The Republican Health Care Failure

Much ink and many pixels are being expended on writing health care's political postmortems, but the focus should rightly be on the policy front -- in the think tanks and in the legislative priorities of recent Republican administrations and Congresses. In short, the battle was lost before the first shot was even fired because Republicans did not present a compelling alternative story of what was wrong with the health care system, or how they would fix it. 

When it comes to health care policy, conservatives have been seriously outgunned. And I say this in all fairness to the friends I have who work night and day on free market solutions to health care. On economics, you always know what the conservative answer is: tax cuts and generally hands-off regulatory policies to spur economic growth. No matter how good the Democrats' promises sound, we return to these simple, pro-growth touchtones that resonate with a majority of Americans who intuitively get that you can't micromanage your way to a better future. 

On health care, I have no idea what our basic guiding principle is. Seriously, I don't. 

We have tried ineffectively to stretch free market rhetoric to health care without appreciating that health care is already too far removed from a free market for the analogy to make sense. Real markets are sensitive to price. Health care isn't. The insurance companies hide the cost of actual care from the consumer. 

What we have lacked in this debate is a simple clarion call to address an aching need -- bringing free market principles to bear to improve tangible health outcomes.

Instead, we have allowed the left to define the problem as exclusively one of access -- of the nearly 50 million without insurance dying in the streets (of course, we don't talk about that number anymore because nearly a third of that number are illegal immigrants, an issue Obamacare studiously avoids). 

And it's no surprise. The left has had a far greater number of health care analysts devising grand plans for the eventual takeover. And they have invested more political capital in this issue than any other. It should surprise no one that the conservative effort in this space has been paltry in comparison. We just haven't had as many people thinking about health care, and we didn't actively move legislation on it when we were in power. 

Perhaps you might say that's beside the point of the awfulness of this plan, and that our full efforts must go towards repeal. Be that as it may, Republican inattention to health care and the failure to develop a compelling free market narrative on the issue led to the place we are now. By pounding home the notion that the uninsured were the central problem with the health care system, and pointing to the fact that their numbers were growing each and every year, liberals built a sense of urgency that conservatives didn't have and were able to demand action -- even if that action was political suicide. 

At the outset of his Administration, George W. Bush set out to neutralize a key Democratic issue, education, with his No Child Left Behind Act. NCLB was a grab bag and not beloved by conservatives for its massive expansion in Federal spending in education, but it did insist on the vaguely conservative principle of accountability. 

The merits of that legislation can continue to be debated, but one political outcome is clear. We don't talk much about education at the federal level these days. There is a sense that the problem was "solved" by NCLB, which is now nearly a decade old. Likewise, no one will try to move welfare reform legislation because the successful 1996 reform law substantively and politically took the wind out of the sails of that issue. 

Imagine if instead of the Medicare Part D entitlement, the Bush administration had moved a smart, substantive health care bill that addressed cost as the key to unlocking access, making health plans dramatically more affordable, addressing medical liability, and moving away from employer-based plans by giving any group -- whether an employer or not -- the ability to organize their own health insurance pools? 

I was there, and I can attest that the Bush Administration did make good faith efforts to move medical liability and association health plans, but it was never the central, overarching focus. It was clear they would never expend political capital like they did on the prescription drug issue that they let themselves get baited on by Al Gore in the 2000 campaign, or the war, or tax cuts. 

A well-developed Republican health reform effort could have addressed the high cost of health care -- actually the most glaring issue in our system -- in a way that would have served as a kind of tax cut for the already insured. And in lowering costs, we could have covered the people who wanted health care but couldn't afford it -- the nub of the uninsured problem. 

Debate the details of this all you want, but the political upshot of this would have been to render the health care issue, a major Democratic hobbyhorse, politically dead for a generation. A bill less ambitious in scope, designed to address real pain points not a quixotic campaign for 100% insurance, could have forestalled this bill even in the event of a complete Democratic takeover. 

This may be oversimplified. There are certainly many very good conservative health care scholars whose work I should have been reading more closely these last few years. But politics is a battle of perceptions, and the perception -- that became reality -- was that Republicans brought a knife to a gun fight when it came a debate about the scope and reach of health care reform. We may have won the political battle over health care, in that a majority of Americans opposed Obamacare, but sometimes it is the policy battles that set the tone for the future political battleground, moving the entire spectrum on which they are fought further left. 

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McConnell's strategy sucked too (GOP Health Care Failure)

In addition to the lack of a credible policy mentioned by Ruffini, I would add that the political strategy --"kill ObamaCare" -- ultimately failed too. Yet I notice that conservatives are now sitting on the sidelines congratulating themselves for not giving an inch. As Jon Chait, David Frum and others have commented, the GOP probably *could* have achieved its objective of defeating health care reform if it only had put a compromise bill of its own on the table.

In the end Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi were barely able to assemble a fragile majority for the disappointing Senate bill. I think the whole thing would have fallen apart, if Olympia Snowe and a few more GOP moderates had been allowed to demand just a few more concessions in return for support...the lefties such as Howard Dean absolutely HATED the bill after the "public option" and virtually all other goodies had been removed. Yet Max Baucus, Ben Nelson, Evan Bayh et al. would have done virtually ANYTHING to have bipartisan cover even if it would required months of negotiations. Instead Bayh become so fed with the transparent dishonesty and bad faith of the GOP side he told the New York Times that despite his misgivings about the bill, he did not want to see the satisfied looks on the faces of Republican leaders if they succeeded in blocking the measure. And there was no way the Democrats were going to lose a party line vote with a 59-41 majority.

The supposed "upside" is that the conservative-libertarian base now will be stark raving mad by November 2010 so consequently the GOP will make enormous gains. Yet the Democratic health care bill will be very difficult to kill in any case, and it certainly cannot happen within the next three years -- if ever.

The alternative would have been to provide a credible and reasonably compelling detailed alternative last fall before the Senate vote in December, to peel off a Joe Lieberman or Ben Nelson here and there.  Most likely there would have been no consensus between the alternatives, and hence no health care reform bill in the end. Instead the Dems were faced with an all-or-nothing option of passing their own comprehensive reform package without GOP support, or suffer the exact same fate as in 1994...

I am not even sure if the short term politics will be as favorable to the GOP as you all seem to think. Boehner and Steele are telling the media there will "armageddon" already within the next half a year since the reform bill is so bad. But many of the benefits of the Democratic plan are both tangible and popular, such as banning discrimination based on pre-existing medical conditions and the Dems have made sure some of them kick in almost immediately. The budget concerns are certainly real, but this is a longer-term issue since the full cost only kicks in around 2014-18. If the apparent negative impact on everyday life of this "massive socialist power grab" is very small, will ordinary voters care deeply about the issue in November? The GOP base -- now 25% of the population -- certainly will (and so will the suddenly energized and excited Democratic base!) but the rest will be concerned about practical issues.

 

MARCU$

Good analysis. Thanks.

 nt

 On economics, you always

 On economics, you always know what the conservative answer is: tax cuts and generally hands-off regulatory policies to spur economic growth. No matter how good the Democrats' promises sound, we return to these simple, pro-growth touchtones that resonate with a majority of Americans who intuitively get that you can't micromanage your way to a better future. 

I cringe with this attitude. We had 8 years of "hands-off" policies and it put our country where it is. It will take us years to get over the disastrous policies of Bush. Today, we have globalization and you can't sit around doing nothing. (laissez-faire) I don't know of any manager or CEO that sits around and does nothing. All during this time and up to today we lost the middle class. And just where were the republicans? I think they had their finger up their rear ends.

It was 8 years of seeing our jobs going overseas, our money going to Iraq, and the neglect of our country. 2.4 million jobs went to China and nothing has replaced those jobs.

Your "hands-off" policies no longer resonates with the American people. 

Who Broke America’s Jobs Machine? | NewAmerica.net

http://www.horizonproject.us/images/FE/chain206siteType8/site175/horizon_final_0123.pdf

Progressive Economics Field Guide Frameset

Must have missed Stockman's analysis

Here's the video.

Beginning at 6:31

"I think the lesson of the last 25 years is that it just doesn't work.  You can keep cutting taxes until you reach the point where, this year, the year just ended, we spent 3.6 billion and we only collected 2.2.  So we are now so far out of kilter that it's irrelevant.  Taxes are going to have to be raised, and the beast needs to be trimmed back, but it can't be starved enough to even begin to cope with our fiscal problem.  And this is where I think that all of the politicians are faking in both parties, but the Republicans especially.  The Republicans think that their mission in life is to cut taxes.  Sorry, game over.  We're now in the tax raising business, and we're going to be in the tax raising business for the next decade."

So much for Reagan-era conservatism.

 

 

Bullseye.

"And in lowering costs, we could have covered the people who wanted health care but couldn't afford it -- the nub of the uninsured problem"

This analysis is a bullseye.

Ever wonder...

...why so few people opt in to COBRA? 

Blame George Bush!

You choose to assign the blame to the one prominent Republican who is no longer active in politics.

Why so shy about addressing the role of the players who are still around, and who are going to continue to be an albatross around your neck?

You made a deal with the devil in 2000 to regain the white house and now your sulphurous chickens are coming home to roost.

 

Republican's Waterloo

I must compliment you Patrick on your capacity for self-reflection.  That's seems to be a very rare quality among conservatives.  And I partially agree with you on some of the points you are making in this initial autopsy of the Republican's HCR Waterloo.  You're probably right, if Bush had done anything to address the problem, you guys probably could have circumvented some of the momentum building towards this historic healthcare bill.  But, of course, hindsight is 20/20 and I would suggest that the very nature of the conservative movement would have laughed at what your are now proposing back in the Bush era.  Let's face reality here, the only reason your are now realizing your mistakes is because you lost and lost big!

So let me help you with your autopsy and demonstrate where you are right in some areas and still getting it wrong in others.

In short, the battle was lost before the first shot was even fired because Republicans did not present a compelling alternative story of what was wrong with the health care system, or how they would fix it.

Spot on.  But the problem is your ideology prevented you from recognizing the problem in the first place.  The only solution I ever heard coming from the White House under Bush were tax breaks on private health care accounts which would be great for wealthy people, but not the poor or middle class.

On health care, I have no idea what our basic guiding principle is. Seriously, I don't.

Right now the only ideas you had to offer seems to be tort reform and selling insurance accross state lines.  But, I think a few of you now realize the inadequacy of those "free market" solutions.

And it's no surprise. The left has had a far greater number of health care analysts devising grand plans for the eventual takeover. And they have invested more political capital in this issue than any other. It should surprise no one that the conservative effort in this space has been paltry in comparison. We just haven't had as many people thinking about health care, and we didn't actively move legislation on it when we were in power.

Talk about an understatement, geez.  Yeah we have more analysts etc. because health care reform IS the Democratic party (or at least a major platform going back 50 years).  Anyway, like I said, you're starting to get it now which puts you way ahead of the rigidly ideological conservative noise machine.

Imagine if instead of the Medicare Part D entitlement, the Bush administration had moved a smart, substantive health care bill that addressed cost as the key to unlocking access, making health plans dramatically more affordable, addressing medical liability, and moving away from employer-based plans by giving any group -- whether an employer or not -- the ability to organize their own health insurance pools?

Is this an admission that insurance exchanges (that were in the bill the D's just passed) are needed after all?  I'm pretty familiar with conservaspeak, but help me out and translate this to English if you don't mind.

Anyway, what your suggesting is laughable because Bush Co. passed Medicare Part D to buy off seniors and enrich pharmaceutical industry campaign contributors.  It wasn't some grand benevolent attempt to improve the lives of Americans.  Remember, at that time, all you guys could talk about was a permanent Republican majority?

It was clear they would never expend political capital like they did on the prescription drug issue that they let themselves get baited on by Al Gore in the 2000 campaign, or the war, or tax cuts.

Sounds like you at least partially agree with my last statement.  I'd like to hear your answer to my charge.

Debate the details of this all you want, but the political upshot of this would have been to render the health care issue, a major Democratic hobbyhorse, politically dead for a generation. A bill less ambitious in scope, designed to address real pain points not a quixotic campaign for 100% insurance, could have forestalled this bill even in the event of a complete Democratic takeover.

Um yeah, I guess, hypothetically you may be right, but it's now a mute question.  There just wasn't a political will among conservatives to address rising health care costs.  As a matter of fact, that very notion goes against modern day conservative ideology which dogmatically thinks free markets are a solution to all problems.

But politics is a battle of perceptions, and the perception -- that became reality -- was that Republicans brought a knife to a gun fight when it came a debate about the scope and reach of health care reform.

Heh.  Another massive understatement.

We may have won the political battle over health care, in that a majority of Americans opposed Obamacare, but sometimes it is the policy battles that set the tone for the future political battleground, moving the entire spectrum on which they are fought further left.

This is where you jump the shark and lose touch with reality.  We're already seeing the polls turn around as Americans realize that there's a lot of good stuff in these bills and that wingnuts were full of it when they went into "scare the shit out of old people mode" with death panels, rationing, socialism, gov't takeover, etc...  Yesteday, CNN and USA today both had polls showing that a plurality of Americans are happy that Democrats passed healthcare reform.  And it's only going to get better for the D's as the substance, not the process starts gettng discussed by the pundits and talking heads of the media.

So what's next, you ask.  Well since you lost on substance and lost on process, most right wingers now think that the only thing left is litigation.  And if you were honest you'd let your peeps know this is a longshot, at best.  Anyway, thanks again for the thoughtful article.  I'd love to see your wing of the Republican party get power back from the crazies.

Anyway, what your suggesting

Anyway, what your suggesting is laughable because Bush Co. passed Medicare Part D to buy off seniors and enrich pharmaceutical industry campaign contributors.  It wasn't some grand benevolent attempt to improve the lives of Americans.  Remember, at that time, all you guys could talk about was a permanent Republican majority?

Bingo! Rove - despite calling himself a conservative - basically adopted the Democrat political strategy to buy constituencies' votes through  federal programs. Yet, no one has called Rove to task for his failing strategy of combining government expansion with cultural issues in an effort to build a permanent Republican majority.

Truth dwells at the bottom of the barrel

[0] Dear Dr. Bones, How could any sane donkey not like Neocomradess ‘Chekote’ here? Don’t you wish, sir, that the Party of Big Management had at least 9,999 more instances of her, all very noisy and garish? It takes quite a strange and offbeat regressive to make me think even for a second of empathizing with Neocomrade Karl, Lord Rove. But Ch. pulls the stunt off handily. Imagine that the Hero of Empire™ had heard of Ch. back in the palmy days of Boy and Dynasty and Party and Ideology. Imagine that His Lordship talked the rest of Really Big Management into lettin’ His Lordship try it out (instead of shippin’ H. L. straight to a loony bin). Imagine the shock an’ the awful surprise of wingnutettes and wingnuts and wombscholars and downdumbees on hearin’ from the Party with which they march,

"NO, we don’t have any [expletive deleted] Fedguv programs for [exp. del.]s like you. And NO, we are not the least bit interested in any of your [e. d.] "cultural issues." That is not the way the world really works anymore. WE are an Empire now, and when WE act, WE create OUR OWN reality . . ." (Fill in the rest of it as was.)

Rather too good to be true, is it not, Dr. Bones? And yet at the very heart of the G.O.P. darkness and neodarkness, somethin’ of the sort may really be the case. My parallel-universe Neocomrade K. Rove was impossible around this neck of the continuum only because it would be politically suicidal for a militant extremist TopPercenter to talk that way. That some of ’em, at least, think so privately to themselves is likely enough.[1] Anyhow, it SEEMS likely enough to this keyboard, located well outside the monkey house. Comin’ from the quarter I suspect Neocomradess Ch. really resides in, though, her silliness is probably a result of not gettin’ out of her cave much lately, and so supposin’, in good faith but sad lack of data points, that the holy Homeland™ is full of folks who genuinely crave the Concord Coalition ideoproduct, the one most often called "fiscal responsibility." That, after all, is pretty much how the astroturfbaggers present themselves (when they care at all how they look to us heathen, which is not, perhaps, all that often.) Now at the very tippy-top of TopPercenterdom, I daresay there are still a few fossils left over from the McKinleyolithic Epoch who still believe in "sound money" of the sort St. Mark of Hanna slew the dragon Bryan over. But only a VERY few. By (many of) the neokiddies’ own accounts, Dr. Bones, Creative Destructionism (®) is all the rage at Hooverville and Rio Limbaugh nowadays, and nothin’ has been more creatively destructivated by really existin’ Big Management than fiscal responsibility. Dubya’s Daddy may have put an end to the cocktail-napkin-cum-voodoo experiment sensu stricto, yet there was most assuredly no restoration of original-intent Grantonomics either. Though no economist, I assume such a restoration is quite impossible as long as there is nothin’ much left for Horatio Alger to entrepreneur it about except peddlin’ wares made in China. Plus peddlin’ collateralised debt obligations and the like made in neo-Connecticut, naturally. All very well up to a point, I guess, that plan, but it falls well short of a proper rock to found the First Church of Concord Coalitionality upon. Laughably short, even, it falls. Plus never forget, sir, how steeply the now Kiddie Selfservatives have dumbed themselves down. The difference between them and St. Mark of Hanna may not be exactly Dr. Marx’s ‘comedy’ and ‘farce’, but it is at least night vs. day. The first time around, they were smart enough not to snipe at St. Charles of Darwin, but hitch him to their own juggernaut by pointin’ out how Union League Club TopPercenters were--obviously!--the very fittest of all fit survivors. Neocomradess Ch. has not much use for the other kiddies’ "cultural issues," meanin’ presumably antidarwinian dingalingism and the Fœtus ©ult and so on. So far, so good, but she clings to the delusion that the Party of Grant and Hoover (& Goldwater & Atwater) still have an economic life preserver[2] to cling to. Isn’t SHE headed for a nifty surprise? And I wish you, sir, Healthy days. ___ [0] For the joke header, see http://tinyurl.com/ykdc3se [1] I betcha Neocomradess Chekote is a long, long way from bein’ a bonâ fide TopPercenter herself. On the other hand, she may THINK that she is one, to judge from that marvelous scrap we found the other day . . . lemme see ... ... here [http://tinyurl.com/yf7kd2y] we go: "The most telling polling result from the 2000 election was from a Time magazine survey that asked people if they are in the top 1 percent of earners. Nineteen percent of Americans say they are in the richest 1 percent and a further 20 percent expect to be someday. So right away you have 39 percent of Americans who thought that when Mr. Gore savaged a plan that favored the top 1 percent, he was taking a direct shot at them." (( Hmm. That URL is NOT where I saw the statistic or pseudostatistic just the other day, Dr. Bones, and of course anythin’ with the name of Don Davidito de Brooks y Podhóretz attached to it is eo ipso as fishy as [exp. del.]. )) [2] The nextist neocomrade at the bottom of this thread has described the (supposed) life preserver of Big Party an’ AEIdeology as follows:

On economics, you always know what the conservative answer is: tax cuts and generally hands-off regulatory policies to spur economic growth. No matter how good the Democrats’ promises sound, we return to these simple, pro-growth touchtones that resonate with a majority of Americans who intuitively get that you can’t micromanage your way to a better future.

(( ‘Touchtones’ is good, though almost certainly accidental! )) Young whippersnappers are nothin’ if not smart, Dr. Bones, so I am not amazed to find that that oracle could be successfully defended if it were glossed with a certain amount of care. Especially to be glossed is ‘resonate’: there can be little question that the SPGT product, "simple, pro-growth touchstones," is marketable. Lots of holy Homelanders™ will be wantin’ to order some of that snake oil, at least they will unless the Big Managers have managed to forget absolutely everythin’ that Madison Avenue ever taught ’em. The sixty-four trillion dollar question, however, is whether the steak can live up to its sizzle. Alio modo: is the SPGT ideoproduct guaranteed to work as advertised under all conditions without exceptions? as for instance: in a hard vacuum? or, in the Assyrian Empire of 707 BC? More immediately to the point, how about in a selfservicin’ neo-Homeland where pretty well everythin’ but paperwork and la blogghiatura must be imported from exotic Cathay? The nextism of Big Management Party Neocomrade P. Ruffini reminds me, a little, of St. Jack’s tale [http://tinyurl.com/yjyo2ft] about the Irishman who discovered that a certain brand of stove allowed him to cut his heating bills in half and went out to buy another on the theory that then he could heat the shanty without paying even a penny. As with the Rovan Empire mentioned above, there has to be at least a little somethin’ REAL for even "these simple, pro-growth touchtones that resonate" to wreak their magic tricks with, does there not?

What's this knife to a Gunfight baloney ?

The Republicans brought 40 elected Representatives to a 60 Vote Fight, and if you count ELECTED representatives on the Democrat 60 side....GUESS WHAT ?
you don't come up with 60 "duly elected", as you have to start subtracting Senate appointments from the people's Representatives.
OK ?
I'm talking bought and paid for Political Appointments...Illinois, Massachusetts, etc.....
And as soon as the 60 turned to 59, the purchasing agreements moved to the House and the Price for Buying votes went up.
The Tea Party is buying the next election with votes, get used to it.
The health care Bill is a Joke, and the underlying Principle for Conservatives is NO GOVERNMENT CONTROL of a Doctor - Patient Relationship, no freedom robbing mandates, and if you can't pay for it, don't buy it.
Debt is Bad, and Lying politicians are worse.
Cash for Clunkers is a good example of Government ?????
Social Security went Fiscally Broke Today.
Medicare is unsustainable.
Obama is a lying SOB.
Etc...etc....Etceteraaaa....Reality based Principles.
Wishin and hopin for Change is not Reality based, and neither is the Health care bill being frantically amended as we speak, and undergoing Legal challenges in the Courts.
Liberty from Tyrants in whatever shape they take, is a principle of Conservatives.
"Americans who make under 250,000 a year will not see their Taxes go Up" is a YOU LIE moment # 178....and counting.

This is the Conservative Health Care Reform

If you really examine it, this 'reform' is biased toward the health-industrial complex. Even the insurance industry is getting a big pool in exchange for stricter regulations. If conservatives were really interested in controlling cost, we would have gone to single-payer mode and drafted health care workers into the government. Instead we're shifting the cost to the rich, the young, taking some expensive services from old people and still forcing poor people to chip in. This reform has protected Republican's number one constituent: big business. And yet, I'm still happy it is law. It truly is the American way: over-priced, complicated, gaudy like a Caddy from the 60ties. Switching up metaphors here; an ugly baby, for sure, but hopefully it will grow up to be something all Americans will be proud of.

single-payer

First, "big business" is not a right-wing nor a left-wing constituency.  They are opportunists.  They support the party in charge in order to purchase a seat at the table.  Did you forget about Obama's deal with "big pharma"?

Second, I am not interested in "controlling costs" from a national, systemic perspective, because such a thing can only be accomplished by centralized bureaucracies making decisions on other people's health care, e.g., rationing.  You control your costs, and I'll control mine.  So I'd much rather see health care spending decisions decentralized down to the individual consumer level.

Third, there is nothing cosnervative about single-payer.  It is a leviathan of a government bureaucracy and a morally evil usurpation of liberty.

Conservatism

First, "big business" is not a right-wing nor a left-wing constituency.

True that, but I have never seen conservatives or the Republican party oppose any big business practice that harms small business or the public. I just assume Republicans normally carry big business' bucket...except when Democrats offer space at the trough. In my eyes, Republicans should have gone after the pharma companies, but conservatives meekness when it comes to corporate welfare is revealing. Eisenhower warned us about the military-industrial complex. I'll never accept the Tea Party movement as a true movement until it starts denouncing the corrupting influence big business has on liberty just like the way they denounce big government. Right now, it's just a front for corporate Republicanism.

Of all the players in the Republican party, who is the one player identified most strongly and usually calls the shots within the party. In my outsider opinion, it's big business interests. The only exception is Defense, but everything else is subsumed to the interest of business.

Third, there is nothing cosnervative about single-payer.  It is a leviathan of a government bureaucracy and a morally evil usurpation of liberty.

There is nothing inherently evil about single-payer. It doesn't gobble people souls. It doesn't lead society to wretchedness. All single-payer does is lead to cheaper healthcare and more people covered since the system is not propping up stock prices or looking for a way to cut sick people out of the pool. Here's what is evil: rescission, purposely cutting sick people from care so companies don't have to pay for it, even though premiums were paid. How are insurance companies able to pay out 70 cents for every dollar they take in as premiums: because they are evil bastards, profiting on the death of people they were supposed to cover.

The Tea Party movement and the Republican party are one and the same and they both serve the interest of big business. All other interests are secondary.

 

big business

True that, but I have never seen conservatives or the Republican party oppose any big business practice that harms small business or the public.

Umm...what?  I guess I missed the part where George Bush and the Republican Congress repealed all regulation on business and lowered their taxes to zero.  Here is the difference.  I understand that liberals tend to view the business-government relationship as antagonstic; that government's role is to serve as a counterbalancing force, to protect the people from the evil excesses of "big business".  So I can understand that when a liberal such as yourself sees Republicans not wanting to use government in this way, that you come to the conclusion that Republicans are "carrying water" for big business.  That is not the case, in general.  Now of course you can find corrupt Republicans who really did accept bribes etc., and you can find Republicans who essentially want Goldman Sachs to run the world (just as you can find, eg, liberals who still believe in the forthcoming glorious worldwide Communist revolution).  But, in general, I would say that most conservatives simply view the spheres of influence between business and government to be different.  Businesses are supposed to make things and services of value.  Government is supposed to provide national defense and a system of courts.  It's not government's job to try to create an "ideal marketplace" - that can't be done.  Caveat emptor cannot be repealed.  Should government enforce some minimal standards in the marketplace?  I don't think that's unreasonable.  But that is much different than government "going after" one business or another due to the latest outrage of the day.  I'm not asking you to agree with this viewpoint, all I'm asking you to understand is that when conservatives refuse to use government as a blunt instrument with which to beat businesses, that it's not the same thing as a desire to carry their water.

I'll never accept the Tea Party movement as a true movement until it starts denouncing the corrupting influence big business has on liberty just like the way they denounce big government.

What is this corrupting influence?  I'm not saying there isn't one, but most of the time, this corrupting influence comes about THROUGH GOVERNMENT.  Either government gives preferential treatment to one business over another, or business uses government to rent-seek, or government goes after one competitor in one industry at the behest of another (e.g., UPS/FedEx).  But, for the most part - if you don't want to shop at WalMart, you don't have to, no matter how big and evil you may regard them to be.

And I have yet to see any Tea Party protestor say that they oppose big government because they'd rather have WalMart run the government.

There is nothing inherently evil about single-payer. It doesn't gobble people souls. It doesn't lead society to wretchedness.

It does lead to the loss of your liberty at the hands of bureaucrats.  You did not address my second point: how is cost going to be reduced in a national, systemic way, if not by rationing?  That means you have technocrats deciding who gets covered and who doesn't.  In the same Eisenhower speech you mention, he also warns against the dangers of a scientific-technological elite.  That is the danger when it comes to single-payer - that we have "smart people" in charge of health care.  Well, guess what, smart people aren't THAT smart, and they are fallible and corruptible human beings too.

And, I am continually amazed at all the liberals who hyperventilated over the Patriot Act, that it would lead to government spying on people's library book requests and the general conversion of America into a police state, now have absolutely no problem with handing over vastly more power to the government over the entire health care system.  Do you think a government that provides single-payer will be composed of angels?  What do you think will happen if we have single-payer and your caricatured version of the next George Bush becomes president?  Do you really want to give the government THAT much power?

You guys need to move to the HC Comedy Channel

The Health care passed, was so BAADDDD............How Bad was it ?

It was so Bad, it needed an immediate Health Care FIX it Bill passed the same day..........and 100% coverage including pre-Existing Conditions......doesn't come into effect til 2014.  

Except for Kids, pre-existing conditions are not covered for Kids.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Gap-in-health-care-laws-apf-4272209396.html?x=0&.v=1

 

thoughts

Well I guess it's to be expected - yes Obama and the DemoSocialists scored a victory, and so the libs have come out of the woodwork to gloat.  Just like they were gloating all last winter when Obama's approval rating was 70+% and it seemed like he would have carte blanche to do whatever he liked.  Just like back in November and December when it seemed like the ObamaCare takeover was a sure thing, before Scott Brown's election.  (Coakley by 10, anyone?)  Gotta hand it to our liberal provocateurs, they are predictable, even if they are fickle.  They're gloating, mainly, because they don't really care what's in the bill, as long as it's a victory for Obama and a defeat for Republicans.  Hell, there could be death panels for seniors and they'd probably be in favor of it too if Republicans were opposed.  They are now, apparently, in favor of the individual mandate, something of dubious constitutionality, and something Obama explicitly campaigned against.  Why?  Because it advances the Democrat Party agenda, and because Obama is now in favor of it.  To these folks politics is a sporting match, and all that matters is the final score.  Invidiual mandate?  First opposed, now in favor.  Why?  Because it helps us get into the endzone!

But, Patrick, I think you are too quick to blame the passage of ObamaCare on actual divisions of policy.  The fact of the matter is, it's an article of religious faith that Democrats have wanted a takeover of health care for 50+ years.  This was their best opportunity to do it.  They were going to pass a leftist Democrat bill.  They were not inclined to cooperate with Republicans because they had no need to.  The Ben Nelsons and Mary Landrieus were not brought on board over policy questions (with the single exception of abortion), they were bought off with MONEY.  That should give you a clue right there as to how important the policy aspects of this bill were to the so-called "moderates".  All of the noise coming from the left over this bill - the pro-amnesty holdouts, the Blue Dogs worrying about the cost, Bart "Judas" Stupak's last-minute histrionics - It was all sturm und drang.  They were going to pass it.  I won't say "the fix was in", but it was pretty close to that.  The fact is, the Democrats are in charge, and they played power politics to win.  No amount of studies from the Cato Institute would have changed the outcome.

I agree that the right has to do a better job of communicating our individualist, free-market-friendly, pro-liberty views on health care.  It is a huge uphill battle but hopefully this entire exercise has shown what we can and cannot do.  We cannot rely on the MSM to treat us in the same way as they treat the left, even when it comes to mass demonstrations of populist will.  When leftists come out to protest the Iraq War, they are portrayed as just regular folks - grandmas and moms with babies, mainly - despite the very clear hard-left connections of the organizers, and the vast majority of leftist student radicals in the crowd.  But when rightists come out to protest the government takeover of 1/6th of our economy, we are portrayed as crazy loony right-wing teabagger extremists.  WE CAN'T TRUST THEM.  They do not understand us, they take no effort in attempting to understand us, they write using their stereotypical, prejudiced vision of what conservatives are (eg, knuckle-dragging ignorant Bible-thumping gun-toting moralizing judgmental morons).  Even now the writers of USA Today et al. are writing on the projections of what ObamaCare will do as if it's a sure thing, believing word for word that the bill will really lower health care costs or really will cover millions of uninsured.  We know better.  The left protests in order to preen for the cameras and to get favorable ink written for their cause.  We won't get that.  We won't EVER get that.  We protest because it is our only way to express our voice and to have it be heard.  Our protests are not just PR stints in disguise like leftist protests tend to be.  Yes our protests have managed to move public opinion much closer to our side than it was when this whole mess began.  But in the end it doesn't matter, as we don't have much formal power.  I think the ObamaCare armageddon has demonstrated that protests and Tea Parties alone won't do the job.  We have to infiltrate the Republican Party (only because they are less socialist than the Democrats and therefore easiest to change), rebuild it from the ground up, become precinct chairs in our areas, support those candidates who ACTUALLY WILL stand up for the rights and dignity and liberty of the individual, as opposed to the leftists who give lip service to helping "the common man" while they serve their power-broker masters and herd us plebes into collectives of various forms and deny each of us the dignity of our individuality.  In other words, POWER MATTERS.  We have to get some.  We can do that by taking back this country, precinct by precinct.  I am excited about the states' rights lawsuits, actually.  I want to see if we can recapture some measure of federalism in this country.

Since we can't rely on the MSM or any form thereof, we have to get our message out directly.  Like with Tea Parties and with forums like this.  But maybe something a little more dramatic is in order - a Fahrenheit 9/11-style documentary for our side, for instance.  Now of course one big reason why Michael Moore was so hyped up was because he had the leftist media on his side.  And movies like Expelled weren't exactly smashing successes.  But we have to go the underground route.  We have to bypass the current movie distribution system and just hold showings of the movie in our area.  We can't be afraid to go to the hippie Indie theater in our area and ask them to have a screening of our movie.  We have to do this Al Gore-style with his idiotic documentary.

Well, just my thoughts for today.  I'm sure the libs will jump all over me.

major socialist leftist here

and i want to comment on your post:

paragraph 1: opportunism plays out on both sides so don't pretend that this only happens on the left. This plan is essentially Bob Dole's plan. Yet when Obama proposes it, it's "socialism".

paragraph 2: If Republicans were ever serious about negotiating, they wouldn't have trumped up the socialism/death panel/kill grandma memes. As is now a cliche, how can you negotiate with someone who wants to kill your grandma?

paragraph 3: I'll admit the MSM is in parts a center left institution (with significant exceptions) if you'll admit too many of the teapartiers are wacko with racist xenophobic undertones. That's never gonna play well and will always overshadow the normal folks. You gotta accept that, clean it up, and not foment it.

paragraph 4: actually on second thought, you kinda sound wacko yourself. As long as you think this market-based middle of the road reform is "stealing your freedom" or whatever, you're side will be in the wilderness. Good luck pick berries and wiping your ass with tree bark.

smooches,

your victorious socialist buddy

Dittos

And I'd like to add that Chemjeff has his health insurance paid for by the taxpayers of the great state of Nebraska, which is something that everyone should keep in mind when he goes on...and on...and on...about his "vision" for "free market" healthcare.

This plan is essentially Bob

This plan is essentially Bob Dole's plan. Yet when Obama proposes it, it's "socialism".

A fact that can't be stressed strongly enough. This was a Republican bill, advanced by Dole, advanced by Republican Sen. Judd Gregg (who, when Obama adopted it as "his," did things like circulate a playbook on how to obstruct it), advanced by Republicans when they were trying to defeat the Clinton bill way back in the '90s (when--deja vu--Clinton adopted Republican leader Bob Michel's plan as his own), and advanced and enacted by Republican Gov. Mitt Romney in Massachusetts (which was the explicitly-stated model for the current bill, now law). That's its pedigree (and it was written by industry lobbyists). Obama's only significant change was to add a public option, which he threw overboard as soon as the conservatives criticized it.

If Republicans were ever serious about negotiating, they wouldn't have trumped up the socialism/death panel/kill grandma memes. As is now a cliche, how can you negotiate with someone who wants to kill your grandma?

Republicans have abandoned one Republican position after another whenever Obama endorses it, and, while they were very big on trashing the stimulus bill and voting against it as a lock-step bloc, that hasn't prevented over half othe Republican congressional delegation from returning to their home states and districts and claiming credit for the money it brings in. Their bad faith has been transparent throughout this administration.

RE: thoughts

> ... because they don't really care what's in the bill, as long as it's a victory for Obama

> and a defeat for Republicans.

 

And your side is supposed to be different?

 

MARCU$

hypocrisy

And your side is supposed to be different?

I do not understand this.  Your immediate, knee-jerk, instantaneous response is to claim hypocrisy.  Why?  Why can't you argue the substance of my points?  I see this all the time from the left.  It is an almost childish "but you do it TOOO!!!!!!!" reaction.  At times I get the impression that you all think hypocrisy is a worse crime than murder and rape.

And, for the record, I speak only for myself, not for "my side".

RE: Hypocrisy

Sorry if I sounded snarky, chemjeff (you're always polite and I appreciate that).

I agree lefties had to make numerous concessions in order for Nelson, Lieberman, Baucus & co. to support the Senate bill. So there has been lots of disappointment at times. However, I still think it's unfair of you to say Democratic partisans don't care about the current flaws of HCR. They do, but they also recognize they can't have all the things they want right away.

Partisans on both sides of the aisle certainly care a lot about the impact of HCR on Obama's job approval! But in addition, I would argue Democrats are far more likely to actually care about problems such as unemployed people suddenly losing their health coverage or insurance companies raising premiums to astronomical levels or refusing customers with pre-existing illnesses. So health care reform by itself is important as it helps alleviate human suffering.

Reading conservative/libertarian blogs, I hardly notice this aspect at all. These bloggers only seem to care about "socialist tyranny", the alleged unfairness of the Democratic majority, and the predicted astronomical cost of HCR while reflexively defending the Medicaid/Medicare status quo.  So I felt your comment about Democrats not caring about reform itself was off the mark; Republicans (IMHO) are far more likely to be indifferent as long as a) Obama/Pelosi suffers a humiliating defeat, b) the public sector does not grow, c) there are no additional taxes to pay for this thing. I agree with Ruffini that this mindset makes it much harder for the GOP to produce credible solutions to the health care problem...few conservatives/libertarians care about the subject although it is vitally important due to the enormous cost of the existing system. That was my point.

 

MARCU$

"caring"

But in addition, I would argue Democrats are far more likely to actually care about problems such as unemployed people suddenly losing their health coverage or insurance companies raising premiums to astronomical levels or refusing customers with pre-existing illnesses.

BS.  There isn't a person here who doesn't care about these things.  Conservatives care about them, but at the same time they worry about things like, oh I don't know, unsustainable government spending, the relationship between the citizen and the state, maintaining a healthy free(ish) market economy so people will actually have jobs to pay the taxes.  Democrats think tax money comes from trees, apparently.

Good new, Patrick!

No serious thinking will be required.  John Cornyn has opened the midterm playbook (via Ross Douthat, link: http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/23/health-care-pessimism-cont/):

What was that I just said about a cynical Republican Party learning to love the unsustainable aspects of Obamacare instead of paring them back? Here’s John Cornyn, sketching out a possible G.O.P. health care agenda for the next few years:

In a brief chat with the Huffington Post on Tuesday, National Republican Senatorial Committee chair John Cornyn (R-Tex.) implicitly acknowledged that Republicans are content with allowing some elements of Obama’s reform into law. And they’d generally ignore those elements when taking the fight to their Democrat opponents as November approaches.

“There is non-controversial stuff here like the preexisting conditions exclusion and those sorts of things,” the Texas Republican said. “Now we are not interested in repealing that. And that is frankly a distraction.”

What the GOP will work to repeal, Cornyn explained, are provisions that result in “tax increases on middle class families,” language that forced “an increase in the premium costs for people who have insurance now” and the “cuts to Medicare” included in the legislation.

This is incoherent, of course, because the preexisting conditions exclusion is one of the things that could end up increasing premium costs for the already-insured. But to the extent that Cornyn’s vision coheres, what he seems to be proposing is a reform of the reform that keeps the goodies and takes away the spending cuts and tax increases that pay for them.

The last paragraph above is the key.  The mantra will be: Keep the ice cream, ditch the broccoli.  The entire GOP playbook will rely on the assumption that a majority have the logical thinking skills and memory of a grasshopper, so they'll push an "all the bennies, none of the cost" approach.  The only question is whether a majority can be duped.

Here's my crystal ball's scenario:

The Dems say they would have loved to achieve universal coverage -- why didn't they?  Rush et al, will be happy to clue us in:  Dems are just evil and just didn't want some of you to have coverage.  It's your lucky day -- the GOP offers coverage for all and a tax cut!  Money for nothing and the chicks are free!

For the hard-core base, some of whom actually bought the meme that all of this is Armageddon, there's also an easy answer.  Despite their dawning realization of the benefits they're seeing from the reforms, some are still going to be mad the GOP isn't calling for armed rebellion in the streets.  How to placate them?  Well, in the fine tradition of the "Patriot" Act, the GOP will be touting the "Reload, Replace and Repeal" message.  It works on many levels: has the word "repeal" in it, "reload" gives the rebel wannabes a high, and "replace" assures us if we replace Dems with the GOP, they'll replace that onerous concept of paying for the reforms by giving a tax-cut to the wealthy, which will then cause revenues to rise so stupendously we'll achieve a cost-free health care system.  Simple solutions for simple thinkers.  Everything has to be simple or it's not worth doing.

And long-term?  Of course when they kick the funding mechanisms out from under the reforms, the costs and deficit will skyrocket, there will be 'no question' that taxes can't be raised, and the GOP will start screaming, "See!! See!!  We told you the Dems planned all along to raise taxes to pay for this!  Vote for us!  We'll gut this thing until it's small enough to drown in a bathtub!" 

RInse and repeat for next 20 years.

 

 

Cornyn = idiot

Well, John Cornyn is, bluntly, an idiot.  He is also the guy who stood up to defend Arlen Specter before he defected, as well as supporting establishment Crist over the grassroots choice Rubio in Florida.

You are right that one possible GOP strategy is that, when they regain power, to attempt to get rid of the unpopular parts of ObamaCare but try to keep the popular parts even though they may be just as ruinous financially and morally as the unpopular parts.  But I wouldn't support it, there's plenty of opposition to the WHOLE THING not just the taxes, and it's way too early to suggest that this is the "GOP strategy".  And I CERTAINLY wouldn't take just Cornyn's word for it.

But, really acinphx, do you think you could cut it out with the insulting and condescending "simple thinkers" comments?  If you think we are all a bunch of morons, why do you come here?  To gloat along with all of the other liberal provocateurs?

Reference to 'simple thinking'

My reference wasn't limited to the GOP or conservatives,  No affiliation has a lock on the simple thinkers.  The guaranteed GOP base is only about 27% so they'll have to work for another 25% of the population -- there's no way to achieve victory with the Cornyn strategy without relying on a good number of Indys and Dems to fall for it.  And to be honest, I think they stand a pretty good chance of doing just that.  Who wants to pay for something when you can have it for free?  What do you think got us to where we're at now?

We'll have to see whether Cornyn carries the day.  I assume that in his position with the NRSC he has a pretty good idea of the game plan, at least more than I do, and I can't say it doesn't make perfect sense given how the GOP has handled health care to date.  Can you honestly tell me you don't see clear parallels between trickle-down economics and healthcare-by-taxcuts?  I wouldn't be surprised to see the GOP throw in restoring the Medicare cuts, to at least assure almost all the senior vote.  That was the game plan with Medicare D and it worked pretty well, don't you think? 

Remember, the goal is not to enact smart reforms to healthcare.  It is merely to win elections.

power

Hmm, if we are going to argue that all the Republicans want to do is to win elections and not "enact smart reforms to healthcare", why can't we apply the same motivations to the Democrats?  Or are only Republicans purely interested in seeking power for power's sake?  Seems to me that Democrats are also interested in winning elections and pursuing power.

And you are implicitly assuming that people want ObamaCare, they just don't want the taxes.  I don't think that is the case - I don't think people want ObamaCare generally.  I don't want to see health insurance companies turned into a pseudo-utility provider.  I don't want to see the employer-health insurance relationship to be strengthened, I want to see it decentralized.  I think John McCain had it right - remove the tax deduction for employers for health insurance, and extend that same deduction to all individuals instead.  People rightly see that this is just one step towards eventual nationalization of health care, higher taxes or no, and they don't want any part of it.

Hmm, if we are going to argue

Hmm, if we are going to argue that all the Republicans want to do is to win elections and not "enact smart reforms to healthcare", why can't we apply the same motivations to the Democrats? 

We can apply the same motivation to win elections to the Dems.  Difference is, their motivations ran in the opposite direction given that health care reform is historically their "hobby horse" as it was described above.  They now own these reforms and it was in their best interest to see that the reforms remain financially viable.  If they designed something that would immediately be obvious as a disaster, why would anyone want to re-elect them? 

Consider this question:  Why didn't the Dems enact reforms that achieve universal coverage?  That has always been their goal.  So why didn't they?  They didn't because the numbers just didn't add up within what was achievable in this Congress and in our fiscal situation.  They bowed to the reality that it would not be possible to have universal coverage and not increase the deficit.  Tragic for the citizens that will still be without coverage and damaging for them with the Dem base, but right or wrong, they saw it as doing what they could, not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.  (And I won't argue that the GOP isn't correct in claiming the Dems will continue to pursue coverage expansion.)  Obviously, you don't agree with the Dems' goal of universal coverage and that's your right.  Feel free to fund, campaign and vote for candidates who share your views.

But at this point the GOP motivation with health care is to get in on a piece of the action and use it as a springboard to electoral victory.  Witness Cornyn's statement about pre-existing conditions.  When, during all of the debate the past year, did you hear a single GOP proposal to address pre-existing conditions?  You didn't.  They've claimed repeatedly that the Dems will own the reforms (which they do), so if the GOP can win on kicking the funding mechanisms out from under the reforms they (unsurprisingly) will be happy to do so, while now claiming they always shared the commitment to address pre-existing condition exclusions.  Not a single thing in the approach you said you favored would address pre-existing conditions or rescissions, and the fact is that there are plenty of people who couldn't get insurance at ANY price given their condition or keep it once they needed it.  No amount of tax credits or HSA's would allow them to buy it or save them from rescission.  For those who aren't Rush-level wealthy, their options were to forego treatment or have treatment and accept bankruptcy. Then, after the bankruptcy, they went on Medicaid and we all began paying for their healthcare anyway, through taxes.  I'm not complaining about supporting Medicaid for those who need it, but you HAVE to acknowledge that you were already paying for a good portion of many people's health care.  To pretend otherwise is just deceiving yourself and won't get you to any appealing solutions because you're ignoring a huge underlying problem.

And you are implicitly assuming that people want ObamaCare, they just don't want the taxes.  I don't think that is the case - I don't think people want ObamaCare generally. 

I do think most people want ObamaCare and yes, it was my assumption above.  There could be millions of permutations of what each of us has in mind when we hear "health care reform" but I think the general outlines of what the Dems had in mind were pretty clear and in fact many of them were campaigning on a public option, which goes farther than the enacted reforms.  My evidence that a majority of people would be happy having more government involvement in health care:

  • Try prying Medicare away from the seniors.  Exhibit #1: that iconic sign at a Tea Party that said "Keep your government hands off my Medicare!"  hahahahahaha  The seniors are happy as clams on "government-run" health care. Ditto active military.  Ditto federal employees.  What makes you think that a majority of younger people, young families, people with pre-existing conditions, wouldn't be just as happy as the seniors to be in a Medicare-type system?  I think the overwhelming evidence that there is not widespread dissatisfaction with 'government-run' health care is in my favor. 
  • Multiple polls this week show a majority of people support the reforms passed Sunday, when you combine those who think the reforms are 'about right' and those who don't think they go far enough, i.e. are not liberal enough. 
  • The Dems won, big, in 2006 and 2008.  It was no secret that almost to a person they were campaigning on health care reform -- dealing with pre-existing condition exclusions, premiums, rescissions, etc.  If a majority elected them, doesn't it follow that a majority support their platform?  I'll acknowledge upfront that health care was not every Dem voter's prioriity -- Iraq, the WOT, and at least in 2008, the economy, were also prominent issues.  But health care was a big issue.

The horrific possibility we face now is that we'll have the reforms but the funding mechanisms will be torched, ensuring further explosion of the deficit in a few years (a la Part D, a completely unfunded giveaway).  I think that if the GOP could cynically go for Part D, they won't hesitate to use the new reforms to woo us with sparkly visions of tax cuts paying for all of it.  And I fear that enough people will fall for it again.

Nice to debate with you again, chemjeff.  This site has pretty much been a wasteland for several months.

 

gravy

Okay, this isn't going to work if you are going to persist in your "Democrats = angels, Republicans = demons" assumptions.  They are both human beings, each party has explicitly political motivations for whatever they do.  But if you really do believe that Democrats are the moral, sensible ones, and Republicans are just frothing idiots or hungry vultures for power, then let's just end this discussion here.

Democrats didn't go for single payer because they did in fact learn a small something from 1994 - they didn't overreach as badly as they did then.  Plus they can take for granted the liberal wing of their party (or "retards", as Rahm might call them).  Note here, just in this discussion, how many self-professed "progressives", "socialists", etc., profess to be "unhappy" with the legislation.  Is this unhappiness ever going to translate into votes for the opposition?  Not in our lifetimes.  They will reflexively vote for Democrats even when Democrats aren't particularly liberal.  I do not agree for 1 minute it was because of any rational concerns over cost.  Liberals who want single-payer want it DESPITE the cost.  It is a moral issue to them.  It could bankrupt the country and they would still say it was the right thing to do.

I repeat: the Democrats played pure power politics on this one.  They went for as much as they possibly could using all of their political muscle to get it.  Remember that there was a moment after Scott Brown's election where they could have saved face, recognized the political climate, and broken up the bill into several pieces containing the most popular items, and then dared Republicans to vote against, say, banning rescissions.  They didn't.  They didn't because it is a moral crusade for them and they had the political muscle to pull it off, public opinion be damned.

Not a single thing in the approach you said you favored would address pre-existing conditions or rescissions, and the fact is that there are plenty of people who couldn't get insurance at ANY price given their condition or keep it once they needed it.  No amount of tax credits or HSA's would allow them to buy it or save them from rescission.  For those who aren't Rush-level wealthy, their options were to forego treatment or have treatment and accept bankruptcy.

Okay let's clarify the issue, because even at this late date it apparently still isn't clear.  When you get health insurance, you sign a contract with a health insurance company.  That contract legally binds both of you.  If you don't agree with the contract, don't sign it.  If you don't READ the contract, don't sign it.  If the health insurance company breaks the contract, then you take the company to court, and you will win.  I'm sure there are 10,000 lefty lawyers who'd be willing to take your case pro bono.  IF YOU LIE ON YOUR APPLICATION, YOU'VE COMMITTED FRAUD, AND YOU DESERVE TO HAVE YOUR CONTRACT RESCINDED.  I don't care how morally justified you think you were in lying, you did the wrong thing.  The issue with pre-existing conditions only arises if you suffer a gap in your insurance coverage.  So - DON'T LET YOUR COVERAGE LAPSE!  This isn't hard, but it does require paying attention to detail.  About as much paying attention to detail as it takes to have car insurance, e.g., not that hard.

But, but - you say - but what if I work for an employer that doesn't give me a choice in insurance companies, and so I have to take the one offered with the crummy deal and all the loopholes?  But - what if I get fired and I can't afford the COBRA to maintain continuous coverage?  These are both reasons NOT to have health insurance tied to work.  If it's not tied to work, then you don't have to settle for your company's crummy policy, and you don't have to worry about COBRA coverage because you can shop the very next day for an individual policy that is affordable.  This was John McCain's position during the campaign.  Apparently a lot of people weren't paying attention, as they were enraptured by Obama's hopey-changeyness instead.

And the 'choice' between full insurance coverage and bankruptcy is a false choice.  Every day people work out deals with hospitals and doctors to settle unpaid medical debt.  Yes yes, you are going to cite that bogus statistic that 99.99999% (or whatever) of bankruptcies occur due to medical debt.  That's misleading.  Medical debt is just what sent them over the edge of the cliff - people were already living with an unsustainable amount of debt even before the medical debt was accrued.

This is not hard, it just requires that you take charge over your health care decisions, and not leave it up to some third party.  Nobody else can make your decisions for you.  Nobody else can save you.  Only you can save you.  Instead, Democrats are more than happy to relieve you of that burdensome obligation to live your life, and they are quite willing to make these decisions for you.  Don't let them.

What was the Democrats' answer instead?  They make health insurance even MORE tied to your place of employment.  They EMPOWER the big bad evil business over the employees.  So instead of giving you no choice but some crummy company insurance policy, they will give you no choice but some minimally-acceptable policy according to the new rules.  Or, they will just cancel the policy entirely and leave you at the mercy of the government insurance pool.  You may indeed soon find out personally just how "great" government health insurance really is.  Oh, and they ALSO empower the IRS over your life.  Guess who's going to be checking to make sure you've got the 'correct' policy?  And it's not like the IRS has ever been used to intimidate political enemies.  No, never!

And the individual mandate is simply evil.  It is a completely indefensible usurpation of individual liberty.  But individual liberty plays no role in the collectivist vision of health care.

Try prying Medicare away from the seniors.  Exhibit #1: that iconic sign at a Tea Party that said "Keep your government hands off my Medicare!"  hahahahahaha  The seniors are happy as clams on "government-run" health care. Ditto active military.  Ditto federal employees.  What makes you think that a majority of younger people, young families, people with pre-existing conditions, wouldn't be just as happy as the seniors to be in a Medicare-type system?  I think the overwhelming evidence that there is not widespread dissatisfaction with 'government-run' health care is in my favor.

When you say "iconic", what you really mean is "the one sign hyped by MSNBC/the left to 'prove' that those 'teabaggers' are idiots".  Hey guess what, Medicare is going broke.  So is Social Security and Medicaid and all the rest.  The gravy train looks good while the gravy is still flowing, but the bill is coming due.

 

The Dems won, big, in 2006 and 2008.  It was no secret that almost to a person they were campaigning on health care reform

This is nonsense.  They won in 2006 and 2008 because they ran against George Bush and "the culture of corruption" (which was more marketing hype than reality).  Obama won because he wasn't George Bush, not because of his grand vision for health care reform.

Feel free to fund, campaign and vote for candidates who share your views.

Don't worry, I do.  I was a small part in Scott Brown's victory and I have a thank-you note to prove it.

But if you really do believe

But if you really do believe that Democrats are the moral, sensible ones, and Republicans are just frothing idiots or hungry vultures for power, then let's just end this discussion here.

Where did I say that?  I just pointed out that the incentives for each party run in opposite directions.  I don't think the sign-carrying Tea partyer is a frothing idiot -- just seriously misled by people/corporations/media whose interest lies in convincing him to see this as socialism in furtherance of their own profits.  I will allow that the sign-carrier clearly lacks a basic understanding of Medicare and which entity "runs" it.

They went for as much as they possibly could using all of their political muscle to get it. 

That's pretty much the description of any political group, anywhere in the world.  Were you thinking the Democrats should be an exception?  Are you thinking the GOP is an exception?  Not clear on this point.

Your next few paragraphs show that you're hopelessly misinformed about the pre-existing conditions situation (the same one now decried by John Cornyn) and the ridiculous recscission tactics used by insurance companies.  Like denying cancer treatment because someone failed to note they had teen acne. 

And the individual mandate is simply evil.  It is a completely indefensible usurpation of individual liberty.  But individual liberty plays no role in the collectivist vision of health care.

Then you need to hit the streets to do all you can to eliminate Medicare, Medicaid and the VA.  Medicare has an individual mandate.  Has anybody lately given you the option of not paying Medicare taxes?  Why are you willing to subject our veterans to a collectivist vision of health care?  The VA is truly a socialist health care system. 

I was a small part in Scott Brown's victory and I have a thank-you note to prove it.

Is that the same Scott Brown who supports MassCare?  The universal health coverage system in his own state?  My take on Scott Brown is that he played perfectly to Mass voters with an "I've got mine, the heck with the rest of you" attitude.  And Martha Coakley sounds to have run the most incompetent campaign on Earth, so i won't belittle his win -- he did work for it.  But to think the voters of one state that already had already guaranteed health insurance is a bellwether for the rest of the country, is more than a little naive.

 

more power

But if you really do believe that Democrats are the moral, sensible ones, and Republicans are just frothing idiots or hungry vultures for power, then let's just end this discussion here.

Where did I say that?  I just pointed out that the incentives for each party run in opposite directions.

Well, acinphx, you frame the argument as if Democrats are the ones in favor of good government while Republicans are playing Machiavellian political games.  Your framing is underhanded.  Please do not try to convince me that the supposed union exemption to the "Cadlilac Tax" was anything more than a political gimmick designed to appease a constituency, and had nothing to do with crafting a proposal designed to keep costs down.  It's pretty clear you don't think highly of Republican motivations while you're willing to take Democrats at their word.

That's pretty much the description of any political group, anywhere in the world.  Were you thinking the Democrats should be an exception?  Are you thinking the GOP is an exception?  Not clear on this point.

I wonder why you aren't willing to recognize the raw naked political power that the Democrats displayed, and why you are willing to chalk it up to things like "keeping costs down".  Don't Democrats want to win elections too?  Perhaps they were trying to keep their fake, fixed CBO estimate under $1 trillion using all of these double-counting budget gimmicks because they wanted to pretend to be fiscally sound in order to win elections.

I don't think the sign-carrying Tea partyer is a frothing idiot -- just seriously misled by people/corporations/media whose interest lies in convincing him to see this as socialism in furtherance of their own profits.  I will allow that the sign-carrier clearly lacks a basic understanding of Medicare and which entity "runs" it.

In other words, you do think he's an idiot, just not frothing.  Please, dispense with the "false consciousness" BS.

Your next few paragraphs show that you're hopelessly misinformed about the pre-existing conditions situation (the same one now decried by John Cornyn) and the ridiculous recscission tactics used by insurance companies.  Like denying cancer treatment because someone failed to note they had teen acne.

1. Show me how I am supposedly misinformed.

2. Show me actual STATISTICS, not just a sob story, on insurance companies abusing rescission.

And no I don't support Medicare and Medicaid in their current form.  There is no individual mandate with these, as you aren't forced to use them if you don't want to.  Guess what, the Medicare taxes you pay don't go into some special Medicare fund "just for you", they pay for current benefits to current recipients.  There is no money saved up for you or me.  And the VA is a benefit associated with the job of serving in the military.  This is the role of government as employer offering a benefit to employees (soldiers).  It's not a general benefit open to everyone, nor should it be.  As an employer, government can do whatever it wants.  Same with private businesses - if a private business wanted to set up and run its own hospital for the exclusive use of its employees, then I'd have no problem with that.  And, again, vets are not forced to use the VA if they don't want to.  So you can get rid of your VA strawman argument.

By the way, have you actually seen or used VA hospitals?  They vary widely in their level of quality.  It is probably close to what we would get if we did have single-payer -- some hospitals would be great, while most would be lousy.

And yes I supported Scott Brown despite his positions on most issues because, in that moment in time, he represented the 41st vote against Obama's agenda.  I would not support him for president.  I would probably not even support him in a Republican primary in my own state.  But, at that instant, it was important to support him.  Much like many people supported Kerry in 2004 despite his ridiculous effete arrogant northeastern snobbery, because he represented a way to stop Bush.

Please do not try to convince

Please do not try to convince me that the supposed union exemption to the "Cadlilac Tax" was anything more than a political gimmick designed to appease a constituency, and had nothing to do with crafting a proposal designed to keep costs down. 

We can pretend that politicial "gimmicks", horse-trading and general compromising to create coalitions to pass bills was something that never occurred before this bill.  Or we can be realists and acknowledge it has gone on since the founding.  What was the 3/5 compromise?  I think it was a "gimmick" to enact the constitution.  Are you really going to argue that Republicans never insert special deals for constituencies into bills?  John Boehner would like to have a word with you if you do.  You'll make the bankers cry.  They might not be able to trust his commitment to stop all financial reforms to preclude a future meltdown and cut into their million-dollar bonus bonanza.

I wonder why you aren't willing to recognize the raw naked political power that the Democrats displayed, and why you are willing to chalk it up to things like "keeping costs down". 

I'd be surpised if we can't agree that it is the goal and purpose of all politicians and parties to enact as much of their political agenda as possible, using all of their political muscle to do so, which was your original complaint.  Now your complaint seems to focus on the use of "raw naked" political power.  You'll have to explain what distinguishes "raw naked" political power from "acceptable" political power before we can discuss this further.

Perhaps they were trying to keep their fake, fixed CBO estimate under $1 trillion using all of these double-counting budget gimmicks because they wanted to pretend to be fiscally sound in order to win elections.

I haven't heard about it, but is the GOP conteding that the CBO be dismantled because of dishonest scoring?  I'm not saying they haven't documented double-counting budget gimmicks but I haven't read of it.  Please provide a link because I'd like to read it -- I'm concerned too if someone has documented CBO corruption.

In other words, you do think he's an idiot, just not frothing.  Please, dispense with the "false consciousness" BS.

You've been the one calling him an idiot (twice now) -- I never did.  There's a difference between needing more or better or honest information about a topic, and being an idiot.  You seem to conflate a need for education with being an idiot.

1. Show me how I am supposedly misinformed.

2. Show me actual STATISTICS, not just a sob story, on insurance companies abusing rescission.

Here are some stats (link to full article:  http://tauntermedia.com/2009/07/28/unconscionable-math/):

Half of the insured population uses virtually no health care at all.  The 80th percentile uses only $3,000 (2002 dollars, adjust a bit up for today).  You have to hit the 95th percentile to get anywhere interesting, and even there you have only $11,487 in costs.  It’s the 99th percentile, the people with over $35,000 of medical costs, who represent fully 22% of the entire nation’s medical costs.  These people have chronic, expensive conditions.  They are, to use a technical term, sick.

An individual adult insurance plan is roughly $7,000 (varies dramatically by age and somewhat by sex and location).

It should be fairly clear that the people who do not file insurance claims do not face rescission.  The insurance companies will happily deposit their checks.  Indeed, even for someone in the 95th percentile, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for the insurance company to take the nuclear option of blowing up the policy.  $11,487 in claims is less than two years’ premium; less than one if the individual has family coverage in the $12,000 price range.  But that top one percent, the folks responsible for more than $35,000 of costs – sometimes far, far more – well there, ladies and gentlemen, is where the money comes in.  Once an insurance company knows that Sally has breast cancer, it has already seen the goat; it knows it wants nothing to do with Sally.

If the top 5% is the absolute largest population for whom rescission would make sense, the probability of having your policy cancelled given that you have filed a claim is fully 10% (0.5% rescission/5.0% of the population).  If you take the LA Times estimate that $300mm was saved by abrogating 20,000 policies in California ($15,000/policy), you are somewhere in the 15% zone, depending on the convexity of the top section of population.  If, as I suspect, rescission is targeted toward the truly bankrupting cases – the top 1%, the folks with over $35,000 of annual claims who could never be profitable for the carrier – then the probability of having your policy torn up given a massively expensive condition is pushing 50%. One in two.  You have three times better odds playing Russian Roulette.

And no I don't support Medicare and Medicaid in their current form.  There is no individual mandate with these, as you aren't forced to use them if you don't want to. 

Yes, but you're forced to contribute to them.  If you don't participate because you don't believe in using them in principle, I can admire that.  But the fact remains that you still have to pay Medicare taxes and your tax dollars fund Medicaid  The discussion above was about mandates.

And the VA is a benefit associated with the job of serving in the military.  This is the role of government as employer offering a benefit to employees (soldiers).  It's not a general benefit open to everyone, nor should it be.  As an employer, government can do whatever it wants.

True, but your taxes still support the VA.  It a veteran is entitled to use the VA but is unhappy with their care and can afford to seek treatment elsewhere, I don't have any problem with that.  But the fact remains that your tax dollars support the VA, whether any given vet chooses to use their services or not.  Again, another government 'mandate' to support health care.

Much like many people supported Kerry in 2004 despite his ridiculous effete arrogant northeastern snobbery, because he represented a way to stop Bush.

Perfectly understandable why you supported him.  I just disagree that I, or an elected official elsewhere, or the country as a whole were then supposed to throw up their hands and declare, "Oh well, Scott Brown was elected, so we'll just abandon our own views and goals."  That was what I thought was navie. 

BTW, I didn't vote for Kerry in 2004 but I've been much more impressed with his ability to remain a functioning member of the Senate after his loss than I have with John McCain.  I've sent my friend John a letter to let him know I'm not at all happy with his declaration that he doesn't intend to do any more work for the rest of the year, without giving up his salary.  As an Arizona taxpayer, I've lost half my representation in the Senate and I'm still forced to pay for him to sit there with his arms crossed, pouting like a 5-year-old.  Agree with him or not, John Kerry has continued to earn his paycheck.

more

Okay this is getting long, so I will be brief.

1. My point here is that  I get the feeling you are more willing to give the benefit of the doubt to Democrats than Republicans when it comes to "doing the right thing".  Of course you acknowledge in some academic sense that both sides are composed of corruptible individuals pursuing political power.  But I have yet to hear from you a positive rationalization for what Republicans are doing.  It's all about just "winning elections", while Democrats are, in your words, nobly attempting to keep costs down.

2. About the false consciousness: you apparently think Tea Partiers, while not "idiots", are misinformed dupes.  That is what I mean by the false consciousness claim.  Please, we aren't being led around by the nose by corporate America and stop trying to insinuate that we are.  It's insulting.

3. About rescissions: Your article is, quite frankly, laughable.  The model ASSUMES bad behavior on the part of the insurance companies (e.g., that the only policies that are rescinded are the ones that end up costing the insurance company a lot of money), and from this terrible assumption follows terrible results.  Please, again, show me statistically that insurance companies only rescind policies in which they are losing a lot of money.  The author assumes as much, but it would absolutely make sense for insurance companies to rescind fraudulent applications even if they weren't expensive, because failure to do so would put the company on the hook for potentially a lot of future claims.  In short, it's clear the author of the article  you cited has an axe to grind against insurance companies, and his shoddy analysis shows it.

4.  About accounting gimmicks in the bill: See this.

5.  About Medicare/VA: Yes I pay for them via taxes, no I don't like them in their current form form, but my objections to them are different than my objections to the individual mandate.

And I didn't vote for Kerry either.

Chemjeff jumps the shark

Please, again, show me statistically that insurance companies only rescind policies in which they are losing a lot of money. 

Tell me chemjeff, as an academic, have you ever met an academic that had the subpeona power that would be necessary to compel the insurance companies to disclose the documentation that would be needed to compile such a statistical analysis?

The House of Representatives does have such power - here's a flavor of what they turned up last summer:

An investigation by the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations showed that health insurers WellPoint Inc., UnitedHealth Group and Assurant Inc. canceled the coverage of more than 20,000 people, allowing the companies to avoid paying more than $300 million in medical claims over a five-year period.

It also found that policyholders with breast cancer, lymphoma and more than 1,000 other conditions were targeted for rescission and that employees were praised in performance reviews for terminating the policies of customers with expensive illnesses.

A Texas nurse said she lost her coverage, after she was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer, for failing to disclose a visit to a dermatologist for acne.

The sister of an Illinois man who died of lymphoma said his policy was rescinded for the failure to report a possible aneurysm and gallstones that his physician noted in his chart but did not discuss with him.

The committee's investigation found that WellPoint's Blue Cross targeted individuals with more than 1,400 conditions, including breast cancer, lymphoma, pregnancy and high blood pressure. And the committee obtained documents that showed Blue Cross supervisors praised employees in performance reviews for rescinding policies.

One employee, for instance, received a perfect 5 for "exceptional performance" on an evaluation that noted the employee's role in dropping thousands of policyholders and avoiding nearly $10 million worth of medical care.

I'm sure you aren't impressed by any of this, given that you enjoy a rescission-proof program paid for by the Nebraska taxpayers. But for those of us out in the real world, we pay our insurance premiums (with their 10% annual increase) not knowing whether or not we'll actually  be able to rely on the insurer if we ever do need to use the coverage.

Late in the hearing, Stupak, the committee chairman, put the executives on the spot. Stupak asked each of them whether he would at least commit his company to immediately stop rescissions except where they could show "intentional fraud."

The answer from all three executives:

"No."

 

rescissions

You don't need subpoena power to study the issue of rescissions.

http://www.naic.org/documents/committees_b_regulatory_framework_rescission_data_call_report.pdf

Among the more illustrative findings:

1. The insurance company execs actually overstated the number of rescissions, they constitute about 0.37% of the total number of policies.

2. Psychiatric conditions are the most frequent basis for a rescission.  Not cancer, not brain surgery, not liver transplants.  Only 5% are due to an undiagnosed condition (e.g., patient got coverage, patient then got cancer, then policy was rescinded).  If you listen to Obama, however, these represent about 99.9% of rescissions.

3. Insurance companies do have review processes for rescissions.  Some of them even include independent, external processes.  And they are all regulated at the state level.  So much for the myth that insurance companies have carte blanche authority to just cancel your policy whenever they want - they are ALREADY regulated by your state's insurance commission!  Did government save you from the "scourge" of rescissions?

Now, I will admit, it did take more than 5 minutes' worth of searching via Google to find this reference.  So while it fell short of requiring full subpoena power, it did require a very long and arduous 15-20 minutes of searching.  To some, demanding that someone expend 15-20 minutes to find some reliable statistics that aren't based on the pandering statements of preening politicians is such an unreasonable request, it's known as "jumping the shark".

But, you will now say: "but my insurance company is one of the crappy ones, and they can cancel my policy at will, and I hate them, but I have no choice because my crappy company only provides me with one option, and that is why we need Obama and Pelosi to save us from the eeeeeeeeeeeeevil insurance companies who just want to make money off of our suffering!!!!!111!!!!!"  I would say, instead, that this is the reason to DETACH health insurance from employment, so that you aren't stuck with your crappy employer's choice of crappy health insurance companies.  Purchase your own policy from a good provider in the marketplace, instead.  But no, we can't have that, because if we did, it wouldn't allow Democrats to purchase votes by beating up on health insurance companies.

Oh, and here's some more info on the two sob stories that you posted.  Unsurprisingly, the LA Times didn't exactly tell the whole story.

Data supplied voluntarily by the insurance companies

very impressive indeed.

Read the Bill JS, QUOTE the Health Care Bill, name some substanc

I do not believe JS has read the bill, he knows nothing about it, doesn't address any excerpts, JS just scurries around writing volumunous opinions with no references to the HC law.
JS believes the Obama lies.....Remember the Green Jobs Stimulus JS ? The stimulus funded Home Insulation for decreasing Energy and employing thousands of Green jobs and was supposed to create a new Industry.....remember....over a year ago ?
Well the stats are out on this "stumu lie" and its insulated about 5 % of the total number of homes it was supposed to "insulate".
Talk about an Obama "accomplishment" PLEASE....NAME ONE ? Healthcare effective 2013 is NOT one.

On doing the "right thing," I

On doing the "right thing," I agree with the health care reforms, which necessarily aligns me with the Dems on this issue.  I'm not wild about or even supportive of all of them, but I believe there are abuses and waste within the system that needed to be dealt with to avoid seeing health care suck the life out of the rest of the economy.  I'm glad the Dems attempted to find ways to pay for the changes -- I have more respect for that than unfunded giveaways to select citizens and corporate interests (e.g., Medicare D).  I don't have any illusions that it won't end up costing more than estimated (as everything always does) but I believe the alternative is worse -- if we continued with the status quo we could be certain things would get much worse.  I do acknowledge, and fear, that if the GOP manages to kick the funding mechanism out from under the reforms, all bets are off as to what this will eventually cost.  It would likely bankrupt us.

But I'll be blunt, and this is the point on which we have irreconcilable differences:  above and aside from all cost arguments, I believe a certain level of access to affordable health care should be guaranteed to all citizens.  I find it unconscionable that certain groups have access -- the elderly, the wealthy, the extremely poor, the healthy (for the moment), and the people fortunate to have a reasonably-priced employer plan -- and others, largely the working poor and the sick, have to go without access to health coverage.  Even the Dems were fairly quiet about the morality of the status quo but that is my primary motivator in supporting the reforms.  Although I feel all citizens should have equal protection in access to health coverage, I also want to provide that in the most cost-efficient manner.  I don't see a patchwork of charities, state programs, etc. as being the most efficient mechanism to provide access.  I'll be responding below to another post on the question of rationing, so no need to cover that here.

But I have yet to hear from you a positive rationalization for what Republicans are doing. 

That's because I don't have one, on this topic. 

About the false consciousness: you apparently think Tea Partiers, while not "idiots", are misinformed dupes. 

Do you think the sign-carrier who wants the government to keep its hands off his Medicare is well-informed?

The model ASSUMES bad behavior on the part of the insurance companies (e.g., that the only policies that are rescinded are the ones that end up costing the insurance company a lot of money), and from this terrible assumption follows terrible results. 

Why would any good business executive waste investigative and attoney costs on profitable policies?  I don't think that executive or company would be long for this world if they wasted their resources cancelling profitable customers' policies.  Any insurer would tell you there is no reason at all to waste resources investigating potential fraud until the potential exists for the "fraud" to be used as a defense to mitigate payouts.  Another poster addressed the impossibility of obtaining insurers' specific rescission data without a subpoena.  The Congressional testimony speaks for itself. 

Accounting gimmicks:  I didn't find the video convincing as evidence of corrupation at CBO.  Paul Ryan gave the CBO his own instructions for how to score his budget proposal.  Both sides work the refs and spin the results to support their talking points.

Great post. Thanks.

 nt

In short, the battle was lost

In short, the battle was lost before the first shot was even fired because Republicans did not present a compelling alternative story of what was wrong with the health care system, or how they would fix it.

Not exactly true: Republicans presented the Obama health care plan. It was their plan before Obama adopted it as his own, at which point the Republicans abandoned it and started screaming "socialism." (The only significant difference between the Republican-Republican plan and the Republican-Obama plan was the public option, which was, of course, dropped like a hot rock almost immediately after being criticized by the right). Republicans never pushed for it when it was theirs because they had no real interest in health care.

One more thing:

the nearly 50 million without insurance dying in the streets (of course, we don't talk about that number anymore because nearly a third of that number are illegal immigrants, an issue Obamacare studiously avoids).

There are only something like 12-13 million total illegal immigrants in the entire country, and something like half of them do have health insurance, so your number--actually, a well-traveled talking point--isn't even remotely accurate.

Clueless liberals the real Losers, you don't have the money, Duh

Who exactly lost, or got Defeated ?
Healthcare that cannot be fully implemented until 2014 because we can't afford it ?
Healthcare that was so poorly written and pushed through congress so fast it Required a 2nd same day FIXIT BILL ?
A healthcare Bill that had Democrats voting NO with Republicans, while ZERO Republicans voted YES ?
Yep, that's a Victory for Sure....and let's not mention the State Constitutional Lawsuits filed the same day the Billed was signed, times 12 States, with 40 states in all threatening to revoke the "VICTORY" .

You guys are Laughable, the Destruction of the Democratic Party begins, and you Dummies call it VICTORY ? Haahahaheeeee, Wuuu, ROFLMAO.....
My kingdom for a Stupak Supporter, Desperate Democrats spending a year focusing on a 2014 Implementation of the most unpopular piece of Legislation EVAH !!!!
This is the best "Next Right " Comedy Post that I can remember.
Oh, don't forget to pay your VICTORY TAXES.....you won't have to wait till 2014 for THAT Victory.

"We the People" are ah Fixin to Kick your Democratic Butts out of DC, and create the longest running Lame Duck president in History.
The Polls surely will start showing the VICTORY signs.....soon ? Nope, not yet....maybe July ? (of 2032)

I don't care who you are, this is funny.....HaHaHaaa..Wooooo....

I can tell you who wins

First, people who get sick, because their insurers will no longer be able to drop them as soon as they become inconvenient.

Second, everyone with children, because insurers will be barred from denying them for pre-existing conditions.

Third, small businesses, because they will get a tax credit to help provide coverage for employees.

Fourth, uninsured adults with preexisting conditions, because they will be able to get coverage through a new program.

All that happens this year.

You go right ahead and demand that all of that be repealed.

Suggesting that the bill was actually a defeat for the Democrats because some personally ambitious grandstanding AGs with a shaky grasp of Constitutional law are enjoying their 15 minutes of milking the teabagger cash cow is like saying that the Saints didn't actually win the Super Bowl because Billy Bob Thornton said that some of the referee calls were wrong.

Everyone loses

In the end, everyone loses, as we all head farther down the path to socialism.  You just don't get it.  It's not about this detail or that.  It's about the relationship between the citizen and the state.  Are citizens subjects or are they masters?

Airy abstractions vs reality

In my neck of the woods nobody talks about the trouble they are having with the relationship between the citizen and the state. But everyone knows a family that has gone through an insurance company nightmare.

Airy abstractions vs reality

In my neck of the woods nobody talks about the trouble they are having with the relationship between the citizen and the state. But everyone knows a family that has gone through an insurance company nightmare.

My relationship with the state? I pay my taxes and vote, and in return their job is to get the shit done that I need so that I can lead a productive and happy life. Like build roads and schools and regulate air traffic and prevent ugly firetrap eyesores being built in my neighborhood and exploding cars being sold to my kids.

There is nothing I personally can do about our fucked up healthcare system. So I voted for the party that was interested in changing it.

shallow liberalism

In my neck of the woods nobody talks about the trouble they are having with the relationship between the citizen and the state.

That is because you hang out with lefty idiots all day.

My relationship with the state? I pay my taxes and vote, and in return their job is to get the shit done that I need so that I can lead a productive and happy life.

Well, now we are getting somewhere.  So in your world, the state is a caretaker.  That explains your shallow liberalism.

No, I hang out with people who work for a living.

No, I hang out with people who work for a living.

As an employee of the government that you so despise, you don't understand how hard people who don't work in cubicles have it. I suppose you'll argue that is a choice they make for the benefit of not working in a cubicle farm; but I happen to think that it would be good for America if people could choose to start their own businesses without fear that their children will die because of it.

State as caretaker? What a blatant distortion of what I wrote. In your world, do you build your own roads and regulate your own air traffic?

Tell me, chemjeff, is it really that radical a concept that I pay my taxes and expect that in return the government does things that I can't do on my own?

Isn't that pretty much what the definition of government is?

 

I happen to think that it

I happen to think that it would be good for America if people could choose to start their own businesses without fear that their children will die because of it.

People do that all the time, right now, even before ObamaCare.  It's called starting a business while using a brain.

Tell me, chemjeff, is it really that radical a concept that I pay my taxes and expect that in return the government does things that I can't do on my own?

That's not what you wrote.  This is a common tactic of yours, I see.  You write a statement that is vague and open to interpretation, then when others attempt to interpret your vague comment, you jump on them for "distorting" your vague words.  You wrote:

My relationship with the state?  I pay my taxes and vote, and in return their job is to get the shit done that I need so that I can lead a happy and productive life.

I know what it means when a liberal says the state "needs" to do something.  It means that the state should do something that the liberal can't be bothered to take care of on his own.  Such as establishing welfare programs for the poor, so that the liberal doesn't have to be bothered with volunteering for the poor.  Such as establishing welfare for the elderly, so that the liberal doesn't have to be bothered with taking care of Grandma.  Sush as providing health care, so that the liberal doesn't have to be bothered with figuring out all of those confusing health forms!  It damn well sure doesn't mean merely "building roads and regulating air traffic".  You are the one being disingenuous.  Your vision of the state is one in which Uncle Sam fixes your dinner and does your laundry so that you have clean clothes and a full belly when you go out on the town for a night of partying.

The problem with the state-as-caretaker, is that the state also has the purse strings.  Eventually the caretaker becomes the master.  Instead of us telling the state the health care we need, the caretaker begins to tell us the health care that it thinks we need.  And the end result is rationing, and subservience to the state.

Oh, do you think I'm "twisting" your words again?  Then perhaps you can explain to me why the state "needs" to provide health insurance, if my interpretation of the modern liberal state is incorrect.  Both you and I are physically capable of purchasing and providing for our own health insurance, unlike building roads or regulating air traffic.

It is difficult to know where to begin

But I'll start here:

First I wrote:

My relationship with the state? I pay my taxes and vote, and in return their job is to get the shit done that I need so that I can lead a productive and happy life. Like build roads and schools and regulate air traffic and prevent ugly firetrap eyesores being built in my neighborhood and exploding cars being sold to my kids.

There is nothing I personally can do about our fucked up healthcare system. So I voted for the party that was interested in changing it.

Then I wrote:

Tell me, chemjeff, is it really that radical a concept that I pay my taxes and expect that in return the government does things that I can't do on my own?

Isn't that pretty much what the definition of government is?

B is just a shorter version of A, even if you want to pretend that they are somehow completely different.

You are interjecting tons of BS about me espousing the nanny state, which I most definatly am not.

What is quite hilarious about all this is that I work in the private sector and have done so every day since I graduated from college, whereas you, de facto, receive your paycheck from the taxpayer and presumably have done so through your employed life. So, while you make your bases=less accusations about me wanting Uncle Sam to provide me with household servants, the actual fact is that you are completely dependent upon the government for your livelihood.

So - which one of us sees the state as their caretaker?

Oh, do you think I'm "twisting" your words again?  Then perhaps you can explain to me why the state "needs" to provide health insurance, if my interpretation of the modern liberal state is incorrect.  Both you and I are physically capable of purchasing and providing for our own health insurance, unlike building roads or regulating air traffic.

You are once again betraying the fact that you don't understand the realities on the ground for working people who don't enjoy the employer-provided healthcare plan that the taxpayers of the state of Nebraska provide for you.

So let me spell it out for you. For most working people even just a moderate health problem is beyond their ability to pay. Therefore, they need health insurance to prepare for this possibility. However, if you have any history of health problems, you will not be able to get insurance; if you do have insurance there is still the very real risk that the insurance company will simply refuse to pay if, god forbid, something really big comes up.

I realize this doesn't seem important to you, given that it is a problem you will never have to face. You'll probably just say boo-hoo, sometimes shit happens and when it does, it sucks to be you.

So, leave me out of it.  The nation needs plumbers and carpenters and people who start software companies and various and sundry small businesses.

The current system works well for guys like you but not at well for them.

We cannot all work for the state of Nebraska or in a cubicle farm.