Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Republican Con-job on Health Care

As expected a number of states are suing the Federal Government over theIndividual Mandate in the Affordable Care Act (aka Health Care Reform), all while they work very hard to collect the money they're suing to...keep from...having to take??

Anybody get all that?

The Conservative position is simple. The Individual Mandate makes people buy Health Insurance, and people shouldn’t have to be forced to buy Health Insurance if they don’t want to.

Here’s the problem with that notion. One of the most popular aspects of Health Care Reform is the provision that forbids Insurance Companies denying you coverage based on Pre-Existing Conditions. This provision is so popular that even Conservobots who voted against the bill say that this is the one thing they agreed with. If the Democrats had just gotten rid of the Individual Mandate, we could have voted for Health Care Reform.

Of course, that’s bull@#$%. One of the hard lessons people learned in the last few years is you cannot have one without the other.

Paul Krugman from back in March:

So what’s the answer? Americans overwhelmingly favor guaranteeing coverage to those with pre-existing conditions — but you can’t do that without pursuing broad-based reform. To make insurance affordable, you have to keep currently healthy people in the risk pool, which means requiring that everyone or almost everyone buy coverage. You can’t do that without financial aid to lower-income Americans so that they can pay the premiums. So you end up with a tripartite policy: elimination of medical discrimination, mandated coverage, and premium subsidies.

Or to put it another way, you end up with something like the health care plan Mitt Romney introduced in Massachusetts in 2006, and the very similar plan the House either will or won’t pass in the next few days. Comprehensive reform is the only way forward.

Of course, as you remember, the reform was passed, and Republicans are campaigning to repeal it.

It’s very simple. Health Care is a complicated machine. Piecemeal reform isn't going to cut it (as Dr. Krugman said). If you wanna do X, then you have to do Y. If you don’t, costs spiral out of control and soon nobody will have Health Insurance (see, Insurance Death Spiral).

Which brings me to Tim Pawlenty, Governor of Minnesota, and potential Republican Candidate for President in 2012, doing his damnest to make it impossible to carry his own state.

From Steve Benen:

As implementation of the Affordable Care Act proceeds, the law extends subsidies to states to help early retirees -- folks who leave the workforce before they're eligible for Medicare, but who still want to maintain their coverage. States led by Republicans may claim to hate the new law, but they're nevertheless seeking the funds -- even many of the states trying to kill the ACA in court.

In Minnesota, Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) is taking a different route. The increasingly right-wing governor, desperate to pander to the party's base in advance of his presidential campaign, issued an order to state officials yesterday, demanding that they not seek grants through the new law, even if the funding would help the people of his state.

Keep in mind, this isn't some kind of opt-out scheme -- the law still applies to Minnesota, just like every other state. This is a scheme whereby funds are made available to states, and Pawlenty is demanding that Minnesota not seek those resources, at least for now.

Let’s call it what it is. Tim Pawlenty is screwing over the uninsured in his state to burnish his Conservative Credintials in advance of the 2012 race.

What a guy!

Needless to say Doctors in Minnesota are pissed off:

The heads of Minnesota's most influential medical associations -- which nearly always keep political matters at arms' length -- issued a sharp rebuke. "The governor's decision just doesn't make sense for Minnesotans," the Minnesota Council of Health Plans, the Minnesota Hospital Association and the Minnesota Medical Association said in a joint statement late Tuesday.

But not all Doctors are pissed off, according to Jonathan Chait. Actually, they are pissed off, but for them, not for you:

Hal Scherz, a doctor and president of the right-wing lobby "Docs4PatientCare" writes in today's Wall Street Journal that he and members of his group are posting letters in their waiting rooms warning patients of the horrors of the Affordable Care Act and urging repeal.

This is all real simple.

Republicans don’t give a rats ass about deficits or future costs. Period. All they care about is representing the Corporate Master who has given them a lot of campaign cash. They don’t care about the Health of the Health Care System. It’s broken (but starting to mend thanks to HCR), a fifth of our Citizens can’t access it, but screw ‘em. They should have been born to richer, whiter households. We don’t like President Obama anyway, and this seems as good an excuse as any to rail against him, even if it means lying through our teeth to get the job done.

If you fall for this, America, you'll fall for anything.

We’re about to learn a lot about America in the coming months. I maintain my position that the problem with the country isn’t its Polticans, but its people.