‘A lot of unnecessary suffering and deaths’

Matt Yglesias wrote recently about the fact that “Blows Happen to People, Not Just Political Movements“:

… the media tends to portray defeats of climate-related legislation as a blow “to environmentalists” rather than a blow to, say, villagers in flood-prone lowlands or drought-stricken Texas farmers. Once you start paying attention, you see this kind of thing in coverage of all sorts of issues.

We’ve certainly seen plenty of it in the coverage of the Supreme Court’s consideration of the Affordable Care Act. The loudest talk about this law and the possibility that it might be overturned has focused almost entirely on the political implications — which politicians will “win” and which will “lose” depending on whether the law is upheld or struck down. Will this decision be “a blow” to Obama or to Romney? Will it be “a blow” to the Democratic Party or to the Republican Party?

So it was nice to see this reminder from Ezra Klein about who it is that really has the most at stake in this politicized fight:

There will be a lot of unnecessary suffering and deaths among the uninsured. That’s the real cost of losing this opportunity to insure 30 million people. And it’s a cost that too often gets swept under the rug in Washington’s handicapping of the political fallout.

Did he say “deaths”? Yes. We’re talking about health care, remember, and that means that, yes, lives are at stake. That’s how health care works.

I would have preferred something simpler and more efficient than the ACA — a single-payer, Medicare-for-all system. But we didn’t wind up with what I would have preferred. We wound up with the ACA, which is — right now — the law of the land, although several of the most important reforms don’t take effect until 2014. If the current law is repealed, then some people who now have access to health care because of it will no longer have access to health care. And so, unsurprisingly, some of those people will die.

It’s those people — the tens of millions facing the prospect of “unnecessary suffering and deaths among the uninsured” who have the most at stake in this and reporting on them should be a bigger priority than reporting on how this affects party politics or political candidates.

CNN’s Elizabeth Cohen keeps her eye on the ball with her report, “The Supreme Court, health care reform, and one little girl.” If this law is overturned, then Violet McManus, 3, of Novato, Calif., will likely lose her health insurance, meaning her family will essentially have to bankrupt itself, shedding all assets and savings, so that Medicaid can keep Violet alive.

Andrea Louise-Campbell explains what that means for a family:

May the justices please meet my sister-in-law. On Feb. 8, she was a healthy 32-year-old, who was seven and a half months pregnant with her first baby. On Feb. 9, she was a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the chest down by a car accident that damaged her spine. Miraculously, the baby, born by emergency C-section, is healthy. Were the Obama health care reforms already in place, my brother and sister-in-law’s situation — insurance-wise and financially — would be far less dire. My brother’s small employer — he is the manager of a metal-fabrication shop — does not offer health insurance, which was too expensive for them to buy on their own. Fortunately, my sister-in-law had enrolled in the Access for Infants and Mothers program, California’s insurance plan for middle-income pregnant women. AIM coverage extends 60 days postpartum and paid for her stay in intensive care and early rehabilitation.

But when the 60 days is up next week, the family will fall through the welfare medicine rabbit hole. …

These specific stories are part of a bigger picture made up of millions of such stories, millions of such people. The Institute for Southern Studies provides a useful numeric portrait of that bigger picture in “What’s at stake in the Supreme Court’s health-law case“:

Estimated number of Americans who have already used ACA provisions to get free preventative care through their insurance plans that previously would have been subject to co-pays or deductibles: 86 million

Amount saved by senior citizens because of prescription drug discounts included in the law: $1.5 billion

Number of small businesses that can now claim tax deductions for providing health insurance to employees: 4 million

Number of people who have been able to receive health care because of the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan created by ACA: 50,000

Year in which that provision will apply to all adults, ensuring that people with existing medical conditions have access to care: 2014

If the Supreme Court strikes down the law’s individual mandate to purchase health insurance, estimated percentage increase in premiums for individuals who don’t get insurance through their job: 2.4 to 40

Number fewer people who would have insurance coverage without the mandate: 12.5 million to 24 million

Amount by which repealing ACA would increase the federal deficit: $210 billion

Some of those millions of people who will lose health insurance if this law is overturned will, because of that, get sicker. And some of them will, in fact, die.

A big roundup of recent health care debate links after the jump.

Akhil Reed Amar: “How to Defend Obamacare

Nothing in the Constitution or history or structure — or precedents, for that matter — provides suitable support for the “mandates are different” intuition, which cannot survive analytic scrutiny. Such an opinion will not write — or if it does, it will not last.

Meaning, with the greatest of respect for an institution and individuals whom I hold dear, I have to teach the stuff that Your Honors write year in and year out to my students. And if a judicial opinion simply fails tests of text, history, structure, and logic—and if it comes down by a 5-4 vote; and if the vote seems to track the party-alignment of appointing presidents; and if the four dissenters are emphatic that the majority’s arguments simply don’t wash; and if the vast majority of us who study constitutional law professionally, including most conservative scholars, agree that these arguments simply don’t wash; and if I already have to do a lot of work to explain Bush v. Gore, in context—well, what will I tell my students when they say to me, cynically, that “it’s all politics”? What will I say, when they ask me (as I have already been asked by one former student): “Just how many presidential elections are five conservative justices allowed to undo?”

Garrett Epps: “The Nine Circles of the ACA

If you want to know how strange things got, consider that a Justice of the United States Supreme Court suggested that the Court should invalidate the entire 2,700-page Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) merely to save him the trouble of reading the whole thing.

… if the majority wants to kill the entire act, they have a rationale that sounds faintly better than “nanny nanny boo boo.”

Henry Aaron: “Why Health Care Isn’t Broccoli — Some Basic Economics

It isn’t often that the course of history turns on principles taught in freshman economics. But the fate of the health reform legislation is now in jeopardy in part because some Supreme Court justices have so far failed to grasp such principles.

Jonathan Zasloff: “Revolution From Above

So here is the conservative argument: something that is necessary for the regulation of interstate commerce is not part of the power to regulate interstate commerce.

Dahlia Lithwick: “Lights! Cameras! It’s the Supreme Court!

I leave it to others to decide whether this shift in tone reflects the fact that the conservatives at the high court have finally dropped their masks and are prepared to embrace the most extreme language of the far right, or if it represents a bit of acting out that will fall away as opinions are drafted, redrafted, and traded.  My point here is a smaller one: Why bar television cameras from the court’s proceedings if, in the end, oral argument unfolds in unapologetically made-for-television fashion?

John Cole: “More Pearl-Clutching* From Right-Wing Elites

Oh, and the answer to the question “If the law fails, what’s next” is that every single person who gets royally screwed, kicked out of their health insurance, etc., should be forcefully and repeatedly asked how they like their GOPcare/teabaggercare. Make the right wing own the mess. They broke it. They bought it. Make them own the misery they create.

(Note Cole’s proper use of the sarcastic/pejorative “pearl-clutching.” Be careful with this one — used improperly, this jibe makes the misuser of it sound really silly.)

See also:

 

  • Anonymous
  • Eric

     What I’ve always never been able to understand is why so many people are confident that, if the PPACA is struck down, we’ll somehow get a single-payer system in its place. If a timid, hesitant solution like the PPACA provoked a firestorm of controversy and ended up crashing and burning at the Supreme Court after a popular President burned up almost all of incoming political capital to get it passed, who else is going to develop the gumption to implement and pass a more expansive and controversial solution? We’re already at the point where Republicans refuse to even consider a solution that they themselves created; how will you get them to back a proposal more radical than even what some conservative Democrats were willing to support?

    I think, even if the PPACA is struck down, it will take many more decades before anyone tries again. Republicans on the federal level clearly don’t care about health care reform — if they did, they would have come up with a competing plan at some point, either during the Obama Administration or during the Bush Administration. Democrats are already pretty cowardly; if they get burned on this deal, why would they take the risk of doing it again, especially if the electorate remains as ambivalent on the issue as it does now and especially if we still have a Congress that can’t even pass a budget any more.

    I’m not saying that it’s impossible, I’m just saying that I don’t really understand the difference. If we weren’t on track to single-payer before the PPACA, what exactly will change after it’s struck down that will galvanize single-payer’s supporters?

  • Dan Audy

    I think the theory is that it will clarify that no compromise is possible and that pushing for the whole hog is the only choice that could succeed.   Universal healthcare is a winner with the population when it isn’t getting covered with lies about inefficiency and deathpanels.  I don’t think that the Democratic party has the moral righteousness to push against the Republican’s if the ACA gets overturned but in 10 years when the situation is even worse and the old people who are the primary problem are dead I think it should happen easily.

  • Lori

    Oh Fred, you just don’t understand. Conservatives feel really, really bad for uninsured people who will die if the ACA is over-turned, but what can you do? It’s the principle of the thing. It’s totally self-evident that the ACA in unconstitutional. There is no other honest way to look at it. If only Obama had worked with the GOP, who were absolutely acting in good faith throughout the debate, none of this would be necessary. Too bad, so sad.

  • Anonymous

    I think, even if the PPACA is struck down, it will take many more
    decades before anyone tries again.

    It’s okay, because in all honesty we’ll probably have ourselves a good old-fashioned complete social meltdown before then.

    Here’s a good question:  Do we really believe this? Because we’re always talking about how if pro-lifers REALLY believed we were living in a baby holocaust it’d be non-stop, all the time, anti baby-holocaust activism.  Are we going to look every single Republican in the eye and tell them “you advocate the death of children for money” because it seems to me that’s exactly what we’ve got to be doing.

    And frankly, what happens at that point?  How do you build a society from two halves where both sides think the other is entirely composed of baby eating monsters?  (Especially when one side is in fact ACTUALLY COMPOSED of baby killing monsters, but we wind up with such a weird discourse that’s it’s impossible to do anything but take the exact opposite side.  I can’t EVER vote Republican, because I’m opposed to actually taking the position that poor children should die in the street like animals – but voting Democratic isn’t much better because then I get called out as a DINO for being perfectly okay with things like GMO food, certain kinds of corporate personhood and concealed carry permits.

    The entire Obama presidency, and now this, has highlighted to me that the United States of America has got a very real structural problem.  Our problem is not that we have a problem – it’s that we’ve backed ourselves into a corner where NOBODY CAN SOLVE ANY PROBLEM, it’s like Republicans have decided if they can’t have her, no-one can – and I’m afraid they’ve shown us the way of the future.  They started playing this game of scorched earth politics first, and unless we find away out of it it’s either going to be Democrats start playing the SAME game, or we just cede the future to a bunch of radical objectivist fucktards.

    In other words – we’ve go to figure out how to not include assholes in the decision making process, or only assholes will get to make the decisions – and whether it’s assholes I agree with, or assholes I don’t – it’s still an assholocracy.

  • http://caffinatedlemur.wordpress.com/ caffinatedlemur

    Yup. ‘Cuz healthcare is a Scarce Good. And that means that lots of little people are gonna have to lose so that their social betters can have their share. Screw 3 year olds with preexisting conditions: she really should have thought about that before being born in the wealthiest nation on Earth. We simply cannot *afford* to take care of her, because that means they might have to wait a day more to see a doctor about that bunion. And with the wild west system of caring for everyone, doctors might not have given Dick Cheney his human heart because he’s over 70 and instead used an inferior pig heart and given the human heart to an undeserving 40 year old *poor* person. A nobody! Even though he could pay top dollar! Can you imagine the savagery?!

  • Eric

     Yeah, but how can anyone who has been paying attention to the last few health care debates possibly still be so confident of that? Again, it’s certainly possible, but health care system has been a disaster for decades, for as long as some of us have been alive (and even longer). If people were content to ignore it now, what’s going to change in ten years? It’s not all “old people” (in fact, statistically people in their 70s and 80s are equally and in some cases more likely to vote Democratic than those a few decades younger) and I don’t see much cause to assume that the other 88% of the population being more progressive than they are now.

    Could it happen? Sure. Will be easy? I can’t see a justification for that claim.

    (They can’t even pass a budget, a clearly demarcated power of Congress that is explicitly granted by the Constitution. In fact, right now we’re relitigating issues like contraception, an issue that I thought had been resolved back in the 60s. It seems just as likely that we’ll actually shift backwards somehow — repealing EMTALA, perhaps — than move forward.)

    .
    In other words – we’ve go to figure out how to not include assholes
    in the decision making process, or only assholes will get to make the
    decisions – and whether it’s assholes I agree with, or assholes I don’t -
    it’s still an assholocracy.

    Or… rather than working out how to disenfranchise people we disagree with (we already have people hard at working doing things like that anyway — they don’t need the help!), why not focus on expanding the franchise as much as possible? Part of the reason why “assholes” have so much power is because most people don’t vote regularly. Sure, we might get 50% turnout for major presidential elections, but only a fraction of that for off-year midterms and even fewer in state and local races. The people who vote regularly tend to be closer to the fringes and naturally politicians are going to pander to them rather than to the indifferent “silent majority”.

    This issue is even more pernicious at the lower levels; future presidents, senators, and representatives are cultivated at the state and local levels. That’s why the far-right pours so much effort and money into winning seemingly unimportant school board elections in Texas and taking control of seats in backwater counties — because that’s where politicians are molded and that’s where they rise (or fall).

  • Tonio

    Reminds me of the tussle decades ago about federal loan guarantees for Chrysler. The stated arguments against these were grounded in market ideology, and looking back, these were almost like “The market giveth and the market taketh away, blessed be the name of the market.” Apparently a variety of the Just World Fallacy where life is merely a game.

  • Anonymous

    Or… rather than working out how to disenfranchise people we
    disagree Part of the reason why “assholes”
    have so much power is because most people don’t vote regularly. pander to them rather than to the
    indifferent “silent majority”.

    I’m not sure that’s it.  I think it has more to do with totally fact free orientation of the Republican Party.  I think that when Rick Santorum says “they do not offer American History at the University of California” and CNN does not prefix this with “Rick Santorum is a moron” they do everyone a disservice.  “Some say” is the worst thing to ever happen to the US.  When the things “some” are saying are bald-faced lies they don’t deserve to have their poisonous vomit spread as valid opinion on the matter by the media.There’s a lot (a lot, a lot, a lot) less of that on what passes for “the left” but it does exist – but as, was it Eisenhower? said “their numbers are few and they are stupid.”  People talking about how vaccines are dangerous get a lot less kid glove handling for their stupidity than Rick Santorum and his nihilist ilk, but they ought to get even less.  Every time Jenny McCarthy or Mayim Balik opens her mouth about their dumb and dangerous public health ideas, if it HAS to make the news, it should be prefixed with “Stupid idiot Jenny McCarthy said something dumb and dangerous.”I’m not even talking about things that are remotely arguable like “the laffer curve is a thing” – I’m talking about pure weapons grade bullshit like “Barack Obama is a muslim.”Otherwise it’s people willing to lie the loudest and the longest and the most outrageously who will get to set the terms of the debate, and the boundaries of what it means to “win”.

  • Eric

     Don’t get me wrong, I agree that the media should do more to fact-check stories — not just after major debates or once a month but every single time they print or publish something. I wasn’t saying that disenfranchisement and non-participation were the only reasons, just a major reason. People keep saying that health care reform has major support, but for some reason most of those people chose to elect representatives who were opposed to single-payer or a public option. I think if everyone voted, we would have a healthier and more effective government, rather than one that was completely dominated by loudmouths and liars.

  • Anonymous

    Lori: If only Obama had worked with the GOP

    While Democrats should have worked with the GOP to enact bipartisan reform, it wasn’t necessary.  With their breathtaking majorities in both houses of Congress, they could have passed a law providing universal health care without a single Republican vote, a law that would have aligned with the Constitution.  If the PPACA is overturned, then the fault for the loss of health coverage can be traced to Nancy “Are you serious? Are you serious?” Pelosi and her Congress.

    I guarantee you that if the voters give Republicans control of the White House and 60 Senate seats and 250+ House seats, conservatives will most certainly not blame Democrats for any failure to pass the conservatives’ legislative goals.

    Jonathan Zasloff: So here is the conservative argument: something that is necessary for the regulation of interstate commerce is not part of the power to regulate interstate commerce.

    Not true.  Even if I grant the assertion that health insurance is interstate commerce, the mandate is not necessary to provide universal health care, and certainly is not necessary to regulate interstate commerce.

  • Lori

    While Democrats should have worked with the GOP to enact bipartisan reform, it wasn’t necessary.  With their breathtaking majorities in both houses of Congress, they could have passed a law providing universal
    health care without a single Republican vote, a law that would have aligned with the Constitution.  If the PPACA is overturned, then the fault for the loss of health coverage can be traced to Nancy “Are you serious? Are you serious?” Pelosi and her Congress. 

    We’ve been over this. More than once. The fact that you keep bringing it up leaves me little choice but to assume that you are lying on purpose. If you expect people to believe that you are trying to contribute something worthwhile, as opposed to posting in order to stroke yourself, you really need to stop doing that.

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    Honestly I think my brain gave out after Scalia’s, “If the government can do this…” thing in which he acted as if he honestly believed that it was possible, even probable, that not striking down the mandate would mean the government could do anything.

    I tried writing a post about it in hopes of getting it out of my head, then I noticed that I’d used a modified version of the quote instead of the original and wrote another post*.  Still won’t get out of my head.

    I know that the fact that people will die should be more on my mind, by I’m still in a state of shock from Scalia saying something that seems to indicate that he’s never heard of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the other amendments, or any law passed of judgement made limiting the powers of government since the country was founded.

    If I assume he’s honest I must conclude he’s almost impossibly ignorant, if I assume he is at least vaguely familiar with law in the US I must conclude that he’s an asshole who is using the Supreme Court to score political points instead of doing his job.  Why would someone ever say something like that?

    Anyway, that’s where I am.  Once I get over that I expect to have more reasonable reactions of horror at the possibility of unnecessary suffering and death.

    -

    * I so badly wanted to make a chess metaphor but there’s nothing that’s absurd enough, even if en passant feels like it ought to somehow be a metaphor for the mandate**.  So instead I went with supervilliany.

    ** Normally to get two steps forward, symbolizing medical care, you have to pay the price exposing yourself to any threats one step forward which symbolizes paying insurance premiums, but in the absence of en passant the initial two step would allow one to get emergency room care without paying premiums, thus en passant is introduced to solve that loop hole (or at least lessen it somewhat.)  Or something like that.  It makes sense when you don’t think about it too much.

  • Anonymous

    Even if I grant you every other worthless assertion:

    With their breathtaking majorities in both houses of Congress, they
    could have passed a law providing universal health care without a single
    Republican vote,

    That right there is a bald-faced lie.

    I can’t even begin to unravel “children should die over this minor constitutional point” – and it’s either a minor constitutional point or the entire federal apparatus is unconstitutional and you’re willing to burn society to the ground for your first principle purity.

    You can stand there and say with a straight face “I would rather the federal government nationalize a huge chunk of the economy than cede that a liquidity hedge for (actual) individuals is a valid regulatory function.” (in which case we SERIOUSLY have larger problems) or “I absolutely support the mandate in principle, but it should be worded (very, very slightly) differently to avoid this particular conundrum.”

    I don’t see a third way that’s based on reality, so unless you’re willing to say one of those two things, I’m basically going to be forced to conclude that you’re a baby killing monster.

  • Anonymous

    Part of the reason why “assholes” have so much power is because most people don’t vote regularly.My ‘please, Easter Bunny, I’ve been a good girl this year’ list (not applicable in Australia and other places with sensible democracies): (1) Mandatory voting. Not to deprive people of the right to vote ‘none of the above’, but if your eighteenth birthday is before the polls open, either you show up at the polling place between it opening Sunday morning and it closing Tuesday evening and sign next to your name on the list of that polling place’s voters, or you submit an absentee ballot (mailed in early or or handed to the poll worker who visits your place of residence upon discovering you did not sign the voter list, and if it’s blank that’s fine as long as your name’s on the envelope), or you pay the state fifty dollars. (2) Instant-runoff voting, so a vote Green or Libertarian or Constitution or Social Democrat will actually do something more useful than flipping the election to the voter’s least-favorite choice.

  • http://outshine-the-sun.blogspot.com/ Andrew G.

    People keep saying that health care reform has major support, but for
    some reason most of those people chose to elect representatives who were
    opposed to single-payer or a public option.

    This has very little to do with how many people vote, and a lot to do with the fact that the USA has managed to develop a deeply entrenched two-party system consisting of a hard-right party and a right-wing party.

    If you take a look at the plots on Political Compass, you’ll see that for all practical purposes three-quarters of the political territory is “out of bounds” as far as US politics goes. Republican politicians are clustered at the extreme upper right, Democrats between the middle of the upper-right quadrant and the center. Even Ron Paul barely makes it into the lower (libertarian) half of the plot.

  • Anonymous

    What kind of sick sense of irony the adbots must have to put an advertisement for a Billy Graham book purporting to answer our questions about Heaven right next to a post about people dying of neglect in the world’s richest country.

    Talk about pie in the sky!

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     I can’t bring myself to see how “take all the people who can’t be arsed to vote, and force them to vote anyway” woudl actually have positive results over what we have now.  We already have all our elections decided by “the undecideds” — a group of people who, right up until election day, can’t decide which of two DIAMETRICAL POLAR OPPOSITES they want. (Though actually my default assumption is that “undecideds” are really republicans who know that republican policies are petty and small-minded, and therefore don’t want to cop to agreeing with them).

    Though I could get behind “rank the candidates in order by how much you want them to win and we’ll just use math to find the solution that minimizes voter disappointment.

  • Anonymous

    We already have all our elections decided by “the undecideds” — a group of people who, right up until election day, can’t decide which of two DIAMETRICAL POLAR OPPOSITES they want.

    I met a woman once who insisted that the “independents” were some sort of political movement in and of themselves. Research shows the opposite, however: virtually every single person who claims to be an independent voter actually has a strong preference one way or another, they just want to classify themselves as being special by not actually admitting to it.

  • Anonymous

    Absolutely. The Republicans seem to have moved so far to the right that would be impossible for President Obama ~ or any other Democratic politician ~ to work with them. The President might just as well build a mosque on the White House lawn and install a free abortion clinic on every street corner ~ or he could do something really radical and ensure that everybody in America has decent health coverage. Romney et al could hardly make any more fuss than they’re doing right now.

  • Anonymous

    Did you read some of the comments following the article about little Violet McManus? The ones suggesting that since keeping her alive is so expensive it would have been better to let her die in the first place? Charming.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t bring myself to see how “take all the people who can’t be arsed
    to vote, and force them to vote anyway” woudl actually have positive
    results over what we have now.

    If they genuinely don’t have an opinion on how the election turns out, or they want to tell everybody running “fuck all y’all”, they can turn in a blank ballot or vote ‘none of the above’ in all races. And meanwhile the demographics that Republicans are trying to disenfranchise cannot be disenfranchised.

  • Lori

    Did you read some of the comments following the article about little Violet McManus? The ones suggesting that since keeping her alive is so expensive it would have been better to let her die in the first place?

    But if Violet’s mother had decided at the start of her pregnancy that she did not have the financial resources to support a child and had opted to have an abortion those same people would be labeling her either a murderer or a dupe of murderers.

    Termination of a fetus due to financial considerations: Murder

    Termination of a child due to financial considerations: Necessary in order to avoid a culture of dependence.

  • LL

    But Fred, what about the unnecessary suffering of people whose taxes are too high? And that of corporations (remember, they’re people too!) who have to deal with unnecessary and burdensome regulations that strangle their profits? 

    No pity for them? No sympathy for the job creators? For shame. 

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Termination of a fetus due to financial considerations: Murder

    Termination of a child due to financial considerations: Necessary in order to avoid a culture of dependence.

    Personally, I categorize the mindset as:
    Woman chooses: Murder
    State chooses: Legitimate social decision

    Which isn’t any better, and may well be worse.

  • Anonymous

    You are free to assume whatever you want. The fact that you reject the political reality in 2010 doesn’t make it false.

  • Anonymous

    That right there is a bald-faced lie.

    No, it’s absolutely true.  For most of August 2009 – January 2010, the Republicans controlled fewer than 190 votes in the House and just 40 seats in the Senate.  The Democrats did not need a single Republican vote to enact any legislation they wanted.  That is a fact.

    You can stand there and say with a straight face “I would rather the federal government nationalize a huge chunk of the economy than cede that a liquidity hedge for (actual) individuals is a valid regulatory function.”

    No.  I would rather the federal government find other solutions to the problem.

    or “I absolutely support the mandate in principle, but it should be worded (very, very slightly) differently to avoid this particular conundrum.”

    No.  I have never suggested that I support a differently-worded mandate.  My support or opposition to universal health care is not the issue.  Rather, the issue is that the mandate is not the only means by which Congress could have implemented a system that covers everyone.  If there’s no significant difference between a single-payer system and a health insurance mandate, the Democratic Congress would have chosen the former.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Good point. I would imagine that if a pregnant woman came to the state and said “I desperately want to have this baby, but I have medical complications and no insurance, and will surely miscarry without expensive treatments,” these selfsame people would at best shrug and say “Sorry, we’d like to help, but it’s just not sound economic policy for your child to live.”

    (At worst, they’d say all that, and then call the woman a murderer for having complications while too poor to afford private health insurance)

  • Nathaniel

     Fuck off you dishonest purposely ignorant death slavering piece of hamster excrement.

  • P J Evans

    For Pete’s sake, haven’t you ever noticed that a significant number of those Democrats are so conservative that they normally vote with the Republicans? Effectively, they’ve given the Republicans a plurality if not a majority since 2009. Effectively, they ARE Republicans, and those of us who are actual Democrats would like them to change parties and stop lying to themselves and everyone else.

  • Lori

     

    The fact that you reject the political reality from August 2009 – January 2010 doesn’t make it false. 

    You would not know political reality if it jumped up and bit you on the ass.

  • Lori

     

    Effectively, they ARE Republicans 

    Yup. Virtually all the Blue Dogs would have been Republicans 20 years ago. Their beliefs haven’t changed, they’re not really Democrats they’re just nowhere near as far Right as the current incarnation of the GOP. If the GOP would decouple from the Religious Right they’d have an (R) next to their names in the very next election cycle.

  • http://twitter.com/shay_guy Shay Guy

    Ahhh. I was wondering where the fault in the logic was. Thanks!

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Well, better political reality than a bullet /Forrest Gump reference

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    For all that the Blue Dogs seem like they shouldn’t be opposed to higher taxes if it meant balancing the budget (and especially if it meant higher government spending on non-military programs) I have yet to see a substantive number vote anything but hard R except on the religious stuff.

  • Anonymous

    Absolutely. Just as there are plenty of people ready to criticise a woman who decides on a termination after foetal abnormalities have been detected. As many of us have noticed, the “Pro-Life” bunch are considerably less sentimental about living children.

  • Anonymous

    aunsura – you’re a very talented troll – but you’re a troll.

    How do I know you’re a troll and not someone arguing in good faith?

    Because THIS:

    Prior to February 4, 2010, the Republicans controlled fewer than 80 votes in the House and just 40 votes in the Senate.  For most of July 2009 – January 2010, the Democrats did not need a single Republican vote to pass any bills they wanted.   That is a fact.

    Is not the same as THIS:

    With their breathtaking majorities in both houses of Congress, they could have passed a law providing universal health care without a single Republican vote,

    And you know it.  The first sentence is of course true, and in fact that’s exactly what happened – the Democrats passed the bill that they (the Democrats) could agree on.  The second part is of course a bald faced fucking lie, told by a bald faced fucking liar.  You.

    Two Things: I could give a damn if you read them, because you’ll either dodge or not respond – but they’re not really for you – I’m just putting the arguments out there so that if I (or anyone else) ever encounters an actual reasonable person who has maybe just not though this through.  I’m not sure such a creature exists – but I’m taking it on faith that somewhere, somewhere in the world there are “conservatives” with some shred of humanity and reason.

    1:

    No.  I would rather the federal government find other solutions to the problem.

    What? Enlighten us.  Consider tort reform, interstate insurance and transparent pricing gimme’s.  That won’t really get that many people covered – so what else?

    2:
    Address my question about why the federal government can have capitalization / liquidity requirements for banks (even non-interstate banks, actually) but can’t require individuals to make an equivalent hedge.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    I’m a kidney transplant patient living with mental illness. The message I repeatedly receive from those declaring “repeal Obamacare” is that I had better die and decrease the surplus population of non-rich people. They also claim to be Christians. Apparently they believe in a very different Jesus from the one described in the gospels.

  • Anonymous

    Then your problem is not with the Republicans, but with the DINOs.  Or perhaps with the voters who elect the DINOs instead of Republicans.  If the voters of those congressional districts and states shared your views, they would elect Democrats who would more closely follow the party line. 

    Alternately, if these voters elected RINOs instead of DINOs, then Republicans would have greater control over the legislative agenda.  I’m not sure if that would please you more than the current situation.

    Bear in mind that I hear from many conservatives who are equally frustrated with RINOs who frequently vote with the Democrats.

  • Anonymous

    With their breathtaking majorities in both houses of Congress, they could have passed a law providing universal health care without a single Republican vote,

    The second part is of course a bald faced fucking lie

    No, it’s the absolute truth.  Both 1 and 2 are true.  The Democrats could have passed a law providing universal health care without a single Republican vote.  The fact that the supporters of single-payer were unable to convince the so-called DINOs and the fact that you may not consider them to be “true Democrats” do not change or refute the fact that those seats were held by Democrats who caucused with the Democratic Party.

    It’s an absolute fact that the Democrats could have passed a single-payer bill granting universal health care coverage if all the Democrats had agreed.  The fact that they failed to do so is a reflection of the lack of political support among the American public for a health care system sustained by a purchase mandate.

    I’ll say it again.  If the voters ever give a Republican president 250+ GOP seats in the House and 60 GOP seats in the Senate, conservatives most certainly will not blame Democrats for any failure to achieve their conservative legislative goals.

    What? Enlighten us.

    I’ll answer this question later.  Not now.

    Address my question about why the federal government can have capitalization / liquidity requirements for banks (even non-interstate banks, actually)

    The banks currently participate in commerce.  The Commerce Clause grants Congress the authority to regulate interstate commerce, including activity that has a substantial effect on interstate commerce. 

    but can’t require individuals to make an equivalent hedge.

    The Commerce Clause does not grant Congress the authority to mandate present participation in commerce on the idea that future participation in a market is inevitable.

  • The Lodger

    There were never sixty Democrats in the Senate during the Obama administration. Lieberman and Sanders caucused with the Dems, bringing the number up to 60 once Norm Coleman’s attempt to stall Al Franken in the courts finally failed. That’s completely independent of whatever residual Democratic principles Ben Nelson, Evan Bayh, Max Baucus, and the other Blue Dogs may have possessed.

    Also, this:

    Address my question about why the federal government can have capitalization / liquidity requirements for banks (even non-interstate banks, actually)
    The banks currently participate in commerce.  The Commerce Clause grants Congress the authority to regulate interstate commerce, including activity that has a substantial effect on interstate commerce. 

     

    And the Court has established precedent that individuals who raise hogs and grow marijuana for their own use also engage in interstate commerce.

    And, in addition:

    The Commerce Clause does not grant Congress the authority to mandate present participation in commerce on the idea that future participation in a market is inevitable.

     

    What about past participation? Aside from the occasional person who was born at home and has never seen a doctor, we’re all participants in the healthcare system.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The Republicans also have alot more wall-to-wall coherency and cohesiveness than the Democrats do, and part of it is because of the way Gingrich and his cronies ran things post-1994. All Republicans had to toe* the line or risk losing access to prize seats on committees, as well as election funds.

    The Dems enforce far less of this in the name of tolerance of greater diversity in political opinion, so it’s really not surprising that people like Zell Miller can be Dems, but vote like Repubs. Zell Miller even tried blunting this attack on his own website (“why is Zell Miller voting like a Republican?” cue mealy mouthed useless pablum for a response).

    What I think is becoming lost is that Republican voters expect that the Democrats in the House and Senate will respond the way Republicans would – wall-to-wall, no cracks in the stonework ever, etc – and literally do not understand (or try to find rationalizations) when explained that Dems don’t behave this way.

    The last Republican of any consequence to break ranks was James Jeffords. However, there are many prominent Dems who make names for themselves acting like Republican-Lites, such as Bart Stupak and Daniel Inouye.

  • Anonymous

    There were never sixty Democrats in the Senate during the Obama administration. Lieberman and Sanders caucused with the Dems, bringing the number up to 60

    Previously (on another thread) I noted that the Democrats caucus includes two independents.  Bernie Sanders is more liberal than most of the Democrats, and he supports a universal health care system; so you cannot reasonably claim that he stood in the way of single-payer.  Joe Lieberman was a long-time Democrat until he lost the 2006 primary, after which he ran as an independent in order that his name would appear on the general election ballot.  His voting record in the Senate during his current term is not markedly different from his previous voting record as a Democrat, and surely is not more conservative than the records of the Democrats whom you mentioned.

    And the Court has established precedent that individuals who raise hogs and grow marijuana for their own use also engage in interstate commerce.

    1. The distinction is that those individuals were engaged in present activity which the Court determined had a substantial effect on interstate commerce. By contrast, the PPACA requires individuals who are not currently engaged in activity to enter into a commerce market on the notion that their future paticipation in that market is inevitable.

    2. I don’t believe that the Court required them to engage in interstate commerce, but that their activities were subject to interstate commerce regulations.

    What about past participation? Aside from the occasional person who was born at home and has never seen a doctor, we’re all participants in the healthcare system.

    The Commerce Clause does not grant Congress the authority to mandate present participation in commerce based on a prior participation that may no longer be active.

  • Anonymous

    This:

    It’s an absolute fact that the Democrats could have passed a single-payer bill granting universal health care coverage if all the Democrats had agreed.

    Is still not this:

    With their breathtaking majorities in both houses of Congress, they could have passed a law providing universal health care without a single Republican vote,

    Could the Democrats have passed single payer bill granting universal health coverage without a single Republican vote? 

    No

  • Anonymous

    It’s an absolute fact that the Democrats could have passed a single-payer bill granting universal health care coverage if all the Democrats had agreed.  The fact that they failed to do so is a reflection of the lack of political support among the American public for a health care system sustained by a purchase mandate.

    Now, that’s just a non-sequitur.

    I’ll answer this question later.  Not now.

    That’s because you want children to die, I presume?

    The Commerce Clause does not grant Congress the authority to mandate present participation in commerce on the idea that future participation in a market is inevitable.

    And we’re back to angels on the head of a pin.  Your participation in commerce is inevitable – but Congress cannot regulation your inevitable future participation in commerce right now.  You’re making one of two mistakes here – the most charitable is that you are thinking that the market for health insurance is somehow separate from the market for health care – realistically that’s not the case.  The other is that you’re implying that congress cannot require you to “prepare” to participate in commerce.  Don’t we have hundreds of regulations that are variations upon “you must obtain a permit, certification, bond, or some other legal instrument before we let you do this?” (many of which come from private providers?) Isn’t that exactly the same thing – requiring you to PURCHASE something on the expectation that you are going to do something with it?

    If everyone in the country were going to grow up to be a doctor, would medical school suddenly become an affront to Liberty!™®?

  • Anonymous

    No, actually they are both true and say essentially the same thing.  I find it bizarre that someone would make the obvously false claim that a party with control of the White House, 250+ seats in the House, and 60 seats in the Senate would require any support from the opposition party in order to pass any legislation that it wants.

    Even if your argument is that the Democrats did not technically hold the two seats held by independents, it does not follow that the Democrats required the votes of any Republicans.

  • Anonymous

    fact: It’s an absolute fact that the Democrats could have passed a single-payer bill granting universal health care coverage if all the Democrats had agreed.
    aunursa’s concluding opinion: The fact that they failed to do so is a reflection of the lack of political support among the American public for a health care system sustained by a purchase mandate.

    My opinion was not intended to prove the fact. I regret if I structured the paragraph to make it seem that way.

    President Obama – Democrat
    House – 250+ Democrats
    Senate – 58 Democrats + 2 Independents who caucus with the Democrats

    No matter how much you want to wail about DINOs or Blue Dogs or JoeMentum, you cannot escape the fact that the congressional Democrats could have enacted single-payer if they all agreed to.

    That’s because you want children to die, I presume?

    I’ll answer the question later because I want children to die? Whatever.

    you’re implying that congress cannot require you to “prepare” to participate in commerce.  Don’t we have hundreds of regulations that are variations upon “you must obtain a permit, certification, bond, or some other legal instrument before we let you do this?”

    In those situations, the individual has voluntarily decided to participate in commerce or is voluntarily participating in an activity that has been determined to have a substantial effect on interstate commerce.  By constrast, the PPACA requires the individual who is not participating in commerce, who has not decided to participate in a market (health insurance is not the only method by which consumers pay for health care services), and who does not intend to participate in the market in the immediate future … the PPACA requires this person to begin participation in the market so that Congress can regulate this person’s activity.

  • Nathaniel

    ” No matter how much you want to moan and wail about DINOs or Blue Dogs or
    JoeMentum, you cannot escape the fact that the congressional
    Democrats could have enacted single-payer if they all agreed to.”

    And, and so could Republicans if they all agreed you purposely ignorant twit.

    And if every congress person agreed, I could have a pony! Its fun redefining reality! 

  • Anonymous

    Your generalization about Republican Party unity is true of whichever party is in the minority at a particular time.  If the Republicans gain control the White House and both houses of Congress, the Democrats in the minority will find themselves standing together in wall-to-wall cohesion.  Meanwhile, right wing ideologues will tear their hair out in exasperation as their conservative agenda dreams languish in congressional committees because the dreaded so-called RINOs take that opportunity to wander toward the other side of the aisle.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I think we had this little chat wherein it was noted single payer had been taken off the table before it even got a chance to hit the road? (yay, mixed metaphors)


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