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The Republican Offer On Health Care Remains Worse Than Nothing

[ 142 ] April 4, 2014 |

Paul Ryan would repeal the ACA and not even replace its most popular provisions, using logic that makes clear that he opposes doing anything for the many millions of uninsured this would create:

Democrats are jumping all over Paul Ryan for telling Bloomberg TV that if Republicans repeal the Affordable Care Act, they won’t reimplement Obamacare’s popular requirement that children can stay on their parents’ health insurance plans until they’re 26.

I don’t have a full transcript, but the quote in this Washington Post story actually reveals a great deal more about Republicans’ post-Obamacare health policy than their possible opposition to insuring young adults.

“If you look at these kinds of reforms, where they’ve been tried before — say the state of Kentucky, for example — you basically make it impossible to underwrite insurance. You dramatically crank up the cost. And

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you make it hard for people to get affordable health care.”

People who follow health care reform closely will correctly note that there’s nothing new here. But for those who don’t, Ryan’s focus on underwriting, not an allusion to so-called “young invincibles” is the key tell. Because underwriting is the main mechanism insurers used to practice price and coverage discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions.

Bobby Jindal makes no pretense of caring about the millions of people he would deny insurance to:

To be sure, there is more to Jindal’s plan than to repeal Obamacare and then drink cocktails made from the tears of the uninsured. But there isn’t much more. Jindal proposes to tinker with the tax treatment of health benefits, but without going far enough to either provide real funds to purchase insurance to individuals or to disrupt employer-based insurance. There’s the usual bit about letting insurers sell plans across state lines, which means letting the state most willing to allow insurers to cherry-pick healthy customers set national regulatory standards. He urges a focus on cost containment, which was a mantra of Republican opposition to the bill in 2009 and 2010, and had faded since

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health-care inflation has fallen to a 50-year low. Citing cost containment as the rationale to repeal a law that has at best created, and at worst coincided with, the most positive cost containment news in modern history is more than a bit perverse.

Having said that, I’m not sure that we should consider the most recent Republican candidate for vice-president and a current Republican governor looking to run for president to be representative of Republican positions on health care reform. Perhaps more relevant are dead senators from Rhode Island, governors in states with huge Democratic supermajorities, stuff like that there.


Comments (142)

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  1. Shakezula says:

    Hey no fair! You forgot to mention that under the Republican plans, people who die in ditches won’t be charged with vagrancy!

    I guess what we’re seeing is the GOP finally understands that people really like the idea of being able to receive health care and not having to go broke while doing so. But their solution is SOP: Waving a shit lettuce and tomato sandwich under our noses while making Yum Yum noises. Phase II will be insults: Only lazy moocher hammock addicts want affordable health care. Except for Gohmert who will burble something about terrorists before he goes back to searching for his hair.

  2. Aimai says:

    Say what you will about the tentacled god of death…but at least its an ethos.

  3. Cheap Wino says:

    The Republican bag of policy prescriptions has only two things in it. Lower taxes and free market something something. Since free market something something has already been tried and lower taxes doesn’t apply, then it’s time to dress up free market something something with some different crayons and hope people don’t notice that it’s the same failure as before.

    • Crunchy Frog says:

      No three provisions, and you forgot the first one: LIE.

      I know many people who actually believe that Obamacare has caused 7 million FEWER people to have health insurance because the right wing Wurlitzer told them so.

    • anonymous says:

      That’s not fair. You left out “Tort Reform”

    • Sockie the Sock Puppet says:

      I’d suggest the third plank — because every list needs at least three elements — is ratcheting up fear. In the status quo ante, there was fear in every aspect of the health care system: fear that you’d lose coverage when you lost your job, fear that the insurance company would recind coverage if you proved you actually needed it, fear that a dread disease would bankrupt you or force you to beg for the money for advanced treatments. With so many people so afraid, there was no time to get uppity.

      The ACA isn’t perfect, but it elminates a lot of those fears. That’s a grievous blow to the Republican agenda. No wonder rich people think they are under siege.

    • JustRuss says:

      Crazy talk. Lower taxes ALWAYS apply. If global warming existed, lower taxes would fix it.

    • Jonas says:

      There’s also selling health care policies across state lines, although that may be part of free market something something.

  4. somethingblue says:

    Shorter Scott: “There is no Republican so dastardly that he cannot be used as a club to beat people slightly to my left!”

  5. MAJeff says:

    The whole thing makes me thing the GOP is a front for the Christian Scientists, since their health plan seems to be, “just pray.”

    • DrDick says:

      I thought one of our conservatard trolls assured us in a previous thread that there was no evidence that Republicans hate poor people.

    • DrDick says:

      Didn’t one of our conservatard trolls just tell us on a previous thread that there was absolutely no evidence that Republicans hate poor people?

      • Anonymous says:

        One assured us that Republican philosophical opposition to insurance coverage for the poor is “the dumbest meme ever created for the consumption of the dumbass.”

        As said troll is obviously a connoisseur of dumbassery, well-versed in both its preparation and enjoyment, I was tempted to believe his expert opinion.

    • LeeEsq says:

      I thought the Christian Scientists tended towards social liberalism besides some daffy ideas about healthcare. At least their newspaper seems to be fairly liberal.

    • Sev says:

      Science for those who can pay, Christianity for those who cannot.

  6. Bloix says:

    Y’know, Prof Lemieux started out by saying something interesting here. And I thought, hey, I know a fair amount about insurance underwriting, maybe I’ll observe that what Ryan is saying has to be explained to most people because if you get your insurance through your employer, you’re already free from individual underwriting.

    But then I got to the end, and I realized, no, Prof Lemieux isn’t really interested in explaining anything to anyone. He’s only interested in telling his cheering squad how right he is.

    And what happens? somethingblue rises to the bait, and the cheerleaders are jumping!

    It’s a shame, because Prof Lemieux does know a lot about this stuff and he’s perfectly capable of communicating it when he wants to. Note his recent post about Krugman and the Heritage Foundation – no attacks on Krugman as a firebagger or a fool. Of course, that’s Krugman, so he has to mind his manners. But anyone who might share Krugman’s ideas without his credentials is red meat.

    Well, cheerleaders, I bid you adieu. I may see you on Loomis’s posts, or bspencer’s, but not here. You guys enjoy each other.

    • sharculese says:

      Why would anyone think anyone would ever be impressed with their announcement that they’re taking their ball and going home, no matter how much poncey faux-erudition and saccharine prissiness they manage to layer on top of it?

      Still, bookmarked, because I regret not doing that with Mizner.

      • IM says:

        bookmark this, Obots! Or whatever the term now is.

      • Walt says:

        Somebody bitches about Scott, and you’ll… bookmark it? Are you trying to make Bloix’ point for him?

        • sharculese says:

          Somebody bitches about Scott

          Is this… actually why you think someone would bookmark this post? Can yo identify nothing that might set it aside from the standard “Scott is the Hitler of leftism” comments? Some readily obvious feature, perhaps?

          • MAJeff says:

            But Jenny and the doughy pant load says that Hitler was the Hitler of leftism.

          • Walt says:

            But why do you care that he’s so outraged he promised to quit reading? He’s obviously lying — everyone who says that is lying — but it’s just an over-the-top form of bitching. The fact that you are going to bookmark it to shove it in his face when he shows up again on one of Scott’s posts — doesn’t that strike you as a bit sycophantic?

            • sharculese says:

              Because flounces are hilarious, writing one is embarrassing, and if you choose to do so it should absolutely be rubbed in your face. If you’re going to leave, just do so; writing an over-the-top declaration of your intent to leave is absurd.

              Also it is not true that nobody ever sticks the flounce. David Mizner wrote a hilarious flounce and managed to stick it.

              • Walt says:

                But why quit a site when you can do it in dramatic fashion, and then secretly check the responses? If people knew that after death they could see the reactions of people they knew, the suicide rate would probably triple.

                Anyway, if I flounced from a site (I’ve always heard it called a YAGE), and someone took the time to bookmark it to rub in my face later, I would find that equally hilarious.

                • sharculese says:

                  Because it’s so unbelievably pompous.

                • junker says:

                  Bloix strikes me as not someone who would have a sense of humor about it.

                • sharculese says:

                  Also continuing to read a site after you’ve peaced out is a chump’s move.

                • If people knew that after death they could see the reactions of people they knew, the suicide rate would probably triple.

                  In my darkest times (long past), I more than once steered clear of the straight razor by reminding myself that I wouldn’t be around to observe people’s reactions to my death.

                  As someone who generally shares Scott’s opinions on this matter (after all, he picked up one of my pet arguments and ran with it), I can say there is not a strong relationship between my opinion of an LGM poster and my opinion of their critics.

                  Inaccurate whining about how mean Scott is to the left will always be hilarious. Consider that Scott’s main opponent in comments is Dilan Esper, whose suggested alternative to the ACA is objectively more conservative. This is not and has never been an argument divided into left and right sides (or moderate/left or less-left/more-left sides).

                • Anonymous says:

                  Consider that Scott’s main opponent in comments is Dilan Esper, whose suggested alternative to the ACA is objectively more conservative.

                  The thing about Esper is a big part of his routine is how quisling centrist liberals can’t possibly even conceive of how True Leftists see the world, given the deep and wide chasm between them. Then he stuck around and revealed his views on a variety of other political issues, and it became perfectly obvious he’s not particularly leftist at all; he’s more likely than not to stake out a position to the right of the bloggers here.

              • Snarki, child of Loki says:

                HTML v6.0 absolutely needs a <FLOUNCE> tag. It displays in a rainbow of colors with animated sparkles, and is automatically closed after one paragraph.

                (and now we see if the HTML renders in this)

            • sibusisodan says:

              I rather think sharculese isn’t going to rub it into his face, but rather recall the comment on cold winter evenings, and revel in its deliciousness.

              Some people scrapbook. Sharculese collects weird and wonderful online emanations for much the same purpose.

            • Hob says:

              This seems to be some strange new definition of “sycophantic” where, if person X makes an enormous ass of himself while insulting the other commenters and the blog host— and if part of his shtick is to claim that everyone who disagrees with him is really just trying to suck up to the blog host— then he is automatically right, i.e. you cannot make fun of person X for this amazing display without being branded a suck-up by purer, more neutral observers such as Walt.

      • Scott Lemieux says:

        The thing is, you can’t ever top Mizner. At least Bloix is “leaving” because he doesn’t like being reminded about being egregiously wrong about something, while Mizner left over some ludicrously contrived Rand Paul-related trivia.

        • Matt T. in New Orleans says:

          Damn. Hate I missed that. Anyone who’s willing to leave for Paul Ryan’s sake had to have been entertaining.

            • sharculese says:

              Wait no, that is something both different and better.

              This is the comment that got the folder started:

              Your flailing about my writing style, grammar, or whatever the fuck isn’t going to further your crusade of defending the indefensible. It only demonstrates your reckless-befuddlement.

              There isn’t room for ANY alternate “interpretation” of Loomis’s post unless you didn’t read it, are extremely deluded, mentally ill, or just generally lacking in reading compression. I think that you’ve provided enough clues to indicate which categories you fall under.

              Loomis UNAMBIGUOUSLY marginalized the issues that pertain to people who are without privilege, e.g. the Muslim children and innocent civilians who are slaughtered by that sociopathic asshole, Obama. You know, the tyrannical fuck who — rather than prosecute the Wall Street Grifters for the systemic fraud that imploded our nation’s economy – instead, repealed our due process and habeas corpus rights. Remember him?

              Concurrent with the marginalizing of those issues, Loomis, while trying to take a swing at those he’s ideologically opposed to, MISSES by castigating those very people he cynically pretends to advocate for into a category which renders them incapable of even understanding, strictly by virtue of their gender and color. This is a perfect example of hipster racism/misogyny.

              While the above is disgusting by itself, what I find more disturbing is the so-called “progressive” contingent of Loyalists who willingly let Loomis off the hook and go so far as to actually defend his position.

              On the other hand, Loyalists are not interested in actual change are they? That would mean having to actually care; which they obviously don’t. To them it’s more import to ally with personality rather than principle. The facade of change is sufficient. If that’s not the case then why not speak out for principle rather than acquiescence to regressive and worn out old dogmas? Unless you’re not progressive of course. Then you’re off the hook.

            • Scott Lemieux says:

              It was actually this:


              Leaving over an erroneous assumption that a post being less than kind to Rand Paul was motivated by another poster’s disagreements on twitter. Sorry, but there’s no point in doing a Dramatic Exit after that; this can never even be approached.

            • Matt T. in New Orleans says:

              Obliged. I will surely snicker at it once I’m off the ferry.

    • Matt says:

      @Bloix: wow, I haven’t seen a flounce of that magnitude since I stopped hanging around Livejournal. Please do tell us more about how you’re too good to be leaving comments…

    • Malaclypse says:

      I may see you on Loomis’s posts, or bspencer’s, but not here.

      Don’t slum. You should only comment on Charli Carpenter’s posts. Maybe Bean’s.

    • I may see you on Loomis’s posts, or bspencer’s, but not here.

      How about Farley’s? I forget exactly why he banned you that time, but it might have been for being a sanctimonious asshole.

      • sharculese says:

        lol now I wanna know how that happened

        • Scott Lemieux says:

          IIRC, it was some horeshit about how academics hate teaching, because of course faculty unilaterally set tenure standards.

          • djw says:

            Actually, if I recall correctly there was a genocide accusation.

            • Lee Rudolph says:

              I for one certainly always found that a small spot of genocide could be counted on to bring new life (as it were) to a tedious afternoon of setting tenure standards!

            • Bijan Parsia says:

              Damnit! I really want this link! I’m having NO luck googling for it :(

            • elm says:

              I thought what led to the banning was Bloix extending his anti-academic rants to include insults of Rob’s wife. Or was that another poster?

              And why was Bloix unbanned anyway?

              • djw says:

                Yeah, without revisiting the gruesome details, that was the gist of it. (Bijan, I think the comments got disappeared when he was initially banned. It might have even been long ago enough that the thread was lost to the sands of time.) The thing is, I don’t think he was even trying to be a colossal asshole; it just came naturally for him. He never officially became “unbanned” in any formal sense, but he did seem to stay away for a good amouint of time, and when I first noticed him popping up again he was being relatively inoffensive (even occasionally making constructive contributions on some topics), so it hardly seemed worth the bother to zap him.

    • MAJeff says:

      Sashay away!

    • junker says:

      Time to spend the entire night crying in the bath tub.

    • sibusisodan says:

      If you’re not going to sell this comment on Etsy for dressmaking purposes, can we? Because it’s beautiful.

    • Pseudonym says:

      Y’know, Bloix started out by saying something interesting here. And I thought, hey, Bloix knows a fair amount about insurance underwriting, maybe they’ll observe that what Ryan is saying has to be explained to most people because if you get your insurance through your employer, you’re already free from individual underwriting.

      But then I got to the end, and I realized, no, Bloix isn’t really interested in explaining anything to anyone. He’s only interested in telling Lemieux’s cheering squad how right he is.

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      But anyone who might share Krugman’s ideas

      Assumes facts exceedingly not in evidence.

      • sibusisodan says:

        Also, among Krugman’s ideas are such novel things as ‘changing ones mind in response to new facts’ and ‘admitting when you’re wrong.’

        Given that you, your Lemeiuxness, have just been praised by Bloix for your ability to communicate, it’s just darned odd that we see the same terrible arguments popping up prerefuted. Its almost like people are unwilling to be communicated with.

        This is, of course, your fault. Well, that, and expansive readings of the commerce clause.

    • wengler says:

      If you’re not going to comment on the posts you find stupid, then what’s the point of commenting?

  7. Ken says:

    Remind me again, for what percentage of his life has Paul Ryan been on a government-provided health plan?

  8. e.a.foster says:

    It is really beyond comprehension how these politicians think children will survive, if their parents can not provide them with health care. Do these republicans suggest these children should then die? Its the only conclusion I can come to. the article leads me to no other reasonable conclusion. These republicans hate children and think they ought to die because their parents can not afford health care. Nice going guys. Perhaps those politicians who oppose health care for children ought to be charged with child endangerment and child abuse. I’d just love to see that court case. Slap some silver braclets on Cruz, Jindal, et al.

    • The prophet Nostradumbass says:

      It is really beyond comprehension how these politicians think children will survive, if their parents can not provide them with health care.

      They don’t care.

  9. Dumbfuck Canadian says:

    Who give a shit what foreigners think?

  10. e.a.foster says:

    with NAFTA it is important to care about what “foreigners” think. If one country thinks the other has an unfair advantage when it comes to making profits, it could be “see you in court”. If Canada and the U.S.A. sing onto the 12 country Asia/Pacific trade agreement, we may have more problems./

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