Heritage Foundation

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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A Timeless Conservative Priority

Round Two: Detail from FLCL episode 1, 'Fooly Cooly'.

This is going on. You know, just so you know:

When city lawmakers in Washington, D.C., approved a new law banning discrimination on the basis of reproductive choices, much of the right was not pleased. But the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal website published a report this week that some conservative organizations are actually preparing to ignore the new policy.

Hours after the Senate allowed a controversial anti-discrimination law to officially take effect in the nation’s capital, a group of pro-life organizations released a joint statement pledging to continue operating in accordance with their beliefs – thereby putting themselves at risk of violating the law.

“Despite the enactment of this unjust law, we will continue to hire employees who share our commitment to the dignity of every member of the human family,” reads the statement released by Alliance Defending Freedom, the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Americans United for Life and Americans United for Life Action, March for Life, Concerned Women for America, the Susan B. Anthony List, the Family Research Council and the Assoc. of Christian Schools International.

The groups’ statement added, “We will not abandon the purpose of our organizations in order to comply with this illegal and unjust law. We will vigorously resist any effort under RHNDA to violate our constitutionally protected fundamental rights.”

If so, it seems an interesting showdown is on the horizon.

(Benen)

In a way, certainly this seems sudden. But asserting religious rights to make decisions for other people is the in thing to do among conservatives. There really is nothing new going on here. This is, after all, the same outlook asserting an employer’s right to interfere in doctor-patient relationships, that religious exemption paperwork is a violation of religious conscience, and a religious right to discriminate against homosexuals in the public square. Historically, this is the same outlook as any empowerment majority facing a loss of privilege; equality itself feels dangerous to them, as the unknown is almost always at least a little scary.

Something goes here about teaching an old bull new sh―

Oh, right. Anyway, you get the idea.

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Benen, Steve. “Right vows to ‘vigorously resist’ reproductive rights law”. msnbc. 7 May 2015.

—————. “At the intersection of reproductive choices and discrimination”. msnbc. 6 May 2015.

See Also

Maddow, Rachel. “Republican war on reproductive rights seen in DC bill”. The Rachel Maddow Show. msnbc. 6 May 2015.

A Kansas Education

Great Seal of Kansas (detail)

This is a grim joke, I admit: Closing schools early in order to underwrite tax breaks for the wealthy is an exercise in building character.

I have a daughter; it is unclear if “character building” has any significance to her generation beyond a Calvin & Hobbes punch line.

In this photo taken Sept. 6, 2014, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback speaks in Hutchinson, Kansas. The writing is on the wall for gay marriage bans in Kansas, Montana and South Carolina after federal appeals courts that oversee those states have made clear that keeping gay and lesbian couples from marrying is unconstitutional. But officials in the three states are refusing to allow same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses without a court order directing them to do so. It could be another month or more before the matter is settled. In a political campaign debate Monday, Brownback vowed to defend his state’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. A federal court hearing is scheduled for Friday.(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)Controversial Republican economist Arthur Laffer was recently asked about his handiwork in Kansas. It was Laffer who crafted Gov. Sam Brownback’s (R) radical – and radically unsuccessful – economic experiment, which has failed to deliver on its promises and which has ruined Kansas’ finances.

“Kansas,” Laffer said two weeks ago, “is doing fine.”

“Fine” is a subjective word, though when a state finds that some of its schools don’t have enough money to keep the doors open, it’s safe to say everything isn’t “fine.”

Six school districts in Kansas will close early this year, following budget cuts signed in March by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback.

Two school districts, Concordia Unified School District and Twin Valley Unified School District, announced earlier this month that they would end the year early because they lacked the funds to keep the schools open. This week, four more districts confirmed they would also shorten their calendars, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal.

One superintendent told the Topeka Capital-Journal he doesn’t want to permanently change the school calendar, but at least for this year, budget concerns made it necessary to wrap up early.

(Benen)

(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.