If the government shuts down, who’s to blame?

It appears we’re at the verge of a government shutdown. Of course, we can blame Congress, but let’s be clear (via Crooks and Liars):

The blame for any government shutdown should factually be laid at the feet of the Republicans. Factually.

It is a fact that Republicans spent their money and effort during the break stirring up support to hold the budget and even the debt ceiling hostage to stop the implementation of the Affordable care Act.

It is a fact that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, led by Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, passed a short-term continuing resolution to fund government at current levels while stripping funding away from the Affordable Care Act.

It is a fact that Republicans, and Republicans alone have said over and over again that they are committed to destroying the Affordable Care Act and are willing to not only shut down the government, but hold the debt ceiling hostage in order to do such a thing.

These are not theoretical. They are hard, cold, provable facts. How can it possibly be that over 50 percent of those polled would hold both sides responsible?


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.

From Obamacare to Moochercare


Here’s Mitt Romney‘s solution to health care (From “60 Minutes“):

I think in a lot of places, going to the emergency room is how it’s done now. Not exactly working, either.


The welfare states: Chances are, they’re red

From Talking Points Memo:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Monday he will not implement “Obamacare” provisions such as the Medicaid expansion and the insurance exchanges. The decision could mean that Texas ultimately loses an opportunity to cover half of its uninsured residents and relinquishes to the federal government more control over its health care system. …

Perry joins other GOP governors — including Florida’s Rick Scott, South Carolina’s Nikki Haley and Wisconsin’s Scott Walker — in refusing to implement the Affordable Care Act. The Supreme Court upheld the law but said the federal government may not cut off a state’s Medicaid funds if they turn down the expansion. If a state refuses to set up the insurance market exchanges, the federal government does it for them.

You know this is all just a show, right? Perry, Walker, Scott and Haley all know that if they opt out, the rest of the country will pick up the cost. That’s what Red States do. They take an anti-federal government tone, then they suck up every federal dollar they can get. They are leeches.

This chart is “mostly true” according to PolitiFact. When it first came out in 2008, it was accurate. But the first obvious flaw is that New Mexico is listed as a Red State. It was in 2004. That changed in 2008.

But the overall message is clear: Too many Blue States are putting in more and getting back less because the Red States get more from the government than the tax dollars they contribute. So Red States really don’t want what they’re asking for, because the minute they get it, the Blue States will finally be able to stop bailing them out.

And by the way, what is happening in health care in places like South Carolina?

Shirley Johnson gets her medical care at Palmetto Health Baptist hospital’s emergency room in Columbia, South Carolina. She goes when her back gives out or when a benign tumor near her ribcage swells and throbs. She goes for headaches, heartburn, and spider bites, leaving the hospital a sheaf of unpaid bills.

“I owe so much money,” said Johnson. “The last time I went just for my toe. It cost $1,000.”

Johnson, as a 49-year-old with no dependents, isn’t eligible for Medicaid, the joint state-federal health program for the poor, which covers about 20 percent of the state’s residents. And in two years, when President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul allows the expansion of Medicaid to cover 17 million more Americans, she may still be left behind.

Governor Nikki Haley, a Tea Party-backed Republican, was among the first state leaders to oppose expanding Medicaid after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal government can’t make states do so. Caught between poverty and pressure to curb government’s power, South Carolina illustrates the forces at play in the nation’s capitals amid the broadest changes to the health care system since 1965.

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.)