Wednesday, June 28, 2017

GOPs in Congress continue to sabotage health care. Especially clueless Ron Johnson

The pathetic act that Republicans have been pulling as their health care bill goes down the drain is so transparent and easily debunked if you know the issue. But the fact that the GOP's sauce is weak sure doesn't keep them from trying to spin their way out of this mess, and to avoid taking any responsibility for the problems they have caused.

The great Charlie Pierce relays a report showing how the GOP talking point of "Obamacare (exchange) collapse" is because of past sabotage from the GOP Congress through defunding of risk corridors, along with current and potential future actions of the Trump Administration.
...just today on the electric Twitter machine, Charles Gaba—an essential follow for information on all the nooks and crannies of the ACA and the current debate (@charles_gaba)—laid out in detail another cheap trick that the administration is trying to pull. Insurance carriers, explains Gaba, already have been warning that premiums might go up by double-digits next year. (Obamacare raises premiums!, scream the flying monkeys.) However, as Gaba also notes, this is due to a couple of factors: First, the administration, through Secretary of HHS Tom (The Wolf of Wall Street) Price, has threatened to not enforce the individual mandate; and second, they have threatened to withhold the ACA's Cost-Saving Reduction Subsidies to the carriers. Gaba then takes us to the very last page of Mitch McConnell's current dead fish, where we learn that, if the dead fish passes, the CSR reimbursements would be reinstated for two years, before disappearing entirely after that.

The cynicism on display here is breathtaking. Republican sabotage makes the premiums go up. Then the Republicans put together a bill that partially repairs the sabotage for long enough that they can boast—during the 2018 midterms, let's say—that they brought down premiums. Then, of course, after the dust clears after the election, the patchwork repairs disappear and everybody gets screwed so that billionaires get their tax cut, which was the whole point of this exercise in the first place. And if, for some reason, the dead fish doesn't pass, they continue to decline to enforce the individual mandate, and they continue to stiff the carriers on the CSR payments. Premiums go up, and the 2018 campaign becomes a referendum on the cost of Democratic obstruction. I have no faith in the ability of the elite political press to see through this obvious charade.

But there's a bit of hope in that Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer seems to have discovered just a bit of his inner [LBJ]. McConnell already has tried to spook his fellow senators and the administration by raising the awful specter of having to deal with Democrats to get a bill passed. (The High Broderite wing of the bipartisanship cult is conspicuous by its silence on this.) Meanwhile, Schumer is raising holy hell about what backroom deals McConnell might be cutting to get his caucus to 50 votes, and he is doing so at the same time in which he's extending the delicate hand of bipartisanship to his good friend from Kentucky, who is having such a bad week. From The Washington Examiner:
"I would make my friends on the Republican side and President Trump an offer: Let's turn over a new leaf. Let's start over," Schumer said on the Senate floor. He called for Trump to invite all 100 senators to Blair House — the president's guest house in Washington — to discuss the issue as former President Barack Obama did in 2010. "President Trump, I challenge you to invite us, all 100 of us, Republican and Democrat to Blair House to discuss a new bipartisan way forward on healthcare in front of all the American people," Schumer said, pointing to Trump's campaign promise to cover everybody.
And one of the biggest liars GOPs in Congress trying to pull this clueless and cynical act is Wisconsin's own Dumb Senator, Ron Johnson. (mo)Ron has been making the cable and network TV rounds complaining about the health care bill, partly because of a lack of open discussion, but mostly because he thinks it spends too much and covers too many people. And Johnson is proving himself to be an absolute fool (or a dishonest POS) when it comes to what's happening with the ACA exchanges, having the gall to question the CBO's analysts, and claiming their figures don't account for the number of people who might lose insurance due to the sabotage of the exchanges that he and his colleagues caused.

CNN's Chris Cuomo finally had enough, and called out (mo)Ron this morning. The good part starts around 4:30, and (mo)Ron continues on his Dunning-Kruger/Ayn Rand act even after being exposed as a dope.

When (mo)Ron says people should have the "freedom" to have cheaper exchange premiums, he means THE "FREEDOM" TO HAVE CRAPPIER INSURANCE THAT COVERS NOTHING, OR TO LACK INSURANCE AND MAKE US ALL PAY THE DIFFERENCE WHEN SOMETHING BAD HAPPENS. Also remember this passage from the CBO analysis, which explained where that "lower premium" might come from.
Under this legislation, starting in 2020, the premium for a silver plan would typically be a relatively high percentage of income for low-income people. The deductible for a plan with an actuarial value of 58 percent would be a significantly higher percentage of income—also making such a plan unattractive, but for a different reason. As a result, despite being eligible for premium tax credits, few low-income people would purchase any plan, CBO and JCT estimate.
And many Americans will have to pay more out of pocket under the GOP Trumpcare bill, despite having the overall "premium" be less, partly due to lower subsidies. But Republicans never bring up this fact, instead choosing to mention the full-price premium, and not counting what people actually end up paying on their bills. It is a classic lie by omission.

These people are disgusting, and do not be fooled by their deflections and gobbledy-gook. And if (mo)Ron Johnson wants "competition" for health coverage, then he should be in favor of a public option that people can choose if insurance companies are charging too much. Or Johnson should allow individuals to buy into Medicaid or Medicare. Any other argument is BubbleWorld Bullshit.


  1. Here's the thing - Johnson can run the table on people like Cuomo and Todd despite his facts being way off. Johnson isn't that dumb - he knows how to manipulate the facts and deliver in a calm fashion. Did you see his interview with Todd?

    1. Actually, Johnson is pretty dann dumb. If media ever called BS on him and pointed out that businesses don't offer needs like medical care out of the goodness of their hearts, Johnson would crumble.

      He is a clueless zealot who married into his money, and always thinks of the needs and wants of corporates over the needs of society.

  2. The ACA chose the insurance mandate path to near-universal quality coverage, so that's what we need to defend. The red solo cup argument needs to be viciously and persistently trashed.

    "We need an insurance mandate for sufficient coverage because we don't leave people to die in this nation. That means if you don't take responsibility and get covered, you're sticking the rest of us with your bills when you get sick or hurt. The red solo cup argument is freeloading bullshit."

    We can argue about what constitutes sufficient coverage, but the notion of it being a requirement needs to be sold hard.

    Democrats have failed to do that. It seems like they passed the bill 7 years ago and chalked up a win. That doesn't fly against an adversary who is still fighting tooth and nail over Roe v Wade.

    Ron Johnson's well-worn market-based pablum puts him in the health care equivalent of Neiman Marcus and the rest of us at the Dollar Store.

    That's OK if you want some cheap kitchen ware for a kid's birthday party. It sucks if you're dealing with a serious medical condition.

  3. THIS, right here! And totally agree that Dems do not defend ACA nearly strong enough, not do they say that it should be improved by expanding the baseline of coverage to more people, with more protections for citizens from abuses by insurers and drug companies.

    And it is Fantasyland for Johnson,or any other GOP to think that for-profit insurance companies will look out for the little guy who is in need.