Thank You, SCOTUS

When the Supreme Court voted that Obamacare was constitutional, they also held that states didn’t have to expand Medicaid as the law intended.  About 25 states, with GOP governors or legislatures or both, have so far refused to expand Medicaid.

This leaves us with the bizarre anomaly that more prosperous people will be eligible for health insurance subsidies, while poorer people still won’t be able to get health insurance.

The NYT* points out that the head of a family of four making $14 an hour will qualify for subsidies, but someone making $10 an hour won’t be able to get any help at all.

This is what happens when the law is an ass, and one of our two major political parties hates poor people.

*  “States’ Policies on Health Care Exclude Poorest,” Robert Pear

72 Million Without Health Insurance?

The Commonwealth Fund predicts that under Mitt’s health insurance plan, 72 million Americans would be uninsured by 2022, primarily because of Mitt’s plans for Medicaid.

Under Obamacare, by contrast, they predict 27 million uninsured, compared to 60 million if Obamacare had not been enacted.

Their projections are based on calculations by MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, who worked with Mitt on Romneycare and with the President on Obamacare.

Mittens Goes Full Circle

Mitt isn’t flip-flopping on health care, he’s actually gone in a complete circle, back to where he began when he first considered Romneycare.  His rationale for Romneycare was that uninsured people were able to go to the emergency room and that the rest of us ended up paying for that.  He supported the individual mandate as imposing “personal responsibility”.

But now that he hates the mandate because it is part of  Obamacare, Mitt thinks the solution is to return to the days of the uninsured going to the emergency room for free.  He told  60 Minutes, “Well, we do provide care for people who don’t have insurance.  If someone has a heart attack, they don’t sit in their apartment and die. We pick them up in an ambulance, and take them to the hospital, and give them care. And different states have different ways of providing for that care.”

So what seemed like the problem when he was governor of MA now seems like the solution when he’s the GOP nominee.

Jonathan Gruber, the MIT professor who worked on both Romneycare and Obamacare, told Talking Points Memo,* “The guy has come completely full circle.  The whole idea of Romneycare was to avoid this kind of free riding.”

* “Romney Solidifies Major Shift on Health Care,” Sahil Kapur

Exploiting Religion from Cairo, Egypt to Cairo, Illinois

Salman Rushdie is running around on his book tour for Joseph Anton, making the point that all the outrage about offenses to Islam, whether it’s because of a novel like his Satanic Verses or Danish or French cartoons or the Innocence of Muslims video, is not about religion, it is about politics.  It is about political leaders getting their folks wee wee’d up to make them ignore their real problems.

The GOP and Fox News are especially outraged about this use of religion to control people politically.  Hey, it takes one to know one.

In Cairo, Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood wants to distract its people from the fact that they lived in slums under Mubarak  and are living in slums under the Muslim Brotherhood.

Here at home, the party of multi-millionaires knows that there aren’t enough of them to win elections by themselves, and they also know that their interests don’t line up with those of average working people.  So they have to get the people in Cairo, Illinois (and Georgia, Nebraska, West Virginia, Ohio, and Oregon) to focus on something else and get really angry about it, so they’ll vote GOP against their own interests.

Getting Christians stirred up about Obamacare and contraception is just like getting Muslims stirred up about a video.  Before Obamacare, 29 states had these rules about insurance covering contraception, and no one cared.  Some of these states were among our most populous, like New York and California, and some were among our most conservative, like Arkansas.

I live in one of those 29 states.  I never heard a word about the state requiring insurance companies to cover contraception from my church until suddenly President Obama did it.  Suddenly they couldn’t bear to do what they were already doing because it was a violation of their religious freedom.

Yes, the outrage abroad is phony, but before we point out the splinter in the Muslims’ eyes, we should get rid of this huge beam in the eyes of our own Evangelical Christians and Catholics.

 

 

Mitt’s Doing It on Purpose

I love Josh Marshall and his site Talking Points Memo.  But I think he’s wrong about this one.

Yesterday on Meet the Press, Mitt said he’d keep the popular stuff in Obamacare, like making sure people with preexisting conditions can get insurance.  Not long after, his campaign walked that back, saying that it wasn’t a policy change, and that it was only for those with continuous coverage, not those buying insurance for the first time or coming back into the market.

Josh Marshall says that shows either a “disorganized campaign” or Mitt’s “ingrained flipfloppery.”

I think both the comment yesterday and the walkback today were planned and on purpose.

Meet the Press attracts moderate and independent voters, many of whom are undecided.  Mitt was trying to appeal to them, to make them think he’s a reasonable guy.

By contrast, many of those viewers will never find out about the campaign’s walkback.  So Mitt gets credit with them, while calming down his base, which does pay more attention.

The campaign is fully aware of this, that you reach out to moderates in a high-profile way, and then pull back in a quieter way, knowing a chunk of them won’t notice.

If you want more evidence, Mitt did exactly the same thing quite recently on abortion.  All of a sudden, he said that he supported the right to an abortion in the case of rape, incest, health and life of the mother.  He had been saying rape, incest, and life, but not health.  So the reference to health of the mother was a change, one intended to make him seem more reasonable.  It was taken back by the campaign right after.  But many more people heard Mitt and read the reports of his softer position than heard his campaign spokesperson disavow it.

Disorganized, my tush.  They know exactly what they’re doing.

Ryan Threw Away His Carefully-Cultivated Reputation with That Speech

I’ve been reading so many excellent take-downs of Paul Ryan’s speech last night.  But I especially like this one.

From “Paul Ryan fails — the truth,” Jonathan Bernstein, The Plum Line, Washington Post:

 

It was, by any reasonable standards, a staggering, staggering lie.  Here’s Paul Ryan about Barack Obama:

He created a bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report.  He thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing.

“They.” “Them.” “Them.” Those words are lies. Because Paul Ryan was on that commission. “Came back with an urgent report.” That is a lie. The commission never made any recommendations for Barack Obama to support or oppose. Why not? Because the commission voted down its own recommendations. Why? Because Paul Ryan, a member of the commission, voted it down and successfully convinced the other House Republicans on the commission to vote it down.

That wasn’t the only bit of mendacity – lazy mendacity, incredibly lazy mendacity – in Ryan’s speech. Twitter lit up as soon as he started telling the story of the Janesville auto plant that Barack Obama didn’t save – a plant that, it turns out, closed before Obama was president. And of course there’s the infamous cuts to Medicare that Ryan lambasted Obama for without happening to mention that those very same cuts were in Paul Ryan’s own budget. Yes: absolutely everything in Obamacare is an abomination, says Paul Ryan, except for (as he forgets to mention) the cuts to Medicare that he supports – and yet he still singles that part out to use as an attack.

It isn’t even true in some symbolic or abstract way. The real truth is that Paul Ryan completely rejects the approach of that commission – because it includes tax increases along with spending cuts – while Barack Obama has, while not endorsing the exact plan that Ryan shot down, basically endorsed the commission’s approach.

And then there’s the logic of the whole thing. As Seth Masket said, it all comes down to arguing “we must cut entitlements! Obama cutting entitlements is un-American.”  There’s also, as many were pointing out, the plain fact that until January 2009 Paul Ryan faithfully supported all the tax cuts and spending increases which created the deficit problem he’s been so concerned about since January 2009.

But really, the proper response to a speech like this isn’t to carefully analyze the logic, or to find instances of hypocrisy; it’s to call the speaker out for telling flat-out lies to the American people. Paul Ryan has had what I’ve long thought was an undeserved good reputation among many in the press and in Washington. It shouldn’t survive tonight’s speech. 

Italics in original; emphasis added.

Ryan Lies to His Own Mom

Paul Ryan told seniors at The Villages in Florida today, with his mom right there, that his Medicare plan doesn’t cut their benefits, but that’s not true.  They would lose the closing of the “doughnut hole” for their prescription drugs and the free preventive care that are part of Obamacare.