HEART Act of 1993

A Note on Impetus

#SomethingTerrific | #WhatTheyVotedFor

A portion of the U.S. Capitol dome. (Detail of photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images, 2013)

There is always this:

Sen. John Kennedy, a Republican freshman from Louisiana, said yesterday that he likes the idea of turning health care over to the states—the core rationale behind the pending Graham-Cassidy proposal—but he’s not entirely comfortable with the direction some blue states might take.

“If you give California and New York a big chunk of money, they’re gonna set up a single-payer system,” the GOP senator said. “And I wanna prevent that.”

It’s curious. Republicans only seem to like turning over authority to states and local governments when they’re confident states and local governments will govern in a conservative way.

(Benen)

Perhaps a bit more directly:

Perhaps the oddest thing about the last-ditch Republican plan to repeal Obamacare is that it is being sold not as a repeal of Obamacare—which is popular—but instead as a rebuke to a law that does not yet exist. “If you want a single-payer health-care system, this is your worst nightmare,” Lindsey Graham has boasted of his plan. “Hell no to Berniecare.” Graham’s weird promise that his plan “ends single-payer health care” has somehow taken hold, to the point where Republicans appear to believe it would foreclose even public debate on left-wing alternatives. The bill “stops us from having conversation in the future about Medicare for all,” claims Senator Tim Scott.

(Chait)

(more…)

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The Ted Cruz Show (Hair-on-Fire Apoplexy)

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) responds to the 2015 State of the Union address in an online video, 20 January 2015.

“As ridiculous as Cruz’s posturing seems, it’s important to remember the broader context: national GOP candidates have a built-in incentive to be as hysterical as possible right now, in the hopes of currying favor with the party’s base. Mild, reasoned disappointment with the court doesn’t impress far-right activists; unrestrained, hair-on-fire apoplexy does.”

Steve Benen

This is an obvious point, or, at least one might think.

Steve Benen points to his msnbc colleague Benjy Sarlin’s report Friday last detailing the 2016 GOP presidential reactions following the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in favor of same sex marriage:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) went so far as to call for a constitutional convention to overturn the court’s decision while campaigning in Iowa, according to CNN. In an interview with Sean Hannity he called the back-to-back rulings on health care and gay marriage “some of the darkest 24 hours in our nation’s history.”

While the Texas junior is hardly the only Republican presidential candidate opting to skip out on posturing his response within the realm of general dignity, Mr. Benen responded aptly:

Hannity, incidentally, found Cruz’s rhetoric quite compelling, responding, “I couldn’t say it more eloquently.”

For what it’s worth, it’s not hard to think of some genuinely tragic 24-hour periods in American history. The Lincoln assassination comes to mind. So does the time British troops burned the White House. There were days during the Civil War in which tens of thousands of Americans died on the battlefield. Just in the last century, we witnessed the JFK assassination, Pearl Harbor, and a corrupt president resign in disgrace.

For the Republican presidential hopeful, learning that Americans will have health benefits and loving couples will get married belongs on the same list.

The thing is that Mr. Cruz is not entirely wrong; the rest, as Benen points out, is a matter of perspective.

(more…)

Obamacare, or, a Reflection on the PPACA

President Barack Obama.

msnbc“If you’d told me five years ago that on March 23, 2015, the Affordable Care Act would exceed expectations on every possible metric, including reducing the nation’s uninsured rate by a third, I’d say ‘Obamacare’ would look like a great success. And fortunately for the country, that’s exactly what’s happened.”

Steve Benen

Perhaps it is the sort of detail that doesn’t get passed around enough, or maybe it just doesn’t seem important: Obamacare was a conservative idea.

It is a true fact that often gets overlooked amid the bluster and fury that seems pretty much all the GOP is worth anymore; the whole idea of forcing people to buy private insurance was a conservative scheme intended to fend off single payer. And, yes, it is fun sometimes to remind a conservative of this fact and then sit back to enjoy the spectacle of how many stupid excuses one will try.

Such entertainment brings no real benefit, though. As interesting as the idea might seem from afar, sitting through conservative excuses for what Republicans have done to themselves is something of an exercise in futility. That is, it might seem fun to sit by, egging Republicans on as they desperately rattle off fake fact after fake fact―did you know that Mitt Romney has always been a liberal? that Ronald Reagan never raised taxes? that Obamacare is a socialist plot?―but it is actually a tragic outcome we witness. Consider that the conservative argument against the PPACA includes calling Bob Dole―yes, that Bob Dole―a Nazi. There really is nothing about the conservative response to Obamacare that makes sense except in hindsight, when we pause to consider just how popular the alternate reality has become. Despite everything else, though, Republicans continue to hold the line; it was less than two weeks ago that Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) complained, “It’s time for the White House to stop celebrating and start thinking about the people”.

After everything else, they’re down to telling people there is nothing to see here, except, of course, for what they say is there and never mind the objective evidence speaking quite clearly otherwise.

Or, as Benen suggests:

Anniversaries are a good time to pause, reflect, and take stock, and when it comes to health care reform, objective observers are going to find it easy on the ACA’s fifth anniversary to appreciate the law’s triumphs. But it’s also a good time to take a moment to acknowledge those who told Americans exactly what to expect from the Affordable Care Act – and who got the story backwards.

We need not wonder why Republicans would prefer skip such a review.

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Benen, Steve. “5 years later, ‘Obamacare’ critics can’t believe their lying eyes”. msnbc. 23 March 2015.

Ferris, Sarah. “Top GOP senator tells White House to ‘stop celebrating’ on ObamaCare figures”. The Hill. 11 March 2015.