Watching the hearings on CNN today, I am struck that one of two things is true:
Dave Weigel: 'CBO also says that AHCA will "substantially raise premiums for older people" - or as they are known in Washington, "people who vote".'
So you want to know why it “feels” that the American government has a lot of problem right now. Well, maybe it has something to do with this daily demonstration of subliminal stupidity. And there’s nothing you can do about it. We can’t even have a reasoned discussion on anything, because there’s no such thing as “fact” or “logic”. There are political statement, and feelings. How do you solve any problem with it?
If you have been thinking the debate about the ongoing healthcare situation in the US was about, you know, healthcare, you are mistaken. At least on the Republican side of that argument. If you're a Democrat, the whole point of the Affordable Care Act known as Obamacare, was to solve the problem of the uninsured driving up the cost of everything by using emergency care in hospitals as their normal doctor. The uninsured had nowhere else to turn, so they turned to hospitals for care, and those hospitals provided care for free.
We can argue about asking hospitals to send the uninsured back onto the street sick or injured - which hospitals cannot do by law - but you will also lose that argument. You know, that having roving sick and maimed people roaming the streets is not the society you want to live in, so that's a losing argument. By the way, if you revere Ronald Reagan as a US President, it was Reagan who passed the law that requires hospitals to provide care, regardless of whether the person asking for care is insured.
So what do hospitals do about that cost of providing this free care? The only thing they can do, raise the cost of care for people with insurance. Not only does this pass on the cost to the insured and the companies that provide it, it makes that insurance cost ever more unaffordable for the poorest among us. Talk about a death spiral - the pre-Obamacare world of healthcare was on a death march of cost. You can argue all you want with the flaws of Obamacare, and yes it needs work to make it more effective, but one thing it did was stop this death march. All these people - 11.3 million of them at last count - who are participating in Obamacare, are no longer forcing hospitals to provide free care. That, in turn, has dramatically lowered the cost of healthcare for everyone.
Before Obamacare, healthcare costs in the United States had risen by record amounts each year and Obamacare reversed that trend. This endless surge in healthcare cost does not happen in countries with universal healthcare for all their citizens. How do we know this? Because the US is the only western civilized country who does not have universal healthcare. Think there might be a connection between skyrocketing costs and our Republican friend's insistence on for-profit healthcare? You'd be right.
So given that hospitals are required (rightly) to follow the Hippocratic oath, and treat the sick and injured, even if they don't have insurance, then how do we make sure that those people are not bankrupting the system? There are two competing ideas. The Democrats in the 1990's wanted to create "Medicare for all" as a new entitlement - funded by tax increases on the very wealthy. The Republicans proposed an idea which had it's birth in the Heritage Foundation - a Conservative Think Tank - which preserved the for-profit parts they liked, and supplemented it with a government individual mandate (you have to have insurace or pay a penalty) and many other things. Huge parts of that Heritage Foundation idea were passed by a Republican Governor in Massachsetts, now generally called RomneyCare. It was, and is successful in that state. The Democrats used many of those same ideas as RomneyCare to create the ACA (which is also called Obamacare).
Now, Republicans want to repeal that idea - but they are loathe to really replace it. Why? The entire ideology of the GOP since the 1980's has been that taxes on the very wealthy cannot be passed. As I've argued before, if you are not wealthy, it is hard to argue why you might vote Republican, as it is as clear as ever that, at least for GOP leadership like Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan in Washington, the repeal of Obamacare was always the point. "And Replace", was just added to make the most vulnerable among us feel ok voting Republican.
As I said in my book, "If you vote Republican, you will at some point realize that you've been lied to, manipulated to line the pockets of the already wealthy". Repealing Obamacare was really only about repealing the tax increase that funded Obamacare. Want proof, Paul Ryan admits it on - of all places - Fox News.
Wake up middle-class people! The GOP does not care about what you care about.
I never thought I'd see this, but Lawrence O'Donnell lays out that the GOP plan to replace Obamacare is indeed socialism, and George Will is interviewed to basically agree - which is reasonable since both Obamacare and the GOP replacement are both socialistic programs. Amazing. Upside down world.
I think Trump simply cannot stop himself from lying. 70 years of doing it and getting away with it (mostly) seems a trick this old dog can't or won't learn.
A friend of mine asked a group of like-minded folks a set of questions. I paraphrase, but the questions were:
Here are my thoughts:
Russian officials are being charged with treason, and several have disappeared in Russia. It seems much of this is related to the so-called "Trump Dossier" written by a British MI6 intelligence officer named Christopher Steele. We know this, because the dossier leaked. Now much of that dossier is proving to be correct, from yet more leaks from US intelligence officials speaking off the record. If this dossier is true, or even mostly true, our current President is compromised by Putin, and must not be allowed to remain President. If this continues the way it is going, Donald Trump will have created something larger than anyone else - won't that make him happy? As this would be the largest scandal in US history if true.