the Frost family and get their side of the story. Now, calling the Frost family is harassment.
This is just another example of the "damned if you do, damned if you don't" double standards of the libs.
Here's a free piece of advice, if you want to keep your family privacy, don't allow your 7th Grader to become a national spokesman for a major political party. You can't put out your family story as an argument in national politics, then turn around and demand your privacy. It's simply not possible.
Check out Peter Cooper's link. It's not the schools that are funding the scholarships. It's you! Via the "special needs" scam.