Tuesday, June 27, 2017

What we have and haven't learned as we barrel towards a conclusion on healthcare reform

A lot is happening quickly on healthcare reform.  What matters and what doesn't?

What does matter is the recent change to the bill on lapses in coverage.  If you go a period of time without coverage, you are locked out of the individual markets.  Why?  Well, the GOP has decided that they don't like the individual mandate, even though it was their fucking idea (or, rather, it was the Heritage Foundation's idea, and they picked it up and ran with it until the Democrats got on board), but since you need healthy people in the insurance pool, how do you get/keep the healthy in the insurance pool without a mandate?  The solution is to lock anyone out of the individual market, by government order, if they have a lapse in coverage.

Why is that better, from a free-market, keep-the-gub'mint-outta-my-way perspective, than the individual mandate?  Um...  Yeah.  This isn't based either on economic theory or an underlying philosophy on the proper boundaries of government action.  They just recognized that they needed something, and tried to find something that isn't Obamacare.  Anti-intellectualism at its finest.

But, what matters is how this change is viewed by the guy I told you to watch:  the Senate parliamentarian.  This new rule is not, by any stretch of the imagination, budgetary.  It's got jack fucking shit to do with the budget, and if it isn't budgetary, then including it in the bill means the bill doesn't conform to the rules for budget reconciliation, and it can be filibustered.  The Republicans are struggling to get to 50+Pence, and have no chance of getting any Democrats on board, so this really puts things in jeopardy.  If this rule is a deal-breaker, they could be fucked.

Like I've been saying, watch the Senate parliamentarian.  If he doesn't like this new change, which is a real stretch to call budgetary, and it turns out to be a deal-breaker, then the GOP is in real trouble here.

What else matters?  We still have no clue what's going on with Dean Heller.  Watch him closely.  If he can be bought off, the Republicans still have a shot.  If he is really in the Collins-Murkowski camp in terms of needing real leftward movement to vote yes, then the GOP's plans are toast.

Now, what doesn't matter:

The CBO report doesn't matter.  Not one bit.  Yes, people will lose coverage if the Republican bill passes, in any form.  That's the point.  The core tenet of conservatism is an opposition to wealth redistribution.  Obamacare is redistribution.  It pays for poor and sick people to get healthcare by taxing the rich, and forcing health insurance companies to pay for stuff that no sensible, for-profit company would cover, if they had a choice.  All government-funded programs consist of the following:  the government points a gun at somebody's head and says the following:  "gimme your money or I'll fuckin' kill you.  Or, maybe I'll just injure you and haul your fuckin' ass off to prison.  Either way, gimme your fuckin' money."*  The government then takes that money and does something with it.  In the case of welfare, it is the following-- either give it directly to, or spend it on behalf of the poor.  Conservatives aren't cool with that.  So, they want to roll back the Robin Hood stuff.

The trouble is that Robin Hood is actually kind of popular, and 22 million people losing coverage sounds bad.  Why doesn't that matter?  Because the bill was already very unpopular anyway and the GOP has already demonstrated that they don't give a flying fuck.  This isn't news.  The whole concept of the bill is a roll-back of entitlements.  That was never going to be popular.  If they really thought this would be popular, they really would have just repealed Obamacare on Day 1, like they lied about doing for the last seven years.

Will the CBO thing generate enough press coverage to matter on its own?  Fuck no.  Hey, look over here!  Trump said something stupid/racist/misogynist/Trump-like!  Pay attention to that!

Ron Johnson, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee keep acting like my damned cats.  They want to be pet, and they walk away, demanding that you follow them.  At this point, I pretty much think that's a perfect analogy for this group.  In the end, though, like my cats, they're going to flop down on the ground, roll over, and purr while they have their bellies rubbed because they have just as much dignity as those disgusting, little creatures who lick their own asses every chance they get.  Yes, the supposed conservative objectors are making noise about not liking the bill.  I warned you ahead of time about this kind of thing, and I still think that they are full of shit.  Ignore them.  That's the trick with cats too.  If you follow them, they keep walking away.  If you ignore them, they start following you.  Treat them like cats.

*Get over it, you hippy-dippy liberals.  This is what is happening.  Don't avert your gaze and pretend otherwise to claim some non-existent moral purity.  Ain't no such thing in politics.  Don't be like one of those people who eats meat and pretends it doesn't come from an animal.


  1. The "conservative" objectors HAVE to object, because otherwise, how can they be more conservative than everyone else?
    So, they need to get imaginary concessions to PROVE they aren't RINOs like everyone else. (See: House Freedom Caucus)

    1. Yup. They're pretty uppity for critters that eat bugs all day.