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By Tom Cushing

A Continuing Conversation?

Uploaded: Mar 10, 2017

Blogger’s note: I’d like to encourage a continuing conversation, from time-to-time, to follow-on from comments made in earlier blog posts. Here’s one: you can see Hotslide’s two comments in the ‘Governing from Behind’ blog.

Hallelujah, Hotslide – I wasn’t sure you had it in you, but you do! That’s good news. I hope you get the contrast between your first and second comments: none of the bully-boy crap about body parts and closets; a lot less ‘othering’ and labeling (but still with the ‘you libs’), and a tone more rational than invective. A little snark I can live-with (and may return).

So let’s talk.

The “no GOP votes in ACA” thing is true, but there’s more than one interpretation. Either the Dems didn’t try/steamrolled it through (which seems to be your point), or the GOP heeded their marching orders to never (ever) agree to anything associated with Obama. Or both.

The fact that the ACA’s very origins were in the far-right Heritage Foundation think-tank as an alternative to single-payor is significant for two reasons: 1 – there were already GOP ideas in the ACA approach, and 2 – despite that, no Republicans voted for it.
That’s what leads me to believe more in the latter interpretation, as clearly the Dems didn’t need other-aisle votes (as the GOP doesn’t now), and just as clearly those marching orders were issued earlier -- on the eve of the 2009 inauguration. Obviously, your mileage may vary.

I am not sure where that would fit in a blog about the Dems repeating the GOP’s ‘Party of No’ mistake, but there you have it.

Now, about the outrage! over Obama’s misstatement regarding ‘keeping your doc’: first off, I just have to suggest that to hear that scorn out of one-side of anyone’s mouth, coupled with “oh, that’s just the way Trump is” in defense of the incumbent’s serial pattern of untruths, is hilarious. But let’s talk about it, anyway.

Obama said it and it was factually wrong. The predominant reason it was wrong is that some folks had been duped into buying so-called ‘insurance’ that was so defective that it would almost never actually cover anything. Hence, those policies did not meet minimum decency standards set by the ACA, and they were canceled. Some fraction of those folks bought better policies that did meet the standards, but their prior docs weren’t in-network, so they had to change.

But I ask you – were they better, or worse-off under the ACA?

Pure free marketeers might argue that people should be free to be defrauded if they choose, but that’s not really the point of a law designed to provide actual coverage to more Americans. So the statement was incorrect – calling it a ‘lie’ assumes an intent to deceive, which I reject, but I’m guessing you don’t. Okay.

Now, the more interesting current question is whether the GOP will have the votes to pass its own shameful/shameless bill. The strategy seems to be to rush it through the House (before its coverage and budget implications are even known? What does that fervid pace suggest about a bill that won’t be effective for several years?), and then try to pick-off the Senate Republicans who have doubts on the left (e.g., Collins, Portman I think) or on the right (Rand Paul and any Kochafiles) – or who maybe even listen to the building chorus of reasoned opposition, from the likes of docs (AMA) and penalized oldsters (AARP).

There’s good reason to suspect that the GOP bill disproportionately hurts Trump voters (older, less wealthy, rural Americans) and helps the Masters of the Universe (significant tax cuts for the rich, who will no longer have to sleep under those bridges). Unless Lincoln was wrong about not fooling all the people, all the time, that’s going to cost them backlash votes (oh yeah, and lives too). So maybe the best thing for the GOP ’18 and ’20 would be for this travesty to fail.

Either way, I really think the Dems ought to have their alternative up there, front-and-center. What do you-all think?