Tag Archives: Health Care Reform

AHCA winners and losers

Paul Ryan, Donald Trump and House Republican Leadership: Losers

Though Ryan and Trump each tried in his own way to place responsibility for the bill on the other, it was a group project and they failed badly, not only from a policy standpoint, but also politically. The roll out of the bill rivaled the roll out of Trump’s first executive order on immigration in its ineptitude. Phases 2 and 3 seemed to have been hastily drawn up to try to stem the flow of criticism, regardless of whether or not that was the case.

ryan and trump

House Republican leaders went along for the ride; Cathy McMorris Rodgers pimped it like a boss. They get extra demerits because instead of spending the last seven years educating the public about the benefits of free market reforms, they engaged in Repeal Theater, building expectations that we’ve now been told were impossibly unrealistic. I’m honestly left with the feeling that they never thought they would be in a position to actually repeal ACA, and were left in a panic when Trump won. If they had any shame, they would all resign, except Paul Ryan, but only because I’ve heard that no one else will take the Speaker’s job.

Planned Parenthood: Winners

The one incontrovertibly good thing the bill did was to defund Planned Parenthood and, unfortunately, that means that the one incontrovertibly bad thing about the bill’s demise is that Planned Parenthood’s funding remains in place.

Congressional Democrats: Winners

2017-03-27 (1)Yes, they were winners, but it’s disgusting the way some of them have taken credit where none is due. Congressional Democrats were powerless to stop the bill from advancing had all Republicans been on board. Which brings me to the big winners….

House Freedom Caucus: Winners

These guys aren’t just winners; they’re heroes. They stood in support of the thousands of campaign promises made to repeal the Affordable Care Act. They fought the battle and emerged as the true victors, despite any gloating from helpless Congressional Democrats.

American People: Draw

The American people are winners in the sense that ACA-Lite is dead and we and can look forward to full repeal and replacement with free market solutions, but losers in that Obamacare is, as Paul Ryan told us, “…The law of the land…for the foreseeable future.”

If we want to win the war, and not just this battle, now is the time for the people to remind Congressional Republicans who and what gave them control of the House, the Senate and the Presidency.

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Rasmussen Poll Finds 17% of Americans Completely Out Of Touch With Reality

A Rasmussen poll released today finds 17% of Americans so out of touch with reality, they should be hospitalized for their own protection; they are the pitiable few who believe Obamacare will lower costs.

I can understand a person taking the position that using the force of government with regard to universal health care is a moral position – although I don’t agree – but to believe that a plan with no actual cost cutting measure will drive down the cost of health care is a stunning denial of reality.

Thankfully, 61% of Americans understand that costs will necessarily rise and 62% believe it should be repealed.

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Everyone Loves A Winner, Right?

The modest boost President Obama enjoyed in the polls following passage of his signature health care legislation has dissipated.

In another crushing blow to the “conventional wisdom” of the establishment media that because “Americans love winners” President Barack Obama would receive a large, sustained bounce in approval after last week’s passage of Obamacare, today Gallup released its daily approval numbers showing Obama at only 46% approval, with 46% disapproving. Obama’s 46% approval in Gallup represents a matching of Obama’s all-time low in approval.

While Americans  do love a winner (here and here), it’s not an unconditional sort of love. Yes, we do love winners, but we don’t love cheaters and the legislative and parliamentary shenanigans that the Democrats used to pass the abomination masquerading as health care reform smack of cheating. What else can you call it when people change the rules after the game has started?

How deliciously ironic that even when the Washington Post engages in a bit of cheating of their own by skewing the poll sample, it’s still patently obvious that voters know bad-tasting medicine when they’re forced to swallow it.

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A Rare Convergence Of Politics And Citizenship

Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna’s concerns about the constitutionality of the Senate health care reform legislation led him to join with other Republican AGs in protesting the deal.

In an interview today, McKenna said he believes that provision could violate Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, which says Congress may collect taxes for the “general welfare” of the U.S., not for a special benefit for a particular state.

“We think it’s constitutionally defective. We’re continuing to research it,” McKenna said. And apart from the legality, “it just doesn’t seem right,” he added.
He said he may also look into whether it would be constitutional for the federal government to require all U.S. residents to purchase health insurance.

McKenna said that mandate may violate the 10th Amendment, which limits the powers of the federal government – reserving other powers for the states.

“The U.S. government has never before required the citizens of the U.S. to buy a particular good or service,” McKenna said. He stopped short of saying he’d launch a legal challenge on that basis. “We need to do more work on it,” he said.

While the Seattle Times new-found conservative streak causes them to object to Ben Nelson’s “Cornhusker Kickback” deal – even to hope that a court will “strike it down” – it doesn’t stop them from concluding that the Republican AGs are acting with a political motive, even though it just as possible that they’re acting because it’s the right thing to do. I’ve heard AG McKenna speak about the Constitution; his knowledge of and respect for it are impressive. There’s no reason to assume that he’s acting for any motive other than a belief that the Constitution actually is the law of the land. To do so is merely to prove that political biases are hard to shed.

Personally, I’m just grateful that someone is willing to take a look at the constitutionality of the health care monstrosity and if this happens to be one of those times when good politics happens to coincide with good citizenship, that’s okay by me.

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You Know You’ve Got Trouble

"Don't blame me if you have crappy Senators"

When even the left-leaning Seattle Times questions the constitutionality of your legislation, you know you’ve got trouble.

SEN. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., exacted a special price for his vote on the Senate health-care bill. Opening up the Medicaid program to 15 million more Americans over the next decade will cost the states billions of dollars — but not Ben Nelson’s state. For Nebraska, the cost, estimated at $100 million through 2016, will be paid by the federal government.

The Republicans called this the “Cornhusker Kickback.” It is a cute way to label it corruption — which it is. It is the bending of a federal law in order to buy the vote of one legislator.

Federal law is supposed to be uniform. It’s a concept that shines through several places in the Constitution, which calls for a “uniform rule of Naturalization” and “uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies.”

When they double down and call the deal corruption, it’s serious.

The Republicans called this the “Cornhusker Kickback.” It is a cute way to label it corruption — which it is. It is the bending of a federal law in order to buy the vote of one legislator.

For the record, I don’t hold Senator Nelson – or Senator Landrieu, who seems a bit confused as to why people don’t believe she “can’t be bought” (@ 0:45) – any more responsible for the passage of the Senate health care monstrosity than any of the other 59 rank and file Democrat Senators. I’m saving that “honor” for Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, who apparently believes that every piece of legislation should be loaded up with pet projects…and if any states miss out, it’s just a poor reflection on their Senators.

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Death Of A Politician

Like a sort of political Willy Loman, Brian Baird has announced his decision not to seek re-election to the US House of Representatives. Willy sacrificed himself so that Biff could collect on Willy’s life insurance policy; Baird steps out of the way so that another candidate can turn near certain defeat in WA-03 into a toss-up. It remains to be seen if Baird’s retirement has implications for the Democratic Party, but NRCC Chairman, Pete Sessions (R-TX), thinks it may.

The retirement of Brian Baird should send an alarming message to the Democratic Party on two fronts. First, it speaks to the shifting political environment that has led another multi-term Democrat to opt for retirement rather than face the oncoming political headwind. Secondly, Brian Baird was an advocate for openness and transparency within the legislative process, who co-authored bipartisan legislation that would require all major bills be posted online for at least 72 hours. The conduct of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not only shut the American people out of the process, but it has led to the erosion of her party’s political footing, leaving a number of incumbent Democrats vulnerable to Republican challenges.

With this being the third retirement by a swing-district Democrat in as many weeks, it is clear that members of the Majority are feeling the ground shaking beneath them. As the unemployment rate remains unacceptably high and Democrats continue on with their out-of-touch agenda, independent voters are rightfully fleeing the Democratic Party. Now, facing an angry and frustrated electorate, Democrats are quickly realizing that it’s time to throw in the towel.

On the Republican side, 18th District State Representative Jaime Herrera announced yesterday that she would seek Baird’s seat; today, 18th District State Rep, Deb Wallace, a Democrat, entered the race. Three additional Republicans had entered the race before Baird’s exit, Jon Russel, David Castillo and David Hedrick.

Baird’s political suicide was a long, ugly process.

Aug. 6 – 7:

Brian Baird shows his constituents how out-of-touch he really is and how much disdain he holds for them as he angrily name-calls them:

A Lynch Mob: “It’s a lynch-mob mentality out there,” Baird said. “There is an ugliness to it.” Baird is no stranger to town hall protests, having faced left-wing opposition to his support for the surge of additional troops into Iraq during the Bush administration. But he said protests have reached a ‘dangerous’ new level.” (Les Blumenthal, “Baird to skip town hall ‘lynch’ mentality,” The Olympian, 08/06/09)

Nazis: “‘What we’re seeing right now is close to Brown Shirt tactics,’ Baird, D-Vancouver, said in a phone interview. “I mean that very seriously. There is this national movement in blogs and on the Internet to go to town hall meetings solely to attack people,” Baird said.” (Michael Andersen, “Baird fears foes may plan ‘ambush’,” Columbian, 08/06/09)

Timothy McVeigh: “But Baird said a “coordinated national effort” to disrupt public meetings with shouts and demonstrations, which he said Republican leaders were “egging on,” was reminiscent of the kinds of things that drove Timothy McVeigh to bomb the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995. “He believed himself to be a patriot fighting against an oppressive government,” Baird said of McVeigh, whose act killed 168.” (Michael Andersen, “Baird draws heavy criticism,” Columbian, 08/06/09)

Extremists: “There is this national movement in blogs and on the Internet to go to town hall meetings solely to attack people and intentionally disrupt the ability to have a real discussion,” Baird said in a Wednesday telephone interview. “It’s not troubling to me personally; I’ve certainly been to tough town hall meetings in my time. But it’s troubling to those who come with the intent to have serious discussions but get badgered by disruptive tactics, where the sole purpose is to give extremists the chance to shout and make YouTube videos.” (Columbian Editorial, “Kitchen Too Hot?”, 8/07/09)

Aug. 7:

One of Brian Baird’s local papers writes a scathing editorial on the negative backlash he received from constituents and the way he merely surrendered:

“Brian Baird’s decision not to hold regular town hall meetings during a time when his constituents need them most is baffling and misguided. It looks more like surrender, or retreat, no matter how he tries to paint it as some kind of devotion to decorum…But who says his critics won’t be even more infuriated a few months from now, especially now that he’s aggravated them further by denying them public hearings?…He must know that, as tensions rise, as the rhetoric becomes more bombastic and as the volume soars, the best leaders will meet the challenge, not avoid it. (Columbian Editorial, “Kitchen Too Hot?: Baird takes wrong approach on town hall meetings, 08/07/09)

Aug. 12:

Another one of Baird’s local papers editorializes that his decision to not meet with his constituents during the recess would cost him his job:

“Rep. Brian Baird is taking a calculated political risk that voters in the 3rd District will accept his decision not to conduct in-person town hall-type meetings on health care reform during the monthlong summer recess by Congress.

“At the same time, Baird has to be careful not to isolate himself from his constituents, including the many people who, just like Baird, have legitimate questions and concerns about health care reform and what shape it should take.” (The Olympian Editorial, “Baird’s decision will linger long after news cycle,” 08/12/09)

Sept. 3:

Realizing that August didn’t go too well for his reelection campaign, Cook Report brings Baird’s chances of reelection down a notch:

“WASHINGTON | District 3: Solid Democrat to Likely Democrat (9/03/09)”

Sept. 1:

Politico calls Brian Baird a “casualty of the August recess:”

“While it’s not yet clear what the tumult of the August recess means for health care reform, the raucous town halls and intense media scrutiny have clouded the election prospects of members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. But after nearly a month back home, some members will be returning to Congress with noticeable scars, and their experiences will surely color their approach over the coming weeks. [On] POLITICO’s list of recess casualties, members who took significant flak and who need to proceed cautiously to minimize the damage done to their political fortunes:

Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.)

Earlier this month, Baird told the Vancouver Columbian that he wasn’t going to be appearing at town hall meetings because he thought protesters were using “brownshirt tactics” to disrupt events. His plan was to hold tele-town-halls instead. Naturally, the Nazi reference didn’t go over very well. Then Baird stepped in it again when he said the protesters’ demonstrations were reminiscent of the anger that led Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh to perpetrate domestic terrorism. The approach was somewhat out of character for Baird — if anything, he’s known for regularly hosting town hall meetings back home during recess. But the result was that the congressman was forced on the defensive. He apologized for his remarks and subsequently scheduled public town hall meetings, but it hasn’t been enough to mollify his critics. A Marine who confronted Baird at a town hall has become a conservative celebrity, and radio host Rush Limbaugh played the clip of the confrontation on his radio show. The wave of bad publicity isn’t likely to threaten Baird’s reelection chances — he hasn’t faced a tough challenge in nearly a decade — but his seat isn’t so safe that it’s of no concern. The Olympia-based district has supported Republicans in the past — including former President George W. Bush, who carried the district in 2000 and 2004. (Josh Kraushaar, “The August recess casualty list,” Politico, 09/01/09)

Nov. 7:

Realizing that he is in trouble, Baird decides to vote against the Democrat’s government-run healthcare plan and hopes it helps him politically. (HRC# 887)

Nov. 19:

Brian Baird’s finger-in-the-wind approach appears to backfire on him as he is one of 39 “no” votes to create a Democrat civil war:

“In a tribe that does not tolerate any dissent from the party line, the gang of 39 had committed an unpardonable and unforgivable sin: They voted no on the centerpiece of Mr. Obama’s domestic agenda. When they returned home to gauge their district’s reaction, they were greeted with a vendetta of e-mails, phone calls and crowds of protesters.

“But mounting attacks on these Democrats, from their party’s left, sends a threatening signal that they could lose much of their base in next year’s elections, improving the Republican Party’s chances of picking up a number of seats that they lost in recent elections.” (Donald Lambro, “Split over health care bill,” Washington Times, 11/19/09)

It’s ironic and rather sad that Baird’s political curtain call was prompted by a courageous decision to break with the Democrats and vote against the House health care reform bill. Sad, too, that voting in line with the wishes of his constituents, as best he understood them, would be seen by far left Democrats as an intolerable act of defiance, calling for punishment.

It’s unknown if Baird’s sacrifice is self-motivated or if he’s been forced aside by the party.

(Timeline courtesy of the NRCC)

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