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Why the GOP has trouble replacing the ACA

Why is the GOP having such trouble with health care? Simple. They talked themselves into opposing their own best plan for health care. You see, back when Bill and Hillary Clinton had a congressional majority and wanted to fix the whole health care thing, Republicans were worried that Democrats might socialize the entire medical industry. So the conservative Heritage Foundation released the very best plan for a market-based...

Health insurance at iPhone prices

Earlier today Representative Jason Chavetz (R-UT) said on CNN: “Americans have choices, and they’ve got to make a choice. So rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and want to go spend hundreds of dollars on that, maybe they should invest in their own health care.” My first thought, “Where do I sign up for the Chaffetz Plan? You know, comprehensive health care for the cost of an...

the non-mandate mandate

Ryancare and the curious case of the non-mandate mandate. Under the new Republican bill, you pay a penalty if your insurance lapses for more than 63 days. “When people without insurance are penalized for buying—instead of being penalized for not buying, as is currently the case—that creates a perverse incentive. Once you’re off the wagon, there’s no financial incentive to get back on until you have to.”...

Killing your own voters?

So the current Ryancare proposal has analysts seriously asking, “Are Republicans intentionally trying to kill their own voters?” Because the group that will be hit hardest are older, less affluent (but not actually poor) people living in predominantly rural counties. You know, the counties that went for Trump over Clinton by large margins.   Two parts of the proposal really affect that group: the change that...

You can’t go back again (Obamacare edition)

For everyone who just wants their old pre-Obamacare health plan back (at the old price): Sorry, that can’t happen. First, before Obamacare, health plans were going up in price at a rate that averaged 10% per year (so that would make your old plan twice as expensive today as it was back in 2007). Also, your plan back then was cheaper because it had lifetime limits, and wouldn’t take anyone with a pre-existing...

More on the American Health Care Act

What the proposed Republican health plan does not do: try to actually fix anything. What it does do: Cut taxes on the rich. Damage women’s health. Tinker on the edges of the current system, but in ways that will only make things worse for the middle class, and be disastrous for the poor. Hardly a surprise, I suppose.   To be clear, there is nothing in there to address big pharma profiteering, introduce competition or...

First take on the GOP ACA replacement

So the details of the GOP ACA replacement are now public. Anyone care to guess what they are proposing? First – cut all the taxes on the rich that the ACA introduced. Second – cut the subsides for the poor to access health insurance. Third – remove the requirement that people have insurance (actually, it is more cynical than that; the requirement remains, but there will no longer be any penalties if you...

When words no longer have specific meanings

Actual comment by a right-winger on Facebook: “Fascism is a liberal ideology. Being used currently by liberals.” Showing that in some circles words no longer have any actual meaning, but should simply be thrown around based on connotation. For example, “fascism” is simply something that describes “that which we should hate” rather than an actual political ideology with a specific history....

Wiretapping Trump Tower

So Trump is upset that phone lines in Trump tower were wiretapped by the US counter-intelligence services. Some common sense here. Counter-intelligence is constantly tracking the contacts of the agents of the Russian government. And the Patriot Act gives the NSA the right to tap THREE DEGREES OF SEPARATION from anyone suspected of being a foreign agent or terrorist (thanks, Republican Party, for re-authorizing that while...

Unintended Consequences of Mass Deportations

Conservatives were once famous for embracing the principle of the Law of Unintended Consequences. It was usually from the conservative side that any radical change was opposed with the common-sense observation that the change may well unleash a host of second-order consequences well beyond what was originally intended. Our political discourse is littered with warnings from the right about the dangerous consequences of all...

Bannon and Strauss-Howe generational theory

Strauss-Howe generational theory is in the news lately, if not in the headlines. Steve Bannon, Trump’s campaign strategist and primary advisor, gave an address at the CPAC (that is the Conservative Political Action Committee convention) in which he laid out his vision. And the vision that he laid out included a reference to Strauss-Howe generational theory without specifically naming it. An analysis I read by an opinion...