Health and Human Services

In GOP States That Opted Out of ACA and Medicaid Expansion, Thousands Left Without Insurance (TPM) highlights Harvard sociologist Theda Skocpol's analysis of the effect of state adoption of the Affordable Care Act on the number of people insured.

States that chose not to set up their own insurance exchanges or opted out of Medicaid expansion "are putting all their lower income residents at risk ... not just by refusing to expand Medicaid but also, in many cases, by failing to help people get subsidized private coverage through the exchange."

Affordable Care Act

Talking Points Memo digs into the semantics of What Really Happens To People Whose Insurance Is 'Canceled' Because Of Obamacare, and finds that "Almost all of them are going to receive the same or much better coverage, and many of them are going to receive financial help to purchase it."

Politico reports on the carefully planned campaign by Republicans to sabotage the Affordable Care Act at every step.

Medicare and Roe v Wade at Risk With Romney/Ryan

Lost in the media obsession with what their children's-book narrative of the day is, and the reality-TV-like mania surrounding the "debates," are two critical realities, highlighted recently by New York Magazine's Jonathan Chait, and the Washington Post's Katrina van den Heuvel, formerly editor of The Nation

Chait writes:

GOP Medicare Claims Not Supported By Facts

Eugene Robinson has an excellent piece in the August 16 Washington Post that takes the GOP, and especially Romney surrogate John Sununu to task over intentionally misleading statements about the Affordable Care Act's reduction of payments to Medicare service providers over a 10 year period.

The GOP would like to convince voters that this is "gutting Medicare," when in fact benefits and costs to seniors remain the same under the ACA.

Republicans View Health Care as a Privilege

Read Jonathan Chait's Health Care as a Privilege: What the GOP Won't Admit.

Chait observes that the Republican position is that

... punishments to the losers in the market system should include ... a denial of access to non-emergency medical treatment.... The maintenance of mass lack of access to medical care is their cause.

Republicans Propose Ending Medicare (Again)

In a move inexplicable in an election year, on March 15 a group of four prominent Republicans announced a new plan to abolish Medicare.

Abandoning promises not to end Medicare or make changes that would affect those at or near retirement age, the latest Republican proposal does both. Promoted by Tea Party favorite Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), and Sen. Lindsey Graham, (R-SC), the proposal scraps Medicare in favor of a private plan that shifts trillions of dollars of health care costs to the elderly by 2014.

Health Care Update

Updated March 21, 2009

The House just passed the Senate health care bill by a vote of 219 - 212.

Echoing Sen. Jim DeMint's characterization of health care as Obama's "Waterloo," former Bush speech writer David Frum labels the passage of health care legislation today the "most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s" for conservatives and Republicans.

Frum lays the blame for the defeat squarely on Republican party leadership:

At the beginning of this process we made a strategic decision: unlike, say, Democrats in 2001 when President Bush proposed his first tax cut, we would make no deal with the administration. No negotiations, no compromise, nothing. We were going for all the marbles. This would be Obama’s Waterloo – just as healthcare was Clinton’s in 1994.

Only, the hardliners overlooked a few key facts: Obama was elected with 53% of the vote, not Clinton’s 42%. The liberal block within the Democratic congressional caucus is bigger and stronger than it was in 1993-94. And of course the Democrats also remember their history, and also remember the consequences of their 1994 failure.

This time, when we went for all the marbles, we ended with none.

He also reserves a share of blame for what he calls "the conservative entertainment industry."

... overheated talk has made it impossible for representatives to represent and elected leaders to lead. The real leaders are on TV and radio, and they have very different imperatives from people in government. Talk radio thrives on confrontation and recrimination. When Rush Limbaugh said that he wanted President Obama to fail, he was intelligently explaining his own interests. What he omitted to say – but what is equally true – is that he also wants Republicans to fail. If Republicans succeed – if they govern successfully in office and negotiate attractive compromises out of office – Rush’s listeners get less angry. And if they are less angry, they listen to the radio less, and hear fewer ads for Sleepnumber beds.

Read the full commentary.


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