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Their dreams, they are in fact as empty as their consciences seem to be

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Some people have argued that House Republicans do not have a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. Scurrilous lies! Here is their very detailed public plan, which I present in its entirety:

The House Republican Healthcare Plan lowers costs, provides more control and more choices to pick a plan that meets our needs, not a plan that Washington mandates.

The failure to add “and a pony” shows a rather disturbing lack of familiarity with all internet traditions.

Via Chait, who finds Mike Lee essentially admitting that the public would hate any Republican replacement plan if they found out about it:

The Republican Party, faced with the catastrophic real-world consequences of repealing the Affordable Care Act, is divided over how to proceed. Some nervous Republicans want to figure out what they want to put in place of Obamacare. Senator Mike Lee insists that Republicans repeal Obamacare first, before they decide on an alternative. And his reason is straightforward: If people saw the Republican alternative, they might not like it! “There is a lot less agreement about what comes next,” he tells Julie Rovner. “If we load down the repeal bill with what comes next, it’s harder to get both of them passed.”

That is very true. If people see what Republicans would put in place of Obamacare, they would probably rather keep the status quo. Lee is right that the best way to eliminate Obamacare is to remain vague about the alternative. It’s a little odd for him to come out and admit this, though.

On a related point, Beulter observes that the ACA’s approval ratings are finally above water, in part because “its progressive skeptics—supporters of single-payer insurance or a public option—have come home.” One obvious limitation of approval/disapproval polling about specific laws is that there’s generally no baseline comparison. It’s one thing to disapprove of the ACA because it’s much better than the status quo ante but still worse than the systems of other liberal democracies, or because you would prefer to think that Trump’s plan to give everybody better insurance for free was serious. When people are actually forced to compare the ACA to a Republican plan that will inevitably take health care away from millions of people and make insurance worse and/or more expensive for many of those who retain it, it will be a lot more popular — and Republican leaders understand this perfectly well. This doesn’t make saving the ACA inevitable, but it is a powerful weapon in the fight to save it.

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  • Joe_JP

    A part of the confusion over “unfavorables” regarding ACA is that people have this confused understanding of the law, particularly like chunks of it while not realizing it works as a piece.

    This includes, sorry guys, the fact as a piece of legislation in the real world, it is a compromise and not a perfect unicorn.

    • AdamPShort

      Well, I think the process SL describes is pretty natural. I was never polled on the ACA but depending on how the question was asked I might have been counted as a non-supporter during the period when the law was being considered, and maybe even for a while afterward while various tweaks seemed at least theoretically possible.

      Now I am a huge ACA supporter, since at this point the alternative is a Hobbesian death-spiral (the one Trump falsely claims is already happening.)

      I never wanted a unicorn, but there was a time when “that’s not a pony, it’s a three-legged mule” seemed like a relevant observation. Now I love my three-legged mule! Don’t take Limpy away from us!

      • howard

        there were pollsters who differentiated between “oppose the aca because you don’t think the government should be involved in healthcare” and “oppose the aca because you don’t think it goes far enough.”

        and when you added the “don’t think it goes far enough” to the “support,” you always got above 50%.

        • AdamPShort

          Right. And actually I don’t think I ever would have associated myself with the word “oppose.” I might have said I don’t “approve.” But I would obviously have been in the “I prefer gold-plated rocket-ship” segment regardless.

        • Captain Splendid

          And then of course conservatives would point to those numbers and go “See? Even liberals hate Obamacare! Slam Dunk!”, never once pointing out (if they even knew in the first place) that liberal’s distaste with the ACA was for a completely opposite reason.

        • cpinva

          “there were pollsters who differentiated between “oppose the aca because you don’t think the government should be involved in healthcare” and “oppose the aca because you don’t think it goes far enough.”

          and there were/are pollsters who deliberately worded the question, in such a way that only an idiot would have been in favor of it. like, “would you prefer to be given a billion dollars, or keep the ACA?” well yeah, i’ll take the billion dollars! “a new poll released today indicates that 90% of respondents want to get rid of Obamacare.”

          most people reading a headline like that wouldn’t go any farther, if the story even gave the actual wording of the question being asked.

      • Joe_JP

        A three legged mule, though I’m not sure of the comparison as applied, is better in my view than no mule as a general rule.

        • CaptainBringdown

          Agreed, although mule racing would be one rare exception where a three legged mule and no mule would be of equal value.

          • AdamPShort

            disagree and now i want to run a claiming race between your no mule and my three-legged mule to prove it

            • CaptainBringdown

              You’d certainly prevail in a match race, I concede.

            • randy khan

              Although, in fairness, in a race where the loser takes the winner’s steed (so to speak), no mule actually is slightly preferable to a three-legged mule, as you couldn’t lose anything if you had no mule, while there’s some chance the three-legged mule would be injured while racing (which I guess would qualify as a pyrrhic victory).

              • njorl

                At the instant the race starts, no mule has crossed the finish line.

                • AdamPShort

                  whoah

                • And if you buy into Zeno’s Paradox, no mule ever will!

                • randy khan

                  [groan][applause][groan]

        • liberalrob

          A three-legged mule eats just as much and requires just as much maintenance as a four-legged one, but would seem to me to be far less useful in terms of productivity (pulling a plow or wagon, riding, etc.). So I’d think it’d be highly likely that no mule would be preferable to a three-legged one, in the usual sense of what mules are usually used for.

          It’s not an apt metaphor. Personally I’d be more inclined to go with a DC-3 vs. nothing comparison. The DC-3 is slower and carries fewer people than the Airbus 380 we’d like to have, but at least it carries SOME people and does so without our having to redesign all our airports to accommodate it.

          • AdamPShort

            yes but not funny

            • smartalek

              It’s funny if the Airbus has three legs.

      • The Lorax

        This cracked me up.

    • UnderTheSun

      Instead of defending the ACA perhaps this is an opportunity to push for a single payer system. The health system (if you can call it that) is the most expensive with just about the worst outcomes for all its users in the developed world. If the Republicans want to do a better job encourage them to kill off ACA in favor of a single payer system even if one of the justifications is that then there is more money available for them to spend on war to make America great again.

      • Murc

        Instead of defending the ACA perhaps this is an opportunity to push for a single payer system.

        It really isn’t. That will just play into the narrative that the ACA is no-good and needs to be done away with, and then once that’s done the Republicans will just walk away whistling.

        If the Republicans want to do a better job encourage them to kill off ACA in favor of a single payer system even if one of the justifications is that then there is more money available for them to spend on war to make America great again

        Except they’ll do the first part, the killing, and then not do the second part.

        Sort of like how free traders do the “unlimited capital mobility” part, but then don’t back it up with the “robust regulations and an excellent social safety net part.”

        Like it or not, we’re on defense for awhile.

        • humanoid.panda

          There is no chance to get the republicans to replace the ACA with single payer. But “Republicans had ruined the ACA, and every single thing about the health system sucks because of the Republicans and we need ACA Plus” is a good political stance – even the GOP ends up doing nothing. As I say below- the next Democratic president is going to tackle healthcare no matter what, so we need to stake out territory. It doesn’t have to be single payer- but it has to be something better than the ACA.

        • Philip

          We shouldn’t be surrendering on ACA, but we absolutely should be demanding single-payer anyway. Campaigning for “Medicare for all” should be every Democrat’s full-time job for the next 4 years.

          • Rob in CT

            I agree with this. Alternatively/also acceptable: adding a Public Option to the ACA.

            • addicted44

              Disagreed. Public Option is more confusing. You need to explain what that is to people.

              Simply “Medicare for all”. No explanation needed. People know what it is. It’s a program that people know works. And it’s a simple slogan.

              Dems need to be repeating “Medicare for All” like a mantra in every healthcare discussion.

              • Philip

                This is the key. Personally, I prefer single payer to the public option. But it’s also just better politics. People know what Medicare is, more or less, and they love it. They love it so much a lot refuse to believe it comes from the government.

                “Republicans want to cut your parents’ Medicare. Democrats want to give it to you and your kids, too!” is the kind of contrast we should be making.

                • Bufflars

                  Yup. You can even truthfully add to it the fact that the reason one’s salary hasn’t gone up much at all in the last 20+ years is almost 100% because of the shitty insurance-based health system vacuuming up all productivity gains.

                  More taxes for Medicare-for-all don’t seem so bad when you can imagine making $15k more per year (in the probably unlikely scenario where your employer decides to actually pay you your total compensation amount).

              • Still simple to explain the public option. “Anyone who wants it can purchase Medicare on the exchange”. Boom, you’ve done it in one sentence. I don’t know why people think it’s complicated.

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  “What’s the exchange? Like the stock exchange? Am I exchanging something? This sounds fishy.” -Average American

                • Ah, you’re probably correct about that. Leave the “on the exchange” part out then. It’s fewer words anyway.

                • addicted44

                  In case anyone got me wrong, I’m in favor of the Public Option.

                  But there are so many ways the messaging of that can be skewered that Medicare for All cannot.

                  Dems and supporters need to stop thinking policy first. We need to start Thinking messaging first and then work backwards to implement the best way to meet that message.

                  It’s cynical as hell, but can anyone dispute it works? After MAGA? And if Dems and liberals do it at least the net effect will.be positive vs negative.

                • Redwood Rhiadra

                  But there are so many ways the messaging of that can be skewered that Medicare for All cannot.

                  The easiest way to skewer Medicare for All is “Your Medicare taxes will go up by FOUR HUNDRED PERCENT.”

                  (1/5 of all health care dollars are paid for by Medicare currently, so Medicare for All would presumably require five times as much in taxes. In actuality it would possibly be less due to Medicare being more efficient than private insurance, but then you’ve lost the simple message.)

              • TVTray

                Keep It Simple and Take Credit

          • gmack

            That’s one way to do it. But there is more than one way to skin the cat. If I’m thinking purely strategically, I’d say the thing we should be clamoring for (whenever the Democrats get sufficient votes in the Congress) first is the creation of a public option on the health exchanges.

            Granted, they’re both pie-in-the-sky proposals under the current constellation of things, but my intuition tells me that pushing for a public option has a greater chance of success than clamoring for single payer would.

            • StellaB

              Except don’t call it a “public option” (sounds as appealing as “public toilet”), call it “option to buy into Medicare”.

              • ultramarina

                Or the “non-profit” option…

      • humanoid.panda

        Right. Even if the ACA remains in place, Republican “tweaks” and mismanagement, as well as the natural inflationary drift of health care prices are going to make the next round of reforms inevitable. Democrats should be ready for it. Not necessarily with a single payer plan, but with something substantially better than the ACA.

      • Thom

        Apparently you don’t live in America.

      • Joe_JP

        Is that you Jill Stein?

        ETA: I’ll try to keep it positive, maybe you are being a bit snarky. It’s fine to push for single payer, like any number of ideal things. But, meanwhile, there is reality, and losing imperfect good things is not advisable.

        As to Republicans saving money, their willingness to push us further in debt to further their ideology is clear by now.

      • Taylor

        The way this works is, ACA gets killed off, and no-one touches healthcare reform for another twenty years.

        Sorry to burst your single payer balloon.

        • And the way I think it ends up getting killed off is the Republicans continue dithering and threatening and ultimately doing nothing this year, then insurers pull out because of uncertainty and then the ACA actually does start to collapse “on its own.” This has the added benefits of “confirming” for the Republicans that Obama set it up to fail when he left office.

          • The thing is there are some fairly obvious incremental fixes for that problem like creating multi-state compacts for small market areas. If ACA remains in play it becomes the primary game in town for insurance companies so they’ll likely push for changes, not that those changes will necessarily be good or the right ones but the goal is get ACA embedded in the public consciousness and build from there.
            Businesses have invested in an ACA playing field, we’re already seeing rural hospitals lobbying for maintaining the law. If it becomes clear (well clearer) that the Republicans can only dither then the pressure will be to fix the problems they’re creating with their dithering.

        • John F

          The far more robust NLRA was passed about 15 years after SCOTUS gutted the labor provisions of the Clayton Act.

          Of course that took the Great Depression…

      • brewmn

        Sorry, you’re an idiot. Or, you are new to the planet earth.

      • cpinva

        “If the Republicans want to do a better job encourage them to kill off ACA in favor of a single payer system even if one of the justifications is that then there is more money available for them to spend on war to make America great again.”

        yeah, no. their idea of a “better job” would just be killing off the ACA, period. they’re going to spend outrageous amounts of cash playing war games either way, because it will make their rich buddies even richer.

      • Abbey Bartlet

        Instead of defending the ACA perhaps this is an opportunity to push for a single payer system.

        Oh, heavens, this is actually funnier than that piece about hornets.

        • bender

          Here’s where a federal system can do some good when Congress and the WH are controlled by conservatives.

          Single payer is Plan B for blue states should the ACA be repealed and the GOP not pass laws making it illegal for the states to do that.

          State-run single payer won’t help the unfortunates who have no medical insurance and don’t live those states, but can cover undocumented immigrants in the states that have it, and will serve as a proof of concept. Purple states will be next. Then there might be enough support to get it nationally. If the US survives.

      • PhoenixRising

        I’ll restate your idea from the view of a 45 year old cancer survivor who is self-employed:

        Single-payer or die.

        To which I respond, you first.

      • Scott Lemieux

        If the Republicans want to do a better job encourage them to kill off ACA in favor of a single payer system

        Make sure to encourage them to pass a large upper-class tax increase, a constitutional amendment guaranteeing free abortions, and the nationalization of all American banks while you’re at it. And a pony.

        • I think you’re selling yourself short by not also asking for full socialism.

          • Hogan

            Didn’t. Even. Try.

        • Abbey Bartlet

          That’s just pandering to rural voters, since big city elites have nowhere to put ponies.

          • Ithaqua

            I’ve heard it said (many, many times) that pandering to rural voters is the winning strategy for 2020!

          • PohranicniStraze

            Well, they don’t now. But that’s just because we haven’t passed universal ponycare! Free stabling, grooming, and daycare for your urban ponies!

    • agorabum

      Who could have known that the far left constantly knifing the center left would end up hurting the overall cause of the left?

      It’s like they spent 7.5 years stabbing Obama and Clinton, walked away to grab a beer, and came back and exclaimed “I can’t believe you were so weak to lose to Trump? How did you ever get so weak? Something must have been really wrong with you to lose so much blood before the final fight.”

  • John F

    in part because “its progressive skeptics—supporters of single-payer insurance or a public option—have come home.”

    In part, the other part is that some number of people who believe that Obamacare is bad/a disaster because they have been repeatedly told as much for 7 years, have started to become aware of how its repeal would affect them personally [yes there really are people who are on/using Obamacare and didn’t realize that what they’ve were using was what’s been vilified]

    If there is a silver lining to all this it’s this- victims of grifters*- when the do realize they been had, get very angry at the grifters (who unfortunately are usually gone). So yes many GOP voters who use Obamacare will get angry AFTER its actually taken away, and some will believe it or not, direct that anger in the right direction. Unfortunately for the most part that’s only going to be after it’s taken away.

    *Not people who give money to televangelists/faith healers, but folks who’ve been conned into bad investments/ponzi schemes. People who who give money to televangelists/faith healers are hopeless marks literally NOTHING will make them turn on those grifting from them

    • CrunchyFrog

      There are so many subtle parts of Obamacare that people use and have no idea. The 26 year old provision is one everyone is aware of, but are you aware that ACA requires insurance companies to pay for mental health treatment for people who have suicide attempts, for example? In fact a whole slew of mental health provisions are included.

      Of course, the Dems have the worst marketing agency in the history of mankind so no one actually knows that this is what the Dems did for them.

      • The Dark God of Time

        Unfortunately, salesmanship is seen by some as a dirty business, best left to organizers on the ground.

        • Rob in CT

          I wonder if this is partly a defensive crouch because Republicans accuse Democrats of vote buying whenever Dems do things to help people? A case of Dems faking themselves out (because Reps are always going to make that charge, whether you sell the policy hard or not).

          • John F

            Rethugs I know are relentlessly pushing the idea that the [sole] reason Dems “favor” immigration is because Dems see immigrants as Dem voters.

            As always, projection.

          • AdamPShort

            I have never understood this. The reason you wouldn’t want to be accused of vote-buying is that it’s ILLEGAL. If you have a legal way to “buy votes” (like, um, providing services to people) the proper response to having that pointed out is “thanks for noticing!”

      • brewmn

        I really am sick of blaming the political failures of the ACA on the Democrats. Am I the only one that remembers the barely hidden ecstasy with which the enrollment website failures were reported? Am I the only who has noticed that the people bitching about the increases in their premiums get about 100 times the coverage of people who are happy with having coverage for the first time in their adult lives?

        Christ on a cracker, people. There has never been a better example of Marhsall’s “basically, Washington media is wired for Republicans” assertion than coverage of the ACA (from a policy perspective, at least). Every criticism, including the made up ones, has been amplified a hundredfold, and every positive aspect of the law gets the “of course, pre-existing conditions are now covered” handwave if they get covered at all.

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          there’s a certain sort of D who just really seems to think leaning back and saying “yup, Ds suck always have and always will” actually *accomplishes* something

          • CrunchyFrog

            See below for actual suggested improvements.

        • CrunchyFrog

          I wish I had the link. Great piece in the last week about how the Democrats have failed because they’ve made all the things they do so complicated to understand. Compared how FDR advertised social security and other countries lefty parties advertiseduniversal health care to the complicated mess that was ACA. Compared how the New Deal construction programs were obvious to all – and even today you can find placards on 1930s bridges that explain how it was built – versus the 2009 recovery act that actually specified that signs attributing the construction work to the recovery act had to be temporary and removed by a certain date. Also implied was that the 1930s work had a lot of really significant projects while much of the the 2009-11 stimulus was maintenance or adding a lane or other stuff that quickly gets forgotten.

          That’s the problem. At least the current crop of spineless Dems no longer is on the cut-social-security bandwagon, but that’s a really recent development. But if they want people to support their policies and also to be aware of the benefits of well run goverment they have to let people know – not just advertizing, but that needs to influence how the programs are designed and projects selected.

          • humanoid.panda

            This is the piece.

            This is the piece. It oversimplifies things a bit: the New Deal was not all simple pieces, and its kinda easier to build major projects when much of the country is still in the 19th century than now, but the general thrust is right.

            • addicted44

              But this is key. We live in a more complex world, with more complex solutions, because the easy problems and solutions have already been dealt with.

              It’s the same issue facing the pharma industry. The new drugs they create are more expensive to develop, take longer, and are more likely to fail, because the easy ones have already been done with.

              Any constructive policy today will necessarily be more complicated than one 80 years ago, because the US is a more mature and older society.

              • humanoid.panda

                Right- this is the central weakness of the piece. It’s strength is when it points out places where Democrats introduce complexity where they really don’t have to: for example their fascination with tax credits.

                • LeeEsq

                  It depends on what you mean by don’t have to. A lot of the simpler policies and plans like single-payer can’t get through the political system, especially the higher up you go. Passing a simple policy at the city level is a lot easier than at the federal level these days.

                  A lot of wonky Democrats also seemed philosophically opposed to simple, easy to understand systems. The ACAs biggest cheerleader really seem to like the fact that it makes people look for insurance everywhere and consider different options. They think its a great chance to mold human behavior towards their ideal.

                • humanoid.panda

                  A lot of wonky Democrats also seemed philosophically opposed to simple, easy to understand systems. The ACAs biggest cheerleader really seem to like the fact that it makes people look for insurance everywhere and consider different options. They think its a great chance to mold human behavior towards their ideal.

                  This is kinda my point. On the one hand, the complexity of the ACA is product of path dependency and interest groups politics. But, at the same time, the people who design it do view certain forms of complexity a virtue rather than necessity. To what extent the ACA look different if the complexity was seen as necessary evil, not a virtue? I have no idea.

                • LeeEsq

                  The ACA is basically a Bismarckian system, so a simpler to understand ACA would look something like other Bismarckian healthcare systems like they have in the Netherlands, Germany, Israel, or Switzerland.

                • John F

                  The ACAs biggest cheerleader really seem to like the fact that it makes people look for insurance everywhere and consider different options.

                  I’m gonna go with a wonky analogy here- in 1892 the Army Officers’ Board tasked with selecting a new standard infantry rifle chose the demonstrably inferior Krag–Jørgensen over a superior Mauser (and other) design- why? Because they saw the Krag’s bugs as features- both the Krag and the Mauser had internal magazines, but you had to load the Krag’s magazine one bullet at time, whereas the Mauser could be loaded all at once off of a bullet strip- the officers honestly thought that forcing soldiers to load one bullet at a time was a good thing, they’d be forced to THINK about what they were doing, they’d be forced to think about how the gun operated, and thus they’d be more patient and take careful aim and not waste bullets…

                  Well the Krag spent the shortest amount of time ever as the US’s official infantry rifle, because it became painfully apparent in the first shooting war that it put US troops at a disadvantage. The fewer steps you had to go through to fire the gun the better, PERIOD, full stop.

                  The fewer steps (options) you force people to go through to get insurance- the better.

                • addicted44

                  Great anecdote.

                  I think this also ties into my belief that the best thing liberals could do to reduce the tax hike aversion amongst middle and lower income Americans (who are most likely to benefit significantly from progressive tax increases) is to pass the laws which require the IRS to give people prepared tax returns which taxpayers can simply click OK if they think it’s ok. Obviously if your returns are more complicated or you dispute something you can go back to the current system.

                  I bet 90% of taxpayers would prefer this and wouldn’t be any worse off. And then when the Republicans complain about the IRS those complaints will ring more hollow because most people’s interactions with the IRS involved clicking one button a year. Can’t really get better than that.

                  Hopefully Dems can override Intuit lobbying to accomplish this.

                • humanoid.panda

                  You happen to have citation to this story? I might want to teach it in the future.

            • delazeur

              It oversimplifies things a bit: the New Deal was not all simple pieces, and its kinda easier to build major projects when much of the country is still in the 19th century than now, but the general thrust is right.

              Agreed, but part of a successful PR campaign is highlighting a few major items that are easy to understand, while other wonkier or more complicated items (which may be even more important to the overall success of the program) go along for the ride.

            • Scott Lemieux

              The obvious problems with the piece are:

              1)While Democrats nominally retained control of Congress after the New Deal, Congress was actually controlled by a coalition of conservative Democrats and Republicans between 1938-1963.

              2)The Great Society provided clear and more generous benefits, and the result was Republicans controlling the White House for all but 4 of the next 24 years.

              It’s nice to think that good policy is always good politics, but the actual evidence for this in American history is scant.

              • efgoldman

                the result was Republicans controlling the White House for all but 4 of the next 24 years.

                That’s what happened, but was it cause and effect? There are a lot of other, more obvious reasons for Tricksie Dicksie Nixie and Sanctus Ronaldus Magnus.

          • John F

            Compared how FDR advertised social security

            Well he kind of lied about how it worked… (for an admittedly good cause).

            I keep thinking that wouldn’t work for the Dems now, they’d get called on it, by Fox, the MSM, twitter, etc…

            but:
            1. Getting called on lying has no negative impact on Trump or the GOP;
            2. Dems get called on lying even when they’re not lying, they say the sky is blue and some red stater will respond, “LIAR!”

            • Dennis Orphen

              That’s one of many aspects of our present day asymmetrical politics.

          • brewmn

            Yes. Because “if you like your doctor you can keep them” worked out so well last time.

            Sorry, I’m not letting the media off the hook for their refusal to present the positive aspects of the ACA with the same vigor with which they promoted the lies Republicans told (and continue to tel) about it today.

            • Dennis Orphen

              Lies, like sex sells. They also both smell, but that’s another story. While the media sucks in many ways, it fault might ultimately lie with the consumers, who choose to be willfully ignorant, aided by inherent ignorance, greed and stupidity.

              • brewmn

                Oh, I agree. But we have no hope of changing the voters until the media stops treating Republicans with a respect only equalled by the latter’s contempt for both the media and the truth.

        • Phil Perspective

          Christ on a cracker, people. There has never been a better example of Marhsall’s “basically, Washington media is wired for Republicans” assertion than coverage of the ACA (from a policy perspective, at least).

          Washington is always wired for Republicans because the media companies are controlled by big corporations, who are inherently right-wing. Why people forget this, I’ll never know. They’ll make few exceptions for ratings. Speaking of ratings, did anyone see that the Sanders/Cruz “debate” won the 25-54 demo the other night? Hmmm!!!!

          • John F

            Why people forget this, I’ll never know.

            Because the right has been absolutely RELENTLESS in asserting that the media has a leftwing bias.

            • Abbey Bartlet

              See, e.g., ETLNYT.

        • smartalek

          There has never been a better example of Marhsall’s ‘basically, Washington media is wired for Republicans’ assertion than coverage of the ACA (from a policy perspective, at least).”

          Well, except for that little thing about their catapulting every single Publican lie about Hillary and not one of the corrections thereto, while simultaneously giving Trumpf 2-3 TRILLION dollars worth of free, positive coverage, while not looking into any of his very real scandals, especially his Russian connections.
          Other than that, yeah, sure.

    • Sly

      Also…

      Complainant: “Obamacare isn’t that great (a) because my state hasn’t expanded Medicaid and the exchange plans aren’t in my price range / (b) because my wife’s company offers family health insurance so I can’t get exchange subsidies but the premiums on that policy are unaffordable / (c) because the premium subsidies need to be more generous in my state / (d) because the CSR payments aren’t high enough to lower deductibles to a place where I’m comfortable.”

      Republicans: “Well, then you’re in luck because we’re going to get rid of the whole thing.”

      Complainant: “WTF?!”

      And Congressional Republicans could fix all those things fairly easily, but they won’t because the conservative approach to healthcare policy will always be “I’m not paying for some loser’s chemotherapy.”

      • humanoid.panda

        And Congressional Republicans could fix all those things fairly easily, but they won’t because the conservative approach to healthcare policy will always be “I’m not paying for some loser’s chemotherapy.”

        Seriously, if Bannon the world-historical figure he is, and not a mediocre dilletante who read too many neo-reactionary blog posts, he would be pushing Trump to go for the Bismarckian route of fixing all the problems above. Split the Democrats right down the middle shoot movement conservatism in the head, and make the white working class beneficiary of your patronage.

        • Rob in CT

          And a big infrastructure bill too.

          • John F

            If you could convince Trump that the way to increase employment and make him really popular, was to spend, spend, spend, infrastructure, whatever, anything to put money into consumer’s hands- he’d do it because he has no fealty to any particular ideology outside of his own ego. But, the GOP would NEVER do it, they’be been drinking their own brand of koolaid for so long they actually believe that Keynesian Economics is anti-vaxxer level junk science – they really do believe that cutting taxes on the rich, eliminating or cutting back the safety net, doing away with unions/minimum wage would in fact lead to economic growth.

            If they actually got their whole wishlist and did the full Kansas on the US as a whole, the pulling of money from consumers would send the economy into free fall within a year- forget slow growth, we’d have contraction like we have not seen since the Great Depression.

            Back in 2008 there were still some on the GOP side who seemed to understand this when push came to shove- they weren’t will to spend enough (or on the right things) to prevent a crash, but they were willing to spend enough to allow for a soft landing. Currently?

            • humanoid.panda

              Thing is that currently, there is evidence that the economy might be at a point where a massive stimulus, especially one coupled with tax cuts, could create problems. Which would be a perfect time for republicans to do it!

              • John F

                there is evidence

                what evidence, the von Mises followers have been claiming 24/7 forever that “the economy is at a point where a massive stimulus would create problems.”

                The Chicago School guys also tend to say that irrespective of what the actual economic situation is.

                And what is the nature of the “problem?” Inflation?

                Inflation is not usually, in and of itself, a “problem.” It was a problem in the late 70s early 80s when it was linked to high unemployment/slow/no growth.

                Sure Hyperinflation like in Wiemar and currently Venezuela it is a problem, but really it’s not THE problem- it’s an extreme symptom of the real problem(s).

                • humanoid.panda

                  Noted Mises follower, Austrian, neoliberal shill Paul Krugman thinks disagrees with you.

                • John F

                  ???
                  Krugman (in your linked article) emphatically disagrees with your post right above mine.

                • addicted44

                  I don’t think Krugman is agreeing with your (humanoid.panda’s) claim at all.

                  True, handing out windfalls to rich people and companies that will probably sit on a lot of the money is a bad, low-bang-for-the-buck way to boost the economy, and I have my doubts about whether the promised surge in infrastructure spending will really happen. But an accidental, badly designed stimulus would still, in the short run, be better than no stimulus at all.

                • humanoid.panda

                  I concede the point: I misremembered this column, and seem to remember him making a stronger case that too much stimulus now might be a problem, but can’t find the piece.

                • John F

                  My god man, you can’t “concede the point,” this is the Internet, it’s not allowed, it violates the natural order.

                • so-in-so

                  Right, start moving those goal posts, or else go ad hominem!

                • econoclast

                  There is probably scope for some stimulus, but it could easily tip over to inflation. We’re a long way away from 2008.

                • AdamPShort

                  “Sure Hyperinflation like in Wiemar and currently Venezuela it is a problem, but really it’s not THE problem- it’s an extreme symptom of the real problem(s).”

                  Hear, hear. Such a key point, and too rarely made.

                  Hyperinflation (which carries with it geometrically increasing fiscal deficits) is a symptom of a collapsing monetary system, not its cause.

              • Dennis Orphen

                Skimming ans grifting is what really matters. Kleptocracy and all.

    • cpinva

      “[yes there really are people who are on/using Obamacare and didn’t realize that what they’ve were using was what’s been vilified]”

      yes, there are, because the republicans came up with Obamacare, as a way to turn their primarily racist supporters against it. their primarily racist supporters only get their “news” from FOX, who pushed the Obamacare meme from day one.

  • Brad Nailer

    Seven years and no plan. They’re just not fucking interested.

    • howard

      there was a congressperson the other day – i’ll try and track him down later – who had the honesty to say that what he wanted was to restore the pre-aca status quo, so in that sense i agree that they are not interested.

      but it’s not just that they’re not interested: it’s that you can’t do what they say they want to do, there is no plan that can provide that.

      • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

        “An unworkable plan to turn back the clock” is every GOP platform plank for the past 50 years, and it’s worked fine at winning elections so far.

        • cpinva

          “An unworkable plan to turn back the clock” is every GOP platform plank for the past 50 years, and it’s worked fine at winning elections so far.”

          and that would take us back to the Jim Crow era, which they have been diligently recreating, since that race traitor LBJ signed all those laws that forced black people to be treated just as good as white folk.

      • delazeur

        there was a congressperson the other day – i’ll try and track him down later – who had the honesty to say that what he wanted was to restore the pre-aca status quo, so in that sense i agree that they are not interested.

        I really want to believe that it would be possible to defeat people like this (even in very conservative districts) by going around hammering the message that they want to let insurance companies deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions. It’s very simple, and it fits on a billboard. Your TV ads can be full of examples of the absurd pre-existing conditions that were used to deny coverage (the one that sticks out in my mind is someone who was denied coverage for an unrelated condition because they had failed to disclose that they had acne when they signed up for their plan).

      • daves09

        And the Freedom Caucus has got to be pissed that suddenly nobody is paying attention. The urge to blow up something major now that they are supposedly in charge can only be resisted so long.

        • efgoldman

          The urge to blow up something major now that they are supposedly in charge can only be resisted so long.

          The next debt increase vote is coming next month.

          Be afraid… (etc)

    • DrDick

      No, they have a plan, but they know everyone would hate it. “Piss off and die, you lazy moochers!” really does not poll well among the masses.

      • Davis X. Machina

        Depends on whether you can appropriately shape the composition of ‘moochers’ without violating the 14th Amendment.

        • cpinva

          “The majesty of the law allows “moochers” and “job creators” to be treated the same.”

      • Dennis Orphen

        Actually, it polls quite well in some fairly significant demographics.

        • so-in-so

          Recall “Let him die!” at one of the GOP primary debates? Not this election.

  • CrunchyFrog

    I’m surprised that haven’t coalesced on the obvious strategy: “Repeal and Blame”. That is, pass a bill to repeal ACA 2 years from now and set it up so that any replacement requires both parties to participate and that failure to agree means going back to pre-ACA (IOW, a disaster). Then spend the next two years loudly talking about how the Democrats won’t cooperate or negotiate and that it will be the Dems fault when the deadline hits. Of course the MSM will gladly and eagerly help the GOP along, meanwhile the Dems will of course have a few Senators and Reps who will gladly and eagerly go on TV to say “The GOP has a point, our side isn’t negotiating well”.

    • Scott Lemieux

      It wouldn’t work, though. The president always gets blamed, and McConnell has presumably explained this to Ryan.

      [OT: Surely you can’t resist this.]

      • CrunchyFrog

        I am NOT clicking that link. NOT. I don’t want to know what it’s about. I’ve deleted my NFL and ESPN app. I stopped following Barnwell (made me very sad – he’s a terrific writer). Need to wean myself of that sport. Time better spent, etc.

    • humanoid.panda

      That is, pass a bill to repeal ACA 2 years from now and set it up so that any replacement requires both parties to participate and that failure to agree means going back to pre-ACA (IOW, a disaster).

      How would this work in practice? Replacement only works if it get 2/3 majority in both houses?

      • Morse Code for J

        Yes. We used an identical mechanism to introduce budget sequestration under the assumption that Republicans would prefer a negotiated budget settlement to cutting everyone’s priorities across the board.

        • sigaba

          …and it didn’t work, and ultimately Obama and congressional Democrats bore the blame.

          • humanoid.panda

            I think the issue is that there are 2 possible narratives of Republicans successes in the Obama years:
            1. The presidential party gets blamed for everything no matter what.
            2. Republicans are super-geniuses immune to the laws of political gravity.

            A lot of people are so scarred by election that they go with door no. 2.

            • wengler

              3. Republicans will do their best to make sure non-white people can’t vote.

              • cpinva

                4. there are a lot of stupid people in the US, and they tend to vote republican.

      • CrunchyFrog

        Well, ACA had to beat a filibuster to pass. However, funding could be done with simple majority via reconciliation. So defund the whole thing with two years notice making it unworkable (now you have mandates, but no subsidies, and so on). Then claim that any fix requires a filibuster-proof majority.

        Technically, of course, you could just pass a budget resolution to fix it so the claim that they’d need a filibuster-proof majority would be a flat-out lie. And in a sane world that’s how the press would cover it. But we don’t live in a sane world – we live in a world in which the MSM just passes on GOP spin as fact (I know we are in a special situation now due to Trump’s unique managing style, but if Pence replaced Trump the MSM happily goes back to business as usual). There will be some flimsy rationale for why that can’t work and it will be enough for the MSM to represent it as “both sides have a point”, and that’s all the GOP spinmeisters need.

        The problem, as Scott points out, is that the public tends to blame the President no matter what. But the key here is to meet the GOP goal of killing off ACA, Medicare, and social security and somehow plausibly blame the Dems. They don’t have to convince everyone, just enough white voters so that after they crush the black and hispanic and youth vote they’ll still win a majority.

        • humanoid.panda

          In short: if you presume Republicans are super-villains, there is nothing they can’t do. And if they can’t do something, they will simply change the electorate. And if they still lose election, they won’t vacate office.

          • To be fair, they pretty much are supervillains at this point. Or maybe Captain Planet villains.

          • cpinva

            “And if they still lose election, they won’t vacate office.”

            Comey’s FBI will stop the US Marshals from physically removing them from their offices.

            • bs

              I still can’t believe Obama didn’t publicly and loudly excoriate him for partisan hackery, and fire him on the evening news. (is that even a thing anymore?)

          • ap77

            All of these things seem plausible to me…

    • L2P

      They floated that already and it’s going nowhere.

      The problem is that the insurers will all pull out of the market immediately upon the repeal. They aren’t going to wait to see if the ACA gets saved in two years. The potential business at that point is so iffy it’s not worth two years of further investment in the market.

      This isn’t even a question. We know this will happen. Whatever year the repeal comes down, that’s the last year that the insurers will support the ACA market.

  • Incontinentia Buttocks

    The House Republican Healthcare Plan lowers costs, provides more control and more choices to pick a plan that meets our needs, not a plan that Washington mandates.

    That’s not just completely vague, it’s also hilariously poorly written. The possessive pronoun “our” lacks a clear referent, but “House Republicans” seems as likely as anything. I guess that would at least be honest.

    • Joe_JP

      There a Halbig troofer joke in there somewhere.

    • Mike G

      “Our” meaning, “the insurance companies that own House Republicans”; and “needs” meaning, “make us a shitload of money while giving us free rein to rip people off”.

    • delazeur

      I had to read it two or three times to feel like I was parsing it correctly. For a single sentence, they really did a piss-poor job. Given that Congress is crawling with people who write simple one-liners for a living, I have to assume that this was on purpose.

      • cpinva

        ” Given that Congress is crawling with people who write simple one-liners for a living, I have to assume that this was on purpose.”

        those people spend a whole lot of their time writing ambiguously worded bills, so their bosses can hide behind that ambiguity, when their constituents inevitably finally figure out they’ve been screwed, and bitch them out about it. just look at the Internal Revenue Code, as a prime example.

        • Mayur

          Which raises a separate question: Is there a radical simplification of the code that could come from the Dem side? One of the received truths among “independent” voters is that taxes are not only too high, but too complicated. Conservatives love to hold up the IRC and the IRS as examples of dysfunctional big government precisely because they are so easy to demonize. Is there any significant, easy-to-explain tax reform initiative on the liberal side?

  • Rob in CT

    Part of me (not actually the part in control) hopes we will get a real live test of the idea that the ACA going down in flames would lead to Medicare for All.

    The rest of me thinks about the avoidable suffering that would occur in the meantime and isn’t so interested in the experiment anymore.

    I haven’t had the proceedure to remove empathy like that scientist in The Expanse.

    • CrunchyFrog

      I haven’t had the procedure to remove empathy like that scientist in The Expanse.

      Oh, that feature comes standard with the Republican model.

      • Philip

        But you’ve still got to pay for it, they don’t believe in freeloading

        • guthrie

          It’s almost like they don’t believe in society, or insurance!

        • CrunchyFrog

          Don’t believe in freeloading? I have some staunch Republican neighbors I can introduce you to who haven’t done a day of work since their military officer retirement in their 40s and love all of their freebies – while bitching constantly about Obamacare and the food stamp president.

          • Philip

            Yeah, I was missing the required font for that comment

    • AdamPShort

      Even more than avoidable suffering, lost in much of this debate is what happens to the actual health care delivery system if the entire payments system goes completely haywire (which is what will happen if the ACA is repealed and not replaced).

      Supply-side decay – where the actual ability of a real economy to create the stuff people need to consume – is very, very bad. It is much worse than anything that can happen in a finance structure (which is notional and can always be repaired.) No one knows what to do about it. If it happens we are monumentally fucked

      • Rob in CT

        There’s that too. Disruption. Uncertainty! Remember when that was bad?

        • so-in-so

          All those business people now saying “disruption” is good, so, yeah, more disruption!

          Management by buzzword is not out of style.

          • AdamPShort

            Yes, exactly. The word “disruption” applies both to the effects of inventing a new way to sew buttons onto shirts and the effects of dropping an atomic bomb on the shirt factory, so if the first kind of disruption is good for shirt buyers than obviously the second kind is good for shirt buyers too. It’s science.

    • Sly

      The ACA going down in flames means we revert to the pre-ACA status quo, or worse, for the next thirty years at minimum. No one in Congress will touch healthcare reform because they’ll risk losing their seat with the added counter-incentive that it could very well be undone a election cycle or two later.

  • keta

    That “abetterhealthcareplan.com” site is nifty. It has no info save the pull quote in the OP, and if you watch the 30 second video link it tells you, “for more information” go to “abetterhealthcareplan.com.”!

    It should all be replaced with this pic with the caption, “Paul Ryan and the GOP have found a replacement for the ACA!”

    • Hogan

      Our plan is so great, so fabulous, that if we explained it you would literally plotz. And we can’t have that. We’re keeping it a secret for your protection.

      • Domino

        They really took to heart Mitt Romney bringing up the idea of having conversations in “quiet rooms”, didn’t they?

    • “They’re taking the hobbits to Isengard!”

  • Cheap Wino

    The video at the site directs people to learn more by visiting the site. Already on life support, the plug was pulled on satire today.

    • Rob in CT

      At this point satire is a shambling zombie.

      • BigHank53

        Really, it’s not that hard to find the people whose brains have already been eaten by the satire zombie. The President is putting lots of them on TV.

      • N__B

        And therefore requires no healthcare.

    • muddy

      No one is actually supposed to watch the video, you just see that there is one, accept this as proof and shout, Checkmate, libs!

  • petesh

    Who wrote that headline. (I couldn’t help it.)

  • NewishLawyer

    I wouldn’t agree with it but I would have respect to the GOP crowd if they merely admitted that their stance was it was not the responsibility or role of government to ensure that everyone gets healthcare. This would be wrong in my view but it would be honestly stating a political philosophy.

    Then again, I think it would be really interesting to see an election where the stances were on starkly Rawlisan v. Nozkian terms without any coding, red meat, dog whistles, etc. A sort of election between theories of government and responsibility stated in stark terms.

    • Steve LaBonne

      The fact that they’re scared to say this openly is real progress no matter what happens in the short term.

      • John F

        I wouldn’t agree with it but I would have respect to the GOP crowd if they merely admitted that their stance was it was not the responsibility or role of government to ensure that everyone gets healthcare

        I know some conservatives who admit that, none are politicians- they know full well that such an open statement would be deeply unpopular with a large majority of the populace.

        There are essentially 2 GOP voting blocs when it comes to healthcare

        1. The big bloc are those who think it is the responsibility or role of government to ensure that those “deserving” gets healthcare, but it’s ok to trade off, if some deserving lose out in order to ensure that the “undeserving” get jack shit, so be it.

        2. The smaller bloc believes it is not the responsibility or role of government to ensure that everyone gets healthcare, get sick, don’t have/can’t afford insurance/medical care? Tough.

    • LeeEsq

      I assume your going to have to get rid of a lot of the academic jargon that Rawls and Nozick used though and have the debate in simpler, planer language.

      • Davis X. Machina

        “Sperm bingo”, for example.

  • jim, some guy in iowa

    another song that probably isn’t the soundtrack to Paul Ryan working out

    • N__B

      If I swallow anything evil
      Put your fingers down my throat
      If I shiver please give me a blanket
      Keep me warm let me share your coat

      …is sure as hell not part of the R philosophy.

      • muddy

        To be hated
        To be fated
        To telling only lies

        I’m sure he doesn’t care for this either. Bad mirror!

  • j_doc

    Is it odd that we’re three weeks in and there’s been no substantive legislation at all? ACA repeal or anything else. I guess the Senate is busy with the late cabinet appointments, but why isn’t the House passing their wish list?

    • humanoid.panda

      Because their wishes might come true.

      • efgoldman

        Because their wishes might come true.

        Also because a few of their town meetings (including Utah’s King of Smarm last nite) are getting lots of publicity and coverage, and maybe they’re a little scared of the next steps.

        Remember, the prime directive is always “I get re-elected.”

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      they are better at chasing cars than driving them

      “huh. It won’t go. What do you mean, it won’t start unless I push in the clutch? This thing has a manual transmission? Durr”

      or, it might be as simple as they can’t decide who’s going to be found behind the wheel of the crashed car

    • John F

      Is it odd that we’re three weeks in and there’s been no substantive legislation at all?

      no…

      The GOP Reps and Senators fall into 2 groups, the true believers and the panderers. The panderers don’t actually want to enact the full wishlist.

      • cpinva

        “The panderers don’t actually want to enact the full wishlist.”

        the panderers don’t want to legislate period, lest their fingerprints be found, and traced directly back to them. in fact, if you think about it, a full republican control of government is probably the worst thing to happen to most republicans in congress. they no longer have the excuse of democratic opposition, to blame for not passing the kinds of bills they told their constituents they would, but had no intention of ever bringing up, much less passing.

        it’s going to be rough for them in 2018, when they’ve spent two more years doing nothing, with a republican president and supreme court. how do they explain this nothingness to their constituents? not all of them are that gullible.

        • John F

          but had no intention of ever bringing up, much less passing.

          The thing is, some of these guys are like that, never had any intention of passing any of this, but some are in fact true believers- they will bring this stuff up and will start getting pissy when some fellow GOPers start saying “well hold on there a minute” the civil war that the GOP seemed on the brink of waging has only temporarily abated.

    • JKTH

      It takes a while to pass any legislation…even the stimulus, which they were trying to rush to pass, wasn’t passed by this point in 2009. But yeah, Congress does seem to have a problem getting their shit together so far.

      • Steve LaBonne

        Which is odd since they’re so very full of shit.

        • cpinva

          “Which is odd since they’re so very full of shit.”

          being full of shit, and having your shit together, are not, by definition, mutually inclusive.

  • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

    The “strategy” to kill the ACA now, apparently, is to wait for the level of insurers’ uncertainty to cause insurers to drive up premiums, then claim a “death spiral” is happening and step in to “save healthcare” from that nasty Obamacare.

    https://www.balloon-juice.com/2017/02/10/political-profits-from-chaos/

    But a big wrench may have been thrown in this by a judges decision affirming the right of insurers to receive the massive risk corridor payments they were promised in the ACA to stabilize the insurance markets, but which the Republicans in Congress withheld. If the GOP plan is to continue withholding this money (and lawyers smarter than any I’ve ever met seem to think it’s possible, judge’s ruling or no), then the GOP could now be accused of denying Americans premium relief, all over a political spat.

    http://theincidentaleconomist.com/wordpress/the-feds-have-been-ordered-to-cough-up-risk-corridor-money/

    • humanoid.panda

      The problem with this strategy is that it basically assumes the median voter is a Fox News viewer who follows the storyline. But the median voter is probably convinced that Obamacare was repealed on November 9, so whatever happens now is on Trump.

      • Thrax

        Maybe. I’m afraid that the strategy is a pretty good one, at least for the short term: sabotage the ACA for a year, encourage insurers to flee by any means necessary, Fox News blaring all the while that “OBAMACARE IS FALLING APART,” then stage your “repeal-and-replace-with-something-crappy” vote. There are probably more than zero Democrats who would go along at that point, so they get to call it “bipartisan.” If they can’t get to eight Senate Democrats, then they do what they can with budget reconciliation.

        I don’t think it’s a very good *long term* strategy, policy or political, but as a way to get something passed–i.e., keeping the Senate Republicans who aren’t willing to repeal without a replacement on board–it probably works OK.

        (ETA: the trick is assuaging the base for a year, as the base wants a repeal NOW NOW NOW. But they’ll get their repeal vote before the midterms.)

        • humanoid.panda

          I’m afraid that the strategy is a pretty good one, at least for the short term: sabotage the ACA for a year, encourage insurers to flee by any means necessary, Fox News blaring all the while that “OBAMACARE IS FALLING APART,” then stage your “repeal-and-replace-with-something-crappy” vote. There are probably more than zero Democrats who would go along at that point, so they get to call it “bipartisan.” If they can’t get to eight Senate Democrats, then they do what they can with budget reconciliation.

          But this was exactly my original point: Fox News blaring things its nice, but the voters they need to reach don’t watch Fox News. And as far as Dems go, so far, the caucus was unanimous in voting against the repeal process and against Price. Maybe one or two Democrats split up later, but it’s hard to see them doing it unless the GOP is willing, at the very least, to keep Medicaid expansion in peace. Which I don’t think it does.

          Of course, what you outline in terms of the GOP voting on repeal is very likely. I just don’t think it will be popular, not one least bit.

          • Thrax

            I think we agree–this won’t be popular with most people, and it’ll get even less popular when the terrible plan goes into effect in substance. But it’ll garner 50 GOP senators, and I don’t think they have those 50 right now, so in that respect it’s a solid strategy, I fear. (The relevance of Fox News is that the GOP senators who aren’t on board with repeal-and-replace-with-nothing, or repeal-and-replace-with-almost-nothing, will probably go along when they start getting calls from their Fox-News-watching-base.)

            • humanoid.panda

              Fair enough. I think one wrinkle here is that so far, it seems the Republican base is not particularly active. Another wrinkle is that reconcilliation can be used to destroy the ACA , but not to rebuild something that the medical industry can live with. And I think Senators listen to the industry.

              • lunaticllama

                Also, interestingly enough, rural hospitals seem to be very against repeal in any form, because they’d lose a key source of their current revenue, and a lot of House Republicans come from rural districts. That the two Republican town halls (in TN and UT) with a lot of press coverage last night featured a lot of anti-repeal speakers and sentiments bodes well that the ACA may survive.

                • cpinva

                  “That the two Republican town halls (in TN and UT) with a lot of press coverage last night featured a lot of anti-repeal speakers and sentiments bodes well that the ACA may survive.”

                  I’m guessing the “lesson learned” there is, don’t have any town meetings. not having any town meetings is far less newsworthy than having one that goes off the deep end.

              • PhoenixRising

                For those not in the field, we have a hint about how industry is likely to react to any draft plan or bill.

                A letter was co-signed by AHIP (America’s Health Insurance Plans) and the AHA (hospital lobbying group). In it, they explained–in words simple enough to be understood by a GOP congressman–that repealing the ACA without putting back the funding streams allowing them to provide health care to rural Americans would result in the 7 plagues of Egypt.

                They’re not wrong; repeal will cause a disaster of Biblical scale in sparsely populated regions of the US, and part of what will make it Old Testament style is that they’re reliable GOP voters.

                But the contents of the letter advising House Republicans about the needs of the industry really pale in comparison to the signers. This would be like Lambda Legal and Focus on the Family teaming up on a policy position. If these groups who exist to debate with each other who is gonna get fed at the expense of the other, in a zero-sum budget, are both ready to fight you…look out.

        • efgoldman

          the trick is assuaging the base for a year, as the base wants a repeal NOW NOW NOW.

          There really are an awful lot of shitheads out there who want Obamacare repealed right now, but don’t dare touch their Medicaid or subsidized state insurance pools.

          Yes, they are that stupid. I give you Kentucky.

      • John F

        The median GOP primary voter is a Fox News viewer.

    • L2P

      Obama leaves office with an ACA that works. Republicans take over. ACA doesn’t work.

      I get the subtle distinction between “The Republican’s repealed the ACA” and “The Republicans took action to make sure the ACA wouldn’t work,” but how many people (1) would know that different and (2) care? Most people who are savvy enough to know the difference would already either blame the Republicans, or are so opposed to public health care that they’d forgive anything.

      • cpinva

        “Most people who are savvy enough to know the difference would already either blame the Republicans, or are so opposed to public health care that they’d forgive anything.”

        the ACA isn’t “public health care”, the gov’t has nothing to do with the actual provision of health care services. don’t continue to allow the republicans control over definitions, because that does make a difference. that’s where the whole “death panels” nonsense came from. and they aren’t opposed to “public health care” per se, just health care given to the “wrong” sorts of people. you know, people not worthy of it. it should only be provided to the special snowflake sorts of people, which any republican thinks he/she is.

  • DamnYankees

    I struggle with the ACA repeal issue. I obviously don’t want it to happen, but I also worry about the consequences of it not happening.

    During the campaign season, liberals would go crazy when we heard from conservative voters that they refused to believe the GOP would follow through on repealing the ACA, or Medicare, or whatever. It seems so obvious to us that these people are deluded, and they are voting for people who want to do exactly what their voters hope they won’t do.

    But if liberals are successful in saving the ACA…we’ll be proving them right. They will have been correct that they voted for Republicans and didn’t lose their healthcare. They won’t care or notice that this happens despite Republican efforts to take it away. They will just learn the lesson that they can ignore the parts of the GOP platform that are bad for them. And so, in the next election, when they vote for these same people making the same promises, who are we – as liberals – to tell them they are wrong? This is exactly what happened with Social Security, after all.

    Like I said, I don’t think we should run the experiment. Health care is too important. But we’re stuck in this cycle.

    • humanoid.panda

      Counter-point: Bush’s failure to pass Social Security privatization did not lead to great GOP electoral successes.

      • DamnYankees

        But their attempt to pass it didn’t really hurt them either.

        • humanoid.panda

          Didn’t it? Admittedly, I wasn’t here when that happened, but from what I’v read, it brought W’s approval numbers to the low 40s, he never recovered, and lost the midterms.

          • DamnYankees

            I think its hard to disentangle cause and effect of his drop in approval, since Katrina also happened around that same time, and Iraq continued to chip away at his popularity.

            • Well, yes, but it was the Social Security mess that started cratering his numbers in the first place. I don’t know if that can be entirely overlooked. I don’t think the voters in the 2006 midterms had entirely forgotten it.

              • cpinva

                this. obviously his position on SS wasn’t the only black mark, but it sure scared the hell out of the elderly, and the elderly vote consistently.

                • John F

                  Yes, there’s a reason SS is referred to by pols as the third rail, but right after 2004 Dubya thought he was both bulletproof and thoroughly insulated…

        • Sly

          The combination of the Congressional ethics scandal, Katrina, and SS privatization being smothered to death in its crib turned Bush’s second term into a giant nothingburger in terms of Republican accomplishments. You could argue that one did more damage than the others, but all three were catastrophic for Republican electoral prospects in 2006 and 2008.

    • John F

      During the campaign season, liberals would go crazy when we heard from conservative voters that they refused to believe the GOP would follow through on repealing the ACA, or Medicare, or whatever.

      Most of the time the GOP lacked the ABILITY to do those things, now they can in fact do those things, not doing at least some of what they promise will infuriate the RW diehards…

      Of course infuriating the RW diehards has NO negative repercussions on the GOP as a whole:

      RW diehards may tell a pollster they disapprove of the GOP, disapprove of Senator A, Governor B, etc., but
      1. They will never ever vote Dem;
      2. They will never run/support a 3rd party and risk splitting the rightwing vote; and
      3. They will never NOT vote, and risk the Dems winning.

      What they will do is support primary challenges, but that doesn’t harm the GOP as a whole, just individual Pols.

      The dynamic we will see now is sharp relief is this:
      which GOP pols are more worried about getting primaried than those who worry about the General Election and vice versa.

    • SatanicPanic

      You’re way overthinking this. Democrats need to defend the ACA because it’s the right thing to do. We can’t predict how uninformed and/or Republicans (or both) will react and we do dumb things when we try to get strategic.

      • lunaticllama

        Also, substantive political defeats for Republicans can be a self-reinforcing trend. It would also allow Democrats to run on what they stopped Republicans from doing.

      • cpinva

        “We can’t predict how uninformed and/or Republicans (or both but I repeat myself) will react and we do dumb things when we try to get strategic.”

        there, fixed that for you. I can predict how they will react: they will vote for every republican on the ticket, as they’ve been trained to do. it doesn’t matter what the GOP does, or how what they do actually harms their constituents, as long as what they do harms those people worse, the average republican voter will be ok with it, even as they eat at a soup kitchen, and spend their nights at a homeless shelter.

  • FlipYrWhig

    The thing that rank-and-file Republicans don’t like about Obamacare is that it is welfare for Those People (black people, illegal immigrants, refugees, idlers, poofters, hipsters, and sluts) and they’re on the hook for paying for it. The fact that it is not any of those things and they are almost certainly benefiting from it more than they are paying for it is no hindrance to their belief.

    • Gone2Ground

      Nor do they like the fact that costs from the insurance companies aren’t more tightly controlled, which is, of course, Obama’s fault.

      I had this conversation with my RW SIL. “Costs for insurance are out of control on the exchanges!”

      Me: That’s the fault of the insurance companies, not Obamacare.

      SIL: They should have been more tightly regulated.

      Me: By whom, exactly? Republicans? Ha. Democrats barely got the regulations we HAVE passed.

      I’m of a similar mind as those above. Let the ACA go by the wayside, but only if Democrats make a Yuuuuge effort to hang this on the GOP. Forever.

      I have a similar feeling about President Pence. OTOH, terrible, awful, etc. OTOH, Let Americans see what an actual Xtian theocrat in real power can and will do and can and does believe.

      • Denverite

        Next time you might want to mention that most insurance regulation — certainly including rate submission and approval — occurs at the state level.

        • Gone2Ground

          Oh, I tell them that’s why the GOP’s “Selling Insurance Across State Lines” farce is a total BS move and won’t solve anything. But good point.

          The other thing that drives me insane about the whole discussion is the idea that if the ACA isn’t effing perfect, then we should just burn the whole thing down, i.e., vote for Trump/the GOP.

          When things don’t work right, you roll up your sleeves and fix it. You don’t just throw everything out the window. But apparently the toddlers on the RW team don’t know this or are too impatient to do it.

          I will be the first to admit the ACA has problems – especially for middle income people who buy insurance on the exchanges. Too expensive, too narrow of networks, etc. But the answer isn’t to just flip out. The answer is to push for improvement. Push for single payer. Push for something to change. Most Americans, apparently, are too lazy for that.

          • Denverite

            and won’t solve anything

            Oh, it will solve the problem of too many people buying insurance that they expect to pay anything when they have medical costs.

          • so-in-so

            The other thing that drives me insane about the whole discussion is the idea that if the ACA isn’t effing perfect, then we should just burn the whole thing down, i.e., vote for Trump/the GOP.

            Next time they complain something is wrong with their house or car, whip out a book of matches and offer to apply their ACA solution to the problem!

      • howard

        there are two other responses to keep in mind: a.) rates are below what was projected at the time of aca passage; b.) what matters is what people pay post-subsidy.

        • FlipYrWhig

          The details are immaterial. They know what they know. Their real grievance (to the degree that they have one) is that employment-based insurance is getting pricier and/or worse, which they blame on the ACA, because they think the ACA is welfare at their expense.

        • cpinva

          you’re right Howard, but you’re also talking about a group of people who aren’t terribly well educated, and definitely not particularly well informed. they also have families and a life, and they have neither the time nor the interest to do even the most basic research on these issues. they get their news from FOX, and their local tea party group. they aren’t bad people, just totally overwhelmed. the world seems to have passed them by, and they’re pissed about it. to listen to them, all of those people are getting all these free gov’t bennies, and they aren’t getting squat for their tax dollars. the victimhood of the self-righteous class.

          • efgoldman

            they aren’t bad people

            Yes, actually, many of them are fucking horrible excuses for human beings.

            Racism, misogyny, willful and purposeful ignorance are not characteristics of “good people.”

    • John F

      Yes, but the thing is this- it is true that such Repubs will vote against a program that would help them if such a program will also help “Those People.”

      We are no longer at that STAGE, this is the point where you are going to actually take something away from some GOP voters- and they won’t be happy about that even if it is in the service of the greater good (Taking away stuff from “Those People.”

      People in general are less apt to object when something is “taken” from them if they have never had possession of the thing-
      Having $100 withheld from your paycheck to pay taxes hurts less than writing a check for $100.

      Republican voters are even worse do to there inherent libertarian/individualistic bent (i.e., they are selfish greedy SOBS)- they now have something and god help you if you try to pry it from their cold clammy hands.

      • humanoid.panda

        This. There is a reason why 80% of republicans oppose Medicare cuts, event though it treats the worthy and unworthy the same.

        • cpinva

          a good chunk of them don’t realize medicare is a fed. gov’t run program. hence, the stupid lady saying “keep the gov’t’s hands off of my medicare!” at an ACA town hall meeting many years ago.

      • FlipYrWhig

        I hope so. But a sense of personal loss didn’t stop Kansas from reelecting Brownback after deep program cuts and other assaults on decency. A Republican can always think “stupid Obama screwed up the whole thing and now _I_ have to suffer for it! If they just cut off the moochers we’d all have plenty to go around!”

        At any rate, I think the polling on Obamacare has never quite made the connection that the thing that Republicans don’t like about Obamacare isn’t any of its actual features but a mistaken impression of what it does and for whom. I bet if they polled something like “Who do you think Obamacare mostly benefits?” Republicans would say, en masse, with sky-high levels, black and brown people.

        • humanoid.panda

          I hope so. But a sense of personal loss didn’t stop Kansas from reelecting Brownback after deep program cuts and other assaults on decency.

          Right- but keep in mind that Bronwback won by 3% in a Republican +20 state. Nationally, republicans can’t afford even a one fifth of this sort of thing.

          • John F

            Yeah, Brownback polls terribly for such a deep red state- but as objectively terrible as he’s been, he still has majority support among registered Repubs and that’s all he needs, just get on the ballot with an R next to his name.

            If a Repub POTUS lost as much GOP support nationally as Brownback did in Kansas, he’d lose nationally by 10+ points.

            • In a fair election, certainly. I’m not sure we can count on such a thing from the Sessions DOJ.

  • Timurid

    I was in a grad school TA-office discussion where the old ‘Negro National Anthem’ somehow came up as a topic. Somebody asked, “If there were a White National Anthem, what would it be?”

    I instantly replied with the Who song referenced in the title of this thread. Nothing could be more obvious.

    • John F

      My first response to “If there were a White National Anthem, what would it be?”

      Would be to state (as question): The Star Spangled Banner?

      But, yeah, Behind Blue Eyes, just as good.

    • humanoid.panda

      America Fuck Yeah, with the irony missed?

    • Domino

      Bonus: Limp Bizkit covered the song (no, I will not link it, you have to go and search for it yourselves you monsters).

      • Gods damn it. I had successfully managed to forget the existences of both that cover and Limp Bizkit themselves. Thanks for taking that away from me. It’s like a much more twisted version of The Game. Which you just lost.

        • BiloSagdiyev

          Same here. I think I heard it in the past. No memory. I shan’t google.

      • John F

        ok I had to give it a listen, and it didn’t start out badly… then they started overdoing the echo effect, and that first bridge was an abomination… and then the song just rolls over and dies, limply…

        I’m torn now, it may actually be as bad as Five Finger Death Punch’s cover of Bad Company… (Hint: when you cover a song altering/removing the song’s most prominent musical hook/riff is generally a bad idea)

        • q-tip

          (Hint: when you cover a song altering/removing the song’s most prominent musical hook/riff is generally a bad idea

          Counterexample: Cat Power, “Satisfaction.”

        • bs

          5FDP’s cover isn’t good, but it does leave the entire arrangement intact, and at least it’s not their usual moose metal vocals. Perhaps you were thinking of a different Bad Company song? Limp Bizkit always was, and always will be, a musical abomination. I even read the youtube comments on that one,(I know, even worse than the video itself) and they were UNIVERSALLY POSITIVE. IN A YOUTUBE COMMENT SECTION. All the dipshit trolls who normally fill the comments with flame wars, homophobic & misogynistic slurs apparently really, really like Fred Durst. Who’da thunk?

    • D.N. Nation

      Something Elliott Smith (this is not meant as an insult)

  • anapestic

    I think Democrats knew when they passed the ACA that they might very well lose their majority (in part) because of it. But they still thought it was the right thing to do and worth the electoral price they paid.

    Republicans could very easily kill the ACA if they were willing to take the same risk. Once it’s dead, getting back can’t happen before 2020, and even then it would be a real uphill battle to make it happen, even if Democrats control both chambers and the White House (no easy feat given how well Republicans have redistricted to give them safe seats).

    I don’t think they have the guts.

    • Gone2Ground

      I think plenty of their masters in the FIRE sector are telling them to stop screwing around and get serious. Specifically the “I” – the nsurance industry. Messing about with the ACA is going to affect their bottom line, which is going to affect the GOP’s reelection campaign donations.

      I don’t think their ideology is strong enough to overcome their venality.

      But I’ve been wrong before!

      • FlipYrWhig

        Unfortunately, what the Trump campaign proved, like the televangelists of yore, is that you can raise a lot of money by fleecing not-especially-well-off idiots one at a time. So they may not need big donations from moneyed interests as much as they used to think they did, as long as they’re obnoxious enough.

    • John F

      I think Democrats knew when they passed the ACA that they might very well lose their majority

      Take this with a grain of salt, because I totally missed the magnitude of the 2010 wave, but I think passing the ACA actually had very little to do with 2010’s wave-

      2010 was a mass freakout/reaction by “conservative” whites over Obama actually getting elected- sure the polls correctly said he was gonna win, but those people don’t really pay attention to polls (then or now)- Obama winning was truly a shock to them. Ordinarily you have a huge drop off in off year election turnout- that didn’t really happen in 2010- what happened in 2010 was a huge number of middle aged and older whites who didn’t normally vote in off years, trudged out to vote against Obama(‘s party).

      • FlipYrWhig

        It was a mass freakout about redistribution, taking the stimulus bill and the ACA as two aspects of the same phenomenon, to wit, that the new black, black-loving, and loser-coddling government was taking white people’s money and give it to black, black-loving, and loser people.

      • Abbey Bartlet

        what happened in 2010 was a huge number of middle aged and older whites who didn’t normally vote in off years, trudged out to vote against Obama(‘s party).

        See also 2016.

        • John F

          no, 2016 was a totally different dynamic- turnout COLLAPSED, essentially even more lefty voters stayed home than usual for an off year election.

          Essentially lets say that usually 70% of Repub voters and 60% of Dem voters show up in off years

          in 2010 you had 85% of Repub voters and 65% of Dem voters show up, result GOP wave

          in 2014 you had a normal %, 70% of Repub voters show up, but Dem support collapsed, 50% of Dem voters showed up- the result with respect to seats was the same as 2010, but it really wasn’t a GOP “wave,” it was a Dem “trough”

  • Bitter Scribe

    It all boils down to, the Republicans don’t want any kind of subsidy for health coverage, because they think it’s immoral and wicked to take money away from person A to benefit person B. All of their vagueness and obfuscation is designed to obscure that fact. And also obscure the fact that, without a subsidy, health insurance would be simply unaffordable for the vast majority of those who, for whatever reason, can’t get it through work.

    • so-in-so

      Only if person A is better off to begin with. They see no problem with taking money from the poor for the benefit of the rich.

      I think it is called “social Darwinism”, the only kind they will admit to believing in.

    • FlipYrWhig

      Yup. It’s a heart a grievance about the moral status of redistribution, and one that misunderstands in a profound way how much they have already _benefited from_ redistribution. If it’s all about makers and takers (which I don’t think it is, but that language resonates with Republicans), Republicans are a party of takers who think they’re makers and complain about how all those takers take from them.

    • Vance Maverick

      without a subsidy, health insurance would be simply unaffordable for the vast majority of those who, for whatever reason, can’t get it through work.

      And as I’m sure you know, getting it through work involves a subsidy too — just one that isn’t currently under threat.

  • jam

    The video literally instructs us to “imagine” the most awesome possible plan, and that’s apparently what they’re for.

    Maybe they can make imagination central to their plan.

    Imagine you’re not actually sick!
    Imagine if John Roberts hadn’t rewritten Medicaid!
    Imagine if Paul Ryan had any clue how to make policy!

  • ice9

    Aside from the obvious deceit and douchery of the whole process, that statement is a syntax train wreck. Donald Trump tweets more articulately than that.

    ice

  • smott999

    Betsy DeVos chased from DC School by protesters yelling Shame

    https://mobile.twitter.com/ABC7News/status/830078974889959429/video/1

    • BiloSagdiyev

      Oh, the enmity!, David Brooks just mewled about this on the radio.

    • dbk

      Yeah, just caught this. I followed the hearing and the floor debate live (well, 11 hours of it), and the candidate generally from the time she was nominated; honestly, I would have predicted this would happen once the messages/calls topped a million. Somebody in her retinue is one brick short of a full load.

      • Davis X. Machina

        Only the advent of white boards will save her from the fate she deserves — clapped to death by third graders with chalkboard erasers.

  • daves09

    The Freedom Caucus has been suspiciously quiet. They must be realizing that the only time they got attention was when they were threatening to blow things up-starting with the ACA.
    Expect explosions shortly.

    • efgoldman

      Expect explosions shortly.

      Isn’t the debt ceiling coming up next month?
      Will Granny Starver allow the economy to go belly up all at once, or will he pull a Boehner and fall on his sword?

  • OT: One of the ads I’m getting on the sidebar is apparently for a maritime law firm, which I didn’t know was actually a thing. Naturally, Arrested Development is the first thing that came to mind.

    I’ve heard the Trumps compared to the Bluths without a Michael. The incest subtext is way more disturbing in the Trumps’ case, though.

    • efgoldman

      One of the ads I’m getting on the sidebar is apparently for a maritime law firm, which I didn’t know was actually a thing.

      There are specialists in law just like in medicine. In my misspent yout’, working in the claims department of a trucking company, I thought I might go to law school and become an ICC practitioner.

      Very misspent yout’….

    • Hogan

      a maritime law firm, which I didn’t know was actually a thing.

      You got your flotsam, and you got your jetsam.

      • You got your flotsam, and you got your jetsam.

        No love for lagan?

      • N__B

        You got your flotsam, and you got your jetsam.

        Can’t we stop talking about the cabinet even for a second?

      • bs

        Did somebody say flotsam & jetsam? Plus, we had a cover version convo upthread:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOA6USLxSsw

  • e.a.foster

    there are those Republicans who believe the State has no business in health care and therefore oppose any government intervention.

    Then there are those who don’t like the ACA because it was brought in by Obama.

    Then there are those who don’t like the ACA because it doesn’t do enough.

    What amazed me was during some political debate regarding government provided health care, one person in the audience saying it was O.K. by them if their fellow Americans died because of a lack of health care. They were of the opinion people had to provide that themselves.

    the Republicans railed against the ACA for years. During the election they promised to repeal it, but unfortunately they didn’t have any ideas for a replacement. If they don’t repeal some of their base will be some pissed off. if they repeal it and there is no adequate replacement and children and veterans start to die, it will cause an out rage and cries of we didn’t want that to happen, we just want to get rid of Obama care.

    I live in Canada, where we spend approx. 50% less per year, as a nation, on health care. All of our citizens, permanent residents, the equivalent of green card holders, etc. get covered mostly for free. In a couple of provinces its part of the income tax you pay and in British Columbia there is a fee for those couples making $61K a year or more of $150. per month. Our country continues to thrive. the world has not come to an end. etc.

    Americans for so long thought of themselves as “rugged individuals” who were free, etc. they didn’t deal with the changing scene in medical sciences. At one time it might have been fine to deal with your local doctor. there wasn’t much in medicine which could be done for a lot of diseases. Today, heart transplants form part of Canadian medical deliver. conditions we died of even 30 years ago are very treatable and people live long and good lives after recovery. Why wouldn’t we want that for all of us and not just those who can afford it.

    Why would a country want children to die from something they didn’t need to? That is what is most distressing, is a modern country which won’t provide health care for its children.

    • FlipYrWhig

      Why would a country want children to die from something they didn’t need to?

      Because the country has hell of a lot of very hateful, ignorant people in it and a ruling party that likes keeping it that way.

      • Davis X. Machina

        Most people still get their insurance through the government (Medicare, TRICARE, VA, etc.) or through an employer.

        So the actual risk that you, personally, will suffer unnecessary sickness and suffering, is actually quite small.

        Even then, the vicarious thrill of sharing in a great tribal victory outweighs the unnecessary sickness and suffering if it does happen to you, or a loved one.

  • AMK

    The GOP hates the ACA because the funding mechanism is progressive—but can’t they just make it regressive? Replace the capital gains tax bump that funds it with some kind of sales tax on things they don’t like/things Those People buy? Levy a 10% tax on all female contraception, movie tickets, book stores, hybrid & electric cars, Kools, basketball apparel and select Mexican imports. Call it a “healthcare responsibility tax” or something similar. Is there any reason this wouldn’t work if they found a mix of products that could raise the amount of money needed, or close to it?

    • Chetsky

      Yeah, poor people make too little to afford medical insurance of any actual value. Poorer working class people, ditto.

      No tax on that income segment will bring enough $$ in to cover the cost. If we begin by excluding the wealthiest, then the next-wealthiest will complain, and eventually you’ll be down to the poor, and they’ll die of treatable illnesses.

      Rs don’t believe in social insurance, period.

      • AMK

        So make it a national sales tax. It doesn’t matter as long as it’s regressive–the whole point is just to shift the burden down the income ladder, away from the donors. At some point enough money will be raised to support the system more-or-less as it is. It has the added political benefit of acclimating the low-info voting population (ie 95% of the population) to more regressive sales taxes that can be built on politically down the road with all kinds of “fairness” and “fiscal responsibility” rhetoric. I’m basically doing Ryan’s job for him.

        • I think they are thinking about a national sales tax. In fact, the so-called “border” tax being floated by Congress is essentially converting a corporate income tax into an indirect sales tax.

          The problem, however, is that this means Republicans raising taxes – in a way that will hit many of their supporters hard.

          And yes, you can say “well, their supporters will never vote for Democrats, so Republican pols can do anything to them and they will ALL still line up like lemmings to the voting booth to vote for more beatings”. Um, no. Not all. First of all, there’s primaries. Second, not all Republican voters are steadfast. Third, there are Republican-leaners who are less reliable. Republican turnout does vary from election to election. And as we’ve seen, even relatively small shifts can make a big difference in an election.

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