Equivalence in Kentucky: Healthcare and votes

Mitch McConnell did this during the recent debate with Alison Lundergan Grimes:

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) said Monday he wouldn’t mind if the state healthcare insurance exchange known as Kentucky Kynect stayed but reiterated his call for the full repeal of ObamaCare.
Policy experts have questioned the feasibility of preserving the popular state exchange while also repealing the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which set it up and similar exchanges around the country.

“Kentucky Kynect is a website. It was paid for by a two-hundred-and-some-odd-million-dollar grant from the federal government. The website can continue but in my view the best interests of the country would be achieved by pulling out ObamaCare root and branch,” McConnell said in a debate with Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democratic candidate for Senate.

Now Mitch knows that Kynect and Obamacare are the same thing. And he knows that if you repeal Obamacare, you repeal Kynect.

He also knows that Kynect is popular in the Bluegrass State, which is why he says keep the Web site.

Which is meaningless.

Mitch thinks Kentucky voters are idiots. Unfortunately, some are:

Greg Sargent gets a great nugget from Democratic pollster Celinda Lake, who “recently conducted a statewide poll in Kentucky for an unnamed client and found that Kynect polls very positively, in contrast to Obamacare, which is underwater.”

Kynect is the Kentucky version of the Affordable Care Act exchange. To the extent the polling is correct, these results are another example of people loving the ACA but hating Obamacare.

Which just isn’t very surprising. People still don’t really know what “Obamacare” is. Why should they? There’s nothing labeled “Obamacare” that anyone has to deal with; almost nothing labeled “Affordable Care Act;” and there aren’t even all that many noticeable parts of the new system. Of course, Kynect is one of those new things, but there’s no reason for anyone in Kentucky to know that it has anything to do with the national law.

Alison should have been able to kick his ass on this subject. But she’s too busy not saying whether she voted for Obama. So her mealy mouthed stance on her vote is being treated as the equivalent of Mitch taking healthcare away from people who were never able to afford it before.

Oh, and when Alison was asked about Obamacare in May, here’s what happened:

Alison Lundergan Grimes made big news the other day by refusing to say whether she would have voted for the Affordable Care Act. She did say: “I am not and will not be for taking away insurance that 400,000 Kentuckians just recently got access to.” But Grimes’ position remains careful. She subsequently followed up by clarifying that the law would look “different” if she’d been in the Senate.

And that’s why Alison is screwing up this election.

Act like a Democrat, already!

 

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Cruz (and no) control

Sen. Ted Cruz (O-Canada), king of the “let’s defund Obamacare and shutdown the government” movement, got his ass handed to him today.

By Republican senators (via Politico):

Ted Cruz faced a barrage of hostile questions Wednesday from angry GOP senators, who lashed the Texas tea party freshman for helping prompt a government shutdown crisis without a strategy to end it.

At a closed-door lunch meeting in the Senate’s Mansfield Room, Republican after Republican pressed Cruz to explain how he would propose to end the bitter budget impasse with Democrats, according to senators who attended the meeting. A defensive Cruz had no clear plan to force an end to the shutdown — or explain how he would defund Obamacare, as he has demanded all along, sources said.

The lesson here is when you follow a moron to the edge of cliff, chances are you’re going to fall off.

Ted Cruz: I do not like him here or there. I do not like him anywhere!

Sen. Ted Cruz (O-Canada) took over the Senate floor for 21 hours yesterday in a protest against Obamacare. If I can figure this out, he was filibustering the Senate to halt a vote on a House bill he promoted.

Anyway, if you didn’t stay up all night to watch the waste of time, here’s the highlight:

OK. Let’s ignore the obvious. Ted Cruz harps on and on about how much he hates Obamacare, right? So he reads a story about a grouch who hates something he’s never tried. And when he tries it?

HE LOVES IT!!!!!!!

Isn’t it ironic? Don’t cha think? I’m just waiting for Alanis Morissette to pop into the picture.

But here’s what really pops my buttons.

If you’re going to read a children’s classic, START FROM THE BEGINNING!!!!!!!!!

Who doesn’t know in their sleep that the first words of “Green Eggs and Ham” are:

I am Sam.

But does the junior senator from Teabaggia begin there? No!! He begins with:

Sam I am.

What is his malfunction? No wonder his girls don’t want him to read it to them. He doesn’t do it right!!

It’s like starting “A Tale of Two Cities” at:

It was the age of wisdom. It was the age of foolishness.

Which, in this case, is exactly what it was.

When the cost of health care touches home

My family’s medical expenses this year have included four of the five entries on this chart:

8935086326_febfe427da_zIf we didn’t have health insurance, we would be totally screwed as Americans. If we lived elsewhere, in the land of “socialized medicine,” we would manage these procedures with no problem.

We are lucky. I work for a company that provides health insurance. But a lot of Americans don’t, and they are one major illness away from choosing between bankruptcy or death.

I have a relative who has a serious medical condition. Treatment in the U.S. would likely cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. But the relative is an American expat living in Europe, which has high quality health care at a fraction of the American cost.

I doubt I’ll see this member of the family repatriate to the U.S. anytime soon.

 

Interpreting the polls on government-run health care

Every few days, Republicans in Congress introduce a bill to repeal Obamacare, the nation’s health care law. They use news quotes like these to justify their action:

A majority of Americans still oppose the nation’s new health care measure, three years after it became law, according to a new survey. …

According to the poll, 43% of the public says it supports the health care law, a figure that’s mostly unchanged in CNN polling since the measure was passed in 2010 by a Congress then controlled by Democrats and signed into law by President Barack Obama. Fifty-four percent of those questioned say they oppose the law, also relatively unchanged since 2010.

That’s from a CNN story on a poll it took on the issue. But note the ellipses. I’ve intentionally edited the two paragraphs to do what the GOP does in cases like this. Distort the findings. Because the missing paragraph between the two paragraphs says:

But a CNN/ORC International poll released Monday also indicates that more than a quarter of those who oppose the law, known by many as Obamacare, say they don’t support the measure because it doesn’t go far enough.

And the paragraph that follows says:

The survey indicates that 35% oppose the health care law because it’s too liberal, with 16% saying they oppose the measure because it isn’t liberal enough.

What does this tell you?

1) 43% support the law, or support a government health care program.
2) Of the 51% against the law, 15 percentage points of that figure want even more government intervention than the current law offers.

That means 59% of those questioned want a government health care program that covers all Americans, 35% oppose such a program and the remaining 6% aren’t smart enough to have an opinion on the matter.

But what headlines to we get?

Poll: 54 percent against Obamacare

That from the usually clueless Politico. That headline makes it sound like a majority oppose government-run health care. That’s not the case.

Digby explains it best:

It is not a majority position against a national health care plan or “big gummint” or any other of the typical beltway signifiers of a “center right nation.” It turns out that only 35% of the country has that attitude. The majority either support the plan or want more. I doubt that most people every understand that from the way the polls are presented.

And perhaps more significantly, it’s highly doubtful that the 16% who think the plan isn’t liberal enough would join with the Republicans to deny medicaid funding or refuse to create the exchanges or any of the other tactics that are being used to make implementation impossible. Those liberals are all for medicaid funding and undoubtedly would oppose any repeal of the significant advances in the plan short of a public consensus to switch to a single payer plan.

So, it would be nice if the media were clear on this. This is obviously a center-left country when it comes to health care reform and it’s only the third of the population that hates everything the government does who is unhappy.

The biggest tax increase in the history of the GOP alternate universe

When your Republican friends hit you with the statement, “Obamacare is the largest tax increase in the history of the world,” hit them back with this (from Ezra Klein’s Wonkblog):

… no, the Affordable Care Act isn’t the “biggest tax hike in history.” It’s not even the biggest tax hike in the past 60 years. Or 50 years. Or 30 years. Or 20 years.

And then hit them with this chart:

The biggest tax increase in American history happened in 1951 (for reading purposes, these top 15 are read from the bottom — being the biggest — to the top).

But the GOP had its talking points handed down by Fox News, and for the past couple of days, the line has been biggest tax increase in U.S. history, biggest tax increase in world history, biggest tax increase in the history of the Universe.

As it normally goes with their strategy, if you repeat a lie enough times, someone is going to believe it’s true. And those true believers in the Fox News universe have proven to be wrong more than other news viewers when it comes to current events.

Almost forgot: Obamacare is Romneycare. So in Fox News logic, Mitt Romney is responsible for the biggest tax increase in the history of the universe. And the alternate universe.

(An aside: Actually, the biggest tax increase in the history of the universe was the Galactic Empire‘s “revenue enhancement” for the building of the two Death Stars, leading to the destruction of Alderaan a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. But you knew that already.)