John Arthur Eaves Jr. rolls out his healthcare plan … again … still no real answers, it still doesn’t add up

JACKSON (October 10, 2007) – Barbour for Governor spokesman Brian Perry responded to John Arthur Eaves, Jr.’s press conferences today.

“John Arthur Eaves still doesn’t understand S-CHIP. He advocated an S-CHIP plan that would have left Mississippi $100 million short in funding healthcare for our poorest children, while paying for the healthcare of families in New York who make twice as much,” Perry said. He continued, “Governor Barbour is focused on reforming S-CHIP so that Mississippi can have the federal funds necessary to provide health insurance to 70,000 more children who are currently eligible for S-CHIP but not enrolled.”

At the press conference, John Arthur Eaves reaffirmed his opposition of face-to-face recertification for Medicaid. Perry continued, “Mr. Eaves opposes a common-sense solution to making sure that everyone who is on Medicaid is eligible for Medicaid. Governor Barbour wants to save Medicaid for the truly needy.”

“And as far as the costs of his scheme, this is the third time he has rolled out this program, it costs more every time, and it still includes a $100 million mistake. Mr. Eaves, three strikes and you’re out,” Perry said.

Strike 1

John Arthur Eaves Rolls Out His Healthcare Plan at the Mississippi Press Association Convention in Biloxi on June 22, 2007

“The leading Democrat for governor, John Arthur Eaves Jr. unveiled Friday a $20 million plan to cover health care for uninsured Mississippi children. ‘When children do not have basic health coverage, it costs us more tomorrow than it will cost us today,’ Eaves told members of the Mississippi Press Association … Eaves announced two major proposals: allowing voluntary, student-led prayer in schools and providing health care for children without health insurance.” – Clarion Ledger, June 23, 2007

“Eaves, a 40-year-old attorney from Jackson, said he wants to create a state program to provide health coverage for all of Mississippi’s uninsured children. He said it would cost $18 million to $20 million, but he didn’t name a source for the money.” – Associated Press, June 23, 2007

“Eaves performance was dreadful … he appeared uninformed. When asked about his healthcare plan, which he brought up, he referred the audience to his position paper. I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think he could have given three points from that paper.” – Clarion Ledger Editorial Director David Hampton, June 26, 2007

“One would expect Eaves to have a greater grasp on his prepared material. Eaves had an opportunity to shine as he released his healthcare vision for Mississippi. Through hours of preparation and reams of research he – or his staff – concocted an agenda to deliver healthcare to all children in Mississippi. He announced, ‘We must provide every child in our state health insurance. I have a plan to do that. It costs $18- to $20 million dollars. We have copies that will be distributed to you in the back.’ That was about it; no greater explanation. When asked more about this initiative during the question and answer session, he repeated that copies were in the back. Eaves squandered an opportunity to articulate his vision and his agenda, perhaps provide three to five basic principles or points on his healthcare policy. Instead, he left some of us wondering whether he had even read his own healthcare position paper or if he had, whether he could explain it. Any major candidate should at least be able to provide the basic points of his own policy paper and answer questions about his vision. When Eaves dodges questions for lack of knowledge about his own plan, observers begin to wonder if, despite his own money bankrolling him in the race, whether Eaves is nothing more than a fringe candidate who is not ready for prime time.” – Madison County Journal, June 27, 2007

“Forget the Mississippi governor’s race this year. I’m more convinced of that than ever after getting a firsthand look at Haley Barbour’s Democratic opponent. John Arthur Eaves Jr. will get the 40 to 45 percent of the anti-Barbour, anti-GOP vote, but that’s about it. The Jackson trial lawyer tries to sound like a populist, but he’s not a very charismatic or convincing one. His campaign seems mostly like a way to get a lot of publicity for his law practice, but not a serious effort to become the state’s chief executive. Eaves has the money – he’s put $1.3 million of his own into the race – to give the appearance of a credible candidacy, but he doesn’t seem to be doing much himself in the way of heavy intellectual lifting. Last weekend, at the state’s press convention in Biloxi….The tip-off, though, to the thinness of Eaves’ credentials was when he unveiled his plan to cover some 100,000 Mississippi children who don’t have health insurance. When asked to elaborate on the finer points of the $18 million to $20 million expenditure, Eaves couldn’t. If he had read the handout his campaign put together, I’d be surprised.” – Greenwood Commonwealth Editor Tim Kalich, July 1, 2007

Strike 2

John Arthur Eaves Rolls Out His Healthcare/Stealthcare Plan in an Exclusive with the Clarion Ledger on September 17, 2007 – Strike Two

“Parents would pay monthly premiums and co-payments, and the state would kick in money to cover uninsured Mississippi children, according to a proposal by Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Arthur Eaves Jr. Eaves provided details of his plan, Kid Care, to The Clarion-Ledger last week … . Brian Perry, a campaign spokesman for Barbour…wrote, ‘If the Eaves campaign has a Mississippi plan, other than just vague generalities, I hope they make it public for the voters and all the press to scrutinize, so we don’t just have to take his word for it that it would work.'” – Clarion Ledger, September 17, 2007

“While Democratic gubernatorial challenger John Arthur Eaves Jr.’s heart may be in the right place in his proposed Kid Care plan to provide health insurance for every child in Mississippi, his math to pay for the program both now and in the future is at best uncertain and at worst irresponsible for state taxpayers … Brian Perry, a spokesman for incumbent Gov. Haley Barbour’s re-election campaign, said after the Eaves plan was released that the current monthly premium for a child on SCHIP is $184 per month or $2,208 per year. Perry called the discrepancies in the per child cost of care estimate in the Eaves plan ‘a $100 million mistake’ and said the ‘Eaves plan doesn’t add up.’ … It’s more than a $100 million mistake. Eaves is telling Mississippi they can more than double the provision of public health care for children without more than doubling the costs. And he’s putting co-payments on the poorest of the state’s poor children while at the same time making public health insurance available to a family of four with an annual income of $134,225.” – Sid Salter Column, McComb Enterprise Journal, September 26, 2007

Strike 3

John Arthur Eaves Rolls Out His Healthcare Plan in Two Press Conferences on October 10, 2007

“The first time John Arthur Eaves Jr. released his healthcare plan in June, even he couldn’t answer questions about it. The second time he released his healthcare plan last month, he made a $100 million mistake. This is the third time he has released his healthcare plan and his more than $320 million program still doesn’t add up. Mr. Eaves, three strikes and you’re out,” said Brian Perry, spokesman for Barbour for Governor.

“At some point Mr. Eaves will need to come up with some kind of plan that addresses the real needs of Mississippi that uses real public policy numbers. And at some point, the press will need to consider whether they should continue reporting on his stunts every time he decides to re-re-release a so called plan,” Perry said.

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For the math on John Arthur Eaves’ $100 Million Mistake:

For Governor Barbour’s preventive healthcare measures:

For Governor Barbour’s record on healthcare improvements:

Governor Haley Barbour Press Release